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.

The city of Auburn is considering a temporary moratorium on new student housing.

WSFA-TV reports that the Auburn City Council may consider the measure because of a glut of existing student housing.  

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders says it would be a 90-day pause to evaluate and consider future options. The mayor says Auburn University has about 32,000 students, but there are 37,000 beds designed for students throughout the city.  

The measure will go before the City Council next month. 

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is emphasizing his loyalty to President Donald Trump as he seeks to reclaim the  U.S. Senate seat he held for 20 years.

The former senator from Alabama faces a competitive primary that will test how much Trump’s past criticisms have damaged his support in the deeply red state. Sessions was forced to resign as Trump's first attorney general after his recusal from the Russia inquiry prompted blistering public criticism from the president.

acnatta / Flickr

Two construction workers, helping in the renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama, were injured when beams fell on a piece of equipment they were operating.  

Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue spokeswoman Holly Whigham told news outlets, that the workers were operating a manlift that was struck when the beams fell. Firefighters freed the two workers and they were transported to DCH Regional Medical Center.

The accident happened Saturday evening.

Birmingham faces a $25,000 fine for obstructing the view of a Confederate monument.

Circuit Judge Marshell Jackson Hatcher last week imposed the $25,000 fine that had been ordered by the state's high court.  

Justices in November ruled that Birmingham violated a state law protecting historic monuments. Justices directed the circuit judge to fine the city $25,000.

Alabama sued Birmingham in 2017 after municipal officials erected a wooden box obscuring the inscriptions on a 52-foot-tall (16-meter-tall) obelisk honoring Confederate veterans. 

Alabama's unemployment rate is unchanged at a record-low 2.7%, well below the jobless level from a year ago.

A news release issued by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday says the December rate matched the November rate of 2.7%. It represents about 2.2 million people with jobs and 61,458 people without work.

The November rate was below the state's jobless number of 3.8% in December 2018. It was also better than the comparable U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5% for last month.

yazclassaction

A lawsuit over the hit podcast “S-Town” is headed to mediation.

WIAT-TV reports that lawyers for the estate of the key character in “S-Town,” John B. McLemore, and attorneys for the producer have selected a mediator to work on a settlement.

“S-Town” was released in 2017 and has been downloaded more than 92 million times. But McLemore's estate sued in federal court in Alabama, where the story is based. They contend the producers, Serial Productions and This American Life, didn't have a legal right to make money off McLemore's story.

Alabama's prison system on Thursday asked lawmakers for a $42 million funding increase as the state tries to comply with a federal court order to add 2,200 officers by 2022.

Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told lawmakers that the state continues to struggle with unacceptably high violence because of the combination of overcrowding, understaffing and contraband. Dunn said the system has increased prison staff by 255 security officers.

A federal judge had ordered the state to add approximately 2,200 officers. 

no littering
Pixabay

An Alabama city has kicked off a new anti-littering campaign. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin launched his “Don’t be a D.U.M.M.Y.” campaign.

D.U.M.M.Y. stands for Dumping Ugly Mess in My Yard. The mayor and people in various Birmingham communities are tired of illegal trash dumping, WBRC-TV reported.

First-time offenders will face a $500 fine. For a second or subsequent offense, the fine doubles to $1,000.

Miles College
miles.edu

The football program at Miles College is getting a boost thanks to a donation from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

WRBC-TV reports Winston, a Hueytown, Alabama, native, on Wednesday presented Miles College President Bobbie Knight and Athletic Director Reginald Ruffin a check for $50,000, which will be used for upgrades within the Alabama school's program.

Earlier this month, former NBA Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley donated $1 million to the school, a private historically black liberal arts college in Fairfield, Alabama.

Leaders in Mobile, Alabama, are dimming chances for reviving passenger train service along the northern Gulf Coast.

Member of the City Council's finance committee withheld support for funding service through Alabama's port city on Tuesday. Al.com reports the full council could vote on the issue next week.

