The Associated Press


School Standards
3:36 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Ala. Common Core Standards Still In Place

Common Core education standards will remain in place after Senator Dick Brewbaker tabled his bill to repeal them.
Credit istockphoto

The sponsor of a bill to repeal the state's use of Common Core education standards has decided to kill his own bill.

The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Republican Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery, took the action Wednesday when it became clear his committee wouldn't remove the Common Core standards.

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Birmingham Schools Closing
8:15 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Birmingham Board Approves Plan to Close Schools

People rally protesting the proposed closing of some Birmingham schools in Linn Park in Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Mark Almond/

The Birmingham school board has approved a cost savings plan that calls for closing seven schools and laying off 90 employees.

WBRC-TV reports ( that 19 employees in the central office and 71 workers across the system will be laid off.

The schools that will be closed are Center Street Middle School; Councill K-5; Daniel Payne Middle School; Hemphill Pre-K-5; Lewis Elementary School; Norwood K-5; and North Roebuck Elementary School.

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Business & Education
6:44 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Plant Expansion to Bring 275 Jobs to Muscle Shoals

North American Lighting's $36 million expansion is poised to bring 275 jobs to Muscle Shoals.
TimesDaily/Matt McKean

The expansion of an Illinois-based lighting company is poised to bring 275 new jobs to their plant in Muscle Shoals.

North American Lighting is planning a $36 million expansion and the Shoals Economic Development Authority agreed Tuesday to allocate $260,000 from its economic development fund toward the project. The Shoals Industrial Development Committee is set to meet Thursday to vote on whether approve the funding.

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Law Enforcement Consolidation bill
6:36 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Alabama Legislature Votes for Massive Law Enforcement Consolidation

The Alabama Legislature is starting a massive reorganization of Alabama's law enforcement programs that proponents predict will save millions.

The Senate voted 17-2 Tuesday night to grant final approval to a law enforcement reorganization bill developed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley. The bill now goes to the governor for signing into law.

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General Fund Budget
6:30 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Alabama Senate Approves Budget

The Alabama Senate worked into the night to pass the budget to operate the state's non-education agencies. The Senate voted 22-9 Tuesday night to approve the General Fund budget and send it to the House for further consideration.

Budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr said the $1.7 billion budget follows most of the recommendations that Gov. Robert Bentley made when the legislative session began five weeks ago.

Bo Bikes Bama
6:25 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Registration Open for 2nd 'Bo Bikes Bama' Ride

Heisman Trophy Winner Bo Jackson will hold a charity bicycle ride for survivors of the April 27, 2011 storms. He hopes to raise $1million.

Athletic legend Bo Jackson is planning a second charity bicycle ride to benefit victims of the 2011 tornado outbreak in Alabama.

Registration is now open for "Bo Bikes Bama 2," which will be held April 27.

Last year's five-day ride crossed north Alabama. This year's ride will be one day, with 60-mile and 20-mile legs.

The ride will begin in the Walker County town of Cordova. Four people died there and residents are still trying to rebuild from a pair of twisters that hit the city.

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Alabama-Canada Trade
5:11 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Canada Consul General Promotes Trade With Alabama

Canada's consul general in Atlanta, Stephen Brereton visited Montgomery to promote trade between Alabama and his country.
Credit / Government of Canada

Canada's consul general in Atlanta, Stephen Brereton, visited Alabama's capital to promote increased trade and garner support for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Brereton told Alabama legislators Tuesday that Canada has been Alabama's top trading partner for the last four years. That included nearly $3.9 billion in exports to Canada last year. More than half of that was in vehicles and vehicle parts. Brereton says Canadian companies with operations in Alabama provide nearly 10,000 jobs.

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Medicaid Announcement
4:57 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

New Medicaid System Endorsed By Governor Bentley

Gov. Robert Bentley announced his support for the Medicaid Advisory Commission's recommendations to change Alabama's Medicaid system.

Governor Robert Bentley has announced his support for changes to Alabama's Medicaid system that would impact one out of every five Alabamians.

