The Associated Press

Prosecutors in the perjury trial of Republican Rep. Barry Moore played tape recordings of Moore and his primary opponent discussing if state funds would be in jeopardy if he ran against Moore.

On one tape Tuesday, former primary candidate Josh Pipkin asked Moore if the Enterprise area would lose state money for a jobs projects if he stayed in the race.

City officials in Mobile say its email system is functioning after a shutdown they blame on a cyber-attack.

Al.com reports that the six-day shutdown started on Tuesday afternoon.

City officials say anyone who sent an email to city employees or departments last week, including police and fire, should resend those messages.

City spokesman George Talbot says no citizen's private information was compromised during the attack. He says authorities are investigating.

District 6 Race for Congress heats up

Oct 26, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The 6th District contest between Republican Gary Palmer and Democrat Mark Lester highlights Alabama's congressional races this year. Palmer and Lester are vying to replace the longest-serving member of Alabama's U.S. House delegation, Rep. Spencer Bachus. But Palmer is considered a heavy favorite in the overwhelmingly GOP district. Congressional incumbents elsewhere in Alabama face poorly funded challengers or don't have any opposition on Nov. 4.

The Dalai Lama visits Alabama

Oct 25, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Dalai Lama is in Birmingham this weekend, where he is expected to speak to thousands of people during appearances at a university, a baseball stadium and a theater. The Tibetan spiritual leader greeted supporters Saturday outside a downtown hotel at the start of his visit to the United States. WBMA-TV aired video of the Dalai Lama greeting supporters, who wore white scarves in hopes that he would bless them. Tibetan monks prepared sacred art in honor of the visit. The visit also drew about 250 protesters downtown, Al.com reported.

Alabama VA Chief Fired

Oct 25, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs has fired the director of the central Alabama VA. The department announced on Oct. 6 that it was beginning the process of terminating James Talton as director of the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System. It announced Friday that he had been officially removed after allegations of neglect of duty were substantiated. He still has an appeal available, but he's off the payroll. U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Montgomery says those who presided over misconduct and negligence in the Central Alabama VA must be held accountable.

council of state governments

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been arrested on felony ethics charges. Acting Attorney General Van Davis says a grand jury in Lee County indicted Hubbard on 23 charges accusing him of misusing his office as speaker and his previous office as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Hubbard was processed Monday afternoon at the Lee County Jail.

bcjubilee.org

Organizers of events marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march say it will celebrate what happened in 1965 and energize people to address challenges to voting today.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele, state Sen. Hank Sanders and others announced Wednesday that Selma's annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee will be expanded for the 50th anniversary in March. It will include a re-enactment of the 50-mile march from Selma to the state Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama Department of Corrections

A federal lawsuit claims corruption and poor management are to blame for deaths and violence at St. Clair prison in Springville.

The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative filed suit Monday seeking changes at the prison, which holds more than 1,200 men and is badly overcrowded.

Corrections officials haven't responded to a message seeking comment.

The lawsuit says six people have been killed at St. Clair in the last 36 months, and stabbings and assaults are commonplace.

al.com

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive will retire next summer after 13 years leading the league and plans to begin treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer.

The 74-year-old Slive says his retirement will take effect July 31.

Slive took over the SEC in 2002 and it has become the nation's top football conference. The SEC had a string of seven consecutive BCS titles.

al.com

Alabama's race for governor is heating up with Republican incumbent Robert Bentley releasing his first ad that focuses on his opponent.

Bentley's campaign posted an ad on social media Monday describing how Parker Griffith was elected to Congress as a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party and lost, and then switched back to the Democratic Party to run for governor.

The 30-second ad asks, "If Parker Griffith doesn't know who he is or what he stands for, how can we trust him to lead Alabama?"

Press-Register file/John David Mercer

A former Mobile County commissioner who was sentenced to two years in jail on perjury and harassment charges has been released.

Al.com reports 51-year-old Stephen Nodine was released Monday morning. Nodine was charged in the death of his 45-year-old ex-girlfriend Angel Downs but a jury deadlocked on murder charges.

Nodine was instead sentenced on a perjury charge for lying about being able to afford an attorney, harassing Downs and an ethics charge linked to his use of a county-issued truck.

Nodine has maintained that he was not involved in Downs' death.

istockphoto

Researchers say despite prison overcrowding concerns, fewer Alabama inmates are being paroled and prisoners are spending more time behind bars before being released on parole.

Council of State Governments research manager Andy Barbee tells the Montgomery Advertiser that the average length of an inmate's prison term before parole release has increased from 30 months in 2009 to 43 months in 2014. Barbee says the number of eligible inmates being released has also fallen from about 42 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2013.

al.com

A new national study says Alabama ranks 14th in the nation for money spent so far on television advertising during the 2014 elections.

The study by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity says candidates in Alabama had aired more than 30,000 TV ads through Oct. 6 that cost an estimated $10 million. That's about $2.80 per eligible voter.

The report says $2.6 million has been spent in the governor's race, with Republican incumbent Robert Bentley accounting for $2.1 million of that.

Florida Atlantic University

Alabama has agreed not to enforce a provision of the state's controversial immigration law that required the state to publish a list of people known to be unlawfully in the country.

Lawyers say they have reached a settlement agreement in the lawsuit challenging what critics called a "scarlet letter list."

The 2012 law required the state to publish a list of people living in the state illegally who have been arrested.

defenseimagery.mil. / Wikimedia Commons

The Veterans Administration has started termination of a second official at its troubled medical centers in central Alabama.

