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.

April 20 marks the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in history.

The catastrophic event left 11 workers dead and ultimately spilled over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Margaret Brown’s latest documentary The Great Invisible chronicles both the spill and its aftermath, following both oil executives and the affected residents of the Gulf Coast.

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a company accused of retaliating against whistleblowing workers in Selma.

Workers in a Selma automotive parts plant have complained about conditions in the plant and were involved in a federal investigation.

An order filed by the U.S. Department of Labor Wednesday in U.S. District Court Wednesday blocks the Lear Corporation and Renosol Seating from terminating, suspending, suing, threatening or retaliating against current or former employees.

A Senate committee has approved a bill that would repeal Common Core standards in Alabama public schools.

The State Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs voted 5-3 yesterday morning in favor of repealing current standards applying to math and English curriculums.

Those standards are built into the state's Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

Supporters of the bill say repealing Common Core gives more control to state and local educators.

Opponents say it would put Alabama behind other states and disrupt learning.

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.

Baldwin County school officials plan to meet today to talk about the failure of a tax plan at the ballot box. That meeting will focus on what to do now.

The referendum was voted down March 31. It would have given the county an 8 mill property tax increase. Voters in Baldwin County also voted to end existing funding that gives Baldwin County 12 mills a year. Now, Baldwin County only has 8 mills total in education tax revenue, and needs to get to the state-mandated 10 mills.

Democrats in Alabama’s House of Representatives say it’s time for the state to consider legalized gambling as an additional source of revenue.

House Democrats revealed their legislative agenda yesterday. It includes creating a state lottery and urging Gov. Bentley to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The tribe would be allowed to operate table games without interference in exchange for giving the state a share of the revenue.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford said Alabama’s voters deserve the chance to vote on a state lottery.

National Weather Service forecasters say thunderstorms this evening and tomorrow morning could bring large hail and heavy winds to parts of Alabama, and may spawn small tornadoes.

The latest forecasts and models from the NWS show that the highest potential for severe weather in the state will be in the northwest corner of Alabama, in and around the Florence area.

Forecasters say these storms hold the potential for what they describe as "brief, spin-up" tornadoes.

Committee members throughout the Alabama Legislature have a busy day ahead of them.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing this morning on a bill aiming to repeal the Common Core curriculum standards.

The House Ways and Means Education Committee will also consider changes to the Alabama Accountability Act, a state program that provides scholarships to help some families pay for private school.

Lawmakers in Alabama may ban the majority of abortions in the state if a bill currently in the House of Representatives is approved.

Rep. Terri Collins (R) of Decatur has proposed legislation to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Collins says that if the end of life is defined by the absence of a heartbeat, it makes sense to her to define the beginning of life with the start of a heartbeat.

Two Alabama economic development bills aimed at bringing new jobs to the state are another step closer to becoming law.

Alabama lawmakers passed legislation yesterday to revamp how the state offers economic incentives to companies.

The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for tax abatements and other benefits offered to companies creating jobs or capital investment in the state. Alabama's present model offers those incentives upfront.

That bill is now headed to Governor Bentley's desk to be signed into law.

The voting is over regarding charter schools in Alabama. Now, the big question is how to implement these non-traditional schools and what happens next.

Governor Robert Bentley put Alabama in line with 42 other states by signing SB45 into law last month, allowing charter schools to operate. Perhaps the most asked question about these non-traditional schools is what exactly the difference is between them and a regular public school.

The Alabama Senate will start debating some sweeping changes to the state's prison system today.

Republican Senator Cam Ward is bringing the bill to the Senate floor, which would change sentencing and probation standards to try and reduce prison overcrowding.

The proposed legislation is based on a year of study by the state prison reform task force. One of the main changes is the creation of a new Class D felony level, which will keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison entirely.

Yesterday was a busy day in the Alabama Senate. Two bills passed the Senate floor and are on their way to be heard in the House of Representatives.

The first is a bill that looks to change how Alabama recruits businesses and industry. The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for incentives like tax breaks that the state uses to recruit companies.

Under the old model, the state would provide millions of dollars of funding up-front. This bill will allow Alabama to peg those incentives to the companies' performance.

Henry Mabry has officially stepped down as the head of the Alabama Education Association.

His resignation comes after the AEA board voted back in February to terminate Mabry after an audit raised concerns about his financial management of the organization.

Mabry replaced longtime AEA head Paul Hubbert in 2011. It was Hubbert who built the education organization into a massive political powerhouse. Hubbert expressed some grave concerns about the AEA's fiscal health before he passed away last year.

The Jefferson County School Board recently announced sweeping cuts for the school system, which will include substantial layoffs.

The Board plans to cut $12.6 million from the system budget and to eliminate 162 positions. Other staff members will see their contracts shortened.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey says the system's budget had been running at a deficit of around $10 million a year. By that rate, he says, the county could have been in danger of not making payroll within 3 or 4 years.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal met recently to discuss a long-running dispute over water.

