Alabama

UACPT

 "The Inside Man"-- Next Monday marks 35 years since the Soviet nuclear plant disaster that became known as Chernobyl. Yesterday on APR, we met the Lee family of the city of Pelham. They took in a 9-year-old boy from the nation of Belarus in the year 2000. Belarus is just north of where the Chernobyl plant blew up in 1986. It’s also where a lot of the radioactive fallout drifted. Alabama Public Radio and the University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television collaborated on the story on how children from Belarus were brought to our state for visits beginning in the late 1990’s.

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An APR news feature -- Next week marks 35 years since the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. The 1986 explosion in the Soviet nation of Ukraine sent radioactive fallout drifting north over the neighboring country of Belarus. That’s where families in Alabama stepped in. During the years 1999 and 2000, over 200 Belarusian children were flown to the state for medical treatment and a chance to get away from the shadow of Chernobyl. APR and the University of Alabama's Center for Public Television collaborated on this coverage.

Mobile residents reach out to people left homeless by COVID-19

May 14, 2020
Pixabay

An Alabama Public Radio news feature, which is part of APR effort to address the "news desert" along the state's Gulf coast. APR recruited and trained veteran print journalists in Mobile and Baldwin counties to join our news team to do radio stories from along the Gulf coast.

Alabama beach businesses work to recover visitor dollars lost to COVID-19

May 8, 2020
APR's Guy Busby

An Alabama Public Radio news feature, which is part of APR effort to address the "news desert" along the state's Gulf coast. APR recruited and trained veteran print journalists in Mobile and Baldwin counties to join our news team to do radio stories from along the Gulf coast.

The environmental healing process 10 years after the BP oil spill

Apr 21, 2020
State of Louisiana

An Alabama Public Radio news feature, which is part of APR effort to address the "news desert" along the state's Gulf coast. APR recruited and trained veteran print journalists in Mobile and Baldwin counties to join our news team to do radio stories from along the Gulf coast.

APR's Pat Duggins

An Alabama Public Radio news feature, which is part of APR's effort to address the "news desert" along the state's Gulf coast. APR recruited and trained veteran print journalists in Mobile and Baldwin counties to join our news team to do radio stories from along the Gulf coast.

In today’s Keepin’ It Real commentary, Cam Marston tells us about his father’s surprise birthday party at the Bradford store in Dickenson, Ala. and how he kind of envies what his father has created for himself...       

Edited by Jalen Hutchinson

FAIRFIELD, Ala. (AP) — Some residents have sued to challenge the removal of the mayor of a small city in Alabama last month.

Al.com reported the Fairfield Citizen Coalition sued, seeking to remove former city council president Eddie Penny from the mayor's office. The lawsuit seeks to restore Edward May II as the mayor of the city of about 11,000 people about 7 miles southwest of Birmingham.

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court sided with news media organizations Monday in ruling that Alabama can't keep its lethal injection protocol secret from the public.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected Alabama's argument that its execution method is not a court record and thus should remain secret.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced for sex crimes involving a 13-year-old Alabama girl who was brought to Missouri by the man's mother and grandmother.

Twenty-two-year-old Michael James Collins was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison without parole.

Investigators say Collins met the girl on a dating website in July 2017. At the time, Collins was a registered sex offender on probation for a previous conviction for sexual misconduct involving a child.

Lee Co. tornado
WKRG-TV via AP

BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) — Rescuers began tearing through the rubble of mobile homes and houses Monday in search of survivors of a powerful tornado that rampaged through southeast Alabama and killed at least 23 people, including children.

The trail of destruction was at least half a mile wide and overwhelmed rural Lee County's coroners' office, forcing it to call in help from the state.

"It looks like someone almost just took a giant knife and scraped the ground," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said of the devastation during a Monday morning news conference.

Tornado Death Confirmed in Columbus, MS

Feb 24, 2019
Columbus tornado
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.

A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, according to officials.

Columbus Mayor Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband were renovating a house Saturday evening, and when the husband went to get them something to eat, the building collapsed and killed her.

SPLC Sues Over Driver License Suspensions

Nov 21, 2018

A new federal lawsuit is challenging Alabama's practice of suspending the driver's licenses of people who are unable to pay their traffic tickets.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Montgomery says the practice violates the Fourteenth Amendment by "punishing persons simply because they are poor."

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of three Alabama residents who had their licenses suspended. According to the lawsuit, nearly 23,000 Alabamians currently have suspended licenses because of their inability to pay traffic tickets.

StoryCorps

Kitty and her husband Dean had a daughter with Cerebral Palsy and together, they started the U.S. Handicapable Square Dance Association in Mobile, Ala. In this StoryCorps piece, Kitty sat down with StoryCorps facilitators to talk about her late husband’s commitment and passion for developing an event for handicapables – those who are mentally disabled – to come and dance...

Edited by Jalen Hutchinson

Party Politics in Alabama

Nov 5, 2018
parade watchers
Alex AuBuchon / Alabama Public Radio

Alabamians head to the polls tomorrow for the midterm elections, but political observers will likely tell you that many of the races were really decided back in June, during the party primaries.

Alabama is one of the reddest states in the country – Republicans currently hold every statewide elected position and have supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature. But what does party affiliation and identity really mean in Alabama – and how does the party structure work? APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more.

