Alex AuBuchon

News Host / Reporter

Alex AuBuchon is APR’s Morning Edition host and also writes news and feature stories. He got his start in nonprofit radio at the University of Tennessee’s venerable WUTK-FM.

AuBuchon started as a student DJ before quickly falling in with the news team. He spent a semester on the news staff and then a year as News Director, delivering live newscasts and teaching broadcast workshops to undergraduate journalism students.

AuBuchon then switched over to commercial radio, taking a job as Operations Manager and Assistant News Director for a group of four radio stations in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. He scheduled traffic and automation breaks and did administrative work for four stations during the week, and delivered newscasts and maintained a popular news website on the weekends.

Alex crossed back over to public radio in January 2015, moving to Alabama to wake up early and give listeners the news they need to get ready for the day.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed a man from north Alabama to serve on the federal bench in the state.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said Thursday the Senate had confirmed Liles Burke of Arab to serve as a federal judge for the northern district of Alabama.

Burke is currently an associate judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. He has authored decisions by that court in more than 1,200 cases.

He was nominated by President Trump in September 2017.

Before his service on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, he was a District Judge in Marshall County.

Industry insiders, students, and many others will be gathering in Tuscaloosa today to talk insurance.

Today is I-Day, or Insurance Day, at the Bryant Conference Center at the University of Alabama. The event has been going on for 35 years and offers insurance professionals the chance to learn from leaders in their field.

This year’s theme is Insurance Evolution: Resilience in a Tech-Disrupted World.

A search and rescue team from Tennessee has been deployed to Alabama ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Michael.

The Memphis Fire Department says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked Tennessee Task Force Type 3 to report to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

The department says a team of 80 firefighters, doctors, engineers and dog handlers departed Tennessee yesterday.

The task force will be responsible for wide-area and swift water search and rescue efforts.

A nonprofit organization in Alabama has some tough news about kids in Alabama.

VOICES for Alabama’s Children has released its annual Kids Count Data Book, aimed at helping lawmakers and advocates understand the issues facing Alabama’s kids. The report says child poverty is on the rise, with 26.5% of Alabama’s children now living in poverty.

Infant mortality in the state is also high, at 9.1 per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 5.6 per 1000 live births.

It’ll be free to hop on the bus this week in Tuscaloosa.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the city's transit authority is offering free rides across the city as it unveils an entirely new bus route.

Executive Director Russell Lawrence says the authority changed some stops on other routes, leading to the decision to waive the $1 for bus fare or 20 cents to transfer citywide.

It's the system's first new route since 2011.

An Alabama judge says, at least for now, the city of Huntsville does not have to hand prosecutors copies of a statement made by a police officer charged with murder.

News outlets report Judge Donna Pate ruled yesterday that Officer William Darby's statements to an internal police review board are protected unless he decides to testify at his trial.

Prosecutors had sought the statements. Pate ordered the city to give prosecutors other records from the internal review of the shooting.

The relatives of a man who died in an Alabama prison say officials provided inadequate medical care before his death.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the family of 45-year-old state inmate Michael Eddings says workers at Ventress prison in southeast Alabama were "deliberately indifferent" to his condition.

Eddings died on Sept. 24 after a bacterial infection developed into meningitis.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case of an Alabama death row inmate who lawyers say suffers from dementia and can no longer remember killing a police officer in 1985.

Justices will hear arguments today as to whether it would be unconstitutional to execute 68-year-old Vernon Madison. Madison was convicted of killing Mobile police officer Julius Schulte in 1985.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said death row prisoners must have a "rational understanding" that they are about to be executed and why.

Alabama has lost its multi-billion-dollar bid to build the next trainer jet for the U.S. Air Force at the historic home of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Developers had proposed Tuskegee's Moton Field as a site for Italian defense firm Leonardo DRS to assemble the T-100 trainer, but the Pentagon chose Boeing for the project instead.

