Birmingham

A police lieutenant in Alabama’s largest city has resigned amid charges of forcibly raping a teen relative.

Al.com reports Birmingham Police Lt. Pete Williston submitted his resignation Tuesday. Defense attorney Scott Morro says Williston is remorseful and he and his family along with the police department need "healing."

Morris Police Chief Mike Nazarchyk says a 24-year-old woman reported the abuse in May. She told police that Williston sexually abused her from 2008 to 2011, starting when she was 14 years old.

Josh Coleman
via Facebook

The mayor of Alabama's largest city has hired its first LGBTQ liaison.

AL.com reports Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced yesterday at PrideFest that Josh Coleman will serve as both a city spokesman and a representative of LGBTQ interests. Coleman is currently the vice president of Central Alabama Pride, and will start his new city job on June 25.

Woodfin says Coleman's appointment upholds the legacy of "the city that taught the world the importance of inclusion."

Birmingham will be the seventh city with a team featured in the newly-formed Alliance of American Football.

The spring professional football league, which will begin play the weekend after the Super Bowl in February, announced Birmingham’s addition yesterday. Other cities with teams in the Alliance are San Diego, Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

The city of Birmingham says it did not violate state law when it put up a plywood box around a 52-foot-tall Confederate monument in a city park.

In a court filing yesterday, the city disputed the state of Alabama’s claims that Birmingham violated a law prohibiting the removal or alteration of any monuments more than 40 years old.

Fulton flood damage
Clarke Co. EMA

Last weekend was a wet one across the state of Alabama, and forecasters say several spots saw record-breaking amounts of rainfall as well as flooding and rain-related damage.

National Weather Service officials say the rain was extreme in southwest Alabama, especially in Clarke County. Total rainfall for that area this weekend was 9.34 inches. Emergency management officials say 18 car and residence rescues were made Saturday night and early yesterday morning.

A university in east Alabama still recovering from a tornado strike has released surveillance video showing what the storm looked like as it hit campus.

Jacksonville State University released a video compilation made from multiple cameras as a tornado touched down on campus on March 19.

Birmingham's public transit system is getting $3.6 million in federal grant money to pay for new buses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says the funding will go to the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority in order to replace old buses that have outlived their usefulness.

The agency says the new vehicles will reduce maintenance and other costs as well as improving reliability.

"March For Our Lives" Draws Huge Crowd in Birmingham

Mar 26, 2018
march sign
Rachel Buzzotta / APR

Around five thousand people gathered in Birmingham on Saturday to march in solidarity with protestors in Washington D.C. and across the country.

The marchers were pushing for changes in gun control laws across the United States. Wearing blue shirts and holding signs, people chanted "Not One More" and "Vote Them Out", in reference to politicians they feel aren't doing enough to combat gun violence.

Terri Michael is a school board member in Birmingham. She says people have the power to make a difference.

Huffman police
Brynn Anderson / AP

One of the largest schools in Birmingham is closed today after metal detectors and other security measures failed to prevent a 17-year-old student from being fatally shot and another wounded in an apparent accident.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff to try to figure out exactly what led to the shooting at Huffman High School yesterday at dismissal time.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson says “We consider it accidental until the investigation takes us elsewhere. We have a lot of unanswered questions.”

Frontier Airlines will begin offering direct flights out of Birmingham this spring – at a serious bargain.

At a news conference yesterday, the airline announced it will begin offering direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia on April 11. Introductory prices will start at $39 one-way, but tickets have to be purchased today.

The new mayor of Alabama’s largest city is asking the city council to approve $90 million toward the construction of a new stadium downtown.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin asked for the $90 million total to be allocated toward a new stadium on the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex-owned property downtown.

Last week, the mayor proposed that the city contribute $3 million per year for 30 years for the project, which would include a new stadium as well as additional expansion and renovation of the complex, including to the Legacy Arena.

A state Senate committee has delayed a vote as to whether a man who was freed after spending nearly three decades on death row is entitled to financial compensation.

State Senator Paul Bussman has proposed legislation that would grant Anthony Ray Hinton $1.5 million in compensation over three years. Hinton was freed in 2015 after spending 28 years on Alabama’s death row for two murders that occurred during separate robberies of fast food restaurants in Birmingham in 1985.

Birmingham police say a shooting over the weekend resulted in the 100th homicide of the year for Alabama's largest city.

Two men were reportedly shot inside an apartment in the Collegeville neighborhood late Sunday night. The Jefferson County Coroner's office identified one deceased victim as 26-year-old Jahbrell Leon Sturgeon. North Precinct Lt. Shelia Finney says a second man was shot in the head, but his injury is not thought to be life-threatening. Police are trying to determine what led to the shooting, and no suspects are in custody.

The road map is in place for the 2017 college football postseason. Here's the picture for Alabama's colleges and universities, as well as the bowl games that will be taking place across Alabama this year:

The Birmingham Police Department is looking for a new leader after the current chief announced he’s resigning.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper announced yesterday that he will be resigning his post. Roper says he will stay for the next few months as Mayor Randall Woodfin begins a search for his replacement.

Woodfin heavily criticized the way Birmingham is policed on the campaign trail, leaving much speculation that Roper's job could be in jeopardy.

