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Hubbard Asks for Case Dismissal, Low Gas Prices in Alabama

Speaker Mike Hubbard
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has asked a judge to dismiss ethics charges against him because prosecutors disclosed the identities of grand jury witnesses in a court filing.

Hubbard's defense team filed the latest dismissal motion yesterday. Motions for dismissal were also filed in March and in December of last year for alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Defense lawyers are arguing that prosecutors violated grand jury secrecy laws. The Republican speaker has asked the judge to dismiss all charges against him.

Earlier this month, the state of Alabama publicly released a motion in the case. That included a copy of a letter from acting Attorney General Van Davis to one of Hubbard’s attorneys that disclosed the identities of 10 grand jury witnesses. Hubbard’s defense calls it a blatant violation of the Grand Jury Secrecy Act.

The Republican speaker faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices to benefit his businesses. An evidentiary hearing in the case is scheduled for October 19, when the trial was originally supposed to begin. Last week, a judge moved to push the trial date back to March of next year.

As the price of crude oil has dropped below forty dollars a barrel, some places in the country are seeing gas prices fall below two dollars a gallon. As APR’s MacKenzie Bates explains, people in the Yellowhammer State are no longer feeling the pinch at the pump.

Alabama’s average price for a gallon of unleaded gas is two dollars and thirteen cents. That's forty cents below the national average, according to Gas Buddy-dot-com. Gas stations in Tuscaloosa have prices at one dollar and ninety-nine cents a gallon.

Clay Ingram is with AAA in Alabama. He says the falling gas prices are a growing trend across the country.

“This is the time of year when our demand tends to drop off a little bit as we kind of get to the close of the summertime and the summer vacation travel season and the kids are back in school.”

Only South Carolina has cheaper gas than Alabama. Their average price is two dollars and seven cents a gallon. California has the highest price for gas at three dollars and forty three cents a gallon.

Tuscaloosa City Schools is giving parents an opportunity to learn about the system’s new drug and alcohol screening program.

The policy goes into effect this school year. The screenings will be done at random for students who participate in extracurricular activities. Students who have a permit to park on campus may be tested as well.

Anthony Harris is Tuscaloosa City Schools District Coordinator of Athletics. He says the program is designed to help students become more aware of drugs and alcohol and find ways to avoid using them.

“I think the goal is for it to be a deterrent as a program giving students a way out. If they are being pressured by someone else, it would give those activity students a way out.”

Tuscaloosa City Schools will be talking about the program tonight at Northridge High at 6 p.m.

The Birmingham Zoo has temporarily closed a bird aviary after tests revealed a bacterial infection that could affect both birds and humans.

The zoo released a statement saying its lorikeet aviary will be closed temporarily as the facility’s veterinary staff continues testing the birds.

The bacteria causing the closure is called chlamydophila, often known as psittacosis or parrot fever. Zoo officials say it can be passed from birds to people. The illness usually results in flu-like symptoms and can be treated with antibiotics.

The zoo says so far no zookeepers or other employees have presented any symptoms. Officials say the aviary was closed after one of the lorikeets in the exhibit became ill and tested positive for the bacteria.

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