The Associated Press


Alabama Veterans Cemetery
8:23 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Consecration Set for Alabama Veterans Cemetery

Alabama's new Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spanish Fort.

The state Department of Veterans Affairs is planning a consecration service for Alabama's new Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spanish Fort on April 17.

A department spokesman said representatives of different religions will offer blessings and conduct rituals appropriate to their faiths during the 10 a.m. service. He said the service is in preparation for the cemetery's first interments.

Montgomery Area Transit System
8:14 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Montgomery Transit Workers Threaten to Strike

Kala Kachmar/ Montgomery Advertiser

Unionized bus drivers and mechanics with the Montgomery Area Transit System are threatening to go on strike.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports ( that wages and insurance costs are key issues in the dispute.

The workers, who are part of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 765, are taking action against First Transit, a company contracted by the city of Montgomery to operate the bus system, which is also known as MATS.

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Severe Weather
7:14 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Ala on Alert For Chance of Severe Weather

Forecasters say there's a medium risk of tornadoes, flooding and damaging winds across central Alabama today. The National Weather Service

Forecasters say there's a chance of severe weather across Alabama, and many areas already are taking precautions.

The weather service says there's a medium risk of tornadoes, flooding and damaging winds across central Alabama on Thursday, although chances are lower in the northern and southern ends of the state.

Dozens of school systems in central counties are dismissing students early as a precaution, and emergency managers are monitoring conditions in case the weather turns violent.

Education Budget
6:27 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Alabama House Oks Education Budget; Pay Hike

The Alabama House has approved a $5.7 billion dollar education budget. It now heads to the Senate.

The Alabama House has adopted a $5.7 billion budget that gives teachers and other education employees their first pay raise since 2008.

The spending plan gives public school employees a 2 percent raise. That's less than the 5 percent increase supported by Democratic lawmakers.

The budget was adopted late Wednesday after more than six hours of debate on the spending plan and a separate pay raise bill.

House members voted 62-37 against a proposed amendment by Democratic Rep. Richard Lindsey of Centre to increase the raise to 5 percent.

Alabama-Shooting Plan
4:56 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Alabama Plan Addresses Active Shooters

Ala. Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier has prepared a plan for preventing and responding to active shooters.
Credit Office of the Governor

Alabama's secretary of law enforcement has prepared a plan for preventing and responding to active shooters.

Secretary Spencer Collier says law enforcement can't predict when a person intends to kill several people, but they can be trained and prepared to decrease a potential shooter's chances of executing the crime.

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Road Repairs
4:51 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Gov. Bentley Signs Law To Fund Road Repairs

Governor Bentley signed legislation that would give even greater access to counties to participate in road and bridge projects.

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed legislation to help all counties participate in a program to repair roads and bridges.

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Birmingham Barons
8:15 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Minor League Team Opens New Birmingham Ballpark

The Birmingham Barons play their first game tonight at the new Regions Field in downtown Birmingham.
The Birmingham News

Birmingham's minor league baseball team is returning to the city after an absence of two decades.

The Birmingham Barons play their first game Wednesday night at the new, 8,500-seat Regions Field in downtown Birmingham.

The team is moving back to the city after playing its home games at a city-owned stadium in metropolitan Hoover for 20 years.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell will throw out the first pitch, and city promoters are hoping the $64 million stadium will add to a revitalization of the inner city.

Unemployment Benefits
7:58 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Alabama Losing 9 Weeks of Unemployment Benefits

State officials say Alabama is no longer eligible for the extra nine weeks of unemployment benefits. Department of Labor

Unemployment benefits for some Alabamians who have been out of work a long time are changing.

Alabamians have been able to qualify for 63 weeks of benefits, but that is being reduced by nine weeks to 54 weeks. Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the state is no longer eligible for the extra nine weeks of federally funded benefits because the state's unemployment rate fell below 7 percent in November, December and January.

Tuscaloosa Bar Shooting
7:24 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Trial Date Set for Man in Tuscaloosa Bar Shooting

45-year-old Nathan Van Wilkins is accused of opening fire at the Copper Top bar in Temerson Square July 2012.

A trial date has been set for a man accused in a July 2012 shooting that left 18 people injured at a Tuscaloosa bar.

Nathan Van Wilkins is accused of opening fire on patrons at the Copper Top bar in July 2012. The Tuscaloosa News Tuesday reported ( ) he's scheduled to appear in court May 6. The man is also accused to shooting a man at a house in Northport and setting fire to his former workplace and the house of his former co-worker.

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Governor Bentley Second Term
6:56 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Alabama Governor Seeking Second Term

Ala. Governor Robert Bentley says he'll seek a second four-year term in 2014.
The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced he will seek a second term.

The 70-year-old Republican governor put to rest Tuesday any speculation about his future plans.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he has no plans to run against Bentley.

Bradley Byrne, who finished second to Bentley in the GOP race in 2010, says he hasn't decided what he will do in 2014. Tim James, who finished a close third, says he's not running now, but you never say never in politics.

AEA Rally
5:26 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

AEA Rally Draws Big Crowd In Montgomery

Incoming AEA President Anita Gibson says a similar rally a year ago helped defeat a bill legalizing charter schools.

Several hundred members of the Alabama Education Association filled the Capitol steps to push for better working conditions and the repeal of new state tax credits for private school students.

The rally Tuesday was one of the biggest by any group during this year's legislative session.

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Alabama-Women Businesses
4:54 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Women-Owned Businesses Seeing Growth In Ala.

The report from American Express OPEN shows the number of businesses owned by women in Alabama has jumped significantly from 1997.
Credit American Express Open /

A new study says the number of businesses owned by women in Alabama has increased about 67 percent since 1997.

That makes the state No. 12 nationally in terms of the growth of female-owned companies during the period.

The report released by American Express OPEN says Alabama now has about 116,000 companies owned by women. Those Alabama-based companies will have sales estimated at $16 billion this year.

The report says Alabama has surpassed the national growth rate of women-owned firms of 59 percent over the last 15 years.

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Holocaust Remembrance
7:39 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Ala to Mark Holocaust Remembrance with Ceremony

Alabama officials are gathering at the Capitol Tuesday, April 9 for the Annual Day of Remembrance for Holocaust victims. Birmingham Holocaust Education Center

The state of Alabama is recalling victims of the Holocaust with a ceremony at the Capitol in Montgomery.

The Annual Day of Remembrance will be held Tuesday morning in the Old House Chamber at the Capitol.

The event is hosted by the Alabama Holocaust Commission each April. It's meant to remember those who were killed and suffered during the mass slaughter by Nazi Germany across Europe.

Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham will speak, and Gov. Robert Bentley will present a proclamation.

Abortion Bill
7:32 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Ala. Governor Signs Abortion Clinic Regulations

The Governor's Office

Alabama's governor has signed into law stricter abortion clinic regulations.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill Tuesday at the Capitol while surrounded by legislators who supported it.

The new law requires clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to local hospitals. Bentley, who is a physician, said a doctor who can't get admitting privileges from a hospital probably ought not to be practicing in the state.

The bill also sets stricter building standards for abortion clinics, and it gives them a couple of months to comply.