News

Dog Mom Day

6 hours ago
sidewalk flying (Seth Sawyers) - [Flickr]

Pet moms know that having a four-legged companion brings with it a number of benefits for the human.  A pet can help a person feel less isolated (a real benefit many new owners discovered during the pandemic).  Pets reduce our stress and help us relax.  They can lower our blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression, even help to ease chronic pain.   And if you adopt a pet from your local animal shelter or rescue group, it makes room for another animal to have a chance at a new forever home!

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Judson College

Judson College just held what may be its last graduation ceremony. The school's trustees voted to close the small Baptist-affiliated school for women which predates the Civil War. Campus leaders cite a lack of money and declining enrollment in the decision to close Judson, which was founded in 1838 and is the nation’s fifth-oldest college for women.

Alabama considering expanding alcohol shipping rules

May 7, 2021
pixabay.com

Alabama’s alcohol industry is gearing up for a new way to reach customers. Stores that sell beer, wine, and spirits will be able to use delivery services like Shipt or Grub Hub to deliver orders to private homes. Out of state alcohol merchants may soon be able do the same thing with FEDEX or U-P-S. Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill allowing the home delivery of alcohol from Alabama businesses. The out of state delivery bill is still under consideration. Daniel Dye is with Alabama’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Alabama House approves medical marijuana bill

May 6, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

 

After many hours of debate, the Alabama House of Representatives has passed a medical marijuana bill.

It was passed 68-34 and now goes back to the Senate to have changes approved.

The bill would allow people with qualifying medical conditions to purchase marijuana with a recommendation from a doctor.

If approved by the Senate, the bill will be brought to Gov. Kay Ivey to be signed into law. 

Alabama doctor, husband sentenced for opioid distribution

May 6, 2021

 

An Alabama doctor will serve a 52-month sentence in federal prison for providing opioids to people without medical purpose.

Her husband, who managed her practice, will also serve time for 30 months.

The couple pleaded guilty in December after being arrested in 2019. They admitted to providing dangerous doses of hydrocodone to patients who were not examined by a medical professional and when the doctor was not present.

Florists facing challenges after flower shortage caused by COVID-19

May 6, 2021

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and celebrating that special day with mom may have been made worse because of COVID-19. We’re not just talking about vaccinations and social distancing. Another issue is flowers. The coronavirus made 2020 a tough year for the floral industry that traditionally showers mothers with blossoms. And, florists say 2021 could be even worse because of a worldwide flower shortage. COVID-19, labor shortages, floods, hurricanes, and shipping bottlenecks may add up to a different Mother’s Day for many this year.

Birmingham flooding
Associated Press

 

Storms brought flooding and tornadoes across the Southeast on Tuesday and cleanup has begun.

Crews used shovels and heavy machinery to remove debris from roads and bridges in Birmingham after much of the metro area had flooded. Schools in the area  were delayed and others held classes online because of the water levels.

From Arkansas to Virginia there were still around 100,000 homes and businesses without power at midday Wednesday, which was down from more than 240,000 earlier.

Alabama House delays vote on medical marijuana bill

May 5, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

 

Voting on a medical marijuana bill will have to wait in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Lawmakers debated the proposal for more than six hours on Tuesday until midnight. There are two days left in the legislative session when it could be reintroduced to the floor.

The debate included those who opposed medical marijuana and those who changed their minds after witnessing illnesses of family members.

Amazon union Bessemer
Associated Press

 

A vote not to unionize at Amazon’s Bessemer plant may not be the end of the matter.

 

The National Relations Board will meet tomorrow to discuss close to two dozen legal challenges to the recent vote to unionize at Amazon’s plant near Birmingham. The objections include allegations that Amazon used illegal tactics to intimidate employee voters.

 

Pixabay

Alabama still ranks near the bottom for COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. States and territories.

Data from the Pathcheck Foundation puts Alabama last among U.S. States and just ahead of Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands. Health care providers in the state are working to reassure residents about getting a COVID-19 shot. That includes pregnant women.

Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom is an infectious specialist at UAB. She said recent COVID-19 vaccine testing on pregnant women shows its safe and effective.

Alabama House to debate medical marijuana bill

May 4, 2021
marijuana
Associated Press

 

The Alabama House of Representatives is debating a medical marijuana bill that is headed to a a vote.

The bill would allow people with qualifying medical conditions to purchase marjuana after getting a recommendation from a doctor.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon made a last-minute request to add the bill to the House debate calendar and said last month that he expected a close vote on the bill.

The proposal has already passed in the Alabama Senate.

Search suspended for college student missing in Gulf

May 4, 2021

 

The search for a University of Southern Mississippi student who went missing Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico has been suspended by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Crews searched for Robert Brent, 20, of Yazoo County, Mississippi for nearly 1,800 square miles. A friend reported Brent missing after he disappeared while swimming off the southern shore of Dauphin Island.

The search team was made up of the Coast Guard and local authorities that used aircrafts, boats and teams combing the shore. 

Alabama House committee advances lottery, casino bill

May 4, 2021

 

One of the most controversial bills in Alabama's legislative session are up for debate in the last two days before lawmakers are sent home.

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted to advance a lottery and casino bill to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Opponents of the bill said in a public hearing that the bill picks "winners and losers" by naming nine casino locations, while supporters said it was time to give Alabama voters the opportunity to vote on gambling for the first time since 1999. 

pbs.org

Governor Kay Ivey’s “safer apart” plan, currently suggests wearing masks and social distancing, is now set to expire at the end of the month. The asssociated "State of Emergency" will end in July.

Pixabay

 

A trustee group is proposing nearly $100 million to revitalize the Gulf Coast.

The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded 11 years ago last week. It was the largest oil spill in the history of marine oil drilling.  

A draft restoration plan drawn up by the Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group.   

Christopher Blankenship is the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  He said putting together the plan took a lot of collaboration. 

Pixabay

Mississippi has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S., with about 30% of its population receiving at least shot. An Associated Press analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows Alabama, Louisiana, Idaho and Wyoming are the next four. Those states vote reliably Republican in presidential races. So Republican leaders are stepping up efforts to persuade their supporters to get the shot, at times combating misinformation. The five states with the highest vaccination rates backed Democrat Joe Biden in November.

Pixabay

Officials are hopeful Carnival Cruise Lines can resume its trips from Mobile. The area tourism agency says cruises account for $150 million annually, and a more than yearlong shutdown has hurt the local economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines recently that would allow companies that meet certain benchmarks to resume operating around mid-July. APR spoke with Gulf coast tourism officials about post-COVID tourism. The coverage was part of our series on the tenth anniversary of the Gulf oil spill.

Plan for Disaster

May 1, 2021
The National Guard [Flickr]

This dog is one of the lucky ones - he survived the tornado, and is rescued!  If his owner had a disaster plan, he might not have needed to endure this.  Make a list of items your pet will need to get by for several days, and make your own "bug-out" bag!  The best advice is to not wait until the last minute to evacuate.  The American Red Cross website has some great information to get you started.  

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wine alcohol
Pixabay

 

Alabama continues to relax its traditionally strict alcohol control laws in the wake of COVID-19. The state may soon have another law that expands access to access to alcoholic beverages.

House Bill 437 is about to be sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature. It will allow wine to be delivered from out-of-state by postal services such as FedEx or UPS.

House approves bill to put menstrual products in schools

Apr 30, 2021
pads tampons period
Pixabay

 

Alabama schools could soon be required to provide menstrual products after the Alabama House approved a bill 97-0.

The bill by Rep. Rolanda Hollis would require public schools to make feminine hygiene products available to students. It now moves to the Alabama Senate, though there are only a few days left in the session.

Hollis said "period poverty" affects every county in the state and that she was inspired by 13-year-old twins Brooke and Breanna Bennet who work to distribute menstrual products to students in need.

