The Wire

  • Trump’s Alabama approval rating highest in nation

    Excerpt:

    President Donald Trump does not enjoy a higher approval rating in any state than Alabama, according to the latest polling released this week by Morning Consult.

    Trump’s approval rating is at 63 percent in the state led by Governor Kay Ivey. West Virginia and Wyoming tied Alabama for the title of highest rating.

     

  • Jeff Poor: What is it with Alabama Democrats’ dumb obsession with debates, town halls?

    Excerpt:

    So you’re a Democrat in Alabama, and you want to be elected to high office? You approached your run for office thinking that Doug Jones showed what’s possible for a Democrat in Alabama. Therefore, you determined the time is right to run.

    And here you are. You put up your qualifying fee and made it through the primary. It’s you versus a well-funded Republican incumbent in a state outside the Seventh Congressional District, and a handful of other urban minority precincts elects very few Democrats.

    It’s a David versus Goliath story. It’s going to require a solid ground game, a fair amount of travel and a campaign message that will sway some Republicans to overlook party labels and mark the ballot for a Democrat.

    What’s Walt Maddox’s first significant push? Perhaps it could be the success story of Tuscaloosa and all the things he has accomplished as mayor. Tuscaloosa is still a place people might want to visit – several nice restaurants, an up and coming riverfront, an affluent and diverse population, or yeah – and the University of Alabama and all it has to offer.

    It’s a simple message: Do you want Alabama to be more like Tuscaloosa? Vote for me.

  • Wetumpka Community Archery Park Opens August 21

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Alabama’s 15th community archery park will hold its grand opening at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, in Wetumpka, Ala. The Wetumpka Community Archery Park is located in the Wetumpka Sports Complex at 2350 Coosa River Parkway, Wetumpka, Ala. The public and media are invited to attend the grand opening ceremony.

    The archery park will be open year-round for recreational shooting, competitive tournaments and outdoor educational programming. The facility features a 10-target adult range from 15 to 50 yards, a four-target youth range of 5 to 15 yards, and an elevated platform with four targets from 10-40 yards that provides bowhunters an opportunity to simulate hunting conditions.

    Use of the archery park is free for those under 16 years of age or over 65. Alabamians ages 16 to 64 must have a hunting license, Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license, or Wildlife Heritage license to use the range. For non-residents, an annual WMA license or non-resident hunting license is required. Licenses are available from various local retailers or online at outdooralabama.com.

    Wetumpka joins 14 other community archery parks currently in operation throughout the state including Athens, Cullman, Dothan, Demopolis, Decatur, Elba, Foley, Heflin, Huntsville, Lincoln, Tuscaloosa, Ozark, and in Oak Mountain and Wind Creek state parks. These facilities are one component of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) effort to increase awareness and participation in the life skill of archery.

    “I am excited to open the 15th community archery park,” said Chris Blankenship, ADCNR Commissioner. “These parks provide a great opportunity for youth and adults to learn the sport of archery and to hone their skills in a safe and structured environment. Anything that gets people outside for recreation is great for Alabama.”

9 hours ago

New details emerge on Calera teacher held on child porn charges

(Shelby County Jail)

An Alabama kindergarten teacher jailed on child pornography charges had been approved by the state to provide therapeutic foster care, authorities said Thursday.

Daniel Prentice Donaldson, 26, of Montevallo, received the foster care certification in June through the United Methodist Children’s Home, which acts as a contractor to provide care for the state, said Barry Spear, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

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Spear cited confidentiality laws in declining comment on whether Donaldson was caring for a 9-year-old boy who authorities described as being with the man at the time of his arrest at his home on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the United Methodist Children’s Home said in a statement Thursday that Donaldson had met all DHR training and licensing requirements prior to being licensed by UMCH.

“Since 1890, UMCH has been dedicated to the highest standards in caring for vulnerable children, and will fully cooperate with all law enforcement in the investigation of Mr. Donaldson,” said Rebecca Morris, the group’s vice president of external affairs.

The church-affiliated organization recruits and trains foster parents under its license, Spear said.

Donaldson, who taught at Calera Elementary School, was jailed with bail set at $600,000 on 40 counts of possession of child pornography.

Court records don’t show whether he has a defense lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

Maj. Ken Burchfield, a spokesman with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said an investigation began with a tip.

He said there was no evidence Calera students were victims in the child pornography cases.