Amtrak hasn't operated along the coast since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Louisiana and Mississippi have approved funding to restart the trains, but Alabama hasn't. Officials at the Alabama State Port say passenger trains could disrupt freight service through the port.

Krystal
krystal.com

A Southern restaurant chain known for tiny hamburgers and late-night service has filed for bankruptcy.

Federal court documents show the Krystal Co. sought federal bankruptcy protection in Atlanta on Sunday. Documents say the company owes between $50 million and $100 million to food suppliers, equipment companies and others.

Krystal was founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1932 and is now based in Atlanta. With more than 300 restaurants and 7,500 employees, Krystal calls itself the South's oldest fast-food chain.

barbed wire prison fence
Pixabay

Authorities are searching for an inmate who escaped from a work-release program in northwest Alabama.

A report from the Department of Corrections says 26-year-old Xavier Lamont Armstead escaped from custody in Colbert County on Monday afternoon. He left a job site and hasn't been seen since.

Lamont was serving a more than 19-year sentence for third-degree burglary. Court records show he has multiple arrests on charges including burglary, forgery, theft and receiving stolen property.

factory smokestacks
Pixabay

A company plans to create as many as 400 jobs as it reopens a closed latex factory in southeast Alabama.

The state Commerce Department said in a statement Tuesday that Medical Industries of the Americas intends to reopen a shuttered factory at Eufaula in coming months. The factory will produce items including latex gloves, condoms and hot and cold packs for therapy.

The company says it has retooled a factory that used to be operated by Ameritex Corp. near the Georgia state line. It says its investment could reached $50 million eventually as it adds product lines.

globalda.com

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Alabama’s largest, boarded more fliers in 2018 than any year in the past decade, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s latest data.

In that year, about 1.46 million people flew out of Birmingham, while Huntsville International Airport had around 581,000, the second-most. Birmingham Airport Authority President Ronald Mathieu said he expects more growth to show in 2019. He attributes the busy airports to the economy doing well.

One of the nation's largest churches continues buying property for a planned new campus for Highlands College, which trains ministers.  

Al.com reports that Church of the Highlands is purchasing the land near the former Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham. Real estate records show that the church this month closed on a deal to pay $32 million for an office building, parking deck and land. 

The nation's first memorial to lynching victims is expanding.  

The Equal Justice Initiative on Saturday opened a new welcome center and exhibition space that will add to the existing lynching memorial and museum that documents the history of racial inequality in America.

The pavilion, located in downtown Montgomery, will serve as a hub for visitors to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum.

The Alabama Supreme Court won't reconsider a ruling that prohibits Birmingham from obscuring, or taking down, a Confederate monument in a city park.

Justices on Friday turned down a rehearing request without comment.  

The court in November ruled that Birmingham violated a state law protecting Confederate monuments when it put plywood panels in front of a towering obelisk in a downtown park.

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's study commission on criminal justice policy will make recommendations that could including sentencing changes and expanding the use of pretrial diversion programs.

The panel met for the final time Tuesday and will submit recommendations ahead of the legislative session that begins Feb. 5.

State Sen. Cam Ward is a Republican from Alabaster. He says he expects a package of four to five bills to be introduced in the session.  

Construction is underway on the new $150 million Tutwiler Residence Hall on the University of Alabama campus.

The new 365,000-square-foot dormitory will be home to 1,285 first-year female students. It will replace the existing Tutwiler Residence Hall, next to the site.

Al.com reports construction is set to be complete by mid-2022.

The new facility will be the third residence hall built on the campus over a 100-year time span honoring Julia Tutwiler, an education and prison reform advocate. 

Gov. Kay Ivey has yet to decide whether Alabama will accept the resettlement of new refugees, as a key deadline approaches next week.

Alabama is one of a handful of states that hasn't announced a decision after President Donald Trump said agencies must get written permission from state and local officials when they want to resettle refugees beyond June 2020. The Trump administration gave governors a Jan. 21 deadline to decide.

