Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

One of the nation's largest and most iconic Pepsi bottlers has filed suit against PepsiCo over its franchise territory.

Birmingham-based Buffalo Rock Co. issued a news release saying it has tried for years to resolve its differences with PepsiCo without success. The bottler says it filed suit in state court in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Buffalo Rock says the larger company has repeatedly violated its franchise agreements and intruded into its exclusive territories. The company says it is suing PepsiCo and other entities.

Former Congressman Jo Bonner has been named as Gov. Kay Ivey's new chief of staff.

Ivey announced the change Tuesday, just one day after her inauguration for her first full term.

Steve Pelham, Ivey's longtime chief of staff, is leaving to take a position at Auburn University.

Ivey's office said Pelham will be the university's vice president for economic development and chief of staff to Auburn University President Steven Leath.

A judge has overturned an Alabama state law preventing the removal of Confederate monuments from public property.

A ruling issued yesterday by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo says a 2017 state law barring the removal or alteration of historical monuments violates the free speech rights of local communities.

Graffeo says the law cannot be enforced, but the state of Alabama could still appeal. Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office had no immediate response to an Associated Press email seeking comment.

Airbus

Mobile County has approved a $4 million incentive deal for Airbus as the European aircraft maker is set to start building a factory near its existing plant there.

The Mobile County Commission voted to approve the money yesterday. Airbus will host a groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow for its new facility assembling the A220-300 plane. It'll be right next to a plant where Airbus already produces the A320 in Mobile.

A statement from the county commission says the incentive money will be paid out as $400,000 annually over 10 years.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will take the oath of office this morning as she begins her first full term as governor.

The 74-year-old Ivey is the state's second female governor and the first Republican woman elected to the position. The inauguration ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. this morning.

Ivey was lieutenant governor 21 months ago when she automatically became governor when Gov. Robert Bentley suddenly resigned in the midst of an impeachment investigation partly centered on his relationship with an aide.

One Birmingham police officer was killed and another was critically wounded in a shooting early Sunday morning as the officers questioned two people suspected of trying to break into cars.

Two suspects are in custody, one of whom was shot and is receiving medical treatment, according to police.

Authorities identified the officer who was fatally shot as Sgt. Wytasha Carter, 44, a member of the department since 2011. The names of the wounded officer and the suspects were not immediately released.

The case of a Huntsville city councilman accused of driving under the influence has been expunged, or cleared from the legal records.

News outlets reported a judge in Huntsville signed an order late last month expunging the charges against City Councilman Will Culver.

Culver said he could not talk about the case.

He had been arrested April 22 and charged with driving under the influence, driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to signal and improper lane usage. His trial had been scheduled for September before being delayed until Jan. 25.

Larry Langford, the former Birmingham mayor whose captivating political career was ended by a conviction on public corruption charges, died Tuesday. He was 72 years old.

Langford died a little more than a week after being released from federal prison because of his failing health. The cause of death was not announced but attorneys earlier said Langford had end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema.

Langford was raised in poverty in a Birmingham housing project, but rose to become one of the Birmingham area's most charismatic and influential leaders.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has rescinded its decision to honor political activist and scholar Angela Davis following unspecified complaints.

Davis is a Birmingham native who has spent decades fighting for civil rights. She was an active member of the Black Panther Party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Communist Party USA. She's also an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Alabama lawmakers could debate a possible gasoline tax increase to fund road and bridge construction when they return to Montgomery in March. 

While the specifics of the proposal are still being developed, Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said improving state infrastructure, and an accompanying gas tax, will be a major topic of the session.

Alabama's current state gas tax of 18 cents a gallon has been unchanged since 1992.

Rep. Bill Poole says Alabama has an infrastructure problem. He says the question is if lawmakers will try to address it.

An environmental group says it will help fund an event celebrating whooping cranes at a federal refuge in Alabama during the partial government 

shutdown. The annual Festival of the Cranes brings hundreds of people to the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge near Decatur. But the facility is closed because of the funding impasse in Washington. The Friends of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge has agreed to cover electricity costs for two refuge buildings next weekend if the shutdown continues.

APR

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa threw for over three hundred yards and four touchdowns as the number one ranked Crimson Tide beat Oklahoma forty five to thirty four. The high-scoring Sooners reached the Orange Bowl semifinal game despite a shaky defense that was no match for Alabama's offense. Alabama led twenty eight to nothing after only seventeen minutes. Oklahoma's Heisman winner Kyler Murray had one brilliant moment when he made a perfect deep throw on the move to Charleston Rambo in the end zone for a forty nine yard score.

Montgomery County was hit with fourteen grades of “F” in the latest school report cards released by the Alabama Department of Public Education. The County’s poor showing was listed at the education department's website. Overall, the letter grades were an improvement over those released for the previous school year. The state, on average, was given a letter grade of B. Most school systems received a grade of B or C. Fifteen school systems received a grade of A. Ten school systems received a D.

Alabama's attorney general says his office is reviewing whether allegedly deceptive social media tactics used in last year's special election for U.S. Senate might have broken the law.

Attorney General Steve Marshall told The Washington Post Thursday that reports about the effort are concerning. Marshall says he wants to explore the issue, but he stopped short of saying that his office is opening a formal investigation.