Donaldson has worked for Shelby County schools since 2015, when he began the first of two years as an aide under the guidance of a classroom teacher.

He was beginning his second school year as a kindergarten teacher at the time of his arrest.

Donaldson passed a criminal background check and has had no prior incidents of misconduct, officials said.

“These charges are very serious in that they indicated alarming behavior by this teacher,” said Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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10 hours ago

Huntsville Hospital announces $150 million expansion

(Huntsville Hospital)

A hospital in northern Alabama plans a $150 million expansion.

Huntsville Hospital said in a news release Wednesday that work on the expansion will start next year and is expected to take about two years.

The project will add 72 beds and 24 operating rooms.

There will also be space for future expansion.

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The additional patient rooms will allow the hospital to convert some semi-private rooms to private rooms.

Hospital CEO David Spillers says the hospital needs more space to accommodate growth in the Huntsville area.

He cited the Mazda Toyota plant that is expected to create 4,000 jobs.
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10 hours ago

12 hospitalized after tent collapses at Traditions Park in Hayden

(Pixabay)

Authorities say 12 people have been hospitalized, including three who were seriously injured, after a tent collapsed at a shareholder’s event in Hayden.

WBMA-TV says about 400 people were under the tent Thursday night when it came crashing down, some ducking under tables for cover.

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The West Blount County fire chief says the incident may have been caused by a storm that moved through the Blount County area.

Sheriff’s Operations Commander Tim Kent says the situation is under control.

No further details were immediately available.

A company hired by Traditions Bank will assess the damage.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Officials investigating Brewer High School hazing report

(Morgan County Schools)

A sheriff’s department in Alabama is investigating a report of hazing at a high school earlier this year.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is working with the county school system on an incident involving students at Brewer High School in February.

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Schools Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. told WHNT in Huntsville the incident involved the junior varsity baseball team.

Hopkins said the incident happened in a locker room and involved middle school students who played for the junior varsity team.

The students involved were suspended from all summer programs and started the new school year in in-school suspension.

Hopkins says school officials will work with the coaches and team members to provide extra training on bullying.

Sheriff Ana Franklin says investigators are working to determine whether charges should be filed.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Former Governor Robert Bentley deposition filed in court this week

(Bentley Administration)

Former Gov. Robert Bentley provided new details of his view of the scandal that helped topple his administration, according to a deposition filed this week in circuit court.

Bentley resigned last year as he faced an ethics investigation and impeachment proceedings in the wake of an alleged affair with a top aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

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Bentley answered questions about the relationship and other matters in the June 23 deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by his former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier.

Collier contends he was wrongfully fired by Bentley.

Here are some of the highlights of the deposition filed Monday in circuit court:

AN ‘AFFECTIONATE FRIENDSHIP’

Responding to questions about his relationship with Mason, Bentley called it an “affectionate friendship” but said the relationship did not involve sex and he did not consider it an affair.

Bentley said it did “involve touching and kissing, and I would hold her hand the times that I was with her.”

“So we didn’t have what a lot of people think we had.

Now did I really care about her? Did I really love her? I did, and she did me, and we still do.

It’s a very close affectionate friendship so that’s how I describe it,” Bentley testified.

He testified however that his relationship with Mason was a reason for his divorce.

Mason works as the office manager for his dermatology practice, he testified.

WON’T CONFIRM MASON ON TAPES

Bentley’s relationship with Mason was exposed after the release of recordings made by the governor’s then wife, Dianne Bentley.

In the recordings, Bentley is heard talking on the phone.

He was speaking affectionately to a woman he calls “Rebekah” and talking about touching her breasts, although her side of the conversation is not heard.

Under questioning, Bentley did not say he was speaking to Mason but acknowledged it was “likely” her.

“I’m not denying that it was her.

I’m just saying, there’s no concrete evidence that it was her but most likely it was but I don’t think you can prove that with the tapes,” Bentley testified.

Bentley said his wife was able to view his text messages to Mason on an iPad because he did not know his state cellphone was synced to the iPad.

PRESSURED TO INTERVENE IN CORRUPTION CASE

Bentley testified that he was getting pressured to intervene in the Alabama attorney general’s office’s investigation of then-House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Bentley said some people wanted state prosecutor Matt Hart off the case.

“A lot of people were pressuring me to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the attorney general’s office,” Bentley testified.

He said businessman and GOP political donor Jimmy Rane and Rob Riley, the son of former Gov. Bob Riley, were among those that approached his office.

