Pat Duggins

News Director

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.  If his name or voice is familiar, it could be his twenty five years covering the U.S. space program, including fourteen years 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, 2012, and 2013. 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. His documentary "Civil Rights Radio," on the 1963 "children's march" in Birmingham was honored with the international "Silver Radio Award" from the New York Festivals radio competition, and with a "Gabriel Award" from the Catholic Church. 

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 fifty awards for excellence in journalism, including a second national Sigma Delta Chi award and the international Gabriel award. Duggins is also the recipient of a Suncoast Regional Emmy.

Ways to Connect

It's going to be a good day for at least someone from the University of Alabama. Dont'a Hightower of the New England Patriots and Kevin Norwood, Jesse Williams, and James Carpenter of the Seattle Seahawks will face off during today's Super Bowl match-up in Arizona. Hightower worked out on a limited basis with the rest of the Patriots on the first day of practice before the title game, despite a shoulder injury. The Seahawks picked Norwood in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL draft. In his rookie season, Norwood made nine catches for 102 yards.

If you and someone you know are surfing the internet at this moment in Alabama, Washington says there's a third person out in the cold. The federal government says more than one third of Alabama residents lack broadband internet service. A new report by the Federal Communications Commission says almost 35 percent of the state's residents don't have the high-speed service needed for today's digital offerings. That means nearly two million people statewide lack a fixed broadband connection. Nationally, about 17 percent of Americans don't have such service.

A Tuskegee VA employee is accused of sexually abusing a mentally handicapped volunteer. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more on the upcoming trial.

It may be tougher to light up in the city of Gadsden starting this Sunday. The town, just east of Birmingham, is putting a tougher smoking ordinance into effect. The new rule prohibits smoking in all enclosed workplaces in the city and that includes restaurants and bars. It also bans smoking within twenty feet of public entrances to buildings. The City Council passed the ordinance in June, but delayed enforcement until February first. Advocates say it will protect the public from secondhand smoke. But some business owners worry about lost revenue.

The fight over same sex marriage in Alabama has resulted in an ethics complaint against the state’s Chief Justice. The Southern Poverty Law Center is objecting to Roy Moore’s criticism of a federal judge's ruling in favor of a Mobile couple in a same-sex marriage. Moore called the ruling judicial tyranny, The SPLC says Moore’s behavior is similar to when he refused to follow a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building. He was removed from office, but re-elected. .

Attorney General Luther Strange is taking action to keep Alabama’s same sex marriage ban in place. Strange filed an appeal and a motion against a federal court order overturning Alabama’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. This follows a ruling U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile declaring the ban unconstitutional. The Judge stayed her own decision for two weeks to all Alabama a chance to appeal. Judge Granade originally ruled in favor of a Mobile couple who wanted their marriage recognized.

Attorney General Luther Strange wasted no time in seeking to stay yesterday's court decision overruling Alabama's ban on same sex marriage. Strange is asking a federal judge to stay a ruling that ended the law against gay marriage. Meanwhile, advocates are cheering what once seemed an improbable victory in the deeply conservative state. Luther Strange's office asked a federal judge on Friday to put the ruling on hold since the U.S. Supreme Court plans to take up the issue. U.S. District Callie V.S.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the battle of Mobile Bay helped bring the U.S. Civil War to a close. Historians also credit the engagement with helping Abraham Lincoln win a second term as President. Over the next half hour, Alabama Public Radio will look back on the battle and Alabama’s role in the Civil War in 1864. Stan Ingold will examine the Mobile campaign from the perspective of the man who lost. Ryan Vasquez will explain how Mobile resulted in more Congressional Medals of Honor than any other U.S. Naval battle.

Ky and al healthcare/ ingold Feature All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re collaborating with al.com to examine the affordable care act. When it comes to health care, Alabama has its problems. So does the state of Kentucky. The difference is, the bluegrass state is going about it differently and they seem to be getting results. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold travelled to Kentucky to see how that state is handling their challenges…

Ky and al healthcare/ ingold Feature

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re collaborating with al.com to examine the affordable care act. When it comes to health care, Alabama has its problems. So does the state of Kentucky. The difference is, the bluegrass state is going about it differently and they seem to be getting results. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold travelled to Kentucky to see how that state is handling their challenges…

Audio Clip is at  the bottom of  the page

WHEELCHAIR RUGBY/PAT

MARCH 7, 2014

ALL WEEK LONG HERE ON ALABAMA PUBLIC RADIO, WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ADAPTED ATHLETICS. THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IS HOME TO WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL, TENNIS, AND GOLF AMONG OTHER SPORTS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE AT THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL. DISABLED ATHLETES WILL SOON HEAD TO BIRMINGHAM TO GET READY FOR THE PARALYMPICS IN RIO DE JENEIRO IN 2016. ALABAMA PUBLIC RADIO’S PAT DUGGINS HAS MORE ON THE SPOT WHERE THEY’LL TRAIN, AND ONE UNIQUE SPORT THAT’S BEING FEATURED…

Oprah Winfrey and cast members from the Oscar nominated film “Selma” marched in a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. It was one of many events around the nation ushering in Monday's federal holiday for the slain civil rights leader. Remembrances of the King legacy come amid somber reflection by many on incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police in recent months. The incident spurred protests and heightened tensions in the U.S.

