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.

Alabama State Games Begin Tomorrow

Jun 8, 2017

Opening ceremonies for the Alabama State Games are set to kick off tomorrow in Dothan.

The Olympic-styled event is hosted by the Alabama Sports Festival Foundation. That organization is within the United States Olympic Committee family and runs the largest multi-sport event for youth and adults in Alabama.

Anthony Terling is a spokesman for the ASF Foundation. He says the event brings with it a significant economic benefit.

The Gadsden school board has voted to search for a new superintendent rather than extend the contract of their existing leader. But the decision was deeply contested, and is drawing sharp dissent from board members.

The Gadsden Times reports the city Board of Education voted 4-3 earlier this week to begin a nationwide search for a new superintendent. Current Superintendent Ed Miller will leave once his contract expires in August.

Robert Melson
ADOC

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated a stay on the scheduled execution of Alabama death row inmate Robert Melson.

The nation’s highest court decided 6 to 3 yesterday that Melson’s execution could go forward even as he and other death row inmates challenge the state’s lethal injection procedures as unconstitutional.

They argue that the sedative Alabama uses to begin its lethal injections, midazolam, is ineffective, and that some inmates haven’t been fully unconscious when other lethal injection drugs work to stop the lungs and heart.

A man who has been held in jail in Alabama for a full decade without a trial wants his case dismissed.

A judge will hold a hearing later today on the request to dismiss murder charges against Kharon Davis of Dothan, Ala. Davis was arrested in 2007 in the shooting death of Pete Reaves and has pleaded not guilty.

Free Lunches for North Alabama Students

Jun 5, 2017

School may be out for kids in Alabama, but that doesn’t mean the lunchroom is closed.

The Alabama Food Bank Association is adding 14 new meal program sites across north Alabama to help feed students free or reduced priced meals. Students can eat breakfast, lunch, and even snacks in some locations. The program has expanded from just three sites back in 2014 to 31 sites in 11 counties across North Alabama.

Music fans in Alabama can see music history on display in Huntsville this weekend.

The 13th annual Cigar Box Guitar Festival is taking place tonight and tomorrow at Lowe Mill in Huntsville. Cigar box guitars are simple instruments, usually with just one or two strings, that use a cigar box as its body. The instruments have a long tradition among blues music and jug bands, especially in the South.

This weekend’s festival will also have an art market, food trucks, and a workshop where you can make your own cigar box guitar alongside craftsmen at Lowe Mill.

A judge has scheduled a hearing for a request to move a police officer’s murder trial out of Montgomery and to another city.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin scheduled the hearing for Tuesday, June 13. Montgomery police officer Aaron Smith faces a murder charge for the shooting death of 58-year-old Greg Gunn. That shooting occurred in February 2016 when Smith stopped Gunn as he was walking home late at night from a neighborhood card game.

Officials in Gardendale, Alabama may be allowed to establish their own school system, but it won’t be this fall.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala is delaying her order to let the Birmingham suburb of Gardendale split from Jefferson County Schools and establish its own school system.

Alabama death row
EJI

A death row inmate in Alabama is looking to halt his upcoming execution due to the use of a sedative that his lawyers say has “failed to work properly in four states”.

Attorneys for inmate Robert Melson appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week for an emergency stay of his execution. Melson is scheduled to be put to death a week from today for the killings of three Gadsden restaurant employees during a 1995 robbery.

Bullock Correctional Facility
ADOC

An inmate was recently killed at a state prison in southeast Alabama, according to authorities.

The Alabama Department of Corrections says 41 year old James Edwards Rodgers was attacked by two inmates with makeshift knives yesterday afternoon. The attack occurred at the Bullock Correctional Facility near Union Springs, Alabama. Rodgers died in the infirmary shortly after the attack.

Correctional authorities say 19 year old Paul Johnson and 35 year old Christopher Hand will be charged with murder. A motive for the stabbing is unknown.

Alabama’s largest city wants to play host to more movies, and a new film office is trying to lure movie productions to the area.

Al.com reports Film Birmingham is now officially open for business after operating behind the scenes for more than a year. The office is an initiative started by Create Birmingham, who are also planning to launch a website targeting the film industry.

Film Birmingham officials say that instead of focusing on big-budget movies like the city of Atlanta does, they will be more focused on recruiting small- to mid-sized productions to the Magic City.

A law that would regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft failed to pass the Legislature this year. It’s unclear when or if those companies will begin service in certain Alabama communities.

Uber is blaming the cities involved. Al.com reports a spokesperson for Uber singled out Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson as being primarily responsible for the stalled legislation.

A grassroots political activist group in west Alabama is shining a light on many other progressive organizations tomorrow.

The Kudzu Coalition of West Alabama is hosting a Spring Fling and Memorial Day celebration in downtown Tuscaloosa. Dozens of municipal and community organizations will be on hand to share their work.

Organizers say they want the Spring Fling to be an opportunity for people to find ways to get involved in their community, and for existing groups to find new ways to work together.

An inmate once called the "Houdini" of Alabama's death row for escaping seven past execution dates was put to death early this morning for a 1982 contract killing.

Tommy Arthur, 75, was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. this morning following a lethal injection, according to correctional authorities said. Arthur was convicted of killing riverboat engineer Troy Wicker, who was fatally shot as he slept in his bed in Muscle Shoals.

