Alabama April 2011 tornadoes

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."

Lawmakers will reconvene in Montgomery today for the final five days of the current legislative session, with a lot of work left to do.

Dozens of high-profile bills will be considered this week. One issue still in the air is Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s $800 million bond issue that would close most of the existing state prison facilities in favor of four new large prisons. The bill has cleared the Senate but still faces a floor vote in the House.

confederate memorial
Carol Highsmith / Library of Congress

Many folks in Alabama will be remembering the fifth anniversary of the 2011 tornado outbreak. The twister killed 64 people and injured more than 1500 in the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham area.

WVUA-TV Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott was on the air forecasting the storms as an EF-4 Tornado destroyed 12 percent of Tuscaloosa. Scott says he still does not know how he kept his cool despite a deadly tornado heading in his direction.

2011 Tornadoes: A Young Person's Perspective

Apr 20, 2016

Five years ago a series of devastating tornadoes ripped through west-central Alabama. This week on Alabama Public Radio we’re looking at the impact of these storms five years later. A-P-R student reporter Josh Hoppenstein spoke with University of Alabama students past and present to get their take on the storms.

“This is a large, violent tornado coming up on downtown Tuscaloosa, be in a safe place right now.”

On April 27, 2011, TV weatherman James Spann’s jacket was off and his sleeves were rolled up. Local viewers in tornado prone Alabama knew that meant trouble.

Stan Ingold

 

It has been nearly five years since a massive EF-4 tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa Alabama. Twelve percent of the city was destroyed and seven thousand people became unemployed. Here is a look at what recovery has been like for those who decided to come back and those who did not…

 

There are only two and a half weeks left in the current Supreme Court session, and Alabamians are still waiting on a definitive answer regarding same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage is currently legal in Alabama, but a state Supreme Court ruling has ordered all county probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade passed a ruling that would force those probate judges to begin issuing licenses, but that won’t go into effect until after the Supreme Court rules.

After voters rejected a tax hike proposal last month, the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County School Board are looking for more input.

There will be a joint public meeting this evening to begin the process of moving forward from the referendum that would have helped pay for a 10 year, $350 million capital construction project.

Charles Gruber is the chairman of the Baldwin County Commission. He believes the referendum was shot down by voters because the public was not able to voice any concerns about the tax.

Today is the four-year anniversary of the Tornado outbreak that killed more than 200 Alabamians.  The damage was widespread across the state, including Tuscaloosa.

Mayor Walter Maddox rode out the E-F-Four tornado at City Hall.  He says the moments after that were spent surveying the twelve-and-a-half percent of the city that was destroyed in six minutes…

Today is the four year anniversary of the tornado outbreak that killed more than 200 Alabamians. The damage was widespread across the state, including in Tuscaloosa.

Mayor Walter Maddox rode out the EF4 tornado at Tuscaloosa's City Hall. He says the moments after that were spent surveying the 12.5 percent of the city that was destroyed in just six minutes.

Tuscaloosa is competing with nearly 70 other communities for part of a half-billion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

City officials and residents gathered inside the Rosedale Court Apartment complex yesterday to identify what they see as important points. Members of the recovery operations for Tuscaloosa asked people about resiliency, at-risk populations and overall impacts that could lead to the city winning part of the grant.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Harrison Taylor says it is all about being prepared.

ci.tuscaloosa.al.us / City of Tuscaloosa

Local officials in Tuscaloosa are considering changes to local ordinances that govern rebuilding of commercial areas after the devastating tornadoes of April 2011.

The Tuscaloosa News reports Mayor Walt Maddox planned to present amendments to the city code Monday night to the Planning and Zoning Commission. One of the changes being pushed by the mayor would require businesses to hide larger trash bins from public view. Others proposals deal with design details for commercial buildings in the tornado recovery zone.

apr

Gov. Robert Bentley says Alabama is getting more than $30 million in federal grants to help with the recovery from deadly tornadoes in April 2011.

Bentley announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants on Tuesday. He says nearly $19 million more is still available for cities and counties to seek.

Tuscaloosa County will get $7.3 million for sewer improvements and demolition in Holt.

Maggie Martin/APR News

Tuscaloosa city officials will soon be taking applications for loans of up to $20,000 aimed at helping businesses rebuild in the city's tornado recovery zone.

The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/15TZchw) the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs recently gave the city approval to use $500,000 for the loans. Businesses meeting certain terms will have their loans revert to grants, meaning the money won't have to be repaid.

