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Forever Wild
11:48 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Ala. Voters Will Decide On Extending Forever Wild

Alabama voters will decide Nov. 6th if land conservation trust fund Forever Wild will continue.
http://alabamaforeverwild.com/ Alabama Forever Wild

Alabama voters will decide on Nov. 6 whether to continue a 20-year-old program that has allowed the state to buy 220,000 acres of public land to be used for hunting, fishing, birding and other activities.

It's the second time Alabama residents have been asked to vote on Forever Wild. The first was in 1992, when voters authorized the state to buy wilderness lands.

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New Districts
5:13 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Justice Dept. Clears Ala.'s Legislative Districts

The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Alabama's new legislative districts for use in the 2014 elections.
Trance Mist Flickr

The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Alabama's new legislative districts for use in the 2014 elections.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez notified state Attorney General Luther Strange of the decision Friday. The Justice Department has to review new political boundaries in Alabama to make sure they don't violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising black voters.

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Agriculture Consulting
5:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

State officials To Rework Consulting Contract

Alabama's Agriculture Department is reworking a consulting contract.
http://www.nasda.org/

Alabama's agriculture department is reworking a proposed $288,000 consulting contract.

Agriculture officials on Thursday pulled the item from the agenda of the Legislative Contract Review Committee.

Commissioner John McMillan said he wanted to rework the contract's terms and expand its description.

The committee's agenda had included a two-year, $288,000 deal with lobbyist and former state Rep. Noopie Cosby Jr.

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Altered Student Grades
4:56 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Ala. Education Department To Probe Grade Changing

The Alabama Department of Education will look into allegations of widespread grade changing in the Montgomery County public school system.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says his department will investigate allegations of widespread grade changing in the Montgomery County public school system.

Bice said on Friday that Montgomery Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help, and the investigation is beginning immediately.

Teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools in Montgomery said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades.

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Arts & Life
8:11 am
Fri October 5, 2012

2 Mortars Found at Old WWII Site in Alabama

waymarking.com

Workers have found two mortar shells in rural northeast Alabama at a site that was a chemical weapons training camp during World War II.

The Army Corps of Engineers says contractors unearthed the munitions in an area that was part of Camp Sibert during the 1940s.


Workers have been scouring the land for unexploded munitions for years as part of a federal cleanup program.

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Politics & Government
6:58 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Groups Try to Increase Hispanic Voting in Ala

There's a new push to increase Hispanic voter registration in Alabama.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will host a voter registration drive aimed at Hispanic citizens on Saturday.


The event is being co-sponsored by Rivera Communications, which operates a Spanish-language radio station that broadcasts in central Alabama. The station is promoting the drive on the air.

Hurricane Aid
4:42 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

5 More Counties Eligible For Aid After Hurricane

Governor Bentley says five more counties damaged by Hurricane Isaac are eligible for federal aid.
FEMA

Alabama's governor says five more counties will be eligible for federal aid aimed at helping communities recover from damage caused by Hurricane Isaac.

Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the request.

Bentley had sent a letter to FEMA saying the five counties -- Covington, Dallas, Geneva, Monroe and Perry -- suffered $2.5 million in damage.

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Party Switch
4:37 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Alabama Sen. Jerry Fielding Switches To GOP

Democratic State Senator Jerry Fielding officially announces party switch.
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate

Another Democrat in the Alabama Legislature has switched to the Republican Party.

Sen. Jerry Fielding of Talladega County announced Thursday that he's joining the Republican Party. His switch gives the Senate 23 Republicans, 11 Democrats and one independent.

Alabama Cotton Crop
4:31 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Experts Are Predicting High Cotton Yields

Agriculture experts predict a good year for norhtern Alabama's cotton crop.
calsidyrose Flickr

Agriculture experts are predicting a bountiful year for northern Alabama's cotton crop.

Heavy rain this week forced some farmers to delay harvesting another week or two.

However, planters say the fall rain has been welcome after a scorching summer that featured consistent heat and little rain.

Eric Schavey, regional extension agent for northwest Alabama, predicts a solid cotton crop this year. He said less rain over the coming days would be more beneficial to the cotton crops. More rain could lead to boll rot, some of which he's seen in some plants.

Rural Cell Service
5:18 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Company Wins $10.2M Grant For Rural Cell Service

A small cell company has won a $10 million grant to provide rural cell service to west Alabama.
Andy Arthur Flickr

A small cell phone company has won a more than $10 million federal grant to expand wireless service in one of Alabama's most isolated regions.

The Federal Communications Commission says Pine Belt Cellular was the only company that sought the money to build new cell phone infrastructure along almost 1,600 miles of roads in five west Alabama counties.

The president of the company, John Nettles, says Pine Belt will use the funding to construct and connect towers and antennas in parts of Choctaw, Dallas, Marengo, Perry and Wilcox counties.

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Governor's Home Burglarized
5:11 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Governor Bentley's Private Home Burglarized

Tuscaloosa Police say Gov. Bentley's private home was burglarized Sunday.
governor.alabama.gov Office of the Governor

Police say someone has broken into the private home of Gov. Robert Bentley in Tuscaloosa.

A police statement issued Wednesday says officers responded to an alarm that went off at Bentley's home shortly before midnight on Sunday.

A television was taken, but police say other items weren't reported missing.

Police say someone entered the house through a window by force. No arrests have been made, but police say they are investigating.

Arts & Life
8:32 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Volunteers From UAE Help Rebuild Tuscaloosa

Khawla Alhosani, left, and Zainab Saeed work at a home in the Alberta area of Tuscaloosa Tuesday.
Dusty Compton/Tuscaloosa News

More than a dozen volunteers from the United Arab Emirates are helping to rebuild damage in Tuscaloosa from the April 27, 2011, tornado.

The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/SxLkoJ ) that the 13 volunteers traveled more than 30 hours to get to Tuscaloosa this week. They're part of a volunteer social program called Takatof, part of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. Takatof has helped mobilize volunteers and has sent them all over the world, including China, Korea, Africa and Pakistan.

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Arts & Life
8:27 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Ala. governor Seeks Aid for 5 More Counties

Waves crash into the public fishing pier at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Ala., shortly before Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.
AP Photo/Jay Reeves

Alabama's governor is asking for federal assistance for five more counties affected by Hurricane Isaac.

Gov. Robert Bentley sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying Covington, Dallas, Geneva, Monroe and Perry counties in south and west Alabama suffered $2.5 million in damage. Bentley said that's based on damage assessments completed this week.

Politics & Government
8:21 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Hart Elected Chair of Ala Securities Commission

dentbaker.com

Birmingham accountant James L. Hart has been elected chairman of the Alabama Securities Commission.

A member of the regulating board since December 2010, Hart was selected unanimously for the leadership position by fellow commissioners.


Hart leads the forensic accounting and litigation services decision at the Birmingham firm of Dent, Baker & Co.


Hart, a native of Huntsville, was first appointed to the commission by former Gov. Bob Riley. Hart's current term ends in 2014.

Party Switch
8:02 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Ala. Democratic Senator's Switch Could Be Near

Democratic State Senator Jerry Fielding says any cnahge of parties will be announced on his timetable.
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate

Democratic state Sen. Jerry Fielding says any change of parties will be announced on his time table and not by the state Democratic Party chairman.

Fielding responded Tuesday to an announcement Monday by state Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy. Kennedy said Fielding is planning to switch to the Republican Party.

Fielding said he's had several conversations with members of the Republican Party. He said an announcement could happen in the near future, but he's not ready to do it yet.

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