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.

Bill Canary
BCA

Alabama's largest electrical utility is quitting a business group that tries to influence policy and politics in Montgomery.

News outlets report Alabama Power Co. is leaving the Business Council of Alabama in a disagreement over its leadership and other issues.

Tax documents filed by the business group show most of its money comes from dues and assessments, so losing a large member like Alabama Power could affect its future operations.

Gulf State pier
Alabama State Parks

A new pilot program will allow shark fishing two days this month at Gulf State Park.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says the shark fishing events will take place at the park's saltwater fishing pier tomorrow and June 26. Registration is required and fishing is limited to 10 anglers.

Parks Director Greg Lein said the trial program is being implemented after feedback from people who fish at the pier. Lein says many anglers have expressed concern that they can't catch other species because of the abundance of sharks around the pier.

Low-income residents receiving federal assistance in Alabama might soon see their rent go up by more than $800 a year.

Al.com reports the possible rate increase could impact more than 180,000 people and about 83,000 households according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center says the average US. Department of Housing and Urban Development rent would go up 20 percent.

Patients seeking cancer treatment in Alabama have a new option for care.

Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham opened its new, state-of-the-art cancer center just two weeks ago. The new, twenty six thousand square foot facility is designed to help patients more easily access a wide range of cancer treatment options and resources in one location.

Dr. Jennifer De Los Santos is the director of the cancer center. She says the new facility will offer a team approach to cancer care – and that’s something she says is new for the Birmingham area.

Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA

The director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama is retiring.

Marshall officials say Todd May announced his retirement to employees yesterday. It is set to take effect July 27.

A statement from U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville says May is being replaced on an acting basis by Marshall's deputy director, Joan A. "Jody" Singer.

May was first named acting director of Marshall in 2015 and then took over the position on a permanent basis. Before that, the Fairhope native managed the Space Launch System, NASA's heavy-lift rocket that's still in development.

A onetime county official accused of taking three quarters of a million dollars in public funds in north Alabama is going to prison.

News outlets report that Judge Pride Tompkins sentenced former Franklin County administrator Crista Lynn Madden to 20 years in prison during a hearing Monday.

The 49-year-old Madden pleaded guilty in March to felony charges of using her office for personal financial gain.

Josh Coleman
via Facebook

The mayor of Alabama's largest city has hired its first LGBTQ liaison.

AL.com reports Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced yesterday at PrideFest that Josh Coleman will serve as both a city spokesman and a representative of LGBTQ interests. Coleman is currently the vice president of Central Alabama Pride, and will start his new city job on June 25.

Woodfin says Coleman's appointment upholds the legacy of "the city that taught the world the importance of inclusion."

An Alabama lawmaker has been indicted on federal charges that he paid kickbacks to a doctor's office that referred Medicare patients to his health care business.

The indictment against Republican state Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle was unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Montgomery. He is charged with six counts of paying illegal kickbacks and other federal crimes.

The votes are in after yesterday's primary election, but that wasn't enough to decide the Republican candidates in a number of key statewide races.

Several GOP races will be on a runoff ballot next month, including for Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and one seat in U.S. Congress.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of yesterday's election came in the race for U.S. House District 2. Veteran U.S. Representative Martha Roby was forced into a runoff with Bobby Bright, a former Democrat who switched parties after losing the seat to Roby back in 2010.

Primary results are in, and incumbent governor Kay Ivey will face Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox in the November 2018 gubernatorial election.

Governor Ivey managed to avoid a runoff against a field of opponents including Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, evangelist Scott Dawson, and State Senator Bill Hightower.

She is seeking to win the governorship outright for the first time; she inherited the position after then-Governor Robert Bentley resigned in April 2017 amid a sex-tinged scandal.

Birmingham will be the seventh city with a team featured in the newly-formed Alliance of American Football.

The spring professional football league, which will begin play the weekend after the Super Bowl in February, announced Birmingham’s addition yesterday. Other cities with teams in the Alliance are San Diego, Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

Alabama Republicans say they won't certify the votes of a statewide candidate who's come under scrutiny for what the party calls "egregious" comments.

The decision announced Thursday means Jim Bonner, who's running for the utility-regulating Public Service Commission, won't get the party's nomination even if he wins Tuesday's primary.

The two-time delegate to the Republican National Convention is trying to unseat incumbent Jeremy Oden. But he's made several comments on social media and radio that could be seen as offensive to women, blacks, Jews and Muslims.

Six women are suing a north Alabama rheumatologist, accusing him of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior while they were his patients.

News outlets report the lawsuit was filed in Morgan County Circuit Court Wednesday against Dr. Michael Dick of Decatur.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have been identified by pseudonyms, seeking to preserve privacy. Dick referred questions to his lawyer, who declined to comment.

cigar box guitars
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Summer is basically here, and that means it’s music festival season. In Alabama, Hangout Music Festival on the Gulf Coast took place earlier this month, and Sloss Fest in Birmingham is coming up in July. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports on one festival this weekend that might not be on your radar. It shines a spotlight on an unusual and historic instrument.

Officials say Hyundai is planning to invest more than $350 million to build a new plant in Alabama in addition to updating the existing plant in Montgomery.

