Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

Roger Clay (

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a snake found only in longleaf pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama should be listed as threatened.

It's asking for public comment about its proposal to list black pinesnakes as threatened.

Black pinesnakes are burrowing constrictors colored dark brown to black. Their small heads have pointed snouts. Adults range from 4 feet to nearly 6 feet long.

An Alabama broadcasting pioneer is dead.

A family statement released Monday says television entertainer Benny Carle died at his home in Florence after a brief illness. He was 89.

The Birmingham native died on Thursday.

Carle was best known as the host of local television shows in Birmingham, Decatur and Huntsville from the late 1940s until the late '70s.

Carle's career began on radio in the late 1940s after his service in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

The southern tip of Cullman County has slipped into a drought despite recent rain.

The Cullman Times reports dry conditions have been a concern for farmers growing winter livestock grasses.

Scattered thunderstorms Friday brought some relief, but not enough to make up for the past month of dry weather.

A judge has upheld an Alabama law banning non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services.

Two people filed a lawsuit last year challenging the constitutionality of the Alabama Dental Practice Act, which requires that people be licensed dentists if they cosmetically whiten teeth. reports the Virginia-based Institute for Justice sought to overturn the law, saying it only protected dentists from competition and kept prices high.


A ridesharing service is pressuring Tuscaloosa's city government to let it enter the market without local licensing.

Uber sent a message to its Tuscaloosa users last week seeking their support in a dispute with city officials. The city's college students are a lucrative market for the firm's business model.

Tuscaloosa authorities say Uber drivers must get vehicle inspections and purchase business licenses like other vehicle services.

Uber accuses city officials of stifling innovation.

The race for state auditor pits Republican Jim Zeigler against Democrat Miranda Joseph.

Joseph says her accounting degree and her work as an internal auditor for a Birmingham bank make her the most qualified candidate. Zeigler says his background as a lawyer makes him uniquely qualified because there are legal implications to most things in state government.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been awarded a seven-year grant worth $49 million to increase the number of low-income students prepared to enter college and succeed.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Attorneys for a condemned inmate say Alabama's new lethal injection drug combination needs review because it relies on a drug used in two recently botched executions.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur on Friday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to deny the state's request for an execution date.

Suhana S. Han tells that inmates executed in Ohio and Arizona took from 25 minutes to two hours to die, and that suggests the first drug given, the anesthetic midazolam, is unreliable.

Han says the new combination needs court scrutiny before it is used in Alabama. / Office of the Governor

Gov. Robert Bentley has surpassed the $6 million fundraising mark in his quest to win a second term in office.

Bentley has raised $6.1 million over the last two years, according to fundraising reports filed Thursday.

Republican Bentley maintains a lopsided fundraising advantage over Democrat Parker Griffith a month ahead of the November election.

Griffith has raised $347,000 in cash donations since announcing his bid for governor.

The former congressman has also loaned his campaign $391,000.


Union officials from Germany and with the United Auto Workers have scheduled a press conference Friday to discuss their efforts to gain labor representation for workers at the Mercedes factory in Alabama.

The event coincides with a visit from Michael Brecht, the top labor representative on the supervisory board of Mercedes parent Daimler AG, and Joerg Hofmann, the vice president of IG Metall, the union representing most auto workers in Germany.

Alabama Senate Democrats

The Alabama Ethics Commission has approved of a state senator contracting with the city of Montgomery to help with youth activities planned for the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange had asked the commission for advice concerning contracting with Democratic Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery. The commission approved it Wednesday. But the commission said Ross should not use state resources under his control to assist him in performing the contract.

Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley is leading a candlelight vigil at the state Capitol to bring attention to victims of domestic violence.

A spokeswoman for the governor's office says Gov. Robert Bentley will also attend the vigil Wednesday night. He will present a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence says more than 20,000 domestic violence cases were reported in 2013.

The vigil starts at 7:30 p.m. This is the second year the first lady has served as host.

The state Conservation Department is asking hunters not to kill white-tailed deer that have been equipped with orange radio neck collars in four locations across the state.

Police say three people have been killed in a shooting at a UPS facility in Birmingham, Alabama.

Birmingham police Lt. Sean Edwards tells The Associated Press that the gunman was killed along with two other people in the Tuesday morning gunfire.

Edwards says the gunman was an employee of the company.

Atlanta-based UPS said in a brief statement that the shooting happened around 9:40 a.m. CDT. The company added that it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Few other details were immediately available.


The National Governors Association says Alabama, Nevada and Washington will participate in a year-long project to examine ways to spur changes in how states pay for Medicaid and other health care services.

The NGA says the project should help the states reach agreements with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for changes in the delivery and payment of health care and in the improvement of health outcomes.

The state Tourism Department is launching the Alabama Garden Trail.

Tourism Director Lee Sentell says his agency will promote public gardens in several Alabama cities through a brochure and website. The Alabama Garden Trial will include Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Jasmine Hill Gardens in Wetumpka, Mobile Botanical Gardens and Aldridge Garden in Hoover.


