Associated Press

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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.

acij.net

An immigrant rights group is trying to register more Hispanics to vote in Alabama.

The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice says it's launching a program called "Alabama Vota" to encourage more Hispanic voters to get involved in the electoral process.

The program is concentrating mainly in the Birmingham and Huntsville areas. But a website with Spanish-language information about registering to vote is available to anyone.

The program includes information about how to comply with Alabama's new voter identification law.

Five proposed constitutional amendments will be on Alabama's ballot Nov. 4, and for the first time, a commission has written ballot language to describe them in plain words.

The chairman of the new Fair Ballot Commission, Will Sellers, says the Legislature created the commission because wording on the ballot was sometimes written in legal or technical terms and was confusing. He says the Fair Ballot Commission tried to describe the five proposed amendments in layman's terms and say what will happen if they pass or fail.

smoothdentalgroup.com

A judge in Birmingham is considering a lawsuit challenging an Alabama law that bans teeth-whitening services outside of dentist's offices.

A hearing set for Thursday morning will decide whether the case moves forward.

A North Carolina businessman and a Guntersville woman are challenging a law passed in 2011 to ban the sale of teeth-whitening products and services in places like nail salons.

The lawsuit claims teeth whitening is safe. It contends the law provides dentists with an illegal monopoly and subjects business owner to fines and jail for violations.

Troy University is joining a growing number of colleges selling beer at football games.

University officials say beer will be available Saturday for the Trojans' game against Duke. But fans in Veterans Memorial Stadium will have to show proper identification and get a wrist band. Officials say customers can purchase no more than two beers at one time and beer sales will be halted at the end of the third quarter.

Athletic Director John Hartwell says the sales will be monitored to make sure the stadium remains fan friendly and family friendly.

Alabama campaign finance records show that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard has used campaign funds to pay more than $230,000 in legal fees since December.

Records show that Hubbard has paid a total of $176,475 to the Birmingham law firm of White, Arnold and Dowd, and $55,000 to the Pell City law firm of Trussell, Funderburg, Rea and Bell.

The payments began in December, and Hubbard's campaign reported paying $10,000 to the Pell City firm in August.

State law allows the use of campaign funds for legal expenses under certain circumstances.

University of Alabama

A former Defense Department official has been named executive director of the Cyber Institute at the University of Alabama.

Reginald Hyde retired last year as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security. The University of Alabama announced that Hyde will head the new institute and its work on cyber security and cyber-related technologies.

http://hubbardcoleman.com

Democratic attorney general candidate Joe Hubbard has settled a lawsuit accusing him of defaming a security company.

The settlement includes a statement by Hubbard that DSI Security Services won a state contract in a fair and open process. He says the settlement did not involve any financial payment.

Jordan Kirtley via kmuw.org

One of the best-known planes from World War II is scheduled to visit Montgomery in October, giving area residents the chance to fly in it.

The restored B-17 bomber, known as the "Flying Fortress," will be at Dannelly Field and available for tours and flights from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the plane is one of few remaining B-17s in the world that is still airworthy.

Mike Haskey/Ledger-Enquirer

The Russell County Sheriff's Office has turned a half-acre of jail property into a thriving summer garden, tended to by a group of female inmates, with the crops going to area shelters, food banks and churches.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that the garden got underway about six weeks ago, in a lot behind the jail that had been bare grass. Now that space is lined by rows of peas, okra, tomatoes, melons and squash.

Wikimedia Commons

Alabama officials say new state statistics dispute federal estimates that led to restrictions on red snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alabama's Marine Resources Division says a state study determined that 418,000 pounds of the highly prized fish were caught in state waters through June 30.

That's only 40 percent of the 1.04 million pounds of red snapper estimated by the federal government's Marine Recreational Information Program.

Federal numbers from years past were used to impose a record-short season of nine days this year.

The Huntsville Times/Dave Dieter

The mayor of an Alabama community that lost its hospital is interested in pursuing a stand-alone emergency room.

