Alex AuBuchon

News Host / Reporter

Alex AuBuchon is APR’s Morning Edition host and also writes news and feature stories. He got his start in nonprofit radio at the University of Tennessee’s venerable WUTK-FM.

AuBuchon started as a student DJ before quickly falling in with the news team. He spent a semester on the news staff and then a year as News Director, delivering live newscasts and teaching broadcast workshops to undergraduate journalism students.

AuBuchon then switched over to commercial radio, taking a job as Operations Manager and Assistant News Director for a group of four radio stations in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. He scheduled traffic and automation breaks and did administrative work for four stations during the week, and delivered newscasts and maintained a popular news website on the weekends.

Alex crossed back over to public radio in January 2015, moving to Alabama to wake up early and give listeners the news they need to get ready for the day.

Back-to-School Tax-Free Weekend Begins Today

Jul 21, 2017

Alabamians will have to schedule their back-to-school shopping a bit early this year if they want to buy tax free. The sales tax holiday has been moved up a few weeks to this weekend – starting today.

Officials made the move because the Tax Free Weekend started to fall after school has started for some systems. The Tax Free Weekend gives relief to consumers, but it has also boosted the economy during the 12 years Alabama has participated.

152nd MP Ceremony
WHNT-TV

Members of Alabama’s Army National Guard are heading out to active duty soon.

The approximately 40 soldiers of the 152nd Military Police Company, out of Decatur, Alabama, will be heading to Cuba to oversee internal security and detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay.

A rare form of mad cow disease has been found in Alabama, according to state officials.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan released a statement saying atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy was confirmed in an 11 year old beef cow.

The U.S. Depertment of Agriculture says this is only the fifth case of this particular form of the disease ever confirmed in the United States.

McMillan says the disease was discovered during routine screening at a livestock market. The infected cow wasn’t slaughtered, and its meat didn’t enter the food chain.

Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon
Dave Martin / AP

The Alabama National Guard will soon be under female command for the first time in history.

Major General Sheryl Gordon was named by Governor Kay Ivey as the guard’s adjutant general yesterday. Ivey calls Gordon a “trailblazer and visionary leader” in a recent press release. Gordon is the first woman ever to hold that post.

Many saw the recent extension of the federal red snapper season as a boon for many industries on Alabama's gulf coast. But the measure isn’t popular with everyone.

Two environmental groups are suing the federal government for extending the season. The lawsuit filed by the Ocean Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund says the decision broke the law by ignoring scientific assessments, promoting overfishing, and failing to follow required procedures like providing adequate notice and time for public comment before making changes.

Police in Alabama and four other Southeastern states are cracking down on traffic violations this week in an effort to cut down on wrecks and traffic fatalities.

“Operation Southern Shield” starts today in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs oversees grants used for the program. They say officers will be looking to reduce the number of drivers speeding, driving impaired or distracted, and not wearing seatbelts.

Members of a city board of education in Alabama are looking to dismiss a lawsuit against them that centers on their vote not to retain the school system’s superintendent.

The four members of the Gadsden City School system had voted against renewing Superintendent Ed Miller’s contract. The Gadsden Times reports they voted over the three other members of the board, who claim they weren’t consulted about the vote.

Tuition will be increasing slightly for students in Alabama’s two-year college system.

The Tuscaloosa News reports trustees have approved a 1.4 percent tuition increase for Alabama’s Community College System. The price of each credit hour will be going up $2 to $119 for students who are Alabama residents. Nonresidents will be paying $234 per credit hour, beginning this fall.

Trustee chairman Al Thompson calls the rate hike “modest”. He says it’s part of an annual adjustment that was first established by the Alabama Board of Education, which used to operate the system.

Two new people are joining Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s cabinet.

Governor Ivey’s office says Jim Purcell has just been named the acting secretary of Information Technology, and Todd Cotton is now the acting commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

Purcell has worked as the chief operations officer of the Alabama Office of Information Technology since last December. That position involves overseeing all the shared services offered by the agency across the state.

