Monday, August 31, 2009
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said its Narcotics Unit was called to Dotson Drive in the Shannon area Thursday night after a patrol sergeant discovered the marijuana during an investigation into the death of Robert Dave Hollis, 57.
Deputies discovered approximately 80 marijuana plants, an outdoor shelter used for growing the plants, lights, scales and numerous weapons. The plants had a street value of $200,000.
Deputies said their investigation is ongoing to determine if anyone was assisting in the illegal marijuana grow operation.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said Teon Cotez Garrett, 23, was arrested and charged with burglary, theft of property, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.
Deputies said just before 1 p.m. Monday, a deputy on routine patrol on Old Tuscaloosa Highway and Lowtown Road in McCalla noticed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. Two people then flagged the deputy down, telling him the driver had just burglarized a nearby residence on Sanders Lake Road.
The deputy then pursued the driver in a chase that went north on Interstate 59, ending near 18th Street in Bessemer. The driver stopped, jumped out of the vehicle and rany into nearby woods off of the interstate.
Deputies chased the man and found him hiding under a vacant house. Deputies said he resisted arrest and was tasered and brought under control.
A 52" flat screen TV was recovered from the suspect's vehicle, later identified by the homeowner that was burglarized.
Garrett had three outstanding warrants, including 2nd degree rape. He was booked into the Jefferson County jail on $40,000 bond.
Mccarty is accused of killing UAB student Kayla Fanaei in October 2007. Fanaei was shot in the back of the head while sitting in her car in the parking lot of Glen Iris Elementary School, just off UAB's campus.
Judge Teresa Pulliam was expected Monday afternoon to issue an Allen charge, encouraging jurors to continue deliberating until a verdict was reached.
The charge asks jurors to continue deliberatiing in an effort to reach an agreement reminding them it is their duty to reach a verdict if they can. Maurice McCarty is charged with shooting and killing Fanaei two years ago near UAB campus.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said Richard Neil Webb, 39, of Adamsville was arrested after admitting to cooking meth at his home on Higgins Road.
Deputies from the Narcotics Unit went to the residence this weekend after receiving several complaints of someone possibly cooking meth at the location. The found an active cook commonly called a "1 pot" method, plus other evidence of prior methamphetamine manufacturing.
Webb was arrested for Unlawful Manufacturing of Methamphetamine. He remained in the Jefferson County Jail on $15,000 bond.
The Humane Society says the dogs should be fine once adopted.
Organizers say they also need help caring for all of the dogs.
The GBHS urges people to report suspected puppy mills to shut them down.
Authorities say Charles Wulff escaped from a job site Sunday in Decatur. He was last wearing blue jeans, no shirt and a red cap.
Call your local authorities if you think you have seen Charles Wulff.
Monday, Germany's son forwarded to FOX6 News a letter Germany wrote to FOX6 News from a federal prison camp in Montgomery. Germany is scheduled to be released from prison Tuesday after serving more than two years in prison.
In the letter, Germany apologized for what he called errors in judgement and looked ahead to the future.
"I now understand that there were times that better judgment was needed, and for these mistakes I have paid a significant price," Germany said. "I will fully repay all monetary damages related to my case and I am committed to work on rebuilding and strengthening those communities were I lived and worked in for so many years."
Germany, 61, was convicted in June 2006 of using government agencies to get thousands of taxpayer dollars in taxpayer money for personal gain. Germany will serve the remainder of his prison sentence in a halfway house and must also pay a fine of $126,860.
Click here to download and read the entire letter.
Birmingham police had asked for help Monday morning find Synthia McDonald, 11, of Carroll Drive in Birmingham. She was last seen by her mother Friday at 6 p.m., but was later found unharmed.
Napoleon Bracy was touring Glendale Elementary School with two others. It was closed a year ago and thieves had begun to steal from the building. While they were there, a suspected thief saw them and ran at them.
Bracy happened to be carrying a gun on him and pulled it on the alleged attacker.
Bracy tied up Phillip Johnson and held him until police arrived. He faces Third Degree Burglary charges.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has signed a three-year contract extension. He will stay with the Tide through the 2017 season. Athletic director Mal Moore made the announcement Saturday afternoon.
The contract extension must be approved by the school's Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees. They are expected to meet soon.
"Terry and I are pleased and happy that the University of Alabama has offered us an extension to our original contract," said head coach Nick Saban. "Our acceptance of the extension expresses our commitment to the University of Alabama for the rest of our coaching career."
Coach Saban, entering his third season with Alabama, originally signed an eight year contract that would have kept him through the 2014 season. He has a 19-8 record in two season, including a 12-2 record last season to go with an SEC Western Conference title.
Details of the contract will be released after the Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees meets.
Howard, 48, complained of chest pains during half-time of his team's game against Etowah High in Attalla. He was taken to Riverview Medical in Gadsden, where he died.
"He was loved by his players and the whole community," said Rick Karle, FOX6 sports director. "In a small town, when a head coach passes away like that, it's a shock."
The game resumed in the second half as Howard was being transported to the hospital, and his team went on to win by a score of 26-7.
Meanwhile, there was another high school football tragedy in south Alabama Friday night. A long-time game official had a health emergency and died while calling the Dothan-Eufaula game.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The suspect showed a handgun and demanded money.
He is described as a black male, 6'2", wearing dark jeans, a dark jacket and he had a backpack. He was also wearing a ski mask at the time of the robbery.
Forty-seven soldiers were returning to Aliceville from a drill camp in Mississippi on July 12th when a tire blew off a 30-passenger bus that was in front of them.
The bus was carrying members of the First Baptist Church of Shreveport when it rolled over three times.
Soldiers had to lift the bus to rescue the passengers. They also directed traffic and helped the injured until emergency personnel arrived.
Riley will be handing these soldiers Alabama Commendation medals.
Directors need members of all branches of the military for a scene being shot this Saturday.
If you are interested, you can call Janelle Cochrane at 205-870-4996. Just press 1 for casting.
The tax credit for first time buyers requires you to close on your new home before December first, and it usually takes up to 60 days from the time your offer is accepted to the time you close. So, "You're going to have to get off the fence in the next 20-30 days to make this happen," said Coldwell Banker realtor Jeffrey Klinner.
"Buyers know about it," said LAH Realty Vice President Coke Williams. "First time buyers wanna take advantage of it. Realtors have educated themselves about it, or at least provided links to their clients."
Both realtors say the first-time credit has pushed some buyers off the fence and into the market and that has helped stabilize prices. Birmingham home prices jumped 3% in July and Williams says the market is coming back, though it will be slow.
"I think it will remain a buyer's market through the spring of next year," Williams said. "But I do see it remaining steady."
“At this point if a seller wants to sell a house, they can sell a house," Klinner said. "If you price it right, condition it properly, it will sell right away."
It happened Wednesday in the Fleetwood community in Tuscaloosa County.
Capt. Loyd Baker with the metro homicide unit says the boy found the loaded gun inside a relative's purse.
No charges have been filed.
An 80-year-old woman died Thursday night after her mobile home caught fire on Hannah Creek Road.
The woman's husband was treated for smoke inhalation and burns to his hands and face.
Fire investigators do not think the fire was suspicious.
Jesse Scheuing was out of his cell for the standard one-hour-a-day when he stabbed inmate Donald Frye with a ballpoint pen. He made multiple stabs before guards were able to stop him.
Frye was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.
Scheuing is charged with killing Sean Cook at a convenience store in oxford last november.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Taxpayers were greeted Thursday with long lines at the downtown courthouse because the end of the month was near and not enough workers are available. Collins said the county can not recall any employee until they are sure there will be enough tax dollars to pay them.
