Thursday, December 31, 2009
The pastor was driving in the neighborhood this morning and saw flames coming from the church.
Firefighters say the sanctuary and basement were destroyed.
It took firefighters all morning to put the fire out. All church members could do is stand by and watch as the fire destroyed their place of worship. The roof collapsed and the steeple looked as if it was about to collapse.
The pastor tells us about 200 people belong to the church with about 60 people routinely attending service. The Pleasant View Baptist Church was organized in 1943. The church that burned was built in 1971.
One church member says the church is not about a building, it is about faith. "This whole community was like involved at pleasant View Baptist Church so it's a sad day to see it go but like I said before God does not make any mistakes,” says church member Doris Wallace. “We will survive and go on from here."
The pastor is not sure if the church will be rebuilt.
Authorities say Sonny Wheeler and another man were fighting. Wheeler locked himself in a room and fired shots through a door hitting an officer in the head. A second officer fired back. They found Wheeler dead when they went into the room.
The injured officer is out of the hospital. He will need surgery to remove pellets from his head.
Homewood police found a man dead inside his apartment at the Knoll Crest Complex on Robert Jemison Road. They say the victim had been shot to death.
Not long after the shooting, police spotted a car matching the description of a vehicle seen near the crime scene. Officers stopped the vehicle on 24th Avenue and Center Way South in Birmingham.
Police say they arrested three people and hope to release more information later today.
Some of the board's allegations include unexplained financial irregularities, improper bookkeeping and failure to ensure humane conditions and care of animals on TEARS property.
The board also asks that people hold off making any cash donations to TEARS right now, while they are investigating the organization's finances.
The robbery happened at the R&S Fashion Store at 7712 2nd Avenue South.
23-year-old Rashawn Kendall died during the robbery. Police say Kendall was a suspect in the robbery.
22-year-old Winford Saxton and 22-year-old Ricky Jay are both charged with a murder warrant and three first degree robbery warrants a piece. They are both being held in the Jefferson County Jail.
This case remains under investigation
The new fees are set to take effect in January and will be $50 for people who rent homes and up to $150 for people who offer apartment complex units or business space for rent.
Some city councilors are against the idea, saying the city can get more money by collecting owed taxes or using reserve money.
Drunk driving can be a big problem on New Year's Eve. That is why AAA of Alabama is offering its Tow for Life Program. Simply call a number and a tow truck will take you and your vehicle home. It is free up to 10 miles. If you go over that, there will be a fee similar to a taxi cab. The service is for anyone. You do not have to be a AAA member.
AAA does say there are some restrictions. “Your car has to be operational, you have to be with your car and when we load you up we are going to take you home,” says Clay Ingram with AAA. “Can't take you to another party or another establishment of any kind."
The Tow for Life number to call is 1-800-AAA-HELP.
In addition to Tow for Life, many establishments participate in the yellow cab "safe ride home" program.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Roof seems pretty relaxed when it comes to the criticism. “If you listen to those things, good or bad, you’ve got to treat it all the same,” says Roof.
Head Coach Gene Chizik noted similar feelings about fan criticism. “When you’re in this business long enough, you know the nature of the game,” said Chizik. “Everything is going to the coordinator, good or bad. So, you’ve got to take the good with the bad.”
Injuries and a lack of depth caused Auburn to finish dead last in the SEC in scoring defense and 51st in total defense. Still, they feel like the system is not broken. “I think we’ve been doing a great job. I think he(Roof) is a great coach,” said Defensive Lineman Jake Ricks.
Roof will admit that there are situations that he feels Auburn could have done better in, but says “The bottom line is that we’ve moved through some things and we’ll continue to do that.”
Currently, the Auburn football team is healthy and preparing for the New Year’s Day scheduled Outback Bowl. Fans will know then if they will get to see Ted Roof’s true defense.
The sentencing was delayed due to Langford’s attorney, Michael Rasmussen, having a scheduling conflict on February 26th.
Langford was found guilty in October on public corruption charges. He was removed from office as Birmingham mayor.
Langford is appealing his conviction.
Morefu has been at the Birmingham Zoo for 24 years. He was their tallest giraffe and a favorite during the giraffe's feeding time.
Morefu was the oldest living male giraffe in North America.
Deputy Chief Shane Midfield says the child was at the home of her mother's boyfriend's house.
For now, he has been charged with aggravated child abuse.
The suspect is 20-year-old Adrian "T.J." Glenn, Jr. Glenn is behind bars in the Shelby County Jail charged with one count of 1st degree robbery and one count of 1st degree receiving stolen property.
Police say surveillance video from a robbery at the Winn-Dixie store in Helena on November 16 shows Glenn entering the store, pointing a gun at a cashier and then going into the office where they say he took cash and told the employees to get on the floor.
Investigators from around the Birmingham metro area in at least four cities are looking into the possibility that Glenn may have been involved in robberies at Winn-Dixies in their communities. Investigators claim Glenn pocketed about $70,000 from all of his robberies.
"There is some evidence he may have had a lookout. Somebody that would go in before hand and check out the area… case the store to see if there was any reason that it should not occur," says Helena Police Captain Tim Carter.
Glenn is a former employee at the Trussville Winn Dixie store.
A Pelham police officer was on routine patrol when he tried to pull over a truck on Highway 31. The truck had just left a business.
When the driver of the truck failed to stop for police a high speed chase began and ended on Highway 459 northbound near the Galleria.
Investigators say the driver stole the truck and the pressure washer attached on a small trailer.
No one was hurt and the suspect is now in custody at the Pelham Police Department.
It happened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday afternoon in the 600 block of 12th Street North.
The Jefferson County Coroner says 66-year-old Arthur Cunningham died in the blaze.
On Tuesday, a judge appointed attorneys for Marcus and Quanisha Smith. The couple was arrested last week at a motel where they were living.
Quanisha Smith was the mother of four-year-old Evan Byrdsong. Marcus Smith was his step-father.
After three-months of testing, the coroner ruled the cause of death a homicide.
Adrian “T.J.” Glenn, Jr. is locked up on one million dollars bond.
Investigators believe glen may have robbed more than a dozen Winn-Dixie stores in the Birmingham metro area going back to December 2008.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Michael Rasmussen has a scheduling conflict on February 26th and asks the court to delay sentencing by at least one week.
Langford was found guilty in October on public corruption charges and removed from office as Birmingham mayor.
Langford is also appealing his conviction.
MONTGOMERY, AL (AP) - The board of Alabama's financially troubled prepaid college tuition program has approved a survival plan that would end the tradition of paying all tuition costs at public universities in the state.
The board voted for a plan Tuesday that calls for paying a fixed amount for tuition, starting in fall 2010, and raising the amount annually based on the program's earnings from investments rather than the rising cost of tuition.
Students choosing the three most expensive state universities - the University of Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Montevallo - would immediately have a financial gap between the plan's payments and their tuition costs. Then as tuition grew in future years, students at other public universities would experience a gap.
The plan is subject to approval by an Alabama court before it takes effect. It also hinges on a commitment from the Legislature to pump in an estimated $236 million over the next two decades.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County will appeal a judge's ruling that would force $50 million in refunds for all county workers who paid the occupational tax from January to August 2009.
Dekalb County Circuit Judge David Rains struck down the occupational tax in January, and last week Rains ordered the county to pay almost $50 million in refunds.
