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.

Police across central Alabama say three mosques in the state have been burglarized in recent days, and one Islamic leader hopes the cases aren't part of a conspiracy of hatred.

Tuscaloosa police say two safes containing cash and a handwritten Quran were stolen from the Islamic Center of Tuscaloosa earlier this week. Police have released a photo of a car believed to be involved in the robbery that was captured on surveillance video.

Today is Pro-Life Day in Alabama.

At least, that’s according to Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and other leaders in the state legislature.

State agriculture officials are banning poultry sales in Alabama over concerns about avian influenza.

The Cullman Times reports Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan issued an order Wednesday prohibiting bird sales, poultry exhibitions and the transportation of birds.

State veterinarian Tony Frazier says the order is the most effective way to prevent the possible spread of the illness.

The ban follows confirmation of avian flu in Tennessee, plus possible cases in the north Alabama counties of Jackson, Lauderdale and Madison counties.

Students in Alabama and across the country are speaking out against tobacco.

Today marks the 21st annual Kick Butts Day, organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Each year, students along with teachers, health advocates and other activists encourage children to avoid tobacco use, and urge lawmakers to work harder to keep tobacco products away from children.

After hours of debate over the lack of a raise for state employees, the Alabama House of Representatives finally approved a General Fund Budget.

Representatives voted 72-28 in favor of the $1.8 billion budget late last night. The funding bill now moves to the state Senate.

Montgomery lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to add some sort of raise or bonus for state employees, who haven't had a cost-of-living increase since 2008.

Rep. Napoleon Bracy of Prichard says lawmakers wouldn't expect to work 10 years without a raise.

The remaining two U.S. attorneys in Alabama appointed by former President Barack Obama have both stepped down.

U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown of Mobile has resigned and is being replaced on an interim basis by his top assistant, Steve Butler. Brown had served as U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District since 2009.

George Beck has resigned after six years as the top prosecutor in Montgomery.

His top assistant, A. Clark Morris, becomes the acting U.S. attorney.

recycling
Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

Municipal officials can lose sleep over the volume of trash that residents produce, but those in Montgomery have the opposite problem. They say the city isn’t producing enough trash to sustain a citywide recycling program.

Montgomery has a similar population size to three other major Alabama cities, Huntsville , Birmingham and Mobile. But the Montgomery Advertiser reports that the capital city is the only one without a recycling program and the only one with any doubts about its ability to maintain one.

One of Alabama's largest and wealthiest churches is trying to create its own police department in what experts say would be an unprecedented move.

State legislators are considering a bill that would allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a police force. Similar bills failed the past two years. This year's version is set for debate in the House before this year’s legislative session ends in May.

Construction is still ongoing in Tuscaloosa for a new$16 million 911 dispatch center serving all county emergency agencies and the Emergency Management Agency.

The Tuscaloosa News reports work on the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Operations and Communications Center is expected to finish by the end of the year, with staff occupying the building next spring. Work on the building began last August.

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a formal complaint with the Alabama State Bar against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

ACLU attorney Christopher Anders argues Jeff Sessions made false statements during his confirmation hearing to become Attorney General.

Some high school students in Tuscaloosa are meeting with their state representative later today to ask him to sponsor and introduce a new bill regarding pets in hot cars.

A state general fund budget has passed committee, and it looks like state employees won’t be getting a raise after all.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved a lean general fund budget yesterday. It gives level funding to most state agencies and removes a proposed pay raise for state employees. Lawmakers say the state can’t afford it.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley had proposed a 4 percent pay raise for state workers.

lynching memorial
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Community members gathered alongside the Equal Justice Initiative in Tuscaloosa earlier this week to shine a light on one of the darkest periods in Alabama’s history. The EJI’s Community Remembrance Project unveiled a marker commemorating the eight documented lynching victims in Tuscaloosa County.

APR’s Alex AuBuchon prepared this look at the unveiling and program.

The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that would stop requiring probate judges to sign marriage licenses.

The bill comes as a few probate judges in the state continue to refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone so they do not have to issue them to same-sex couples.

Senators voted 22-6 for the bill yesterday. The measure now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

Instead of a license signed by the probate judge, Republican Senator Greg Albritton's bill would require couples to file a form and affidavit with the probate judge to record their marriages.

After a several-month hiatus, the House Judiciary Committee is once again meeting to discuss the possible impeachment of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

The committee is scheduled to meet later this morning to discuss a procedural question related to the probe. It is the first meeting since the investigation was put on hold by outgoing Attorney General Luther Strange in November.

The committee is tasked with making a recommendation to the full House of Representatives on whether there are grounds to impeach Governor Bentley.

John Grisham
Katie Willem / APR

The University of Alabama’s School of Law was visited by perhaps the most recognizable writer of legal fiction last week.

Author John Grisham was the keynote speaker at a symposium late last week celebrating Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird and examining its impact on society and the legal system. Grisham says To Kill a Mockingbird is one of a long line of novels that were both massively commercially successful and managed to shift public opinion about an issue or injustice through that success.

