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Arts & Life
7:38 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Alabama Cities Prepare Fourth of July Events

More than two dozen July 4th celebrations and fireworks are planned across Alabama.

More than 25 Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks shows are planned across Alabama.

   The Alabama Tourism Department says the events include the Spirit of America at Point Mallard in Decatur, the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show at Vulcan in Birmingham, and Independence Day 1776 at the American Village in Montevallo.

   Fireworks shows will stretch from Gulf Shores on the coast to Athens in the Tennessee Valley and from Demopolis in west Alabama to Auburn in east Alabama.

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Gulf Shores to Conduct Impact Study on Festival

Gulf Shores is approving a $12,500 study to gauge the impact of the Hangout Music Festival.
http://wfpk.org

City leaders in Gulf Shores have voted to conduct a study to gauge the economic impact of the Hangout Music Festival.

   WALA-TV reports (http://bit.ly/14VPM6v ) the mayor and city council voted unanimously Monday night to spend $12,500 on a six-week study that will compare the cost of hosting the event with lodging and sales tax revenue the festival generates.

   The city has hosted the three-day, beachfront festival for four years and officials say they want an independent examination of its impact on the city.

Business & Education
7:27 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Alabama State Port Marks 85 years in Operation

The Alabama State Port in Mobile is marking 85 years.
The Associated Press

Alabama's primary seaport is marking 85 years in operation in Mobile.

   The Alabama State Port was dedicated on June 25, 1928. Back then it was called the "Alabama State Docks" and handled exports of coal, forest products and sugar.

   The public terminals still ship coal and forest products, but the cargo today includes automotive components, poultry and steel.

Politics & Government
5:03 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Ala. County At Heart Of Voting Rights Case Pleased

The nation's highest court set aside a part of the Voting Rights Act that requires federal approval for changes to election practices in the South and some other areas.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Alabama county at the center of the Supreme Court's decision on voting rights is praising the decision.

Shelby County attorney Butch Ellis says the ruling Tuesday will save local and state governments time and money without hurting the cause of voting equality.

Ellis says he's "elated" with the ruling, in which the court said a key part of the law is invalid until it's updated by Congress.

The justices set aside a part of the landmark law that requires federal approval for changes to election practices in the South and some other areas.

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Politics & Government
8:01 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Alabama Ag Commissioner Launching Re-election Bid

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is geting ready to kick off his re-election campaign.
archives.alabama.gov

Alabama's Republican agriculture commissioner, John McMillan, is getting ready to kick off his re-election campaign.

   McMillan said he will announce his candidacy for a second term Tuesday at a meeting of the Alabama Agribusiness Council in Gulf Shores. McMillan is returning to his home county of Baldwin for the announcement.

Politics & Government
6:38 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Ala. Officials Concerned Over Oil Pipeline Plans

A proposed crude-oil pipeline is expected to come within 3,000 feet of Big Creek Lake, which provides drinking water for Mobile area residents.
blog.al.com

The Mobile County Commission is hoping to meet with officials from a company planning to build a crude-oil pipeline to address concerns over its proposed proximity to Big Creek Lake.

   AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/12lxI0d ) Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Director Charles Hyland told commissioners during a meeting Monday the proposed Plains Southcorp pipeline is expected to come within 3,000 feet of the lake - which provides drinking water for the Mobile area.

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Business & Education
6:33 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Enrollment in Pre-Kindergarten Expected to Rise

Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program is expected to see a roughly 40% increase.

Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program is expected to see a roughly 40 percent increase thanks to increased funding.

   Commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs, Jeana Ross, told AL.com (http://bit.ly/12lVDg7) Monday that grant funding has helped state officials to form pre-kindergarten programs at 93 new schools.

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Alabama Agriculture
5:18 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Agriculture Has $70.4 Billion Impact On Alabama

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.
Credit calsidyrose / Flickr

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.

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Secretary of State
5:03 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Alabama Secretary Of State Race Drawing Candidates

The race to replace outgoing Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who is prohibited by term limits from running again, has drawn three Republican candidates.
Credit sos.state.al.us / Alabama Secretary of State

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.

No Democrat has announced yet.

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Kids Count-Alabama
4:55 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Alabama Moves Up To 44th In Kids Count

Alabama has moved up to 44th in the annual Kids Count national rankings from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Credit VOICES for Alabama Children

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.

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Politics & Government
8:10 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Abuses Point to Lack of Prison Security Cameras

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.

Politics & Government
7:58 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Gov. Bentley to Speak at Ala. Education Conference

Governor Robert Bentley is slated to speak at the Alabama Community College Presidents Association in Mobile.
The Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to speak at the Alabama Community College Presidents Association summer conference.

   Bentley is slated to discuss the role of the state's community colleges in education, workforce development and job creation at the Monday morning meeting.

   The conference is being hosted at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile.

Arts & Life
7:38 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Women's Football League Holds Tryout in Birmingham

facebook.com/Women's Indoor Football League

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.

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Arts & Life
7:32 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Music Festival to Stay in Cullman for Next 5 Years

www.cullmansense.com

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.

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Business & Education
7:42 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Toyota Spending $150M at Ala Engine Plant

Toyota is spending another $150 million at its Huntsville engine plant, which will bring total investment at the plant up to $850 million.
al.com

Toyota is spending $150 million on equipment as part of its expansion at an engine plant in north Alabama.

   The car manufacturer said Thursday the machinery will help fill out space created during an $80 million plant expansion announced previously.

   The work is supposed to be finished by early 2014, and 125 jobs are being added in Huntsville. Once done, total employment will be 1,150.

   The company is expanding production capacity for V6 engines. The company also is adding new capacity at supplier plants in Troy, Mo., and Jackson, Tenn.

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