Tuesday, Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said the county questions the ruling, and points to the retroactive clause of the new occupational tax, which says no refunds should be issued. The new occupational tax was passed in a special session of the Alabama Legislature earlier this year.
Attorney Jim McFerrin, who sued Jefferson County over the occupational tax, says the county may be responsible for interest on top of the lump sum, since the county is appealing.
Jefferson County's new occupational tax takes effect January 1, 2010. The new tax is set at a lower rate for workers, but includes professionals such as doctors and lawyers for the first time.
Watch FOX6 News at 6:00 for more information on today's decision.
The city council tonight unanimously approved a new ordinance to allow bingo within the city limits in an effort to raise revenue for the cash-strapped city.
Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson briefly proposed shutting down the city's police department earlier this year in an effort to save almost
$1 million a year and help keep the city's finances afloat. He abandoned that idea after public protest, but said the city needs to find new revenue.
Richardson said he only had to look at the full parking lots at bingo halls only a half mile away in Fairfield to see where some new money could come from.
Monday, Midfield's city council used input from potential bingo charities to revise it's proposed ordinance, then adopted it unanimously despite some objections.
"Not a problem, I just don't want to see the city turn into a major bingo hall," said Midfield Board of Education member Nate Hutton. "I want to see other business grow. I know we need the revenue, however I do not want to see us turn into another Las Vegas, we can do other things here, also. We do need the revenue, but let's not turn into a great big bingo hall because then you're bringing in all kind of unwanted clientele into the city."
"We're not here to pass moral decisions," Richardson said. "We're here to pass laws that enhances the life of our citizens and financial viability of the city, and that's what we've done."
Midfield's bingo law would charge hefty fees to both bingo operators and the companies that lease the machines to charities, companies that one operator says keep 40% of each machine's take. But the hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue may never show up if a court strikes down electronic bingo in the Bessemer cutoff, a possibility the mayor is prepared for.
"We have no investment except the time it took to pass this ordinance," Richardson said. "There is no legal liability on this city, it falls squarely on the shoulders of those who seek to participate in these type of operations."
A final hearing on whether electronic bingo machines are legal in the Bessemer cutoff is expected sometime in January.
Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls ordered bingo machines in the rest of the county to be removed back in October.
The clinic will be held from 8:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Guy M. Tate location on 1400 sixth avenue south.
The vaccine is offered at no cost to the recipient.
Appointments are not necessary.
Additional clinics are planned for December 30th and January 6th at the same location.
Some Democrats in Washington are encouraging Sparks to run for the Fifth Congressional District. The move could come after Congressman Parker Griffith, of Huntsville, announced he is switching parties and becoming a Republican.
Other Democrats are encouraging Sparks to stay in the governor's race, where he is the only candidate calling for a state lottery and the expansion of gambling.
Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry says 22-year old James Wesley Howard is charged with capital murder in the death of 15-month old Kara Nichole Lee. The girl died Sunday at Children's Hospital
Howard was arrested last week after the girl was taken to the hospital, with extensive injuries.
Sheriff Curry says Howard had been living with the girl and her mother for about two months.
“The tragedy to the mom and her family and the biological father, those are the people that truly feel this loss and hurt the most,” says Curry. “But I think any time that anybody that works in public safety can't tell you they are unaffected by what they see in do.”
Sheriff curry says the mother has been cooperative. He says there are currently no plans to seek charges against her.
Monday, December 28, 2009
The fire started around 4:00 a.m.
Firefighters say the deaths were in one apartment on the second floor.
The fire chief says the process of determining what happened will move slowly because of the deaths.
Starkville is home to Mississippi State University.
Brian Keith was in the middle of his route in Nashville just before Christmas, when Arrow Trucking told him to turn in his rig at the next stop. Keith found himself with just $22 and 700 miles from home. He eventually made it to Birmingham before getting stuck again.
Upon hearing of Keith’s plight, several Birmingham residents offered help. Keith found a place to stay and is on his way home.
Arrow Trucking says it is in negotiations with a lender and trying to search for a quick resolution to money problems.
Police say the suspect wore a bandana as he approached two men sitting on their carport, pulled a gun and demanded their possessions. One of the two wrestled the gun away and shot him as he ran away.
Police have found a person of interest being treated for a gunshot wound at a nearby hospital.
State troopers anticipate a 35% drop since 2006 in the number of trooper-investigated highway deaths.
Beginning in 2006, several state agencies began focusing on areas that racked up a large number of deadly fatal crashes.
Besides the safety campaign, the results included road improvements.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The seat is currently held by Griffith Parker, who announced Wednesday he is switching parties from Democrat to Republican.
Sparks says he is still running for governor, but he has been approached about a possible run for Congress. Sparks says he will consider all options before making a decision in the next couple weeks.
Sparks and Congressman Artur Davis are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
King says the committee that filed the lawsuit did not show the contract personally harmed them.
The lawmakers' attorney says they may refile the lawsuit in a taxpayer’s name.
Officers install silent alarm triggers inside houses they know should be vacant. Police use the technique not just in high crime areas, but also in neighborhoods that see a spike in criminal activity.
"Students go out of town and our burglars and thieves know that. That's an area they'll target. So we'll target that area," say Sergeant Tim Guy. Sergeant Guy says in one case, a bait house was burglarized less than a day after it was set up and police were quickly able to make an arrest.
Officers say the suspects were taken into custody at the Deluxe Inn on Crestwood Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspects are believed to be linked to burglaries across five different municipalities.
According to police, a large amount of stolen property was inside the hotel room, including stolen weapons. The suspects also had possession of a stolen van from Mississippi.
Deputy Chief Herman Hinton states, “We have indeed removed two people who have been a thorn in our side from the streets.”
The identity of the suspects has not yet been revealed. They are currently being held in the Birmingham City Jail.
Police say they found 21-year-old Kourtney Nichols suffering from a gunshot wound outside the 2300 section of the Aspen Run apartment complex after receiving reports of a person shot.
Nichols was transported to UAB Hospital by Birmingham Fire and Rescue. He was declared dead at the hospital.
If there is anyone who has any information pertaining to the case, they are encouraged to contact the B.P.D. Homicide Unit @ 254-1764 or Crime Stoppers @ 254-7777.
What this all means is that taxpayers in Jefferson County could be getting anywhere a $150 to $200 refund from the county commission, but when they could be getting this money is still not known.
Judge David Raines made his ruling late Wednesday that Jefferson County must refund the $48 million to taxpayers. This ruling is a victory for those taxpayers who sued the county who called the old occupational tax illegal and unconstitutional.
On top of the $48 million, the county will also owe the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on that money.
Judge Raines says the county now has 15 days to transfer $10 million dollars plus interest to be moved into a settlement fund.
If the county wants to fight Judge Raines ruling, they can but it will end up costing them nearly $500,000 dollars a month.
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins has hope for the New Year. “I really believe 2010 will be a better year. I think it's a miracle that we've survived 2009 and have not been forced into bankruptcy. I think that's something the county and its citizens should celebrate.”
When it comes to refunding the occupational tax money to taxpayers, Commissioner Collins said she is still leaving open the option of appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court.
The body of 29-year-old Michael Dewayne Fells, Jr. was found just before noon, Wednesday.
Investigators were called to some woods just off Highway 31 behind the Quality Inn Motel. Police discovered the body after searching the area around an abandoned car.
