Leaders ask Alabama governor to soften refugee stance, Saban on practice

Dec 22, 2015

More than 100 religious group leaders are pleading to Alabama’s governor to soften his stance on the state accepting Syrian refugees. 

Pastors sent a letter to Governor Robert Bentley’s office in Montgomery, saying faith includes a requirement to welcome strangers and love neighbors.

The letter was signed by dozens of moderate clergy members and other religious leaders from around the state. It was initiated by Greater Birmingham Ministries, an ecumenical organization in the state's largest city.

The governor’s office didn't have any immediate response to the plea.

Bentley last month ordered state agencies to prevent the relocation of Syrian refugees to Alabama. He and other governors are trying to block possible refugees amid fears that terrorists will slip in among them.

As 2015 winds down, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is looking back on big steps toward NASA’s newest U.S. made launch rocket. APR’s Pat Duggins has more…

Marshall is managing the design of the new rocket called the Space Launch System. It looks like a cross between the Saturn rockets that carried astronauts to the Moon and the Space Shuttle’s twin boosters.

Engineers in Utah test fired the engines for the new spacecraft over the summer. Technicians also built a full-scale mock-up of the re-usable boosters that will snap on either side of the main rocket.

Marshall construction crew also finished two test platforms in Huntsville for the main body of the spacecraft, so it can be tested under flight conditions.

If the new rocket is successful, it will carry astronauts out of Earth’s orbit for the first time since the end of the Apollo moon landings in 1972.

The second ranked Alabama football team is practicing one more time today before taking a few days off for Christmas Break.  The Crimson Tide have practiced a few days last week and this week to get ready for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year’s Eve against Number Three Michigan State.

When the game kicks off on the last day of the year, it will be exactly four weeks since winning the SEC Championship. 

Coach Nick Saban says the layoffs are juggling act between practicing and giving his team days off as they report back this weekend…

“Then we’re going to come back and have pretty much a normal week for game preparation and I’m hopeful that we didn’t practice too much and we practiced enough to get them where they need to be.  But until you actually play the game, I don’t think you know for sure whether you did that or not.”

Saban says his team has practiced well these past few days in preparation for the Spartans.  Kickoff is set for New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. on ABC.