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Judge Limits Reporting in Parker Retrial, Orange Beach Hosts Environmental Conference

Huntsville Federal Court

A federal judge is limiting reporting on the second trial of an Alabama police officer accused of abusing an Indian man who was slammed down during an encounter with police.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala issued an order yesterday saying audience members aren't allowed to have smartphones and other devices in the courtroom for the upcoming trial of Madison police officer Eric Parker.

Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, a grandfather from India by slamming him to the ground during an encounter in February. His first trial ended with a hung jury.

The judge's order says some witnesses improperly followed the first trial through live blogs. Haikala said in her order she is banning such reporting from inside the courtroom to help prevent a repeat occurrence.

It's unclear when testimony in the retrial will begin.

The Alabama Environmental Conference is being held this week.

The goal of the conference is to educate business owners and workers about energy efficiency and sustainability in the workplace.

Jason Brasfield is the Associate Director of Environmental Programs for Safe State Alabama. He says 40 technical sessions will take place at the conference about things like air, water and waste, energy efficiency and process improvement.

“That’s kind of the idea behind the conference, going a little bit beyond compliance and making environmental sustainability -- environmental programs a positive part of the business environment.”

The event is being hosted by the University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies, the Manderson Business School and the state’s productivity center. It runs through Wednesday in Orange Beach.

The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center will be hosting an Open House for Project Search this evening.

Damon Stevenson is the Public Affairs officer for the VA. He says Project Search will help provide disabled students with real work experience.

“Project Search is a project that gives experience to students with disabilities which could range anywhere from autism to Down syndrome real world employment experience they can put on their resumes and use to get a real job once they finish school.”

The event will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in Building 4 Auditorium at the VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

The state of Alabama has earned an A in teaching personal finance.

The TimesDaily reports according to the 2015 Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools, Alabama is one of only five states to receive the grade of A for teaching the course.

Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia require a semester-long course, or its equivalent, in personal finance in high school.

The report is a bi-yearly evaluation of how all U.S. states and the District of Columbia fare in the area of teaching the basic, need-to-know life skills involving finance. It's prepared by the Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy.

The center's director John Pelletier says the grading system was based on the belief that students should be required to take a course that includes personal finance.