Marcus and Quanisha Smith were arrested Tuesday at a motel on Crestwood Boulevard, where they had been living. Quanisha Smith was the mother of four-year-old Evan Guy Byrdsong. Marcus Smith was his step-father.
The boy died in August.
The coroner ruled the cause of death a homicide after three months of testing.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It all started when someone called police saying children were playing in the street off Arkadelphia Road.
When police arrived and went to the home, the male suspect told officers he didn't have any children.
That man is 47 year-old Hector Lazada. His co-defendant is Lidia Gilmore Lazada.
She is 41 years old. Both are charged with 2 counts of child abuse, and both have a $15,000 bond for each charge.
Hector Lazada reportedly showed investigators around this home. Police noticed less than ideal conditions with dog waste and trash scattered throughout the place.
As police were leaving, officers heard a cry from the basement, and then they discovered two young children locked in the basement.
Investigators say the basement's conditions were worse than above, with dirty diapers and other trash everywhere.
Lazada claimed to be the kids father. He and Lidia Lazada are in Birmingham Jail.
The children are in DHR custody.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Police have named a suspect Tuesday morning's double murder.
His name is Sherman Shamburger. Shamburger is a 51 year-old man from Birmingham.
Thirty year-old Anthony Everson and 60 year-old Robert Littlepage were found shot inside an apartment around 10 am Tuesday in Avondale in the 4200 block of 5th Avenue South.
Shamburger is in Jefferson County's jail with 2 counts of capital murder, no bond.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Christmas shopping season is drawing to a close, and area retailers are hoping last-minute shoppers bring them a boost in sales.
The National Retail Federation is predicting holiday retail sales will decline one percent this year to $437.6 billion.
UAB economist, Dr. Bob Robicheax, said many area retailers prepared for the possibility of decreasing sales by stocking less merchandise. He adds that shoppers are still watching their spending.
"People have really rolled back spending," said Dr. Robicheax, "They are spending more on lower priced items, and the high-priced ticket items are suffering. Consumer confidence is not back."
Crowds have been steady at The Summit throughout the week. Some shoppers said it's a tradition to wait until the last minute to do their holiday shopping, while others said they were hoping to get good deals.
"I love to be out around people and all the crowds especially this time of year," said Cheryl Gradune, "I love to wish them a Merry Christmas."
"It is really not as bad as people think," said Natasha Rogers, "The traffic will deter you, but once you get inside the actual stores it isn't that bad."
Area stores are also preparing for after Christmas sales, and many will have extended hours.
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - There is an increase in demand, and fortunately for the West Alabama Food Bank, there has been an increase in donations.
According to its executive director, Henry Lipsey, the food bank distributed 202,000 pounds of food.
This month he plans on bringing in a similar amount.
"People in the community in our 9 county area have been generous enough to give us enough money to keep us going and help us be able to keep up with the increased demand.. So far."
Lipsey also credits businesses who have pitched in with creative ways to help people donate such as selling baged groceries at supermarkets for merchants to donate. And it wouldn't be Tuscaloosa if the university didn't pitch in to compete with Auburn's food bank for bragging rights in the annual "Beat Auburn.. Beat Hunger" food drive. This year, UA donated more than 175,000 lbs of food to beat Auburn who donated almost 165,000 for their respective food bank.
For those interested in helping the West Alabama Food Bank, call 205-759-5519.
If you shop in Tuscaloosa, Publix, Bruno's, and Food World all prepare bags for donation.
The 49-year-old woman went to the emergency room yesterday and reported she had been raped.
Officers later arrested 41-year-old Stanley Caine. He is charged with rape and sodomy.
Police received a call Tuesday about children playing in the street off Arkadelphia Road.
The man initially told officers he had no children. Before leaving, officers heard a cry from the basement where they found two children locked inside.
Officers say the house was nasty with trash and dog waste.
"We’re trying to determine whether he kept them there or if he was hiding them from the investigators. So were trying to determine that now," says Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department.
The man, who says he is the father, is charged with child endangerment and neglect.
The two children are now in DHR custody.
Pelham’s mayor and police chief formed a committee of local churches and business leaders. They hope to raise $200,000.
Donations may be made at all local branches of M&F Bank.
Officer Davis was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop.
The Governor's Office says a $50,000 grant will help Alabama construction professionals become energy-use experts. The money will go to the Alabama Association of Habitat affiliates to train 42 professionals to become energy auditors for residential and commercial buildings.
After those auditors are certified, they will be able to check homes and offices to determine ways to improve energy savings.
Judge David Rains has ordered the county to move several million dollars into an account in preparation for possible refunds. If Judge Rains rules the county should begin issuing refunds, the county may also have to pay interest on the money during its appeal.
“I will worry about that tomorrow but today I am convinced that we will be spared from that,” says Bettye Fine Collins.
A decision from Judge Rains is expected in a few weeks.
The measure's sponsor says there are number of issues in play here. "Nobody wants to live next door to it. It creates an environmental hazard, cars leaking oil into the grass and all kinds of stuff,” says Councilmember Johnathan Austin. “We don't want that in our city.”
You will have your chance to voice your opinion on this proposal is coming up next month. The public hearing is scheduled for January 26th at 9:30 a.m. at Birmingham City Hall.
Griffith, an oncologist who founded a cancer center, says he is against the current version of the health care bill, which factored into his switch.
“As the 111th congress has progressed, I have become increasingly concerned that the bills and policies pushed by the current democratic leadership are not good for the people of North Alabama or for our nation,” says Griffith. “More importantly, they do not represent my values and convictions.”
Politico.com reports Griffith also disagrees with the Obama Administration's decision to abandon a missile defense shield in Europe, which could have benefitted Huntsville’s defense industry.
The Alabama Democratic Party is asking Griffith to return thousands of dollars of Democratic donations that he accepted.
There has been plenty of reaction in the political world to Griffith’s midterm switch. Congressman Artur Davis, a democrat, says “While I will continue to respect and work with Congressman Griffith, his decision repudiates the hard work of many Democrats who sustained him during his election to two high offices."
Reports say Republican Senator Jeff Sessions played a role in convincing Griffith to switch. Sessions says "As a republican, he will be affirmed in his concerns about reckless spending and governmental overreach, rather than being ostracized for them. We welcome him with open arms."
Master Sergeant Silas W. Wilson was killed in action in the Korean War in 1950. A recovery team discovered Wilson’s remains in North Korea in 2004. They were just recently identified.
Sgt. Wilson was from Upshaw, Alabama in Winston County.
His daughter will receive the remains at a ceremony at Shuttlesworth International Airport.
UAB is now home to the state's first full-service clinic for patients with bone dysplasia and connective tissue disorder. The clinic will serve children and adults.
The facility will provide diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for patients who have abnormalities of skeletal growth.
Workers say a mortar gave off a flash while being disassembled. No one was injured. There is no threat of any mustard agent.
Operations will not resume until managers and regulators say its safe to do so.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Authorities say an eighth grade boy brought liquor with him on the bus last Friday and passed it around to others. Five eighth graders and a seventh grader reportedly shared the alcohol, which was in two soda bottles.
The students were detained at school and later released to their parents.
Acting on a tip, investigators found that the two inmates were allowed to leave their cells during the night.
An investigation shows a male corrections officer was involved in what authorities are calling "improper inmate movement."
The ABI is investigating for possible criminal charges.
The bodies of George Garner and Michelle Phillips were discovered on December 14th.
The carbon monoxide came from a generator used to heat the trailer.
