The Associated Press

Ford workers narrowly approved a new four-year contract, wrapping up five months of negotiations between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit automakers.

The UAW said late Friday that Ford's contract passed with a 51.4-percent vote. The agreement covers 53,000 U.S. hourly workers at 22 plants.

President Barack Obama's plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally suffered another setback Monday in a ruling from a New Orleans-based federal appeals court.

In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas-based federal judge's injunction blocking the administration's immigration initiative.

Republicans had criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.

A German auto parts maker has announced plans to build its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Commerce says Schmidt Maschinenbau GmbH is planning to build its plant in Auburn. Production of engine components is expected to begin in 2016. The plant will make parts for Mercedes-Benz and other German automakers. Governor Robert Bentley says the plant will create fifty jobs and the company is planning to invest roughly $17 million in the plant.

Anne Meara, the loopy, lovable comedian who launched a standup career with husband Jerry Stiller in the 1950s and found success as an actress in films, on TV and the stage, has died.

Jerry Stiller and son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday. No other details were provided.

The Stiller family released a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday describing Jerry Stiller as Meara's "husband and partner in life."

"The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long," the statement said.

A last minute interception by a player with football roots in Alabama sealed New England Patriots' 28-24 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The hero of that play was Malcolm Butler of West Alabama, who earned enough of a reputation in college as a strong safety in the Gulf South Conference to be signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent last May. The Patriots rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit. Brady threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winning 3-yard strike to Julian Edelman with 2:02 left.

A top leader of Yemen's al-Qaida branch has claimed responsibility for last week's attack on a Paris newspaper, when two masked gunmen killed 12 people, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers.

Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch is known, appeared in an 11-minute Internet video posted Wednesday, saying that the massacre at Charlie Hebdo was in "vengeance for the prophet." The paper had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which is considered an insult in Islam.

Tickets to the Alabama Crimson Tide's national semifinal matchup against the Ohio State Buckeye's may not be as high-priced as you think. At the least, the Sugar Bowl's secondary market is friendlier than for Alabama's recent national championship games, suggesting that fans are either tapped out or saving their money for a possible title game appearance on Jan. 12. According to, several online brokers have Sugar Bowl tickets available about a quarter to a third below market rates.

BCBS to cover legally married gay couples

Dec 14, 2014

Alabama's largest insurer now offers family coverage to legally married gay couples in order to comply with a federal rule that insurance companies must treat married couples the same, regardless of sexual orientation. A spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama said the company began offering same-sex spousal coverage for underwritten plans in early 2014 in response to federal regulations.

Meet Alabama's Writing "Hall of Fame" inductees

Dec 14, 2014

The inaugural class for the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame has been selected. The Tuscaloosa News reports 12 writers have been selected and will be inducted in June 2015. The hall of fame is a partnership between the Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writer's Forum. The 12 writers selected are: Rick Bragg, Andrew Glaze, Harper Lee, Sonia Sanchez, Sena Jeter Naslund and posthumous inductees Johnson Jones Hooper, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, Helen Keller, Zora Neal Hurston, William March, Albert Murray and Helen Norris Bell.

Alabama may balance budget by cutting tax breaks

Dec 13, 2014

In 2015, Gov. Robert Bentley will propose Alabama's first major revenue-raising package since voters defeated Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax package in 2003. Since that defeat, Alabama's General Fund budget has been patched together with borrowed money, federal stimulus funds and other non-recurring revenue. Bentley says he's working a bold, long-term solution that he will have ready for the new Legislature when it convenes in March.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston is not a finalist for this year's award. When the Heisman trust announced Monday the finalists, the Florida State quarterback's name was not called. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper are the candidates heading to New York. So Winston will not join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only players to win the Heisman Trophy twice. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and Winston were not made available for comment after the announcement.

Alabama wins SEC Championship

Dec 7, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — Blake Sims threw a pair of touchdown passes, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry each had a couple of touchdown runs, and top-ranked Alabama pulled away in the fourth quarter to win its 24th Southeastern Conference championship with a 42-13 victory over No. 14 Missouri on Saturday. Missouri made it a one-score game in the third quarter, but Alabama (12-1) scored three touchdowns in the fourth to lock up its spot in college football's first playoff.

Sunday Weather--Nice and Mild

Nov 30, 2014












Tide wins Iron stop, Atlanta!

Nov 30, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Amari Cooper tied his own school record with 224 yards receiving and caught three touchdown passes in No. 2 Alabama's 55-44 comeback victory over No. 15 Auburn on Saturday night in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl. Quarterback Blake Sims and the Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) turned to the Heisman Trophy candidate for touchdowns of 39 and 75 yards in the third quarter. Alabama had already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game against No.

Black Friday upstaged by Thursday?

Nov 29, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The chaos of Black Friday appears to have come on Thursday. From Huntsville to Mobile, bargain hunters lined up hours ahead of Thanksgiving night openings in search of deep discounts on flat-screen televisions, computers and toys. Some shoppers said they even began camping out Wednesday night to make sure they were among the first in the stores. That left thinner crowds Friday morning and a quieter shopping experience on what has traditionally been the busiest shopping day of the year.

Mike Saechang / Flickr

Twenty-one states are asking a federal appeals court to overturn provisions of Maryland's gun-control law that ban 45 assault weapons and limit gun magazines to 10 rounds.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led the coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, last week.

