The Associated Press


Politics & Government
6:33 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Alabama Homeowners Insurance Report Coming Out

Governor Robert Bentley will release a report by the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission today.

The governor is preparing to release a report by a commission he created to study the availability and rising cost of homeowners insurance.

Gov. Robert Bentley directed the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission to address insurance issues caused by hurricanes along the coast and the massive tornado outbreak that hit the state in April 2011. A spokesman for the governor says he will release the report at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Harvey Updyke Trial
6:26 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Updyke Due in Court for Auburn Tree Case

University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke is accused of poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees. His trial is set for April 8, 2013.

University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke is due in court for a hearing leading up to his trial on charges of poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III scheduled a hearing for Wednesday.

Walker is set to consider several motions filed by lawyers in the case, possibly including a defense request to move the trial outside of Lee County.

Prosecutors also have asked the court to revoke Updyke's bond.

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Senate Democrats-Medicaid
6:08 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Alabama Senate Democrats Seek Medicaid Expansion

Senate Democrats have made expanding Alabama's Medicaid program their priority for the 2013 legislative session.

Senate Democrats say their priority for the 2013 legislative session is getting Alabama to expand its Medicaid program.

The Senate Democratic Caucus announced at a news conference Tuesday that it hopes to get Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to reverse his decision not to expand the program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Bentley, a physician, is opposed to enlarging the Medicaid program under the current structure.

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Government Consolidation
5:56 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Alabama Senate Votes For State IT Consolidation

Republican Sen. Phil Williams sponsored the bill to consolidate the information technology operations of all state agencies.

The Alabama Senate has voted to consolidate the information technology operations of all state agencies under a board that could outsource services.

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5:43 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Study: Ag, Forestry Have $70 B Impact On Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley helped release a study showing Alabama's agricultural and forestry industries economic impact.

A new study of Alabama's agricultural and forestry industries says they contribute more than $70 billion annually to Alabama's economy and account for 22 percent of the state's workforce.

The Alabama Agribusiness Council and other groups joined Gov. Robert Bentley in releasing the study Tuesday.

Bentley said the last similar study was done in 1989, and the new study by Auburn University shows how important agriculture and forestry are to Alabama's economy.

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Disabled Cruise Ship
5:35 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Tug Boats Tow Disabled Cruise Ship Toward Alabama

Photo of the Carnival Triumph at Half Moon Cay in 2008.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Coast Guard says a second tug boat has reached a disabled cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico and is helping tow it to Mobile, Ala.

More than 3,000 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000 aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Triumph have had limited services since a fire in an engine room Sunday. The original plan was to tow it to Progreso, Mexico, but currents pushed it north.

No injuries have been reported.

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Fat Tuesday-Alabama
5:27 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Celebrations Rolling All Day In Alabama

The Joe Cain procession, also called "the people's Mardi Gras parade" is held the Sunday immediately before Fat Tuesday during the Mardi Gras season in Mobile.
Credit AP Photo/Press-Register, Mike Brantley

Plastic beads and moon pies will be flying all day on the Alabama coast.

Parades began in the morning and are scheduled to go into the night in Mobile and Baldwin counties for Fat Tuesday.

Rain is in the forecast, but organizers say the celebration will continue unless the weather turns severe.

Six parades are scheduled in Mobile, home of the nation's oldest Mardi Gras festivities. The beach cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also have parades.

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Politics & Government
5:49 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Cullman area voters head to the ballot box

Politics & Government
5:42 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Alabama exports up in 2012


Ledbetter Movie
5:29 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Ala.'s Lilly Ledbetter Signs Pact To Make Movie

Lilly Ledbetter with President Barack Obama.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

An Alabama woman has struck a deal with a Hollywood filmmaker to make a movie about her long battle for women to receive equal pay as men.

Lilly Ledbetter's long struggle to receive equal pay for the time she worked as a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden led to the first bill Barack Obama signed into law as president.

Ledbetter's attorney Jon Goldfarb of Birmingham says she has signed an agreement with Hollywood filmmaker Rachel Feldman.He says details about the cast or where the movie will be made have not been finalized.

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Cutting School Revenue
5:12 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Settlement Costs Ala. Schools $70 M

Experts say the fiscal cliff settlement could cut funding to Alabama public schools by as much as $75M.
Credit istockphoto

Financial experts say the fiscal cliff agreement in Washington will cut funding for Alabama's public schools and colleges by at least $70 million annually.

The fiscal cliff settlement affects Alabama differently than most other states. That's because Alabama is one of the few states that provides its citizens with a state income tax deduction for the federal taxes paid. The federal settlement allowed a temporary reduction in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare to expire. It also raised the tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

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Alabama Weather
8:48 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Storms Drench Parts of Alabama, Damage Homes

A crew from the National Weather Service plans to inspect storm damage in southwestern Alabama to determine whether damage to homes in the area was caused for a tornado or high winds.

Preliminary reports from the weather service indicate that homes were damaged near the small community of St. Stephens, a few miles outside Jackson. Survey crews were planning to assess the damage on Monday.

Forecasters say more than 4 inches of rain has fallen in parts of the Alabama -- and the totals are continuing to climb.

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

State Investigates Sludge Spill in Opelika

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 ( 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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