"It's all in the court's hands," said Collins. "We can't hold out false hope for them. They are in a terrible position."
This week the Alabama Supreme Court ruled the county's old job tax was illegal. DeKalb County Judge David Rains still has an injunction against the county preventing commissioners from spending any money collected under the old tax, which is being held in an escrow account.
"Our hands are tied," said Commissioner Sheila Smoot. "Our feet are bound. We are strapped. At the end of the day the courts are controlling government."
Alabama lawmakers said the new job tax they passed earlier this month allows the county to use the money in the escrow account and to spend the old job tax until January when the new lower tax goes into effect. But, Jefferson County commissioners said Thursday they want Judge Rains to tell them if that's allowed or not.
"The attorneys have told us, if we violate the judge's order that is still over us, we could be held in contempt of court." said Collins.
"This is a legal playground for lawyers to come and try to do some other things," said Commissioner Jim Carns. "The new law, the new bill, I think sooner or later is going to be challenged."
The county said it plans to file papers by Friday with Judge Rains asking for rulings on the effect of the new occupational tax law.
Commissioners also Thursday encourage county residents to use the county's website to renew vehicle tags.
"You don't have to go to the courthouse any more," said Smoot. "I think we need to understand some people don't have access. Go to the local library. Heck, get your children's computer."
The commissioner said the county should have posted signs at the courthouse saying renewals can be done online.
The county's revamped website can be found at: http://jeffconline.jccal.org/
20-year-old Kayla Fanaei was shot and killed in the early morning hours of October 8, 2007. 22-year-old Maurice McCarty is in the 2nd day of testimony in his trial for her murder.
On Thursday, a friend of Fanaei took the stand and testified that he was on the phone with Fanaei when she said that men were approaching her car. The friend says that moments later, Fanaei said that the men had returned. After that, the friend says he heard a loud bang followed by silence.
Also testifying was a friend of McCarthy who says he was there when the murder happened. This friend has already plead guilty to a lesser charge and says he saw McCarthy pull the trigger. McCarty's defense says he is being framed by co-defendant Gregory Hill.
The defense took some time on Thursday to question the accuracy of the notes of the lead detective in the case, casting doubt on their accuracy. The detective says the case was two years ago and that is why he does not remember everything.
The defense still has their case to present.
The jury could start deliberating on the verdict by Friday.
The university is launching a zipcars program on campus today.
It allows anyone to rent energy efficient vehicles for several hours or for a full day.
They also get special reserved spaces on campus.
University officials say it one way they are trying to cut down on the parking problems in campus.
Up to 500 graduates of community colleges or technical colleges can participate.
That number may double soon.
A million dollars from the state education fund is paying for the program.
Andrews revealed information about the crash on his Twitter account Wednesday night, saying a Suburban hit his rental car last week during a visit to Los Angeles.
Andrews said the vehicle, going 50 mph, crossed into his lane and hit the car he was riding in. He said there were no brake tracks from the SUV.
Andrews said rescue workers had to use the "jaw of life" to remove him and his publicist, Robert Smith, from the rental car. Andrews was taken to the hospital for treatment to injuries to his ribs, right arm, shoulders, hips and "where my head hit his (Smith's) face and jaw."
Andrews said he was now back at home in Orange Beach, Ala., recovering. He said the pain was almost gone, was feeling better, and hoped to be writing again soon.
Andrews grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Berry High School in 1977. Andrews began his career as a comedian before touring the country as an inspirational corporate speaker. Earlier this year his book on success, The Traveler's Gift, was released.
Andy Andrews online:
Holder is scheduled to attend the swearing in of U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. Vance was one of President Obama’s first U.S. Attorney appointments to be confirmed by the Senate this month.
Holder has extended ties to Alabama. His wife is the sister of Vivian Malone, the first black graduate of the University of Alabama.
Shelby County school officials say they've gotten 40 confirmed cases of the flu at the school. The remaining cases were due to an assortment of other illnesses. "We're trying to figure out where the common thread is and why it is so rampant at this school because it's not this bad at other schools district wide," said Shelby County School spokesperson Cindy Warner. She said teachers and staff members had been reinforcing hand washing and hand sanitizing efforts. Tuesday night, the school fogged the building, hoping to keep the germs at bay.
Some parents have wondered if the school will eventually shut it's doors. But Warner says they are following the CDC's recommendations to keep the doors open. "I can't say that it wouldn't be that as we continue to monitor it, and it got really, really, really bad that we'd wouldn't consider it," Warner said. “But at this point we're not considering it."
Thursday’s meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood.
This is the first meeting held in the Birmingham area.
The Board of Education was to consider approving the salary freeze plan at Wednesday’s meeting but Superintendent Barbara Allen pulled it from the agenda at the last minute.
The board's president says she's not sure if such a move is even legal, and wants to wait until the budget actually starts in October before making any drastic moves.
The school system's CFO says proration could cut 9 to 15 million dollars from the system's budget, and personnel costs take up 80 to 85 percent of the system's expenses.
The teachers union says a pay freeze would violate their contract and they are vowing to fight.
The new budget year does not even begin until October and it could be a while before we know if Governor Riley is going to declare proration and if so, how much. But ideas about what to cut and by how much may come up as early as next week when the board begins to draw up next year's plan.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The commission on Wednesday debated how it would refund the money, use the new occupational tax, and get 1,000 county employees on administrative leave without pay back on the job.
The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a judge's ruling in January declaring the occupational tax illegal. The county, which continued to collect the tax and put it in an escrow account while the ruling was appealed, must now pay millions of dollars back in refunds and legal fees.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said the county cannot use the escrow account to put county employees back on the job.
"I think we are in state of limbo because we have to have money to bring our employees back to work," said Collins.
Jim McFerrin, one of the two attorneys who challenged the job tax, said the best option for the county is to use the new occupational job tax passed by the legislature earlier this month to pay for the refunds and legal fees.
"I think the smart thing for the county would be to pass an ordinance for the new tax," said McFerrin. "I would have to done that yesterday if I was them."
Jefferson County Commissioners would rather use new tax dollars to put workers back on the job, not pay for job tax refunds.
"They think we are a cash cow," said Commissioner Sheila Smoot. "We got people laid off. We got people struggling. We got services depleted and all they want to talk about is money, money, money. How greedy can you get."
Workers on administrative leave were happy to hear that.
"We are ready to go back to work," said Lisa Pack. "Every day is harder on the employees."
Meanwhile, some taxpayers liked the idea of getting a check.
"Everybody could use a buck or two," said Dan Hennessy. "I really think if that's where the money came from, it should go back to them."
Other taxpayers said the money should be used to end the county's financial crisis.
"Obviously we have financial problems," said Walter Mitchell. "We find the money sitting somewhere."
Authorities told FOX6 News the shooting happened at a home in the Fleetwood community. Investigators said the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
The two-year-old toddler was transported to the hospital. The child's condition was not yet known.
Some commissioners wanted a discussion Wednesday about taking out a bank loan to cover the cost of bringing back the 1,000 workers on leave, but that did not happen.
"Would you be willing to talk about a loan when you have been have been wiped out?" said Commission Bettye Fine Collins. "Our questions are the same as yesterday, how do you repay a loan?"
Tuesday, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with a lower court's decision declaring the county's old occupational tax illegal. Collins said Wednesday the county's attorney was still studying the impact of that decision.
"It couldn't have happened at a worst time," Collins said. "We have to have a budget in place by October 1. We don't know what to do. We will have to wait and see what the attorney's advise."
Other commissioners were more optimistic.