The brief says the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep firearms in homes for self-protection.

Governor Bentley possibly hinting at tax hikes?

Nov 23, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley said he wants to be upfront with voters. The state is facing a budget crisis and fixing it the right way will require changes that some people probably won't like. "It's going to require more revenue. Is everyone going to be happy? No, they're not" Bentley said. The governor said taxes are a last resort, but he believed the state would reexamine current tax deductions. That includes a tax break that only Alabama and a few other states give.

Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.3 percent, but it remains above the national average.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama's rate declined from 6.6 percent in September to 6.3 percent in October. That's the same rate Alabama recorded a year ago. The October rate is higher than the national figure of 5.8 percent.

Bentley says Alabama is seeing healthy growth in jobs and is seeing a decline in the amount of unemployment benefits being paid.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley wants Alabama colleges to identify students or instructors returning from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa.

Bentley wrote in a letter to college officials that students and instructors from West Africa may return home for the holidays to visit family and friends.

The governor asked that schools provide the names of anyone planning travel to West Africa, their contact information and return dates. The Decatur Daily reports state public health officials should be notified when travelers return to Alabama.

A federal appeals board has upheld the firing of the former director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.

The Veterans Administration terminated James Talton in late October for neglect of duty. He appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. The board has issued a 32-page decision upholding the termination.

USGS National Earthquake Information Center

A small earthquake rattled west Alabama in the pre-dawn hours.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 3.8 quake occurred about 10 miles northwest of Eutaw around 4:25 a.m. Thursday.

The quake was about 3 miles beneath the surface of the Earth.

While the earthquake was strong enough to be felt, officials say no damage is being reported in the rural area.

Official U.S. Navy Imagery / Flickr

Federal labor officials have issued 12 citations to a coastal Alabama shipbuilding company and are proposing that it pay a $41,500 fine.

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said Wednesday that among the nine serious violations the Austal USA ship building company has been cited for is failing to install railings on all staircases, allowing workers to be overexposed to copper fumes during welding and failing to ensure that employees follow safety procedures.

council of state governments

A lead prosecutor says ethics charges were brought against House Speaker Mike Hubbard because a grand jury found evidence of crimes and not for political reasons.

Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis issued a statement Tuesday responding to accusations by Hubbard that the case is political.

Davis says he has no political allegiances to anyone, including Attorney General Luther Strange, who appointed him.

A judge has delayed House Speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on ethics charges until 2015.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker pushed back a Dec. 8 trial date at the request of the defense. Walker will meet with prosecutors and defense lawyers on Jan. 7 to discuss a timeline for the case.

A grand jury last month indicted Hubbard on felony ethics charges. The indictment accuses Hubbard of using his public positions to obtain work for his companies and to solicit investments from lobbyists.

National Weather Service

Temperatures plummeted across Alabama after storms left flooding and scattered damage across the state. reports that crews from the National Weather Service were being sent to Pike, Bullock and Russell counties to determine whether tornadoes snapped trees and caused other damage in those areas.

Weather service reports show temperatures fell as much as 15 degrees from midnight until morning rush hour Monday. And forecasters say overnight lows could drop to the mid-20s as far south as the coast.

State officials say they've gained approval for nearly $10 million in projects aimed at restoring Alabama's coastline after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Gov. Robert Bentley on Monday said $9.6 million for four Alabama projects has been approved by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He said projects address conservation needs to restore some of Alabama's natural resources affected by the disaster.

Alabama Businessman Settles Securities Fraud Case

Nov 16, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The former chief executive of a company that planned to build railroad cars in north Alabama will pay $21 million to the Retirement Systems of Alabama as part of a deal settling 11 counts of securities fraud. TheTimesDaily reports that Greg Aziz also will reimburse about $1 million to state and local agencies for investigative costs. The charges against him will be dropped. Aziz was accused of organizing a scheme to defraud the pension system of $350 million by supplying false information during a funding deal.

Crimson Tide defeats #1 Mississippi State

Nov 15, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Blake Sims, T.J. Yeldon and No. 4 Alabama's relentless defense delivered on a big stage, and the Crimson Tide held off No. 1 Mississippi State 25-20 on Saturday. The Tide (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 5 CFP) reasserted itself as a national title contender with a dominant first half and some clutch play in the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs (9-1, 5-1, No. 1 CFP) kept fighting to keep their first-ever reign going for a sixth week. They couldn't conquer Alabama at raucous Bryant-Denny Stadium, though.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Thousands of people are pouring into Tuscaloosa for the football game between top-ranked Mississippi State and Alabama, and transportation officials are urging caution. Traffic will be heavy Saturday on U.S. 82 between Tuscaloosa and Mississippi, and it's always busy on Interstate 20/59 on game days in Tuscaloosa. The Alabama Department of Transportation says motorists should be careful in a work zone on the interstate, and they're planning additional police patrols. The game begins at 2:30 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.


Election officials on Wednesday will count provisional ballots in a closely watched state senate race.

Longtime Sen. Roger Bedford of Russellville trails Republican Larry Stutts by just 60 votes, according to unofficial returns.

Voters can cast provisional ballots if they do not have the required photo identification or if they do not appear on a polling place's list of voters. The votes only count if election officials determine the person was rightfully eligible to vote.

Bedford's supporters say they will hold out hope until the last vote is counted.