Alabama

Students learn history of blue in Blues in School program

22 hours ago

Students took part in a program that teaches the history of the blues in Alabama.

The Dothan Eagle reports that Mixon Elementary School students jammed with members of the Alabama Blues Project to learn more about the genre's history through the Blues in the Schools program.

The band performed for students at the school for about an hour Thursday, interjecting lessons about the blues and its roots in the Wiregrass between songs.

DraftKings, FanDuel agree to cease operations in Alabama

Apr 30, 2016

Alabama's attorney general says online fantasy sports betting sites have each entered into a settlement to cease operations in the state in a few days.

Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement Friday that DraftKings and FanDuel will cease operations effective May 2. Strange said his office issued the cease and desist letters to both in early April.

Gas tax, lottery bills dead as legislature nears end

Apr 30, 2016

Lawmakers return to Montgomery on Tuesday for the two days of the 2016 legislative session. Legislators have a number of high-profile bills left to consider before sine die, but many noteworthy bills have already met the chopping block. Though Gov. Robert Bentley in March said he thought Alabama voters would overwhelmingly approve a state lottery if given the chance. A variety of lottery and gambling legislation failed to gain traction during the 2016 session. 

Embattled Gov. Robert Bentley is maintaining he has done nothing illegal or unethical, a day after Alabama lawmakers revived an impeachment effort against him.

Bentley initially tried to sidestep impeachment questions. He says the past year has been "difficult" and implored people to trust him.

Bentley last month acknowledged making inappropriate remarks to a female political adviser.

A state lawmaker says he has enough signatures to re-ignite an impeachment effort against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry says he’s obtained 23 signatures on impeachment articles.

The announcement came after the House passed a rule change requiring 21 votes to start an impeachment investigation. That thwarted Henry's earlier effort with 11 signatures.

It was on this date five years ago when a super tornado outbreak hit parts of west and west-central Alabama in 2011.

Over fifty people were killed in the city of Tuscaloosa and twelve percent of the town was destroyed. 

Tuscaloosa’s Acting Planning Director Phillip O’Leary spent the first hours after the tornado in his office. When he finally visited the damage zone, one thing stuck with him…

A bill to prohibit a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure has advanced in the Alabama Legislature.

The Senate voted 30-2 today for Republican Sen. Phil Williams' bill. A companion bill in the House has passed out of committee.

The legislation would prohibit a procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E." The bill would allow the procedure in the event of a "serious health risk to the mother."

The bill's supporters describe the procedure as "heinous" and "barbaric."

A state tax break that some say sparked a renaissance in downtown Birmingham and elsewhere will end unless Alabama senators agree to extend the program.

A bill to extend the tax credits for seven years has stalled amid opposition from Senate leaders. Sen. Trip Pittman says that he did not anticipate any action on the legislation this year.

The three-year program, approved in 2013, gave up to $20 million in tax credits each year for historic building renovation.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is not responding to the state auditor's order to testify before him.

Bentley issued the statement today, a day after State Auditor Jim Zeigler ordered Bentley to appear before him to answer questions about the use of state funds and his relationship with a former staffer.

Bentley says the appropriate legal process was through the Alabama Ethics Commission where Zeigler has already filed a complaint.  The governor said he is cooperating fully with the commission.

As Alabama's 2016 legislative session quickly nears its end, a state senator is making a final push for a lottery.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted today for a bare-bones constitutional amendment that would allow Alabamians to vote on the issue but provides few other details.

Several senators say they voted in favor of the amendment with the understanding Republican Sen. Jim McClendon would rework his bill with more details before bringing it to a vote on the Senate floor.

Tuscaloosa officials are seeking money to replace the city's old passenger train station.

A City Council committee voted Tuesday to select an architect to design the new station and to apply for a grant through the Southern Rail Commission.

Mayor Walt Maddox tells The Tuscaloosa News he fears the city will lose Amtrak service unless it invests in a new station.

2011 Tornadoes: A Forecaster's nightmare

Apr 20, 2016

The April 2011 tornado outbreak caused widespread destruction, costing lives and billions of dollars in damage.  Local TV weathercasters helped spread the word on where tornadoes were and where they’re going. But what happens when the weatherman becomes a victim of the severe weather while he’s on the air? APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the story of one forecaster where on April 27th, 2011, the saying the story hits close to home takes on a whole new meaning.

Ask anyone in the TV news business, and they’ll tell you people tune in mostly for the weather.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's former law enforcement secretary is suing his former boss, claiming he was wrongly fired.

Spencer Collier, who the day after his firing accused Bentley of having an affair with an adviser, filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the governor and the former adviser, Rebekah Mason.

The Alabama Education Association has  a new executive director.

AEA spokeswoman Amy Marlowe says Brenda Pike will start her new position on May 16. Pike serves as the executive director of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Pike received her master's degree from the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate of education from the University of Memphis. She worked for 12 years as a classroom teacher before joining the staff of the Tennessee Education Association.

Runoffs in 2 state school board races Tuesday

Apr 10, 2016

Some Alabama voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary runoffs.