"Where there is a will there is way," said Commissioner Bobby Humphryes. "There is a lot of will to get these people back to work."
Lisa Pack, a county worker on administrative leave without pay, came to the Wednesday meeting hoping to hear some good news.
"I'm very disappointed they did not have any discussion about it all all," Pack said. "I think all of the employees are going to be discouraged too. We are ready to get back to work."
Prosecutors have recommended in the plea agreement that Blount serve 10 years in prison, serve three years probation, and forfeit $1 million to the U.S. government.
Blount, Langford and LaPierre were all charged in December on 101 counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. LaPierre plead guilty to charges against him in July.
Federal prosecutors alleged Blount sent Langford money and gifts in exchange for county work when Langford was on the Jefferson County Commission. In the plea agreement, prosecutors said Langford used his power and authority to include Blount and Blount's company in financial transactions where Blount's company received $2.6 million.
Prosecutors said Blount also provided expensive gifts to then Jefferson County Commissioner Mary Buckelew.
Langford's trial is scheduled to begin August 31.
The tone at the Jefferson County Courthouse has been reported as ‘frustrated’. Workers, commissioners, and citizens all share in this frustration.
The Commission was hoping to find a way to acquire a bridge loan to get workers back, but found that the answers would not arrive in time for Wednesday’s meeting. A key attorney for the Commission was not able to make it to the courthouse for the meeting. This attorney also was instrumental in determining the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
As for paying back the collected occupational taxes, the County Commission says that is not a priority. They say the priority is getting workers back to their jobs and services up and running.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins added that due to the uncertainty of the situation, she does not think workers will return to their jobs soon. Commissioner Shelia Smoot offered that workers might not even return until January.
It happened Tuesday morning at Discount Meat and Fish on Bessemer Road.
Three men came into the store armed with guns. They demanded money and then shot the store owner. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening
Witnesses told jurors Tuesday that Maurice McCarty admitted to the 2007 killing of 20-year-old Kayla Fanaei.
Fanaei was shot to death in her car, near UAB campus. It happened across the street from UAB in Glen Iris Elementary School’s parking lot.
McCarty and three other people are charged with killing her.
Dr. Rich Whitley, the Director of UAB’s Pediatric Infectious Disease Center, says that you should not worry too much about the Swine Flu infecting your children.
Whitley says that cases have been mild in Alabama and only special cases that are sensitive to H1N1 should avoid school. He adds, ”If your kids are healthy, send them to school.”
Fears of the Swine Flu hit new highs in Alabama when it was reported that 289 students were absent at Oak Mountain Middle School on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the school says that some of the absences were flu-related, but many others were due to other factors like Strep Throat and other illnesses.
The release says that “Norris believes Judge Moore is the strongest, best qualified candidate in the race for Alabama’s gubernatorial leader, the person who can best lead the state forward in the difficult times ahead.”
It goes on to compare Moore’s and Norris’ conservative beliefs and martial arts prowess.
Here is the press release:
Montgomery, Alabama – August 26, 2009 – Chuck Norris, internationally known martial arts expert, actor, and media personality has endorsed Judge Roy Moore for Governor of Alabama. Norris believes Judge Moore is the strongest, best qualified candidate in the race for Alabama’s gubernatorial leader, the person who can best lead the state forward in the difficult times ahead.
Judge Moore and Chuck Norris have much in common in addition to their strong conservative beliefs, including their martial arts skills and their service in our nation’s armed forces. Mr. Norris has won numerous martial arts tournaments around the world. As described in Judge Moore’s book, So Help Me God. Jude Moore fought professionally as a kick-boxer in both the U.S. and Australia, and is known for his strong leadership as a judge and as an Army company commander in Vietnam.
Judge Moore’s campaign is based on his defense of our individual rights, his plan for creating new jobs through the proven economic principles of Supply Side economics (“Reaganomics”) which brought our nation and state out of a severe recession in the 1980’s—by cutting taxes and reducing the size of government. He also has a strong plan to eliminate waste and corruption in state government. Judge Moore is well known for keeping his promises.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
With all but the provisional ballots counted in all precincts, Bobby Howard, Bob Lundell and William Tinker easily defeated their challengers to win re-election.
Complete election results can be found on www.myvotealabama.com.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Voters sent several incumbents on the Birmingham City Council either out of office or into a runoff Tuesday.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, most ballots had been counted.
In District 1, incumbent Joel Montgomery lost to LaShunda Scales. Scales got 1,724 votes, slightly more than 50 percent and barely enough to avoid a runoff. Christopher Cummings came in second place with 29 percent of the vote, and Montgomery came in third with 11 percent.
In District 2, incumbent Carol Duncan and Kim Rafferty were sent into a runoff. Duncan had 27 percent of the vote, while Rafferty had 28 percent.
In District 3, incumbent Valerie Abbott won re-election with 60 percent of the vote. Howard Bayless got 38 percent.
In District 4, incumbent Maxine Parker defeated challengers with 69 percent of the vote.
In District 5, incumbent Johnathan Austin was put into a runoff against Elias Hendricks. Austin had 28 percent of the vote while Hendricks had 35 percent.
In District 6, Council President Carole Smitherman was put into a runoff against Sheila Tyson. Smitherman had 43 percent and Tyson had 39 percent.
In District 7, James Roberson, Jr., led with 45 percent of the vote, followed by Ernestine Williams with 27 percent.
In District 8, incumbent Steven Hoyt defeated Gerri Robinson. Hoyt had had 55 percent of the vote and Robinson had 45 percent.
In District 9, incumbent Roderick Royal was put into a runoff against Leroy Bandy. Royal had 39 percent of the vote and Barnes had 18 percent.
Runoffs will be held October 6.
For complete election results from Tuesday's Birmingham and Tuscaloosa City Council and Board of Education elections, visit www.MyVoteAlabama.com.
"I think we are in a worse situation than we have been," Collins told FOX6 News.
The Alabama Supreme Court Tuesday agreed with a lower court's decision which ruled the county's occupational tax was illegal. The state supreme court said DeKalb County Judge David Rains was correct when he ruled the legislature struck down the tax and never legally replaced it.
"We do know, the Supreme Court has basically said everyone is going to get a stimulus check next year," said Jim McFerrin, one of the two attorneys who challenged the tax. "So expect a check."
Earlier this year, the county put 1,000 employees on administrative leave without pay and closed its satellite courthouses in an effort to cut expenses lost from the occupational tax revenue. The cuts led to long lines at the main courthouses. Tuesday, commissioners said they wanted those workers back on the job.
"These people ought to come back to work today, said Commissioner Shelia Smoot. "Start bringing them back ten at a time."
"I want to see people back to work as soon as possible," said Commissioner Bobby Humphreys.
Commissioner William Bell said he wanted county attorneys to look into the possibility of getting a bridge loan which could help get workers back on the job sooner.
"We could get at least five to 10 million dollars so we can bring back individuals who can help the county to generate revenue and protect the county," said Commissioner William Bell.
But, Collins said the Alabama Supreme Court ruling would make it more difficult to generate tax dollars to bring employees back.
Sam Hill, the other attorney who filed the lawsuit over the tax, disagreed. Hill said the new job tax law passed by the legislature earlier this month will allow the county to collect the old job tax until January.
"The ruling does not affect the occupational tax that was passed on August 14th," said Hill. "It can go forward."
According to WSFA-TV in Montgomery, the city issued a curfew Tuesday for everyone to be off the streets from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. until further notice.