Jackson County
World Atlas

Public health officials are investigating a spike in hepatitis A cases in north Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that it is investigating an increase in hepatitis A cases in Jackson County. Health officials say the outbreak may have also spread to surrounding counties.

Public health officials are urging people at the highest risk of infection, including those who use illegal drugs and those who are homeless, to be vaccinated against the disease.

The social media giant Facebook has suspended five accounts for using misleading tactics during last year's U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

A statement from the company says they "recently removed five accounts run by multiple individuals for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook around the Alabama special election." Facebook says the investigation is ongoing.

A former Birmingham mayor is reportedly in critical condition behind bars. Larry Langford's family has been called to a Kentucky federal prison where he's serving 15 years for bribery and public corruption.

An attorney for the 72-year-old former mayor says her client is in failing health. Langford was sentenced in 2010 and is not scheduled for release until May 1, 2023.

A shopping mall in Alabama is banning a man who organized protests of the shooting of a man by police last month. News outlets report Riverchase Galleria in Hoover has banned Carlos Chaverst Jr. from visiting for one year. Police issued a warning for Chaverest on Sunday night and told him he would be arrested if he returns to the property. Activists have been protesting the shooting death of Emantic Bradford Jr., who authorities mistook for the suspect in a shopping mall shooting on Thanksgiving night.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is on the list of federal agencies likely impacted by the on-going budget shutdown. The Republican chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Alabama’s U.S. Senator Richard Shelby says a quick end to the shutdown was "not probable." The federal government is expected to remain partially closed past Christmas Day in a protracted standoff over President Donald Trump's demand for money to build a border wall with Mexico.

APR

The University of Alabama and Auburn University have both been classified as top doctoral research institutions nationally. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized the schools with its "Very High Research Activity" status in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In addition, the University of Alabama holds the Carnegie designation as a Community Engaged Institution. Al.com reports that research funding, staff and the number of doctoral graduates are among the criteria used in determining Carnegie classifications.

Alabama death row
EJI

As Alabama grapples with a major shortage of correctional workers, more than 60 percent of the required staff positions at the overcrowded, violence-plagued prison which houses the state's death chamber are currently unfilled.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported Tuesday that maximum-security Holman prison, where authorities are investigating a string of assaults and one homicide this month, currently employs 72 security staff members of the 195 it needs to cover all its shifts.

An Alabama sheriff who leaves office next month has agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor tax charge.

Multiple news outlets have reported Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin signed an agreement Tuesday to plead guilty to failure to file a federal tax return in 2015.

The U.S. Justice Department says Franklin will enter the plea on January 10. Her replacement Ron Puckett is set to take take office on January 15 after she did not seek re-election.

Demolition work near a south Alabama jail is giving archaeologists an opportunity to learn more about Mobile's past.

Al.com reports the work near the Mobile County Metro Jail is being done in preparation for a proposed Interstate 10 bridge, Archaeologists want to learn more about what's hiding just below the surface at the site.

The location includes a cluster of nine buildings, most of which appear to have been bail bond offices.

A key goal is to dig in and find traces of the homes believed to have been in the area two centuries ago.

In the span of three hours at a southwest Alabama prison, one inmate was fatally stabbed and another was seriously wounded after being stabbed in a separate fight.

Eighteen inmates have been killed by other inmates since October of 2016, according to statistics and news releases from the state Department of Corrections.

A newly formed group at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama's capital city is aiming to improve the education options for military families stationed there.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the group plans to tackle a variety of topics, including: Increasing attendance at the on-base school; streamlining the application process for Montgomery's magnet schools; and providing school choice options for military families.

Exploring the possibility of charter schools in the area is part of the discussion.

A man charged with attempted murder in a shooting at an Alabama shopping mall on Thanksgiving is asking for police video of the entire incident, which ended with police shooting and killing another man.

An attorney for 20-year-old Erron Martez Dequan Brown of Bessemer made the request in a court document filed late Tuesday. It comes as protesters and relatives of the man killed by police, 21-year-old Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr., continue asking to see any video of the confrontation.

Grantt Culliver
ADOC

A high-ranking Alabama prison official has retired in the midst of a misconduct investigation.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says ADOC Associate Commissioner Grantt Culliver has retired after having been on leave for several months.

The department placed Culliver on leave in September pending the outcome of an investigation into misconduct allegations.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall say they are dissatisfied with the parole board's improvement plan. They are asking the board to make additional changes and provide more information.

Ivey and Marshall intervened earlier this year after prosecutors and victim advocates expressed concerns over who was being released from prison and the number of people being paroled earlier than normal.

Gage Skidemore / wikipedia.org

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is giving the keynote address at an annual gathering of Alabama farmers. 

The Alabama Farmers Federation is holding its 97th annual meeting Sunday and Monday in Montgomery.

Gingrich will address the group Monday night.

The Alabama Farmers Federation says that over 1,200 farmers and guests have registered for the meeting. It is one of the state's largest gatherings of farmers.

The organization on Sunday gave its service to agriculture award to Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan.

Alabama is marking its first Rosa Parks Day. Alabama lawmakers earlier 

this year voted to designate December first as a day to honor the civil rights icon.

Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery on Dececember first, 1955.

Her action ignited the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott and helped usher in the civil rights movement.

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