New agriculture statistics prepared for Alabama counties reveal that agriculture, forestry and related industries have an annual economic impact in Alabama of $70.4 billion.
The study was conducted by Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. It shows that the Alabama counties that receive the greatest economic impact from agriculture are Mobile, Cullman and DeKalb.
The election to replace outgoing Secretary of State Beth Chapman is turning into a contest.
Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue has joined state Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa in the Republican primary. Former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney says he plans to run as a Republican and will kick off his campaign in a few days.
Alabama has moved up one spot to 44th in the Kids Count national rankings.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the Kids Count data book Monday. Alabama showed improvements in children's health and education between 2005 and 2011. The teen birth rate declined and the rate of high school students not graduating in four years also declined.
Allegations of inmate abuse at Alabama's female prison and an inmate being beaten to death at a male prison have pointed to a lack of security cameras in state prisons.
Testimony in a federal court trial in Montgomery has noted the lack of cameras to record what happened on the night inmate Rocrast Mack was beaten and stomped at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton. Allegations of inmate abuse at Tutwiler Prison for Women led to a federal report pointing out the need for cameras. The Legislature voted recently to fund cameras for Tutwiler.
The Women's Indoor Football League is planning to host a tryout in Birmingham to fill rosters for its teams there, in Montgomery and Atlanta.
Ray Blanchette, CEO of Blanchette Sports Holdings, tells the Montgomery Advertiser (http://on.mgmadv.com/11xzlN9) the Women's Indoor Football League is meant to give women the opportunity to play the sport at a professional level as an alternative to the Lingerie Football League.
Organizers of Rock the South, a two-day country music festival, have signed a contract to keep the concert in Cullman for the next five years.
Cullman Mayor Max Townson tells WBMA-TV (http://bit.ly/10c6BIy ) the city will likely conduct an economic impact study on the festival. Townson also praised the festival's organizers for making contributions to local organizations, including Children's Hospital in Birmingham.
The Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center in Dothan has been awarded a federal grant of nearly $142,000 to assist people affected by the Midland City school bus shooting.
The grant was announcement by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs.
The office said the grant is the result of Jimmy Lee Dykes killing a bus driver and kidnapping a student on Jan. 29. The office said the victims include 35 children who lost their bus driver and 20 who witnessed the bus driver's death.
State officials have voted to allow a nearly 300-bed hospital to be built in northern Alabama.
The TimesDaily of Florence (http://bit.ly/14KN7fM) reports the Certificate of Need board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow RegionalCare Hospital Partners to build a 280-bed facility in Florence.
The facility is set to replace the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Representatives from the Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield spoke out against RegionalCare's plan to build the new 280-bed facility, saying a hospital of that size could put Helen Keller out of business.
The leaders of two Alabama private school organizations don't expect many new students to apply in the wake of a law providing tax credits for students transferring from failing schools.
The executive director of the Alabama Christian Education Association, Robin Mears, said he expects less than 100 transfers to his member schools. The executive director of the Alabama Independent School Association, Randy Skipper, said he hasn't heard about any students inquiring about transferring.