The curfew was put into place one day after more than 150 people gathered at Marion City Hall to continue a fight started on Sunday between two families. The original dispute started on Sunday, then spilled over to Marion High School and Marion City Hall on Monday. As arrests were made and suspects were being processed outside city hall, at least 150 people gathered outside the facility, and the fighting continued. Two people were injured in the fighting.
Five people were arrested Monday, charged with assault.
Alabama Supreme Court rules occupational tax illegal
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Supreme Court rules Jefferson County's occupational tax illegal.
In a unanimous ruling with three abstentions, the state's high court agreed that the Alabama Legislature in 1999 repealed the tax, and never legally replaced it. Last week, Jefferson County attorneys argued before the Supreme Court that there were legal questions that the tax was actually repealed. Tuesday's ruling strikes down that argument.
The loss of the occupational tax money has forced Jefferson County to put 1/3 of its workforce on administrative leave without pay, and the closure of four satellite courthouses.
The decision could now force the county commission at hand to enact a new occupational tax that the Alabama Legislature recently approved.
Dekalb County Circuit Judge David Rains ruled that taxpayers may be eligible for refunds dating back to early 2009, when he ruled the tax was invalid.
Click here to read the ruling.
Commissioner William Bell spoke at Tuesday's commission meeting asking that the county seek a bridge loan that would allow them to bring back workers who had been placed on unpaid leave.
Commissioner Smoot also spoke up criticizing the county workers. Smoot said that the attorney's hadn't done enough when it came to working on a way to get people back to work.
Commission president Bettye Fine Collins said nothing can be done until the county is given permission to touch about 17 million dollars that is currently in escrow.
The new occupational tax that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor does not go into effect until January first.
Commissioner William Bell also said it doesn't appear as if the workers on unpaid leave will be able to come back to work on September 14th as once promised.
Two-hundred eighty-eight students have been reported as absent from Oak Mountain Middle School on Tuesday.
Authorities are saying that many of the absences are related to flu-like symptoms.
Mayor Langford says the first part of the plan should include 3-5 new stores, the first being located on 6th Avenue in Councilor Carole Smitherman's district.
Look for more information on the later on this website and FOX6 News at 5:00 p.m..
A new state law means most city voters will vote at the same location that they did in last November's presidential election, instead of the location they used for the last city elections in 2007.
The general rule of thumb to remember Tuesday is vote for the city council or board of education at the same place you voted for president. But there are several exceptions to that rule.
Because of new state law passed last year, Birmingham voters are supposed to now vote for municipal elections at the same precinct locations they use for state and county races, a change from the past. Four of the polling places used in November's presidential election are not available anymore, leading to some confusion in those precincts.
Here's a list of the 4 areas affected:
Polling Locations Changed
Old Location New Location
New Era Baptist South Elyton Baptist
Fire Station 22 Highland Golf Course
Oporto Armory New Rising Star Baptist
Our Lady of Lourdes Parkway Christian Academy
Also, if you are a city voter but voted for county or state races at a polling place outside the city limits, you'll have a new place to go tomorrow. City officials mailed out cards with the new locations to every voter and are urging you to do your homework before you head to the polls Tuesday.
"I would trust the address that was on the card mailed to the voter, or I would call the Board of Registrar's office because all of our voters will be remaining within the city of Birmingham," said City Clerk Paula Smith.
The Board of Registrar's # is (205) 325-5550 or you can go to our website http://www.myvotealabama.com to check your precinct location.
Paramedics were called to the child’s home in the 1500 block of 4th Street Northwest around 9:00 Saturday morning. Officials say at that time, little Camarah Fisher was having trouble breathing. She also reportedly had swelling about her head and scratches and bruises on her neck. Paramedics rushed the child to St. Vincent’s East Hospital and later, Children’s Hospital. She was eventually put on a respirator and died later Saturday night.
Sheriff spokesperson Lt. Randy Christian it was shocking when the medical examiner’s report revealed the child had multiple fractures to her skull. “Let's be frank. One skull fracture is alarming,” Christian said. “So if there are multiple fractures that is pretty horrific and it’s why we don't believe this was an accident.”
At this point, investigators say they are going over the last 24 hours of the baby’s life, trying to determine who was in the house, who had access to the baby and who had been alone with her.
Christian says the child lived at the Centerpoint home with her grandparents, her 16-year old mother, her 19-year old father who would live there periodically and the mother’s 7-year old brother.
Officials say they are not ruling anyone out but that they do not have a suspect yet.
Christian says he feels confident they will have an arrest in the case by the end of the week.
More than fifty restaurants and drink vendors participated.
Folks got to sample some of the best food and drinks Birmingham has to offer and at the same time help feed needy people. Poverty plagues many families, which leads to children going without meals.
Money from this year's ticket sales goes to the Magic City Harvest Food Bank and Pathways, a shelter for women and children.
The executive director of Pathways says its funding that's more important this year. "We've more than doubled the number of requests for emergency food help for people who have been out and working and have hit some kind crisis financial crisis and they need help until the end of the month." said Connie Hill.
Hill says the event puts emphasis on a necessity many people may take for granted.
Last year, $12,000 was raised for Pathways.
Monday, August 24, 2009
"Because they are going to cheat anyway, my vote don't make a difference," said Birmingham resident Charity Garner, "They always have cheated, and they will always cheat." Others say it could be an opportunity to get some new faces in city government, and a fresh start.
"I am a registered voter, and I plan to vote," said Birmingham resident Benita McKinney, "It is important to help Birmingham."
Political Analyst and UAB Communication Professor Dr. Larry Powell said he is predicting a low turnout because of a mix of apathy and confusion. He said it is still an important election for the city. The Jefferson County Registrar's office reports voter turnout on a city election is typically 20% or less.
Maurice McCarty was charged with the murder of Kayla Fanaei. The 20-year-old college student was found shot to death in her car in 2007 across the street from UAB in an elementary school parking lot.
McCarty was one of three people charged in her death.
Town and Country's Ford dealership said Monday the Cash for Clunkers program was a big success.
"It's been great," said Bill Sain, a sales manager. "It's the greatest program in the 43 years I've been in the car business. It's been great."
Sain said their auto sales were up 50 percent in August. The number one vehicle they sold was the Ford Focus. Also hot was the small SUV, the Edge.
The Waldon family of Pleasant Grove brought their old van to the lot Monday looking for a deal and drove off with an Edge.
"They offered a rebate and Ford offered a $3,500 rebate as well," said Gene Waldon. "Thought I would take advantage of that."
The Cash for Clunkers program, which was scheduled to end Monday night, required drivers to provide proof of ownership and insurance for a year. The idea was to spur sales and get inefficient fuel mileage vehicles off the road.
"I think you are going to to find some immediate results," said Sain. "Today, I'd buy 200 new Fords if they could produce them. Inventory is the lowest we've had in eight."
There were a few cars left on the lot Monday afternoon.
Now, Birmingham is teaming up with several organizations in an effort to revitalize this area.
On Saturday, city leaders attended a groundbreaking.
27 affordable homes will be built on a stretch. The homes will cost between 75 to 85-thousand dollars with no down payment, no closing costs and the interest rate will be low. The only catch is you must be able to make your house payment.
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford says this will turn the American dream into a reality.
The city of Birmingham teamed up with several non-profit agencies in order to make the Titusville project happen.
Metromont Corporation says repairs should be complete by Friday.
A routine inspection last month found problems in parts of the parking deck and those areas were cordoned off until repairs could begin.
Officials say other parts of the deck are okay, but some employees have been avoiding the deck.
In May, Gadsden's main library sustained heavy damage after the roof collapsed. A temporary branch was being operated from Gadsden mall.
The main library will re-open next Monday.
