The Wire

  • Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hospitalized with heart issue, expects to be released following treatment

    Excerpt:

    Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced on Friday that he has been hospitalized with a heart issue but expects to be released following treatment over the weekend.

    “Deb and I appreciate the prayers of healing that so many have made on my behalf, and I am well on the road to recovery,” McCutcheon said in a press release.

    “Tests indicated that I had a blocked blood vessel in my heart, which resulted in the fatigue and shortness of breath that I felt, and the issue will be treated with simple medication,” he explained.

  • Ivey launches year of Alabama’s bicentennial

    Excerpt:

    Governor Kay Ivey launched the year of Alabama’s bicentennial at the Alabama State Capitol on Friday, emphasizing that it will be a full year to celebrate and educate.

    “We have an opportunity in front of us, and just as Alabamians have done for the past 199 years, we will make the most of that opportunity,” Ivey said in a press release.

    The governor continued, “Alabama is defined by its people. It’s that simple. As we near our state’s bicentennial, we recognize that our story of success is told by our people. And that is who we are celebrating: the Alabamians who got us here, all the men and women across our state today and the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights.”

  • Byrne helps spearhead passage of legislation reforming Congress’ sexual harassment policies

    Excerpt:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) helped lead the charge to pass major legislation on Thursday that will update how sexual harassment claims are dealt with on Capitol Hill, including that members of Congress will now be personally responsible for claims against them instead of taxpayers footing the bill.

    The legislation, which passed both the House and Senate on the same day, reforms the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995, which sets up the harassment complaint process for employees on the Hill. For decades under the CAA, the Office of Compliance facilitated taxpayer-funded settlements for workplace allegations against members and their offices in secret. That office will be drastically overhauled under the new legislation.

    Byrne had been working since 2017 to get this process fixed, relying on his past work as a labor-employment attorney. The new bill will make all settlements public record and make members of Congress personally responsible for paying settlements against them, even if they leave Congress.

9 hours ago

Alabama kicking off bicentennial year

(Alabama Bicentennial)

The state of Alabama is getting ready to celebrate its 200th birthday.

Gov. Kay Ivey will join other leaders in Montgomery on Friday at an event kicking off a yearlong countdown to Alabama’s bicentennial on Dec. 14, 2019.

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Bicentennial committees have been formed in each of the state’s 67 counties to plan and coordinate events, and hundreds are planned statewide over the next year.

Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819.

Aside from community events, educators are being offered ideas for including the bicentennial in classroom teaching.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Birmingham breaking ground on 55,000-seat stadium

(Bham City Council)

Work is ramping up on a new outdoor stadium in Birmingham.

A groundbreaking is set for Thursday afternoon for a new, 55,000-seat multi-use stadium that will be located near the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

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Crews already are moving utilities and doing other site preparation work.

But construction on the $174 million structure will not begin until the spring or early summer of 2019.

The stadium will be an upgrade to the city’s 91-year-old Legion Field, serving as a new home for the UAB football team and other events.

The authority that oversees the convention complex also is performing improvements to the nearby Legacy Arena and adding additional meeting and exhibition space.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Judge considers sanctioning Alabama prisons for mental care

(U.S. Courts/YouTube)

A federal judge is considering whether to hold Alabama prisons in contempt of court for failing to provide inmates with adequate mental health care.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is hearing testimony in Montgomery on a request by inmate attorneys to sanction the department.

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On Tuesday, the Montgomery Advertiser reported, testimony showed a contractor hired to provide medical and mental health care for more than 20,000 inmates is not complying with its contract.

The Alabama Department of Corrections only has about three-quarters of the number of mental health workers that it’s supposed to have, testimony showed.

Corrections officials say they do not have enough funding. They have denied providing unconstitutional care.

The judge previously ruled that psychiatric care in Alabama prisons was “horrendously inadequate.”

Thompson ruled the situation created unconstitutional conditions in state prisons.

Elaine Gedman, chief administrative officer and executive vice president for Wexford Health Sources, the contractor hired to provide health care by the state, testified she was unaware if Wexford had been involved in negotiations about paybacks for failing to meet staffing benchmarks in a $360 million contract signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in March.

