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.

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.

A new state law restores voting rights for many people with felony convictions, and two legal groups will be holding clinics this summer to make sure those people are registered to vote.

The ACLU of Alabama and Legal Services of Alabama both plan to hold a series of “restoration clinics” at churches in Birmingham, Mobile and Selma this summer.

This year is expected to be a difficult one for Alabama's peach growers.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System says farmers are expected to produce only 10 to 30 percent of their usual harvest this year.

The combination of a warm winter, a late frost and the lingering stress caused by last year's drought are hurting crops at some peach orchards. The central part of Alabama is particularly hard hit.

Edgar Vinson, an Alabama Extension fruit specialist, says peaches need a certain number of cold days every winter to produce healthy fruit in the spring and summer.

A 515-mile underground natural gas pipeline running through Alabama, Georgia and Florida is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month.

The Sabal Trail pipeline will be partially in use next week, according to the Opelika-Auburn News. The pipeline runs from a point near Alexander City, Alabama, to south of Orlando, Florida, in order to supply natural gas to Florida Power and Light and Duke Energy of Florida.

The price of liquor is going up across the state of Alabama soon.

Earlier this week, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted to raise the state’s markup on liquor from 30 to 35 percent. That amounts to about a $1 increase on a bottle that now costs $30. The goal is to raise about $8.2 million for the state’s courts and prosecutors.

Alabama Tourism Represents in New York City

Jun 16, 2017
Mardi Gras float
AL Tourism Dept

Alabama tourism is strutting its stuff in the Big Apple this week.

The state’s Tourism Commission is setting up a series of events and displays to promote Alabama in New York City. Today, the state will officially unveil an eight story tall billboard of Little River Canyon. The display will be located about half a block from Madison Square Garden.

Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell says the point is to get people talking about the state.

Recreational fishermen will have 39 more days to fish the federal waters of the Gulf Coast for red snapper. But some say that could come at the expense of the snapper population and next year's season.

Gulf Coast wildlife officials praised the decision to reopen the federal season for red snapper in Alabama and the rest of the gulf coast for three-day weekends beginning this weekend and continuing through Labor Day, along with three holiday days -- July 3 and 4, and Labor Day itself.

Adelante Alabama
Adelante Alabama

An Alabama-based immigrant advocacy group is urging the city of Birmingham to declare itself a sanctuary city.

The director of the Adelante Alabama Worker Center, Jessica Vosburgh, says that declaration would provide protection to undocumented immigrants in the city and state, and would ensure that Birmingham police officers aren’t working as extensions of federal immigration enforcement.

Gulf Coast states are considering a proposal that would extend the federal red snapper season for recreational anglers, in what has been a contentious and long-running debate.

According to officials in Alabama and Louisiana, the U.S. Commerce Department has told them that if all Gulf states close their state waters to recreational snapper fishing on weekdays through at least September 4, a weekends-only federal season for red snapper could begin as early as this weekend.

Students will be paying a little more to attend the University of West Alabama this fall.

The university’s Board of Trustees has approved a 4.5 percent increase in tuition in order to address some anticipated increases in operating expenses in the upcoming fiscal year. The Tuscaloosa News reports the annual rates for Alabama residents’ tuition would increase by about $327 dollars per year. Out of state students will pay $655 more next year.

Graduate tuition is also increasing, by around $263 for state residents and $454 for out-of-state grad students.

Alabama death row
EJI

The state of Alabama put Robert Melson to death last night for killing three people during a 1994 robbery of a Gadsden fast food restaurant.

Melson was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. last night, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. It’s the second execution of the year in Alabama.

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