If employees took four furlough days, $3 million would be freed up in the budget. A majority of council members oppose taking pay away from employees.
To avoid furloughs, city leaders are discussing cuts to every city department. Another proposal is to use money set aside from capital projects.
Council members will hold three budget workshops by mid January to crunch numbers and look at more options.
A priority is keeping Bryce Mental Hospital and its jobs in Tuscaloosa.
That may be a problem because of declining tax revenue.
The State Department of Mental Health and the University of Alabama still have not worked out a deal to buy the property.
The legislative session begins January 12th.
The department's chief and other city leaders opened the precinct in a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday. The building is in a converted bank on University Boulevard in Alberta.
Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson expects the precinct to quickly cut crime. He hopes to open another new precinct in west Tuscaloosa in the next few years.
County officials say it is only a matter of waiting for their licenses to come in the mail before they can start keeping dogs and cats at their location.
Etowah County chose not to renew its contract with the county's humane society several years ago. Instead, the county has taken animals 45 minutes away to another shelter in Calhoun County.
The new facility means Etowah County residents will not have to make the drive to the Calhoun County Animal Shelter if one of their animals is picked up.
Two males were found shot inside an apartment in the 4200 block of Fifth Avenue South. believe it happened overnight.
Authorities are following up on leads, but do not have any suspects in the case.
There is no word on the identities of the victims.
Police released a picture late Monday night. They are looking for the man in the red coat and want to question him about the disappearance of a blue 1998 Toyota Tacoma.
The truck was taken from the Wal-mart Super Center in Winfield and has a black dog box on the back.
Please call Winfield police if you know the man seen in this picture.
A federal judge gave Schmitz until 3:00 p.m. on January 28 to begin serving her two and a half year sentence for her fraud conviction. It is the third delay Schmitz has won while appealing her case.
The judge said he will not consider any more delays in the future barring extraordinary reasons.
A water works spokesperson says, on more than one occasion, someone pretending to read water meters or do other maintenance has talked their way into a home.
One woman was robbed. “She let one of them in, because she was trusting,” says Water Works Board Member Binnie Myles. “Do not do that. If you're not sure, don't let them in. Let them wait.”
Water works officials say their employees will have on a uniform with the insignia, also a photo badge with the employee’s name.
Doctor Ted Galloway taught throughout the 60's , 70's and 80's. He was inducted in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
The 73-year-old died Sunday following a long battle with cancer.
Visitation is today at Christ Church United Methodist at 12:30 p.m., followed by the funeral at 2:00 p.m.
The vaccine was previously restricted to those considered at the greatest risk of complications from the disease.
Alabama has recorded its 17th consecutive week of widespread influenza activity.
Amanda Watkins was arrested Saturday night outside Covenant Christian School in Sheffield.
Police were responding to an alarm call when they say Watkins was found engaged in a sexual act with a teenager.
Watkins worked at the school for six years, and taught eighth grade English. She’s charged with second degree rape and sodomy
Monday, December 21, 2009
Attorneys trying to collect a judgement against Scrushy hope the estate in Vestavia Hills sells.
The Alabama Supreme Court's recent decision to turn down Scrushy’s appeal cleared the way for the auction.
Scrushy’s fleet of cars and his lake mansion already have been sold.
The money will help pay a verdict stemming from a judge's decision that Scrushy led a huge accounting fraud while he was running HealthSouth.
Sheriff Mike Hale says he only needs $1.2 million to re-employ 13 sworn deputies and 21 civilian employees.
Hulsey says one option to pay for the return of sheriff's office workers is a two percent budget reduction for all county departments.
Bell and Cooper agree that the city needs to bring in an outside expert to create controls so the city does not face another shortfall crisis.
Your chance to hear each candidate's plan for Birmingham’s future is January 14th. FOX6 is presenting a debate between the two candidates at 9:00 p.m. The runoff election takes place the following Tuesday, January 19th.
Officer Davis was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop on December third.
On Saturday, fellow officers and bikers gathered money and toys for Davis' wife and two young children.
Fellow Pelham officers say this is a way to offer the family support. “Me and Philip talked a lot and I always talked about motorcycles with Philip,” said Officer Isaac Cruz. “And I know he would've loved this knowing all these guys and officers are doing this for him.”
The ride raised more than $5,000 for the family of Officer Davis.
Steel spilled over the roadway and closed down an exit.
No injuries or damage to the roadway were reported.
Authorities on scene say the driver of a semi truck tried cross the tracks before the train arrived, but did not make it.
The train clipped the end of the truck's trailer, flipping the entire vehicle over.
The driver was not injured.
Governor Bob Riley is pushing the idea because federal funding is available for charter schools. The Alabama Education Association is opposing it.
Alabama is one of ten states that has never passed a charter school law.
John Colon with the Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham is hoping to step in and provide not only relief from tax bills, but also a home for families who may have put up a For Sale sign because they were being foreclosed.
The BPD says officers responded to the 2200 block of Bessemer Road to investigate a report of a shooting and a robbery.
21-year-old Steven Singleton was found inside of a business and had suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Singleton was transported to UAB Hospital by Birmingham Fire and Rescue. He was late pronounced dead by hospital staff.
No arrests have been made in this case. This case is under investigation.
If there is anyone who has any information pertaining to the case, they are encouraged to contact the B.P.D. Homicide Unit @ 254-1764 or Crime Stoppers @ 254-7777.
"Thank you! Thank you!" he exclaimed after unwrapping them all. The gifts bring a smile to his face. But they can't wipe away the sadness from the last month of his life.
On November 19th, Will's aunt, Deborah Johnson, was picking him up from Forest Hills Middle School when she was struck and killed. She was his guardian and had been caring for him since his mother was killed, also in a car accident. "I remember her smile, her lips, her clothes. I could spend all day with her," he recalled about his aunt. "She loved me so much."
Johnson worked at the Fairfield Nursing and Rehabilitation center. Her co-worker, Sondra Ford, spearheaded efforts to adopt Will. "Deb was a blessing to us and when we lost our blessing, we decided to give back," Ford said. She and other employees watched as Will ripped into box after box.
The sight brought tears to Belinda Thomas' eyes. "It's just amazing how a Fairfield family can come together and give a young man a merry Christmas in spite of the tragedy he's gone through," she said wiping away tears.
"I'm just so happy for him." Resident Willie Smith, Jr. echoed her thoughts. "I think it's a blessing to give him something like that. He's deserving of it."
Will says his favorite gift was the T.V., followed closely by the Playstation 3.
"I think they're nice people and generous," he said with a wide smile. "Happy Merry Christmas everyone."
Visitation for Sergeant Jason Stegall gathered Sunday at Cross Point Baptist Church in Trussville.
Stegall passed away after contracting swine flu. Family members say Stegall also had underlying health problems.
The 31-year old won a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his action in Iraq.
Funeral services are Monday at 1:00 p.m. at Crosspoint Church, followed by his burial at Jefferson Memorial Gardens.
Governor Bob Riley, state lawmakers from Jefferson and Shelby counties as well as state transportation officials will meet at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the future of Highway 280.
After much discussion, there appears to be plans on how to ease traffic on 280. The new highway would mix two previous plans. It would add elevated lanes to part of the highway. And put express lanes from 459 into town. Also, it would be paid for by making the new lanes a toll road.
Judge David Rains ordered the county to put $38-million in a separate account to pay the refunds. Rains declared the tax illegal.