Maria Morris, a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney representing inmates, has said the state wants to amend or vacate Thompson’s order and has asked for specific ways to count the number of staff members it has in prisons.

The class-action lawsuit filed by the law center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program in 2014 led to a trial over inmates’ claims of inadequate mental health care.

An inmate who was the first witness to testify killed himself in prison days later.

In the 2018 fiscal year, which prison officials use to report its data, seven people were killed and six died by suicide. Nearly 40 inmates attempted suicide.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

I-20/59 in Birmingham to close in January

(ALDOT)

Birmingham’s traffic could get a lot worse beginning next month.

The Alabama Department of Transportation says it will shut down Interstate 20/59 through the state’s largest city beginning in mid- to late January 2019.

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AL.com reports the move comes as crews rebuild the aging highway overpasses through downtown.

Transportation officials will lay out detours for vehicles traveling through town.

But they are asking drivers to avoid the downtown area if at all possible, particularly by using Interstate 459.

The road will close for an estimated 14 months during the construction work. That means the highway could be shut down through March 2020.

A contractor can make an additional $250,000 per day by finishing early, and it has to pay the same about in penalties if the work is late.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

For-profit college closes operations, surprising students

(WKRG/YouTube)

One of the nation’s largest for-profit college chains announced Wednesday that it was abruptly closing in dozens of locations nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Education Corp. of America said it was closing schools operating as Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America in more than 70 locations in 21 states.

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The company said in October that it had more than 20,000 students, although more recent documents indicate the number may be closer to 15,000.

The company, backed by investors including private equity firm Willis Stein & Partners of Chicago, is the latest in a series of for-profit colleges to close after allegations that they were loading students up with debt while not providing them with marketable skills.

In some cases, students told local news outlets Wednesday that operations ceased immediately, while in other cases students said they were told to return for meetings later.

ECA spokeswoman Diane Worthington said that at most locations, Friday would be the last day of classes, and students would get academic credit for this term.

One ECA institution, New England College of Business, is not closing.

The company mostly offers professional certificates in subjects like cosmetology, culinary arts and medical and dental assisting.

In a letter to students, ECA CEO Stuart Reed said the company’s impending loss of accreditation, along with added requirements from the U.S. Department of Education, made the company unable to raise more money to operate the schools while it sought to reorganize.

“It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operation of our schools,” Reed wrote.

In October, the company sued the U.S. Education Department seeking to maintain its federal funding, which was in jeopardy over its dire financial situation.

A judge later dismissed the suit.

Court documents filed by the company said its lagging revenue left it unable to make payments on its debt or rental fees, and that it faced eviction at several campuses.

ECA estimated it owed $66 million at the time. Even before then, ECA was planning to shutter 26 campuses to cut costs.

Another federal judge in Georgia later granted a bankruptcy-like receivership meant to protect the company from creditors.

ECA largely blamed falling enrollment on an upswing in the economy, which left fewer adults heading to school for job skills, and on increased federal regulation of the for-profit college industry.

The sudden closure drew criticism from the U.S. Education Department, which said it had been working with the company to arrange a shut-down that gave students time to transfer.

“Instead of taking the next few months to close in an orderly fashion, ECA took the easy way out and left 19,000 students scrambling to find a way to finish the education program they started,” Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Like the recently shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute chains, Education Corporation of America was overseen by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, one of the watchdog groups the federal government appoints to ensure colleges offer a quality education.

The council, known as ACICS, wrote a Tuesday letter to Reed saying it was suspending accreditation immediately at all the institutions, citing “rapidly deteriorating financial conditions,” a failure to make required payments to the council and a wide variety of academic concerns.

ACICS was shut down by the Obama administration over allegations of lax oversight, but was later reinstated on Nov. 21 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who found it was “substantially in compliance” with federal standards.

Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, urged DeVos to rethink her decision on ACICS after the Wednesday closure.

“We have repeatedly warned about the risks low-quality, for-profit education companies and irresponsible accreditors pose to students and taxpayers across the country,” Scott said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is another painful reminder of those risks.”