A branch at the mall may return one day depending on the economy.
Libby Rich, a regular contributor to Good Day Alabama, says she was out of town when the blaze happened at Plant Odyssey.
The fire destroyed the front end of the store including the desk and all the business equipment.
Rich says she plans to clean up and keep going.
Several animals in the shop at the time of the fire were not hurt.
Vandals damaged the air conditioning and got away with its valuable parts, like copper.
Crews worked all weekend to get two new units installed.
MARION, Ala. (WBRC) - Marion Police Chief Tony Buford tells FOX6 News that an ongoing dispute between two families resulted in multiple fights at Marion High School, and several fights outside Marion City Hall Monday.
The original dispute started on Sunday, and spilled over to the high school Monday. As arrests were made and suspects were being processed outside city hall, at least 150 people gathered outside the facility, and the fighting continued. Chief Buford says rocks, sticks, and bricks were used as weapons. Two people were injured in the fighting.
Five people face assault charges. As many as 10 different departments, including Alabama State Troopers worked the case. The Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and Alabama State Troopers will be in Marion for the next few days just in case things get out of hand again.
Crews arrived on site Monday morning, unloading their gear, the new antenna (pictured) and other parts.
The new antenna will be mounted on top of WBRC's tower, replacing the old Channel 6 analog antenna that was turned off June 12 during the federally-mandated switch to all digital TV broadcasting.
Andy Cook, chief engineer of FOX6 WBRC-TV, said crews will be installing a temporary crane on top of the tower to remove the old analog antenna and install the new one. Cook said the entire process should take about 30 days, weather permitting.
WBRC-TV broadcasts on digital channel 50, which is identified as 6.1 on a digital receiver. The tower, built in 1987, stands 1,042 feet above ground atop Red Mountain.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the county may be weeks away from beginning a return to full strength, speeding up services, and maybe opening satellite courthouses. But before they can begin bringing back laid off employees, county leaders are concerned about the health of the few who remain, including some who came down with flu-like symptoms this week at time where state health officials are seeing H1N1 cases skyrocket.
"The overwhelming virus circulating in Alabama is H1N1, its almost exclusive," said State Health Director Dr. Don Williamson. "Individuals who have fly like virus are likely to have H1N1 swine flu as the cause of their illness, routine testing is not necessary."
State health officials are urging local governments and private employers to start looking at backup plans like working from home as a spike in sick leaves follows these cases.
"We ask businesses to begin to put into plan for a lot more absenteeism on the job, how you're going to cover the basics the continuance of operations plans," said Dr. Michael Fleenor, an officer at the Jefferson County Health Department.
For a county already stretched dangerously thin, there are few options.
"What would we do? Well, we would just make it," Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said. "Right now we're to the point that the state department of revenue came to meet with me yesterday, we don't have enough people in the revenue department to collect the taxes. We're down 20 people."
Even though there are qualified workers ready to step in if county employees call in sick, it's not as simple as making a call to fill the sick leave.
"We can't bring them back because we've placed them on administrative leave without pay," Collins said. "It would take time, we would have to approve their coming back."
A state commission headed by Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom Jr. will meet today to try rewrite the rules.
The amount of money lawmakers have to give to projects in their districts recently increased.
State Treasurer Kay Ivey, who is also on the commission, says there is no transparency and grants account for 15 million dollars in the budget.
Two former lawmakers are facing federal prison sentences for misusing the grants.
About 20 checks, apparently drawn on a UA account at BBVA Compass Bank, have popped up in locations ranging from California to Pennsylvania.
The school is sharing information with federal authorities.
If you have information that can help authorities, contact campus police.
The State Health Department now says the number of confirmed swine flu cases in Alabama is almost 1,300.
A Birmingham elementary school has teamed up with UAB to take pro-active measures to keep the H1N1 virus out of schools.
UAB students cleaned everything from the gym to the classroom at Hemphill Elementary.
So far this year, Hemphill has not had any cases of the swine flu.
The school's principal says she is happy students from UAB took time out of their weekend to clean her school in hopes of protecting her students from swine flu.
The principal says she sent notes to parents to help them do what it takes to stop the flu from spreading.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Womack claimed to be 23-years-old and a graduate of alabama a&m. Research showed he actually dropped out of high school and is only 21.
Womack also mentioned city council candidate Lashunda Scales, and city councilor Carole Smitherman as supporters. Both have denied that claim.
The Municipal Elections for Birmingham take place Tuesday.
Friday, August 21, 2009
The Alabama State Banking Department, in a news release to FOX6 News late Friday, said it took possession of CapitalSouth at 5:00 p.m. Friday as allowed by state law when "a bank's capital is impaired or if any examination of the bank indicates that the bank is operating in an unsafe or unsound condition."
The bank was immediately turned over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which in turn transferred control to IBERIABANK, headquarted in Lafayette, La. IBERIABANK is the second-largest bank holding company headquarted in Louisiana.
The FDIC created a toll-free number and a special page on its website to answer questions from depositors, creditors and others regarding the receivership of CapitalSouth Bank. The website is www.fdic.gov and the toll-free number is 1-877-894-4710.
More than $800,000 was collected from electronic bingo machines confiscated from a Roebuck VFW earlier this week. In Hoover on Friday, Gov. Bob Riley inspected the machines.
"These are nothing but gambling machines," said Riley. "We are going to continue to bring cases with help of all the state's assets, because ultimately what is happening is against the law."
The governor congratulated Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls on his efforts to crack down on electronic gaming machines. Falls said the machines are illegal and he believes addictive.
"They certainly did not want to leave that machine," said Falls. "They urinated in a bottle so they did not have to leave that machine."
Jim Stevens, the Bessemer attorney who represents the VFW post, said the machines were not illegal.
"It can't be a slot machine," said Stevens. "It's impossible to be a slot machine. You say, 'Jim how can you say that?' We
will prove that in a court of law."
Stevens said playing bingo is legal in Alabama and bingo machines are legal. Stevens said he sent Falls a list of 30 bingo
operations in the county.
"If you don't close these places, I'm going to open up again," said Stevens. "Either we all are open or we all be closed. That includes Milton McGregor and Greentrack."
Agricultural Commissioner Ron Sparks also jumped into the gambling debate Friday. He brought his campaign for governor to Birmingham, touting gambling.
"What I'm talking about is putting a casino in Birmingham, Alabama," Sparks said. "Right here where the domed stadium is proposed to be."
Sparks said he wants a statewide vote to legalize casino gambling and a state lottery.
"There may be some who believe the magic is gone from Birmingham," said Sparks. "I don't. I want to make it a destination city like Mississippi."
Sparks opponent for the democratic nomination is Alabama Congressman Artur Davis.
Davis said Friday he was not against a a vote on gambling, but did question Sparks' plan.
"I don't understand why the commissioner comes to north Birmingham, a distressed community, and says here is where you should have a casino," said Davis. "I don't see him on 280 saying you should have a casino. I don't see him next to the Galleria saying here you should have a casino."
Davis said he believes gambling in Alabama should be taxed and regulated, but he does not believe gambling will provide all the money Sparks claims.
"Go to the Mississippi Delta and see how many casinos you see," Davis said. "See how many poor people living next to them. See how is making the money. It's not the folks in the communities."
Auburn Police said they were called to the Lexington Hotel in Auburn at 1:42 a.m. Friday on reports of a fight. That’s where Smith was arrested and taken to the Lee County Detention Center. Smith reportedly bonded out around 2:30 a.m. on $300 bond.
Smith’s arrest came one day after Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw was arrested on third degree domestic violence and harassment charges. Police records said Upshaw was fighting with his girlfriend.
