Uber Coming to Tuscaloosa Next Month, Alabama Looks to Expand Trade With Cuba

Jun 29, 2016

The Tuscaloosa City Council has approved a deal that will allow the ride-sharing service Uber to begin operations in the city within a month.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the council voted 6-1 yesterday to change its vehicle-for-hire ordinance to allow Uber and similar companies to begin operations in the city.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox says he plans to sign the amended ordinance into law.

Councilman Kip Tyner cast the lone dissenting vote. The Tuscaloosa News reports Tyner expressed concerns that the city's traditional taxi and limousine companies are not treated fairly by the new rules. He says each taxi or limousine driver has to purchase their own business license, but the new ordinance will allow a single blanket license to cover all of Uber’s drivers.

A group is working to build statewide support for Congress to end the travel and trade embargo with Cuba.

Engage Cuba held a council meeting in Mobile on Tuesday, laying out their plans. The council has representatives from agriculture, business, education and government leaders from across the state.

Luke Albee is a senior advisor to Engage Cuba. He hopes to expand trade with Cuba in order to provide opportunities for Alabama businesses

“What we have found is an incredible amount of interest all over the country, in changing our policy towards Cuba. And Alabama is a perfect example of a state that really stands to benefit dramatically with opening up trade.”

The organization has launched additional councils in eight other states, and moves to Mississippi today to launch a council there as well.

Wrongful death lawsuits are being filed against a former NASA astronaut in West Alabama. APR’s Stan Ingold reports the lawsuits have been filed in state and federal court.

Authorities have said 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.

59-year-old former NASA astronaut James Halsell has been charged with reckless murder in the crash and now faces wrongful-death lawsuits in Tuscaloosa County and in federal court. Latrice Parler identifies herself in court documents as the girls' custodial parent. Parler is suing in federal court, while injured passenger Pernell James filed a lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County.

Halsell flew five times on the Space Shuttle. That includes one mission that tested construction techniques for the International Space Station.

Authorities have determined that the cause of a fire on Auburn University's main campus earlier this week was most likely electrical.

Auburn released a statement saying the Alabama Fire Marshal's office has determined Monday’s blaze in Lowder Hall appears to have originated from a light and ballast on the first floor of the building.

Auburn Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy Boosinger says there's significant damage to multiple classrooms and offices, but the building's core structure remains intact. Damage to the ground floor and first floor has prompted the university to close the building for the time being. Boosinger says several classrooms and offices have been relocated for the rest of the summer semester.

Lowder Hall is on the north edge of Auburn’s campus. It houses several classes and offices of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.