Alabama education director ousted over book's stance on race
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has replaced her director of early childhood education over the use of a teacher training book that the Republican governor denounced as teaching “woke concepts” because of language about inclusion for all families and battling racism.
AP: Trooper charged in child rape hid checkered FBI past
An Alabama state trooper arrested last week on charges he raped an 11-year-old girl had been kicked out of the FBI amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations but was hired anyway with the apparent help of a forged bureau letter that scrubbed his record clean.
Trans teenagers fear Alabama push to outlaw gender treatment
But his medical care could soon become illegal in Alabama as Republican lawmakers seek to criminalize gender transition treatments for people under 19. Opponents, including parents and trans youth, say such measures interfere with medical decisions and target trans individuals for the sake of politics. He said he was unaware such treatments were already happening in Alabama when he first introduced the bill last year. Ad“The whole point is to protect kids,” said Shelnutt, who acknowledged after the Senate vote that he never spoke with a trans youth while preparing the bill. You are asking me to arrest the folks I know saved my kid’s life,” Fuller told a legislative committee.
GOP governors ignore Biden's latest plea on mask mandates
But Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison announced Tuesday he is dropping the state’s mask mandate immediately, a day earlier than previously announced. Gretchen Whitmer to ask whether the White House has considered surging additional vaccines to states with rapidly increasing infection rates. Kay Ivey intends for her state’s mask mandate to end on April 9 as planned, though she urged people to wear masks as a matter of personal responsibility. Eric Holcomb, to reconsider dropping the state’s mask mandate.
Alabama, Georgia pick up the pieces after deadly tornadoes
Officials found “heavy, heavy damage” in parts of the city’s historic district, Newnan Fire Chief Stephen Brown told a news conference. One of the victims in the hard-hit town of Ohatchee, a small community of about 1,170 people in eastern Alabama, was Dwight Jennings' neighbor. AdBad weather wasn't limited to Georgia and Alabama. ___Chandler reported from Shelby County, Alabama. Associated Press journalists Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Desiree Mathurin in Atlanta; Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; Butch Dill in Ohatchee, Alabama; and Rebecca Santana in New Orleans, contributed to this report.
Weather service: 8 tornadoes hit Alabama, killing at least 5
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)A string of deadly tornadoes roared through Alabama on Thursday, toppling trees, demolishing homes and knocking out power to thousands, part of a broad swath of violent weather sweeping across the Deep South. In the city of Pelham, James Dunaway said he initially ignored the tornado warning when it came over his phone. “Thinking of everyone in Alabama and all of those impacted by the severe weather across the South tonight. Kay Ivey issued an emergency declaration for 46 counties as the severe weather approached, and officials opened shelters in and around Birmingham. Associated Press writer Kim Chandler in Montgomery and photographer Butch Dill in Alabama contributed to this report.
Medicaid incentive so far not enough to sway holdout states
Henry McMaster remains firmly opposed to the Medicaid expansion. The bump in federal funding would last two years for the states that join the Medicaid expansion. Laura Kelley this year called for legalizing medical use of marijuana and using the tax revenue to pay for expanding Medicaid. "It’s a nonstarter, and we will continue to oppose the liberal wish list item of Medicaid expansion,” he said. Kay Ivey left open the possibility of expanding Medicaid at some point in the future, but there are no plans to do so.
More severe storms, tornadoes possible across the Deep South
But no serious damage or injuries were immediately reported in North Carolina from the storms near High Point and Charlotte, which both had tornado warnings. Forecasters worried the storms would intensify as they move into South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, but they mostly stayed below severe limits. In South Carolina, the severe weather threat led the state Senate president to caution senators to stay home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety. House Speaker Jay Lucas kept his promise from the day before to meet less than an hour Thursday so members could beat the severe storms home. ___Associated Press writers Tom Foreman Jr. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
Severe weather: Storms batter the South with more on the way
More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power from Texas to Alabama, and radar showed additional storms moving across the region as initial cleanup work began. AdLarge vaccination clinics where hundreds of people an hour can get shots without leaving their vehicles were canceled in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. In the Mississippi capital of Jackson, state employees were warned to head to stairwells if they hear weather sirens. At least two waves of storms were likely, forecasters said, and the worst might not hit until a cold front passes overnight. Elsewhere, the severe weather threat led the South Carolina Senate president to caution senators to state home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety.