An Alabama state court says a 12-year-old girl who was impregnated by a relative will be allowed to get an abortion without a parent’s consent.

Yesterday, the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a girl seeking a waiver from a state law that requires minors receive parental consent before having an abortion. The decision says a relative currently charged with statutory rape got the girl pregnant, and the girl was removed from her home after her mother reacted violently. The girl doesn’t know her father.

The Alabama Board of Education recently terminated its contract with ACT Aspire for standardized testing, and it looks like the board has found a replacement.

Al.com reports that at a board meeting last night, Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance announced school districts throughout the state can expect to use Scantron assessments for standardized testing in third through eighth grade beginning in the upcoming school year.

Authorities say a University of North Alabama police officer is currently on administrative leave after shooting a woman during a traffic stop.

 

The confrontation occurred at around 3 a.m. Sunday in Florence, Ala., according to the TimesDaily of Florence.

 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released a statement saying the driver in the traffic stop allegedly tried to run over the campus officer, forcing the officer to fire multiple shots striking the vehicle. The driver then fled the scene. Photos show a red car crashed into a utility pole.

 

Samford University is refusing 3 million dollars from the Alabama Baptist State Convention, reportedly due to a proposed LGBT student organization at the university.

Samford’s Board of Trustees executive committee approved the decision to refuse the $3 million budget allocation late last week after consulting with state convention leaders. The move will be effective January 1.

Mo Brooks
Getty

The race to fill Alabama’s second U.S. Senate seat is heating up, and a recent informal poll could spell bad news for the incumbent.

Nine candidates, both Republican and Democrat, vying for Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat participated in a candidate forum and straw poll last night in Huntsville. Al.com reports the event was organized by the Christian Citizen Task Force, with over 300 people in attendance.

Lindsay Turner Trammell
Schoolyard Roots

Since 2010, the Druid City Garden Project has operated teaching gardens in Tuscaloosa city and county elementary schools. The gardens enhance students’ math, science and even English classes – and a University of Alabama study has shown working in the school gardens has not only improved students’ education, but also their eating habits and propensity to eat healthier food options.

Now, the organization is announcing some changes to take the program beyond the boundaries of Tuscaloosa.

After a bloody stretch in the state’s capital, Montgomery officials are working to get guns off the streets by appealing to people's pocketbooks.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports CrimeStoppers and the Central Alabama Community Foundation partnered for a gun buyback program this past weekend, where people were offered cash in exchange for turning in weapons. Rifles, shotguns and functioning handguns were worth $50 each, and weapons considered high-capacity – able to shoot more than a regular 12-round magazine – were worth $100.

A lot of outdoor activities are scheduled for Independence Day today. The temperatures are also creeping into the nineties with lots of humidity. So, health officials say it’s important to be aware of the risk of heat illness. One of the most common conditions is heat exhaustion. That’s when you get overheated and lose electrolytes through sweating. If it goes untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Dr. Ed Geno teaches family medicine at the University of Alabama. He says people need to know what to look out when it comes to heat stroke…

The school board in Birmingham is working to prevent a charter school from opening in the city.

The board recently filed suit against the Alabama Public Charter School Commission in order to prevent STAR Academy from beginning operations. Board members say they denied a charter to start the school at the local level. They say that decision was improperly overruled by the state commission.

Gulf Coast visitors and Orange Beach residents are getting some welcome news from the Baldwin Beach Express toll bridge.

American Roads Incorporated, the company that operates the toll bridge and expressway, have announced a reduction in tolls from now until Labor Day. Rates will now be $2.75 for non-Baldwin County residents driving one way with a two-axle vehicle. The cost for each additional axle will be an extra dollar. Orange Beach residents will see even more substantial savings. Tolls for a one-way trip are dropping to $1 if paid electronically and $1.25 in cash.

Two more charter schools could be opening in the state next year, after the governing commission approved their applications.

