Associated Press

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Gov. Robert Bentley says people shouldn't be playing the blame game for the epic ice storm that caught Birmingham off guard, stranding motorists on interstates and students in schools. Bentley said Thursday schools and emergency officials made plans off forecasts that predicted the worst of the weather would hit about 100 miles south of Alabama's largest city. The state moved resources south to prepare for snow in Montgomery and ice in lower Alabama. The governor says there was little warning before the swift-moving storm slapped Jefferson and Shelby counties.

Associated Press

Thousands of Alabama school kids are getting another day off from class because of the winter storm.

School systems throughout central Alabama are taking Friday off because of lingering icy spots on roads. That includes all schools around Birmingham, the state's most populous area.

Much of the snow and ice melted Thursday as temperatures rose above freezing. But many county roads and side streets still have slick spots, and freezing temperatures overnight made them worse.

A Selma City Council member is proposing a temporary ban on new businesses that sell alcohol. Councilman Cecil Williamson says the west Alabama city doesn't need any more of what he calls "liquor establishments." So Williamson is proposing a six-month moratorium on city licenses for some new businesses. The Selma Times-Journal ( ) reports the ban could include liquor stores, bars and convenience stores. Williamson says he wants to research the number of such businesses that other, similarly sized cities have.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is opening a new medical program in Montgomery. The UAB Montgomery Regional Medical Campus opens Tuesday at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery. The center will train medical students in areas including family medicine, surgery and pediatrics. Six third-year medical students will be accepted starting in May, and more will arrive next year. The Montgomery campus joins existing regional campuses in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, plus the main UAB campus in Birmingham.

Associated Press

A winter storm could bring more than 2 inches of snow and sleet to parts of central Alabama early this week. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for much of central and southern Alabama starting Tuesday morning. Forecasters say areas likely to see the most accumulation are those south of Interstate 85 and U.S. 80. The Weather Service says more than 2 inches of snow and sleet are possible in cities including Montgomery, Auburn, Tuskegee and Selma. The heaviest snowfall is expected from noon Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The Associated Press

A potential propane gas shortage linked to recent severe winter weather has prompted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency.

Bentley said Thursday that declaring a state of emergency "will help Alabamians have an uninterrupted supply of propane gas and other home heating fuels during this period of winter weather."

The Associated Press

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Thursday, the sixth meeting day of the regular session: HOUSE: —Approved a bill to end the Alabama Health Insurance Program for high-risk people who have trouble getting health insurance because the new federal health care law provides coverage. Goes to Senate. —Approved a bill to create the Fair Ballot Commission, which would issue statements on what would happen if people vote for or against a proposed constitutional amendment. Goes to Senate.

The Alabama House has approved a bill to give adoptive parents a $1,000 tax credit to make it financially feasible for more people to adopt. The House approved the bill 72-23 Wednesday, and it now goes to the Senate for consideration. The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan, is an adoptive parent. He says the income tax credit would apply to a private intrastate adoption and the adoption of an Alabama foster child where both the birth mother and the adoptive parents are from Alabama.

The state representative who sponsored the Alabama Accountability Act has decided not to run again for the Legislature. Republican Rep. Chad Fincher of Semmes announced Wednesday that he will not seek a third term this year. Fincher told that he will focus on his new role as executive director of the Mobile Area Association of Realtors, which he began in November. Last year, Fincher sponsored the Alabama Accountability Act, which gave tax credits to parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, the fifth meeting day of the regular session:


—Approved a $1,000 tax credit for Alabamians who adopt a child from Alabama. Goes to Senate.

—Approved a bill clarifying that the state's sovereign immunity from lawsuits applies to teachers and state employees when they are carrying out their official duties. Goes to Senate.


—Approved the governor's appointees to some state boards.

Associated Press

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford says he's looking at running for higher office to make sure black voters turn out for the November general election. Ford said that he is considering running for the state Senate seat held by Democrat Billy Beasley of Clayton if Beasley runs for governor. If Beasley runs for re-election, Ford says he will consider running for secretary of state. Ford says he's afraid that many black voters will not participate in the general election if there are not black Democrats running for office.

The Associated Press

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Tuesday, the fourth meeting day of the regular session:


—Passed a bill to make it a crime for a state or local tax official to audit a group because of its political views. Goes to Senate.

—Passed a bill to allow health care workers to decline to participate in an abortion, sterilization, cloning or human stem cell research if they have moral, religious or ethical objections. Goes to Senate.


A Georgia-based company is adding 100 jobs on the Alabama coast. Rural Sourcing Inc. of Atlanta says it's opening a new software development center in Mobile. The operation will open on Feb. 1 in a temporary location in downtown Mobile while the company looks for a permanent home in the port city. Rural Sourcing Inc. aims to provide a cost-effective way for companies to develop software in the United States rather than sending the work overseas to countries like China or India. The company already has software centers in Augusta, Ga., and Jonesboro, Ark.