Hartselle Mayor Don Hall told WHNT-TV that his town has lobbied Huntsville Hospital to re-open some form of emergency care.

Huntsville Hospital bought the Hartselle Medical Center after it closed several years ago, but announced it was not practical to reopen the facility. That left Hartselle without a hospital or emergency medical care.

farmprogress.com

Cotton and peanut farmers in Alabama's Wiregrass region are hoping for rain to boost their yields.

Agronomist Brandon Dillard told The Dothan Eagle that farmers have already lost some of their crop to dry conditions. He said more losses are possible unless there is more rain.

Federal meteorologists have classified the Wiregrass as "abnormally dry." Part of Henry County is considered in a moderate drought.

wealthwire.com

Driving to the lake or beach for Labor Day will be a little cheaper than last year.

AAA of Alabama reports that the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.20 on Thursday.

That's 14 cents less than at the same time last year, and AAA says it's 7 cents lower than just a month ago.

Birmingham is the metropolitan area with the state's most expensive gas at $3.23 a gallon for regular. Tuscaloosa is cheapest at $3.13.

Tim Pearce / Flickr

A Limestone County business owner says the county should legalize alcohol sales locally to bring in more revenue.

The News Courier reports that real estate broker Seth Parker must get 9,000 registered voters in the county to sign a petition to force a ballot measure. Parker says he's hoping to get enough by the Nov. 4 general election but could also ask for a special election if he can't gather the signatures by November.

Alabama Ethics Commission

The Alabama Ethics Commission is beginning the search for a new director, but commissioners already have someone in mind to take the job on an interim basis.

Members voted Thursday to offer the position of acting director to former Cumberland Law School Dean John Carroll. Carroll is also a former U.S. magistrate judge for the Middle District of Alabama.

Commission chairwoman Larkin Martin said she had a preliminary conversation with Carroll and will reach out to see if he will accept the position.

albeer.org

You'll soon be able to buy alcohol legally on Sundays in the city of Gadsden.

Voters in the northeast Alabama city of 36,000 residents approved Sunday sales in voting Tuesday with 68 percent of the ballots favoring the change.

The Gadsden Times reports sales could begin in September once the City Council certifies the vote results and approves rules for selling on Sunday.

The area Chamber of Commerce says the change will help economic growth in the city.

istockphotos

Alabama law enforcement officials say they're planning to beef up enforcement on state highways and waterways during the holiday weekend.

Officials from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency say departments throughout the state will work together to help curb crimes and accidents that lead to death and injury over the weekend. Officials say part of the enforcement effort will involve officers riding in unmarked vehicles on state highways and waterways.

uabmedicine.org

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has launched an online medical site that will allow physicians to make medical recommendations and write prescriptions.

Director of Primary Care at UAB Dr. Stuart Cohen says the new site is meant to offer convenience for young, otherwise healthy people who develop common and non-urgent conditions like the flu, pink eye or a cold.

Alabama Education Association

The Alabama Education Association's political action committee is using more than $1 million in loans to help support candidates after spending on primary races earlier this year.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports a campaign finance report filed last week shows AEA's political action committee took out a loan of more than $1.2 million in addition to borrowing $500,000 in July.

Hal Yeager/AP

A federal accident board has told UPS and its pilots' union they can no longer participate in the agency's investigation of a crash that killed two of the cargo shipper's pilots.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent letters on Monday to UPS and the Independent Pilots Association revoking their "party status" in the investigation of last summer's crash during a landing approach at the Birmingham, Alabama, airport.

The board said both violated their party status by making public statements about the cause of the accident before the investigation is finished.

Associated Press

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Parker Griffith is challenging Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to a series of seven debates before the November election.

Griffith says he believes voters want to see the two face off in a debate and explain their visions for Alabama.

Griffith issued his debate challenge last week. On Friday, Griffith hauled a large inflatable duck to Montgomery to accuse Bentley of ducking his debate challenge.

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