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Opelika Sludge Spill
7:36 am
Mon February 11, 2013

State Investigates Sludge Spill in Opelika

timlennoxonline.blogspot.com

State environmental officials are investigating the recent release of industrial sludge into two Opelika waterways.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management spokesman Scott Hughes says the agency received a call Friday from the city of Opelika regarding some material that had been found in the Pepperell Branch and Saugahatchee Creek.


Hughes tells the Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/V9RInR) that the release likely started sometime Thursday afternoon.

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Politics & Government
7:25 am
Mon February 11, 2013

514 People Died in Alabama Highway Wrecks in 2012

Preliminary figures show more than 500 people died in state highway accidents investigated by state troopers last year. Nearly 60 percent of the victims were not wearing seat belts.
Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

Preliminary figures show that 514 people died in state highway accidents investigated by state troopers in 2012.


The numbers were released recently by the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Public Safety.


State officials said that in 59 percent, or 251 of the statewide fatalities investigated by state troopers, the victims were not wearing seat belts.

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Disaster Loans
6:36 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Deadline Coming in Ala., Miss. for Disaster Loans

The roof of the sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Ala. was ripped off by a tornado that struck midtown Mobile Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012 in Mobile, Ala.
Bill Starling

The federal Small Business Administration says March 11 is the deadline for disaster loan applications from people and businesses in 10 Alabama counties and three Mississippi counties affected by severe storms on Dec. 25-26.


SBA field director Frank Skaggs said low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Loans of up to $40,000 are available to homeowners and renters to replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million.

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Alabama Education Policies
6:31 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Bill Would Give School Systems More Flexibility

Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard supports legislation that would give local school systems more flexibility in determining their rules and regulations.
mikehubbard.com

The Alabama Legislature is considering a bill that would give local school systems more flexibility in determining their rules and regulations.


The bill is opposed by the Alabama Education Association. AEA officials are concerned it could allow some local systems to strip rights away from teachers. They see it as a possible back-door approach to creating public/private charter schools in Alabama.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:26 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Ala. Lawmaker Wants to Eliminate Some Runoffs

Alabama Rep. Mike Ball.
repmikeball.com

A north Alabama lawmaker is suggesting possible legislation that he said would streamline the state's election process by eliminating some party primary runoffs.


Republican state Rep. Mike Ball of Madison told the Florence Times-Daily the primary runoffs are costly. He said sometimes in special elections the runoff could cause a district to go through most of a legislative session without representation.


Ball said he's researching the idea and hopes to file a bill by the end of March to discontinue most primary runoffs.

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Synthetic Drug-Effects
5:11 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Researchers Link Synthetic Drug To Kidney Injury

Researchers at UAB have linked smoking synthetic marijuana — known as Spice or K2 — to kidney injury.
Credit US Drug Enforcement Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say smoking synthetic marijuana — known as Spice or K2 — has been linked to kidney injury.


UAB researchers conducted four case studies involving four young men who smoked synthetic marijuana and suffered kidney injuries afterward. Researchers say the men visited the hospital weeks after using the drug and suffered from abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

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UAB President
5:03 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Watts Named President At UAB

Dr. Ray L. Watts has been named UAB's 7th president.
Credit http://www.uab.edu/president/

The dean of UAB's medical school has been named president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Trustees selected Dr. Ray L. Watts for the position on Friday.


The Birmingham native has been dean of UAB's medical school since 2010.


Watts replaces Carol Garrison, who served as president for a decade before stepping down in August.


Watts graduated from UAB with an engineering degree in 1976. He earned his medical degree at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Naked Student Shot
4:48 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Ala. Judge Dismisses Shooting Suit Against College

A judge has dismissed a family's lawsuit against the University of South Alabama over a campus police officer's fatal shooting of a naked student.
Credit southalabama.edu

A judge has dismissed a family's lawsuit against the University of South


Alabama over a campus police officer's fatal shooting of a naked student.