Double-nickel — the 55-mph speed limit— is still common on highways across the South.

Now, Alabama is adding a new limit: A quarter and a penny.

Al.com reports, Alabama 135 now has a 26-mph (42 kph) speed limit through Gulf State Park.  

It's on a stretch of highway in south Alabama. The speed limit there used to be 35-mph (56 kph).

The idea is that drivers will take note of the speed limit since it is an unusual one, Gulf Shores Police Chief Edward Delmore said.

Alabama Loses Air Force Training Jet Bid

Sep 28, 2018

Alabama has lost its multi-billion-dollar bid to build the next trainer jet for the U.S. Air Force at the historic home of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Developers had proposed Tuskegee's Moton Field as a site for Italian defense firm Leonardo DRS to assemble the T-100 trainer, but the Pentagon chose Boeing for the project instead.

Boeing will receive a $9.2 billion contract to produce more than 350 T-X trainer jets in addition to simulators and other equipment.

The federal government has until mid-November to respond to the state of Alabama's lawsuit seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from U.S. Census counts.

Last week, a federal judge gave the U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau an extension until Nov. 13 to reply to the lawsuit. Lawyers had said the Department of Justice components needed additional time to finish "evaluating the arguments that the government will make in this matter."

Birmingham Minimum Wage Suit Resurrected

Jul 26, 2018

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit that accuses the Alabama Legislature of racially discriminating against the city of Birmingham by preventing the majority-black city from setting its own minimum wage within the city limits.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit. The court says "plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim that the Minimum Wage Act had the purpose and effect of depriving Birmingham's black citizens equal economic opportunities on the basis of race."

pinning
1st Lt. Jermaine Thurston / U.S. Army

A woman from Alabama recently became the first black female pilot in the history of the Alabama National Guard.

News outlets report Second Lieutenant Kayla Freeman graduated from Fort Rucker's Army Aviation School last month. Freeman graduated from Tuskegee University in 2016, where she was enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

AL Official Says Tariffs Hurting State Economy

Jul 5, 2018

Alabama’s commerce secretary says the current rhetoric about tariffs and trade barriers from the White House are hurting investments in Alabama.

Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield recently said an in interview with Bloomberg that state officials aren’t planning to fight President Trump on the issue, but they are urging a “more measured approach” on trade.

Canfield says the state has already seen timelines slip on a couple of large projects, and the longer these trade disputes drag out, the more possible it is that they threaten jobs in Alabama.

Members of the Mobile City Council are asking Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to approve funding to help restart passenger train service between the port city and New Orleans.

WALA-TV reports members sent Ivey a letter yesterday saying renewed Amtrak service would help increase tourism and economic development in Mobile.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi must commit almost $35 million total over three years by today to be eligible for the same amount in federal funds that would let Amtrak trains travel the northern Gulf Coast for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Historically in Alabama, we've voted more heavily in our governor's race year than our presidential year. That's probably because we're more interested in the local sheriff and probate judge races, which run in gubertorial years, than who is president...

Activists Want Sims Statue Removed from Capitol

May 10, 2018

A group of activists is calling for the removal of a statue on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol honoring a 19th century doctor who experimented on slaves.

Alabama state Senator Hank Sanders and other members of the group Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a press conference yesterday calling for the removal of the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims.

Alabama Expands Pre-Kindergarten Program

May 1, 2018

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is adding 107 new Pre-K classrooms in 33 counties this fall.

Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement in a press release yesterday. The new classrooms will expand Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program to nearly 19,000 children in more than 1,000 classes in all 67 counties.

This year, the Alabama legislature also approved an $18.5 million budget expansion of the state's Pre-K program.

Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones, the Democrat who unexpectedly prevailed in one of the country's most Republican states, has a book set to come out next year.

St. Martin's Press told The Associated Press that Jones' "Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights" is scheduled for release in January.

A university in east Alabama still recovering from a tornado strike has released surveillance video showing what the storm looked like as it hit campus.

Jacksonville State University released a video compilation made from multiple cameras as a tornado touched down on campus on March 19.

Jackson House
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Wednesday, April 4 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s assassination. For the past month, the Alabama Public Radio news team has been examining Dr. King’s work and his impact here in Alabama. You’ve heard a photographer from Montgomery recall documenting King’s work. APR guest reporter Ousmane Sagara shared how people in his nation of Mali remember Dr. King. You also heard about the house where King hid from white supremacists, just days before his assassination. Now APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports on another place in Alabama closely connected to Dr. King, and how his influence is being felt by a new generation…

Lawyers say a settlement is possible in the case of an Alabama inmate whose lethal injection was halted last month when the execution team could not find a usable vein.

Lawyers for both the state of Alabama and death row inmate Doyle Lee Hamm wrote that they were in "serious settlement discussions." The filing did not elaborate, so it's unclear what a potential settlement may entail.

Hamm's attorney is seeking to block Alabama from attempting to execute him again.

State Unemployment Matches Record Low

Jan 20, 2018

Alabama's unemployment rate is holding steady at a record low level.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office says the state's jobless rate was 3.5 percent last month. That's the same as November, when the state matched its all-time low for unemployment.

Ivey's office says the December rate means nearly 2.1 million people were employed overall in the state. That's the most ever, surpassing the December number by about 45,000 residents.

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