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Alabama Shakespeare Festival Enter for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Girl Scout Cookies, Obamacare, Hospital Shutdown

Hannah Wallace, Girl Scouts

If you’ve been craving your girl scout cookie fix, then today is your day. Girl scouts start taking orders today for the annual fundraising drive by the Girl Scouts of America.

Familiar flavors like thin mints, Savannahs, and Do-See-Does will be joined by gluten free varieties. Those new products are called Toffee-Tastics and Trios.

Hannah Wallace is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama. She says customers can send cookies to U.S. soldiers overseas with a program called Operation Cookie Drop.

“You can donate a box of cookies to be sent to the troops. So the girls collect those throughout the cookie season and at the end of the cookie season we package them all up and they are sent over to the troops so they can enjoy their favorite cookies at the same time everyone else is.”

Girl Scouting is open to all girls ages five to seventeen. Those interested can sign up online at girlscoutsnca.org. Girl Scout cookie orders begin today and booth sales begin Friday, February 6.

The federal marketplace for health insurance is picking up even more steam in Alabama. Those higher figures could complicate things for consumers when tax time comes.

The U.S. department of health of human services says more than one hundred and twenty six thousand Alabamians signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That’s close to triple the number of state residents who had signed up by January of last year.

A rude financial awakening may be coming next Tuesday. That’s when the Internal Revenue Service starts accepting 2014 tax returns.

This year, taxpayers are required to prove they had health insurance last year. If they didn't then federal penalties may kick in, amounting to ninety five dollars per person or one percent of your income, whichever is higher.

Some Americans are getting federal subsidies to help pay for their coverage, which could add to their tax bill.

The North Alabama Regional Hospital in Decatur will shut down in June, but the Department of Mental Health says most of the staff should still have work. Department Commissioner Jim Reddoch told the press yesterday there ought to be enough positions available at their three other facilities in Tuscaloosa for their entire staff to transfer to.

North Alabama Regional employs approximately one hundred and fifty staff and has about fifty patients. Forty of those employees are eligible for retirement.

Tuscaloosa's three mental health facilities are said to be capable of absorbing both the staff and the patient load.

The state is also saying they will work to find private sector jobs for those laid off, if those employees don't want to transfer.

The Alabama Department of Corrections is changing the way razors are distributed in the state's prisons.

Attorneys have accused the state of giving razor blades to inmates known to be suicidal or mentally ill. That has led to repeated suicide attempts in Alabama jails.

Now, according to a federal court agreement, inmates in mental health units will only have access to clipper shavers. Inmates being segregated for discipline or other issues will be given razors only during showers.

This change is one result of a lawsuit filed by Alabama inmates over inadequate medical care.

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