Associated Press

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 NASA has named an interim director to lead the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

NASA officials say that Todd May has been named to the post after the retirement of former director Patrick Scheuermann.

May has served as the space center's deputy director since August and had managed the Space Launch System Program since 2011. Officials say May started his career with NASA in 1991 at the Materials and Processes lab at Marshall.


The future looks bright for the tourism industry in Mobile.

City leaders are touting the return of Carnival Cruise Lines to the city next year, the new GulfQuest Maritime Museum just opened near the downtown cruise terminal, and the region's is economy looks good. Despite its rich history, antebellum architecture and emerging art and music scene, locals say Mobile has long been overlooked by tourists heading west to New Orleans or east to the Florida Panhandle.


A federal judge says the state of Alabama may not use a large dose of a sedative to execute five death row inmates.

U.S. District Judge William Keith Watkins issued an order Thursday denying the state's requests to dismiss lawsuits from five inmates who have challenged Alabama three-drug lethal injection procedure. The inmates were asked to present alternative means of execution and among other things suggested single doses of midazolam in amended complaints.


 Alabama is updating its science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change.

Educators say the new rules don't require that students in the Bible Belt state believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

However, students will be required to understand the theory of evolution starting next year. Teachers will address climate change, which wasn't a focus in the state's previous, decade-old standards.

The state school board approved the new standards unanimously late last week.


Dr. Don Williamson is stepping down next month to take a job as president of the Alabama Hospital Association.

For more than two decades, Williamson has served as Alabama's state health officer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Williamson said he's proud of the work the state has done to establish a statewide trauma system and to provide health insurance to children. The state's ALL Kids program provides subsidized insurance to more than 80,000 children and has won Alabama praise for reducing rates of un-insurance for children.


  Talladega's mayor says a recent assault outside a barbershop where he works part time won't derail the final push of his re-election campaign.

Talladega Mayor Larry Barton was attacked August eighth in Vestavia Hills, roughly 55 miles east of his city, where municipal elections are set for August twenty-fifth.

Police have said 71-year-old Benny Green has been charged with assault in the attack. Police have not released details on his motive.

The Alabama Legislature is honoring two Huntsville police officers for extraordinary courage in the line of duty.

 Lawmakers bestowed the annual Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement to officers Jason Moore and Reynard Robinson on Thursday.

   A domestic-violence suspect opened fire on the two officers with a shotgun and rifle last year. Moore was shot in the face, neck, and shoulder and still has dozens of birdshot pellets in his face and body. He stayed on the scene despite his injuries.


The last known surviving member of the German engineering team that came to the United States and designed the rocket that took astronauts to the moon has died.

   Oscar Carl Holderer died Tuesday at age 95 in Huntsville. His son Michael Holderer says his father suffered a stroke last week and didn't recover.

   The German-born Holderer came to the United States in 1945 with a group of rocket engineers led by Wernher von Braun.

Credit Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press


   Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he's concerned that the recognition of same-sex marriages will lead to the recognition of marriages with multiple partners or marriages within a family.

      Moore spoke out  after sending a letter to the governor saying a ruling by a federal judge in favor of a same-sex couple in Mobile is not binding on Alabama's probate judges. He says he's encouraged by the Alabama Probate Judges Association advising probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Hubbard are now asking prosecutors to disclose any conversations they had with legislators or members of the executive branch about the case.

Defense lawyers filed a discovery motion today asking a judge to force prosecutors to disclose any calls with legislators or executive branch members. They also asked for any copies of conversations that might have been recorded.

Hubbard's lawyers had already asked prosecutors to disclose any media calls.


Deadlines for two types of U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans are coming up in several Alabama counties.

      Officials say small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private non-profit organizations in several south Alabama counties have until February 6th to submit disaster loan applications for severe weather between April 28th and May 6th. The counties are:

Baldwin, Covington, Escambia, Geneva and Houston.

Governor Robert Bentley is telling Attorney General Luther Strange that the state has limited resources to fight gambling.   The governor, in a January 13th letter to Strange, says the primary duty rests with local law enforcement.

The governor says he was responding to a memo that Strange sent district attorneys and local law enforcement officials suggesting that state police would be a "valuable resource" to them in trying to shut down gambling operations.  Strange said he expected them to enforce gambling laws.

Washington Post

Alabama prisons are changing the way razors are distributed.

The change comes from an agreement with lawyers for inmates suing the state over medical care.  Attorneys had accused the state of giving razor blades to inmates who were known to be suicidal or mentally ill, leading to repeated suicide attempts.

First came the movie; now the exhibition.

"Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March" is opening at the New-York Historical Society on Friday.   It follows the pivotal Civil Rights march through the photographs of Stephen Somerstein.

Somerstein was a 24-year-old picture editor at his college newspaper in New York. He went to Alabama in January 1965 to document the five-day, 54-mile march. Somerstein took over 400 photographs. Those in the exhibition include images of marchers being cheered by black people and jeered by whites.

The Alabama House has re-elected indicted Representative Mike Hubbard as speaker.   The newly-elected Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday in Montgomery for its organizational session.

House majority leader Micky Hammon nominated Hubbard for a second four-year term as speaker.   Hubbard was unopposed in his effort to maintain the leadership.  Hammon called Hubbard a man of integrity and honesty.

