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Private School tax credits
4:38 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Ala. Superintendent Says Few Transferring Schools

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says preliminary survey data shows 51 students have used the new Alabama Accountability Act to transfer from a failing public school to a private school.
Credit The Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama's public schools aren't seeing an exodus of students taking advantage of private school tax credits.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice told the state school board Thursday that preliminary survey data shows 51 students have used the new Alabama Accountability Act to transfer from a failing public school to a private school.

He told AL.com that not all school systems have responded to a department survey, but he doesn't expect the figure to increase much because the state's largest systems have responded.

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Drummond Coal Co.
8:30 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Appeals Court Hears Ala Case of Colombian Slayings

Drummond Co. has invested $2.5 billion in its Colombian coal mine operations, shown here in a 2006 photo.
The Birmingham News / Russell Hubbard

A federal appeals court in Montgomery is considering a case involving the Birmingham-based Drummond Coal and three killings that happened in South America more than a decade ago.

   A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday that could revive a federal lawsuit over the slayings.

   Children of slain three coal miners filed suit in 2009 claiming Drummond hired paramilitary gunmen to kill their fathers near its Colombian coal mine in 2001. The men were union leaders.

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Wells Fargo
8:23 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Wells Fargo to Cut 365 Jobs in Birmingham Area

Wells Fargo is laying off 365 positions within its mortgage department in Birmingham.
http://www.greenstone-properties.com

Wells Fargo officials say they plan to eliminate 365 positions in Alabama.

The Shed Closing
8:16 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Landmark Mobile Restaurant Closing Its Doors

The Shed in Mobile is closed after 4 years of business in the area. Closest location is now in Ocean Springs, MS.
tripadvisor.com

A restaurant that's been a landmark in southern Alabama is closing its doors.

Alabama Power Scam
8:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Alabama Power Warns of Billing Scam

Alabama Power Co. says scammers are calling customers, pretending to be from the utility.

Alabama Power Co. is trying to stop what it calls "an unusually effective scam."

   The power company says its customers have been called for months by people pretending to be from Alabama Power. The customers are told they have a short deadline to make a payment.  They are instructed to go to a local retailer, buy a reloadable debit card for a given amount, and then call another phone number to share the account number on the card. Alabama Power says the fraud has focused on commercial customers because they are more likely to have larger bills.

Business & Education
8:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Auburn University Unveils New Recreation Center

Auburn University's new recreation center includes an outdoor pool and a 45-person hot tub shaped like a tiger paw.
Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com

Auburn University has unveiled its new, $72 million recreation and wellness center.

   The 240,000 square-foot facility opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

   The Opelika-Auburn News reports (http://bit.ly/1cX5p3U ) the facility is home to modern health and wellness equipment, an indoor running track, rock climbing walls and more.

   Recreation and Wellness Director Jennifer Jarvis says the recreation center is likely to help students stay on campus longer, working to develop strong bodies and spirits.

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Entertainment Districts
8:14 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Montgomery Limits Alcohol in Entertainment Area

The city of Montgomery is trying to cut back on some of the partying in its entertainment districts.

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Lieutenant Governor-Cooke
5:17 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Minister Enters GOP Race For Alabama Lt. Governor

Jefferson County minister Stan Cooke is running for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary against incumbent Kay Ivey
Credit blog.al.com

A Jefferson County minister is running for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary against incumbent Kay Ivey.

Stan Cooke announced his candidacy Tuesday in Montgomery. Cooke is pastor of the Kimberly Church of God and is founder and president of a Christian mission organization that supports programs in Israel. He previously ran in the 6th Congressional District in 2010 against Republican Spencer Bachus.

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Arts & Life
8:32 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Alabama Shellfish Harvesting Waters Closed

Alabama's Department of Public Health is temporarily closing shellfish growing waters in Mobile and Baldwin County.
Press-Register/Susanica Tam

The state Department of Public Health is temporarily closing shellfish growing waters in Mobile and Baldwin County.

   In a release Monday, Jeff McCool of the Alabama Department of Public Health said waterways will close because recent heavy rainfall may have led to bacterial contamination of oyster beds.

   Impacted waterways include Cedar Point, Portersville Bay, Grand Bay, Heron Bay, Dauphin Island Bay and Bon Secour Bay.

UPS Plane Crash
8:25 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Residents of Ala Community Near Crash Site Worried

Debris burns as a UPS cargo plane lies on a hill near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport after crashing August 14, 2013.
Hal Yeager/AP

People living near the site of last week's cargo jet crash at Birmingham's airport say they're worried about safety.

   The head of a community association, Robert Walker, addressed members of the city's airport authority on Monday.

   Walker says residents fear another crash. He says they want assurances that big planes like the UPS A300 jet that went down last Wednesday won't be using the runway nearest their homes.

   The jet clipped trees around homes before crashing about a mile from the end of the runway.

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Unemployment Rate
8:16 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Alabama 2nd Lowest in SE in Unemployment

Federal officials say Alabama had the second lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast in July, just behind Virginia.

Alabama had the second lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast in July.

   The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Virginia's rate of 5.7 percent was lower than Alabama's rate of 6.3 percent. The bureau also reports that Alabama had one of the nation's biggest drops in unemployment from a year ago, when Alabama's rate measured 7.6 percent. Only seven states exceeded Alabama's drop of 1.3 percentage points over the last year.

Private School Tax Credits
4:47 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Suit Challenges Ala. Private School Tax Credits

Gov. Robert Bentley says the Alabama Accountability Act gives failing schools the flexibility to make changes and improve. His remarks come after the SPLC filed a federal suit seeking to block the law.
yellowhammernews.com

Gov. Robert Bentley says the Alabama Accountability Act is designed to help students in all public schools.

The governor spoke out Monday after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal court suit seeking to block the law. The suit says some impoverished students can't access part of the law providing tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Bentley says another portion of the law gives those failing schools the flexibility to make changes and improve.

Campus Gun Law
8:23 am
Mon August 19, 2013

University of Alabama Continues Ban on Campus Guns

University of Alabama officials say they'll continue their ban on firearms on campus.
www.abc3340.com

School officials say the University of Alabama will continue its ban on firearms on the campus, with a few exceptions.

   The university released a revised weapons policy on Friday covering possession of weapons on the campus by students, employees and visitors.

   The revised policy, which goes into effect immediately, was issued in response to a new state law that sought to clarify where and how gun owners could carry and transport their firearms.

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Business & Education
8:16 am
Mon August 19, 2013

E-books Replacing Some Textbooks at Ala. School

Officials at Calhoun Community College say 32 courses at the college will focus on tablet and e-book education materials. Students will still have the option to purchase textbooks.
www.cappex.com

A northern Alabama community college plans to transition from traditional textbooks and offer students more digitally-based education opportunities.

   Calhoun Community College president Marilyn Beck told the Decatur Daily (http://bit.ly/15Wd7kU ) 32 courses at the community college will focus on tablet and e-book education materials and students will still have the option to purchase textbooks.

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Politics & Government
8:12 am
Mon August 19, 2013

US Court Panel to Hold Hearings in Montgomery

U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
globaltradelawyer.net

A three-judge panel from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold 15 hearings in Montgomery next week, the latest in the court's practice of holding hearings across the southeast.

   At least four of the hearings to be held Tuesday through Friday involve Alabama cases.

   One of the hearings set for Wednesday is regarding an issue that is part of a lawsuit challenging a state law that prohibits the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Employees Association from using automatic payroll deduction to collect dues from workers.

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