A Mobile County judge ruled Friday that state law makes the school exempt from the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of 18-year-old freshman Gil Collar.


The judge says the lawsuit can go forward against the university's police chief, however.


A university police officer shot and killed the Wetumpka teenager outside the police station in October.

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Science & Health
6:34 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Southern Diet, Fried Foods, May Raise Stroke Risk

Festival goers wait on an order of funnel cakes at the Athens Grease Festival in Athens, Alabama.
Maggie Martin/APR News

Deep-fried foods may be causing trouble in the Deep South. A study finds that people who consume a lot of fried foods and drinks like sweet tea and soda were 41 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than people who ate that way about once a month.


Researchers say the study might help explain why blacks in the Southeast suffer more strokes. Blacks were five times more likely than whites to have the Southern dietary pattern.

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Alabama Bicentennial Commission bill
6:27 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Senate Getting Ready for Alabama's Bicentennial

Alabama Senator Arthur Orr wants the state to set up the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
arthurorr.com

Some Alabama legislators are trying to start planning now for the state's bicentennial in 2019.


Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur got the Senate to pass a resolution Thursday setting up the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. The commission would plan and develop activities to celebrate Alabama becoming a state in 1819. Orr said the commission will have members representing state government, tourism and historic preservation. The members will only receive reimbursement for travel.

Immigration Suit
4:54 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

New Suit Filed Against Alabama Immigration Law

Alabamas immigration law is coming under fire again.
Credit Florida Atlantic University

A coalition of civil rights organizations is suing to stop part of Alabama's immigration law requiring officials to post lists of illegal immigrants in the state's court system online.


The federal court suit was filed Thursday on behalf of four Latinos in Montgomery County who were accused of fishing without a state fishing license.


Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Kristi Graunke says the law is designed to humiliate and make life difficult for immigrants regardless of their status.

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Legislature-Consolidation
4:46 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Ala. Senate Delays Government Consolidation Bills

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh has delayed a vote on a package of bills addressing government consolidation and efficiency.
Credit blog.al.com

The Alabama Senate has delayed a vote on a package of bills addressing government consolidation and efficiency.


Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh had planned to get the bills up for a vote Thursday. Marsh says he decided to delay a vote until next week because the bills are complicated and senators want time to study them.

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Legislature-Payback Bill
4:36 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Ala. House Oks Bill To Repay Money To ATF

The Alabama House has passed a bill that require repayment of $437 million that voters allowed to be transferred from a state savings account.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama House has voted to require repayment of $437 million that voters allowed to be transferred from a state savings account by 2026.


The House voted 80-19 Thursday for the bill by Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery. It was the first bill passed by the House during the 2013 regular session.

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Arts & Life
9:59 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Replicas of Columbus Ships on Alabama's Gulf Coast

The Columbus Foundation's replicas of the Nina and Pinta will be open for tours through Sunday on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
thenina.com The Columbus Foundation

Replicas of two of the ships used by Christopher Columbus to explore the new world in the late 15th century are on Alabama's Gulf Coast.

Al.com reports (http://bit.ly/XnIy5B) that the replicas of the Nina and Pinta are open for tours through Sunday.

The ships had their beginnings in 1986, when the Columbus Foundation formed in the British Virgin Islands in an effort to build the vessels that Columbus used on his first voyage, the Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta.

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Science & Health
9:09 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Mobile Science Center Struggles to Stay Afloat

Officials say Mobile's Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is struggling to stay open because of finances.
blog.bigmoviezone.com

The president of the board that oversees a science center in Mobile says the facility is struggling just to keep its doors open.

Exploreum Board of Trustees President David Trent said donations are down.

WALA-TV reports (http://bit.ly/X6wCHe) that the science center brought in a little more than $3 million in 2009 -- but the cost to keep it running was more than $4 million.

The nonprofit's tax filings show that the trend continued in 2010. Revenue was reported at $3.3 million while expenses rose to $4.7 million. That amounted to a $1.4 million loss.

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