The Medicaid Advisory Commission advocates changing the basic operating model from a fee-for-service system to a managed care program. Under the proposal, private-sector contractors would develop care networks in eight newly-created regions across the state.

The new framework would aim to offer better service to patients through regional operations that are responsive to local needs, according to the governor.

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School Standards
4:47 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Alabama Superintendent Says Keep School Standards

Superintendent Tommy Bice says the State Board of Education didn't relinquish control of school standards when it adopted the Common Core standards for schools statewide.

Alabama's school superintendent says the State Board of Education didn't relinquish control of school standards when it adopted the Common Core standards for schools statewide.

Superintendent Tommy Bice talked about the standards Tuesday because a state Senate committee is scheduled to consider a bill Wednesday that would repeal the standards. Critics of the national standards say they take away local control and give too much control to Washington.

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Tuskegee University
6:34 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Louis Farrakhan to Visit Tuskegee University

Louis Farrakhan is scheduled to visit Tuskegee University Friday, March 15, 2013.

The leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, is scheduled to visit Tuskegee University on Friday.

An announcement by the university says Farrakhan will address Macon County high school students at the campus at 9:30 a.m. and then speak to others at 6 p.m. He was invited by the Tuskegee University Muslim Student Association and the Black Belt Deliberative Dialogue. The university said Farrakhan's topics will include the need for historically black colleges and universities.

Senate District 35
6:28 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Voters Deciding Alabama Senate District 35 Runoff

State Rep. Jim Barton is facing off Bill Hightower for Senate District 35 in Mobile County.

State Rep. Jim Barton of Mobile and Mobile businessman Bill Hightower are facing off in the Republican runoff for state Senate District 35 in southern Mobile County.

The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Hightower finished first in the Republican primary in January and Barton second. The third-place finisher, Nick Matranga, endorsed Barton in the runoff.

Private School Tax Credit
5:07 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Fast Passage Leads To Alabama Legislative Slowdown

Hard feelings over the passage of private school tax credits has resulted in a slowdown in the Alabama Legislature.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

A legislative session that began with a rapid pace five weeks ago has been slowed by hard feelings over the passage of private school tax credits.

Democratic opponents of the tax credits are slowing down action in the House and Senate. House Minority Leader Craig Ford says the slowdown will resume when the Legislature meets Tuesday and will continue for the foreseeable future.

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Legislative Transparency
4:45 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Alabama's Legislative Website Fails To Make The Grade

According to the Sunlight Foundation, Alabama's legislative website gets a failing grade when it comes to transparency.
Credit / The Sunlight Foundation

An analysis by a nonpartisan nonprofit that focuses on making government transparent and accountable is giving the Alabama Legislature an `F' grade for how it makes legislative information available.

The Sunlight Foundation also gave a failing mark to five other states including Massachusetts, Colorado, and Kentucky.

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Arts & Life
6:40 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Alabama Artist Tapped to Create Veterans Memorial

Artist’s conception of the memorial
Athens State University

An Athens State University art professor is being tapped to create a bronze statue in a Tennessee park to honor veterans. reports that the Giles County Chamber of Commerce leadership class in Pulaski, Tenn., has accepted a proposal for the memorial by artist Pamela Keller.

The memorial in Sharewood Park will feature a life-sized likeness of a man sitting on a park bench holding two dog tags close to his face in his left hand while in meditation. There will be a small American flag in his right hand.

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Alabama Barbecue Competition
6:31 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Competition on for Alabama's Best Barbecue

People can go to Facebook and start voting on Alabama's best barbecue restaurant.

The Alabama Tourism Department is sponsoring the competition as part of its Year of Alabama Food. State Tourism Director Lee Sentell says barbecue is part of Alabama's heritage, and there has always been a debate about which restaurant is best.

The competition is in brackets like the NCAA basketball tournament and 32 restaurants are starting. Voting starts Monday, and voting in each bracket lasts for three days. Voting for restaurants in the Final Four will be April 1-5.

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