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 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..

Lawmakers want to keep the identities of the companies supplying drugs for lethal injections in Alabama a secret.

That's what a bill that just passed the state House yesterday in a 76 to 26 vote will guarantee. That bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama hasn't executed a death row inmate since 2013, partly because the state has had trouble obtaining lethal injection drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have historically shied away from associating their name with an execution drug.

The Alabama Senate approved a measure to establish charter schools in the state in a 22 to 12 vote last night. That bill will now head to the House of Representatives.

The proposal allows the establishment of up to 10 brand new charter schools in the state each year, and allows school districts to convert an unlimited number of existing schools to charter status.

Republicans say charter schools provide education choices to families and encourage innovation. Opponents say they will drain resources from existing public schools.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is asking U.S. District Judge Callie Granade to keep gay marriage in the state on hold.

Strange filed a motion yesterday asking Granade to delay any more gay marriage decisions until the U.S. Supreme Court rules later this year.

The City of Selma remembered the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” over the weekend. But today marks another milestone in the civil rights movement.

Saturday was the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965. Today marks 50 years since the second march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge called Turnaround Tuesday. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led that protest himself, but turned back before state troopers could attack like they did just two days prior.

Selma city councilman Benny Lee Tucker was a teenager in 1965. He says he had a specific job during King’s march…

Alabama will soon be playing host to a meeting of attorneys general from across the South.

The southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General will discuss data breaches, security issues and other topics at a meeting in Point Clear March 12 and 13.

Governor Robert Bentley recently awarded several grants to help fund programs providing assistance to survivors of domestic abuse in Alabama.

The Department of Economic and Community Affairs says Bentley awarded nearly $40,000 to the Marion County Commission. That grant supports a program that helps prosecute domestic violence cases in both Marion and Winston Counties.

A coalition of civil rights organizations filed a motion asking a federal judge to order Alabama's probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The request will also add plaintiffs to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.

Mohammed Fairouz
Samantha West

This weekend, tens of thousands of people will make their way Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

This means a lot a work for city workers to prepare for the crowds. James Benderson is the director of city planning and development for Selma. He says they have a lot of help.

“We have state police agencies, a lot of the local police municipalities within the area will be helping out. We have the national parks service helping out, so it’s a collaborative effort between a lot of different agencies making it work out for everybody.”

The latest twist in Alabama's same sex marriage controversy drew a quick response from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that probate judges have to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The state’s probate judges will be required to adhere to Alabama law defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, even though a federal district court declared that law unconstitutional in late January.

Richard Cohen is the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He says he’s disappointed in the court’s ruling.

Channel & Hicks
Alex AuBuchon

There’s been a new twist in Alabama’s same sex marriage controversy. No new marriage licenses for same-sex couples will be issued, at least for now.

The city of Selma is preparing to remember the fiftieth anniversary of the attack known as "Bloody Sunday".

Today also marks fifty years since the funeral of civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson. His death at the hands of an Alabama State Police Trooper is considered one of the reasons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Selma to help organize the voting rights marches.

Vera Jenkins Booker was the nurse that tended to Jackson when he was brought in to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma.

Governor Robert Bentley will deliver his state of the state address tomorrow.

The big issue is will likely be a half billion dollar tax hike. Bentley announced his plan on Friday and his annual speech will be his first big opportunity to sell it to what may be a skeptical Republican majority in the state house and senate.

Four hundred million dollars of the proposed tax hike would come from raising taxes on cigarettes and new car purchases. A pack of cigarettes would go up by eighty two cents. Buying a new car would be taxed by two to four percent.

One Birmingham teenager is dead and two others are injured after shots were fired Friday during a fight the teens had staged for social media.

The Birmingham Police Department says a group of girls had been arguing and decided to fight to settle their differences. They also decided to film the fight to post on Facebook later.

After the fight started, two teenage males started shooting, and three people were hit.

One 14-year-old girl, Kierra'onna Rice, later died at an area hospital, and two more were injured.

Police have taken the two suspects into custody.

Testimony is wrapping up in a lawsuit between former Alabama State University athletic director Stacy Danley and the university itself.

A ruling is expected to be issued sometime next month, after both sides file their final briefs.

Alabama vehicle owners having a hard time meeting  car tax deadlines due to Wednesday's winter storm will be getting some relief.

According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, deadlines for certain vehicle taxes will be pushed back a week in areas where county offices have been closed since Wednesday.

Deadlines for vehicle registration, renewal, transfer and vehicle property tax payments will be extended until next Friday, March 6. Those responsible for paying those taxes will be immune from interest or delinquent penalties next week.