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Home > Tuscaloosa Business News

Tuscaloosa Business News - 2012-02


We have news items here related to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Students sharpen skills for jobs beyond the classoom - Holt High School hosted a woodworking demonstration as part of its Career Tech Week Wednesday morning. Jan Hudson, career tech coordinator for the Tuscaloosa County School System, said that these hands-on programs are an asset for any student wanting to succeed in today’s career-driven world. 16185
February 29th, 2012
Tuscaloosa threatens lawsuit over insurance offer - The city of Tuscaloosa is threatening legal action against its insurance provider for what the mayor considers a low offer to replace a building used for emergency planning and environmental services destroyed in the April 27 tornado. 16184
February 29th, 2012
AROUND TOWN: 2/29 - 16183
February 29th, 2012
Great Dane missing after shelter closes - The raid and closure of the Hale County Animal Shelter earlier this month is having an impact beyond the arrest of its director two weeks ago. Hale County resident Jack Mills, whose wife’s Great Dane, Heidi, was being held at the shelter, is now having trouble getting the dog back. 16182
February 29th, 2012
Reports of stomach virus increase - TUSCALOOSA | When Northport resident Casey Sorrell woke up with a high fever and body aches, she thought it might be the flu. But during a 24-hour period, she was hit hard by a stomach virus that wiped her out for a weekend and took days to recover. 16181
February 29th, 2012
Lawsuit alleges sexual assault - Two former Tuscaloosa County Community Corrections employees have filed a federal lawsuit against Tuscaloosa County and the former supervisor whom they say sexually assaulted and harassed them for years. 16180
February 29th, 2012
Luke Bryan concert at the Amp postponed - The Luke Bryan concert previously scheduled for April 13 at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict, according to booking agent Red Mountain Entertainment. Tickets will not go on sale Saturday, as previously announced. 16179
February 29th, 2012
City BOE approves magnet changes - TUSCALOOSA | In a nearly four-hour meeting, the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education approved two major changes to school system Tuesday night — the Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools’ entry requirements and Superintendent Paul McKendrick’s school reform plan. Entry into Tuscaloosa Magnet elementary and middle schools will now be offered to 7 percent of students from each school in the system, with no exceptions. Previously, 14 percent of students in the historic district — University Place elementary and middle schools — had slots reserved for them at the magnet schools. Another entry requirement that has been changed is the magnet schools’ allocated slots for students who are outside the school system — students in private school, home-schooled students or students whose families just moved into the city. Just as before, students from outside the system — students in the Tuscaloosa County School System can’t apply to the magnet schools unless they leave the county system and move into a city schools zone — who want to attend the magnet schools have to compete for the leftover slots that schools in the system haven’t filled. But what’s new is that students from outside the system cannot fill more unused slots than the highest number of slots available to the largest school in the system, even if there are more unused slots at the magnet schools than the number allotted to the largest school in the system. “If there’s a school that can send seven students to the magnet school, but only has five students who want to go to the magnet school, there’s two extra slots open for school,” school board member Marvin Lucas said Monday regarding the outside student magnet school cap. “What we were doing is those two slots would go into a pool, and people who were in private school or transferring to our system from another system would have first choice for those extra seats. “But what would happen if every school had at least one seat open?” he said. “You’d have more private sector kids getting into the magnet school than students in the system.” Elizabeth Davis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said Tuesday that all unused magnet school slots that remain unused beyond the cap put on outside students, will become available again to the schools that didn’t fill their 7 percent magnet schools allowance. School reform In December 2011, McKendrick proposed making drastic changes to help the system’s central zone — the lowest performing zone of the system’s three school zones. His plan included implementing year-round school. At Tuesday’s board meeting, the board approved McKendrick’s school reform plan — called the Children First Initiative — however, the plan no longer calls for year-round school. “I looked at the cost of doing an extended year with Mr. (Ed) LaVigne, and if we just did the extended year, we could afford it,” McKendrick told the board. “But we need to do a lot more than the extended year.” McKendrick said it would cost the school system an additional $550,000 a year to implement year-round school. He said year-round school could be paid for with money from the general fund, Title I money — additional money that schools with at least a 35 percent poverty receive — and money gained from cutting school services. But his other school reform proposals need to be implemented at the same time as year-round school, and they cost almost as much, McKendrick said. He said he couldn’t recall exactly how much his other reform initiatives cost at after the meeting. Board Vice Chairwoman Earnestine Tucker asked Mc-Kendrick if he sought money to fund year-round school from outside sources, such as grants. She encouraged him to do so after he said no. “Without extended year, the changes aren’t so drastic, but they are different,” McKendrick said. The Children First Initiative without year-round school will be implemented at more schools than just those in the central zone. The changes will be applied to Central Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Oakdale Elementary, Northington Elementary, Skyland Elementary Southview Elementary, Oak Hill and all system middle and high schools. The plan includes: n Reorganizing Oak Hill alternative school. n Continuing support of the changes called for by Westlawn Middle’s School Improvement Grant. n Developing an individual culture and theme at each school. n Remediation, enrichment and after-school programs. n Additional planning time for teachers. n Individualized student plans. n Programs for students who are older than they should be for their grade. n Accelerated classes for advanced students. n Increased enrollment in advanced placement and international baccalaureate classes n Offering credit recovery at all high schools n Offering extra support and remediation for Algebra students. n Reorganizing summer school to make it more appealing to students who aren’t performing well during the school year. McKendrick said the school reform changes will go into effect this summer. Reach Jamon Smith at jamon.smith@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0204. 16178