During Monday's hearing, Judge Rains could decide how much money the county will have to refund to people who paid the occupational tax this year.
Officers say someone followed two teenage males into the parking lot and shot into their car. The victims were rushed to UAB Hospital. They were last listed in stable condition.
Officials say the victim is a man and it appears that the body had been in the water for a while.
They are checking missing persons reports to see if they can find a match.
Friday, December 18, 2009
No charges or arrests have been made and the officer is currently on paid administrative leave.
Anderson, during a press conference on Friday, gave thoughts on how he is handling the investigation and asked the public for any knowledge of police misconduct. Anderson also wanted to make it clear that authorities should get subpoenas to get more info.
Anyone with info should call the Tuscaloosa PD at 752-0612.
A number of homes and businesses sustained damage from the heavy rainfall.
On Wednesday, Governor Riley declared a state of emergency in Escambia, Dale, Crenshaw and Covington Counties because of flooding and severe weather.
Mesiah Abercrombie and Kanisha Johnson are both in jail on $60,000 bond.
Police say the pair robbed a Wendy’s in Hoover and led police on a chase that ended with a crash in Fairfield.
Staffed with law enforcement and watched with the careful eye of video cameras, the police department's pawn shop was a hot spot for criminals looking to shift stolen goods.
"They were essentially buying items people would bring in and once they brought these items, we would get photographs of the individuals that would bring the items in and we'd also check items to see if they'd be reported stolen," said Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson.
Police recovered more than $40,000 worth of stolen goods and made 30 arrests.
Chief Anderson credits the FBI, ABC Board and Shelby County Sheriffs deputies who provided undercover agents to work as clerks.
Ritter began his banking career through the company's management training program in 1969. He worked his way up the company ladder until he became CEO in 2006.
The company's COO, Grayson Hall, will take over as CEO.
Hall is responsible for all the company's branches in 16 states.
The Jefferson County Commission approved the tax Tuesday. It will go into effect Jan. 1st. It lowers the rate from .5% to .45% and is estimated to generate $72 million. The tax will include professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and architects for the first time. "Like anyone of us, no one wants to pay more taxes especially it's unlawfully passed like this one was," Clayton Lowe said.
Lowe is a lawyer who represents Mountain Brook dentist, Jeffery Weissman. Lowe has been involved in legal challenges to include professionals for more than a decade. Lowe says state law protects eleven professions from being taxed by the county if they pay for a state business license. "Each one of those people shall buy a license from the state and the county shall not tax them," Lowe said.
Jim McFerrin, an attorney who challenged the old county job tax says it is not that simple. "The legislature meant to include doctors, lawyers and accountants under the occupational tax," McFerrin said.
McFerrin points to other sections of the state law and the state constitution which allows the legislature to impose occupational taxes. Lowe says while the legal question will be settled in court it is not the intention to throw the county into financial chaos. "I don't want people standing in lines. I don't want to stand in line. I don't want to a burden on the county. This is purely a legal
Question," Lowe said.
Acting Birmingham Mayor Roderick royal says if employees take four unpaid days early next year, they will save the city $3-million. Royal is trying to address a $20-million shortfall in the 2010 fiscal budget.
Council member Lashunda Scales says she supports the plan if it will save city jobs.
Royal says the proposed furloughs would include police and firefighters as well as himself and all city councilors.
He also says money that was had been designated for the domed stadium may also be used to make up the shortfall.
The law's sponsor, Councilman Johnathan Austin, says cars and boats parked in front yards is an eyesore and drags down property values. His proposal would give owners about 30 days to get vehicles out of the front yard before they get a ticket.
The fee would be $50.
You would have 30 days to pay before you start racking up late fees at 50-per day.
The council is set to discuss the bill Tuesday.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
On Wednesday night, a passerby spotted a green Chevy Suburban hanging over a steep embankment near the 3100 block of Erwin Dairy Road. Investigators say the SUV was barely being kept in place by a tree root. Once firefighters were able to secure the vehicle, they found a body in the backseat.
Detectives say the body has multiple gunshot wounds.
The victim's name has not yet been released, but investigators say he was 27-years-old and from Birmingham.
It happened Wednesday night on Russet Bend Drive.
Investigators are releasing few details right now, but a news conference is planned for 1:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Dr. Jeffrey Weissman is suing the county over the newly approved occupational tax. His attorney claims it is unconstitutional for the county to tax certain professionals.
If the suit is successful, architects, lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers and others who work in the county would be exempt from paying. The .45% tax goes into effect January first.
Fyffe Senator Lowell Barron and his colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus say it will be a priority in the legislative session. Barron’s plan is a constitutional amendment that would spend $100-million per year for ten years on roads and bridges.
He says the idea is to make highways safer and create jobs in the process. “We can create jobs, improve our roads and bridges and our infrastructure. What an investment. What a bargain without raising people taxes,” said Barron
Senator Barron tried to pass the same proposal in the spring. It failed by two votes.
For some senior citizens Clastran is their only way to get medical treatment. "I call in some time. They can't carry me. Sometimes I have to be at the doctor, hospital at seven o'clock. Then I got to find a way to get to the hospital," Julia Gray said.
The Jefferson County Commission has cut back on every county agency because of funding problems. Wednesday the head of senior services says if the commissioners cannot find $345,000, the agency will lose another $1.7 million in federal funds. "If the funding is not obtained either through the federal government or the county, we stand to cancel transportation for about 45,000 people," said William Voight, Director of Senior Services.
Voight says Clastran will shutdown at the end of January and some of the county's 34 senior centers will close. County Commissioners are worried about losing federal dollars. "If we lose 1.7 million in federals funds for a senior program, trust me, there is another state willing to grab it and we will never get it back," Shelia Smoot, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.
Those who depend on Clastran hopes the county can find the money. "Tell them to dig it up. We need our centers open," Gray said.
The day after more than a dozen sheriff deputies came to the county commission seeking support for returning to work, Commission President Bettye Fine Collins did not put the request for more than a million dollars on her finance committee agenda. "I believe as a public servant I'm protecting the taxpayers’ dollars and the welfare of the county," Collins said.
The sheriff's office was not happy. "I'm incredibly disappointed. I can't tell you how disappointed I am," Lt. Randy Christian, spokesman for Hale said.
Lt. Christian says without help from the county, the 14 deputies and 21 civilian workers will not have a job for the holidays. "People who now have no ability to support their families. Jefferson County is a safer place when they are on the job," Christian
In other actions, the committee refused to approve two contracts for the sheriff. This included $640,000 for legal services next year and more than $4 million for medical care for jail inmates. Commissioners questioned why the contracts did not go out for bids. "Certainly we need to bid the contracts or get a request for proposals. Maybe another proposal out there will have better costs," Shelia Smoot, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.
Christian denied the sheriff would get a better deal. Acting finance director Travis Hulsey also announced the county could face another five percent cut because of declining revenues. Christian is not buying it. "That's a shell game they are playing. It's a dog and pony show set up between Commissioner Collins and the finance department," Christian said.
Collins says the only way for Hale to get additional funds is for other county departments to take more than a two percent cut in their budgets.
A meet and greet was held Wednesday night with candidate Valya Lee. Lee is the assistant superintendent of Clayton County Schools in Jonesboro, Georgia.
