News

Jo Naylor [Flickr]

Almost every veterinary technician or veterinary nurse will tell you they do what they do because they love animals.  What they do every day can help animals live longer and stay healthier, which means they also help pet owners, making sure they understand what to do for their furry friends.  When a vet tech does their job well, everybody wins!

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Activist who helped desegregate Birmingham library dies

Jul 23, 2021
Shelly Millender Jr.
Associated Press

The man who helped desegregate Birmingham's city library.

Army veteran Shelly Millender Jr. died on Saturday at the age of 86.

Southern Environmental Law Center

The states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been fighting over water for decades.

Water use around the city of Atlanta is causing problems downstream in Alabama and Florida. 

The U.S. Supreme court sided with Georgia in a lawsuit with Florida earlier this year. But that doesn’t mean the water war is over. Alabama and Florida both accuse Georgia of using too much water. 

“As human activity in the basin has grown it has put economic and ecologic stresses on the system," said Gordon Rogers, the Flint Riverkeeper in Georgia.

Liquid Gold

Jul 23, 2021

Local Meteorologist for WVUA 23 in Tuscaloosa, Richard Scott, noticed a lack of bees in his community and decided to explore a new hobby. 

COVID-19 coronavirus
Pixabay

 

COVID is spreading again statewide. The Alabama Department of Public Health has reinstated its daily COVID updates to remind the public the pandemic isn’t over.

The average positive test rate has gone from over 11% to over 20% in the past week. A recent UAB study found that 70% of virus samples from across the state were the more transmissible and severe delta variant. 

Dr. Karen Landers is the district medical officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health. She said previous infection won’t make you immune to the delta variant.

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This year marks the 40th annual W.C. Handy Festival.

The festival is a two-week celebration of the music and culture of the Muscle Shoals area. The event is named after Florence native William Christopher Handy, commonly known as “the father of blues.” Of the nearly 300 activities planned, the festival will feature live musical performances, a screening of the new film Aretha, and musical activities for children.

COVID-19 coronavirus
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Alabama health officials say that the state's low vaccination rate is the direct cause for an increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The president of the Alabama Hospital Association cited frustration and called the situation a "self-inflicted wound."

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With only 32% of the state fully vaccinated, hospitals are trying to spread the word about a life-saving COVID-19 treatment.

The Fever and Flu Clinic in Huntsville is hoping to educate the public about monoclonal antibodies. The artificial antibodies are used as a treatment for those who are infected with COVID and likely to experience sever disease. Previously the criteria for requiring the antibodies was much stricter. Now the treatment is available to a wider range of patients.

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Mobilians can get their grub on this week with a movable feast.

The Bay Bites Food Truck Festival is back in the port city with unique food and craft beer options. The festival will be hosted at Cooper Riverside Park tomorrow night from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will feature live music from Symone French and the Trouille Troupe and Harrison McInnis. The Mobile Bay Keeper hosts this event annually to raise money to test local swim sites for bacteria.  

Clotilda
Wikipedia

 

A community center dedicated to the survivors of America’s last slave ship will become a tourist attraction in Mobile.

The Heritage House center and museum will open this winter in Africatown. The Mobile neighborhood was founded mostly by survivors of The Clotilda cargo boat. The remains of that last slave ship were discovered in the Mobile River in 2018.

Meg Fowler directs the History Museum of Mobile. Her group is creating an exhibit in Heritage House.

Gulf coast residents deal with 2020 hurricane damage during the 2021 season

Jul 20, 2021
APR's Guy Busby

Weather forecasters say the most active part of the hurricane season is just ahead. While the Gulf coast prepares for incoming storms, many homes and businesses on the Gulf Coast are still recovering from last year. Blue tarps still cover damaged homes along the Gulf coast, Nine months after Hurricane Sally came ashore in Gulf Shores. It’s a sign that not all the damage from the 2020 storms has been fixed. Facing more potential storms from a busy 2021 season worries some residents.

West Alabama Chamber of Commerce
alabamachambers.org

 

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is a finalist for the 2021 Chamber of the Year Award.

This honor recognizes the best of close to 2,000 chambers of commerce across North America. It is presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The award is based on organizational management, membership finances and community impact.  

Jim Page is the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. He said the chamber’s proactivity and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic secured their finalist spot.   

Alabama residents have access to free at-home STD testing

Jul 19, 2021
pixabay.com

Alabamians can now take at-home tests for sexually transmitted diseases for free. Alabama’s Department of Public Health and Binx Health have partnered up to provide the confidential specimen collection kits. The tests can detect STDs and HIV. In a CDC report from 2019, Alabama had over 31,000 chlamydia cases and over 14,000 gonorrhea cases in a year. Anthony Merriweather is the Director of ADPH’s STD division. He said STD awareness decreased during the pandemic. 

Three Alabama cities are among the most stressed in the country

Jul 19, 2021
pixabay.com

Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery are three of the twenty five most stressed cities in the United States. WalletHub separated four areas of stress into work, financial, family and health and safety. Birmingham ranked as the seventh most stressed city. Mobile is number fourteen on the list and Montgomery was at twenty four. Jill Gonzales is an analyst for WalletHub. She said one thing the study looked at family stress.

“And that includes things like a very high separation and divorce rate, a high number of single parent 

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Alabama is asking Washington if it can spend COVID-19 relief dollars on the State's ailing prison system. . The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department asking the question. Dunn framed the request as enhancing health care and programming for inmates. Lawmakers have previously said they want to know if pandemic recovery funds can be used for prison construction and renovations. The question arose after Governor Kay Ivey's plan to lease prisons fell apart because of financing concerns.

