Blue Bell is beginning a trial run of ice cream production at its Sylacauga plant after a national recall due to a series of listeria illnesses.

Alabama Health Officer Don Williamson said yesterday that Blue Bell notified his department that it will begin a trial run of production later this month. The ice cream will not be sold to consumers. Williamson says both state health officials and Blue Bell will test the product for listeria.

The chairman of the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee says he's seeking professional help after his arrest on a DUI charge.

Alabaster Republican Senator Cam Ward released a written statement this morning following his release from the Shelby County jail.  Ward says his failure at dealing with stress resulted in what he calls "incredibly reckless decisions."

A federal judge says Alabama counties must abide by court decisions allowing gay marriage. APR’s Stan Ingold reports U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued an order updating a previous ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Judge Granade says state probate judges can't discriminate against gay couples because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled gay marriage is legal everywhere. But her order doesn't affect counties that have stopped issuing all marriage licenses.

The judge had put previous decisions on hold to allow time for the justices to rule.

Alabama’s state prisons were built to hold 13,000 inmates. They currently house over 25,000.

That makes Alabama prisons among the most crowded in the nation, and state politicians fear the crowding may soon bring federal intervention to the troubled prison system.

In an effort to relieve some of the overcrowding, lawmakers approved changes to sentencing and probation standards this spring as well as a bond issue for additional prison beds. The changes include the creation of a lower level felony class and the planned hiring of 100 additional probation officers.

Many of Alabama’s senior citizens that qualify for food and medical assistance don’t receive those benefits because they haven’t signed up for the program.

The city of Foley is partnering with the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission Area Agency to help those seniors find out if they’re eligible for assistance and to enroll in benefit programs.

The City of Birmingham will be playing host to a prominent legal official tomorrow. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more on the Attorney General’s national tour stop.

Recently appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be visiting Birmingham tomorrow as part of a nationwide Community Policing Tour.

A 12-year-old boy from Bay Minette, Alabama, recently discovered a rare fossil in Greene County.

The University of Alabama says Aiden Taylor was on a week-long trip with the university's Museum Expedition when he found a fossil of a reptile that roamed the planet millions of years ago.

Over 250 mayors from across the country attended the 83rd annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco.

The gathering was held June 19-22 and allowed mayors the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas on how to deal with issues within their cities. They also debated and adopted dozens of resolutions that will be submitted to the United States Congress.

Among the delegates was Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell. I asked Bell about his involvement with the conference, some of the policy suggestions he supported, and other issues in Birmingham.

Mayors from Alabama and across the country are wrapping up a big conference today in San Francisco. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more about the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The 83rd annual Conference of Mayors is wrapping up today. It’s an opportunity for mayors to collaborate and share ideas for dealing with issues in their cities. They also develop policies that are voted on and eventually submitted to the U.S. Congress.

Hangout Music Fest, Nepal Fundraiser in Birmingham

May 15, 2015

The sixth annual Hangout Music Fest kicks off this afternoon on the beaches of Gulf Shores.

The three-day music festival features more than 80 performances by some of the biggest music names in the world, like Beck, the Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket and plenty more.

Forty thousand people are expected to head to Gulf Shores for the event, which means a big economic boom for the community. Grant Brown is the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director for the City of Gulf Shores.

Selma Audit, Alabama officers honored in Washington D.C.

May 13, 2015

Selma city officials are asking for a state audit.  A-P-R’s Stan Ingold reports the investigation may determine why the city's tax revenue during the Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary was lower than anticipated.

Mayor George Evans told the Selma Times-Journal the city's tax revenue for the month of March was roughly sixteen thousand dollars more than it was in March 2014. That's despite thousands of extra visitors coming to town for the anniversary weekend.

Martin Jay Creasman
Alabama Department of Corrections

A 51 year old escapee from a Morgan County prison has been arrested on accusations that he stole a pickup truck and crashed it into two women, killing them both.

Birmingham police allege Martin Jay Creasman stole a pickup truck from a Birmingham auto shop, then crashed into a car containing 92 year old Margie Lovell and 69 year old Linda Jones. The two women were on their way to a church meeting. The Avondale United Methodist Church released a statement on Twitter saying Lovell and Jones were "well-loved" and "pillars of [their] congregation".

President Obama brought his Middle Class Economics plan to Lawson State Community College in Birmingham.

The Commander-in-Chief covered everything from Washington policy to a fairly new government agency called the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau. The CFPB was created as part of Wall Street reform after the 2008 financial crisis. It's an independent consumer watchdog, and President Obama says they've already made a big impact.

President Obama visited Alabama to talk about economics. The Commander-in-chief arrived in Birmingham aboard Air Force One for a speech at Lawson State Community College.

The President told the crowd what’s good for the middle class is good for America. The White House is criticizing a budget plan in congress which includes tax breaks for the wealthy.

Mr. Obama also targeted Pay Day Loan operations which charge high interest rates…

President Barack Obama will be in Birmingham this afternoon to talk about the economy.

The President will be speaking at Lawson State Community College on consumer protection issues and the contrast between his vision for the American middle class and Republican efforts to undermine that vision.

According to a White House press release, Congressional Republicans are continuing to roll back progress toward a safer financial system and stronger economy, encouraging the types of abuses that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

President Barack Obama will travel to Alabama next week to give a speech about the economy. It's his second visit to the state this month.

Obama will be in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon. The White House hasn't released any other details about the trip.

Earlier in March, Obama traveled to Selma, Alabama, to mark the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." Obama led a symbolic march across the bridge where throngs who protested their lack of voting rights were beaten by police.

