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.

bsc.edu

Alabama Democrats have picked a history professor at Birmingham-Southern College to run as the party's candidate in the 6th Congressional District.

Mark Lester will face Republican Gary Palmer in the Nov. 4 general election. The Republican-leaning district is currently represented by retiring U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus.

The party's executive committee named Lester to replace Avery Vise, who dropped out of the race earlier this month.

Cary Norton for The New York Times

Annual recruitment has ended for sororities at the University of Alabama with black women making up just 1 percent of new members.

The university released a breakdown of the 2014 sorority pledge class Saturday amid questions over whether the groups accept blacks as new members. Its numbers showed 2,054 women accepted bids to join sororities. Of those, 190 were minorities — including 21 black women.

With more budget problems likely ahead for the state, some legislative leaders say they're open to the idea of a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The tribe currently offers bingo games, which resemble slot machines, but would need an agreement with the state to add table games or another location.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says he's not aware of any ongoing discussions but that everything is on the table as the state seeks long-term budget solutions.

Michelle Lepianka Carter / AP

Traditionally white sororities at the University of Alabama are ending their annual recruitment period amid questions over whether the groups are accepting blacks as new members.

The university says it will release a racial and ethnic breakdown of this year's sorority pledge class once recruitment concludes Saturday.

But it's not clear exactly when the statistics might be available.

The campus in Tuscaloosa became embroiled in controversy a year ago after the student newspaper reported some white sororities had rejected blacks as new members because of race.

The EPA will soon begin removing contaminated soil from about 30 homes as part of its cleanup at a Superfund site in Birmingham.

AL.com reports EPA officials announced the plans Friday and said the soil exceed higher risk levels where children are present in the Harriman Park, Collegeville and Fairmont communities in North Birmingham.

aaroads.com

A new shortcut is opening to Alabama's beaches.

A nearly 13-mile stretch of road called the Baldwin Beach Express opens completely to traffic on Friday. Some sections of the road already have been in use.

The road ties in with Interstate 10 north of Robertsdale and connects with the Foley Beach Express to the south.

The highway allows tourists to bypass the towns of Loxley, Robertsdale and Summerdale. Traffic sometimes backs up on Alabama 59 through the county.

Federal investigators say a 2013 barge fire in Mobile is linked to the facility failing to isolate tank-cleaning operations from potential sources of ignition.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said in a report that Oil Recovery Company workers were stripping two barges of residual gasoline on April 24, 2013. Investigators say the barges vented flammable vapors during the cleaning process.

Al Hicks/New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Federal wildlife officials are hosting a series of information sessions about a proposal to list a type of bat as endangered after a disease found in Alabama wiped out part of the species.

Officials say they're looking to list the long-eared bat as an endangered species because of white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats and has been tracked to Alabama, at least 24 other states and parts of Canada.

The Montgomery Advertiser

The Alabama State Board of Education has offered Superintendent Tommy Bice a new two-year contract and a pay raise.

Al.com reports the board voted 6-2 on Wednesday to offer Bice a new contract, which would call for his $200,000 salary to be increased to $250,000.

Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey's Chris Christie is visiting Birmingham to support a fellow Republican governor, Alabama's Robert Bentley.

Christie is scheduled to stop in Birmingham on Wednesday for a public event with Bentley and two private appearances.

Christie and Bentley will tour the non-profit Southern Research Institute and meet with reporters.

Afterward Christie and Bentley will attend a pair of private events for the Bentley campaign.

blog.al.com

Alabama lawmakers will face another grim budget outlook when they return to Montgomery next year and Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants their ideas for long-term solutions instead of a one-year money fix.

Bentley has asked legislative leaders to bring him ideas in advance of the 2015 session.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston says he wants legislators to make bold changes to try to solve the state's long-term problems.

pgatour.com

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says the PGA Tour is coming to Alabama next year.

Bentley said Monday the new tournament will be played July 13-18, 2015 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National in Opelika. Shaving product company Barbasol will sponsor the tournament for four years.

Bentley says the tour will generate millions in tourism revenue and put Alabama in the international spotlight as some of the world's best golfers visit the state.

straighttoale.com

Leaders in Huntsville hope beer and music will spruce up the site of an old middle school.

Officials say two craft breweries and a concert venue are planned for an old school west of Downtown.

Plans call for converting part of the school into a 40,000-square-foot brewery for Straight to Ale, which is now located in a warehouse. Yellowhammer plans to build a new 6,000-square-foot brewery at the site.

The city plans to open an open-air amphitheater between the two breweries at the site of the old Stone Middle School.

The Alabama Democratic Party is expecting to hold an appeal hearing early this week over contested results in a Jefferson County Commission race.

AL.com reports District 2 candidate Sandra Little Brown beat challenger Shelia Smoot by 26 votes in a primary runoff election but the results were challenged by a Smoot supporter.

Cynthia Goldsmith/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A team of researchers at Auburn University are working on a potential treatment for viruses like Ebola.

The deadly virus has killed more than 900 people in Africa. Two American aid workers who caught the virus were recently flown back to the United States so they could receive treatment at a specialized hospital in Atlanta.