Joe Songer/jsonger@al.com

Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will present Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley with a check for $49 million to be used to help Alabama communities rebuild from damage caused by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

G.M. Andrews/AP Photo

The Alabama Legislature is closer to providing money to repair and rebuild public schools hit by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a bill that would allow the state to sell $30 million in bonds. Of that, $15 million would go to Murphy High School in Mobile, which was hit by a tornado in December.

Three schools in the Tuscaloosa area would benefit, with $3 million for Alberta City Elementary and $2.5 million each for University Place Elementary and Holt Elementary. They were hit on April 27, 2011.

G.M. Andrews/AP Photo

The Alabama House of Representatives has passed a bill that authorizes the state to issue $30 million in bonds to rebuild several tornado-damaged schools across the state.

Democratic Rep. Napoleon Bracy's bill passed 103-0 Tuesday night and now goes to the Senate. If approved, it will provide $15 million to Murphy High School in Mobile to repair damage from a tornado on Christmas Day, 2012.

Alabama is getting nearly $120 million in federal assistance to help with recovery from the deadly tornadoes in April 2011.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the state government with $49.2 million to distribute to recovery projects. Tuscaloosa will get $43.9 million, Birmingham $17.5 million, and Jefferson County $9.1 million.

Bentley says the new funding will help several areas of the state that are still suffering long-term effects from the storms.

FEMA

Officials say an Alabama town hit by two tornadoes during the April 2011 outbreak is finally approved for federal money to demolish its badly damaged downtown area.

Leaders in the Walker County city of Cordova hope the project can begin moving forward within the next two or three months.

Officials announced the decision today at a meeting of Cordova's long-term recovery committee.

The Birmingham News, Tamika Moore

Nine local governments in north and west Alabama have been awarded more than $15.7 million in grants to help with tornado recovery.

The grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development include $4.8 million to help rebuild Hackleburg's downtown. Eighteen people were killed and many of the businesses in the Marion County town were destroyed or heavily damaged by an April 27 tornado.

Officials in the old Alabama mill town of Cordova say the money to demolish buildings damaged by tornadoes a year and a half ago remains mired in red tape.

Mayor Drew Gilbert says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is constantly seeking explanations and documentation, and holding up the process.

The town's main street looks about the same as it did the deadly tornadoes ripped across the southeast in April 2011, with battered red bricks and broken glass littering the pavement.

Maggie Martin/APR News

"Hi!" shouts Becky Collier, a 4-H program coordinator in West Alabama.

The kids in the audience unenthusiastically shout "hi" back.

“That was pathetic," says Collier.  "We’re going to try that again! HELLO!"

“HELLO!”

“That is how not to greet people when you’re birding, okay?" says Collier. She’s holding a presentation on birds of prey, or raptors, for a large group of kids this morning. The raptor demonstration is part of the launch of the West Alabama Birding Trail in Pickens County.

Maggie Martin/APR News

"Hi!" shouts Becky Collier, a 4-H program coordinator in West Alabama.

The kids in the audience unenthusiastically shout "hi" back.

“That was pathetic," says Collier.  "We’re going to try that again! HELLO!"

“HELLO!”

“That is how not to greet people when you’re birding, okay?" says Collier. She’s holding a presentation on birds of prey, or raptors, for a large group of kids this morning. The raptor demonstration is part of the launch of the West Alabama Birding Trail in Pickens County.

Maggie Martin/APR News

Alabama is still waiting on more than $70 million in payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency linked to the deadly tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011.

Art Faulkner, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, says the state already has received $112 million from FEMA.

The state is eligible for and expecting $185 million in all. But Faulkner says the payment process can take a while on larger projects, such as replacing the four schools that were destroyed by twisters.

Faulkner says more payments are coming.

Dusty Compton/Tuscaloosa News

More than a dozen volunteers from the United Arab Emirates are helping to rebuild damage in Tuscaloosa from the April 27, 2011, tornado.

The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/SxLkoJ ) that the 13 volunteers traveled more than 30 hours to get to Tuscaloosa this week. They're part of a volunteer social program called Takatof, part of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. Takatof has helped mobilize volunteers and has sent them all over the world, including China, Korea, Africa and Pakistan.

http://www.adeca.alabama.gov / Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Alabama has up to $8 million to help families repair or replace homes that were destroyed by tornadoes that hit central and north Alabama in April 2011.

The director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Jim Byard, said Thursday the money is from a federal grand. Owners of single-family homes can receive up to $25,000 each.

Three organizations that serve the damaged regions — the Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless, the Community Services Program of West Alabama, and the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama — will take applications.