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.

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.

Authorities say the dozen inmates that escaped from a county jail in Alabama over the weekend did so using peanut butter.

Walker County Sheriff James Underwood says the inmates used the peanut butter to change the number above a cell door to match the number identifying a door leading outside. So when an inmate asked a young and inexperienced jailer to let him into his cell, the jailer opened the outside door instead.

The dozen inmates were then able to flee, tossing off their uniforms and using blankets to scale a razor wire fence.

The economy overall across the country may be improving, but many households in Alabama aren’t any more financially secure.

That’s the takeaway from a new report from Prosperity Now examining the financial well-being of individual households in Alabama and across the country. The report finds nearly half of Alabama households are in liquid asset poverty. That means they don’t have enough savings to live at the poverty level for three months if they suffer a significant income loss.

Farmers in Alabama's peanut belt are hopeful about their upcoming harvest.

Larry Wells of the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center says rainfall this year has been just what the crop needs: Not too dry and not too wet. That allows farmers more time to work in their fields to maintain the peanut plants.

Wells tells the Dothan Eagle that the crucial months for rain will still be August and September. He says receiving about 1 inch of rain a week will keep crops on the right path for harvest.

Another Alabama inmate was found stabbed in a state prison yard earlier this week.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Corrections say Timothy Robertson was fatally stabbed Tuesday night. Robertson is the third prisoner to be killed at Elmore Correctional Facility this year. Another inmate, whose identity has not yet been released, will be charged with Robertson’s murder.

Robertson’s death is the fourth killing of an Alabama prisoner this year, and six correctional officers have been injured in assaults at state prisons so far this year.

One prisoner is dead and a correctional officer was stabbed in separate incidents in Alabama’s state prison system.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says an Alabama correctional officer is in stable condition after being stabbed during lunch yesterday. 36-year-old Wendell Tyrell Jones used a makeshift weapon to stab the guard from behind in the dining hall of Bibb County Correctional Facility.

collapsed training facility
WKRG-TV

A new football practice facility at the University of South Alabama has collapsed during construction, according to school officials.

South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann says there weren’t any injuries after the Jaguar Training Center collapsed Saturday afternoon. He says the facility was currently under construction.

School spokesman Bob Lowry released a statement saying the facility fell within the construction limits of the site and says no workers were present in the area at the time.

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.

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