Boeing will receive a $9.2 billion contract to produce more than 350 T-X trainer jets in addition to simulators and other equipment.

flood SUV
Albertville Fire & Rescue

Flash floods in north Alabama trapped people in homes and vehicles yesterday, and forecasters say the threat could last through today.

Torrential rain from a cold front moving through the state caused water to quickly cover roads and low-lying areas near Birmingham. Video and photos showed homes surrounded by water and motorists trapped in cars and trucks.

A mobile home park was evacuated in Brighton because of rising water, and fire officials say at least two people were rescued in the city.

Oliver Robinson
ballotpedia.org

Federal prosecutors are looking for nearly three years in prison for a former legislator who has admitted to taking bribes to fight environmental cleanup efforts in Birmingham.

Former state Rep. Oliver Robinson will be sentenced in federal court today. Court documents show prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 33 months in prison.

Prosecutors say that sends a message of deterrence but also reflects Robinson's "early acceptance of responsibility."

Fourteen Alabama prisoners have earned theological degrees under a new seminary program in the state’s prison system.

The Alabama Department of Corrections says the first inmates graduated from seminary studies under the Birmingham Theological Seminary Prison Initiative Program.

The privately funded program allows inmates to take seminary classes taught at the Bibb County Correctional Facility. The program lasts two years.

Ten inmates earned certificates in biblical studies and four earned masters of arts in biblical studies.

Alabama's prison system is facing a hearing on how it provides mental health services to inmates.

Al.com reports U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has ordered a hearing in Montgomery later today on why the Alabama Department of Corrections should not be held in contempt of court for failing to meet deadlines for increasing mental health staffing.

Thompson ruled last year that mental health care in Alabama prisons was "horrendously inadequate" and violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Alex AuBuchon / APR

The four girls killed in a church bombing in Birmingham in 1963 were remembered over the weekend during a memorial service on the attack’s 55th anniversary.

Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson were all killed September 15, 1963 when a bomb placed by Ku Klux Klan members ripped through Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Saturday’s service also honored two boys, Johnny Robinson, Jr. and Virgil Ware, killed in separate incidents shortly after the bombing.

The federal government has until mid-November to respond to the state of Alabama's lawsuit seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from U.S. Census counts.

Last week, a federal judge gave the U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau an extension until Nov. 13 to reply to the lawsuit. Lawyers had said the Department of Justice components needed additional time to finish "evaluating the arguments that the government will make in this matter."

An inmate was fatally stabbed at a state prison in Springville, Alabama last weekend.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says the stabbing happened Sunday evening at St. Clair Correctional Facility.

Prison staff found 29-year-old Terry Terrell Pettiway unresponsive and suffering from a stab wound at around 6:45 p.m. Sunday evening. Pettiway was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

Alabama’s capital city is currently dealing with a shortage of school bus drivers.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the Montgomery Public Schools are working toward solutions for the lack of drivers at the start of this school year. A school official says the district is seeking more drivers, but they aren't receiving any applications despite efforts to advertise openings.

Of Montgomery Public Schools's 159 routes, 151 have a driver with no subs. The problem becomes even worse when drivers call out.

University Hospital
USA Health

The University of South Alabama in Mobile is changing the name of its hospital.

Late last week, university trustees approved changing the name of USA Medical Center to University Hospital.

A statement from the university's medical dean, Dr. John Marymount, says the new name reflects the school's mission to provide medical education and health care stemming from research.

The hospital is the only one in southwestern Alabama that offers the top-level of trauma care.

Jefferson County is making plans to put an armed resource officer in every school in the county as part of a new school safety plan.

Local officials announced the plan as part of a press conference yesterday. Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale says there are currently 25 officers for the 56 schools in the county school system. He says they plan to hire enough contract deputies to cover all 56 county schools.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is reporting a string of large campaign contributions as she looks to reclaim fundraising dominance in the gubernatorial race.

Campaign finance reports show the incumbent Republican has received $95,000 in large contributions over the last three weeks.

Ivey received $25,000 each from the Alabama Builders Political Action Committee, the Trucking Association PAC and Georgia Crown Distributing Inc.