The other two candidates are Dr. Frank Hill, the Assistant Superintendent for the Tupelo Public School District in Mississippi; and Craig Witherspoon, the superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools. Witherspoon's meet and greet will take place Thursday evening from 5:00 to 6:30 at the Phillips Acadmy Library.
The vote could take place after that.
The system usually pays teachers on the last working day of the month which, in December, comes before Christmas break.
This year, the school system says it does not have enough money to get by until the state reimburses it at the end of the month.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hoover Police tell FOX6 News traffic last weekend from Friday through Sunday was the busiest it has been at The Galleria in the last several years, and they're expecting this coming weekend to be as busy if not busier.
A Wednesday night isn't a peak shopping traffic time, even the week before Christmas. But on this Wednesday night the Galleria's walkways were full of shoppers, many of them heading right for Bama Fever.
"We have a tight space here," said Bama Fever employee Kip Faught. "And usually people will see it, and they pick it up because they know it probably won't be here next week. Sometimes we have long lines heading out the store and towards the food court. But people know I've got to get it and get it now because it won't be here next week."
Bama Fever says its sales are up over this time last year due in large part to the Crimson Tide's wins over Auburn and Florida, and the anticipation of the national championship game.
The big game is now 22 days away. But store employees say part of that pickup is also because the Galleria is busier overall.
"We like to think it's a little bit of both," said Faught. "Because The Galleria, we feed off each other like that. It's not just a one-stop deal that you get in a lot of different other places. We depend on each other. And that's survival around here."
"We really don't have a handle on that at this time, but it does appear there are more shoppers there," said Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos. "And that's a good sign. And looking at the packages that people are carrying out, and hopefully we're gonna have a good year this year, we're very optimistic."
Hoover's mayor says the city faces another tough budget year even if sales tax revenues from this Christmas are up, but the better the Galleria does, the less painful the budget choices he may have to make.
"Absolutely," Petelos said. "The shoppers who come to the city of Hoover, it's very important to us, and they always have been because we are a sales tax based economy in the city of Hoover, therefore it's a very important aspect of our business."
Officers were chasing a suspect in a reported stolen vehicle Tuesday when police say the suspect ran into Officer Dwight Hackbarth. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The suspect will be charged with attempted murder and possession of a controlled substance.
FOX6 News has learned Officer Hackbarth is just days away from retirement.
Police say the bus was carrying 16 students. Those students attended John Jones Elementary and Rainbow Middle School.
None of the injuries were life threatening.
As board members met with the first of three candidates Tuesday, parents turned out to meet Dr. Frederick Hill. Hill is the Assistant Superintendent for the Tupelo Public School District in Mississippi.
Outside of questioning Dr. Hill's qualifications, some are questioning the search process itself and urging the board to stop the process and start a new one.
Lindsay Danielle Morgan admitted to the 2007 murder of her mother, Brenda Ingram. She told police, at the time, the killing was over a dispute involving a cell phone.
Tuesday at her sentencing, witnesses told the court Morgan has shown no remorse and even got a tattoo with the words "grim reaper." Others say she led a life of chaos and abuse, despite her honor roll status in school, and is turning her life around. “This case is a tragedy, it's a tragedy for all of those who's involved, for everyone who's affected by the loss of the deceased, as well as the family of miss morgan,” says Morgan’s attorney, Dave Johnston
Danielle Morgan told the judge she was sorry and deserved whatever punishment she received, but added that no one had any idea what kind of life she led with her mother.
Judge Brian Howell denied her request for probation, meaning she will likely serve at least 17 years of her sentence.
"The reason for the recall is not as a safety concern. That's the most important message," Alabama State Health Officer Don Williamson said Tuesday. He says the recall comes because the agent in the vaccine that produces the immune response to the virus is not as potent as was desired. Yet, he stresses there are no risks of any increased side effects as a result. "But the reason you recall it is because there are extraordinary strict manufacturing standards that vaccine manufacturers have to adhere to"
Williams says Alabama got 52-hundred doses of the recalled shots. Over half of them never left the warehouse. Officials say about 41 children actually received the shots. The remaining doses will be sent back. Some Birmingham doctors say they had been leery of the vaccine from the beginning.
Dr. Jacqueline W. Stewart of Magnolia Pediatrics says she understands the reason for the recall but is concerned it could have gone the other way. "So it could have been too potent. Or not potent enough and what else is going on with it?" Stewart questioned. "What's the real reason for the recall?"
Williamson says the fact that the mistake was caught shows how safe the vaccine is. "I would say the vaccine is far more widely available," he said. "I encourage parents to get your child vaccinated." If you have any questions on whether your child received the recalled vaccine, it's best to call your pediatrician.
On Tuesday, Royal clarified his proposal for cutbacks, saying employees could be forced to take a day off before a city-wide holiday as an unpaid day. As we understand it, it would be a one-day furlough before "four" holidays during the year.
In a plan pitched by the finance department and Royal, that action and other cost savings would add up to around 10-million dollars toward meeting a 20-million dollar budget shortfall.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Candidate Dr. Frederick Hill answered questions before a small group of people.
The public and some school board members want the search committee to cease the current search and start over.
Some aren't happy with the finalists. Others feel the process was expedited.
The search committee's chair, April Williams, says the process will continue.
But on Thursday during final deliberations, they say things could change.
There's no guarantee any of the top three candidates will be named the new superintendent.
"If we get to that place we feel we have not identified the best suited candidate, we can make a decision at that time," said April Williams.
Williams regrets the problems with search and how "messy" it's gotten.
The next meet and greet is Wednesday with Valya Lee.
It's from 5:00 to 6:30 at Phillips Academy's library.
FAIRFIELD, AL (WBRC) - A suspect is in custody following a low-speed police chase through Fairfield. It ended near the intersection of Erie Street and Crawford Street when the suspect collided head-on with a Fairfield officer.
The officer, Dwight Hackbarth, was taken to Brookwood Hospital with neck pain.
His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The suspect will be charged with attempted murder of a police officer and possession of a controlled substance.
The suspect is a convicted felon. Therefore, Fairfield Police will ask the ATF to pursue an additional charge, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Hackbarth is just days away from retirement.
SYLACAUGA, AL (WBRC) - Sylacaugans are complaining about a smell they say stems from a waste treatment plant just outside the city's limit.
Residents say they've been overwhelmed by a smell they say is coming from the Reef Environmental plant since the facility opened in 2007. And they showed tonight asking the city council to do more to try and solve the problem.
Those Sylacauga homeowners say this smell may be more than just a nuisance, they're concerned about what it may be doing to their health. So they made it clear tonight they're not happy with the city or county's response so far.
"Everybody in Sylacauga is affected by this and everybody in Sylacauga would like to see this stopped,": said Cara Curtis, one of the concerned neighbors. "It has destroyed the quality of life in Sylacauga."
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management levied a $72,000 fine against Reef Environmental for not having an air scrubbing system properly installed and maintained at the wastewater treatment plant.
ADEM told FOX6 News Tuesday that Reef Environmental has until March to correct the problem.
But these homeowners say that's not enough, and Tuesday asked Sylacauga's city council and mayor to do more. But Sylacauga's mayor says since the plant isn't within city limits, there's not much he can do.
"I've been like everyone else, somewhat frustrated by it, and I've told them that," said Sylacauga Mayor Sam Wright. "But I have to guard my words and so right now we just have to let the legal action take course and just work through this."
The city has filed a nuisance injunction against reef asking for relief, but that motion won't be in court until March. These homeowners say that's not soon enough.