February 29th, 2012
Area agencies receive more than $2M in grants - TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund distributed $301,000 in January, with most of the money going to two agencies — Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa and the West Alabama chapter of the American Red Cross. Two other nonprofits also received grants from last month’s distribution, the most recent by the relief fund, which was established immediately after the April 27 tornadoes. 16177
February 29th, 2012
New zoning maps for neighborhoods touch all areas of tornado path - TUSCALOOSA | A widespread rezoning proposal for residential areas within the tornado recovery zone was presented Tuesday to the City Council’s Public Projects Committee. 16176
February 29th, 2012
plan for tornado zone revealed - TUSCALOOSA | An ambitious plan to overhaul parks, improve public access to technology and install a recreational walking trail throughout the tornado recovery zone was unveiled Tuesday at City Hall. 16175
February 29th, 2012
Pickens County to play for third straight title - 16174
February 28th, 2012
Former Auburn coach Tuberville accused of investment fraud - A federal lawsuit filed Friday in Montgomery names Tuberville, John David Stroud and eight investment entities as defendants, claiming the two men "employed devices, schemes, and artifices to defraud" seven plaintiffs from Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee. 16173
February 28th, 2012
Area agencies receive more than $2 million from relief fund - Four agencies received more than $301,000 from the Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund during its latest round of grant awards. 16172
February 28th, 2012
Lady Titans down Ragland to reach Class 1A title game - 16171
February 28th, 2012
PHOTOS: Daytona 500 - 16170
February 28th, 2012
County school board member has heart attack - Tuscaloosa County school board member John Hinton remained in good condition and in good spirits Monday after suffering a heart attack over the weekend, according to Tuscaloosa County Board of Education Secretary Tina West. 16169
February 28th, 2012
Self-serve yogurt shop to open downtown on Thursday - Downtown has a new place for people looking to indulge their sweet tooth. Sweet CeCe’s Frozen Yogurt & Treats, located next to the Children’s Hands-On Museum on University Boulevard, opens Thursday and will celebrate by giving away free cups of its self-serve frozen yogurt from 6 to 8 p.m., said franchise owner Dan Banko, a 2005 graduate of the University of Alabama. 16168
February 28th, 2012
Lawmakers want voters to set pay - Two legislators are proposing a constitutional amendment to reduce legislative pay and change the way compensation is calculated. 16167
February 28th, 2012
More Americans seeking dental treatment at ER - More Americans are turning to the emergency room for routine dental problems — a choice that often costs 10 times more than preventive care and offers far fewer treatment options than a dentist’s office, according to an analysis of government data and dental research. 16166
February 28th, 2012
Bill seeks to ax cameras for red-light violations - A northwest Alabama legislator is sponsoring a bill that would require the city of Tuscaloosa to remove the automated red-light traffic cameras slated to be installed within a few months. 16165
February 28th, 2012
Magnet Schools makeup to change - Tuscaloosa City School System administrators and school board members say they have problems with the entry requirements for the Tuscaloosa Magnet School, which has a special curriculum based on experiential learning. 16164
February 28th, 2012
Rash of burglaries reported in Vestavia neighborhood - 16163
February 27th, 2012
Woman charged with falsely reporting she was kidnapped - 16162
February 27th, 2012
Freshman pitcher Turnbull to start against South Alabama - The University of Alabama baseball team will start a freshman for the fifth time in seven games Tuesday night when Spencer Turnbull takes the mound for the Crimson Tide against South Alabama. And UA coach Mitch Gaspard is looking forward to the test. 16161
February 27th, 2012
Ohio school shooting leaves 1 dead, 4 wounded - A teenager described as a bullied outcast at his suburban Cleveland high school opened fire in the cafeteria Monday morning, killing one student and wounding four others before being caught a short distance away, authorities said. 16160
February 27th, 2012
Fernwood Court first multi-home development in tornado zone - 16159
February 27th, 2012
Alabama native Octavia Spencer wins best supporting actress - Octavia Spencer inspired her formidable character in “The Help,” but the actress turned into a softy Sunday as she accepted an Oscar for the role. “Oh, thank you,” a tearful Spencer said as many in the audience rose to their feet. She expressed gratitude to her family, her colleagues from “The Help” and her native “state of Alabama” as she received the best supporting actress trophy. 16158
February 27th, 2012
John Mayer to play Tuscaloosa Amphitheater April 26 - Genre-bending hit-maker John Mayer, a seven-time Grammy winner, will play the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on April 26, with opening act Kacey Musgraves, booking agent Red Mountain Entertainment announced. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. 16157
February 27th, 2012
Looking Back 2/27 - 16156
February 27th, 2012
