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BP Money Used to Renovate Mansion, Severe Weather Possible Tomorrow

beachfront mansion
Jay Reeves

Alabama is using a chunk of BP settlement money to renovate a beachfront governor's mansion that's been abandoned on the Gulf Coast for nearly two decades.

Work began earlier this month near Gulf Shores to fix the 7,500-square-foot gubernatorial mansion that was never repaired after Hurricane Danny badly damaged the home in 1997.

A spokeswoman for Governor Robert Bentley says no taxpayer money is being used in the project. She says BP grant money remaining from the 2010 oil spill is being used to cover the cost, estimated at as much as $1.8 million.

The state will use the house mainly as a tool for economic development. Industrial recruiters will use it to lodge and entertain business executives considering the state for projects.

Neighbors have complained about the dilapidated condition of the mansion, which dates back to the 1960s.

It’s shaping up to be a very wet Christmas for Alabama, and the National Weather Service in Birmingham is also tracking severe weather threats.

Forecasters say parts of central and southern Alabama will be at risk for severe storms and damaging weather Wednesday, including possible tornadoes.

John De Block is the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham. He says the greatest threat for severe weather will be along the I-20/59 corridor.

“From Demopolis to Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Gadsden, and to the northwest of that line, that area is going to see an elevated threat for tornadoes, the possibility of strong damaging thunderstorm winds of 70mph, and golf ball-sized hail as well.”

De Block advises Alabamians to stay up to date on the latest weather conditions, and make sure out-of-town guests traveling in for the holidays are aware of the severe weather threat.

#2 Alabama is putting in one more day of practice for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic before the team goes home for Christmas. The Crimson Tide takes on #3 Michigan State at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on New Year’s Eve.

Coach Nick Saban says these past few practices have been all about focus.

“We try to take something that Michigan State does and expose our players to (it). So far, that’s going pretty well. It kind of keeps their attention every day and gives us something to focus on and work on and I’ve been pleased with the work ethic. The way we’ve gone about the focus that we have.”

Saban says his players are healthy and, barring any other setbacks, everyone should be available to play against the Spartans next Friday. Kickoff is set for New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. on ABC.

U.S. Steel says it's delaying the construction of an electric arc furnace at a plant in Fairfield.

Officials released a statement yesterday saying market conditions in the oil, gas and steel industries led to their decision.

In August, U.S. Steel announced it was closing its Fairfield Works mill, which was expected to impact more than 1000 employees. The remaining U.S. Steel facility is used to manufacture steel pipes.

U.S. Steel officials say the postponement isn't expected to impact operations at its other plants.

Over the weekend, company officials said they reached a tentative agreement with the United Steelworkers union that is expected to cover about 18,000 employees in Alabama, Ohio and Texas.

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