Oil Spill Settlement Concerns, NASA Pluto Stamp

Jul 13, 2015

NASA's New Horizons craft with 1991 stamp

Gulf Coast officials are worried that their communities won't get their fair share of Alabama's $2.3 billion portion of the BP oil spill settlement.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft says members of the Gulf Coast Recovery Council have some unanswered questions about the settlement.

The plan would give the council control over $599 million, but about half of that spending would still require federal approval.

Local officials across south Alabama have a project wish list estimated at nearly $1. billion. The state general fund, meanwhile, is in line for about $1 billion of the state's windfall.

The agreement was announced July 2 by oil giant BP, the federal government and authorities from five Gulf states affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on final approach to Pluto.

The $700 million probe will make its closest pass to Pluto tomorrow.

But that’s not what’s getting the United States Postal Service excited. The grand piano sized robot is carrying a 1991 postage stamp with the slogan “Pluto - not yet explored.”

Bill Gicker is in charge of designing new stamps for the postal service. He says no one has been asking for an updated Pluto stamp yet, but that could change.

“It’s pretty exciting news that for the first time, we’re going to get our best views of this now planetoid. Writing in in support of that is the best way to get a stamp done.”

If you’re an Alabama voter and you need a photo ID, Shelby County is the place to go today.

The Secretary of State’s office is teaming up with the city of Chelsea to offer free photo identification cards.

Clay Helms is the supervisor of voter registration for the Secretary of State’s office. He says that any Alabama resident in need of a free voter photo ID can stop by, not just those who live in Shelby County.

“As long as you are a qualified registered voter, it doesn’t matter what county you’re applying for the ID in. As long your voter information is correct, and you are in need of the ID, you can get the ID in whatever county that you are in at the moment.”

A lawsuit in Shelby County led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that critics say gutted the U.S. voting rights act.

The head of the Alabama state Senate says a senator arrested for DUI will be keeping his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said late last week that he has no plans to remove Sen. Cam Ward as chairman. The committee handles bills related to legal issues, including prison reform legislation approved in the last session.

Marsh said he saw no reason to change the committee's leadership.

The high-profile Republican senator from Alabaster was arrested earlier this month on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Ward issued a public apology, saying he had used alcohol as a "crutch" and that he planned to seek treatment.