The Latest: SKorea to give shots to elders in long-term care
AdHe also sanctioned a bill that makes the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines easier. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing. Murphy, who’s running for re-election this, said the state’s COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, though they’ve been up a bit this week. ___SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s governor says all adults in the state will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines on April 1. Ad___PHOENIX — Arizona on Wednesday reported 830 confirmed coronavirus cases and 78 deaths, following two days of no new deaths.
The Latest: Ontario wants vaccine shot in adults by June 20
Eric Holcomb received his COVID-19 vaccine shot Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the opening of the state’s first mass vaccination clinic. Holcomb wore a face mask in the front passenger seat of an SUV while getting the shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the drive-through clinic. Ad___TORONTO — Canada is getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19, approving the Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose. Canada has pre-purchased 10 million Johnson & Johnson doses, with options to buy another 28 million. The U.S. approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month.
The Latest: San Diego zoo vaccinates 9 great apes for virus
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Zoo has vaccinated nine great apes for the coronavirus after a troop of gorillas in its Safari Park became infected. AdThere have been no new community cases of the virus found in Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand for the past five days. Ad___SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah will open up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people ages 50 and older on Monday. ___JACKSON, Miss.-- People ages 50 and older in Mississippi are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. — Arkansas’ highest court and the governor are at odds over whether judges, prosecutors and other court employees should be immediately eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
Alabama governor leases CoreCivic prisons in $3 billion plan
The governor signed two 30-year lease agreements with separate entities of CoreCivic, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies. While President Joe Biden has ordered the federal system to eliminate the use of private prisons, these facilities will only be built and owned by private companies. AdIvey called the new prisons “the cornerstone” of improving the state’s troubled system, replacing aging prisons that are costly to maintain. “Alabama is about to spend 3 billion dollars over 30 years on building new prisons that won’t fix the problems within our prison system,” tweeted Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa. “It is astounding that Governor Ivey is prioritizing fiscally irresponsible and devastating contracts for prisons that do not address our most urgent needs as Alabamians,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Alabama Students Against Prisons, the Ordinary Peoples Society and others wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
Uproar: Alabama governor to lease prisons, despite criticism
Kay Ivey visits for homecoming festivities during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Alabama and Arkansas, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama Gov. Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola said the governor will sign agreements to lease two new men’s correctional facilities to be constructed by CoreCivic, one of the nations largest private prison companies. The governor's office has said the prisons would be run by the state but the buildings would be leased from the companies. The prison building proposal has met with sharp criticism from a coalition of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Alabama Students Against Prisons and the Ordinary Peoples Society. Instead of a bond issue to borrow money to build the prisons, which would require legislative approval, the governor can sign the leases without legislative approval.
Tornado leaves path of destruction in Alabama, killing 1
One person is dead after a tornado tore through an Alabama city north of Birmingham Monday night, leaving the area with crumpled buildings and downed trees. God protected us last night,” said Williams, who had a cut on his forehead and bruises on his legs but was otherwise OK. At least 30 people were injured as the tornado carved a 10-mile (16-kilometer) path through Birmingham's northern suburbs, an area severely damaged by a much larger tornado a decade ago. Sobbing, Patti Herring was shaken and as she picked through the debris looking for a missing cat and her late mother's cherished belongings. “The people of Fultondale took a hard hit last night — I’m grieved over the loss of life, injuries, homes & damaged businesses," Alabama Gov.
