Student Intern Ben Lasseter

Two recent lists place Alabama at 46th in the country in “Most & Least Educated States” and 10th in “Best States to Drive In.”

WalletHub, a financial and analytics website, compiled the two lists and released them earlier this week.

 

Aniah Blanchard
Auburn Police Department

State senator Cam Ward says he plans to file a bill to revoke bond for more offenses after the death of Aniah Blanchard.

In a news conference in Montgomery last Tuesday, Ward said the 19-year-old’s death inspired the proposal. The suspect in her death was out on the maximum bond in the state’s bail schedule when she died. The Eighth Amendment, which covers bail and punishment law, could prohibit the changes Ward wants. Defense attorneys say it would likely face opposition in court. Blanchard was the stepdaughter of a UFC heavyweight fighter.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
al.com

Weeks after her disappearance, a convicted sex offender faces charges in the case of an Alabama woman left dead in a shallow grave in Hueytown.

Inerstate 20/59
WVUA23

New I-59/20 bridges that pass through downtown Birmingham will open to traffic Tuesday, on 1-year anniversary since the road closed for construction.

Alabama Department of Transportation spokesperson Tony Harris said the former infrastructure was carrying twice the amount of traffic they were made to accommodate.

“It should be quieter in the downtown area than [when traffic used] the old steel super-structures, and it should provide for a safer, more modern passage through downtown," he said.

 

vaping
Pixabay

The city of Decatur released a letter saying students found using or in possession of vaping devices will go to the Center for Alternatives to Suspension.

Recent research has shown increased findings of harm caused by vaping. The new punishment comes after Decatur City School Administration tried cracking down on the issue by giving in-school suspension for vaping in 2019.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has identified 13 cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use.

Sandhill Cranes
PIxabay

Hunters in Alabama may now hunt the Sandhill Crane once again. 

Alabama Hospital Association
The Business Journals

A statewide campaign wants to help Alabamians adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

Alabama Dance Council
Alabama Dance Council

 

The Alabama Dance Festival is putting on performances, classes, auditions and other events in Birmingham this week and next.

 

Dance groups and individuals from throughout the Southeast will meet for the festival beginning Friday and will continue through next Sunday.

Alabama Dance Council executive director Rosemary Johnson said her statewide non-profit organization puts on the event to foster learning among students and established professionals.

Korean War Memorial
tracesofwar.com

A police chase ended in fire and heavy damage to an Alabama memorial commemorating the missing and dead of the Korean War in Mobile.

 Spanish Fort police said the man fled in a stolen truck after officers tried to question him in Mobile on Sunday.  He eventually crashed through a gate and into a monument at Battleship Memorial Park, causing his car to burst into flames and the display to char.  Authorities said they are still looking for the driver, who escaped by running through the smoke and fog.

Following the death of an employee last summer, Apex Roofing and Restoration LLC and a subcontractor must pay nearly $160,000 in fines.

 The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration found violations including fall hazards and improperly trained workers. The department is also investigating the companies for child labor violations. The federal investigation launched in July, after a 15-year-old worker fell 40 feet to his death at a job site. The companies have 15 days to dispute the fines, comply or meet with officials.

A federal judge sentenced a St. Louis-area man to four years in prison after his tax return scam netted nearly $900,000.

Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo and others used personal information from school district employees in Alabama and Mississippi. They obtained some of this from a data breach at a payroll company, according to federal prosecutors. Overall, they filed more than 2,000 fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $12 million in refunds. The IRS paid about $890,000. Taiwo agreed to a plea deal in Sepember.

Wikimedia Commons

With an expected medical marijuana proposal approaching next month, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has already objected to putting it into law.

In the Jan. 6 letter to lawmakers, he expressed concerns including parallels with the opioid crisis and the continued federal marijuana ban. Similar legislation failed to pass last year. This year, a state study commission has recommended a new program. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, over 30 states have approved some form of medical marijuana proposal.

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said its Gulf Coast expansion will build new facilities and add 275 jobs in Mobile. In their Thursday announcement, the company said the construction will cost $40 million. They plan to increase A320 aircraft production to seven per month by 2021. This move comes amid a tariff dispute involving Airbus. In December, a World Trade Organization panel ruled that the European Union has not complied with an order to end illegal subsidies to the company. The Trump administration imposed nearly $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on EU goods in October.

Former Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith will receive a sentencing this month for manslaughter conviction. Circuit judge P.B. McLauchlin set the date for Jan. 20 following the November jury verdict.

In 2016 Smith, a white officer, shot and killed an unarmed black man, 58-year-old Gregory Gunn, when he fled from a random stop-and-frisk.

The defense claimed Smith acted in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter's pole. The prosecution said Gunn was never a threat.

Following his Monday morning escape, authorities captured Tennessee inmate Jack Kilpatrick in central Alabama Monday afternoon.

The 39-year-old used a container maintenance truck to flee a work release site in Memphis. His arrest in St. Clair County followed a short car chase.

Kilpatrick began serving a methamphetamine possession sentence of less than a year in October.