In many cases, students and teachers were in class when they got the news Wednesday.

Melissa Zavala, who was studying to be a medical assistant at a San Antonio, Texas, campus of Brightwood, told KSAT-TV students were taken to an auditorium.

“The director was there and she was like, ‘I have bad news. The school is closing down,'” Zavala said. “Everyone was like, ‘What about our student loans? We’re almost done.'”

Zavala said campus officials could not provide additional information and told them to look online for other colleges they could attend.

“They took our money, they shut the school down and that’s it for us,” Zavala said.

Toby Merrill, who directs the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School, said students can ask the U.S. Department of Education to cancel loans if a school closes.

However, that opportunity does not apply if a student transfers credits or if a school hires a successor to offer students classes to complete their programs.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Wilder hoping for a rematch with Fury ‘ASAP’

(Showtime Sports/YouTube)

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder says he wants a rematch with Tyson Fury “ASAP.”

Wilder said in a conference call Tuesday that he’s “ready and willing to give Tyson Fury the opportunity ASAP.”

The two heavyweights fought to a split-decision draw Saturday night in Los Angeles in one of the bigger heavyweight bouts in America in years.

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“I’m ready whenever he’s ready,” Wilder said. “I’m ready whenever he’s ready to do it. I’m ready to give the fans what they want to see and end this talk once and for all.”

Afterward, the British challenger said the two would “100 percent” meet again in the ring.

Wilder said he doesn’t want to fight anybody else before a rematch.

“Everyone is talking about this fight. It’s only right for us to go back in and do it again,” Wilder said. “I don’t want any other fights to happen between him and I (meeting again).”

Wilder (40-0-1) knocked Fury (27-0-1) down twice late in the fight, including once in the final round.

He was outboxed much of the way at Staples Center but was still surprised when Fury rose from that 12th-round knockdown — and that the referee didn’t end the fight.

“I saw his eyes roll slowly in the back of his head,” Wilder said. “Many people felt that should have been waved off. Nine out of 10 refs would have waved that off.”

He indicated the rematch might happen as early as March or April.

Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza said May or June might be more likely, giving the fighters more time to recover.

In the first meeting, Wilder said he let the pressure of being in his first pay-per-view fight affect him.

“I wanted to end it on a great note,” he said. “I wanted to end it on a devastating knockout and I pressed that. I pressed that too much.”

Wilder had lobbied for a fight with Anthony Joshua, who holds the other three championship belts.

He said Joshua and his team are “getting what they deserve” by being sidelined from his two most high-profile potential opponents.

“We had to show the world what it looks like for the best to fight the best, and look at the outcome,” Wilder said. “No one has talked about Joshua in I don’t know how long and we plan on keeping it that way.”

Wilder said he broke his right arm and had surgery about 12 weeks before training camp and threw few right hands during training, which he feels might have affected his accuracy.

Co-trainer Jay Deas said limiting the right in camp was a precautionary measure.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Ohio-based manufacturer to move some operations to west Alabama

(MasterLift Inc./YouTube)

An Ohio-based lift truck manufacturer plans to move part of its operations to west Alabama next year as part of an expansion plan.

AL.com reports Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. announced Tuesday that its Bolzoni line’s North America attachment manufacturing will move from the company’s Homewood, Illinois, facility to its Sulligent, Alabama, facility.

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A company statement says the move to the larger Sulligent facility will start in January.

It says Bolzoni will control the facility’s product manufacturing, and the range of products manufactured at the facility will be expanded.

Employees at that facility will become Bolzoni workers.

It says production will be phased out at the Homewood facility, which employs 70 people.

The statement says the company intends to maintain a Bolzoni distribution center near Homewood.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Alabama prison official retires during investigation

(AL DOC)

A high-ranking Alabama prison official has retired in the midst of a misconduct investigation.

A Department of Corrections spokesman said Monday that Associate Commissioner Grant Culliver has retired after being on leave for several months.

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The department announced in September that Culliver had been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Corrections spokesman Bob Horton said the findings have been sent to the Alabama Ethics Commission for review.

The department did not disclose the nature of the allegations and said it would have no additional comment.

