Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice are familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program on NPR.  Pat’s NASA experience began with the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, and includes 103 missions.  Many NPR listeners recall Pat’s commentary during Weekend Edition Saturday on February 1, 2003 when Shuttle Columbia broke apart and burned up during re-entry.  His expertise was utilized during three hours of live and unscripted coverage with NPR’s Scott Simon.  Pat later wrote two books about NASA, Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program and Trailblazing Mars, both of which have been released as audio books.  Pat has also lectured about the future of the space program at Harvard, and writes about international space efforts for "Modern Weekly" magazine in Shanghai, China.

Duggins experience goes beyond NASA.  He led the APR news team through the tornadoes of 2011.  Along with dawn to dusk rescue and recovery updates, the news crew also provided national and international coverage for the BBC in London, MSNBC, CBC in Canada, and Australia Broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne.  Duggins’ efforts, and that of the APR news team, were twice recognized with National Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The Radio Television Digital News Association also honored Pat and the team with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence. The Alabama Associated Press also recognized APR as the "Most Outstanding News Organization" in 2011 and 2012. And, Duggins' news series on the long-term impact of the Gulf oil spill won a national PRNDI award for best series from the Public Radio News Directors' Association, and a regional Murrow. 

Pat’s work isn’t limited to radio, with regular appearances on TV.  He also conducts interview/profile segments for "Alabama, Inc." a new University of Alabama TV series on business on airs statewide on Alabama Public Television. Pat also co-hosted “Your Vote Counts,” a program featuring college-age voters who critiqued the final debate between Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks in the 2011 race for Alabama Governor. 

Since his arrival at APR, Pat and the team have won more than forty awards for excellence in journalism, including a second national Sigma Delta Chi award and the national Gabriel award. Duggins is also the recipient of a Suncoast Regional Emmy.

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Politics & Government
5:43 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Alabama to settle court dispute over Immigration law

epay.fau.edu

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The state of Alabama has agreed to settle the remaining challenges over its toughest-in-the-nation crackdown against illegal immigration. The state and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a proposed settlement Tuesday that would end a federal lawsuit over the law, which has mostly been gutted by court rulings. ACLU lawyer Cecillia Wang says the state also is settling a suit filed by the Justice Department.

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Politics & Government
5:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Prattville State Senator to leave Montgomery

Alabama Senate

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Republican state Sen. Bryan Taylor of Prattville says he won't seek re-election next year. The 37-year-old freshman senator announced Monday that he wants to focus on his law practice and his family with a third child on the way. Taylor said he will serve out his full term and has no plans to lobby when he leaves the Legislature. Taylor was policy director for Gov. Bob Riley when he decided to run for the Legislature in 2010.

Arts & Life
11:59 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Alabama, Inc.-- What's "Old" is "New" in eyeglasses

What’s the worst pair of eyeglasses you’ve ever worn? The black rimmed type sported by Clark Kent? How about the large red frames made famous by talk show host Sally Jessie Rafael? Others are considered cultural icons, like the gold rimmed specs worn by Beatle John Lennon. Those didn’t come from a fancy boutique. But rather, there were the standard frames available through the British National Health Service.

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Politics & Government
5:45 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Political fundraising in Alabama goes into high gear

icpurple.org

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Statewide elections are still more than a year away, but candidates are busy raising money. The Anniston Star reported Sunday that state finance records show more than $11 million has been raised since June - when candidates first became eligible to receive contributions for their 2014 campaigns. The newspaper says Republican candidates have picked up $6.8 million of that cash, while Democrats garnered only $861,000. Political action committees pulled in $6.3 million over the same time period.

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Arts & Life
5:54 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Alabama bundles up for chilly weather

lucasworks

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Forecasters say it's going to be a cold morning across north Alabama. The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for the Tennessee Valley region including Huntsville, and a frost warning is out for much of north-central Alabama. Predictions say the temperature could fall into the upper 20s in places including Florence, Athens and Scottsboro early Friday. Temperatures in the low 30s could mean frost in cities including Birmingham, Gadsden and Jasper.

Politics & Government
5:41 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Disaster drill for Montgomery Regional Airport

Providence Journal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A disaster preparedness drill is scheduled to take place at the Montgomery Regional Airport. The mock disaster is expected to run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The airport's Executive Director Phil Perry told the Montgomery Advertiser the exercise will involve responders performing a rescue drill involving passengers with simulated injuries in a regional jet on a closed runway. Perry says the mass casualty exercise is executed once every three years and Tuesday's drill will be the most realistic one the airport has conducted so far.

