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Business & Education
8:37 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Alabama Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 2-4

Alabama retailers are getting ready for the annual tax free weekend for back-to-school merchandise.

   The state will waive its 4 percent sales tax from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4. The Alabama Retail Association reports that a record 274 Alabama cities and counties are waiving their local sales taxes during that weekend.

   Items covered by the tax holiday include clothing priced at $100 or less, school supplies costing $50 or less, books that cost $30 or less, and computers and computer equipment selling for $750 or less.

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Politics & Government
8:26 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Ala Promoting Ministry to Veterans

A conference scheduled for August 1, 2013 in Auburn aims to help faith leaders reach out to military veterans.

The state of Alabama is promoting the idea of using faith-based ministries to help military veterans.

   The Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service is joining other groups in sponsoring a seminar to help pastors, clergy and other faith leaders reach out to veterans.

   Alabama has more than 400,000 veterans, and at least 4,000 of them are affected by post-traumatic stress syndrome. As many as 5 percent of them are believed to be contemplating suicide.

Politics & Government
8:17 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Hearing to Determine Restitution for Auburn Trees

Alabama fan Harvey Updyke could have to pay about $1 million in restitution for poisoning the oak trees at Auburn University.
usatoday.com

A judge will hold a hearing to determine whether University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke should pay Auburn University about $1 million for poisoning its landmark oak trees.

   The Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/12RVcdW ) reports that Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III scheduled the hearing for Sept. 18.

   The hearing is to determine whether Updyke must pay restitution for killing the trees at Toomer's Corner. Auburn fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a big win.

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Alabama Unemployment
5:18 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Alabama Unemployment Drops To 6.5 percent

Alabama's jobless rate fell to its lowest rate in four years for the month of June.
Credit www.aim.org

Alabama's unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent in June, which is lowest rate in more than four years.


The state Department of Labor said the June rate was down from 6.8 percent in May, and it was the lowest rate recorded since Alabama hit the same figure in November 2008. It was also below the national figure of 7.6 percent.


The rate was supposed to be announced Friday, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inadvertently released it early. State officials then provided details of the new rate.

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Gulf Oil Spill-Settlement
5:10 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Judge Urged To Let BP Settlement Payments Continue

Lawyer's are urging a federal judge to reject BP's bid to suspend settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who claim they lost money after the company's 2010 oil spill.
Credit Associated Press

A team of plaintiffs' lawyers has urged a federal judge to reject BP's bid to suspend settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who claim they lost money after the company's 2010 oil spill.


In a court filing Thursday, attorneys who brokered a multibillion-dollar settlement with BP PLC say the company hasn't provided any evidence that court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau has wrongfully paid any claims.

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Governor Bentley
4:56 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Governor Bentley Gets 1st Major Endorsement

Governor Robert Bentley scores the first endorsement for his 2014 re-election campaign.
Credit wikipedia.org

The Alabama Forestry Association has thrown its support to Gov. Robert Bentley's re-election campaign.


Bentley said Thursday the forestry group was the first major organization to endorse him in 2010 and now it's the first for the 2014 election. But there's a big difference. It didn't endorse him in 2010 until after he won the Republican primary.

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Business & Education
8:25 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Wind Project Moving Forward in Northeast Alabama

A cluster of windmills catch the wind blowing on Stetson Mountain in Maine in this photo from July 14, 2009.
The Associated Press

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Politics & Government
8:14 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Civil Rights Museum Offers Free Admission Thursday

The SPLC's Civil Rights Memorial Center is offering free admission Thursday, July 18 in honor of Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday.
gypsynester.com

Alabama-Emergency Rooms
4:46 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Ala. Clears Way For Stand-Alone Emergency Rooms

State officials have adopted rules to establish stand-alone emergency medical centers in Alabama like this one planned by Brookwood Medical Center.
Credit Shelby County Reporter

State officials have adopted rules to establish stand-alone emergency medical centers in Alabama.

The rules are also expected to regulate the stand-alone emergency rooms, which are typically miles from their parent hospitals.

Stand-alone emergency departments don't exist in the state yet, although three in the Birmingham area have already been approved for construction.

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Auburn-Smoking Ban
4:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Smoking Banned At Auburn University

A new policy has banned smoking on the campus of Auburn University. The ban will go into effect on Aug. 21.
Credit Auburn University

A new policy has banned smoking on the campus of Auburn University.


Four campus groups passed resolutions to ban smoking on campus and officials say the ban will go into effect on Aug. 21.


Auburn University student Liz Howerton told the newspaper that most students she's talked to are supportive of the idea and that it "can only do good for the campus."


Lee Bradberry, who owns a nearby cigar shop, says he applauds the school's concerns for public health but has misgivings about the policy because he thinks it infringes on individual rights.

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New Budget Chairman
4:24 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Poole Named Ala. House Education Budget Chairman

Republican state Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa has been named chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Education Committee.
Credit http://gpr-law.com/

Republican state Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa has been named chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Education Committee.


Poole was appointed to the position Wednesday by Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn. Effective Aug. 1, he will replace Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery, who last week announced he is resigning his position in the Legislature.

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Alabama Power Rates
4:11 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Alabama Power Defends Electric Rates To PSC

Alabama Power defended its rate structure before the state's utility regulatory board Wednesday.
Credit Alabama Power / Wikipedia

Alabama Power is defending its rate structure before the state's utility regulatory board.


Officials of Alabama Power told the Public Service Commission on Wednesday that its rates are below the national average. Officials said the total annual electric bill for the average Alabama home is above the national average because of hot, humid summers and because Alabamians tend to use more electricity and less of other energy sources, such as natural gas and fuel oil, than other Americans.

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Business & Education
7:35 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Southern States Closing 8 Stores in Rural Alabama

The Southern States store in Centre is one of several closing in the state.
southernstates.com

Southern States is closing eight farm supply and service cooperative stores in Alabama.

   The Cullman Times (http://bit.ly/1dEqHhN ) reports that the stores are shutting down as part of a corporate restructuring.

   The company is closing stores in Athens, Centre, Cullman, Danville, Geraldine, Headland, Henagar and Oneonta.

   Company officials say the affected stores account for only a small number of locations within its 17-state region. It's unclear how many jobs are affected.

Arts & Life
7:27 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Play About Bus Boycott to Premiere in Montgomery

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in 1955. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
www.vibe.com

A stage play inspired by the events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott will have its premiere on July 26 at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center.

   The play was written, produced, directed and staged by faculty, staff and alumni of Alabama State University.

   The play, "The Meeting at Mount Zion," is based on the writings and notes from a meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the group led by the Rev. Martin Luther King which helped lead the boycott.

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Politics & Government
7:15 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Ala. Governor Out as Defendant in Abortion Suit

Governor Robert Bentley is out as a defendent in a lawsuit challening Alabama's abortion law.
governor.alabama.gov

A federal judge has dismissed the governor and officials with three professional medical boards as defendants in a suit challenging a new Alabama law setting stricter regulations for abortion clinics.

   U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson removed Gov. Robert Bentley as a defendant Tuesday based on an agreement by all parties. He removed officials with the state boards for nursing, medical licensure and medical examiners on Monday. Bentley's attorney maintained he had no role in enforcing the new law.

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