A north Alabama school district is closing some of its schools this week after a tornado caused heavy damage at an elementary school.

A twister that forecasters say was an EF-2 with winds up to 120 mph devastated Brindlee Mountain Primary School at Union Grove on Saturday. Superintendent Cindy Saye Wigley says it's fortunate students weren't in class at the time.

Associated Press

An Alabama county is taking steps to preserve what's left of the lockup where officials say Martin Luther King Jr. served his final time behind bars. 

Jefferson County commissioners approved a resolution Thursday to memorialize an area inside the county courthouse in Birmingham that used to be a jail.

The county says King was held there in 1967. He served a brief sentence for contempt after losing an appeal on his conviction for demonstrating without a permit years earlier.

King was assassinated about five months later in Memphis, Tennessee.

National Weather Service Birmingham

Authorities blame severe storms sweeping across southern portions of the U.S. and into the Midwest for the deaths of at least 11 people, including two first responders.  

That number includes three people killed during a tornado in Pickens County Alabama.

High winds, tornadoes and unrelenting rain have battered large swaths of the country.

Officials say a police officer and a firefighter in Lubbock, Texas, were killed Saturday after being hit by a vehicle at the scene of a traffic accident.

Former Auburn University star and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says he's donating $1 million to Miles College, a historically black institution in Fairfield, Alabama.

News outlets report Barkley told interim president Bobbie Knight about the donation Wednesday. Knight is the first female president in the college's history.

Knight says Barkley's contribution is the largest individual gift the college has received in its 122-year history. She says the gift will launch a comprehensive campaign to raise $100 million for the institution.

The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating the death of an inmate who officials say was assaulted by a fellow prisoner.

The department identified the slain inmate as 38-year-old Moses Robinson.

Corrections officials said in a statement obtained by news outlets Tuesday that Robinson died Dec. 31 from injuries sustained in an attack at the Holman Correctional Facility the day before.

His cause of death is pending a full autopsy.

A doctor says Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is currently free of lung cancer.

In a statement released Wednesday by the governor's office, Dr. Alex Whitley said scans showed no sign of the cancer she was diagnosed with last year.

Whitley is with Central Alabama Radiation Oncology. He says Ivey will continue to be monitored, but he considers her to be cured.

Ivey received radiation treatments three months ago after being diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer. 

APR

A judge has set a final hearing in a lawsuit over control of the Alabama Democratic Party.  

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin on Tuesday scheduled the hearing for Jan. 30.  

Longtime state party leader Nancy Worley had filed the lawsuit to block state Rep. Chris England from taking power as party chair. A revamped governing board elected England as chair, but Worley and her supporters maintained his election was illegitimate.

The ongoing feud has pitted longtime party leaders, such as Worley and Joe Reed, against an upstart faction.

Madison County Schools
Madison County Schools

A 23-year-old Alabama teacher has pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with two students.

News outlets report former Madison County special education teacher Lyndsey Sherrod Bates was convicted of having sex with a student, engaging in a sex act with a student younger than 19 and distributing obscene material to a student. She was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation.

A district attorney said both students were at least 16 and neither was in her class.

Forecasters say severe storms including tornadoes are possible from eastern Texas across the Deep South later this week.

The Storm Prediction Center says more than 9 million people live in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana where there's an enhanced risk of severe weather on Friday. Storms will move eastward on Saturday, with the potential bullseye covering millions of people across much of Mississippi and Alabama, plus parts of eastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.

Forecasters say heavy rains are possible in addition to damaging winds.

Alabama State Fire Marshal
Alabama State Fire Marshal

An Alabama fire chief has been put on paid administrative leave while the State Fire Marshal's Office investigates him.

Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood tells news outlets that the investigation of Chief Rodney McAnally involves his work as fire chief in the town of Littleville — not in Tuscumbia. Until March, McAnally was fire chief in both places.

Underwood said Monday that the leave will let McAnally focus on his case and let the department operate undistracted.

Tuscumbia is less than 10 miles north of Littleville. 

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