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Business & Education
6:56 am
Thu May 9, 2013

UAB, 4 Community College Launch Partnership

UAB President Ray L. Watts, center, announced an admissions partnership with four Alabama community colleges that will allow those that earn associate's degrees at those four colleges to be automatically admitted to UAB
Madison Underwood | AL.com

The University of Alabama Birmingham has launched a partnership with four community colleges allowing students who earn an associate's degree automatic admission to UAB and a $2,000 per year scholarship.

AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/16ijqVT ) UAB President Ray Watts announced the partnership Wednesday with leaders from Gadsden State, Jefferson State, Lawson State and Wallace State-Hanceville.

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Business & Education
6:53 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Birmingham Educator Named Alabama Teacher of Year

Birmingham high school teacher Alison Grizle has been named the 2013-2014 Alabama Teacher of the Year.
al.com

A Birmingham high school teacher has been named the 2013-2014 Alabama Teacher of the Year.

Alison Grizzle, a math teacher at P.D. Jackson Olin High School, will serve as the spokesperson and representative for teachers in Alabama for the next year.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice made the announcement at a Wednesday celebration honoring the 12 semi-finalists and four finalists who were nominated for the coveted title.

Carnival Triumph
4:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Disabled Cruise Ship Leaves Ala. Port

After three months in Mobile the disabled Carnival Triumph is headed back out to sea.
Credit U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr

The Carnival Triumph is headed back to sea three months after limping into port following a fire at sea.


The almost 900-foot-long cruise ship left the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile under its own power Wednesday after extensive work to repair damage from an engine room fire.


The Miami-based Carnival says the Triumph is headed to Freeport, Bahamas, for more repairs and upgrades.


It's supposed to return to service June 13 with a cruise from Galveston, Texas.

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Adoption Law
4:50 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

New Law Streamlines Adoption For Foster Children

Governor Robert Bentley has signed a new law that will streamline the adoptions of foster children.
Credit governor.alabama.gov

Adoptions involving foster children will be streamlined in Alabama under a new law that Gov. Robert Bentley has signed.


Bentley and legislative leaders say the Best Interest of the Child Act will prevent foster families from having to wait several years before being able to adopt children in their care.


The law shortens from 15 months to 12 months the time that must pass after a child is in state custody before a court can consider a request to terminate parental rights.

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Politics & Government
4:34 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

GOP Advances Plan To Change Registration Deadline

Republican lawmakers have advanced a plan to that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.

Republican lawmakers are pushing a plan that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.


Current law allows registration until 10 days before an election. A Republican bill would change the deadline to 17 days. The measure passed a Senate committee Wednesday on a party line vote. It now goes to the full Senate.


Republicans say local registrars need more time to prepare accurate voting lists for poll workers to use on election day. Democrats say the move will make it harder for people to vote.

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Arts & Life
8:34 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Fans of Blues Joint Show Support at City Meeting

Henry "Gip" Gipson owns the Bessemer juke joint.
The Birmingham News / Hal Yeager

About 100 supporters of a popular blues establishment in Bessemer packed a city council meeting in an effort to persuade city officials to allow the club to remain open.

Many in the audience Tuesday night spoke in support of Gip's Place and its proprietor, Henry "Gip" Gipson.

Bessemer police shut down the club last week. Authorities say it's not properly zoned and has been operating illegally.

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Business & Education
7:44 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Tuscaloosa Schools Eye Drug Testing for Drugs

Officials in Tuscaloosa City Schools are considering a policy to randomly test students for drugs.

Mike Daria, assistant superintendent of general administration, told the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education on Tuesday that he and several other administrators have been in talks with high school principals about creating a random drug testing policy for students in middle and high school.

The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/YF22Io) that creation of the policy is in its early stages.

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Politics & Government
6:55 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Alabama Senate Approves Education Budget, Raise

The Alabama Senate worked late Tuesday night to approve an education budget and a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees.