Fast food workers and civil rights groups are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an Alabama state law blocking the city of Birmingham's plans to raise the minimum wage.

The plaintiffs appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.

Birmingham was poised to raise the minimum hourly wage in the city to $10.10 last year. But before the wage hike was implemented, the Alabama Legislature swiftly passed a law requiring a uniform state minimum wage.

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

The lawmaker sponsoring Gov. Robert Bentley's $800 million prison construction plan says the bill will most likely be scaled down before heading to a committee vote next week.

Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster says the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday on a smaller version. He says senators are currently working out the bill's specifics.

Bentley was seeking to build four new prisons. Ward says the new proposal will still be substantial.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Republicans in the state House of Representatives have elected Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter of Rainsville, Alabama as their new majority leader.

The Republican Caucus announced that decision yesterday.

Ledbetter, formerly the mayor of Rainsville, was elected to the Alabama House in 2014. Ledbetter released a statement saying he was grateful for the confidence placed in him by the caucus. He is the first freshman representative to hold the position in Alabama’s history.

Draper inmates
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

The state Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a plan to build four new, massive prisons in Alabama this afternoon.

The bill would authorize Alabama’s Department of Corrections to build three massive new men’s prisons and a new women’s prison, and would close over a dozen of the state’s existing prison facilities.

It would be financed by an $800 million bond issue that would leave the state paying $50 million a year for thirty years. Supporters including Governor Robert Bentley say the new prisons would save about that much money in operating costs.

State lawmakers are planning to debate a bill that would require all day care facilities to be licensed and end a longstanding exemption for church-affiliated day cares.

The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill later this morning.

VOICES for Alabama's Children, a nonprofit advocacy organization, says Alabama is one of only seven states that exempt faith-based day cares from state regulation. VOICES Executive Director Melanie Bridgeforth says the bill is aimed at protecting children.

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a bill prohibiting judges from imposing a death sentence after a jury recommends life imprisonment.

Alabama is the only state that allows judicial override of jury sentence recommendations in capital murder cases.

Lawmakers sponsoring the legislation will hold a press conference later today in Montgomery.

Organizers of the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma are going forward with this year’s event. But a lack of support from the city of Selma is forcing a few changes.

Event planners are moving musical performances following a dispute with city hall over fees. Selma Mayor Darrio Melton says the city needs nearly $24,000 to cover various city services. Organizers say they won't pay the city.

They announced yesterday that the annual weekend music festival will be held on private property instead of city streets, as in years past.

Yet another inmate has been killed at a state prison near Montgomery.

An Alabama Department of Corrections statement says 36-year-old DeMarko Quinta Carlisle was stabbed to death during an altercation at Elmore Correctional Facility yesterday. The agency has a suspect, but officials aren't releasing that prisoner's name. They say the motive isn't known.

Organizers of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma say they plan to move forward with the event, despite the city of Selma asking for $23,000 to provide police, fire, and other city services for the gathering.

Organizer and civil rights activist Faya Rose Touré says "everything is a go" for the march and celebration, which coincides with the anniversary of the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march. Demonstrators were beaten on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during that famous march.

Touré says they will not pay the $23,000 requested by Selma's city hall.

UA Student Health Center
University of Alabama

Several students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa have been diagnosed with the mumps, according to state health officials.

The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a news release Friday saying it's investigating those cases and working with the school to contact additional students and faculty members that may have been exposed to the disease.

A finalist for Alabama’s state school superintendent position has filed a civil lawsuit against a state school board member and others. He’s accusing them of orchestrating a scheme and ethics complaint last year to knock him out of the running to be the state's next education chief.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey filed the lawsuit yesterday in Montgomery. It names board member Mary Scott Hunter, Deputy Superintendent Philip Cleveland and others as defendants.

Alabama death row
EJI

Alabama may be close to putting an end to the unusual practice of allowing judges to hand down death sentences in capital murder cases despite a jury recommendation for life in prison.

The state Senate approved a bill yesterday that would end the state's status as the only one in the U.S. that allows a judge to override a jury when sentencing capital murder cases.

Senators approved the bill 30-1. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where a similar bill has cleared committee but faces an uncertain future on the House floor.

The Alabama Senate may debate a bill later today that would prohibit judges from imposing a death sentence after a jury has already recommended life imprisonment.

Alabama is currently the only state in the country that allows judicial override of sentences in capital murder cases.

New State AG Addresses Law Enforcement on Cyber Crimes in Tuscaloosa

Feb 22, 2017
Alex Aubuchon / APR

Law enforcement officers across the state are learning how to take the fight on crime online.

The Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force is hosting two eight-hour sessions at the University of Alabama’s campus. The free training is the first of its kind in West Alabama, and teaches officers about how to get warrants for electronic data, and how to handle digital forensics evidence.

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