Tuscaloosa police are using undercover operations to nab drivers with the Uber ride-sharing service.

Police said Wednesday a two-night sting last week resulted in a 50-year-old Mississippi woman getting tickets for charges that include operating a cab without a business license. She allegedly picked up two undercover officers within an hour.

Police say six other drivers received warning citations for hiring out their vehicles without the proper licenses and inspections.

Another Uber driver and a passenger were arrested for marijuana possession and other charges.

Officials at Auburn University say they've eliminated plastic foam food and drink containers on campus to promote environmental sustainability.

Auburn University's Senior Executive Chef Emil Topel tells private vendors on campus will now use paper materials to hold food and beverages.

Director of Campus Sustainability Michael Kensler says moving to paper products over plastic foam will cost the university $5,000 more per year. Kensler says the cost won't impact the cost of student meal plans.


State health officials say several cases of a mysterious respiratory illness impacting children in 10 states have been confirmed in Alabama.

Officials from the Alabama Department of Public Health said Monday that four out of six specimens from Mobile County that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested positive for enterovirus D68. Officials say a fifth specimen tested positive for another illness and the sixth child tested negative.

Officials have said the virus can cause mild cold-like symptoms including runny noses, coughing and wheezing.

Associated Press

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley and Democratic challenger Parker Griffith won't be speaking to the same audience at the same time, but they will be speaking on consecutive days.

Bentley is scheduled to address a convention of active and retired public employees Tuesday in Montgomery, and then Griffith talks to the group on Wednesday. Several other candidates for state offices are also on the agenda Wednesday.

The group, known as ARSEA/APEAL, is a combination of the Alabama Retired State Employees' Association and the Alabama Public Employees' Advocacy League.

Democrat Parker Griffith says he will give up his salary if elected governor and redirect the money to public education.

Griffith said Monday that he'd also sell the state plane and helicopter used by Republican incumbent Robert Bentley. Griffith says Bentley has made 480 flights since becoming governor and he's wasting taxpayer dollars.

Wikimedia Commons

An organization headed by former Gov. Bob Riley has awarded nearly 1,500 scholarships for students to attend private schools rather than failing public schools.

The Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund released enrollment figures Monday, as well as an audit report saying none of its board members, including Riley, received any money.

A church in Birmingham is marking the anniversary of a deadly Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.

The 16th Street Baptist Church planned to hold a service Monday to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the blast.

Bells will toll at 10:22 a.m., the approximate time the bomb went off on a Sunday morning at the church.

The blast killed four girls. It became an important symbol of the depth of racial hatred in the South during the civil rights era.

Four Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted in the bombing, and one remains in prison.

Alabama's first lady Dianne Bentley is scheduled to attend a domestic violence training session for Shelby County law enforcement officials.

Gov. Robert Bentley's office says the session Monday morning is part of Dianne Bentley's initiative to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The training session is being provided by SafeHouse, which offers emergency and transitional housing for those who are homeless because of abuse. The organization also provides domestic violence response and prevention programs.

A newly-created special commission is expected to help small business startups throughout the state and assist existing businesses in their expansion efforts.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to announce the creation of the Alabama Small Business Commission Monday morning at the state Capitol building along with House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and National Federation of Independent Business State Director Rosemary Elebash.

A report that tracks soil moisture across the country shows that drought conditions in Alabama have improved slightly over the past week.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday found that 63.74 percent of Alabama is still dealing with abnormally dry conditions. reports that the percentage is down from 65.01 percent last week.

Alabama Policy Institute

A former Bush administration staffer is taking over as president of a conservative think tank in Birmingham.

Caleb Crosby has been named to lead the Alabama Policy Institute. He's been with the group for more than three years as vice president and chief financial officer.

Crosby worked with President George W. Bush's administration in the Environmental Protection Agency and as a financial adviser. He also worked at the Treasury Department.

Three space station astronauts are back on Earth.

An American and two Russians landed early Thursday in Kazakhstan after 5½ months aboard the International Space Station. They returned in a Russian Soyuz capsule that parachuted down through a clear sky. NASA said everything appeared to go well.

NASA astronaut Steven Swanson and Russian crewmen Oleg Artemiev and Alexander Skvortsov flew to the orbiting outpost last March. Their departure leaves three men still up there: an American, Russian and German.

Attorneys for VictoryLand are scheduled to begin presenting their side in a trial in Montgomery that could determine the future of the closed casino in Macon County.

Circuit Judge William Shashy heard two days of testimony from investigators with the state attorney general's office about how they raided the casino in 2013. They talked about how they seized 1,600 machines that Attorney General Luther Strange says are illegal. He wants the judge to order the machines destroyed.

A Lee County Circuit Court judge has moved the trial for an Alabama lawmaker facing perjury charges to October.

The Opelika-Auburn News reported Wednesday that Judge Jacob A. Walker rescheduled Republican Rep. Barry Moore's trial for the week of Oct. 27. The case was initially scheduled to begin next week. The judge moved the trial based on a request from Moore's defense attorney.