Despite the charges of Smith and Upshaw, sports radio talk show host Paul Finebaum said Friday afternoon he did not feel either incident will hurt the Southeastern Conference.
"I think unless it's a big name player like Alabama had last year with Jimmy Johns, these players are another number for the fans to battle about," Finebaum said from his studio Friday. "And for most fans, it's a blip on the radar screen, considering we're still two weeks before the first game."
FOX6 News talked to Auburn fans who had varying opinions about the situation.
"It makes the school look bad," said fan Mark Williamson. "He should be trying to set an example for others in the country who will want to go there."
But other fans, such as Connie Smith, were more forgiving.
"It's not like I never made a bad choice and my children," Jones said. "So he may learn from this and go on to be a wonderful adult. It may take this to shake him up."
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said Patricia Fountain, 24, died after he car struck an enbankment off Flat Top Road around 10 a.m., flipping the car and ejecting her from the vehicle.
Fountain was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
The 8% rate increase takes effect October first for all TVA customers.
This means an average increase of $5.52 per month.
TVA says it is necessary to offset the cost of paying employee pensions and the cleanup of last year's coal-ash spill in Tennessee.
Police say the woman is in critical condition at UAB Hospital.
Investigators say if there is eventually an arrest, it would be the state's first under a new explosives law.
During a morning news conference, State Health Officer Don Williamson said the number of those infected is growing by the hour.
Out of the last 1000 flu cases they have tested, all but four of them have tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
Williamson said the state will no longer test all flu cases for the swine flu virus and adds that almost all of the people infected with the flu right now are infected with H1N1.
The state is urging students not to go to school if they exhibit fever, muscle aches and cough.
According to Williamson, the state is expected to be getting 600,000 doses of vaccine in October and 300,000 additional doses every two weeks.
Experts revealed this morning that two vaccines will be needed, one in the fall and another in January.
There is a major concern for women who are pregnant, children six months of age to 24 years of age and health care workers. Health care workers are also urged to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Williamson said if someone comes down with flu like symptoms it should be assumed that it is the H1N1 virus.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins met with revenue officials this week. "Out of the 500 million dollars they collect, we provide the most of it. We are trying to work out a way to get people out there collecting taxes.” says Collins.
Today Collins says the county cannot call back workers until they are sure there will be enough tax dollars coming in or if the county can access millions of dollars in an escrow account. So far DeKalb County Judge David Rains has barred the county from getting the money.
County workers on administrative leave say they are struggling without earning an paycheck."The employees are disgusted. The employees are hurting more and more another day without a dollar. These employees are having a hard time paying their bills.” says Lisa Pack, Jefferson County worker.
One of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit which lead to the job tax being struck down says the county can get the money but only if they commit the job tax to replacing the money in the account."If the county wants access to the money, I think the Supreme Court said they can do so. Because, they have plenty of revenue coming in from the new tax to replenish that amount.” says Jim McFerrin.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Traffic was stalled in both directions for at least two hours. Northbound drivers were rerouted onto exit 154, while southbound traffic was rerouted onto exit 166.
The diversion has expired.
The injured person was taken to UAB Hospital. The severity of the injury is unknown, and the deceased victims' identities are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.
The city continues to thrive, allowing folks to spend money where they live.
Mayor David Frings says city officials aggressively work to recruit new businesses and they continue to be interested in Alabaster, specifically restaurants.
Guthrie's just opened on Highway 31, and Jack's will open August 26th on Highway 31 as well.
Sonic's is coming to Alabaster and Panera Bread is opening in the Colonial Promenade South.
Although there's new development, Mayor Frings says there are still challenges.
"I think during this economic period you are not going to see in most areas a lot large retailers and boxes going up for a couple of years", said Mayor Frings. "But I think there is potential to continue to recruit small to medium six businesses."
The mayor says with new businesses comes the much needed additional revenue, and he says it gives people more options.
The attorneys emailed photos of some of the items to FOX6 News Thursday afternoon. They plan to auction the items to cover a portion of the nearly $2.8 billion civil judgement against Scrushy.
Earlier this month, a Jefferson County Circuit judge held Richard Scrushy liable for $2.8 billion in damages to the company he founded. Judge Alwin Horn said Scrushy knew of and participated in fraud at Healthsouth. The ruling said Scrushy must also forgo a $200 million retirement plan he had with the company.
Plaintiff's attorneys said they were not surprised by the verdict because they had compelling evidence that showed he was behind the fraud that lasted seven years. They also say they doubt he has the amount of money he's been ordered to repay. However, they will recoup as much as they can.
Defense attorneys said they were surprised by the decision because they felt plaintiffs did not have enough evidence to link Scrushy to the fraud. They said they would appeal the verdict to the Alabama Supreme Court before the 42-day deadline passed.
Richard Scrushy is currently serving time in a federal prison in Texas on unrelated charges.
The 21-year-old claimed recently that he embellished a majority of his resume to win over voters. On paper, he was 23-years-old, a 2005 graduate of West End High School and earned his bachelor's degree from Alabama A&M this year. Records showed a different story. He is actually 21, dropped out of Wenonah High School as a freshman and an Alabama A&M spokesman says he was never enrolled at the school.
Womack failed in his attempt to become the next mayor of Tarrant last year.
The Mayor originally filed to get the case moved and delayed on Wednesday, saying he is getting negative publicity and has medical problems. Judge Scott Coogler denied the motion to delay the case, but did agree to moving the case to Tuscaloosa. Because of the Tuscaloosa court’s calendar, the case had to be delayed until October 19th.
Langford wanted the upcoming federal and bribery trial moved to federal court in Tuscaloosa citing negative pre-trial publicity by political cartoonist Scott Stantis.
Langford's attorneys also say the mayor's recent surgery on his vocal chords, throat and teeth, make it difficult for him to talk. Attorneys also say they need more time to prepare following the recent guilty pleas of two co-defendants.
A judge in Florida also ordered Marcus Schrenker to repay nearly 900-thousand dollars to the company that financed the plane authorities say he intentionally crashed. Prosecutors say the former money manager tried to escape business and marital difficulties by faking his death.
The incident began over Harpersville, Alabama January 11th.
The unmanned plane eventually crashed in Quincy, Florida, near Tallahassee.
Police say the vice-narcotics unit conducted two operations in the past two months.
23 people were arrested for soliciting prostitutes. One person is charged with loitering for prostitution. Police arrested one person for possession of marijuana. Also, eleven people were arrested on various outstanding warrants.
The request came from Mike Calvert of Operation New Birmingham to spend 35-thousand dollars for a study to lower the interstate in front of the Civic Center.
Members of the board said they did not want to spend the money when b-j-c-c employees have been denied bonuses and raises.
Upshaw was arrested around 9:30 p.m. by University of Alabama police.
A university spokesperson says that, according to a police report, Upshaw was involved in an altercation with his girlfriend. The report shows that Upshaw and the woman were arguing in the parking lot of the student recreation center. The report states that Upshaw grabbed the woman and tried to push her to the ground.
Upshaw is charged with Third Degree Domestic Violence-Harassment and held on a five-hundred dollar bond.
Upshaw's girlfriend was also arrested. 19-year-old Kendall Grzyb is also charged with Third Degree Domestic Violence-Harassment and her bail was also set at five-hundred dollars. The report says that Grzyb tried slapping Upshaw.
Both Upshaw and Grzyb were required to spend 12 hours in jail.
