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Courts uphold Alabama's Ballot Access law, Veterans health questions

A federal appeals court is upholding Alabama's ballot access law. Third party presidential candidates trying to get their names before voters in 2012 challenged the measure. Alabama requires third-party candidates to collect signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast in the last governor's election to get on the ballot. The Alabama Green Party, Constitution Party of Alabama, Libertarian Party of Alabama claimed discrimination. The appellate panel says the candidates didn’t show how the state's requirement was overly burdensome.

Veterans in west Alabama with questions about their healthcare will have the opportunity to get answers this evening. The Tuscaloosa V-A will be holding their quarterly town hall meeting this evening. Damon Stevenson is the Communications Officer for the Tuscaloosa V-A. He says these meetings help the veterans AND the V-A.

“Veteran’s may have questions or concerns and we always have people there address those and especially if it is an individual issue that they need addressed with their care or appointments or whatnot.”

The hour long meeting begins at six this evening at the Tuscaloosa V-A hospital in the sports atrium. The event is open to both veterans and their families. ?

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation will be meeting with officials in Canada today on the safety of transporting oil by rail car. An accident and oil spill in Western Alabama last year is considered one reason for the talks by Secretary Anthony Foxx. The train carrying over two million gallons of a type of oil called Bakken crude derailed and spilled near Aliceville. The accident reportedly created three hundred fireball explosions. Environmentalist John Wathen is with the friends of Hurricane Creek. He visited the Aliceville site after the accident and he says the smell was terrible…

“Bakken crude has a smell to it that’s similar to burnt motor oil. If you’ve ever changed the oil in your own car or been around a garage or shop, there’s an acrid smell to that old oil. That’s what Bakken crude smells like.”

Wathen complains that Bakken crude is more explosive than conventional crude oil. He says it also corrodes rail cars, so a newer and safer way to transport it is needed.

He helped put men on the moon during project Apollo. A Huntsville area funeral home reports that rocket pioneer Deiter Grau died yesterday at the age of one hundred and one. Grau came to the United States after World War II with other German rocket scientists led by Wernher Von Braun. He moved to Huntsville to work at Redstone Arsenal in 1950. He and his colleagues helped design and build early U.S. rockets. That includes the Saturn V, which first took astronauts to the moon in the late 1960’s.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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