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.

Two men who worked for a company that runs the transit system at Auburn University are facing charges after a student was allegedly raped on one of the buses.

President Trump will be hitting the campaign trail in Alabama this coming weekend in hopes of boosting Luther Strange ahead of next week’s Senate primary runoff.

President Trump made the announcement via Twitter, saying he’d be in Huntsville Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate and that “’Big Luther’ is a great guy who gets things done!”

peanut plant
Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

Local farmers in southeast Alabama have opened a peanut-buying station as another way to peddle the area’s cash crop.

The Dothan Eagle reports the new station, the Farmer’s First Peanut Company, opened late last week in Geneva County. The $2 million facility was built by a group of local farmers looking for a locally-controlled peanut buying station. The facility will sell the crop to Georgia-based Birdsong Peanuts.

Tuition is rapidly increasing at many colleges and universities across the country, but Birmingham-Southern College will now be moving the other direction.

University officials say they will reduce tuition and mandatory fees by more than 50 percent starting in fall 2018.

"The marketplace spoke, and we listened," BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith says. "We want to make sure that the best and brightest students have access to the kind of personalized, challenging, hands-on educational experience that BSC provides."

ballotpedia.org

A former state representative in Birmingham has pled guilty to multiple charges in connection with an EPA Superfund site in the area.

 

Federal prosecutors are charging former Representative Oliver Robinson with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors say Robinson took a contract with a private law firm in exchange with using his position in the state legislature to fight the expansion of an EPA Superfund site in Birmingham. The Superfund site is heavily contaminated with lead, arsenic, and other chemicals.

 

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker will have his own day in court after all.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins recently ruled against dismissing Justice Parker’s contention that certain state restrictions on judges' speech violate their First Amendment rights.

Beetles Threatening Alabama Timber

Sep 5, 2017

Alabama’s eleven billion dollar timber industry could be at risk due to a very small bug.

Southern Pine Beetle populations have reached epidemic levels in Montgomery County. The beetles are also found in the Oakmulgee district of the Talladega National Forest and an area including Marengo, Clarke, and Choctaw counties.

UAB Campus
UAB

Researchers at UAB are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration regarding a new potential treatment for cancer.

Scientists say they’ve developed a way to genetically modify a cancer fighting immune system cell so that it survives chemotherapy. Project Director Dr. Lawrence Lamb says the so called Gamma Delta T-cells recognize cancer cells because of signals of stress the infected cells give off in the patient.

The deadline is looming for Alabama’s correctional officials to tell a federal judge how they plan to overhaul mental health care in state prisons.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has scheduled a status conference for September 7 to get an update on the mediation between the state of Alabama and lawyers representing Alabama inmates.

Whooping Cough on the Rise in Alabama

Aug 28, 2017

Pertussis, or "whooping cough" is on the rise across the country, and the state of Alabama has seen over 150 cases so far this year.

The highly contagious disease is preventable with vaccines. However, children and infants who have not received vaccinations for the disease are at high risk of infection.

Dr. Karen Landers is a medical consultant for Alabama's immunization program. She says whooping cough has been around for many years and is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis.

Last year was a record year for Alabama’s automotive industry.

Alabama Department of Commerce officials say exports of Alabama-made automobiles jumped 13 percent last year, climbing to $7.9 billion dollars. Total sales of state-made cars are estimated at around $20 billion.

Alabama-built cars were reportedly shipped to 86 countries last year. Germany was the largest export market, with more than $2.4 billion in shipments to there alone. Next on the list were China, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and India.

Confederate monuments have been the topic of many discussions lately, mostly about them being torn down or covered up.

But a new Confederate monument is set to be unveiled this weekend in Crenshaw County. The monument is dedicated to “unknown Alabama Confederate soldiers.” David Coggins, the owner of Confederate Memorial Park where the monument will be located, says it is intended to honor Confederate soldiers who died in battle and never received a proper burial.

The Alabama Board of Education could vote as soon as next month on whether to dismiss state Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Board member Jeff Newman tells the Associated Press several of the board’s members want to discuss Sentance’s contract at next month’s meeting. Newman says that could include a vote on whether to dismiss Sentance, the school reformer they hired just a year ago to lead Alabama’s public schools.

The board recently gave Sentance low marks on a performance evaluation. Sentance responded that he is proud of his work and hopes to continue in the role.

Alabama health officials have announced a new program to more readily identify and treat patients with highly infectious diseases.

Al.com reports Huntsville Hospital, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital and the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile will be the three assessment hospitals in a new Serious Infectious Disease Network. The Alabama Department of Public Health announced it’s establishing the network in response to several national disease outbreaks.

A business lobbyist and former environmental regulator from Alabama has been selected as the new regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overseeing eight Southeastern states.

Former Alabama Department of Environmental Management director Trey Glenn will be overseeing the work of the EPA in Alabama as well as Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Residents in Mobile know who their next mayor will be, but there’s still some work to be done in Birmingham.

In Mobile, Sandy Stimpson was elected to his second term as mayor. He defeated former mayor Sam Jones with just over 57 percent of the vote.

But in Birmingham, incumbent mayor William Bell is heading to a runoff with challenger Randall Woodfin. Unofficial returns from last night showed Woodfin was leading a crowded field of mayoral candidates with approximately 40 percent of the vote. Bell had earned around 36 percent.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appears closer to announcing an upcoming run for governor after filing paperwork to create a campaign organization.