Polaris Industries is planning a manufacturing plant that will bring as many as 2,000 jobs to north Alabama.  Governor Robert Bentley and other leaders announced the factory during an event in Huntsville on Friday.

The 600,000-square-foot plant will construct off-road vehicles in Limestone County west of Huntsville. Production is slated for 2016.The project adds a new twist to Alabama's growing vehicle industry, which mainly involves automobiles.

 Prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is making unfounded accusations about investigation leaks in an attempt to distract the public from the criminal charges against him.    In a Monday court filing, prosecutors fired back at misconduct claims by defense lawyers. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart says no confidential information was disclosed when he had an off-the-record conversation about the case with a radio talk show host.

Birmingham News/ Joe Songer

The Alabama Supreme Court is reviving the state's attempt to keep about $94,000 in cash and hundreds of alleged gambling machines seized from a west Alabama gaming center.

The court on Friday overturned a judge's decision dismissing the state's attempt to confiscate $93,917 and 376 machines from Greenetrack Inc.

State agents seized the money and machines during a raid at Greenetrack on June 1, 2011, and operators went to court trying to get the items returned.

 Faculty members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have drafted a no-confidence resolution against the president following his decision to kill the school's football program.    A document released Thursday accuses UAB President Ray Watts of failing to share governance of the university with faculty members.    The resolution sites a series of moves including the recent decision to disband athletic programs at UAB.    The Faculty Senate is scheduled to vote on the document during a special meeting on Jan. 15.

 A federal appeals court has upheld Alabama's ballot access law that was challenged by third-party presidential candidates trying to get their names before voters in 2012.    The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the decision of a trial court dismissing the lawsuit.    Alabama requires third-party candidates to collect signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast in the last governor's election in order to be listed on the ballot with their party affiliation.

Troy University's new School of Science and Technology just received a one million dollar donation.

   Troy officials say the donation will fund an eminent scholar faculty position beginning in the spring. The money comes from Former U.S. Rep. Terry Everett.   Everett says he's been interested in science and technology since he served in the Air Force and he believes supporting science and technology is vital.

Judge to Decide on Siegelman Case This Week

Dec 15, 2014

 A judge says he will decide by the end of the week if former Governor Don Siegelman should be released from prison while appealing his 2006 bribery conviction.    U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land held a hearing Monday in Montgomery. Siegelman was transported to the hearing from a federal prison in Louisiana.    Land said he has to decide the likelihood of Siegelman winning before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month. Land questioned the prosecution and defense on whether the original U.S.

 Republican state Representative David Standridge of Hayden has been elected chairman of the Rural Caucus in the Alabama House of Representatives.    Standridge says the bipartisan group works to protect rural communities and make sure that necessary services are available, including roads, medical care and high-speed Internet.    Democratic Representative Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay is the group's vice chairman.

Governor Robert Bentley is challenging legislators to be leaders as they address the state's budget crisis next year.

  Bentley says he wants to make significant changes instead of putting a Band-Aid on the state's budget for another year.  The governor has said he will suggest solutions when he submits his proposed budget next year, but has not yet detailed what those will be.

 Legislators heard a grim General Fund presentation on the final day of legislative orientation.

 The Food and Drug Administration is giving the University of Alabama at Birmingham the green light to study the use of a marijuana derivative to treat seizures.    Parents of children with seizure disorders persuaded the Alabama Legislature last year to pass a bill authorizing UAB's Department of Neurology to do a study of the marijuana derivative cannabidiol as a seizure treatment.    A UAB spokesman said Tuesday that the FDA has approved the study, but has requested modifications. A university review board will discuss the changes next month.

Pelicans, once an unusual site in northwest Alabama, have started to show up in greater numbers.

Floyd Sherrod, president of the Shoals Audubon Society, recalls a time about 30 years ago when a single pelican was spotted in the area and residents flocked to see it.

   Now, he said, they've become increasingly common.

   The TimesDaily reports  that fishermen and bird watchers said several of the long-billed birds are frequently seen on the Tennessee River, particularly below Wilson Dam.

Federal authorities are looking for information on the death of a dolphin that died after being wounded by a hunting arrow.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said in a statement Monday that the attack on a dolphin in coastal Alabama is the second human-related dolphin death in the northern Gulf of Mexico in just over two weeks.

NOAA spokeswoman Kim Amendola says a necropsy shows the dolphin found in Alabama lived with an arrow in its side for at least five days before dying of an infection that was caused by the wound.

An Illinois auction house says it is selling the revolver that almost killed former Gov. George Wallace.

 The University of Alabama says it's reviewing the use of a popular song at athletic events after students turned it into an obscene chant during the Auburn game.    Athletics director Bill Battle issued a statement Wednesday saying school officials will discuss whether to continue playing "Dixieland Delight."    The song was first released by the band Alabama more than 30 years ago, and the university often plays it over the public address system at football games. Fans sing along and students add chants.    Some of the words are usually vulgar.

The Birmingham News File

The Alabama Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of a law that gives low-income families tax credits to pay for private school.

   A lawyer representing individuals challenging the Alabama Accountability Act said Wednesday that it does an end run on Alabama's prohibition of using education funds to support private religious schools.

   However, a lawyer representing families using the credits said it supports parents seeking education opportunities for their children, not private schools.