The Mobile area is a step closer to creating a state park in Africatown. That’s the community established by Africans brought to Alabama aboard the last slave ship to land in the United States. Mobile County commissioners are authorizing a contract for a study on Africatown USA State Park. The report would determine the feasibility of the project. The idea was reportedly discussed in the 1980s but nothing ever happened. Interest in the area has been high since remains of the Clotilda were discovered in 2018.

Community activists are pleading not guilty to misdemeanor charges over spray-painted messages near the Alabama Capitol. The graffiti urged the state to expand Medicaid. The four activists are with the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy. They were arrested last year after writing "Expand Medicaid" and "Black Lives Matter" on a street by the Capitol. Alabama is one of 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid to cover low-income working people. Medicaid is health insurance funded by federal and state governments.

Pets and Vaccinations

Jul 17, 2021
wuestenigel (Marco Verch Professional Photographer [Flickr]

Vaccines can help prevent illnesses and avoid costly treatments for preventable diseases - or stop diseases from being passed between animals.  That is especially important if your pet comes in contact with wildlife or unvaccinated domestic dogs.  

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Alabama’s jobless rate declined to 3.3% in June, well below the national average, as state leaders emphasized keeping the economy going amid concerns about a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Friday the state unemployment rate was down slightly from 3.4% in May.

That's much better than the rate of 7.7% from a year earlier, when many businesses were closed or operating at limited capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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A federal freeze on evictions is slated to end July 31.

That has raised concerns that thousands of Alabama residents will be unable to afford their monthly rent and face eviction.

The state has set aside more than $263 million to help with outstanding rents, utility payments and other expenses.

But extensive federal rules have slowed the flow of money to those in need. Alabama has long had one of the country’s more open rental housing markets.

The Blue Marlin Grand Championship is happening this week at the Wharf in Orange Beach.

It starts on July 14 with weigh-ins occurring on the 16 and 17 which are the main attractions. Roughly 60 boats will be competing for up to $2 million in prizes. The event is free to attend.

Jim Cox is the emcee and host of the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. He said the reason behind the event’s tagline is the wow factor involved while the fishing is going on.

Tax free weekend will take place from July 16 to 18 in Alabama. This means residents will be able to buy items such as school supplies, clothing, and electronics with no added sales tax.

Nancy Dennis is the Director of the Alabama Retail Association. She said a variety of items will be tax free as long as they qualify within a certain price range.

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A remembrance is set for eight young people killed when a van returning to an Alabama girls home after a week at the beach wrecked last month.

The victims of the 17-vehicle accident will be remembered in a public service planned for a church in Auburn on Thursday afternoon.

The pileup occurred June 19 on Interstate 65 south of Montgomery.

The eight were in a van bound for a ranch that cares for abused and neglected girls.

A Tennessee man and his young daughter died in another vehicle.

transgender flag
Pixabay

 

Alabama Public Radio has spent the summer reporting on issues that the transgender community faces in the state. That includes legislation aimed at placing restrictions on trans youth and teens. 

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Alabama might ban so-called critical race theory from being taught in public K-12 schools even though no schools are actually doing so.

Members of the Alabama Board of Education on Tuesday discussed the wording of a possible resolution that could be voted on later this summer.

A Republican lawmaker has also introduced legislation for the 2022 session to ban the teaching of critical race theory.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey said critical race theory is “certainly not” taught in schools now.

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The deadline for a $60 million Terminix settlement in Alabama ends today.

Residents of Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe counties are eligible for the payout. They experienced annual service rate increases without effective extermination. Terminix struggled to handle the Formosan termite species. The hard-to-kill variety entered the US through the port of Mobile.

Lead attorney Dan Taliaferro said Terminix was increasing rates on an exorbitant pay schedule. 

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An Alabama military base has ordered troops to show proof of vaccination in order to go without face masks as the state sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The measure was put in place Tuesday at Fort Rucker, the home of the Army’s aviation program.

In a video posted to Facebook, base officials said the measure is needed because of rising case numbers on the base and in surrounding counties. Alabama has the lowest vaccination rates in the country and is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

election
Pixabay

 

This week’s elections in central Alabama may have a not so special turnout.

General votes for the state Senate and House take place today. The districts up for grabs in the special elections include parts of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties. The areas’ previous representatives both moved on to different positions in the state.

Secretary of State John Merrill expects a low turnout. 

Tourists are flocking to Alabama's Gulf coast, but not service workers

Jul 13, 2021

An APR News Feature

Healthy Fourth of July tourism numbers could mean a good summer season for the Alabama Gulf coast. The Alabama Triple-A predicted 47 million Americans would hit the road over the Independence Day holiday. The state’s beaches were expected to see a lot of traffic. Despite all the rosy predictions, beachside businesses are still keeping their fingers crossed.

Internet firm to move headquarters from Georgia to Alabama

Jul 12, 2021
Point Broadband
Twitter

 

Alabama will soon be the new home for the headquarters of an internet service provider.

Point Broadband announced they are relocating from Georgia to Opelika. Officials said the move will bring at least 25 new jobs to the eastern Alabama city. 

The decision to move came after the Opelika City Council approved financial incentives such as tax abatements. 

The company provides fiber internet services to residents and businesses. 

  

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