Alabama State Health Officer Don Williamson

The TVA’s Widows Creek power plant near Stevenson is shutting down soon, and it’s already found a new tenant.

Google plans to build a $600 million data center at the site with construction beginning next year.

The data center will be Google’s seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide. They expect to add 75 to 100 high-paying jobs to the north Alabama region once the new data center is operational. The facility is expected to support general Internet traffic as well as the many user services that Google offers.

alabama.sierraclub.org

    

The arctic front settling in over our region will likely mean that northern Alabama won’t see temperatures above freezing until Friday. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports…

Alabama is bracing for what is now predicted to be an extended period of sub-freezing temperatures. Forecasters now estimate that this arctic front will keep temperatures in Northern Alabama below freezing until Friday afternoon.

blog.al.com

Alabama's health officer says his staff has monitored three people who traveled to Alabama from west African countries with Ebola outbreaks, and there have been no problems.

Dr. Don Williamson and Gov. Robert Bentley provided an update Thursday on Alabama's preparations for Ebola.

blog.al.com

Alabama health officials say preventable child deaths are declining.

State Health Officer Don Williamson says about one-third of all deaths involving Alabama children under 18 are considered preventable. Figures from the state health department show the number of preventable child deaths declined from 387 in 2000 to 278 in 2012.

Williamson says a 1997 state law created a child death review system to look at all unexplained or unexpected child deaths and develop prevention strategies and recommendations.

blog.al.com

Alabama's infant mortality rate declined in 2013 and the infant mortality rate for black infants fell to its lowest level ever.

The state Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the 2013 rate for all infants was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. That was down from 8.9 recorded in 2012.

The department says the infant mortality rate among black babies was 12.6, which was the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1950. The rate among white infants rose from 6.6 in 2012 to 6.9 in 2013.

blog.al.com

Alabama is launching a program called "State of Champions" to try to reduce the state's high infant mortality rate.

State Health Officer Don Williamson and Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday it will take time to reduce Alabama's rate, which is traditionally in the top three among states, but they are determined to do it.

al.com

Alabama health officials investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses say the total has increased to 10, but they are closing the investigation.

   State Health Officer Don Williamson said Thursday the cases are unrelated and all have reasonable explanations. He said health officials took extraordinary caution because of two new viruses - one in China and another in the Middle East. But they found no evidence of new or unexpected viruses or bacteria in the cluster of cases in southeast Alabama.

al.com

State Health Officer Don Williamson told Alabama lawmakers that money will be available to fund Alabama's Medicaid program at a minimal level through 2014.

But Williamson told a joint meeting of the House and Senate General Fund budget committees Wednesday he did not know where the money would come from after 2014 to run the health insurance program for the economically disadvantaged.

Williamson is also the interim director of the Alabama Medicaid Program.

renegadehealth.com

State Health Officer Don Williamson says Alabama's flu season started earlier than a year ago and there are more cases. But he said it's not out of line with some of the busiest years during the last decade.

governor.alabama.gov

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has formed a commission to find ways to improve the Alabama Medicaid Agency's financial stability and to improve patient care provided by the agency.

Bentley signed an executive order Thursday forming the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission to be chaired by State Health Officer Don Williamson.

The chair and vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid Policy, Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery and Republican Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper, were named to the commission.