Halliburton Manager to be Sentenced

Jan 21, 2014

A former Halliburton manager faces a possible prison term when a federal judge sentences him for destroying evidence in the aftermath of BP's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Anthony Badalamenti is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans. Badalamenti pleaded guilty in October to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence and faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Frigid Cold Returns

Jan 21, 2014

Another blast of arctic air is expected to move into the state, bringing temperatures as low as 10 degrees to parts of northern Alabama and high winds across most of the state. By early Friday morning, low temperatures are expected to drop to around 10 degrees in the Florence, Gadsden and Huntsville areas. Temperatures early Friday morning in Birmingham are expected to drop to 15 degrees. High winds are expected to accompany the bitterly cold temperatures. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for most of the state.

Tuscaloosa is renewing a $175,000 contract that essentially outsources the city's economic development efforts to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The Tuscaloosa News reports the City Council voted unanimously last week to let the Chamber be its chief job recruiting agency for a second year. Chamber President and CEO Jim Page says the first year was a success, with about 30 business projects in the works for a total community investment of $127 million.

Rivers A. Langley / Wikimedia Commons

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials and Gov. Robert Bentley's office say they had been working to improve conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison before a federal investigation found evidence of inmates being sexually abused. A report from the U.S. Department of Justice late last week said instances of sexual abuse at the hands of prison staff and others may have been underreported for nearly 20 years. Federal officials visited the prison last April and recently sent their findings to Bentley in a 36-page letter, saying prisoners there fear for their safety.

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's public employees need not be in any rush to plan how they are going to spend the pay raises recommended by Gov. Robert Bentley. Legislative leaders say they don't see any money to give a cost-of-living raise for state employees and finding the money for education employees will be tough. Bentley proposed a 2 percent raise for education employees in the 2014-2015 school year. He recommended a 4 percent raise for employees of state agencies, but it's conditioned on the state taking in more revenue than expected.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has backed the Feb. 7 deadline for major party candidates to qualify for Alabama's election. Secretary of State Jim Bennett said Friday that a judge approved the date as part of a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice filed against Alabama to make sure military personnel and other U.S. citizens living overseas would have enough time to cast their ballots. The lawsuit led to an agreement to move up the qualifying deadline for Republican and Democratic candidates. The qualifying period was originally supposed to end on April 4.

Vanderbilt University

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's school board has recommended 11 social studies textbooks, effectively dismissing complaints from critics who said the texts favored Islam over other religions. Department of Education spokeswoman Erica Pippins said the board voted to recommend the books with a 5-2 vote on Friday. The vote is only a recommendation. Local school districts still get to decide which texts their students will read.

Sorority Member Honored for Stand on Segregation

Jan 18, 2014
Michelle Lepianka Carter / AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A University of Alabama sorority member who spoke out against segregation among Greek organizations on campus has been honored at a banquet celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. reports that Melanie Gotz was recognized Friday night at the awards ceremony sponsored by local colleges and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Gotz made headlines last year when she told the university's student newspaper how alumnae of her all-white sorority had blocked undergraduates from accepting a qualified prospective member because she was black.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Thursday, the third meeting day of the regular session:


—Approved a bill to create an independent agency to oversee taxpayer disputes. Goes to Senate.

—Passed a bill to raise the threshold where small businesses have to make estimated sales tax payments. Goes to Senate.

—Approved a bill to set a $10,000 threshold for firms to file itemized statements when they pay taxes on movable property. Goes to Senate.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Summary of action in Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, the second meeting day of the legislative session:


—Met briefly for procedural business.

—Held a moment of silence to remember the late Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.


—Approved William Wynne to keep serving on the state parole board.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2014 session:


—Met briefly to handle routine opening day business.

—Joined with the Senate for the governor's State of the State address.


—Saw Sen. Robert Bedford, a big Alabama fan put on an orange cap shaped like an eagle because he lost a bet on the Iron Bowl with Sen. Del Marsh, a big Auburn fan.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two Republican leaders in the Legislature, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, are praising Gov. Robert Bentley's stand against expanding the state Medicaid program. The Republican governor used his State of the State speech Tuesday night to say America will never end of the plague of poverty by offering a deeper dependence on flawed government systems. Hubbard says it's the state's goal to create more jobs to get people off Medicaid rather than expanding the Medicaid rolls.

Cold Weather Returning

Jan 14, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Forecasters say there's a chance for rain and snow showers across parts of northern Alabama late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. However, little snow accumulation is expected. The National Weather Service says new snow accumulation of less than a half-inch is possible in the Birmingham area. Cooler temperatures are also in store for Alabama for the second half of the week. Lows temperatures of around 19 degrees are expected in the Huntsville and Florence areas by early Saturday.

2014 Legislative Session Begins

Jan 14, 2014
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature is back in Montgomery to begin a three-month session that will lead into this year's elections. The session kicks off at noon Tuesday.  Governor Robert Bentley will outline his proposals in his televised State of the State address at 6:30 p.m. in the Capitol. The new session is getting off to a faster-than-normal start. The House and Senate usually meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

Americans Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday for developing new methods to study trends in asset markets.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three had laid the foundation of the current understanding of asset prices.

While it's hard to predict whether stock or bond prices will go up or down in the short term, it's possible to foresee movements over periods of three years or longer, the academy said.