So too did three legislators and Hubbard’s attorney, he said.

Rane said Wednesday that he did call Bentley’s office, but was not asking Bentley to take any specific action.

Rane, who has known Hubbard for decades, said he was asking for assurances, “that this is a fair and real investigation and not based on a political agenda.”

Riley did not immediately return a text message seeking comment.

Hubbard was later convicted on multiple ethics charges in a case largely led by Hart.

DONORS TO NONPROFIT

Bentley said he raised money for a nonprofit organization, called the Alabama Council for Excellent Government, which was created to promote his agenda.

He said donors to the group included Franklin Haney, a Tennessee businessman who purchased the unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in north Alabama.

He did not disclose other donors or say how much Haney gave.

Collier’s attorney is trying to force the disclosure of other donors to the group, court filings show.

Tax forms filed with the IRS show that the organization raised $90,600 in 2015 and $32,500 in 2016.

Bentley resigned in April 2017.

BLAMES DOWNFALL ON SPECIAL INTERESTS

The former governor said “special interests” wanted rid of him in Montgomery, but he would not name them.

“I’m not going to name them, but there are special interests in Montgomery that never liked me, and they used much of this — they used Spencer, they used my family, they used a lot of people to get rid of me.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Calera kindergarten teacher accused of possessing child porn

(Shelby County Jail)

A kindergarten teacher in Alabama has been charged with 40 counts of child porn possession.

News outlets report 26-year-old Daniel Prentice “Danny” Donaldson was arrested Wednesday.

Calera Elementary School officials say the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation.

Sheriff’s Maj. Ken Burchfield says the investigation started with a tip, and that there is no evidence yet that any students were involved in the child porn case.

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Donaldson has worked with the county school district since 2015, starting as a paraprofessional under the guidance of another teacher.

District officials say he passed a criminal background check in 2014 and has no prior incidents of misconduct.

This school year would have been his second teaching kindergarten.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Birmingham police: Stun gun used on boy, 13, with handgun

(Wikicommons)

Alabama authorities say a police officer used a stun gun on a 13-year-old boy who reached into a pocket containing a handgun.

News outlets report charges are pending against the 13-year-old, who was walking with a 15-year-old boy near a middle school when he was stopped Wednesday.

Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams says officers responding to a report of an armed person spotted the 13-year-old matching the provided description.

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Williams says officers asked the youth to put his hands in the air.

He says an officer then fired the stun gun when the teen reached in his pocket instead.

Police say a .38 caliber handgun was found in the boy’s pocket.

News outlets say the boy was taken to a hospital to be checked out.

An internal investigation into the stun gun’s use is ongoing.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Mobile judge orders video released of pepper-sprayed students

(FOX10 News - WALA/YouTube)

An Alabama city’s police department will be required to release body camera video of when high school students were pepper-sprayed in 2016 by an officer while painting a cannon after a football game.

WALA-TV reports a Mobile County Circuit Court judge signed an order Monday that says the city of Mobile has 14 days to release the video.

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Meredith Corporation owns the news station and it won the lawsuit in which the judge made the order.

WALA-TV News Director Scott Flannigan says it is a win for the public.

He says the station argued to city officials that the video of McGill-Toolen High School students was a public document, but they wouldn’t release it.

Mobile still has the option to appeal the ruling. City Public Safety Director James Barber would not comment Monday.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Koch Foods announces $80M expansion at Gadsden plant

(Koch Foods of Gadsden/Facebook)

Koch Foods has announced an $80 million expansion at an Alabama plant that is expected to bring around 200 jobs to the area.

The Gadsden Times reports that company announced the move Tuesday.

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The project will add a fourth processing line to the existing Gadsden facility, increasing production capacity by around 30 percent.

The newspaper says this expansion will make the facility one of the largest poultry-processing plants in the nation.

Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton says construction will start this month.

Guyton says the expansion’s economic impact will be “immediate and drastic.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Alabama native and former Marshall quarterback Reggie Oliver dead at 66

(Marshall University/YouTube)

The Marshall University quarterback who was part of the team’s return after the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 players has died.

Reggie Oliver was 66.

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Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert said in a release Tuesday that his “heart is broken” at the loss of Oliver.

He added that Oliver was “an integral piece of the fabric that makes up Marshall’s story.”

Marshall Athletics said in a release that Oliver “was one of Marshall’s true legends.”

