Merchants in Alabama says it's looking like robust Christmas shopping season so far and they're hoping procrastinating shoppers will make the season even merrier.
At the Robert Moore & Co. Christmas Town in Mobile, general manager Larry Heard says he's seeing a trend of last-minute shoppers.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Retail Association, Nancy Dennis, said her organization is estimating that $9 billion will be spent by shoppers in Alabama during November and December. She said a 4 percent growth in sales is expected from 2011.
Authorities identify the man who shot himself inside an Alabama federal courthouse as 50-year-old building services director David Lee Williams of Birmingham.
Officials say he went through an employee entrance Thursday to avoid a security check that could have caught the gun.
The U.S. Marshals Service says the worker used an access card to enter the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse in Birmingham. The card system is being used at times while renovation work is done on the main entrance.
(Information in the following story is from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com)
Alabama's state school superintendent says he expects the Montgomery County school system to have a plan by Christmas to make sure grade-changing doesn't occur again.
State Superintendent Tommy Bice said the state Department of Education wants the plan for institutional control in place before the second semester starts. The department will appoint a monitor to make sure the school system carries out its new plan.
The state Board of Education has voted to give nearly $51,000 to a vice chancellor of the two-year college system for serving as interim chancellor for more than six months.
The board decided Thursday to give the money to Vice Chancellor Susan Price because that would have been the difference between her $155,250 annual salary and the chancellor's salary for the time she served.
Price served from March through the hiring of Mark Heinrich in September. The chancellor's base salary is $250,000 annually.
The predominantly black Alabama Democratic Conference and others have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Alabama House and Senate districts that were redrawn earlier this year by the Legislature.
The lawsuit filed Thursday claims legislators drew the districts in a way that caps the number of areas where black candidates have a realistic chance. The lawsuit says the districts adopted by the Republican-majority legislature violate the U.S. and Alabama constitutions and the federal Voting Rights Act.