Mobile

A judge has rescheduled a hearing on indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard's request to dismiss ethics charges against him.  Circuit Judge Jacob Walker delayed the hearing until Feb. 16 because of a scheduling conflict.

Hubbard is alleging prosecutorial misconduct after a political consultant says he communicated often with the lead prosecutor and used the information to try to damage Hubbard politically.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Wikimedia

More than 800 Alabamians could face eviction from public housing under a new proposal that would cut off assistance for higher-earning individuals.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced a proposal aimed at reducing the number of "over-income" tenants who live in government-assisted homes. Currently, federal law requires people to meet income requirements when they move in to government-assisted housing. But they are not forced to leave if their income grows past the threshold.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining an Alabama auto parts supplier over $170,000 for unsafe working conditions.

Daeil USA is based in Valley, Alabama and supplies parts to Hyundai and Kia. OSHA recently issued 17 citations against the company, 10 of which were classified as serious.

They’re accusing the employer of willful failure to develop procedures to prevent multiple machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. OSHA says the unguarded machinery put workers in danger of amputations and other serious occupational hazards.

An environmental group has asked a judge to hear oral arguments in its lawsuit challenging the state of Alabama's plans to use oil spill settlement funds to build a beachfront hotel.

The Gulf Restoration Network filed the request earlier this month in federal court. The group asked for expedited arguments, citing Alabama's continued work on the project. The state is building a new 350-room beach hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

Alabama's unemployment rate is up slightly from a month ago. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold reports, officials say it isn’t entirely bad news…

Labor statistics released today show the state's jobless rate rose one-tenth of a percent to 6 percent in November.

A statement from Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington says the increase isn't necessarily bad news because it indicates more people are entering the workforce.

Mobile police
Chip English / Mobile Press-Register

The city of Mobile is taking steps to offer its police force a more competitive salary.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson says the city will hire a third-party consultant to examine the salary structure and find ways to make improvements. During a city council meeting yesterday, Stimpson said wages throughout the city will be examined to see where adjustments are needed.

Tommy Bice
timesdaily.com

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

A city-wide planning map is aiming to make Mobile more walkable.

The plan called "Map for Mobile" will go before the city council Tuesday for consideration. The plan outlines methods and approaches the city will follow starting in 2016 to implement zoning, land use, code and ordinance changes and capital improvement priorities.

The map would be the first for South Alabama's largest city in years.

It was approved by the city's planning commission Thursday following a round of mostly positive comments from people involved in the nine-month creation process.

Another Republican Presidential hopeful is coming to Alabama today.

Ohio Governor John Kasich* is meeting supporters during a campaign rally right now at Wintzell’s Oyster Bar in Mobile. The GOP contender earned the endorsement of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. Still, Kasich is behind in the polls compared to competitors like Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Bob Omainsky** owns Wintzell’s. He says the Kasich campaign approached him about using the oyster bar as the venue for today’s event…

It’s one week to go before Alabama’s new state budget goes into effect. APR’s Pat Duggins reports, big cuts might be coming despite tax increases…

Alabama lawmakers cobbled together a spending and taxation package of about one hundred and sixty six million dollars. That’s short of the two hundred million dollar budgetary shortfall Governor Robert Bentley was predicting during the budget debate.

Huntsville Federal Court
Wikimedia

Former Madison police officer Eric Parker’s defense team is expected to present their case today as his civil rights trial continues.

Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 58 year old Indian man Sureshbhai Patel when he assaulted and partially paralyzed him during a police stop in February.

"Where Does Your Water Come From?"

Sep 2, 2015
^0 inch pipelines carry water from Big Creek Lake to water treatment plants in Mobile

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking at water. Specifically, the condition of Alabama’s drinking water supply and the health of our rivers. The APR news team will present a number of stories over the coming weeks on the subject. It’s a story of politics, pollution, economics, and the obvious need that water is there when you turn on the tap. To that end, I traveled from one end of Alabama to the other to answer the question—where does your water come from?

During the next week nearly a third of the Republicans who want to be President will be in Alabama. 

Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley endorsed Ohio’s Governor John Kasich earlier this week. Tonight the G-O-P front runner, businessman Donald Trump will be in Mobile where he is expected to draw a crowd of nearly thirty thousand.

Terry Lathan is the Chairwoman of the Alabama G-O-P. She says Alabama is a key to the South…

The Birmingham City Council has passed a resolution increasing the minimum wage to over ten dollars an hour. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports it won’t happen all at once.

The Birmingham City Council passed an ordinance during their meeting today that will eventually increase the city’s minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents ($10.10) per hour.

The Mobile County Commission is taking steps to protect the area’s primary source of drinking water. APR’s Pat Duggins reports it’s a land purchase around Big Creek Lake…

Mobile County wants to buy 200 acres around the Big Creek Lake watershed. The county has close to $400,000 in grants from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program to pay for the property.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the County the go-ahead to make the purchase earlier this week. The goal is to protect the area around the lake, which is Mobile’s main source of water.

