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.

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.

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.


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.”

Chief Petty Officer Jason Chambers / U.S. Coast Guard

Mobile is getting ready for the return of the crippled Carnival cruise ship Triumph that is being towed to the port there after an engine room fire left it powerless at sea for days.

It's been more than a year since a cruise ship was based in Mobile. But Sheila Gurganis, who is general manager for the terminal, says it still has the infrastructure needed to accommodate a ship like the Triumph on Thursday. On board are 3,100 passengers and 1,000 crew members.

City spokeswoman Barbara Drummond says Carnival has rented blocks of rooms at two downtown hotels.

Wikimedia Commons

The Coast Guard says a second tug boat has reached a disabled cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico and is helping tow it to Mobile, Ala.

More than 3,000 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000 aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Triumph have had limited services since a fire in an engine room Sunday. The original plan was to tow it to Progreso, Mexico, but currents pushed it north.

No injuries have been reported.

AP Photo/Press-Register, Mike Brantley

Plastic beads and moon pies will be flying all day on the Alabama coast.

Parades began in the morning and are scheduled to go into the night in Mobile and Baldwin counties for Fat Tuesday.

Rain is in the forecast, but organizers say the celebration will continue unless the weather turns severe.

Six parades are scheduled in Mobile, home of the nation's oldest Mardi Gras festivities. The beach cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach also have parades.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

Residents along Alabama's Gulf Coast are being asked to participate in a survey designed to gauge long-term effects of the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Representatives of the state Department of Public Health will go door-to-door this week to conduct the survey, which take about 15 minutes to complete. Residents of Mobile and Baldwin counties were also surveyed in 2010 and 2011. Participants also will be asked about how their community is prepared for an emergency and their access to health care.

Wikimedia Commons

Witnesses say a University of South Alabama student was screaming obscenities and talking about being on a "spiritual quest" shortly before campus police fatally shot him. Two students who knew 18-year-old Gil Collar described him Monday as appearing intoxicated shortly before his death early Saturday. The university says Collar was nude, acting erratically and challenging a police officer when the officer opened fire. A school statement makes no mention of Collar being armed.

Alligator Season Wraps

Aug 31, 2012
Stan Ingold

   The seventh annual alligator season has just wrapped up in Alabama. One hundred twenty five tags were issued to hunters who wanted to chase down the large reptiles. Of that, seventy-eight gators were brought in, leaving forty seven tags unfilled.

   Two weekends a year Alabamians get the opportunity to hunt for alligators. Hunters like Jennifer Smith and her family, who bagged a three-hundred fifteen pound alligator that measured ten feet five inches long. She says hope to go every chance she gets.

Governor Bentley Updates Evacuation Orders

Aug 28, 2012
Alabama Emergency Management Agency / Alabama EMA

Update:  August 28, 2012 - Afternoon

MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday lifted mandatory evacuation orders 


KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Forecasters say a strengthened Tropical Storm Isaac is bearing down on the Florida Keys. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Isaac was centered about 135 miles (220 kms) east-southeast of Key West at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday. The storm has top sustained winds of about 65 mph (100 kph) and is moving toward the west-northwest at 20 mph (31 kph). Hours earlier, Isaac's winds were clocked at about 60 mph (95 kph).

Feds Provide $100K Grant For Passenger Rail Study

Aug 16, 2012
Bruce Fingerhood / Flickr

Federal railway officials are providing $100,000 to study the possibility of passenger train service linking Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. The Federal Railroad Administration said Thursday it is earmarking the money in response to an application from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Amtrak used to run passenger trains linking the three cities, and the study will look at restoring the service.

Austal USA To Add 1,000 Jobs At Mobile Shipyard

Aug 14, 2012
Official U.S. Navy Imagery / Flickr

Alabama's governor says the state will provide $5 million and job training to Austal USA to help the shipbuilder add up to 1,000 jobs in Mobile.

Gov. Robert Bentley was in Mobile on Tuesday to announce an agreement with the Australia-based shipbuilder.

The agreement calls for the state to provide $1 million a year for five years, which will help with the expansion of the Mobile complex.