Culliver was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of male correctional facilities.

He has served as warden at Holman Correctional Facility.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

NWS confirms two weekend tornadoes in Alabama

(YHN)

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed that two tornadoes touched down in Alabama last weekend.

The emergency management director for Dothan and Houston County, Chris Judah, says a weak twister hit Dothan early Sunday.

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Judah tells the Dothan Eagle the tornado was either an EF-0 or EF-1.

The storm splintered trees and caused damage to several homes.

Elsewhere in the area, storms twisted awnings at Wicksburg High School and caused minor damage at Houston County High School.

Forecasters say another weak tornado classified as an EF-0 struck near Marion in Perry County on Sunday afternoon.

The storm damaged trees, buildings and vehicles.

No injuries were reported in either tornado.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Lighting ceremony for state Christmas tree this Friday

(Governor Kay Ivey/YouTube)

The official state Christmas tree has arrived at the Alabama Capitol and will soon be aglow in lights.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office says the annual lighting ceremony will be held Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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The public is invited.

The tree sits at the top of the Capitol steps facing Dexter Avenue.

This year’s Christmas tree is a 35-foot-tall (11-meter) Eastern Red Cedar grown in Bullock County.

It was donated by Ray Allen of Fitzpatrick.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Ivey, Marshall dissatisfied with parole board plan

(S. Marshall, K. Ivey/Facebook)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall said they are dissatisfied with the parole board’s improvement plan and are asking the board to make additional changes and provide more information.

Ivey and Marshall intervened earlier this year after prosecutors and victim advocates expressed concerns over who was being released from prison and the number of people being paroled earlier than normal.

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Ivey asked the board to submit a corrective plan and put a 75-day moratorium on early paroles— when an inmate wins release before serving a designated minimum amount of their sentence.

In a 10-page response to the board’s plan, Ivey and Marshall wrote that while the board’s plan has some “positive features” there are “too many unanswered questions” about how the board will make good on its promises.

“We recognize answering many of these questions will be difficult. But the people of this state deserve answers to them. How you respond — both in word and in deed — will undoubtedly determine the next steps we take as a state in this vital area,” they wrote in the Nov. 29 letter.

Ivey and Marshall directed the board to implement more objective criteria in the consideration process for all inmates so that “early parole consideration is available in only the most extraordinary cases and for only the most compelling reasons.”

They said the evidentiary burden should be put on the inmate to show he, or she, is worthy of release.

The push for changes came after prosecutors and victim advocates expressed alarm this year over who was being released from prison and the adequacy of parole supervision once an inmate is released.

A man charged in the July murders of a 7-year-old boy, his great grandmother and another woman in Guntersville had been released from prison in January after being granted parole.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Gingrich to speak at Farmers Federation gathering

(G. Skidmore/Flickr)

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is giving the keynote address at an annual gathering of Alabama farmers.

The Alabama Farmers Federation is holding its 97th annual meeting Sunday and Monday in Montgomery.

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Gingrich will address the group Monday night.

The Alabama Farmers Federation says that over 1,200 farmers and guests have registered for the meeting.

It is one of the state’s largest gatherings of farmers.

The organization on Sunday gave its service to agriculture award to Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan.

Federation President Jimmy Parnell said McMillan set a “new tone for the services that office would provide.”

He also praised McMillan’s opposition to property tax increases.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

SEC championship game thriller draws huge TV rating for CBS

(CBS Sports/YouTube)

The SEC championship thriller between Alabama and Georgia on CBS drew the highest television rating for regular-season college football game in seven years.

CBS announced Sunday the game drew a 10.52 rating, an increase of 25 percent over last year’s SEC title game between Auburn and Georgia and the best rating for any non-bowl game since LSU and Alabama played a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in November 2011. That Game of the Century got an 11.9 rating on CBS.

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The network said Alabama’s 35-28 victory Saturday was the second-best rating for an SEC championship since the event started in 1992, trailing only Florida-Alabama in 2009 at 11.8.