 

The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2019 are filing a federal lawsuit claiming officers wrongly broke into the victim's home and killed him without reason.

Pickens County officers entered Wallace Wilder's apartment in Gordo and shot him after a neighbor called authorities because of noise.

The lawsuit claims Pickens County Sheriff Todd Hall was involved in the killing and knew Wilder was mentally ill.

The suit was filed on Thursday in Birmingham.

Helen Keller Hospital
cityoftuscumbia.org

The Helen Keller Hospital in Tuscumbia is hosting an event to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

A “Reels, Wheels and Meals” event will be hosted at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight. The hospital has been in the process of planning the festivities before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The theme for the celebration is “100 Years of Heroes.”

Hunter Nicholson is the marketing coordinator for Helen Keller. He said the event will start at six and have organized events.

State weighs pause in 3rd grade promotion reading test

Apr 29, 2021

 

Alabama lawmakers are considering pausing reading assessments usually required of third graders because of school disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The requirement is set to begin next year to assess students' reading levels before moving onto fourth grade.

The House Education Policy Committee debated the bill by Sen. Rodger Smitherman that would delay the requirement by two years. Chairwoman Terri Collins said the committee will vote next week.

The bill has already been passed by the Alabama Senate. 

Alabama removing anti-gay language from state's sex ed law

Apr 29, 2021

 

Discriminatory language is being removed from Alabama's sex education law.

The section that says students should be taught that homosexuality is socially unacceptable and illegal has been around since 1992.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill sponsored by Rep. Laura Hall that removed the language.

State sex education laws will keep an emphasis on abstinence.

U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

An APR news feature

The second World War ended more than 75 years ago. Here in Alabama, one symbol of that conflict is the state’s World War II battleship, the USS Alabama. A group of men and women are working to preserve the memory of the service and sacrifices of the millions who helped win that war.

Alabama state trooper arrested on child sex charges

Apr 28, 2021

 

An Alabama state trooper has been arrested for sexually abusing a child.

Christopher Bauer, 41, is on leave while Montgomery police begin an investigation after charging him with sexual abuse of a child younger than 12, sodomy and other sex-related offenses.

Bauer was being held in the Montgomery County Jail with bail set at $105,000, and it is not known if he has an attorney.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Bauer was put on leave after the investigation began.

 

A group has filed a lawsuit to block Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's plan to lease private prisons.

The suit was filed on Tuesday and alleges the plan does not have the state legislature's approval. Supporters of the proposal see it as a partial solution to the state's troubled correctional system.

Attorney Kenny Mendelson filed the lawsuit in the Montgomery County Circuit Court on behalf of four plaintiffs.

Juvenile lifer who set precedent sentenced to life again

Apr 28, 2021

 

An Alabama man whose 2012 case led to a ban on madatory life sentences for juveniles has been issued a second life sentence.

Lawrence Circuit Judge Mark Craig ruled that Evan Miller met the legal criteria to be sentenced to life in prison without parole, despite Miller being a teen when he killed someone. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that such a ruling violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusal punishment.

Alabama program aims to keep the State from going "hog wild"

Apr 28, 2021
Pixabay

The Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Program is working to help landowners with a statewide hog problem. The State's Feral Swine Control Program started taking applications back in January. It’s a USDA funded program that helps applicants with feral swine removal. Organizers will meet with landowners today in Bay Minette on the program. Wild hogs cause around forty four million dollars in agricultural damage each year in Alabama. Cayla Mitchell is with the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee. She says that the Swine Control Program helps out farmers in two ways.

Tuscaloosa tornado damage
NWS Birmingham / Wikimedia

 

It was 10 years ago today that dozens of tornadoes hit Alabama.

The outbreak on April 27, 2011 killed over 200 people. In Tuscaloosa, the National Weather Service said 65 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. The agency said cleaning up the debris in the Druid City cost over $100 million. Alabama Public Radio has kept in touch with many people affected by the storms over the years. 

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