Al.com reports the Alabama Public Charter School Commission fully approved one applicant and conditionally approved another.

Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit Underway

Jun 27, 2017
shrimp boats
Alabama Gulf Seafood

Chefs and fishermen from across the state are coming together to reel in new ideas about seafood.

The Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit is bringing together all facets of the state’s seafood industry for a two-day event in Orange Beach.  The event is meant to help networking and for those within the industry to make connections to help foster growth.

healthcare protest
Lawrence Specker / al.com

Protestors gathered in multiple Alabama cities yesterday to voice their opposition to a proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

In Mobile, Al.com reports around 100 people gathered in front of the federal courthouse yesterday evening. The event was in part to promote organizers’ demand for Alabama U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Luther Strange to actually meet with their constituents ahead of a healthcare vote in the Senate.

druid city pride
Alex AuBuchon / APR

An LGBT rights organization in Tuscaloosa celebrated the anniversary of a monumental Supreme Court decision this past weekend.

Today is the two-year anniversary of the court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that ultimately guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry throughout the United States. Druid City Pride, a community organization in Tuscaloosa, commemorated the occasion with food, music, and a fundraising raffle.

Russell Howard is the director of Druid City Pride. He says he wants to keep seeing progress toward LGBT equality in Alabama.

A community college in Alexander City, Alabama has been placed on probation due to financial issues.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges recently put Central Alabama Community College on a 12-month probation, according to Al.com.

Central Alabama Community College President Susan Burrow says the probation is due to audit findings from previous years that at this point have mostly been resolved. Burrow says the probation won’t affect students or any school programs, and the college will retain its accreditation for the twelve-month period.

Tropical Storm Cindy dumped a lot of rain on the state of Alabama, and Governor Kay Ivey is now looking for federal help for the state's farmers due to potential crop losses.

Ivey sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday asking for a federal disaster declaration in some Alabama counties.

She wrote that a large number of Alabama agricultural producers have "experienced significant losses" because of Tropical Storm Cindy. Ivey says farmers in the southern and central portions of the state had been impacted the most.

Fairfield tornado damage
WTVM-TV

As the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy are expected to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia today, residents in parts of Alabama will be picking up the pieces.

A powerful storm system hit Jefferson County yesterday, leaving four people injured, downing power lines and destroying buildings in the city of Fairfield. The National Weather Service in Birmingham has confirmed that a tornado struck the Fairfield area. They have given it a preliminary rating of EF-2, with an estimated wind speed of 120 miles per hour.

5-day rainfall
NOAA

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early this morning, and effects from the storm are still being felt across much of the northern Gulf Coast including Alabama.

Storm-related conditions have already been blamed for one death in Alabama. A ten-year-old boy from Missouri on vacation with his family in Fort Morgan, Ala. was standing outside their condominium when he was struck and killed by a log carried by storm surge.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Alabama that is still in effect.

The state of Alabama will stop administering the ACT Aspire Test.

The state Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday not to renew the contract with ACT Aspire. State Superintendent Michael Sentance says there were “several issues” with last year’s iteration of the test. He says receipt of results were delayed, and when the state finally received the results, some of the data was incorrect.

James McWilliams
ADOC

The U.S. Supreme Court has come down in favor of an Alabama inmate who argued he didn’t have a mental health expert at his trial to help him try and avoid a death sentence.

The justices divided 5 to 4 yesterday, ultimately siding with Alabama death row inmate James McWilliams. He did not have an independent mental health expert on his side when he was convicted of raping and killing a convenience store clerk in Tuscaloosa.

Today is the deadline for business owners in fifteen Alabama counties to get drought relief from Washington.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is taking applications for loans of up to two million dollars at four percent interest. The money would go to business owners who can prove they lost income because of the extreme drought conditions last year.

SBA spokesman Jay McKenna says these loans aren’t for ranchers or farmers, who can get help from other federal agencies.

Pages