The Herald-Dispatch reported Oliver was hospitalized in Huntsville, Alabama, last week after suffering a head injury in a fall.

Oliver grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and became a quarterback for the Young Thundering Herd, as the team was known.

In the school’s first home game after the crash, Oliver connected with freshman fullback Terry Gardner for a 13-yard touchdown on the game’s final play to upset Xavier 15-13.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Arab High School to dump ‘Dixie’ tradition at football games

(Arab High School/Facebook))

A rural Alabama high school is ending its tradition of playing “Dixie” at football games.

John Mullins, superintendent of city schools in Arab, said he made the decision to quit playing the song at Arab (AY-rab) High School, but not because of any “external pressure.”

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Leaders in the educational system and the school board have talked for months about dropping the song, he said, and local news outlets reported in June that the longtime band director was retiring.

“While I fully understand the difficulty of changing a tradition, the song has negative connotations that contradict our school district’s core values of unity, integrity, and relationships,” Mullins said in a statement reported by WHNT-TV.

School bands throughout the South used to play “Dixie,” but the practice ended as the region got further away from legalized racial segregation.

The Arab High School Band has played “Dixie” after touchdowns for decades.

Students and staff at the school will vote on a new fight song after this football season.

In the meantime, the band will play an instrumental soul song that’s popular among marching bands, “The Horse.”

Census statistics show the town of about 8,200 people, located in northeastern Alabama, is more than 96 percent white.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Decatur High School teacher accused of having sex with students resigns

(Decatur PD)

An Alabama high school teacher who was paid nearly $130,000 while on leave fighting charges that she had sex with students has resigned.

The Decatur city school board accepted the resignation of Carrie Cabri Witt on Monday.

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Superintendent Michael Douglas tells the Decatur Daily that Witt quit the day before the board was scheduled to hold a hearing on her employment.

The 45-year-old Witt is charged with two counts of having sex with a student.

She’s been on paid leave since March 2016 while fighting the accusations.

Witt’s resignation letter says she “vehemently” denies committing any crime or having any inappropriate relationship with a student.

The school district has spent more than $128,000 on salary and benefits on Witt since placing her on leave.

She worked at Decatur High School.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Former Prattville police officer gets 10 years for fraud, theft

(Prattville PD)

A former police officer in Alabama who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and burglary has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports 51-year-old Leon Todd Townson was sentenced Monday.

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The former U.S. Marine is one of two former Prattville Police Department lieutenants charged with breaking into a home in 2015.

The other lieutenant, 48-year-old John Wayne McDaniel, is set to be sentenced Friday.

Townson also was charged in 2017 with defrauding an insurance agency by filing a claim containing false information.

The fraudulent claim prompted the agency to award Townson more than $190,000.

He resigned from the police department in 2005 before pleading guilty to trying to sell a modified rifle seized by the department’s drug unit.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

GATR Technologies Inc. of Huntsville gets $522M Army contract for inflatable antennas

(GATR Technology/YouTube)

An Alabama company has a five-year, $522 million extension to an Army contract for inflatable satellite antenna systems.

GATR Technologies Inc. of Huntsville first won the contract in 2013.

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It said in early 2014 that the contract made the antennas more broadly available to the armed services, which already were using them in special operations units.

GATR’s ground-mounted antennas look like giant beach balls with tie-downs to point them in the right direction.

The antenna inside is reflective fabric.

Fans keep the air pressure in the top half slightly higher than in the bottom half, pushing the fabric down into the right shape.

The extension brings the contract’s total maximum value to more than $960 million.

It was announced Friday in the Pentagon’s daily list of military contracts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

‘In God We Trust’ motto could be coming to Alabama schools

(D. Standridge/Twitter)

Months after getting legislative approval, some public schools in Alabama are considering putting up “In God We Trust” displays.

The motto could soon become more common in Alabama schools, AL.com reported.

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Legal challenges are expected to follow.

State lawmakers in February approved legislation allowing such displays on public property.

Blount County’s school board is set to become one of the first systems to take action, the news site reported.

A policy on the issue could be drafted within the next month, Blount County Superintendent Rodney Green said.

Observers view Blount County as a testing ground for the upcoming legal battles with organizations that advocate for the separation of church and state.

“You would think that something that passes the Legislature won’t be challenged in the courtroom but we all know that it can and probably will,” said Green, who oversees a school system with more than 7,800 students over 17 schools north of Jefferson County.

