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.

UPS.com

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.

PBS

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.

mobilebotanicalgardens.org

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.

Uber

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 Al.com 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.

istockphoto

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.

opensecrets.org

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.

pbs.org

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.

governor.alabama.gov

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.

blog.al.com

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.

Al.com 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.

nasa.gov

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.

blog.al.com

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.

legislature.state.al.us

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.

outdooralabama.com

Wildlife workers are reintroducing three rare species of freshwater mussels into the Tennessee Valley region.

A species of mussel called the Pale Lilliput is being stocked Wednesday in the Duck River in central Tennessee. The federally endangered species now lives only in a 4-mile section of the Paint Rock River in northeast Alabama.

More than 800 of the mussels were cultured at the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center near Marion.

Hal Yeager/AP

Federal investigators say pilots who were killed when their UPS cargo plane crashed during a landing attempt in Birmingham, Alabama last year made a series of errors, and may have been suffering from fatigue.

But the investigators also conclude that more stringent regulations on hours of work for pilots wouldn't have prevented the accident.

A new program will allow Montgomery County residents to establish online profiles that are expected to quickly provide information to emergency responders.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported Tuesday that the Smart911 program will allow people to automatically supply emergency responders with information on their medical history, disabilities, pets and photos of people who live in the home they're responding to.

albeer.org

Gadsden City leaders have set 6 a.m. as the time when alcoholic beverages may begin to be sold on Sundays.

The Gadsden Times reports city council unanimously approved the start time during a meeting on Tuesday. Gadsden voters approved of Sunday sales in an Aug. 26 referendum. The newspaper reports that city ordinances prevent alcohol sales between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on other days of the week.

AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh

A lawyer for the closed VictoryLand casino in Shorter is arguing that other businesses in Alabama are still operating the same gambling machines VictoryLand had.

A civil trial opened Tuesday in Montgomery over whether the attorney general can destroy gambling machines seized in a 2013 raid.

VictoryLand attorney Joe Espy says electronic bingo games like the ones from VictoryLand are operating at two locations in Greene County and one in Houston County.

whitehouse.gov

The U.S. secretary of education is visiting Alabama.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will make stops in Birmingham and Huntsville on Tuesday as part of a bus tour coinciding with the start of the school year.

In Birmingham, Duncan and Mayor William Bell will participate in a round-table discussion promoting President Obama's program to help young men. It's called "My Brother's Keeper."

Duncan is scheduled to hold a town-hall meeting later with students at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

blog.al.com

A trial is set to open over whether the state government can destroy 1,600 gaming machines and keep $223,000 in cash seized in a raid at VictoryLand casino in Shorter.

The non-jury trial starts Tuesday morning in Montgomery before Circuit Judge William Shashy.

Attorney General Luther Strange's staff is arguing the machines seized in the raid last year in Macon County are illegal slots.

Hal Yeager/AP

An accident investigations board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide the cause of a fatal cargo plane crash that has become the focus of dispute between UPS and its pilot union over whether work schedules are inducing fatigue and jeopardizing safety.

Poarch Band of Creek Indians

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians gave $500,000 to a Republican group that contributed to 2010 legislative races, but state Republicans say they didn't direct the donation.

Republican Senate leader Del Marsh says he met with the tribe in 2009 but didn't ask for the donation.

Marsh says he was hoping to prevent the tribe from bankrolling Democrats. He told members of the tribal council that the GOP majority would not oppose legal gambling operations.

The tribe gave $550,000 to the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee.

A group is questioning the role of religion inside the University of Mississippi football program, expressing concerns that a football chaplain is an inappropriate endorsement of religion by a public university.

The Clarion Ledger reports that The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wisconsin-based group that seeks separation between church and state, has sent a public records request to Ole Miss.

healthyliving.blog.ocregister.com

Health officials in Mobile say the number of cases of whooping cough continues to climb.

Whooping cough is the common name for pertussis, which is very contagious and is most often characterized by an uncontrollable, violent cough.

WKRG-TV reports the Mobile County Health Department has confirmed 63 pertussis cases, 13 probable cases and seven open investigations.

blog.al.com

A trial starting Tuesday in Montgomery could determine the future of what was once Alabama's largest casino.

VictoryLand casino in Shorter has been closed since Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange raided it in February 2013.

A civil trial starting Tuesday will determine whether the state can destroy the 1,615 gambling machines seized in the raid and keep the $223,405 in cash that was confiscated.

Strange says the games are illegal slot machines that should be destroyed.

The National Transportation Safety Board says a helicopter struck a utility wire before a crash that killed a Georgia pilot and an Alabama man last month.

The board's preliminary report says the chopper went down after hitting a wire strung between transmission towers in Tuscaloosa County near Northport.

The helicopter was checking the utility lines when it crashed.

The accident killed pilot Matthew Wallace of Hiram, Georgia, and Alabama Power Co. employee David Carson of Tuscaloosa.

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