Same Sex Adoption Hearing, Conecuh Snake Release

Jul 24, 2015

Eastern indigo snake

Mobile County’s probate court will hear arguments today on whether or not same sex couples can adopt children.

Several Alabama counties have already started approving adoptions for gay couples.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. She says if adoptions are approved, it will be one step closer to gaining equality for same sex couples.

“Not only do they have the right to be married but they have the right to be equally treated. When it comes to adoption, for example, they can adopt each other’s children, which they were unable to before.”

Watson adds she feels as though there is a need for more to be done in the LGBT community, as well as all communities, when it comes to equality.

Zoo Atlanta officials say they're planning on releasing nine eastern indigo snakes in the Conecuh National Forest in southern Alabama.

The snakes are being released later today as part of a partnership with Auburn University, the Central Florida Zoo and other organizations to restore the wild eastern indigo population.

Eastern indigo snakes are indigenous to south Alabama, south Georgia and Florida. They are nonvenomous and are the longest snake species native to the United States.

Three of the nine snakes were raised at Zoo Atlanta and officials say about 100 have been released into the forest since the program launched in 2008.

Zoo Atlanta officials say the snakes receive care and food behind the scenes and away from public view since they're designated to be released into the wild. The snakes are considered ready to live in the wild when they're about 18 months old.

Music fans will be heading to northwest Alabama this weekend for the wrap up of the W.C. Handy Music Festival.

Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones is the featured performer during the headlining concert tomorrow night.

Melanie Orseske is the Public Relations Director for the festival. She says this week is one of the most important weeks for the local economy.

“This is one of the peak seasons for tourism dollars because of the event. We believe it is the largest event in northwest Alabama and this area can swell up to between 150,000 and 200,000 people during the ten day course of the event.”

The festival has been held annually since 1982. It’s named in honor of William Christopher Handy—better known as the Father of Blues W.C. Handy. He was born in Florence.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says it is taking steps to address long license renewal lines by upgrading and modernizing the state's drivers' license renewal system.

Alabama Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier says the agency has evaluated state departments across the country and found that the drivers' license system in Alabama is inefficient and archaic.

Collier says officials are rolling out a variety of technological upgrades to streamline the license renewal process. Those upgrades include online appointment scheduling, an option to renew your license online, self-serve license renewal kiosks in licensing locations, updated computer testing stations, and digital licenses smartphone users can show as a secure form of identification.