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.

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.

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.

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