State Park closures delayed, Desegregation in schools in Huntsville, Earth Day

Apr 22, 2015

Alabama parks scheduled to close next month will stay open a little while longer.

Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein on Wednesday said Gov. Robert Bentley has instructed him to delay closing four parks and two golf courses on May 1.

Earlier this month the park system announced plans to close as many as 15 of the state's 22 parks due to budget cuts.

The park system is operated by user-generated revenue and by money from the state's General Fund. A 2016 draft budget would cut around $10.4 million in state funding from the park system.

A statement from Lein says the park system will soon take "extreme measures" if new revenue isn't passed.

Bentley's plan to raise $541 million in new tax revenue has received little support from lawmakers.

A 45-year-old federal desegregation order is still in place for Huntsville’s city schools, but yesterday’s judicial ruling puts them one step closer to local control. 

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala approved a consent order developed between Huntsville’s city school system and the U.S. Justice Department.

Her approval doesn’t immediately lift the order, but it does put a clear blueprint in place to eliminate lingering effects of the former segregated system and to eventually put Huntsville City Schools back in full control.

That blueprint will increase equity across Huntsville’s school system, through classes, services, athletics, and transportation, as well as desegregating faculty and staff.

The Huntsville-area NAACP says it’s concerned about how the school board will implement the plan.

There is no timetable in place for lifting the federal desegregation order.

Today is Earth Day. And, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will be hosting events that are both environmental and patriotic. The gardens will host a USO style show tonight in honor of veterans who fought in World War two.

The event will also spotlight the victory gardens that families grew during the war to provide food and a morale boost.

Dawn Coleman is Education coordinator at the Gardens. She says there will be a follow-up event this weekend…

“We have second Earth Day celebration on April 25, which is Saturday, which is open to the public. It’s going to have pretty much the same people who are there on Wednesday, there are going to be doing activities for the kids, and we’re going to get the kids involved in victory gardens and hwo to grow things in their own home.”

Earth Day at The Gardens is free and open to the public.