Al Hicks / NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

A researcher in Georgia who has studied one of Alabama's biggest bat colonies says the colony could be all but wiped out within years by the deadly fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.

vermilion darter
Tennessee Aquarium

Populations of an endangered fish have been found in new areas of a creek in central Alabama, upstream of where a dam was removed four years ago in an effort to expand the fish's range.

Rev. Barber
Jay Reeves / AP

A leading figure among religious liberals says the candidacy of Roy Moore for U.S. Senate is a struggle for the "soul of the nation."

The remarks today by the Rev. William J. Barber come one day after a letter signed by dozens of progressive pastors in Alabama said Moore — dogged by recent allegations of inappropriate conduct toward teenage girls decades ago — is unfit to serve.

Two Alabama Theater signs
Birmingham Landmarks Inc.

An iconic theater in central Alabama has won a grant to install a replica of a vintage sign that has been missing since the 1950s.

Al.com reports Birmingham’s Alabama Theater was one of 11 winning sites in an online contest sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The theater’s owner, Birmingham Landmarks Incorporated, will use the grant funding to help with costs for the 60-foot “Alabama” sign above the double doors leading to the stage entrance on 18th Street.

Next Birmingham Mayor May Inherit Confederate Monument Fight

Oct 9, 2017

Birmingham’s next mayor may have a fight on his hands immediately upon taking office in November.

Randall Woodfin may have to find a way to deal with the ongoing controversy over an embattled Confederate monument in Birmingham. The city is facing a lawsuit from the state Attorney General Steve Marshall over the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park.

The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act that was passed this summer makes it illegal to remove or rename any memorial streets or buildings on public property that have been in place for 40 or more years.

Residents in Mobile know who their next mayor will be, but there’s still some work to be done in Birmingham.

In Mobile, Sandy Stimpson was elected to his second term as mayor. He defeated former mayor Sam Jones with just over 57 percent of the vote.

But in Birmingham, incumbent mayor William Bell is heading to a runoff with challenger Randall Woodfin. Unofficial returns from last night showed Woodfin was leading a crowded field of mayoral candidates with approximately 40 percent of the vote. Bell had earned around 36 percent.

After sitting out four years, Big Jim entered the governor's race again in 1954, beating three state senators, the president of the public service commission and the lieutenant governor without a runoff; he beat them by challenging the big mules of Birmingham...

The school board in Birmingham is working to prevent a charter school from opening in the city.

The board recently filed suit against the Alabama Public Charter School Commission in order to prevent STAR Academy from beginning operations. Board members say they denied a charter to start the school at the local level. They say that decision was improperly overruled by the state commission.

A new state law restores voting rights for many people with felony convictions, and two legal groups will be holding clinics this summer to make sure those people are registered to vote.

The ACLU of Alabama and Legal Services of Alabama both plan to hold a series of “restoration clinics” at churches in Birmingham, Mobile and Selma this summer.

Adelante Alabama
Adelante Alabama

An Alabama-based immigrant advocacy group is urging the city of Birmingham to declare itself a sanctuary city.

The director of the Adelante Alabama Worker Center, Jessica Vosburgh, says that declaration would provide protection to undocumented immigrants in the city and state, and would ensure that Birmingham police officers aren’t working as extensions of federal immigration enforcement.

Alabama’s largest city wants to play host to more movies, and a new film office is trying to lure movie productions to the area.

Al.com reports Film Birmingham is now officially open for business after operating behind the scenes for more than a year. The office is an initiative started by Create Birmingham, who are also planning to launch a website targeting the film industry.

Film Birmingham officials say that instead of focusing on big-budget movies like the city of Atlanta does, they will be more focused on recruiting small- to mid-sized productions to the Magic City.

recycling
Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

Municipal officials can lose sleep over the volume of trash that residents produce, but those in Montgomery have the opposite problem. They say the city isn’t producing enough trash to sustain a citywide recycling program.

Montgomery has a similar population size to three other major Alabama cities, Huntsville , Birmingham and Mobile. But the Montgomery Advertiser reports that the capital city is the only one without a recycling program and the only one with any doubts about its ability to maintain one.

Some Alabama Voters Heading to Polls Today

Mar 7, 2017

Voters in Tuscaloosa as well as a House district in the Birmingham area are heading to the polls today to decide the future of their community representation.

District 58 needs a new representative in the Alabama House after Oliver Robinson retired last fall. Today the district is holding its primary election. If there is no need for a run-off, the general election will be held May 23.

Fast food workers and civil rights groups are appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an Alabama state law blocking the city of Birmingham's plans to raise the minimum wage.

The plaintiffs appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.

Birmingham was poised to raise the minimum hourly wage in the city to $10.10 last year. But before the wage hike was implemented, the Alabama Legislature swiftly passed a law requiring a uniform state minimum wage.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell has officially announced his bid for re-election.

Bell is seeking his second full four-year term as mayor of Birmingham.

Al.com reports Bell won his first bid for mayor in a special election in late 2009 to replace former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, following his federal conviction on bribery charges. Bell then won re-election to a two-year term in 2011. That term was abbreviated to synchronize the mayoral and city council elections.

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