Student reporter James Niiler

wine alcohol


Alabama continues to relax its traditionally strict alcohol control laws in the wake of COVID-19. The state may soon have another law that expands access to access to alcoholic beverages.

House Bill 437 is about to be sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature. It will allow wine to be delivered from out-of-state by postal services such as FedEx or UPS.

coal mine


Over 1,000 Alabama coal miners are officially on strike. 

The members of the United Mine Workers of America walked off the job at Warrior Met Coal, Inc. on Thursday evening after contract negotiations broke down.

Phil Smith is Director of Communications and Governmental Affairs for the United Mine Workers of America. He said the financial sacrifices made by the miners for the previously bankrupt company have not been honored.


Alabama’s hemp specialists will be gathering to talk shop in Montgomery. 

The Alabama Hemp Growers’ Expo is a forum where hemp farmers, vendors, processors and sponsors can network and share their knowledge about the industry.

Austin Chandler is owner of Alabama Hemp, LLC. He said hemp is a versatile plant with “limitless” uses.

“They can actually manufacture car parts out of it—the interiors, like the inside of your car doors, your dashes, anything that could replace plastic. There’s also ‘hempcrete,’ like concrete; you can build with it,” he said.

Alabama is due for another round of severe weather today, including tornadoes.

The National Weather Service said most of the state is at risk for severe weather events. However, the area northwest of Interstate 59 has the highest chance of tornadoes.

Jason Holmes is a forecaster at the National Weather Service. He urged people to have multiple ways to receive information about deadly weather.

Sipsey Wilderness fire
USDA Forest Service


High winds and dry air are creating the perfect conditions for wildfires to spread.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is urging state residents to exercise caution while making controlled burns.

There have been 358 fires since the start of the year. One hundred forty-four of those fires have happened since last Friday.

Cole Sikes is a media specialist with the Forestry Commission. He said only the Governor can issue a general burn ban, which hasn’t happened yet.



Alabama is one of the worst states for women to live in the country.

That’s according to financial analysis website The rankings were determined by 26 indicators including women’s earnings, access to healthcare, poverty level and homicide rates.

Jill Gonzalez is an analyst for WalletHub. She said lack of education is a foundational problem for Alabama’s women.

COVID-19 coronavirus


A memorial to honor the victims and survivors of COVID-19 was observed by the City of Dothan Monday.  

Mark Sabila is mayor of Dothan. He issued a proclamation declaring March 1 a day to honor pandemic victims at a February City Commission meeting.  

Sabila said the public being overloaded with information has been the main challenge of leading Dothan through the pandemic.  



Students in one north Alabama city are ready for a week filled with square boards, strategy, knights and kings. Hour of Chess Week runs through Friday in the town of Madison.

Ranae Bartlett is Executive Director of the Madison City Chess League. She began as a parent volunteer for the chess club at her son’s school and started the Chess League not long after. Bartlett said playing chess allows kids to learn important life lessons.

Alabama League of Women Voters


Alabama’s League of Women Voters is ready to advocate for its agenda in the State Legislature. Lawmakers are set to convene for its 2021 session tomorrow.

The league was founded in 1920 after the women’s suffrage movement. Its mission is to empower voters to defend democracy.

Barbara Caddell is the President of the League in Alabama. She said one of the group's most important goals this year is encouraging government transparency.



Members of Alabama’s largest Black political caucus are filing a lawsuit against powerful figures in the Democratic Party. 

The Alabama Democratic Conference claims Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez and others discriminated against Black Democrats after they became the majority of the State Democratic Executive Committee. The alleged discrimination occurred through the passage of new bylaws in 2019. 



Diners have the option to try some new places during Birmingham Restaurant Week. Over 50 restaurants in the Birmingham area are participating in the winter version of the event over an 18-day period. These eateries offer menus at fixed prices so more people can experience dining at a variety of levels. 

Audrey Pannell is the Vice President for Public Relations with STYLE magazine. She said BRW really draws attention to the city’s top-notch culinary scene. 


The University of Alabama at Huntsville has reached a new high in its number of enrolled students, meeting a longtime goal of the university administration. 

There are now 10,000 students enrolled at UAH, an increase of 36% since 2014.

According to the university, this year’s freshman class has just over 1,300 students. reports over half the class obtained perfect grade point averages of 4.0 in high school with an average of 3.88, and nearly 40% scored a 30 or higher on the ACT.

Rosa Parks house


The house of civil rights icon Rosa Parks is now on display—in Italy.

After a journey spanning two continents and three countries, Parks’ Detroit home is now on public display at the Royal Palace in Naples.

Parks, who was from Montgomery, Alabama, sought refuge in the run-down, paint-chipped Detroit house after the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger sparked the boycott, one of the most important civil rights demonstrations in American history.

David Burkette


Former Alabama State Senator David Burkette has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge.

A plea deal for Burkette was filed in the Montgomery County Circuit Court on Monday. 

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that, under the terms of the deal, Burkette would pay a $3,000 fine and waive his right to appeal. In return, the prosecution would not seek restitution or demand a particular sentence.