"This is what our future is," said Vicki Crow, another concerned neighbor. "And we cannot bank on what's gonna happen in this town when this child and all the other children are being subjected to this smell we have to deal with."
FOX6 made multiple attempts to contact Reef Environmental for a response to our story but were unable to reach them for comment.
Wright says he talks to Reef officials almost daily to ask for help and says the plant is supposed to be installing a new tarp this week at the facility that may help contain the smell.
Homeowners at tonight's meeting say the city's legal action isn't working fast enough and they're ready to take matters into their own hands, though they weren't specific about what that means.
Investigators say it all started in Blount County, where a man broke into a home and stole a car from the residence. Deputies chased the man into Jefferson County, where the suspect ran the car into the woods on old Tennessee Pike Road off Highway 79. This caused a nearby school, Kermit Johnson Elementary, to go on lock down until 10:00 a.m.
Deputies are still looking for the suspect.
A federal judge has given the three states and Congress until 2012 to reach a water sharing agreement for rivers that flow through the states.
The outcome will affect water supplies, economic development and recreation for all three states.
Commissioners Sheila Smoot, William Bell and Bobby Humphryes voted yes for the non-binding resolution, while commissioners Bettye Fine Collins and Jim Carns voted no.
The resolution means the sheriff can now ask the county commission to approve a budget amendment. Sheriff Hale said Tuesday he needs about $1.5 million to bring 14 deputies and 21 civilians currently on administrative leave without pay back to work. Sheriff Hale put them on administrative leave without pay in October after the county commission cut $10 million from the sheriff's budget for the new fiscal year.
Thirteen of those deputies were at Tuesday's commission meeting to watch the vote.
Commissioner Bobby Humphryes said last week he believed the money could be found from the $50 milliion settlement with J-P Morgan with the SEC.
"I don't see why we can't use $1.6 million of that money and put people back to work," Humphryes said. "It's as simple as that."
However, Humphryes' usual ally, Commissioner Jim Carns, disagreed.
"We are taking $1.6 million out of the budget we are under," Carns said. "That will require a budget amendment. I think the budget amendment will be shrunk. I think this is going in the wrong direction."
Commission President Bettye Fine Collins blasted the two commissioners last week for proposing to take money from an already balanced budget.
"It's a show of fiscal irresponsibility by two commissioners," Collins said.
Collins said Sheriff Hale owes the county $1.6 million because he overspent his budget from last year. Lt. Randy Christian, spokesman for Sheriff Hale, disagrees.
"She is playing a shell game with other people's money," Christian said. "It's a dangerous game. Obvious to me she has no idea what it takes to keep the public safe."
The commission, in a 4-1 vote, approved an ordinance will will enact a new occupational tax on Jan. 1, 2010. The tax, which was authorized in August by the Alabama legislature, replaces the previous occupational tax which was declared illegal by a judge in January.
Commissioner Jim Carns was the only commissioner to vote against the ordinance. He questioned the business license tax, which was a part of the ordinance.
The new tax rate will be 0.045 percent, down from the 0.05 percent tax rate under the old tax. However, the new tax will apply to all employees in Jefferson County, no longer excluding professionals such as doctors and lawyers who also have to pay professional license fees to the county.
The tax is expected to generate $72 million in revenue for the county.
Jefferson County taxpayers remember the nightmare of the long lines at the downtown courthouse this summer after the original occupational tax was declared illegal. That's why many people FOX6 News spoke to on Monday said they favor the commission passing a new lower job tax which will cover professionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects and plumbers.
Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said without the tax, the county would have had to close the satellite courthouses again and layoff 1,500 employees.
Bigbee says while tax revenues will be equal to last year’s budget of 1.3 billion dollars, she estimates a 600 million dollar shortfall due to federal stimulus money that won't be available.
Besides addressing the general fund, Bigbee also predicted a slight decrease in the state's education budget for this year compared to last. Overall, the reductions could mean layoffs for teachers and state employees, larger class sizes and cuts in state services during fiscal year 2011.
As for what else may be affect, Representative John Knight of Montgomery says it is too early to tell say. "Those are the type decisions we'll have to make as we go through this process,” Knight says. “It's not an easy one because it's never good to say, ‘No. You can't fund certain projects and many of them would be good projects. But if the money's not there, you just can't fund it. That’s the bottom line.”
Senator Roger Bedford of Russellville echoed Knight’s thoughts. "I think absent some breakthrough in the stimulus for the economy that no one's really predicting right now we're going to have some tough choices to make and I hope we'll do it in a bipartisan manner.”
The predictions came during the first of four days lawmakers will hold hearings on the budget.
The interviews are Tuesday-Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The public is invited to a meet and greet session from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day.
Sessions will be held at Phillips Academy, at 2316 Seventh Ave. North.
To submit a question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to 231-4761.
The three finalists are: Frederick Hill, assistant superintendent in Tupelo, Miss.; Valya Lee, assistant superintendent in Clayton County Ga.; and Craig Witherspoon, superintendent in Edgecombe County, N.C
Deputies say the bodies were discovered in the Morris Estates Mobile Home Community.
How they died is still under investigation, but deputies do not suspect foul play.
People living near Reef Environmental are complaining of a horrible smell. They say the odor coming from the facility is unbearable. They say the bad smell has been a problem for a while, but has gotten worse recently.
The group has collected two-thousand signatures, hoping to get state and city leaders to take action.
Fox6 news attempted to contact Reef Environmental, but we have not gotten a response.
The meeting is planned for Tuesday evening at 5:30 at Sylacauga City Hall.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sgt Stegall was diagnosed with H1N1 before his passing, but the medical examiner has not determined the cause of death.
Sgt. Stegall was awarded the Purple Heart for his actions during firefights in Iraq and is currently in consideration for another.
He also was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for helping destroy 2 truck bombs before they could harm his base. He was shot twice and involved in 2 other explosions.
So it is especially tragic for his wife, son, and 2 stepsons tonight that this hero fell victim to the H1N1 virus.
Family members and friends tell FOX6 News that Sgt. Stegall returned from Iraq and was stationed in El Paso, TX. There, about 2 weeks ago, he became ill.
Stegall went to the doctor last Monday breathing problems. Doctors discovered his liver was failing and flew him to a medical hospital in Washington, D.C.
Stegall's family and friends rushed to his side late last week, but Sgt. Stegall never regained consciousness and was taken off of life support Monday morning.
"Jason has always been a leader, he's always been someone to go ahead and do it, I've followed him 100 times," said Wayne Stewart, a childhood friend of Sgt. Stegall's.
Stewart adds, "When he went to the Army we knew he was going to succeed, we knew he was going to be taking care of his friends there just like he would us. As we grow up our parents worry about us just going out and doing what we do around town. And then for a mother and father to know they're son's going overseas, they do worry about him. His friends worry about him, and he was strong, he fought through it, nothing seemed like it could hurt him, and then...I don't what else to say about that man."
The arrangements for Sgt. Stegall's funeral are still pending until an autopsy is complete. Sgt. Stegall's family plans to bury him at the Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in the veteran's ring.
A fund has been set up at Regions Bank in the name of Jason Stegall if you'd like to help the Stegall family.
Jefferson County taxpayers remember the nightmare of the long lines at the downtown courthouse this summer after the occupational tax was declared illegal. That's why many people FOX6 News spoke to on Monday said they favor the commission passing a new lower job tax which will cover professionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects and plumbers.