Politics & Government
6:24 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Tuscaloosa school board case set for trial

Legal.System.Spain

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A judge in Tuscaloosa says an election contest alleging voting irregularities by fraternities and sororities at the University of Alabama can proceed to trial. Circuit Judge Jim Robert denied a request by Cason Kirby to throw out an election contest filed by Kelly Horwitz. She lost a Tuscaloosa school board race to Kirby by 87 votes in August. At a hearing Tuesday, Horowitz's attorney, James Anderson, said as many as 397 fraternity or sorority members may have cast tainted votes.

Politics & Government
5:49 am
Wed October 16, 2013

AP: Congressional report to criticize Alabama nuclear plants

Auburn University

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A congressional study expected to be released later this month shows that two nuclear power plants in Alabama racked up 241 safety violations between 2000 and 2012. The Government Accountability Office report obtained by the Associated Press shows that Browns Ferry in Decatur was issued 141 safety violations during the time period. According to the report, six of the violations were for higher-level offenses. According to the report, Plant Farley, in Ashford, was also issued 100 violations between 2000 and 2012.

Arts & Life
9:16 am
Tue October 15, 2013

"Alabama, Inc" features NY based fashion designer from Tuscaloosa

APR

Alabama Public Radio continues its collaboration on the television program about business called "Alabama, Inc." The show is going statewide on your local Alabama Public Television station. This week's episode features my profile of University of Alabama graduate, and New York based fashion designer, Amanda Perna.

You can never been too rich or too thin, right?

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Politics & Government
5:36 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Critics: Farming out probation services = Extortion

thelawyermichigan.com

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Some court officials are calling the practice of contracting probation services to third party companies extortion, while others say it's an efficient way of collecting the associated fees. The Anniston Star reported Sunday that there's growing concern over municipalities outsourcing probation management duties to third-party companies. Some say the arrangements can lead to defendants becoming locked into major financial obligations for relatively minor offenses and can end up in jail for nonpayment, even if they haven't been found guilty of the original charge.

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Arts & Life
5:24 am
Wed October 9, 2013

NYPD investigates art heist with an Alabama connection

Saturday Evening Post

NEW YORK (AP) - The NYPD is investigating after a Norman Rockwell was discovered missing from a Queens storage unit. According to the New York Post, the painting recently sold at auction for $1 million. The 1939 painting was discovered missing last month from Welpark Art Moving and Storage in Ridgewood, Queens. It's titled "Sport" and depicts a man in a row boat wearing a yellow rain jacket and smoking a pipe. The Post says the oil painting was sold by a private collector in Birmingham, Ala., at a Sotheby's auction on May 22.

Politics & Government
3:32 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Alabama shrimpers lose fight for higher taxes on foreign seafood

istockphoto

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Shrimp processors have lost a call for higher duties on frozen shrimp imported from five countries — China, Vietnam, Ecuador, India and Malaysia. The U.S. International Trade Commission rejected the proposal 4-2 Friday, saying the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries failed to present strong evidence that the imports were seriously damaging the processors. A tie would have required the higher tariff. Coalition attorneys say the group will decide whether to appeal after the commission files a report explaining its ruling. An appeal would go to the U.S.

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Politics & Government
10:54 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Gov Bentley: Integration of UA sororities "good first step"

APR

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley is praising progress in integrating the racially segregated Greek system at the University of Alabama. Bentley says it's a "positive first step" that a few traditionally white sororities have accepted minorities as members. The governor's office issued a brief statement late Friday after the university said four blacks and two other minority students have accepted invitations to join white sororities at Alabama. President Judy Bonner says she expects the numbers to increase as the school year continues in Tuscaloosa.

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Arts & Life
10:47 am
Wed September 18, 2013

UA students rally against campus racism

Protest sign during UA student rally against sorority racism
APR

With the sound of Denny Chimes in the background, there were more reporters than students for today’s planned anti-racism rally on the large grassy park, known as the “quad” at the University of Alabama--at least at first. A grassroots student campaign was begun shortly after reports surfaced in the campus newspaper "Crimson White" alleging that two African-American sorority candidates were rejected because of their race. Alabama student Archie Creech was part of the “boots on the ground” effort to get participation.

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Politics & Government
1:48 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

UA Board takes stand on sorority racism case

APR

The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama today issued a statement following allegations that two female African-American students were denied acceptance to two on-campus sororities because of their race.

Board President pro tem Paul Bryant, Junior said… “The Board of Trustees does not support the segregation of any organization at our institution on account of race. “We support the efforts of our administration to effect the change necessary to bring this principle to reality in the entire University of Alabama system.”

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