Aaron's death prompts call to change name: Braves to Hammers
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)ATLANTA – As his adopted hometown mourned Hank Aaron's death, some fans called on the Atlanta Braves to change their name to the Hammers in his honor. The NFL's Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer's Atlanta United and Georgia Tech's football team all announced they would retire Aaron's trademark No. The Hammer spent nearly all of his 23-year career with the Braves, whose nickname has drawn some criticism as being offensive to Native Americans. The Braves have steadfastly resisted calls to change their name, saying they view it as a tribute to Native Americans rather than a slur. There has been no indication that Aaron's death would change the team's stance on its Braves nickname.
US Space Command site to be located in Huntsville, Alabama
The U.S. Air Force is expected to announce Huntsville, Ala. as the location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, according to Gov. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday that the new U.S. Space Command headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama, after the state was selected over five others competing for the project, including Colorado, where Space Command is provisionally located. The role of Space Command is to conduct operations such as enabling satellite-based navigation and troop communication and providing warning of missile launches. That is different from the Space Force, which is a distinct military service like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. “I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command,” Alabama Republican Gov.
'Like a bathtub filling up': Alabama is slammed by the virus
Ten beds normally used for less severe cases were transformed into intensive care rooms, with extra IV machines brought in. “We’re kind of like a bathtub that’s filling up with water and the drain is blocked,” the hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. William Smith, said last week. The variant was found in a man in his 20s who is in isolation southeast of Denver and has no travel history, state health officials said Tuesday. As of last week, 15 Alabama hospitals had intensive care units that were at or above capacity, and the ICUs at six more hospitals were at least 96% full. On Tuesday, 2,804 people were in Alabama hospitals with COVID-19, the highest total since the pandemic began.
Alabama prisons agency says federal suit ignores progress
(AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A Justice Department lawsuit over conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men ignores progress the state has made to improve the lockups, the Department of Corrections said. The prisons agency acknowledged past problems, but said the Justice Department “continues to mischaracterize these limited instances as sweeping patterns. Alabama said it had been negotiating with federal officials to settle their concerns, but the Justice Department filed the suit without warning. The Justice Department investigation was launched in 2016 in the closing days of the Obama administration. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Wednesday that the Justice Department demands go “beyond what federal law requires” and are thus unenforceable.
Justice Department sues Alabama over prison conditions
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, against Alabama over conditions in the state prisons, saying the state is failing to protect male inmates from inmate-on-inmate violence and excessive force at the hands of prison staff. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Alabama over conditions in the state prisons, saying the state is failing to protect male inmates from inmate-on-inmate violence and excessive force at the hands of prison staff. The lawsuit comes after the Justice Department twice released investigative reports that accused the state of violating prisoner’s rights. Alabama had been in negotiations with the Justice Department since the first 2019 report in the hopes of staving off a lawsuit, but federal officials said the state has "failed or refused to correct" the unconstitutional conditions. The 24-page lawsuit said that conditions in Alabama prisons have gotten worse since the initial findings — with homicides increasing and prisons becoming even more overcrowded than in 2016 when the investigation was initiated.
The Latest: Oregon doc's anti-mask comment draws suspension
And we must act as though anyone we are around may be infected.”The cases reported Saturday trailed only the record 10,322 cases reported Tuesday. ___ROME — Italy had more than 21,000 daily coronavirus cases and added 662 deaths in the last 24 hours. There were 14 more deaths reported Saturday, bringing the total to 1,874 confirmed deaths. Russia’s 2.4 million confirmed cases is the fourth-largest caseload in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil. ___NEW DELHI — India has registered 36,652 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
LIVE VIDEO: Powerful Hurricane Zeta makes Louisiana landfall
Zeta weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph (128 kph) as it moved into southern Mississippi few hours after landfall, but forecasters said it remained a life-threatening storm. “Guys, we received the brunt of Zeta, and Zeta gave us a good punch,” McInnis told WDSU-TV. More than 875,000 customers were without electricity in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including about 350,000 in metro New Orleans. Before landfall, Zeta’s top winds had risen to just shy of a major, Category 3 storm, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. ___Plaisance reported from Laffite, Louisiana, and Santana from Shell Beach, Louisiana.