The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly $5.8 billion budget that would increase spending slightly on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a 2 percent raise. Both the budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.

The raise would be the first for K-12 employees since October 2007. It would take effect when the new budget begins on Oct. 1.

Politics & Government
6:33 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Alabama Legislature Votes to Legalize Home Brewing

The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing.

The Senate voted 18-7 Tuesday night for a home brewing bill. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for signing into law. Gov. Robert Bentley said recently he had no objections to the bill because it does not allow home brewers to sell their beer or wine.

Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.

Business & Education
6:31 am
Wed May 8, 2013

PSC Begins Review of Alabama Power Rates

Alabama's Public Service Commission.
psc.state.al.us

The state Public Service Commission is starting a review of Alabama Power Co. rates.

The commission holds the first of a series of meetings Wednesday in Montgomery. The commission announced it will have a company overview and discuss the fundamentals of the rate structure on the opening day.

 The commission recently wrapped up a similar review of Mobile Gas rates. The commission plans to make a decision about the company's natural gas rates on June 6.

Alabama Turkey Season
6:25 am
Wed May 8, 2013

State Panel Reverses Turkey Season Decision

Turkey hunters will be able to hunt during the fall after a state panel reversed its decision.
thesouthernlandbrokers.com

A state panel has reversed its decision to close fall turkey season in Alabama after hearing complaints from hunters.

The Daily Home of Talladega (http://bit.ly/ZNNJQv ) reports that the Alabama Department of Conservation Advisory Board changed course during a public meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park.

The board's decision in March to eliminate the fall season in the six counties where it's allowed ruffled the feathers of turkey hunters across the state.

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Health Overhaul-Alabama
4:47 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Alabama Passes Managed Care Medicaid Revision

The Alabama Legislature has passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed care operators.
Credit Microsoft images

The Alabama Legislature passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed care operators.

Under the legislation passed Tuesday, the State Medicaid Agency will no longer bear financial risks but will instead assume the role of contract administrators. Savings of $50 million to $75 million over five years and future cost containment is expected.

Privately owned Regional Care Organizations won't deal directly with patients, but will contract directly with doctors to provide care.

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School Security
4:39 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Ala. House Panel Votes To Allow Hiring Officers

An Alabama House panel has voted to allow the hiring of trained resource officers to provide security in schools.
Credit Trent Moore/The Cullman Times

An Alabama House committee has passed a bill that will allow school systems to hire trained resource officers to provide security in their schools and for the school system to pay for the cost of training and hiring the officers.


The director of Alabama's Department of Homeland Security, Spencer Collier, said it's a way of insuring that Alabama student are safe when at school.


"To get people trained as police officers is the best way to make sure schools are safe," Collier said.

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Tornado-Damaged Schools
4:28 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Tornado-Damaged Alabama Schools Closer To Repairs

The Alabama Legislature is closer to providing money to repair and rebuild public schools hit by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012 like Murphy High School in Mobile.
Credit G.M. Andrews/AP Photo

The Alabama Legislature is closer to providing money to repair and rebuild public schools hit by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a bill that would allow the state to sell $30 million in bonds. Of that, $15 million would go to Murphy High School in Mobile, which was hit by a tornado in December.

Three schools in the Tuscaloosa area would benefit, with $3 million for Alberta City Elementary and $2.5 million each for University Place Elementary and Holt Elementary. They were hit on April 27, 2011.

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Gun Bills
4:16 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Constitutional Amendment On Guns Nears Final Step

State lawmakers are closer to letting voters decide, at least in theory, whether to make it harder for the government to adopt restrictions on firearms.
Credit Mike Saechang / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are one step from letting voters decide, at least in theory, whether to make it harder for government to adopt restrictions on firearms.


A proposed constitutional amendment would apply a judicial standard called strict scrutiny to any limits on possessing weapons. The proposal cleared a Senate committee Tuesday. It must pass the full Senate before it goes on a statewide ballot.

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