Byrne snapper
byrne.house.gov

This year’s federal red snapper season on the Gulf Coast is scheduled to begin a week from today. And it’s scheduled to end just 72 hours later.

That short season has outraged anglers and business owners on Alabama’s coast – and it has U.S. lawmakers scrambling to do something about it.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, including the Gulf Coast. He’s been working on the red snapper season for years, and he’s one of five lawmakers currently petitioning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to intervene and extend the season on an emergency basis.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is warning Centre residents about potentially unhealthy levels of two synthetic compounds in its water.

The Department announced earlier this week that the compounds, known as PFOS and PFOA, were recently found in the city of Centre's water. It says residents should consider "using alternate sources of drinking water."

Centre Water has begun buying water from the Cherokee County Water Authority and blending the two to drive down the PFOS and PFOA numbers. The water will continue to be tested.

Alabama death row
EJI

An Alabama inmate who has had seven past executions postponed is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection tomorrow.

Tommy Arthur still maintains his innocence, but he conceded in a phone interview with the Associated Press from prison that his hopes of winning another reprieve are diminishing. Still, the 75-year-old inmate says he "won't give up."

Pieces of Iconic Huntsville Mosaic to be Given Away Tonight

May 23, 2017

Pieces of a Huntsville religious icon are going home in the hands of the faithful today.

Tiles from a large mosaic called The Cosmic Christ will be handed out to anyone who wants one starting at 6 p.m. this evening. The image has been a staple of downtown Huntsville’s skyline since the 1970s, but is being taken down due to wear and tear. The plan is to replace the mosaic with another over the next five years. The project is expected to cost around $1.5 million.

Plaintiffs in a more than half-century old desegregation case are asking a federal judge to keep Gardendale, Alabama from establishing its own school system, even though the judge ruled earlier this month they would be allowed to split from Jefferson County schools.

Residents of Sumter County with questions about a proposed charter school can voice their questions tonight.

The Alabama Department of Education is coordinating a public hearing on the proposed new school to be held in Livingston. The University of West Alabama is hoping to open a charter school catering to children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The proposed school would teach science, math, technology, and art.

Investigators believe the three Alabama mosques broken into in March were robbed by the same man – and that he committed a series of burglaries at mosques across the country earlier this year.

According to the Gadsden Times, detectives say three mosques in Alabama, two in Arizona and one in Virginia were broken into earlier this year.

Druid City Garden Project

Parents in the Tuscaloosa area got to pick up some healthy produce while picking their kids up from school this week.

Students at several elementary schools opened “farm stands” in their schools’ carpool lines to sell all sorts of veggies grown at the schools. It’s all part of the Druid City Garden Project. That’s a nonprofit organization that helps run teaching gardens at ten Tuscaloosa elementary schools.

An Alabama bill requiring some insurers to cover autism treatment for children is set to become law.

The state House of Representatives voted unanimously yesterday morning to go along with Senate changes and send the bill to the governor. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's press office has indicated she will sign the bill later this morning unless a legal review finds problems.

The mandate applies to employers with 51 or more employees.

Lawmakers in both chambers of Alabama’s legislature have approved an education budget. Now it’s just waiting on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s signature to go into effect for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lawmakers gave final approval to the $6.4 billion education trust fund early this morning. The budget will keep Alabama’s schools mostly funded at the same levels as this past year, but it does provide for some increases for K-12 schools and other programs.

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward says his prison construction bill is dead for this year’s legislative session.

Ward made the pronouncement yesterday. He says the bill already had heavy opposition in the House and was wounded further by tensions over redistricting and other issues in the final days of the session. Ward says opposed lawmakers had threatened to filibuster the bill.

Republicans are pushing toward a redistricting vote over the objections of House Democrats as Alabama lawmakers burned plenty of midnight oil last night.

The House of Representatives met until nearly 4 a.m. this morning. Representatives will resume debate later this morning after lawmakers get a few hours of sleep.

Republicans have the votes to approve the proposed new legislative district lines. But black lawmakers in the House are once again using delaying tactics to protest the plan. They argue the new districts diminish the influence of black voters statewide.

Greg Griffin
Mickey Welsh / Montgomery Advertiser

A white Alabama police officer charged with killing a black man last year is now asking the black judge currently hearing the case to step aside.

Attorneys for Aaron Smith are asking Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin to recuse himself from Smith’s case based on a Facebook post he reportedly wrote shortly after the shooting. WSFA reports the motion includes a copy of a post in which Griffin writes he was stopped by Montgomery police because he was black and walking down a street.

The Alabama Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would require insurers to cover autism therapy but only until the child turns 18.

Senators voted 33-1 Tuesday to mandate the coverage of applied behavioral analysis, an intensive therapy for those with autism.

The House approved the bill unanimously earlier this session. The bill now heads back to the House, where Representatives will decide whether to go along with Senate changes to the bill.

A new proposal from the Mobile mayor's office would decriminalize several minor offenses, including the possession of marijuana for personal use.

Local news outlets report Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson's proposed ordinance will be introduced at today’s city council meeting. Under the code change, police would issue an Alabama Uniform Non-Traffic Citation and Complaint in the event of such an offense, which typically carries a $100 fine and court costs.

A stabbing inside an Alabama state prison has left one inmate dead and a second injured.

Correctional officials say 34-year-old Jamie Marcus Witherspoon was fatally stabbed yesterday morning at the state prison in the Bibb County town of Brent. A second man was injured and is being treated in the prison infirmary.

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