On Wednesday, the BJCC board received an update on efforts to put together a design team to build the dome next to the BJCC."I think it's across the board whether it's a discipline, whether it's a minority firm or woman owned firm. Even restricting it to a Birmingham firm we are finding a lot of viable resources.” says Jack Boyle, of the Kansas City Mo. company, Populous.
The BJCC board is demanding Populous include 50% Birmingham firms and 30% minority firms."So you are pulling numerous people together who have to work together. Se we have to find that mix of people that want to work together. So we are finding that.” says Bruce Beahm of Populous.
Meanwhile the board rejected a request by Mike Calvert of Operation New Birmingham to spend $35-thousand on a study to lower interstate 20-59 to ground level in front of the BJCC. The plan is seen as an effort to make it easier to connect the civic center to downtown Birmingham.""We will continue to pursue the planning and development of the project because we think it's a critical factor of this city and a critical factor of the BJCC as well."says Calvert.
I've got a second job. I've got a second job. A lot of those guys do not have a second job. They depend on this. They have let us down.” says Billy Acton, county workers.
Birmingham Representative John Rogers says that's fair."Hire these people back. We want you to bring them back immediately.” says Rogers.
Rogers along with other Jefferson County lawmakers sent a letter to all county commissioners asking them to bring more than a thousand county workers on leave back to work."
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says that may not be possible just yet."I don't know of any situation we will be in to bring people back until we know we can pay them. That's the key part here do we have the money to pay their salaries.” says Collins.
The new job tax passed on close votes. Rogers says the new job tax is legal and allows the commission to collect the old tax until January first. Rogers says the commission can also to spend millions of dollars in an escrow account.""We sacrificed ourselves so these folks can get them jobs back. Now you are not going to hire them back? That's a travesty."
Commissioner William Bell says the county cannot spend the money until the Alabama Supreme Court rules on the old tax and if the county can spend the escrow funds."We need clarification from the Supreme Court, to whether or not we can go forward with access to 22 to 23 million dollars in the escrow account.” says Bell. Some say it may be a month to six weeks before the court issues a ruling.
Trussville schools reports seven confirmed cases. Homewood school leaders say they have seen three cases. The Jefferson County system says there have been six cases.
Parents say they worry schools may not enforce handwashing procedures.
If there is any good news right now, it is that the symptoms have not been that bad.
School officials say if your child has a fever, he or she should stay at home. Along with handwashing, using disinfectant wipes, and not coughing into the air or on your hands will help slow the spread of swine flu. Instead, use a tissue or your sleeve.
Congressman Mike Rogers attended the meeting, where more than 100 people jammed the Just Desserts coffee shop. Rogers, a Republican, says he is against the proposed public option, but believes the health care system needs some improvement.
While most of the crowd seemed to agree with Rogers, a few expressed support for the public option and asked Rogers why he did not support it.
Rogers says the numbers in Congress favor the Democrats on the issue, but constituents who do not want to see the public option should still remain part of the process.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
There have been four bingo hall robberies this month. Three were in Jefferson County, and the other in Walker County.
The American Legion Bingo Hall on Pinson Valley Parkway was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday night.
Off camera, the owners tell FOX6 they've hired a new security firm that will now have armed security guards.
Charity Bingo on Huffman Road is another facility that was robbed this month.
The owners have now updated its security system. Their doors are locked at all times now, and can only be opened by remote.
Patrons have to push a button on the door to exit.
Lt. Randy Christian with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says criminals are getting word of a new way to score big.
"Many times in places like that, employees are telling their friends, maybe not on purpose, how things operate, how much money is there," said lt. Christian. "They need to take a look at that and caution employees about information they give out."
Christian says we will continue to see more and more charity bingo halls beefing up their security plans.
He says hopefully that will deter these armed robberies.
University officials told FOX6 News Wednesday afternoon several of the cases were among students in sorority houses, but students from all over campus had been diagnosed with the flu.
Doctors with the University Medical Center said if a student tested positive for influenza A, it was likely H1N1.
The Alabama Department of Health said it is no longer testing each case because there are so many.
The mother of Nadia Kersh is working with a North Carolina group to bring awareness to missing persons cases.
Nadia was last seen in November leaving her workplace in Homewood. Her mother, Nancy says leads are coming in all the time, but still no sign of Nadia. In the meantime she is helping others.
On Wednesday, "the Community for United Effort of Missing Persons" will be at Oak Mountain State Park to raise awareness.
Attorney Jim McFerrin claims it is illegal for the county to collect the tax because lawmakers repealed it in 1999 and never legally replaced it. Lawyers for Jefferson County dispute the claim.
It may take up to a month for the Supreme Court to rule in the case. Both sides feel confident the court will rule in their favor.
Commissioner Shelia Smoot hopes the court will realize the current financial crisis and rules early so the county can put more than 1,000 employees back to work and resume all services.
Some Jefferson County workers are already going back to full time status.
Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and Environmental Services employees will go back to full time very soon.
The workers were cut to 32 hours per week, because of the county's financial crunch, but the workers are needed to save the county overtime and meet federal guidelines.
"Someone called and wanted to know If I would either confirm or deny I had cancer," the Mayor said. "But first of all if I did it ain't your damn business....What is wrong with you people? I don't get it. I don't get the stupidity of some of you folks."
Langford fired off at reports after surgery last Friday. The mayor is asking everyone to stop spreading rumors. "If I'm dying it ain't your business so please don't sell popcorn and cheer..but it's a little tacky when you do those things. I have a family, you don't put out those kinds of rumors on people."
Langford says late Tuesday night, he got a call at home alleging he was resigning from his position as mayor. "I came to hear the resignation so would somebody please go get the mayor for me and get him to come in and do whatever this rumor was put out." The mayor adding he felt compelled to address lies and rumors. "The mayor is not coming out to resign because last time I checked, I'm still here."
Jeremy Martinez is charged with possession and chemical endangerment of a child.
Martinez was pulled over just south of Jacksonville.
Deputies say there was a baby next to the two-year old in the back seat. The children were not hurt, and deputies alerted the Department of Human Resources.
The county's drug task force began making arrests Friday and continued through the weekend. It comes after a three-month investigation concentrating on two areas near exit 238 off I-65.
Investigators say most of the suspects arrested are street level drug dealers who were selling marijuana or crack cocaine.
The task force's commander says this problem is growing along with the area's population.
They will also hear an update on a new study that shows the most viable option for the troubled program is for the state to finance it over 18 years.
Buck Consultants did not recommend a specific plan or source of the funding, but it would presumably require the legislature to appropriate more than 52 million dollars in fiscal year 2011.
Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the state capitol.
Five to six cases of H1N1 were reported at the Alpha Delta Gamma sorority house according to the University's student newspaper, the Crimson White.
The university says that at least 21 students are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
An official press release from the University says that UA has a plan in place if H1N1 becomes a more serious disease.
Campus officials are now asking anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to swine flu to call the student health center. The center's number is 205-348-9184.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Hoover Toyota's new car lot is almost empty with onnly thirty-two vehicles are on the lot.
There are normally four to five hundred.
The general manager, Gordon Stewart, says the program accounts for sixty-five percent of the jump in sales at his business.
Another reason the dealership is suspending "Cash for Clunkers" is because of a cash flow problem, the government hasn't paid out the money it's promised.
"We've done 100 deals, we've been paid on 4 so far, and that is an excruciating financial situation to face," said Gordon Stewart.
Stewart says his business has paid out about a half million dollars through "Cash for Clunkers."
Dealerships across the country are facing the same problem. The federal government is working to reimburse car dealerships quicker.
Stewart expects another shipment of one hundred and fifty vehicles in about a week or so, and he says that's when things will get better.