"I'm for it," said Norman Mayfield. "It will be a burden on people. It's better than to be disappointed than everything closed."
Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said if the Tuesday vote on the tax fails the county will face problems.
"It means everything will come to a halt," Collins said. "Satellite courthouses will be closed again. We estimate 1,500 people will lose their jobs."
It will take three votes on the county commission to pass the new occupational tax. Collins does not know if all commissioners will support it but Collins believes it will pass because of the importance to the county.
"It may be the end of the county government," Collins said. "I don't see how it could continue without it."
Some county taxpayers believe the county will need more than just a new job tax.
"We need a county manager," said Allen Moody. "Somebody who knows how to run this place."
Among the first in line in Forestdale was Melvin Bynum of Graysville. "Oh yeah, I have to renew my driver's license, I was second or third in line. That was good," Bynum said.
While most taxpayers were happy not to go downtown, there were issues.
"My wife has been standing in line for 45 minutes trying to get a handicapped sticker," said Michael Tombrello. "The line was not moving at all. There are nine people in there and four are working."
Another big issue for taxpayers was the fact the tax collector and tax assessor's office was not opened at the two satellite courthouses, which was bad news for folks trying to pay their year end property taxes.
"They said this morning there would be skeletal staffs, but they didn't say they wouldn't take the taxes," said Doris Mayfield.
"We are disappointed, we are glad they are open as much as they are," said Norman Mayfield.
People looking to pay their property taxpyers will have to go downtown or mail in their payments.
Meanwhile the Jefferson County Commission said Monday it is still struggling with it's finances. However, Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said despite additional costs, it's better for the county to open all four satellite courthouses.
"We were paying utilities," Collins said. "We were paying rent. It was wise we went to back to that operation."
They could be in the Guntersville area.
A family member reported them missing Friday.
Anyone with information should contact the Etowah County Sheriff's office.
The suit claims the websites are charging their customers the retail rate for the tax.
The cities' attorney says Birmingham could get more than five-million dollars alone.
UAB’s Dr. Richard Whitley is now the new president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The society is made up of more than nine thousand doctors, scientists and health care workers.
Whitley has been involved in important medical breakthroughs and is currently doing cancer research.
19-year-old Brennan Cox was found unresponsive in his room at Lakeside West. It is not yet clear how Cox died.
The University is offering counseling for those students who need it.
These satellite offices were closed in August when the county effectively ran out of money and placed about 1000 workers on unpaid leave. Last month, workers were called back to work and the Homewood and Center Point satellite courthouses were opened back up.
The county's interim finance director says the Gardendale and Forestdale offices will open but staffing will be limited. There will only be a crew of eight clerks and one person manning the drive through window.
Also this week, a big vote will be made by the Jefferson County Commission. On Tuesday, county commissioners are expected to vote on a new occupational tax. The tax will would cover professionals such as lawyers and doctors for the very first time. That tax could raise an estimated $72-million.
34-year-old Roderick Bowers of Birmingham was found in his home at 1304 Avenue H after midnight on Monday morning. Bowers had suffered from gunshot wounds to the head and chest and was pronounced dead on the scene.
The investigation continues in this case and no arrests have been made.
If there is anyone who has any information pertaining to the case, they are encouraged to contact the B.P.D. Homicide Unit @ 254-1764 or Crime Stoppers @ 254-7777.
All around the warehouse, thousands of boxes began filling up with white bags filled with toys, clothes and other gifts for needy children. “I was here when this room was empty,” said Christine Smith who is a Major with the Salvation Army. “To look around now and see all the gifts, it's just amazing." Her husband, Major Todd Smith, agreed. “It’s not so much about toys because we all love getting presents,” Smith said. “But they realize someone's remembered them.'”
Just outside the warehouse loading dock, a van with the Birmingham Water Works board arrives loaded down with black bags filled with gifts. “I think it's good. Everyone needs to give a hand when they can,” said Eric King, who works to unload the bags. “We've been blessed. We should bless someone else." His co-worker, Eddie Gray said his department focused on one child and got excited about taking part. “You kind of have to watch yourself. You can get caught up,” Gray said. “You feel like they're your own kids because no one wants to leave any kid behind or without."
For the fifth year, Maggie McConnell has volunteered to help and says she is amazed at how folks have continued to be so generous, in spite of a tight economy. Part of her duties are to verify gifts, giving her a sneak peak at the joy she hopes the kids will feel. “Some of these children wouldn't get anything and how sad would that be?” McConnell said while bagging toys. “So the fact you know on Christmas morning, these kids will find that Santa has indeed arrived is great.”
Gifts bought for an angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree needed to be returned to Colonial Brookwood Village by Saturday, December 12th. You can also drop off a toy at Chick-Fil-A through December 19th or donate cash at Lowe's.
Among the marchers was Mya Cooks who braved the cold weather to be a part of the parade. "Happy, because I reached it. So I could march in the parade,” Mya said.
This is the second year for the parade. One proud mother was glad to see her son participate. "It's very exciting. He is excited about this as I am. It just teaches them if they keep going, striving for what they are doing they will be awarded," Ghia Lee said.
Students who watched on the sidelines hope to be a part of the parade next year. The goal out here at Center Point Elementary is to make this parade even bigger next year. Certainly seven-year-old Mya has already established her goals for her accomplishments.
Mya already has her goals set for life."A teacher and a doctor," Mya said
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Refunds are closer for Jefferson County workers. DeKalb County Judge David Rains has issued an order for the county to put $38
"We would like to have it back for sure. I don't see it coming," Johnathon Henderson said.
One of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit which lead to the tax being declared illegal says Rains’ order is good news for taxpayers. "I think it's fantastic. What it means, we will be getting money into the hands of people of Jefferson County early next year," Jim McFerrin said.
A Birmingham attorney has been appointed by Judge Rains to oversee the refund process. Ed Gentle has handled refunds for massive class action judgements in the past. This includes breast implants and the Anniston pcb cases. Gentle says refunding $38 million can be done. "It's not hard but it will be a lot of math. It involves a lot of claimants. We have 15-thousand employers and 300-thousand employees," Gentle said.
Gentle says after getting money it should take about 90 days. But, there could be a delay, earlier this week Jefferson County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the county could appeal the judge's order. "It will be a matter for the commission to decide but I would hope if the judge's order goes against us we would appeal to the Supreme Court," Collins said
McFerrin says that would be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars in legal fees."You can appeal all you want to; the people of Jefferson County want their money. They deserve to get their money."McFerrin said.
Judge Rains still must decide if additional millions should be added to the refund and what legal fees McFerrin and his partners should get.
Officials are looking into an alleged sexual assault in Vance. The victim identified the officer as the suspect.
No arrests have been made.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay until an investigation is complete.
According to the police chief, the officer pulled a car over and the person in the car shot at the officer. The officer fired back, hitting the suspect. The suspect was flown to a Birmingham hospital with critical injuries.
This is the second police-involved shooting in Gadsden this year.
A grand jury cleared the officer involved in the first shooting.
On Saturday, one candidate withdrew and another was eliminated.
Kathy Augustine, who is currently the Deputy Superintendent of the Atlanta Public School system, withdrew her bid Saturday.
The school board then voted to eliminate Deborah Horn. Horn came under some scrutiny because she had a past working relationship with Board President W.J. Maye.
Board member April Williams says the top three candidates seem promising.