News outlets report the South Korean automotive manufacturer announced yesterday that it will invest $388 million to construct the 260,000-square-foot engine head manufacturing plant, as well as enhance its assembly plant in Montgomery.

UH72A Lakota
Dura-Ace / Wikimedia

Governor Kay Ivey moved to deploy members of the Alabama National Guard late last week – but it’s not in response to Alberto.

At the request of the Trump administration, Ivey approved the deployment of a helicopter and five troops to the southwest United States in order to help protect the southwestern border. Those soldiers will be supporting the Texas National Guard in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Ivey says “Alabama is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our nation” and “we are proud to assist in the Southwest border mission”.

Government forecasters are set to release their prediction later today for how many hurricanes and tropical storms they expect to form over Atlantic and Caribbean waters in the next six months.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts Friday, June 1 and ends on November 30.

If Alabama were to expand its Medicaid program, more than 200,000 people in the state would gain health insurance.

That’s according to a new report from the Urban Institute, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They find that Alabama would see a drop from just over 17% to just over 12% of the population uninsured. The state would also see an additional $1.5 billion each year in spending from the federal government.

Alabamians wanting to register to vote in the June 5th primary have until the end of the day today to register.

The primary election will see voters deciding on who will represent their political party in the general election in November.

John Merrill is Alabama’s Secretary of State. He says there are several ways to get registered.

Patricia Todd
via Twitter

An LGBTQ organization in Florida founded in the aftermath of the PULSE nightclub shooting is taking back a job offer from an Alabama lawmaker. This comes after she made a social media post speculating about the governor's personal life.

The One Orlando Alliance announced yesterday it has retracted a job offer to Patricia Todd, Alabama's only openly gay lawmaker. Todd was set to become the group's executive director. Chairwoman Jennifer Foster said Todd showed a "lapse" in judgment with regard to her comment.

With less than three weeks until primary elections in Alabama, civil asset forfeiture is back in the headlines.

Earlier this month, incumbent Attorney General Steve Marshall called the process a “vital tool for law enforcement” that “needs to continue” while speaking at a candidate forum. His GOP opponents vying for the Attorney General nomination all say that reforms need to be made.

Sheriff Ron Abernathy
Tuscaloosa County

The sheriff of Tuscaloosa County is threatening legal action against social media commenters and others who have criticized his department over the suicide of a former student at the University of Alabama.

Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy raised the possibility of legal action yesterday during a news conference to discuss the death of Megan Rondini and an investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.

The Alabama Public Charter School Commission met Monday, approving one application for a new charter school and denying another.

The board approved an application for Woodland Preparatory, a charter school to be located in Washington County and set to open in fall 2019. Al.com reports the school plans to open with 260 students in prekindergarten through 7th grade. The school plans to add one grade each year, eventually growing to serve 664 students from pre-K through 12th grade.

Authorities say an Alabama prisoner stabbed another inmate to death at a state prison Tuesday.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton released a statement saying an inmate fatally stabbed 35-year-old Jeveria Odess McCall at a housing area at Bibb Correctional Facility Tuesday evening. McCall was hospitalized and later died.

29-year-old Keandre Derrod Houston is charged in McCall's death. Horton said officials recovered a makeshift knife believed to be used in the stabbing.

A peaceful rally for the Poor People’s Campaign yesterday ended with some people arrested after sitting in the street to block traffic in Montgomery’s Court Square.

Al.com reports the rally was part of a coordinated national effort, with protests planned in 30 states as well as the District of Columbia.

The Rev. Carolyn Foster of Greater Birmingham Ministries says the goal of the event is to "Draw attention to the fact that people are starving, children are hungry, [and] benefits are being cut back in the wealthiest country in the world."

Bright Blue Dot / Wikimedia

A candidate for Alabama governor says the arrest of a campaign worker accused of violating the state's sex offender registration and notification act was "politically motivated."

Democratic candidate Sue Bell Cobb tells AL.com she accepted Paul Littlejohn III's resignation late last week. Littlejohn was her campaign's Jefferson County field director.

As a registered sex offender, Litlejohn is charged with working too close to a school or daycare through his work at a church and failing to update his employment status.

Tuition is going up for Alabama's community and technical colleges this fall.

The Decatur Daily reports the Alabama Community College System approved a $10-per-credit-hour increase earlier this week, set to go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is set to begin charging its utilities a fixed fee that will likely be passed on to customers, no matter how much energy they use.

The decision by the TVA's board yesterday is deeply frustrating advocates for ratepayers and green energy. They say it will penalize people who turn off their lights or use renewable energy to save on bills.

The TVA says it is offsetting the fixed fee it needs to maintain the power grid with an equal reduction of about a half-cent per kilowatt-hour in the variable wholesale rate for electricity.

In a response to her primary challengers, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has released a letter from her doctor saying the 73-year-old governor is in "excellent health."

Ivey's campaign released the letter yesterday after her challengers indirectly made a political issue of the frontrunner's age and health.

In the brief letter from Dr. Brian Elrod of Montgomery, the doctor wrote that he sees "no medical issues that would prevent her from fulfilling her obligations as governor."

A group of activists is calling for the removal of a statue on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol honoring a 19th century doctor who experimented on slaves.

Alabama state Senator Hank Sanders and other members of the group Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a press conference yesterday calling for the removal of the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims.

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