The Associated Press


Severe Weather
9:29 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Strong Storms Could Bring High Wind, Hail to State

Strong storms are expected across much of Alabama, bringing the potential for hail and high winds as a cold front passes through the state.

The National Weather Service warns that the strongest storms will capable of producing wind gusts up to 60 mph and hail the size of quarters.

More than a dozen counties on Monday were covered by a severe thunderstorm watch, which is scheduled to be in effect until 3 p.m. Monday. It includes the cities of Athens, Huntsville, Florence, Hamilton and Jasper.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Alabama Unemployment Rate
8:34 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Alabama's Unemployment at 6.9 Percent

Alabama officials say the state's unemployment rate for January is 6.9%.

Alabama's unemployment rate for January is 6.9 percent.

That's up slightly from December's revised rate of 6.8 percent. December's preliminary rate had been 7.1 percent, but it was revised downward.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Alabama now has two consecutive months with unemployment below 7 percent. January's rate is also below the 7.3 percent the state recorded a year ago.

State Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said Alabama is seeing a positive trend, but officials must remain focused on the more than 148,000 Alabamians still looking for work.

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Gulf Shores Obscene Messages Ordinance
5:52 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Ala. Town Seeks to Ban Display of Obscene Messages

Mayor Tony Kennon says he wants to restrict Gulf Shores shops from displaying merchandise that contains vulgar and indecent items.

Officials in the city of Orange Beach are pushing for a city law to restrict stores from displaying T-shirts and other merchandise that contains obscene messages.

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

Kennon told he was "absolutely mortified" by the messages on some merchandise being sold in Orange Beach. He said many of the shirts containing the obscene messages also said Orange Beach on them. He said he was "disappointed and sickened" by the messages on the shirts.

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Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore
5:44 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Ala. Chief Justice to Address Rotary Club Monday

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is set to speak at the Montgomery Rotary Club Monday March 18, 2013.
Dave Dieter/The Huntsville Times

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is to speak to the Montgomery Rotary Club about the state of the Alabama Judiciary.

Moore is scheduled to address the Rotarians at noon Monday at the RSA Activity Center at 201 Dexter Ave. in Montgomery. He will also address budget matters that affect the judiciary and are currently being discussed in the Legislature.

As chief justice Moore is also the head of the court system in Alabama.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

School ID Badge Policy
5:39 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Ala. School District to Review ID Badge Policy

(Information in the following story is from: The Dothan Eagle,

The superintendent of Houston County schools says district officials plan to review a new security policy that requires all students to wear identification badges.

The Dothan Eagle reports Superintendent Tim Pitchford says school officials will take a second look at the effectiveness of the badge requirement in April.

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Jefferson County Bankruptcy
5:32 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Alabama Lawmaker Proposes Jefferson County Tax

State Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham is proposing to reinstate Jefferson County's .5% occupational tax.
WBRC video

(Information in the following story is from: The Birmingham News,

A state representative from Birmingham has proposed a plan that he says will allow Alabama's largest county to escape from bankruptcy.

Democratic Rep. John Rogers told The Birmingham News that he will introduce a bill in the Legislature to reinstate the Jefferson County 0.5 percent occupational tax and generate as much at $65 to $70 million. Rogers is co-chairman of the Jefferson County legislative delegation.

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Voter Registration
5:25 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Must Voters Have to Prove Citizenship to Register?

U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Monday in a case about whether states can force people to prove their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote.

At issue is the legality of Arizona's voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a federal registration form that doesn't require such proof.

A federal appeals court threw out that part of Arizona's Proposition 200.

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Tuscaloosa County Sheriff
6:44 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Decision on New Tuscaloosa Sheriff Expected Soon

Governor Robert Bentley is expected to appoint a new sheriff for Tuscaloosa County after Ted Sexton announced he's leaving the job earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he expects to appoint a new sheriff for Tuscaloosa County soon.

Sheriff Ted Sexton announced March 8 that he's leaving Tuscaloosa County after 22 years on the job. The Tuscaloosa News reports ( ) Sexton starts work Monday as homeland security division director for the Los Angeles County sheriff in California.

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Birmingham Municipal Sewer Bonds
6:39 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

SEC Wants Trial Date in Ala. Suit Against Bankers

Federal regulators are asking a federal judge in Birmingham to set a trial date and avoid further delays in a civil fraud lawsuit against two former bankers accused of making payoffs to win billions of dollars in deals involving municipal sewer bonds.

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Logan Martin Lake cleanup
6:33 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Volunteers to Help Clean Logan Martin

Logan Martin Lake

Organizers are expecting hundreds of volunteers for a big cleanup of Logan Martin Lake that starts this weekend.

The weeklong event begins Saturday and is being put together by the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association.

The group is signing up workers and providing bags, latex gloves and T-shirts. Volunteers will use boats to reach areas that aren't accessible by foot.

The Daily Home of Talladega reports that almost 20 tons of debris was removed during just one cleanup.

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High School Technology Programs
6:28 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Alabama Tech Programs Could Get $50 Million Boost

Alabama high schools could receive $50 million to replace outdated equipment under a measure in the Alabama Legislature.

The Alabama Legislature is close to approving a plan to borrow $50 million to replace outdated equipment in high school technology programs.

Lawmakers hope giving students better equipment will help make a dent in Alabama's dropout rate.

Bond issue legislation has breezed through the House and a Senate committee with only one negative vote. The tech director for the state Board of Education, Philip Cleveland, said schools have not received state money for equipment since they got $10 million in 2005. He said students in some programs are training on outdated equipment.

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New Interchange
4:45 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Alabama Breaks Ground For Beach Interchange

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Baldwin County officials break ground for an interchange that will tie Interstate 10 with the Foley Beach Express.
Credit Brian Kelly /

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley joined Baldwin County officials to break ground for an interchange that will tie Interstate 10 with the Foley Beach Express.

Bentley told the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony Friday that the interchange will bring more people to the coastal county and help with evacuations during hurricanes. Former Gov. Fob James, who lives in Baldwin County, also participated.

The $10.6 million interchange is the final of four projects linking the interchange to the beach.

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Organ Transplants
4:38 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Ala. Children's Hospital Begins Organ Transplants

Children's of Alabama says the hospital has begun to perform organ transplants this week.
Credit Google

Officials at Children's of Alabama have announced the hospital has begun performing organ transplants.

Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Bowers says the hospital performed its first heart transplant earlier this week.

Before getting approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing, patients who needed heart, liver or kidney transplants were transferred from Children's to UAB Hospital, then back to Children's of Alabama for post-operative treatment.

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Strange-Gun Control Legislation
4:29 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Ala. AG Strange Promises To Challenge Gun Control Bills

Ala. Attorney General Luther Strange has promised to challenge in court two gun control bills that were approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee if they become law.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has promised to challenge in court two gun control bills that were approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee if they become law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a ban on semi-automatic weapons and ammunition magazines that carry more than ten rounds. The bill names more than 150 weapons that would be banned.

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Baldwin County Interchange
8:01 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Ala. Governor to Attend Interchange Groundbreaking

The Baldwin Beach Express.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will participate in groundbreaking ceremonies for an interchange on Interstate 10 in Baldwin County with the Baldwin Beach Express.

The governor will be joined at 10 a.m. Friday by other state and local officials at the intersection of the Baldwin Beach Express and U.S. 90 near Robertsdale for the groundbreaking.