The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case out of Florida that seeks to limit Georgia's water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River. Alabama officials are also concerned about Georgia's water use. Residents and officials in both Alabama and Florida argue that Georgia withdraws too much of the river upstream, which impacts wildlife and industry downstream.

The Jefferson County School Board recently announced sweeping cuts for the school system, which will include substantial layoffs.

The Board plans to cut $12.6 million from the system budget and to eliminate 162 positions. Other staff members will see their contracts shortened.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey says the system's budget had been running at a deficit of around $10 million a year. By that rate, he says, the county could have been in danger of not making payroll within 3 or 4 years.

Federal grant money will be awarded to help former employees of Decatur's International Paper find new jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor will be awarding nearly $825,000 in National Emergency Grant funding to help in the job search. A news release from the agency said the money would be used to "boost assistance at Alabama Career Center offices in Sheffield and Decatur to help the former mill employees secure new jobs".

International Paper employed 1,100 workers in the Decatur area. The plant closed earlier this year.

President Obama brought his Middle Class Economics plan to Lawson State Community College in Birmingham.

The Commander-in-Chief covered everything from Washington policy to a fairly new government agency called the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau. The CFPB was created as part of Wall Street reform after the 2008 financial crisis. It's an independent consumer watchdog, and President Obama says they've already made a big impact.

President Obama visited Alabama to talk about economics. The Commander-in-Chief arrived in Birmingham aboard Air Force One for a speech at Lawson State Community College. The President told the crowd what’s good for the middle class is good for America. The White House is criticizing a budget plan submitted by House Republicans which includes tax breaks for the wealthy.

President Barack Obama will be in Birmingham this afternoon to talk about the economy.

The President will be speaking at Lawson State Community College on consumer protection issues and the contrast between his vision for the American middle class and Republican efforts to undermine that vision.

According to a White House press release, Congressional Republicans are continuing to roll back progress toward a safer financial system and stronger economy, encouraging the types of abuses that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

A state lawmaker wants to make sure that faith-based adoption agencies have the right to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa introduced the bill last week specifying groups that could refuse to participate in adoptions and foster care placements that violate their religious beliefs.

The bill would also prohibit the state of Alabama from refusing to license, or renew a contract with, the groups for refusing services to people on religious grounds.

State prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is once again manufacturing investigation leaks to distract the public from his criminal wrongdoing.

Yesterday, prosecutors asked a judge to reject Hubbard's motion to dismiss their indictment. Hubbard claimed there were violations of the grand jury secrecy act and other problems with the investigation against him.

State prosecutors said Hubbard's claims are baseless, and a “bogus narrative”.

Joyce Hardin Garrard
Eric T. Wright, AP

A jury will debate whether to recommend the death penalty today after convicting the woman accused of running her granddaughter to death of capital murder.

The panel will hear additional evidence for sentencing today as they decide between execution or life in prison without parole for 49 year old grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard. The judge has the final say.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. They argue Garrard brutally forced the girl to run for hours as punishment until she collapsed into seizures.

A bill to establish charter schools in Alabama was signed into law yesterday by Governor Bentley.

The Alabama Legislature gave its final approval to the bill on Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans call the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families.

Opponents argue the new schools will drain education resources and criticize the potential involvement of for-profit companies in certain school operations.

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to establish charter schools in the state.

The House of Representatives voted 58 to 41 to pass the bill after making a few changes. State senators voted 24 to 11 to adopt those changes. The bill now heads to Governor Bentley, who is expected to sign the measure into law after a legal review.

State Democrats have been especially critical of the bill. Nick Rose is the President of the Tuscaloosa Democratic Party. He outlined the party’s three main complaints with the charter school measure.

Lawmakers could give final approval very soon to legislation establishing charter schools in the state of Alabama.

The Alabama House of Representatives will debate a bill that would allow charter schools in the state this afternoon. That bill is expected to spark a filibuster from Democrats and other opposed lawmakers.

Charter schools are public schools that have freedom from the curriculum and regulation requirements placed on other public schools. Alabama is one of eight states without charter school legislation currently in place.

A state Senate committee is expected to vote on a reform bill today aimed at reducing overcrowding issues in Alabama prisons.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 10 AM today. The bill, among other changes, would create a new felony category, Class D, for low-level theft and drug convictions.

People convicted of class D felonies would be sent to community corrections programs instead of prison.

The bill would also mandate a period of supervision after release from prison.

Experts on rare childhood diseases will be meeting in Birmingham today.

UAB and Children’s of Alabama are hosting a symposium on diseases that hit two hundred thousand or fewer patients a year. Those illnesses are considered rare. The symposium will be in commemoration of last month’s Rare Disease Day to raise awareness for rare diseases.

Dr. Bruce Korf is the chairman of the Department of Genetics at UAB. He says part of their mission is public outreach.

The Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill granting legal protections for judges, ministers and others who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Representatives approved that measure by a 69-25 vote yesterday. It will now head to the Senate.

Republican Representative Jim Hill proposed the bill after getting calls from ministers and judges concerned that they would be required to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples if and when gay marriage is restored in Alabama..

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