Two Republican incumbents face runoffs for seats of the state school board seats

Incumbent Matthew Brown faces Jackie Ziegler, the wife of state Auditor Jim Ziegler, in a runoff to represent south Alabama's District 1 on the Alabama state school board.

Brown was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to fill a vacant post in July. Ziegler is a former school principal. The winner faces Democrat Ron Davis in November.

A South Korea-based automotive part manufacturer will bring a $19 million expanding its existing location in eastern Alabama.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller says Mando America Corp. will expand their North American headquarters in the city. As a result, 32 jobs will be created.

Fuller says the expansion process should begin to take place over the next couple of weeks. The mayor made the announcement after the city council meeting Tuesday.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of five institutions that are researching the possibility of using genetically modified pig tissue for human kidney transplants.

UAB is receiving a $19.5 million grant from United Therapeutics Corp. to begin a xenotransplantation program. School officials announced the five-year grant on Friday.

UAB is a leading kidney transplant center, and the program aims to transplant genetically modified kidneys created from pig tissue within five years.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is not happy the state legislature voted to override his veto on the General Fund Budget.  Lawmakers yesterday voted to enact the $1.8 billion general fund budget which will go in to effect on Oct. 1.  Bentley spoke to the media today along with Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar.  Bentley had sought an additional $100 million for Medicaid. The Legislature only increased the funding for Medicaid by $15 million.

The Alabama Legislature is back in Montgomery working on the General Fund Budget.  But lawmakers are also turning their attention to the scandal that has rocked Governor Robert Bentley’s Administration.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry plans to introduce impeachment articles today. The action comes as Bentley admitted that he made inappropriate remarks to his former aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. However, Bentley denied suggestions that the two had an affair.

Henry says there is no time to waste on impeaching the Governor…

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he will reopen his casino later this year despite losing a three-year legal battle over the legality of electronic bingo machines.

McGregor hopes to have the casino open by early summer.

McGregor criticized last week's Alabama Supreme Court ruling that electronic gambling machines that had been seized are illegal.  The court ruled that the state could keep 1,615 gambling machines seized from VictoryLand in a 2013 raid.

The fight over gambling in Alabama has a new chapter. The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled against the Victoryland casino and in favor of the state in arguments over electronic bingo. A-P-R student reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more…

The Alabama Supreme court says electronic bingo machines qualify as gambling. This overturned an earlier circuit court decision that placed the machines in the same category as in-person bingo games which are legal.

Forecasters say storms moving toward Alabama could produce hail, damaging winds and tornadoes throughout the state.

Officials say there's a moderate chance for tornadoes and large hail in the Mobile area and throughout north and central Alabama, where meteorologists expect winds of up to 70 mph.

They say an elevated threat area covers Birmingham, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa and other parts of central and west Alabama.

A top political aide to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is stepping down. Rebekah Mason’s departure follows an admission by Bentley that he made inappropriate remarks. The governor denies the two ever had an affair.

Mason announced her resignation in a statement sent by the governor's office. She says she would no longer be his senior political adviser and would no longer be paid by his campaign fund.

The metro area of Huntsville led Alabama's population growth last year according to census data from July 2014 to July 2015.

The Rocket City added more than 4,000 people over a one-year span, the most in the state. That pushed the city to just under 445,000 residents.

According to the data, Baldwin County added almost as many new residents as Huntsville with 3,996. That marked a 2 percent growth in the one-year span, the fastest rate of growth in the state.

The Supreme Court is refusing to intervene in the case of an Alabama man who is facing execution for throwing four children off a bridge to their deaths.

The justices did not comment Monday in rejecting an appeal from Lam Luong. He argued that pretrial publicity prevented him from having a fair trial.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for much of south Alabama as storms move across the state.

The watch covers the Mobile area and the south central portion of Alabama until tonight at 7. The watch includes the western Florida Panhandle.

The weather service says severe weather will be possible from the Alabama-Tennessee line all the way to the Gulf Coast. Forecasters say winds up 70 mph and golf ball-sized hail will be possible with some of the storms.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is admitting that he made inappropriate remarks to a female staffer two years ago. But, the Governor says he never had a physical relationship with the woman.

Bentley spoke to reporters after the state's former top law enforcement official made a series of accusations.  Former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier, had been fired on Tuesday. Alabama’s top cop said during a news conference he believed the governor had an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.

European aircraft maker Airbus says the inaugural test flight of its first airplane made in the United States was a success.

The A321 passenger jet took off this morning from the company's new plant in Mobile.

The three-hour flight over the Gulf of Mexico included a series of maneuvers and tests of all the airplane's operating systems.

A career technical education program in southeast Alabama that simulates workplace environments in seven different industries has been selected as the model throughout the state.

Carroll High School's Career Center was recently selected as the model for 85 similar simulated workforce programs throughout the state. Workplace Coordinator Amanda Campbell says seven of the career center's 10 CTE programs have converted their classrooms into simulated businesses that reflect services offered within the community.

A northern Alabama manufacturer has developed two ambulances to help kids in need in south Florida.

Excellance, which was launched in Madison, Alabama, in 1975, has finished production on two custom rides for Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. The emergency vehicles serve the area's only licensed specialty hospital for children with more than 650 physicians and 130 pediatric specialists.

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