The previous highest-rated game this season was Ohio State-Michigan last week on Fox, which drew a 7.5 rating.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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2 weeks ago

FBI to bring nearly 1,400 jobs to Redstone Arsenal

(FBI/Facebook)

The FBI will bring hundreds of jobs to an Army base in Alabama as part of an expansion including the agency’s first large-scale operations support building.

News outlets report the FBI announced the expansion Thursday at Redstone Arsenal just outside Huntsville.

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Robert Hamilton, FBI senior executive for Redstone, says it will move nearly 1,400 personnel and contractors from the Washington, D.C., region.

The FBI has roughly 300 employees working on its two campuses at Redstone.

Hamilton announced the plans during a presentation to business and community leaders at an annual update.

He said the building is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2021.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says it is anticipated that the FBI expansion at the arsenal will ultimately reach between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Alabama attorney, son indicted in investment fraud scheme

(D. Watkins/Facebook)

An Alabama attorney and his son are accused of defrauding investors and a bank out of millions of dollars.

An indictment was handed down Thursday against Donald V. Watkins Sr., 70, of Atlanta, and Donald V. Watkins Jr., 46, of Birmingham, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Jay Town.

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Each faces multiple counts of wire and bank fraud and one count of conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that from 2007 until 2014, the pair induced investors to pay millions into an account that was supposed to grow two companies they were associated with.

According to the indictment, the money was used for other costs, including alimony and clothing.

Watkins and his son are also charged with conspiring to obtain loans from Alamerica Bank through an allegedly fraudulent scheme involving the use of a third party to take out the loans on their behalf, according to the statement.

“Persons who defraud investors through material misrepresentations, omissions, and lies must be held accountable,” said lead prosecutor, Lloyd Peeples in a press statement. “As set forth in today’s indictment, the defendants mislead numerous individual investors and used their investments for unrelated purposes.”

The elder Watkins released a statement saying the charges are bogus and he’s confident he and his son will beat them.

“The allegations in the indictment represent a politically motivated and self-serving narrative to portray my son and me in the most negative light possible. These allegations are aimed at destroying my businesses and chilling my exercise of free speech,” said Watkins who writes news articles for his own website and Facebook page.

“In my case, the charges against me are completely unfounded,” the younger Watkins said in a statement released later Thursday. “Obviously, I was added as a defendant in this case to put pressure on my father. But it will not work because I have never done anything illegal and neither has my father. And we will prove it when the time comes.”

Watkins Sr. noted that his son worked for him during the period covered by the indictment.

“My son is now an innocent hostage in this high-stakes political drama.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Alabama mental health group providing more services two years after merger

(AltaPointe Health/YouTube)

An Alabama mental health provider is marking two years since it merged with a regional mental health provider, and it says the new organization is now able to provide more services.

AltaPointe Health merged with the former Cheaha Regional Mental Health Center in 2016.

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The merger brought four counties — Talladega, Clay, Coosa and Randolph — into the AltaPointe organization.

AltaPointe said in a news release Wednesday that the number of people served in the four-county region has nearly doubled and that school-based therapy programs have been expanded.

AltaPointe CEO Tuerk Schlesinger says immediate plans for the region include new outpatient treatment facilities in Randolph and Clay counties; and a $500,000 capital investment project in Talladega County.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Perry County’s Uniontown getting $23 million to improve sewage system

(NowThis News/YouTube)

A small Alabama town is getting $23 million to upgrade a sewer system that has been overflowing for years.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported the money is coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reconfigure the city’s wastewater treatment system.

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Mayor Jamaal Jones says the wastewater in a lagoon near Robert C. Hatch High School is supposed to be treated and piped to a spray field six miles away where grass can absorb the water.

Jones says the 1970s system was designed for a town of less than 1,000 people.

Uniontown has about 3,000 residents and the lagoon and spray field are lakes of half-treated sewage.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced the grant, saying failure to invest in community water projects has a bad effect on public health and the economy.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Ex-Sumter County sheriff pleads guilty to allowing armed inmate to escape

(Rep. Terri Sewell/Twitter)

A former Alabama sheriff has pleaded guilty to giving an inmate a gun and the keys needed to escape jail.

AL.com reports former Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark also pleaded guilty Monday to promoting prison contraband, including allowing an inmate to run a drug operation.