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson announced Friday that termination proceedings had begun against Dr. Cliff Robinson, who was put on paid administrative leave in August from his position as chief of staff at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.

Gibson announced Monday that termination proceedings had begun against James Talton, who was also placed on leave in August from his position as director of the Central Alabama VA.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken the first step toward removing the director of the Central Alabama VA Healthcare System following months of problems.

The VA's deputy secretary, Sloan Gibson, said Monday that he proposed the removal of James Talton following an investigation that substantiated allegations of neglect of duty.

Talton was placed on administrative leave in August after reports that hundreds of X-rays went unread, patients experienced long delays in getting appointments, and one employee took a patient to buy illegal drugs.

yazclassaction

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge to Alabama's property tax system.

The Supreme Court's decision Monday means one of the nation's lowest property tax rates remains intact.

Attorneys representing families in Lawrence and Sumter counties had challenged the fairness of Alabama's property taxes, particularly the low rates on timber and farm property. They lost in U.S. District Court and at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Then they asked the Supreme Court to review the case.

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is starting its fall break a day early because of a campus death threat.

A university statement released Monday says the school will shut down on Thursday because of a threat that said four people would die on Oct. 9.

The school says the threat was found last week on campus in Florence. University police are investigating.

Students had been scheduled to be in class on Thursday and start fall break the following day.

An Alabama appeals court has ruled for the first time that a person can be convicted of electronic solicitation of a child even if the person communicated with an adult.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals decided unanimously Friday to uphold the conviction of Kenneth Rosier of Mobile County. The appeals court said this was a first-of-its-kind case in Alabama.

Associated Press

BP has asked a federal judge to reconsider a ruling that could cost the oil giant around $18 billion in additional fines stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

Attorneys for BP PLC say in a motion filed Thursday evening that U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's Sept. 4 ruling that the company acted with "gross negligence" in the disaster was based on testimony that had been excluded from the trial.

BP says Barbier should amend the judgment or hold a new trial.

ADECA

A free program designed to help people after a traffic accident is now available statewide.

Bullock County officials joined Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday to start participating in the Yellow Dot program and complete coverage statewide. The program began in 2009 in Etowah County.

Yellow Dot coordinator Lora Weaver says a Yellow Dot decal is placed in the back window of a vehicle. If a crash occurs, the dot alerts first responders to a yellow information packet in the glove compartment that lists health conditions, medications and emergency contacts.

National Weather Service

Scattered damage is being reported from strong storms that moved across Alabama overnight.

The National Weather Service says high winds tore the roofs off two homes in the northwest Alabama town of Red Bay, and trees are down on several streets. One fell on to a mobile home.

Authorities say strong winds also left scattered damage around Florence, Decatur and Marshall County.

No injuries are reported, but damage to utility lines left power outages in some areas.

The Governor's Office

Alabama is whittling down the debt it owes to a state trust fund for money borrowed during the recession.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday that the state will repay $70 million to the Alabama Trust Fund from fiscal 2014 revenue. Half of that was required by state law, and the other half became available because of extra revenue the state received.

opensecrets.org

Democratic candidate for governor Parker Griffith says that if elected, he would open discussions with the Poarch Creek Indians about a gambling compact that would allow them to operate casinos with more types of games.

Griffith said Thursday in Huntsville that the tribe has done a great job in Alabama, and he'd talk with them about expanding their gambling operations in some areas to generate more tax revenue for the state.

The tribe has casinos in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka, but they have only electronic games. They do not have table games.

Shelton State Community College

Alabama's Labor Department has agreed to work with the U.S. Department of Labor to crack down on businesses that classify people as independent contractors when they are really regular employees.

Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington and the U.S. Department of Labor's regional director for the wage and hour division, Wayne Kotowski, signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday in Montgomery. Kotowski said Alabama is the 16th state to sign an agreement to share information and coordinate enforcement.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a new Alabama law that places additional requirements on a minor seeking an abortion without parental approval.

The ACLU says the Alabama law goes beyond any parental consent law in the nation. It provides that when a girl seeks judicial approval for an abortion without her parents' consent, the court can appoint a guardian for the fetus, and it allows a district attorney to question the girl.

The executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson, says the law aims to shame a young woman into not having an abortion.

A group studying overcrowding in Alabama's prisons has found that arrests are declining and sentences are getting shorter. But Alabama's prisons remain at nearly double their designed capacity.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center presented the statistics to the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force.

stateuniversity.com

An Alabama community college is a major recipient of one of the job training grants announced by the Obama administration.

Officials announced Monday that Lawson State Community College in Birmingham is the lead college in a consortium of Southern colleges that will share $10 million in funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

Hartselle's Mayor can't drive soon

Sep 28, 2014

HARTSELLE, Ala. (AP) — The mayor of a north Alabama city is preparing for life without a license after being arrested on a DUI charge. The Decatur Daily reports a judge issued a temporary license for Hartselle Mayor Don Hall that is set to expire on Oct. 20 and his license will be suspended for 90 days after that. Hall was stopped on Sept. 5 and was arrested for DUI after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. After his arrest, Hall took a two-week leave of absence and said during a meeting of department heads earlier this week that he took the time to seek professional help.

The "A.B.C's" of Hospitality

Sep 28, 2014

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — The University of South Alabama will soon offer courses in hospitality and tourism in Gulf Shores. University officials will start holding the classes in January at the Gulf Shores Cultural Center. Al.com reports students who earn an associate's degrees in hospitality management from Faulkner State and can then enroll at the University of South Alabama to earn their bachelor's degree.

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