Michelle Lepianka Carter / AP

Traditionally white sororities at the University of Alabama are beginning membership recruitment with a handful of black members for the first time.

The campus was engulfed in controversy last fall following reports some white groups rejected blacks because of race.

Administrators changed the rules, and the school says previously all-white sororities had a total of 21 black members in the spring.

The number of blacks in the 17 historically white social sororities remains small. The sororities had about 5,300 members total last school year.

Cassie Fambro/AL.com

Several groups are planning to push the Mobile County Commission to authorize the installation of atheist, Pagan and Universalist displays after authorizing a Christian one at Government Plaza.

http://brooks.house.gov/about-me / Wikimedia Commons

A Republican congressman from Alabama says Democrats are engaged in a "war on whites."

Congressman Mo Brooks made his comment on conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham's program. He said the Democratic Party claims white people hate everyone else and that it's part of President Barack Obama's strategy of dividing people on the basis of race, sex and class.

The remarks came in a discussion on immigration legislation passed last week by the House that could result in increased deportations.

ferris.edu

The first black Episcopal bishop in Georgia will speak at a weekend event in west Alabama honoring civil rights martyrs.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Wright of Atlanta will address a pilgrimage honoring Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels and others killed in Alabama during the movement in the 1960s.

The event will be held Saturday in the Lowndes County town of Hayneville, where Daniels was shot to death by a volunteer deputy on Aug. 14, 1965.

Julie Bennett / al.com

A federal judge says an Alabama law restricting abortion doctors is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday that state lawmakers exceeded their authority when they passed a law last year requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

Thompson issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law.

Thompson's decision comes days after a federal appeals court blocked a similar law in Mississippi.

Planned Parenthood and others filed a lawsuit over the Alabama law last year.

.THIS AFTERNOON...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A 30 PERCENT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. NEAR STEADY

TEMPERATURE IN THE UPPER 80S.

.TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. A 10 PERCENT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING. LOWS IN THE MID

60S. 

.MONDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS AROUND 90

THIS AFTERNOON...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE MID 80S. CHANCE OF RAIN 40 PERCENT.

.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING...THEN PARTLY CLOUDY WITH SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE UPPER 60S.  CHANCE OF RAIN 20 PERCENT.

.SUNDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 80S.

epodunk.com

Franklin County schools officials say their safety plan for the upcoming school year will not include armed volunteers.

Superintendent Gary Williams told Al.com Thursday that the safety plan includes training volunteers, teachers and staff to deal with several issues that could arise, but doesn't include training them to handle firearms.

Williams says the training can be completed online and will begin next week.

The training system is expected to cost the school district $4,000 annually.

Unusually cold air is setting records -- breaking some marks that have stood for more than a century -- for low temperatures across Alabama.

The National Weather Service reports that several record low temperatures for July 30 were shattered early Wednesday morning.

In Anniston, Wednesday morning's low of 54 was far lower than the previous record of 61 for the date, which was set in 1903.

Birmingham's low of 57 Wednesday broke the previous record of 61 from 1994.

epodunk.com

Officials in northwest Alabama are getting ready to announce a one-of-a-kind school security program.

Democratic state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay and Democratic Sen. Roger Beford of Russellville are planning a news conference Thursday with Franklin County school officials and law enforcement to announce a new school security plan that may include armed volunteers.

hrc.org

A national group that pushes equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people has hired a former clergyman to lead its efforts in Mississippi.

Rob Hill grew up in Mississippi, and spent 12 years as a United Methodist pastor. He said Tuesday that he started work July 14 for Human Rights Campaign and its "Project One America."

Ian M. Phillips

Some of Alabama's animal shelters are struggling because of funding problems.

The Montgomery Humane Society says it has run of out of dry food to give about 140 dogs housed there.

It's asking for donations to help feed the animals and says it will continue accepting animals.

The situation is also dire near the Florida line in Escambia County, where the animal shelter says it doesn't have enough money to operate and won't accept animals anymore.

civilwar.org

Civil War re-enactors from across the nation will be on the Alabama coast this weekend to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay and the Siege of Fort Morgan.

Organizers say the activities will begin Friday evening with a concert of Civil War music by Bobby Horton. The re-enactment begins Saturday morning with the attack of the Union Navy. The re-enactment continues all day and concludes Saturday night with a barrage of artillery firing over the effort. The re-enactment continues Sunday with the surrender of Fort Morgan.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Nearly 20 percent of Alabama is experiencing abnormally dry weather, but the state remains drought-free.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor says parts of central and southeastern Alabama are drier than normal. Combined, the area makes up about 19 percent of the state.

That's worse than a year ago, when the entire state had sufficient rainfall. But federal statistics don't show any drought conditions in Alabama, and most counties are at or above normal rainfall levels.

ewtn.com

An Alabama-based religious broadcasting operation is expanding to the West Coast.

The EWTN Global Catholic Network says it's building a television production center on the campus of Christ Cathedral in Orange, California.

The network will continue operating at its headquarters in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale. But it will also use the new studio to broadcast news, inspirational stories and religious masses by the end of the year.

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