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 House
Jay Williams / Flickr

In the wake of the first Democratic U.S. Senate victory in Alabama in a quarter-century, state lawmakers are working to get rid of special elections for Senate.

House members voted 67 to 31 yesterday in favor of a bill that would change how Senate vacancies are filled in Alabama. Instead of a special election, the governor would appoint an interim senator who would serve until the next statewide general election – up to two years.

Alabama death row
EJI

The Supreme Court has paved the way for a death row inmate to be put to death on Thursday, despite his lawyers pleading he doesn’t currently remember his crime or even understand his looming execution.

Attorneys for Vernon Madison petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asking them to review his case and whether executing him would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Justices rejected that request this morning without issuing a written explanation.

Gov. Kay Ivey says U.S. Congress' inability to fund the federal government will not have an impact on delivering state services.

Ivey joined Alabama's Congressional Republicans to criticize Senate Democrats for the government shutdown, which took effect after the Senate rejected a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating last Friday.

Agencies shut down for the first time in more than four years after senators rejected a temporary spending patch. Bipartisan efforts to find an alternative fell short as a midnight deadline came and went.

Alabama's unemployment rate is holding steady at a record low level.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office says the state's jobless rate was 3.5 percent last month. That's the same as November, when the state matched its all-time low for unemployment.

Ivey's office says the December rate means nearly 2.1 million people were employed overall in the state. That's the most ever, surpassing the December number by about 45,000 residents.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is clashing with some state lawmakers over a proposal to significantly alter the position of lieutenant governor.

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial is proposing legislation that would strip the lieutenant governor of any legislative duties, so that they would no longer preside over the Alabama Senate. The sole function of the post would be to succeed the governor in the event of his or her death, removal or resignation.

Rather than the lieutenant governor, the Senate would elect a sitting senator as presiding officer.

Harley Barber
via Instagram

A University of Alabama student who repeatedly used a racial slur in videos on social media received immediate condemnation from her sorority and her school.

UA President Stuart Bell called the videos “highly offensive and deeply hurtful” and says the student, Harley Barber, is no longer enrolled at the university.

The videos, in which Barber repeatedly uses a racial slur for African-Americans, were first posted on a private Instagram account. However, recordings of the videos were widely shared on social media and eventually caught the attention of school administrators.

The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that would take the state out of the marriage business. 

The measure Senators approved yesterday would do away with marriage licenses issued by county officials as well as the state requirement for married couples to have a wedding ceremony. Couples would instead sign and submit a form.

The bill comes as a few probate judges in Alabama still refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone so that they don’t have to issue them to same-sex couples.

Alabama Celebrates MLK, Robert E. Lee Days

Jan 15, 2018

Alabama celebrates two very different holidays today. It’s both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee Day.

Alabama continues to celebrate Robert E. Lee Day despite continuing controversy over Confederate monuments and holidays. Mississippi is the only other state that still celebrates Robert E. Lee Day as a full state holiday.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s state law requiring people to show government issued photo ID at the polls.

The lawsuit was one of the latest battles between voting rights advocates who say these measures are aimed at suppressing voter turnout and conservative states that argue they’re needed to prevent voter fraud.

Stran-Hardin Arena
Alex AuBuchon / APR

The University of Alabama is set to open an athletic arena that is unparalleled in the United States.

Yesterday, university officials celebrated the completion of Stran-Hardin Arena, a brand-new $10 million facility for UA's Adapted Athletics program. The new arena features an NCAA-regulation venue for wheelchair basketball along with brand new strength training equipment adapted for athletes in wheelchairs, men's and women's locker rooms, conference and study rooms and much more.

Troy is about to see a big economic boost with more than 350 new jobs coming to the city after a leading firearms maker announced it will soon build a facility there.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office confirmed yesterday that Kimber Manufacturing, based in Yonkers, New York, will invest $38 million over the next five years. The facility should be up and running by early 2019. Ivey says Kimber's investment in Troy will create a significant number of high-paying design engineering and manufacturing jobs.

Etowah Co. Jail food
Reuters

Two advocacy groups have sued Alabama sheriffs seeking records about whether the sheriffs are profiting from the food they serve in their jails.

The Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice filed the lawsuit yesterday against 49 sheriffs they said did not comply with a public records request.

Hobson
Brynn Anderson / AP

The man who ran former Chief Justice Roy Moore’s failed bid for U.S. Senate in Alabama is now running for a U.S. congressional seat himself.

Rich Hobson announced yesterday that he is running as a Republican for the 2nd District congressional seat currently held by U.S. Representative Martha Roby. That district includes most of metropolitan Montgomery and the Wiregrass region in southeast Alabama. Roby won her last bid for re-election in 2016 with less than 50 percent of the vote, after withdrawing her support of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

H. Brandt Ayers
Getty

The chairman of an Alabama newspaper company has been accused of assaulting female employees by spanking them while he was a newsroom executive decades ago.

Multiple news outlets have reported that at least three women are accusing H. Brandt Ayers, the chairman of Consolidated Publishing Co., of hitting and assaulting them while Ayers was the publisher at the Anniston Star. Consolidated operates that newspaper along with five others.

The University of South Alabama will be purchasing two new medical robots, thanks to funds approved by the foundation board.

The USA foundation board approved $4.6 million to the university. Around $1.7 million of the total funds will be used toward two DaVinci surgical robotics systems. Health officials at the university say the systems would have a major impact on the school's medical center.