Earlier this week, Ivey filed paperwork with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill's office to reserve the name "Kay Ivey for Governor Inc." for a nonprofit organization. Ivey spokesman Daniel Sparkman says Ivey is seriously considering running in 2018 and is "taking the steps necessary to be successful."

A recent report shows Alabama is lagging behind much of the country when it comes to tobacco use.

The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network released its annual report called "How Do You Measure Up?" earlier this month. It finds that although the national adult smoking rate is just over 15 percent, more than one in five adults in Alabama are smokers. Meanwhile, nearly four thousand people in the state are diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer each year.

Sitting Alabama Senator Luther Strange will be facing off with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Senate.

Moore forced Strange into a runoff in yesterday’s primary election, even though the former Alabama Attorney General was backed by an endorsement from President Donald Trump and millions of campaign dollars from establishment Republicans.

Alabama Senator and former Attorney General Luther Strange is pulling out all the stops to maintain his Senate seat – including calls from the President.

Strange’s campaign announced yesterday that President Donald Trump has recorded robocalls telling Alabama voters to “go to the polls and vote for Luther Strange.” Trump says his administration is accomplishing many of his campaign promises, but he “needs Luther to help us out.”

Free Back-to-School Haircuts in LaFayette

Aug 14, 2017

Three barber shops in the town of LaFayette are joining together to send kids back to school with free haircuts and backpacks.

The program is going into its fourth year and offers free haircuts and backpacks to students ranging from prekindergarten to the twelfth grade. The event was started by three classmates that wanted to give back to the community they came from.

Pastor Gregory Sutton runs one of the barber shops involved. He says he hopes they can act as an example to the students of how to use your talents to benefit the community.

A judge has dropped sex charges against two school employees, saying the state law is overbroad and unconstitutional.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson dismissed charges against 44-year-old Carrie Witt and 27-year-old David Solomon yesterday. Witt is a former teacher at Decatur High School who was arrested in March 2016 for allegedly having sex with two Decatur High students, one 17 and one 18. Solomon is a former contract teacher at Falkville High School accused of having sex with a 17-year-old Falkville High student.

AP

Primary elections for the race to fill Jeff Sessions’ former U.S. Senate seat are taking place a week from today, and one candidate just picked up a high-profile endorsement.

Martial artist and action star Chuck Norris has announced his support for former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, according to multiple news outlets. Norris is best known for starring in “Walker, Texas Ranger” and is a longtime supporter of the former chief justice.

A deadly mosquito-borne virus has been detected in south Alabama.

AL.com reports mosquitoes in parts of Mobile County are carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a disease that Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II says has a human mortality rate between 50 to 75 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe EEE as "one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States", but it is also very rare, with only a few cases reported across the country each year.

A judge says he is not moving the murder trial of an Alabama man that has so far been jailed for 10 years without receiving a trial.

Yesterday, Houston County Judge Kevin Moulton denied a defense request to move the trial due to publicity surrounding the case. Judge Moulton says defense lawyers for Kharon Davis failed to demonstrate that media coverage surrounding the trial would prevent Davis from receiving a fair trial in Houston County. Moulton says defense lawyers would be able to determine whether jurors were biased against their defendant during jury selection.

A park in Alabama is shutting down its greyhound racing operation by the end of the month, which means nearly 400 dogs will need new homes.

Wind Creek Hospitality recently announced that the Mobile Greyhound Park will stop live greyhound racing at the end of the month in response to declining market demand.

Alabama Sighthound Adoptions President Darla Dean recently told WALA-TV that organizations across the country have agreed to adopt the dogs. Most will go to homes, but a few that are still in top racing shape will move to other greyhound tracks.

The Gulf of Mexico is setting an unwanted record – this year’s “dead zone”, where there’s too little oxygen to support any marine life, is the largest ever measured.

Scientists say this year, the oxygen-depleted region is about the size of New Jersey, covering 8,776 square miles. Scientist Nancy Rabalais has been measuring the area since 1985. She and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their latest findings yesterday.

The state of Alabama is working with other states to try and improve cybersecurity measures.

Governor Kay Ivey announced yesterday that she has signed onto a multi-state “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” that was agreed upon at this year’s National Governors Association summer meeting.

The compact was signed by 38 governors across the country. It makes recommendations to better secure states’ online infrastructure by building better cybersecurity governance, preparing and defending the state from threats, and developing Alabama’s cybersecurity workforce.

Brady Kilpatrick
Walker Co. Sheriff's Office

Authorities in Florida have captured the last of the dozen prisoners who fled an Alabama county jail in a scheme involving peanut butter.

Florida’s Martin County Sheriff's Office announced on social media that local deputies and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force captured 24-year-old Brady Andrew Kilpatrick last night about 20 miles north of West Palm Beach.

Kilpatrick was being held in the Walker County jail on marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges when he and 11 other prisoners fled Sunday night.

The city of Gulf Shores is getting more serious about the potential of forming a separate citywide school system.

Last night, Gulf Shores City Council members approved conducting a feasibility study for the project. That comes after a citizens group presented city leaders with a petition supporting the formation of a city school system. The group also provided $12,000 to help fund a study on whether the town should leave the Baldwin County school system.

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