National politics are fueling efforts to incorporate the motto or Christian symbols in government buildings, critics say.

“It’s a tsunami of Christian national laws in our country right now,” said Annie Laurie Gaylord, co-president of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation.

“The upcoming election will say a lot about the direction of our nation,” she added.

“With the Republicans in charge of Congress and so many of these states, we are seeing a constant push for theocracy.”

State Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden, sponsored the original legislation that gives public bodies the right to display the “In God We Trust” motto.

The Alabama law became effective July 1.

The Alabama legislation is not a mandate, and is a lighter version of what was approved by Tennessee lawmakers this spring that requires the motto’s prominent display inside all public schools.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Disqualified party runoff winner Pamela Cousins will be back on the general ballot

(Pamela Cousins Campaign)

A candidate for a judgeship in Alabama has won a legal round in her battle to be on the ballot.

AL.com reports that Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled Friday against disqualifying Pamela Cousins from the ballot for district judge in Jefferson County.

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Cousins filed a complaint after learning that she was disqualified because she had not filed a Statement of Economic Interests with the Ethics Commission.

Her complaint says she filed the required Statement of Economic Interests with the Democratic Party and the state Supreme Court when she qualified to run for the judgeship, and that she was certified as a candidate in the primary and the runoff, which she won.

Hardwick ruled Cousins made a good faith effort and should not be disqualified from the general election ballot.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Alabama’s Kristen Gillman wins second US Women’s Amateur title

(Alabama Women's Golf/Facebook)

Kristen Gillman won the U.S. Women’s Amateur for the second time Sunday, beating Alabama teammate Jiwon Jeon 7 and 6 in the 36-hole final at The Golf Club of Tennessee.

“It’s really cool to be able to have it on there again,” Gillman said about her name on the Robert Cox Trophy.

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“Everyone who was playing in this tournament was picturing their name on it at the end of the week, so it’s really nice to be able to do that and accomplish that.”

The 20-year-old Gillman, from Austin, Texas, also won in 2014 as a 16-year-old at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York.

“It was definitely more emotional to win this time,” Gillman said.

“And my mom (Laura) wasn’t able to come the first time, so she flew here last night to watch me play in the final match.

So it was really cool to have her be able to be here, too, to experience this win because I know that last time she wanted to be here, but she just had eye surgery, so she couldn’t fly.”

On Sunday, Gillman was 5-up after nine holes, winning four straight from Np. 4-7.

She was 5-up after 18 holes and increased the margin to seven on the second 18.

Gillman won the Japan LPGA’s Century 21 Ladies Golf Tournament last month for her first victory in a professional event.

She also starred in U.S. victories in the Curtis Cup and Palmer Cup, and tied for 27th this year in the U.S. Women’s Open.

Gillman’s four-year span between titles is the second-largest in event history.

Dorothy Campbell Hurd had a 14-year period between titles, winning in 1910 and 1924.

Margaret Curtis also had a four-year span between titles, winning her first in 1907 and second in 1911. She also won again in 1912.

The 21-year-old Jeon is from South Korea. She transferred from Daytona State Junior College to Alabama, with Gillman serving as Jeon’s host when she took her recruiting trip to Tuscaloosa last fall.

“She was very consistent all day,” Jeon said.

“It was a little difficult for me to catch up on her.

But that is the one I cannot control.

So I was trying to play my best.

I didn’t play my best today, but I tried my best on the course.

I really appreciate that she played great today.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Striking union in south Alabama will meet with Coca-Cola Bottling Company and mediator today

(FOX10 News - WALA/YouTube)

Union members say they and an Alabama soft drink distributor are supposed to meet Monday with a federal mediator in hopes of resolving a strike.

Employees of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United in Mobile, Robertsdale and Leroy, as well as in Vancleave, Mississippi, went on strike Thursday.

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About 275 employees at the locations are represented by the Teamsters Union.

The locations last year were transferred to Birmingham-based Coke United from a North Carolina-based bottler.

Teamsters union Local 991 steward David Stephens tells AL.com that members seek to prevent lower pay for new employees and higher insurance costs.

Coke United says it plans to maintain deliveries. Spokeswoman Linda Sewell tells WALA-TV that the company continues negotiating in good faith.