One Birmingham teenager is dead and two others are injured after shots were fired Friday during a fight the teens had staged for social media.

The Birmingham Police Department says a group of girls had been arguing and decided to fight to settle their differences. They also decided to film the fight to post on Facebook later.

After the fight started, two teenage males started shooting, and three people were hit.

One 14-year-old girl, Kierra'onna Rice, later died at an area hospital, and two more were injured.

Police have taken the two suspects into custody.

Mental Health, IBM Grant and Aerofest

Feb 5, 2015

Officials with Alabama Psychiatric Services say they are ending their service next week.  The company released a statement on their website saying services will stop on February 13. 

Officials say the company is shutting down because of a decline in funding and a change in how it provides behavioral health services.  They also say the company will work to help patients transition to other service providers. 

The change will affect clinics in Birmingham, Cullman, Decatur, Dothan, Fairhope, Florence, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.

Alabama is still buzzing over the news that Birmingham will be the host city for the 2021 World games. The first task in preparing to host the games will be to watch how Poland does it.

Wroclaw, Poland will be hosting the 2017 games and Alabama be taking notes on how that city handles it. Over four thousand athletes from one hundred countries usually take part.

International World Games Association

Birmingham is among three cities that have submitted bids to host an international sporting event in 2021.

Birmingham along with Lima, Peru, and Ufa, Russia, are in the running to be the site of the World Games seven years from now.

The host city will be announced by the International World Games Association in early 2015.

The games have been held every four years since 1981. While not as well-known as the Olympics, organizers say they involve about 4,500 athletes from 100 countries.

Birmingham is trying to land its biggest prize in years: The 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Officials with the Democratic National Committee will arrive in Alabama's largest city Monday for a two-day visit to assess whether Birmingham could host the massive gathering.

The national representatives will meet with area promoters to discuss logistical needs like hotels and arena space. They'll also attend a public party Monday night at a downtown concert venue, and a private event is planned at the city's year-old baseball park.

City officials in Birmingham and Mobile say new population estimates showing modest gains are important because they show growth in each case. reports that Birmingham's net gain was barely a blip - 672 people between July 2012 and July 2013. Mobile's gain was even more modest: The city added 11 people, for a .01 percent growth rate.

The estimates were released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Both cities have struggled with declining populations for years, and both cities remain below their 2010 census populations.


Nick Saban confirms he and a partner are working to open a Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Birmingham area. reports the Alabama football coach said a statement Monday he's "honored to join the Mercedes family" and "extremely excited" about the business venture planned for Irondale.

According to county records, nearly $3 million in Jefferson County business property taxes haven't been collected because there aren't enough agents on staff to recoup the money.

Tax collector J.T. Smallwood says the bankrupt county has no tax agents in Birmingham and has one in the Bessemer Division.

According to the tax collector's office, Jefferson County has missed out on $570,000 in 2013 because of uncollected taxes. The county did collect $560 million during the last fiscal year.

  A lawyer for the city of Birmingham says a large cabinet housing flight information monitors that toppled and killed a 10-year-old boy inside a newly renovated airport terminal wasn't inspected by the city after installation.

The monitors were installed in a $201 million upgrade at Birmingham's airport. Assistant city attorney Steve Stine said Tuesday the monitor display didn't require city inspection under municipal code because it wasn't a structural component of the building.

Slawek Puklo / Flickr

The National Weather Service has confirmed that storm damage in Birmingham was caused by a tornado with maximum winds estimated at 90 mph.

The National Weather Service says the tornado hit at about 4:45 a.m. Monday in the area around Finley Avenue near the Birmingham farmer's market. Birmingham Mayor William Bell says there are no reports of injuries from severe weather that damaged roofs and broke windows. He says the city provided tarps to residents whose roofs were damaged. / Birmingham Yellow Cab

Birmingham and Jefferson County are getting some extra help fighting crime. About 100 taxi drivers in Jefferson County have been trained to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. If they see something, they can call police and report it immediately. Yellow Cab announced the new "TOP" or Taxis on Patrol program Monday in front of Birmingham City Hall. The taxis will be equipped with GPS technology that can send and receive information. They will also have security cameras that will be able to help police during investigations.

The City of Birmingham has lost the court fight to keep the Cooper Green Mercy hospital open for the poor. The city was unable to force Jefferson County in the latest round in court Wednesday to keep hospital open and operating as usual. Lawsuits against the county are effectively frozen in place until the county emerges from bankruptcy under Chapter 9. The city asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett to lift a stay so the city could sue the county in state court. The county commission voted in August to close the inpatient unit and emergency room at the county owned hospital.

Jason Comely / Flickr

New payday loan businesses won't be allowed to open in Birmingham until at least next June. The city council on Tuesday extended a ban on the businesses until June 19, 2013. Officials picked that date because it comes after the end of the Legislature's regular session. They want lawmakers to address the number of payday loan businesses in their city and across Alabama during the session. An industry lobbyist criticized the move. Max Woods of Borrow Smart America said the decision hurts customers and small businesses. He also said it doesn't address problems with banks.

Florida Atlantic University

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a public hearing about crackdowns on illegal immigration in Alabama and other states. The panel will meet in Birmingham on Friday to hear from both supporters and opponents of the laws. Speakers include Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who's pushed for such measures nationwide, and Republican state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, a sponsor of Alabama's law. Critics of the measures are on the agenda, but they're complaining that members of what they call hate groups are being allowed to participate.