She also received $20,000 from another political action committee.

Ivey faces Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox in the November election.

Airbnb is set to start collecting local lodging tax in Alabama’s largest city within the next month.

Al.com reports the Birmingham City Council approved an agreement yesterday allowing the short-term rental website to collect the city's 6.5 percent tax on rentals. Airbnb already collects a 4 percent state lodging tax for all Alabama rentals, including Birmingham.

Assistant City Attorney Julie Barnard says the tax will be collected automatically when a room is booked within city limits. Airbnb then will send the collected tax revenue to the city.

Voters in Muscle Shoals are heading to the polls today to consider a measure that would raise local taxes.

School officials are seeking a 5-mil property tax increase, on top of the existing 7.5-mil municipal ad valorem tax currently in place in Muscle Shoals. Officials say the money would go toward funding the local public school system. Specifically, they are looking to build a new elementary school and a new band room for the city high school.

Hubbard trial
Todd J. Van Ernst

An appellate court has upheld most of the convictions against former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Yesterday, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed 11 of the 12 counts against Hubbard for ethics violations, including using his public office to drum up clients and investments for his businesses.

For years, Hubbard was one of the state's most influential Republicans, but his political career came to an end with his 2016 ethics conviction.

Birmingham's public transportation agency is getting federal money to help it go electric.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority will receive $1.5 million through a grant program.

The federal agency says the money is supposed to be used for purchasing battery-run electric buses and charging stations.

The Birmingham grant money is among more than $84 million that's being provided in 41 states to update buses and other transportation infrastructure with advanced propulsion technologies.

An Alabama doctor has been sentenced to more than twelve years in prison for his role in a Montgomery pill mill.

U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin Sr. told Al.com that 56-year-old Gilberto Sanchez was found guilty last week of prescribing unnecessary controlled substances for his patients. He was also found guilty of committing health care fraud and laundering money.

CHS library
Lowndes Co. BoE

There’s a new school superintendent in Lowndes County, Alabama.

The Lowndes County Board of Education announced yesterday that Jason Burroughs has signed a three-year contract with the school system – that according to WSFA-TV.

Burroughs was previously serving as the interim superintendent and was the former assistant superintendent. He also has served in various other positions during his 23 years with the school district.

Union members in south Alabama are heading back to work after suspending their strike against a soft drink bottler.

Employees of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United in Mobile, Robertsdale and Leroy, as well as in Vancleave, Mississippi, went back to work Monday, suspending a walkout that began Aug. 9.

About 275 employees at the locations are represented by the Teamsters Union. Last year, the locastions were transferred from a North Carolina-based bottler to the Birmingham-based Coca-Cola United.

Auburn GLA
Frank Susko / Invisible Histories Project

A new project is documenting the history of LGBTQ people in the Deep South, a region that once all but forced gays, lesbians and others to live in hiding.

The nonprofit Invisible Histories Project has gathered volumes of information about gay life in Alabama, including decades-old directories of gay-friendly businesses; activist T-shirts; records from gay-rights groups; and rainbow-themed material.

The organization is also expanding into Mississippi and Georgia this year, and organizers hope to cover the entire Southeast within a few years.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the state comptroller has updated an agreement with county sheriffs to end a practice allowing them to pocket state money left over from inmate food programs.

Al.com reports starting next month, the affidavit that county sheriffs must sign will contain new language clarifying the use of jail food funds.

It states the sheriffs must agree funds will only be spent on "preparing food, serving food and other services incident to the feeding of prisoners." The old version didn't specify use of funds.

One of Alabama's largest publicly held companies, the Birmingham-based Energen Corp., is being bought out by Texas-based Diamondback Energy Inc. in a stock deal worth more than $9 billion.

The companies announced the transaction in a statement released Tuesday. They say the deal will create a company that will operate in the Permian Basin, which produces oil and natural gas located in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

The combined company will produce the equivalent of about 222,000 barrels of oil daily and own more than 266,000 acres in the region.

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