Mike Hubbard To Receive Sentence Today, Alabama Students Win Infrastructure Award

Jul 8, 2016

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard and defense attorney Bill Baxley

Alabama’s former House Speaker will find out how long he will spend in jail later today after being convicted on a dozen ethics charges last month. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Officials with the Attorney General’s office say they want Mike Hubbard to spend five years in prison and another 13 on supervised probation. His lawyers call that recommendation ridiculously extreme and absurd.

Hubbard was found guilty on 12 of 23 felony ethics charges back on June 10th.

Prosecutors say Hubbard used the power of his political office as House Speaker and former state GOP chairman to benefit his businesses. The state is also asking Hubbard to pay $1.6 million in fines and restitution.

Students from three Alabama universities made up one of five teams to win a global infrastructure award this week.

The students represented Auburn University as well as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and in Huntsville. The award recognizes the students and their ideas on improving the infrastructure in the United States. The award-winning idea is to use drones as a tool for building inspections and to use virtual reality technology to allow engineers to make repairs remotely.

Ali Darwish is the lead engineer on the team. He hopes this idea will spread.

“We are hoping to start with Alabama’s dams, and after that, to implement this technology everywhere in America, because Alabama is not the only state that has problems with infrastructure.”

Darwish says Alabama has serious infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before it’s too late. He hopes that this will inspire those who want to become engineers.

A city park in south Alabama where the public can view alligators has reopened with new renovations, but some are concerned about safety.

Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood says Gator Alley Boardwalk is unique in that visitors can walk across a boardwalk to view the many alligators in the water below. There are signs posted warning visitors not to feed the alligators, but Haygood says police lack a way to enforce that. City officials are now considering passing ordinances.

Boardwalk visitor Tiffany Durant tells al.com a large group of visitors fed marshmallows to the alligators during a recent visit with her two children. She says that became a "huge problem," as it drew the gators closer.

Many visitors and city officials are especially concerned after the tragic alligator attack at Disney World last month in which a 2-year-old child was killed.

A Tuscaloosa-based musician was shot yesterday while leaving a concert in Birmingham.

28-year-old Ronnie Lee Gipson had just left a concert at Saturn, in Birmingham’s Avondale community, when Birmingham police say he was shot in an apparent robbery attempt. The two suspects fled the scene in a dark-colored sedan. Police say no arrests have been made.

Gipson is from Tuscaloosa but plays either guitar or bass in a dozen bands all over the Southeast. He remains hospitalized with multiple injuries including a collapsed lung, but is expected to recover. Friends have established a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.