A strike at the same locations lasted nearly three weeks in 2008.
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4 days ago

Huntsville city council approves funds to defend officer in fatal shooting

(Huntsville PD)

An Alabama city has approved taxpayer funds to pay legal expenses for a police officer charged in the death of an armed man police say was suicidal.

AL.com reports the Huntsville City Council voted 4-0 Thursday to cover the defense of 25-year-old Huntsville Police Officer William Darby.

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Darby was indicted Aug. 3 on a murder charge in the shooting of 49-year-old Jeffrey Parker.

Police say Darby shot Parker after responding April 3 to a report of an armed, suicidal man.

Police say Parker didn’t follow commands to drop his weapon.

The department cleared Darby of wrongdoing, but Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard expressed concerns and sent the case to a grand jury.

The council also voted to cap initial defense expenses to $75,000.

Darby is on paid administrative leave.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Huntsville City Schools chooses superintendent, has budget crisis

(Huntsville City Schools)

An Alabama school system has named its interim superintendent to the position permanently while also dealing with financial struggles.

News outlets report the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education voted Thursday night to appoint Christie Finley as superintendent.

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The board also heard presentations from Deputy Superintendent of Finance Bob Hagood and an auditor about an October 2017 $5 million accounting error that could mean it won’t have its required reserve of one month’s operating expenses by September 2019.

The school district is projected to have $1.8 million in reserve by September 2019 rather than the roughly $18 million it should have saved.

Board President Elisa Ferrell says the situation is a budget crisis.

Finley says officials need to examine what can be done soon to preserve the classroom environment.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Man indicted on murder charge in Alabama captured in Georgia

(DeKalb County Sheriff)

A man wanted in Alabama in connection to a child’s death has been captured in Georgia.

News outlets report 24-year-old Noe Mateo was arrested Wednesday.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris says in a release that Mateo was indicted on a capital murder charge this week for the February 2017 death of a young relative of his.

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Authorities haven’t released the child’s name.

Mateo lived with the child in Crossville at the time of the slaying.

Few details have been released about the case. Court records say Mateo pleaded guilty last year to intimidating witnesses in the case.

He was sentenced then to probation plus time already served in jail awaiting court.

Mateo is being held at a Cobb County jail while awaiting extradition to Alabama.

It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Decatur City Schools bans cellphones in classrooms

(Pixabay)

A school system in Alabama will no longer allow students to use cellphones in its high school and middle school classrooms.

Local news outlets quote Decatur City Schools Superintendent Michael Douglas as saying cellphones will not be allowed in those classrooms when school starts next week.

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Douglas says the move comes as the system begins to provide high school students with Chromebooks.

He says the ban is to “protect the classroom” and ensure the Chromebooks are used for instructional purposes.

Students will be allowed to use their cellphones during lunch and in hallways.

The system’s teachers used to be able to set their own policies for cellphones in class.

The state Department of Education allows students to carry cellphones, but gives individual school systems the ability to limit cellphone use.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Founder of Alabama ministry for sex trafficking victims arrested in drug raid

(Tarrant PD)

The founder of an Alabama Christian ministry shelter that fights sex trafficking has been arrested in a drug raid.

AL.com reports 47-year-old Tajuan McCarty was arrested Wednesday on charges including trafficking cocaine.

Tarrant police say the raid uncovered guns, stolen property and drugs including cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

The WellHouse founder often shares her story of drug addiction and being trafficked across North America.

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She signed a deal last year for a movie about her life and worked as a field trainer at Truckers Against Trafficking.

The WellHouse Executive Director Carolyn Potter says McCarty hasn’t been involved with the nonprofit for about four years.

Thirty-seven-year-old Octavius Owens and 21-year-old Jordan Owens were arrested in the raid and charged with possessing a controlled substance.

It’s unclear if the three have lawyers.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Davidson football coach suspended after locker room assault

(Davidson High School)

An Alabama school system has placed a prep football coach on leave after players were videotaped beating a teammate in a locker room.

Mobile County schools spokeswoman Rena Phillips tells news outlets the action against Davidson High School coach Fred Riley is effective immediately.

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Nine players have been suspended and a $12 million lawsuit was filed after video showed a then-freshman quarterback being beaten in April in what his parents say was a hazing attack.

The young player suffered a broken arm, and police say they were called about an assault complaint.

The school spokeswoman would not comment on the action against the coach, and Riley has not commented on being placed on leave.

But he told reporters last month he planned to keep coaching.

The team began fall practice Monday.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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