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Politics & Government
7:36 am
Thu June 20, 2013

State Officials Approve New Hospital in Florence

State officials voted to allow RegionalCare Hospital Partners to build a 280-bed facility in Florence.

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.

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Business & Education
7:31 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Auto Seat Maker Breaking Ground in Montgomery

DAS North America will build a new manufacturing plant in Montgomery. It's expected to create about 300 jobs.
Robert Fouts/ Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

An automotive supplier is breaking ground on a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Montgomery.

   Gov. Robert Bentley and other officials will be on hand for a ceremony being held Thursday afternoon for DAS North America.

   The company makes seats for Kia and Hyundai vehicles. The expansion will create about 300 jobs in the Montgomery Industrial Park.

   The company is currently located in a temporary facility that employs about 100 people.

   The $37 million project is supposed to be complete next year.

Business & Education
7:24 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Few Transfers Expected Under Alabama Tax Credits

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.

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Politics & Government
7:28 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Alabama Town Rejects Banning Bicyclists From Road

An Alabama town has decided not to pass an ordinance that would have banned bicyclists from riding on a stretch of road.

   The Irondale City Council this week voted against the ordinance, which involves Grants Mill Road.

   WBRC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1bTKtEV) that the narrow, windy stretch of road has no shoulder so there's little room for cars to pass cyclists.

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Business & Education
6:36 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Alabama's New Tax Credits Limited to Transfers

Alabama's Department of Revenue says the state's new private school tax credits don't apply to students who are already in private schools, even though they are zoned for a failing public school.

   The department has been developing regulations to implement the Alabama Accountability Act, which the governor signed into law in March. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Tuesday the law is clear that the tax credits are to offset the cost of transferring students out of failing public schools, and it starts with the semester beginning in August.

Politics & Government
6:31 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Alabama 19th in Federal Revenue for State Spending

A new study ranks Alabama 19th among in the states in the amount of federal funding that goes into the state government's general revenue.

   The study by the Tax Foundation says federal funding accounts for 38.2 percent of the state government's revenue in Alabama. Mississippi ranked first at 49 percent and Alaska was 50th at 24 percent.

   Tennessee was at 44 percent, Georgia measured 41.1 percent, and Florida came in at 36.9 percent.

Arts & Life
6:26 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Huntsville Opening 2 Entertainment Districts

Patrons can have open containers of alcohol when they're in entertainment districts in Huntsville.

The city of Huntsville is trying to spice up life in its downtown area with a pair of new entertainment districts.

   Promoters are planning a Thursday launch for the new areas, where restaurant and bar patrons will be able to purchase alcohol to-go and then stroll the streets at night.

   The goal is to have area that includes street performers, outdoor movies, art demonstrations and more.

   City officials say they'll review operations and make possible adjustments to the areas' boundaries and rules after 90 days.

Business & Education
10:47 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Schools Failing Under Alabama Accountability Act

Center Point High School in Jefferson County is one of 78 schools on the failing list.
centerpointhigh.jefcoed.com

Seventy-eight Alabama schools from both urban and rural areas are on the state's list of schools that are failing under a new law.

   The list released Tuesday includes many schools from the state's Black Belt region and city or county systems around Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.

   Parents who want to remove their children from the schools and send them to better ones can receive tax credits under the Alabama Accountability Act, passed by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature this year.

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Politics & Government
9:20 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Ala. Governor Reinstating Merit

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is reinstating merit raises starting January 1, 2014.
dyn.politico.com

Alabama state employees are going to get their first raises in five years.

   Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting Jan. 1. State employees got their last merit raises and cost-of-living raises in late 2008. There have been none since then because the recession affected state tax collections.

   Bentley signed a letter saying state employees have been asked to do more with less for several years, and it's time to resume merit raises. They can be up to 5 percent annually for meritorious performance.

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Politics & Government
9:20 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Ala. Governor Reinstating Merit

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is reinstating merit raises starting January 1, 2014.
dyn.politico.com

Alabama state employees are going to get their first raises in five years.

   Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting Jan. 1. State employees got their last merit raises and cost-of-living raises in late 2008. There have been none since then because the recession affected state tax collections.

   Bentley signed a letter saying state employees have been asked to do more with less for several years, and it's time to resume merit raises. They can be up to 5 percent annually for meritorious performance.

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Arts & Life
9:14 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Crews Cleaning Up After Storms in North Alabama

Workers are cleaning up after strong storms caused scattered damage in north Alabama.

   Utilities workers from Huntsville were clearing streets Tuesday after overnight storms left damage in the Gurley area.

   In Athens, officials say more than 2,000 electric customers lost power because of storms with high winds on Monday.

   Forecasters say more rain is possible, and storms could be strong in central and south Alabama.

Business & Education
8:25 am
Tue June 18, 2013

School Volunteers to be Checked for Sex Offenders

The Tuscaloosa City Board of Education is considering a new policy that would require guests and volunteers to undergo a sex offender registry check.
http://www.abc3340.com

The Tuscaloosa City Board of Education is set to vote on a new school guest and volunteer policy that would require visitors at Tuscaloosa City Schools to undergo a sex offender registry check.

   The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/14HGBqi ) that the proposal up for a vote Tuesday would also require that some volunteers be subject to a full criminal background check before they can work with students.

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Politics & Government
8:21 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Southern GOP Leaders Meeting in Alabama

Alabama Republican Chairman Bill Armistead says GOP leaders from 10 Southern states are meeting in Alabama.
blog.al.com

Republican leaders from 10 Southern states are meeting in Alabama to plan strategies for making new GOP inroads across the region.

   Alabama Republican Chairman Bill Armistead says the two-day meeting of state party chairs and executive directors concludes Tuesday in Birmingham.

   Party leaders hope to retain all their current U.S. Senate seats and pick up six new ones, which would allow the GOP to take control of the Senate.

Business & Education
8:13 am
Tue June 18, 2013

State to Release List of Schools Failing in Ala

The state is releasing the names of schools that are failing under a new Alabama law that lets parents receive tax credits for sending their children to a better school.

   State Superintendent Tommy Bice holds a news conference in Montgomery on Tuesday morning to make the names public.

   The schools are being labeled as failing under the Alabama Accountability Act, passed by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature this year.

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Business & Education
8:05 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Carnival Files Suit Against Ala. Ship Repair Firm

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

The Carnival Corp. has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $12 million in damage its cruise ship, Triumph, sustained in an early April windstorm.

   AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/18Til8K ) the company filed the lawsuit last week and argues mooring equipment being used by BAE Systems was defective. The ship broke free of its mooring during a storm that packed winds of over 60 mph and killed a dock worker.

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