Voters could remove racist phrases from Alabama Constitution
FILE - In this July 26, 2020, file photo, mourners gathered at the Alabama Capitol following the death of Rep. John Lewis. Alabama voters will decide whether to remove racist, segregation-era language from the state's 1901 Constitution in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Julie Bennett, File)BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama voters once again have the chance to remove the racist language of Jim Crow from the state's constitution, which was approved in 1901 to enshrine white supremacy as state law. Voters in neighboring Mississippi will decide on a replacement for the Confederate-themed state flag, and Rhode Island voters will decide whether to remove a reference to plantations from the state's official name. Two decades ago, Alabama voters voted to repeal an unenforceable section of the constitution that made it illegal for Black and white people to marry.
1963 church bombing survivor seeks apology, restitution
More than a dozen sticks of dynamite planted by Ku Klux Klansmen exploded at a Birmingham church in 1963, killing four Black girls. George Wallace, at the time encouraged the racial violence that led to one of the most infamous acts of the civil rights era. The blast killed Denise McNair, 11, and three 14-year-olds: Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins, who was Rudolph’s sister. Rudolph recalled that she and her sister had gone to the washroom to freshen up after walking to church. After the bombing, Rudolph for years lived anonymously.
'Forrest Gump' author Winston Groom dead at 77
FAIRHOPE, Ala. – Winston Groom, the writer whose novel “Forrest Gump” was made into a six-Oscar winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop cultural phenomenon, has died at age 77. “While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. “It touched a nerve,” Groom told the Tuscaloosa News in 2014. They “took some of the rough edges off,” Groom told the New York Times in 1994. Groom got $350,000 for the rights to “Forrest Gump” plus 3 percent of the net profit of the movie.
Plodding and powerful, Sally moves in on Gulf Coast
Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast sometime through the night and morning. – Hurricane Sally, a plodding but powerful storm with winds of 100 mph, crept toward the northern Gulf Coast early Tuesday, with forecasters warning of potentially deadly storm surges, flash floods spurred by up to 2 feet (.61 meters) of rain and the possibility of tornadoes. Claunch marveled at how the Gulf waters had already crept over swaths of sandy shore and infiltrated bike paths and parking lots. Sally achieved hurricane strength Monday and quickly intensified to a Category 2 storm with 100 mph (161 kph) winds. Forecasters expect winds to increase to up to 110 mph (177 kph) over the warm Gulf waters before the storm blows ashore.
Gulf Coast residents brace for possible new hurricane
– Storm-weary Gulf Coast residents prepared for a new weather onslaught Monday as Tropical Storm Sally churned northward. He said a matching pelican marker on the opposite side of the driveway was washed away in Tropical Storm Cristobal earlier this summer. “That system is forecast to bring not only damaging winds but a dangerous storm surge,” said Daniel Brown of the Hurricane Center. Once a tropical storm, Rene was forecast to become a remnant low Monday. Tropical Depression Twenty was expected to strengthen this week and become a tropical storm by Tuesday, forecasters said.
Sally set to become hurricane and threaten U.S. Gulf Coast
– Tropical Storm Sally slowed down Sunday as it churned northward toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, increasing the risk of heavy rain and dangerous storm surge before an expected strike as a Category 2 hurricane in southern Louisiana. He said a matching pelican marker on the opposite side of the driveway was washed away in Tropical Storm Cristobal earlier this summer. Once a tropical storm, Rene was forecast to become a remnant low Monday. Tropical Depression Twenty was expected to strengthen this week and become a tropical storm by Tuesday, forecasters said. “It is likely that this storm system will be impacting Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Alabama gov seeks 3 private built mega prisons, names sites
Kay Ivey announced the Alabama Department of Corrections would enter into negotiations with two development teams including Nashville, Tennessee-based private prison giant CoreCivic and Alabama Prison Transformation Partners, a group including state-based construction firm BLHarbert, on developing the three new prisons. She said the three mega prisons would collectively house a total of 10,000 male inmates more than 3,000 per prison. Considered one of the most violent and understaffed systems in the country, the Alabama prison system has faced a litany of federal criticism. A federal judge in 2017 ruled state mental health care in prisons is horrendously inadequate" and ordered improvements in staffing levels and care. Prison construction bills failed in the legislature among political infighting over which districts would lose existing prisons and which ones would get the new facilities and the jobs that come with them.