The medical center will receive one of DaVinci's new Xi models, and the USA Children's and Women's Hospital also will get a Xi to replace its older Si model.

State health officials say incidents of the flu are on the rise across Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says flu activity is picking up for the season, and urged people to get vaccinated if they haven't already.

Health officials say if you're going to get vaccinated, you should request the "quadrivalent vaccine" that protects against four different strains of flu. It is the only version that protects against the Type B / Yamagata flu strain which is currently circulating in Alabama.

Roy Moore has filed a lawsuit to try to stop Alabama officials from certifying Democrat Doug Jones as the winner of the U.S. Senate race.

The court filing occurred just ahead of today's meeting of a state canvassing board to officially declare Jones the winner of the Dec. 12 special election. Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes.

Moore's attorney wrote that he believes there were irregularities during the election and says there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.

Air force officials and business leaders hope a new innovation center could bring big changes to the city of Montgomery.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports Maxwell Air Force Base plans to build an innovation center outside the gates of the facility, where researchers at the prestigious Air University can collaborate with the nation’s top tech and business minds.

The state of Alabama has set a date for the execution of a terminally ill man.

Al.com reports the Alabama Supreme Court ordered yesterday that 60-year-old Doyle Lee Hamm is scheduled to be put to death on February 22. Hamm has spent 30 years on Alabama’s death row.

He was convicted in the murder of Patrick Cunningham, a hotel employee in Cullman, Alabama. Cunningham was killed during a robbery that apparently netted just over 400 dollars. Hamm confessed to the murder, and two other men agreed to testify against him in exchange for lesser charges.

Doug Jones won last night's special election for U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore by 1.5% of the vote in last night’s election. Moore’s camp, though, is looking for a possible recount.

Moore refused to concede the election last night, and told his supporters “When the vote is this close, it’s not over. We still have to go by the rules, by this recount provision.”

With ~92% of precincts reporting, multiple media outlets report Democrat Doug Jones has won Alabama's special election for U.S. Senate.

Statewide, UNOFFICIAL election results are as follows:

Doug Jones: 589,531 (49.6%)

Roy Moore: 581,225 (48.9%)

Write-ins (total): 18,727 (1.6%)

Pensacola rally snow
Alex AuBuchon / APR

President Donald Trump held a campaign-style rally in Pensacola as part of a weekend trip across the Gulf Coast – less than 20 miles from the Alabama state line and just four days before the hotly contested Senate election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. Some political experts believed the event would be a de facto campaign stop for Roy Moore. Others said Trump was there to thank the Pensacola area for their strong support during last year’s election. Turns out, it was a little of both.

U. Mobile Professor Develops Christmas Tree Light Calculator

Dec 11, 2017

A math expert at the University of Mobile is looking to take some of the guesswork out of decorating your Christmas tree.

Troy Henderson is a professor of mathematics at the university. He has developed and released a free online calculator that anyone can use to determine the optimal way to string lights on their Christmas tree. Henderson's calculator takes the dimensions of the tree and the length of lights available and uses calculus to determine the optimal spacing.

Lewis
Jefferson County Jail

Three Birmingham-area officials were arrested yesterday on felony state ethics charges.

In a news release last night, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Sherry Lewis, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Birmingham Water Works, was arrested along with Jerry Jones, a former vice president at Arcadis (the Water Works' preferred engineering firm) and Mt. Vernon Mayor Terry Williams, who also owns Global Solutions International Inc., an Arcadis subcontractor.

The state of Alabama has received a $1.5 million grant to help expand a program aimed at strengthening early childhood education across the state.

Governor Kay Ivey’s office says the grant comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and will help expand Alabama’s Pre-K through Third Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning. WSFA-TV reports that program is the first pillar of Ivey’s new education initiative, Strong Start, Strong Finish.

Birmingham police say a shooting over the weekend resulted in the 100th homicide of the year for Alabama's largest city.

Two men were reportedly shot inside an apartment in the Collegeville neighborhood late Sunday night. The Jefferson County Coroner's office identified one deceased victim as 26-year-old Jahbrell Leon Sturgeon. North Precinct Lt. Shelia Finney says a second man was shot in the head, but his injury is not thought to be life-threatening. Police are trying to determine what led to the shooting, and no suspects are in custody.

Hospitals in Alabama as well as Mississippi are suing more than a dozen drug manufacturers, claiming they deceptively marketed and sold dangerous opioids.

Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger reports the class-action lawsuit was filed late last week in federal court in Mississippi. The plaintiffs are Infirmary Health Hospitals, based in Mobile, Monroe County Healthcare Authority, based in Monroeville, and Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center based in McComb, Mississippi.

The road map is in place for the 2017 college football postseason. Here's the picture for Alabama's colleges and universities, as well as the bowl games that will be taking place across Alabama this year:

The commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Corrections took the stand yesterday in an ongoing trial regarding mental health care for state inmates.

Back in June, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the care available to Alabama state inmates was “horrendously inadequate” and constituted cruel and unusual punishment. This phase of proceedings is all about how the Department of Corrections plans to fix those issues.

The Birmingham Police Department is looking for a new leader after the current chief announced he’s resigning.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper announced yesterday that he will be resigning his post. Roper says he will stay for the next few months as Mayor Randall Woodfin begins a search for his replacement.

Woodfin heavily criticized the way Birmingham is policed on the campaign trail, leaving much speculation that Roper's job could be in jeopardy.

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