The Alabama Public Radio news team aggressively uses our website and social media to widen the audience for its daily broadcast product. Using an NPR core publisher base, APR’s on-air anchors transcribe and post morning and evening newscasts along with audio links, then use Facebook and Twitter to alert our listeners and other interested parties. The day before each long-form feature airs on APR, our reporters write what we call a “web article” derived from the production script. These articles are posted early to promote the stories and drive listeners to the audio version on-air.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard laid out details of his legislative agenda for the upcoming session. Hubbard says he will consider expanding charter schools and promised continued opposition to labor unions. The Speaker told his audience at a Republican men’s club in Huntsville that dual enrollment and charter schools are two possible solutions to a poorly performing public school system. He also accused the National Labor Relations Board of organizing labor unions in Alabama. Hubbard will serve his latest term as Speaker while defending himself on ethics charges.

Operators of an Alabama based dog fighting ring must now pay what's considered a record level of damages. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins ordered participants in the high-stakes dog fighting operation to pay $2 million in restitution. Officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States said it was the largest restitution amount ever ordered by federal judge in a dog fighting case. The money will go to the two animal welfare organizations, which provided care for the 451 dogs seized in the case.

For more information contact your school's central office or check their website.

  

The National Weather Service is looking into damage from last weekend’s storms in Alabama. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports, forecasters are also looking ahead to some brutally cold weather starting tonight…

No property tax hike. Governor Robert Bentley is making that promise as he prepares His first budget to include raising taxes. Speculation is that the Governor may want to cut tax exemptions and other tax breaks. Bentley isn't saying yet what will be in the package he unveils when the Legislature meets in March. But he says he doesn't like property taxes and neither does the Alabama public. The Legislature may have to raise upwards of seven hundred million dollars to cover its debts. Bentley begins his second term January nineteenth.

Alabama will trade yesterday's high winds and heavy rains for sub freezing temperatures this week. The South is cleaning up from rough weather, including a couple tornadoes, and storms that pelted parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee yesterday. The system downed trees and power lines, damaged homes, and prompted tornado warnings in parts of Alabama, including Tuscaloosa and Marion counties. At the height of the storm, Alabama Power reported close to seven thousand customers lost electricity.

Citizens of Selma can see the controversial new movie "Selma" for free. Paramount Pictures announced that the movie will be show free to Selma citizens starting this Friday at the Walton Theater in west Alabama city. The film is disappointing supporters of President Lyndon B. Johnson, including the director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. Mark Updegrove says the film incorrectly portrays Johnson as an obstructionist to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

A Soggy Saturday...

Jan 3, 2015

Tuscaloosa

.SATURDAY...WARMER. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN SHOWERS AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60S. CHANCE OF RAIN NEAR 100 PERCENT. .

SATURDAY NIGHT...RAIN SHOWERS AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING...THEN CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE LOWER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN NEAR 100 PERCENT. 

Selma

.SATURDAY...WARMER. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN SHOWERS LIKELY AND CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT. .

Forecasters say Saturday’s stormy weather outlook could turn violent over parts of south Alabama. There's a chance for damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes as severe storms form over south Alabama. The National Weather Service says the threat of severe weather will begin Saturday and continue into Saturday night ahead of an approaching cold front. One concern is that some flooding might also occur, particularly in urban areas and places with poor drainage. The weather service projects that up to 2 inches of rain is possible across south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

For the first time since 2005, no SEC team will play in the national championship. Ohio State's Cardale Jones came through again at the Sugar Bowl in his second career start, leading the Buckeyes to a forty two to thirty five upset of top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal Thursday night. Ohio State will play Oregon in the national championship game January 12th in Arlington, Texas. Head Coach Nick Saban says the Buckeyes keys to victory weren't obvious as the season unfolded and they should do well in the title game...

The Florida based Publix grocery store chain is offering employee insurance benefits to same-sex couples legally married in other states. The move impacts Alabama where Publix operates fifty eight stores. The Lakeland-based company told employees this week that beginning on New Year’s Day, Publix would expand coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to associates married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal. Publix owns nearly two thousand grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Huntsville—

TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 40S. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.

TONIGHT...CLOUDY. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT. NEAR STEADY TEMPERATURE AROUND 40. CHANCE OF RAIN 90 PERCENT. .

FRIDAY...CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT.

All eyes are on New Orleans as Alabama and Ohio State face off again during today’s Sugar Bowl. The Tide and the Buckeyes first met in New Orleans in 1978. Alabama under Coach Bear Bryant beat Ohio State, coached by Woody Hayes, 35-6.

Now, both teams are vying for a slot in the first ever college football championship game. The winner of the Sugar bowl will face either Oregon or FSU who are playing in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Buckeyes have a reputation for physical football similar to LSU. Defensive back Landon Collins says the Tide needs to be ready for whatever comes…

More Alabamians are signing up for health insurance through the federal marketplace than last year. The Department of Health and Human Services says these consumers are snapping up policies at a much faster rate as well. Nearly sixty five thousand Alabamians selected plans in the marketplace during November and December. That compares to nearly twenty nine thousand who had signed up during the same time last year. Washington says ninety one percent of those who have selected a plan are eligible for federal assistance. That's higher than the national average of 87 percent.

Two Alabama death row inmates have dates for their executions. The Alabama Supreme Court says Tommy Arthur will be put to death on February nineteenth with Bill Kuenzel one month later. The two inmates are the first to be executed with the state's new lethal injection drug combination. The state carried out its last death sentence last executed an inmate in 2013. A shortage of drugs left Alabama unable to carry out death sentences. The Department of Corrections adopted a new three-drug combination in September.

It looks like Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is gearing up for a fight. The Republican lawmaker faces twenty three counts of using his elected office for personal gain. Hubbard’s legal team issued a subpoena for a recorded phone conversation between a talk show host and a prosecutor. His lawyers say they believe there might be other conversations involving prosecutors. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart claimed prosecutors are not acting with political motivations. Defense lawyers say the call shows an effort to taint the jury pool.

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