The Latest: Top US health official triggers more confusion
(Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)NEW YORK A top U.S. health official triggered a new round of confusion while trying to clarify a change to the coronavirus testing guidance. The change posted this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was sharply criticized by public health experts. It also said a doctor or public health officials could still recommend a test. State Health Officer Scott Harris links increased mask usage to a drop in hospitalizations and the percentage of positive tests. On Thursday, official data showed the U.K. recorded 1,522 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours the most since around mid-June.
The Latest: Confirmed coronavirus cases reach 20 million
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)PROVIDENCE, R.I. The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the world has reached 20 million. It said this was due to the British governments decision to advise people to avoid cruises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Indonesia announced 1,693 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its confirmed total to 128,776. ___NEW DELHI, India India reported 53,601 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as its total confirmed infections near 2.3 million. Beshear, the father of two children, called it a tough but necessary step as the state comes off an escalation of virus cases in July.
The Latest: Florida reaches 7,000 deaths from coronavirus
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Florida health officials have reported 179 new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the states total to more than 7,000. With five more deaths, the total confirmed deaths in Italy reached more than 35,000 on Saturday. ___MIAMI Hurricane Isaias is heading toward the Florida coast, where officials say they were closing coronavirus testing centers and navigating safety measures for evacuation facilities. Health authorities say the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased on the French mainland in recent weeks. ___TOKYO Japans capital recorded 472 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the third straight day of record numbers.
Federal review: Alabama inmates subjected to excessive force
Dreiband said the Justice Department hopes to work with Alabama to resolve the departments concerns. Ultimately, Alabama does not properly prevent and address unconstitutional uses of force in its prisons, fostering a culture where unlawful uses of force are common," the report read. The report noted that at least two inmates died at the end of 2019 after use of force by officers. No one, not even a dog, deserves this.The 28-page Justice Department report listed other examples of violence by staff after reviewing files and visiting several state prisons. said Rep. Chris England, a Tuscaloosa lawmaker who has called for the new leadership at the state Department of Corrections.
Governors stress 'personal responsibility' over virus orders
When we have people dying in this state as a result of this virus, we should be taking personal responsibility for this, the Republican governor said. Elevating a message of personal responsibility over statewide crackdowns on businesses and requirements for people in public spaces has been a consistent approach among certain governors during the coronavirus crisis. She has consistently invoked personal responsibility as a key strategy in combating the virus. The personal responsibility ethos has been GOP orthodoxy for decades, often used to justify smaller government and promote individualism. In the current climate, personal responsibility is being used to encourage wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large crowds without making those steps mandatory.
Surviving in America's Black Belt amid pandemic and job loss
When the rest of the country catches a cold, a place like the Black Belt catches the flu, said Lydia Chatmon, who works with the Selma Center for Non-Violence and helped coordinate with the Black Belt Community Foundation on last week's donations. Stretching from Louisiana to Virginia, the Black Belt is a crescent-shaped agricultural region first known for the color of its soil and then for its mostly black population. The area also took the hardest hit from unemployment during the economic shutdown, with eight Black Belt counties having jobless rates near or above 20%. And more than $4 million in pandemic assistance grants announced last week will go to agencies that serve Black Belt counties in Alabama. While broadband access is spotty across much of rural Alabama, some entire counties lack service in the Black Belt.