The Associated Press


Barbecue Contest
5:56 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Alabama's Best Barbecue Contest Down to Final 8

The Shed in Mobile, Alabama is one of the final eight barbecue restaurants competing for the top spot in the state.

The Alabama Tourism Department's contest for the best barbecue restaurant in the state is down to the final eight.

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Mineral Payments Cuts
5:28 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Ala. To Lose $217K In Federal Mineral Payments

The federal government is withholding $110 million in mineral payments to 35 states as a result of automatic spending cuts that took effect this month.
Credit Mead Gruver / Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Interior is cutting more than 217,000 dollars in federal mineral payments to Alabama over the next five months.

The reduction is part of the 110 million dollars in cuts to 35 states that receive the mineral payments as their share of revenue from energy and mineral production that occurred on federal land within the states and offshore.

The Interior Department is making the reduction as part of the automatic federal spending cuts that started this month.

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Alabama Walking Tours
6:01 am
Thu March 28, 2013

22 Alabama Cities to Hold April Walking Tours

Alabama's Tourism Department says 22 towns across the state will participate in this year's April Walking Tours. Alabama Tourism Department

The Alabama Tourism Department says 22 towns across the state will participate in the department's April Walking Tours.

The department's Brian Jones says more than 1,700 tours have been done since the program started 10 years ago. The free, hour-long tours of historic districts and courthouse squares will start at 10 a.m. on April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

Air Traffic Control Cuts
5:50 am
Thu March 28, 2013

FAA Cutting Funding to Control Towers May 5

Dothan's air traffic control tower is in danger of closing after the FAA announced it will cut funding May 5, 2013.

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced dates it plans to cut funding to 149 contract air traffic control towers — including two in Alabama.

Federal officials Wednesday announced funding will be cut to regional airports in Tuscaloosa and Dothan on May 5. FAA officials say airport operators have the choice to continue operating as a non-towered airport or continue providing services as a non-federal control tower.

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Birmigham Airport Accident
5:06 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ala. Airport Using Cabinet Like One That Killed Boy

Birmingham's airport is still using a large panel of video monitors similar to one that tipped over and killed a 10-year-old Kansas boy last week.

Birmingham's airport is still using a large panel of video monitors similar to one that tipped over and killed a 10-year-old Kansas boy last week.

The approximately 9-foot-tall cabinet was flashing flight information on three screens near baggage claim Wednesday, five days after a similar display killed Luke Bresette one floor higher in the airport.

A small warning sign tells visitors not to touch the cabinet. A portable metal fence on wheels is in place to keep people away.

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Tornado Aid
4:50 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Alabama Getting More Tornado Recovery Aid

Alabama is getting nearly $120 million in federal assistance to help with recovery from April 2011 tornadoes.

Alabama is getting nearly $120 million in federal assistance to help with recovery from the deadly tornadoes in April 2011.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the state government with $49.2 million to distribute to recovery projects. Tuscaloosa will get $43.9 million, Birmingham $17.5 million, and Jefferson County $9.1 million.

Bentley says the new funding will help several areas of the state that are still suffering long-term effects from the storms.

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Home Brewing
4:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Alabama Last State To Prohibit Home Brewing

Alabama is now the only state that prohibits home brewing.
Credit Tim Pearce / Flickr

With Mississippi legalizing home brewing, Alabama is now the only state that doesn't allow citizens to brew small amounts of beer or wine at home for personal use.

Home brewing enthusiasts have been trying since 2009 to get the Alabama Legislature to legalize what several thousand people are already doing illegally. But they have always met with strong opposition. Home brewing bills have won approval from legislative committees and could come up for a vote in the House or Senate soon.

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Orange Beach T-shirt ban
7:35 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Orange Beach Votes to Ban Items Deemed Offensive

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for a law banning T-shirts and other merchandise deemed offensive after a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.

The city council in Orange Beach has approved a measure banning T-shirts and other items deemed offensive.

The council voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which prohibits stores from openly displaying merchandise that could be considered offensive. ( reports that the ordinance restricts items that could be considered offensive to the areas of the stores that only adults can enter.

Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for the law following a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.

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Politics & Government
6:56 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Ala Seeking Again to Close Abortion Clinic

Alabama health officials want to shut down New Woman All Women Health Care in Birmingham, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.

Alabama health officials say they're again trying to shut down a Birmingham abortion clinic they claim is operating illegally.

The state asked a judge in Birmingham on Tuesday to close New Woman All Women Health Care, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.

Operators agreed to shut down the clinic last year after a state investigation found irregularities.

But an attorney for the Department of Public Health, Brian Hale, says the clinic still advertises itself as an abortion provider, and a doctor there still performs the procedure.

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Canada Exports
6:35 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Alabama Seminars to Promote Trade With Canada

Nearly two-thirds of the vehicles made at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance go to foreign destinations. Vehicles are Alabama's No. 1 export. Canada is Alabama's top export destination.
The Birmingham News

The Alabama Department of Commerce and the Alabama Export Alliance are planning seminars April 9-10 to help companies learn more about exporting to Canada.

Department officials said the Canada is Alabama's top trading partner, with Alabama exporting $3.9 billion in goods to Canada in 2012. But they said Canada has its own unique trade customs and regulations. The seminars will be in Huntsville and Birmingham on April 9 and in Mobile on April 10. The seminars are free, but registration is requested.

EWTN Health Care lawsuit
6:28 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Judge Tosses Health Lawsuit by Ala-Based EWTN

EWTN's main studio in Irondale, Alabama. The Roman Catholic broadcasting organization is talking with its attorneys after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new health care law.

An Alabama-based religious broadcasting organization is reviewing its options after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new federal health care law.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn threw out the lawsuit filed the Irondale-based Eternal Word Television Network in February. The judge says the issue isn't ready for court because rules are still changing.

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State Park Cuts
10:38 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Cuts To State Park Operations May Be Ahead

Cuts to the state parks system could be coming due to new legislation.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

  The state conservation department says it may eliminate some services and cut back hours of operation at state parks across Alabama.

The department's state parks director, Gregory Lien, has written a letter to community leaders explaining the circumstances.

Parks officials said the possible cuts stem from pending legislation that would divert $5 million in tax revenue that has been used in prior years to support the parks. Instead, the parks would rely only on the money they generate, which is not sufficient to maintain services.

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Birmingham Airport
10:27 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

City Says It Didn't Inspect Airport Unit That Fell

The city of Birmingham says it didn't inspect airport unit that fell and killed a young child.

  A lawyer for the city of Birmingham says a large cabinet housing flight information monitors that toppled and killed a 10-year-old boy inside a newly renovated airport terminal wasn't inspected by the city after installation.

The monitors were installed in a $201 million upgrade at Birmingham's airport. Assistant city attorney Steve Stine said Tuesday the monitor display didn't require city inspection under municipal code because it wasn't a structural component of the building.

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Water Wars
10:19 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Ga. Lawmakers OK Resolution Seeking Border Shift In Tri-State Water Dispute

Georgia lawmakers made a move that could impact a decades long water dispute with Alabama and Florida.
Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

  Georgia lawmakers are seeking to redraw the state's border with Tennessee and have authorized the state attorney general to file a lawsuit if negotiations fail.

The House voted 157-13 Tuesday to adopt a resolution seeking a strip of land leading to the Tennessee River. The offer will be sent to Tennessee officials, who have rebuffed previous efforts.

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10:09 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Governor Bentley Faces Upset Education Retirees

Governor Robert Bentley addressed the Alabama Education Retirees Association in Montgomery.
Credit / Office of the Governor

  Gov. Robert Bentley told retired educators that he signed a bill providing private school tax credits because of the flexibility it gives public schools to try new ideas to improve learning.

Bentley said he knew he would be facing an upset audience Tuesday when he addressed the Alabama Education Retirees Association in Montgomery, but he did it because of his respect for teachers.

Bentley told the retired educators, "Y'all are mad at me. I understand that."

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