FEMA

The families of two girls who were killed in a DUI crash involving a former NASA astronaut in rural west Alabama have filed wrongful-death lawsuits in state and federal courts.

Authorities say 11-year-old Niomi James and 13-year-old Jayla Parler were killed in a crash that left two others injured on June 6 in rural west Alabama.

Former NASA astronaut 59-year-old James Halsell has been charged with reckless murder in the crash and now faces wrongful-death lawsuits in Tuscaloosa County and in federal court.

An Alabama judge will hear arguments today in a dispute between the state’s teachers and their health insurance provider.

The Alabama Education Association is suing the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Program, or PEEHIP. Coinciding with a raise that Alabama’s lawmakers allocated to teachers earlier this year, the health insurance program announced it was dramatically increasing its premiums. The AEA argues those rate hikes were decided upon in a secret meeting that violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Alabama State House
AP

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction bill failed to pass on the final night of the legislative session yesterday.

Lawmakers ended the session at midnight last night before a scaled-back version of the bill received a vote in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers attempted to craft a last-minute compromise in their effort to clear the bill through both chambers of the legislature yesterday.

Tuscaloosa tornado damage
NWS Birmingham / Wikimedia

The federal government says it wants its money back after auditors claim Tuscaloosa improperly received more than $1 million in aid following the 2011 tornadoes.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has determined the Federal Emergency Management Agency should reclaim about $1.2 million in storm assistance funding.

Wetumpka
Wikimedia

The city of Wetumpka has declared a state of emergency after heavy rains and flooding around Christmas caused widespread damage.

But officials say the declaration is just a formality to allow the city to work more easily on areas that need the most repairs.

Heavy rain caused the Coosa River in Wetumpka to rise to 45 feet, higher than it’s been in decades. Several roads remain closed; one is affected by a 15-foot-deep sinkhole.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline until July 15 for Alabama residents to register for assistance if they were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state in late April.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner said Friday the governor requested a two-week extension and FEMA approved it. The deadline for loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration has also been extended to July 15.

Associated Press

Thirteen more Alabama counties are qualifying for federal assistance due to the storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state in late April and early May.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says state and local government programs and some nonprofit organizations may apply for disaster assistance in Blount, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Geneva, Lamar, Perry, Pickens and Tuscaloosa counties. Five other counties — Baldwin, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone and Mobile — were approved for the aid earlier.

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.

http://www.ema.alabama.gov / Alabama Emergency Management Agency

A nine-member team from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency is helping in New York with the recovery effort from Superstorm Sandy.

State EMA Director Art Faulkner said EMA teams from all over the country helped Alabama after the killer tornadoes in April 2011, and Alabama is pleased to return the favor.

The Alabama group is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Joint Field Office in Queens. They are expected to return to Alabama on Nov. 27.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

FEMA

Alabama's governor says five more counties will be eligible for federal aid aimed at helping communities recover from damage caused by Hurricane Isaac. Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the request. Bentley had sent a letter to FEMA saying the five counties -- Covington, Dallas, Geneva, Monroe and Perry -- suffered $2.5 million in damage. The five counties are now added to the list of counties that were already able to apply for federal public assistance.

Ryan Schreiber / Flickr

A federal judge gave his final approval Thursday to a $42.6 million class-action settlement between companies that made and installed government-issued trailers after hurricanes in 2005 and Gulf Coast storm victims who claim they were exposed to hazardous fumes while living in the shelters. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled from the bench after hearing from attorneys who brokered a deal resolving nearly all remaining court claims over elevated levels of formaldehyde in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Tuscaloosa Gets FEMA Grant For Warning System

Aug 6, 2012
ci.tuscaloosa.al.us / City of Tuscaloosa

The city of Tuscaloosa plans to begin using a system that will warn residents of threats ranging from tornadoes to chemical spills.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $124,000 grant for the city to implement an early warning system that sends alerts by telephones, pagers and text messages.

City officials say a computer linked to a phone system will send alerts to any resident who signs up for the service.

The system is similar to one that the University of Alabama uses to send alerts to students and staff members during an emergency.