A.G. Gaston
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

A new report provides the specific economic impacts of decades of climate change both in Alabama and throughout the United States.

In Alabama, the largest issue is expected to be increased temperature. By 2040, the report estimates that the state will see up to 33 additional days per year above 95 degrees. That would result in a nearly 9% drop in crop yields, a 7.5% jump in energy demand, and nearly 500 additional deaths per year.

A hometown company will design a massive bridge that's being planned across the Mobile River on Alabama's coast.

The state transportation agency says Thompson Engineering will develop plans for a new Interstate 10 bridge across the river. The existing bridge across Mobile Bay will also be widened.

Some work will begin almost immediately while details of the contract are being completed.

The project's goal is to ease traffic snarls that occur regularly in Mobile.

Two more counties issuing Same-Sex Licenses

Jul 22, 2015

Two more Alabama counties say they will issue wedding licenses following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Both Houston and Henry counties have refused to issue any licenses because of gay marriage.

But the Dothan Eagle reports that probate judges in both counties say they will now issue marriage licenses to anyone.

The change came at the end of a 25-day window in which the U.S. Supreme Court could have reconsidered its decision.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

Uber Staying in Mobile, Heat Advisory

Jul 14, 2015

Uber is staying in Mobile. 

The City Council voted unanimously to keep the vehicles for hire business at a meeting yesterday.  After almost one month of debating, Mobile’s City Council decided Uber can operate inside the city limits. The company has carried paying passengers inside the Port City since mid-June.

The Cab companies were not happy when Uber arrived. That’s because the car for hire service didn’t have to meet all city regulations that taxis do. 

The Mobile City Council is removing the Confederate flag and other banners from the official seal of city government.

The current Mobile city seal displays flags from six nations that have governed Mobile since 1702: the Confederacy, France, Great Britain, Spain, the Republic of Alabama and the United States.  The council vote today means only the U.S. flag will remain on the seal.

Hundreds of people gathered at APM Terminals in Mobile yesterday to celebrate the final transport of the first major A320 components from the Port of Mobile to the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility.

The large plane parts arrived yesterday afternoon amid fanfare and a parade. Airbus announced three years ago that Mobile will house the planemaker's first final assembly line on U.S. soil.

Alabama’s unemployment rate dipped slightly last month.

Gov. Robert Bentley says the state’s unemployment rate for March is 5.7 percent.  Alabama’s jobless rate has not been at that point or below since July 2008.

He says the rate remains below the 7.2 percent seasonally adjusted rate from the same time a year ago.      

wikipedia

          Weather forecasters along the Tennessee Valley are warning residents of the Shoals to be on guard for icy roads tonight and tomorrow. The overall threat of snow and sleet has eased over much of Alabama. But, towns like Florence could still see some of the wintry weather that been plaguing areas of New England. Lauderdale and Colbert Counties are under a winter storm warning until 6 p-m. this evening while the majority of the northern counties are a winter weather advisory for most of Monday.

Cassie Fambro/AL.com

Several groups are planning to push the Mobile County Commission to authorize the installation of atheist, Pagan and Universalist displays after authorizing a Christian one at Government Plaza.

City officials in Birmingham and Mobile say new population estimates showing modest gains are important because they show growth in each case.

Al.com 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.

commons.wikimedia.org

Valentine's Day will be special for members of an Alabama National Guard unit that's coming home from Afghanistan. About 190 members of the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade are returning home to Mobile on Friday morning. The troops will be welcomed by family members and friends at an armory in the port city. The group deployed in April 2013, traveling first to Fort Hood in Texas for training. Then they moved overseas to Afghanistan. The soldiers assisted with management operations for five base camps in Kabul.

blog.al.com

Republican state Rep. Jamie Ison of Mobile says she won't seek re-election next year.

Ison was elected to represent House District 101 in 2002. She was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Ison said Friday she will retire at the end of her term to focus her attention on her real estate career and her volunteer work.

Airbus

Legislation to help protect Airbus from lawsuits involving planes built at the new plant in Mobile has moved closer to final passage in the Alabama Legislature.

The House voted unanimously Thursday for the bill that places a 12-year limit on filing lawsuits as a result of an accident involving a plane built at the new plant. A lawsuit would have to involve a problem with the airplane that arose within 12 years of when the plane was sold.

Ryan Vasquez

  Government Street in Mobile is a bustling center of activity—kind of like what you’d see in a lot of big U.S. cities. The only thing that might seem out of place is the school. But that’s where Barton Academy, the first public school in Alabama, was built back in the late 1830s. Jerry Curran attended Barton during World War 2.

“I rode my bicycle to Barton Academy to be honest with you I see bicycles around but I wouldn’t want a kid to ride a bicycle down Government Street or Conti Street or any of them today,” says Curran. “So it was sleepy I guess you could say.”

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