Norfolk Southern hosted an informational meeting at the Bessemer Civic Center where residents could learn more about their proposed multimillion dollar project that would be next to McAdory Elementary School.
Norfolk Southern representatives showed videos of the proposed project, and addressed concerns about noise and pollution. They also featured information on a similar facility in Ostell, Georgia. They maintain it will bring an economic boost to the area.
"Based on fact, the project will be great for Alabama and Jefferson County," said Rudy Husband, "We are going to add 8600 jobs in an area that needs it, and $4 billion in economic development money invested in this area."
Many residents wore T-shirts and surgical masks protesting the noise and pollution.
"It's not good for children," said Celia Griffin, "It's not good to come to an established area and disrupt what is already there. I think that is what the railroad is doing."
"It's not a win win situation," said Terry Finch, "Basically, we're showing unity. We do not want the integrity of our community destroyed, and we want to keep things the way they are."
Norfolk Southern representatives say they hope to get the proper permits necessary and start construction on the train hub in early 2010.
Many in the community have protested the development and the railroad company is trying to explain what this hub will mean for the area.
The discussion starts at 4:00 p.m. at the Bessemer Civic Center.
It happened on April Lane in Anniston's Golden Springs community.
Police detectives returned to the scene Monday afternoon to search the area around the neighborhood for more evidence.
Police say the 60-year-old victim was headed back into her house Sunday night when a lone man wearing a mask and gloves jumped her. They struggled and she even got the gun away from him at one point, only to lose it again and receive a minor gunshot wound on one finger. The assailant got away with the victim's purse and some jewelry.
Police Captain Richard Smith says he believes the only reason there was not a sexual assault in this case was because the woman fought her attacker.
20-month-old Juan Missil-Dine was last seen Saturday. Investigators believe he could be in Birmingham or possibly being taken to Mexico. Police say he may be with 24-year-old Juan Roman Gomez. Montgomery police want him for interference with custody.
Investigators say Gomez may be driving a gold Honda Accord, possibly a 2002 model. It has "bear roofing" decals on the door.
If you have information on Gomez or the missing child, contact the Montgomery Police Department immediately
The plea agreement was filed Tuesday morning in federal court. In the agreement, Blount plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery.
Prosecutors recommended in the agreement Blount serve 10 years in prison, serve three years probation, and forfeit $1 million to the U.S. government.
Blount, Langford, and lobbyist Al LaPierre were all charged in December on 101 counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. LaPierre plead guilty to charges against him last month.
Federal prosecutors alleged Blount sent Langford money and gifts in exchange for county work when Langford was on the Jefferson County Commission. In the plea agreement, prosecutors said Langford used his power and authority to include Blount and Blount's company in financial transactions where Blount's company received $2.6 million.
Prosecutors said Blount also provided expensive gifts to then Jefferson County Commissioner Mary Buckelew.
Langford's trial is scheduled to begin August 31.
According to a story by the Birmingham News, Antwon Womack originally said he was 23-years-old and graduated from West End High School and received a Bachelor’s of Education from Alabama A&M.
The Birmingham News says that Womack dropped out of Wenonah High School as a freshman and is really 21-years-old.
Womack will address these allegations at noon on Tuesday at the City Hall steps.
Developers say CVS Pharmacy and Aldi grocery store have shown interest in opening up shop, as well as a bank. Councilor Steven Hoyt, whose district Fair Park is in, says he wants community input to hear what residents want to open up shop.
Developers have been instructed to figure out a way to include the community and come back in 2 weeks.
A school spokesperson has confirmed that there are two injuries on the bus. The injuries do not appear to be serious.
The district is in the process of contacting parents.
Jones stated in a Good Day Alabama interview that Langford’s court case has gotten increasingly difficult now that former co-defendant Bill Blount will plead Guilty to the bribery charges. Jones explains that Langford’s defense should expect a cooperation agreement with the prosecution to testify against the Mayor. This comes after another co-defendant, Al LaPierre, already plead guilty to charges and has agreed to work with the prosecution.
Not all of it can be bad, though. Jones continued to say that Langford now can get his theories out in the trial and will not be held back by co-defendants. Regardless, he adds that it will still be a tough trial.
If the Alabama Supreme Court agrees with the earlier ruling, McFerrin says Jefferson County taxpayers would be entitled to a refund."The taxpayers would get 30 million dollars. Right now I think 30 million dollars is what taxpayers would like to have in their pocket.” says McFerrin.
On Friday, Alabama lawmakers okayed a job tax and Governor Bob Riley signed into law. There is a clause to make it retroactive. Supporters believe this should stop any refund. McFerrin disagrees.
Birmingham Representative John Rogers has no doubts the new law will survive any new court challenge.""Lawyers litigate, (let) them go. The bill is constitutionally sound.” says Rogers.
McFerrin believes the new bill will face a number of legal challenges. Rogers says a number of lawyers reviewed the final bill before passage. Rogers does not what another court fight to delay ending the long lines at the courthouses and putting more than a thousand county workers back on the job."They are getting paid. Every lawyer telling you this is out to get a dollar. I can tell you right now, don't make a dollar on these working class people." says Rogers.
“That's not designed to do that. That is not good for the citizens of Fairfield."says Calvin Biggers, attorney for Fairfield Mayor Kenneth Coachman.
Mayor Coachman filed a lawsuit after five members of the city council voted to fire to workers in violation of King's order back in July."I do not wish to be in court but this is something that is necessary. That the judge's order be heard."says Coachman.
There was little comment from the council's attorney John Terry. "It would be unfortunate to talk about it. It's unfortunate. It's not a good time to talk."says Terry.
After lunch, a deal was announced. The city council would resend its ordinance , giving them hiring and firing authority at Monday's council meeting. "They have agreed to not to interfere with that. Anything they have done by July first or ninth. They resend tonight. That is a fair resolution.” says Biggers.
Monday, August 17, 2009
In a court document filed Monday, federal Judge Scott Coogler set a change-of-plea hearing for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Tuscaloosa for Blount.
Blount, Langford and former state Democratic Party executive director Al LaPierre were charged in December by federal prosecutors with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and money laundering in connection with a long-running bribery scheme.
All three men originally plead not guilty to the charges, but LaPierre changed his plea on July 30.
Langford's trial is scheduled to begin on August 31.
Around 6:00 on Monday morning, state troopers began to seize one-thousand of the machines of the bingo hall run by VFW Post 842 off East Parkway.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls would not say what made them illegal, but did say that an investigation by the ABI gave them probable cause to check the machines and see if they are legal. “Just because the city passed a bingo ordinance… you still have to comply with all the laws of the state of Alabama”, Falls later added.
So far, there have been no arrests. Falls says arrests could be made at a later time.
Devin Nalls was captured shortly after 3 p.m. Monday during a traffic stop at I-65 and Hwy. 90 near Mobile. Authorities said a second individual was in the vehicle and may face charges.
Nalls was discovered missing during a bed check at J.O. Davis-Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore Sunday night.
Searchers say they found bloody clothing near the security fence.
It is believed Nalls had help and someone picked him up near the prison.
Marine Lance Corporal Bruce Earnest "Bubba" Ferrell, Jr. will be laid to rest in his hometown of Perdido.
The 21-year-old was killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan this month.
Ferrell graduated from Baldwin County High School in 2006 and joined the marines the next year.
He had been in Afghanistan since May.
Construction is expected to begin early next year and to be completed by 2012.
Norfolk Southern officials say the hub will have a four billion dollar impact on industrial development.
Families in McCalla are concerned about it being right behind McAdory Elementary School.
The meeting is at the school 7 p.m.