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Seventeenth Circuit District Attorney Greg Griggers says his office dropped human trafficking and perjury charges against Clark in exchange for the plea.

The state Supreme Court removed Clark from office in 2016.

He was indicted on criminal charges that year.

Clark is set to be sentenced in January.

Griggers says he expects Clark to request probation.

Griggers says his goal wasn’t to send Clark to prison but instead “get rid of what had become a sickness on law enforcement in Sumter County.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Carnival cruise ship to continue docking in Mobile

(City of Mobile Cruise Terminal)

Alabama’s only cruise ship will continue docking at the port of Mobile.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson says the city has extended its contract with Carnival Cruise Line for the company to keep offering trips aboard the Carnival Fantasy from Mobile.

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Stimpson announced the new deal in tweets sent Monday. It means the 855-foot-long ship will continue cruising from Mobile through November 2019.

Mobile was the homeport of another Carnival ship before losing that contract.

Carnival Fantasy began using Mobile as its port in 2016.

The company offers cruises primarily to the Western Caribbean from Mobile.

Stimpson says keeping the ship in Mobile is part of the city’s effort to become a major tourist destination.
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3 weeks ago

Number of unlicensed day cares drops in Alabama

(Wikicommons)

The number of unlicensed day cares is falling in Alabama.

According to numbers from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the number of day cares that claim a licensure exemption dropped from 953 to 838 over the last year, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

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That equals a 12 percent reduction.

Federal regulations from 2014 began requiring facilities that accept federal money to get inspected.

Alabama lawmakers last spring voted to require facilities to get licensed if they receive government funds.

They also voted to put additional reporting requirements on unlicensed centers.

“Some of the providers who were exempt are becoming licensed,” said Jeanetta Green, the director of DHR’s child care services division. “But then we’re also seeing exempt providers who are no longer operating at all.”

Alabama has long exempted day cares that claim a religious exemption from the licensure requirement.

Critics say the broad exemption is open to abuse and leaves children vulnerable.

Some facilities that claim the religious exemption are not affiliated with a standing church.

Lawmakers approved the limited changes after a series of incidents at unlicensed centers.

Besides the licensing requirements for day cares receiving federal or state dollars, the 2018 legislation requires exempt day cares to get annual fire and health inspections.

The centers must provide documentation of those inspections to DHR, along with criminal histories among their employees.

“The purpose wasn’t to make anyone lose money or put anybody out of business,” said bill sponsor Rep. Pebblin Warren.

“The purpose was to increase health and safety for children.”

Warren had originally sought to require all day cares to be licensed, but that proposal received pushback from some church-affiliated groups.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 weeks ago

Impaired driver kills Huntsville woman asleep in her bedroom

(Huntsville PD)

Authorities say a woman asleep in her home has been killed after an impaired driver crashed into her bedroom.

Huntsville police said 53-year-old Anthony Wu was charged with manslaughter after the crash around 11:30 p.m. Saturday killed 48-year-old Joy Vaughn.

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Police told media outlets Wu’s pickup truck ran off the left side of the road, hit a parked car, then crashed into Vaughn’s Huntsville home.

Authorities say Wu appeared to be impaired by either drugs or alcohol.

Police obtained a search warrant for a blood sample.

Wu was taken to the hospital with injuries that weren’t life threatening.

It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 weeks ago

Lawsuit against former Gov. Bentley set for March trial

(Gov. Robert Bentley/Flickr)

A lawsuit filed against former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley by his one-time law enforcement secretary will go to trial in March.

Court records show that Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin set a March 4 trial date for the case.

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Spencer Collier contends Bentley wrongfully fired him and then tried to discredit him with a sham state investigation.

Collier also accused Bentley of interfering in law enforcement business.

Bentley had contended Collier was dismissed “for cause.”

A day after being fired by Bentley, Collier publicly accused the governor of having an inappropriate relationship with an aide before his divorce.

The scandal engulfed Bentley who resigned last year and pleaded to misdemeanor charges rather than face impeachment hearings.

Griffin told the two sides to notify him if they reach a settlement.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 weeks ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

1