Northport considers program for first-time offenders - More than 150 first-time misdemeanor offenders have enrolled in the Tuscaloosa Municipal Court pretrial diversion program since it was established last summer. 16155
February 27th, 2012
UA costumers rushing to get ready for - Even with nine costume shop graduate students, more undergraduates and a handful of professional staff on hand, the University of Alabama costume shop has been sewing, cutting and fitting from late fall to the last minute for the French musical farce “An Italian Straw Hat,” which opens tonight in the Marian Gallaway Theatre. 16154
February 27th, 2012
Questions surround ex-conservator's cases - K.E. lived in a middle-class home in east Tuscaloosa for much of her life. She and her husband had no children, and they built up a sizable nest egg for their twilight years. As she neared 70, age began to take a toll on K.E.'s mind and body. Her sight began to fade, she got lost while driving and would sometimes put on a shirt inside out. It became clear to her doctors and close friends that someone else needed to be in charge of her finances, since she was going through a divorce from her husband of more than 30 years. J.B. was 67 and bedridden after a stroke in 2009, unable to eat, bathe or care for himself. He lived in a modest home in west Tuscaloosa and owned real estate, savings and Greenetrack shares that together totaled nearly half a million dollars. In both cases, family and close friends realized that their loved ones could no longer pay their own bills, manage their money or live unassisted. But there were disputes among those families and friends over how to do that. The two cases ended up in Tuscaloosa County Probate Court. They were assigned to a conservator — a third party responsible for managing finances and care for those who no longer could do so. The conservator who was assigned their cases and hundreds of similar cases in Tuscaloosa County since 2005 was attorney Zondra Hutto. She retired from the practice of law last year when allegations arose that a staff member used more than $20,000 of an elderly woman's money to buy gas, clothing, a designer purse and a trip to Mexico for himself and Hutto. She is now serving a three-month federal prison term for knowing about but not reporting the felony. Since then, auditors have found that Hutto mismanaged and misspent funds in other cases. They found that she didn't always pay bills on time, paid a family friend hundreds of dollars to care for the lawns of small properties and sometimes used one person's money to pay nursing home bills for another. She has been ordered to repay about $114,000 to clients whose cases have been examined in Circuit Court. But there still are an unknown number of cases in Tuscaloosa Probate Court that haven't yet been examined. Lack of accounting A review of more than two dozen case files examined by The Tuscaloosa News indicated that Hutto didn't consistently file financial accountings in probate court every three years, as required by state law. Documents required when a conservator resigns were missing from each file. Several attorneys and other professionals who have examined some of Hutto's cases said that a lack of oversight by the probate court for years has led to the mess they have been cleaning up for the past several months. Only one, however, would say so publicly — an attorney in Baldwin County. In private, nine local attorneys and other professionals involved said some of the most vulnerable people in Tuscaloosa are being victimized twice: once by the conservator who may have been irresponsible with their life savings, and again by the court officials who haven't set things right. One prominent Tuscaloosa attorney said that the situation was one of the worst miscarriages of law he had observed in a career of many decades. Some conservatorship cases originate in circuit court, but most fall in probate court. Cases reviewed in circuit court document where Hutto has been ordered to return money to the wards or their estates. Forensic accountings have been ordered and bank records subpoenaed in some of the cases that involved larger amounts of money. Those cases are still pending. But it appears that dozens of cases in probate court have not been properly addressed nearly a year after Hutto resigned from her position as conservator. Probate Judge Hardy McCollum was not able to provide a full list of Hutto's open cases. In probate court, unlike circuit court, the judge is not required to be a lawyer. McCollum, like most probate judges in Alabama, does not have a law degree. According to state law, when a conservator resigns, they are required to give notice and provide a final accounting, justified with receipts and bills. The judge in the case is then required to appoint an attorney as a guardian ad litem to act as an advocate for the ward during proceedings. The guardian ad litem reviews the accounts and a hearing is held during which the judge determines whether the money was handled properly. That's when the appointed guardian ad litem has a chance to dispute any of the accounting. The judge then rules whether the former conservator is owed any attorney fees or whether the conservator should repay any money to the account. The conservatorship is then closed and, if necessary, a new conservator is appointed by the judge. The new conservator is then required to file an inventory of the ward's assets within 90 days. In 40 cases reviewed by The Tuscaloosa News that originated in or were transferred to circuit court, a guardian ad litem was appointed to examine Hutto's accounting. The guardian ad litem found unwarranted charges to the accounts that weren't justified with receipts or bills. In all of the cases, the guardian ad litem determined that Hutto charged individuals hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary postage, storage rental, lawn care or other fees. Circuit Judge Brad Almond has ordered Hutto to reimburse more than $114,000 to the accounts of the wards and their families. But probate court records don't indicate a similar process. Hutto has said in circuit court hearings that she had about 100 cases in probate court. Probate court officials were not able to give an exact number. The Tuscaloosa News examined close to 30 found in online probate records. People who have conservators appointed to handle their finances often have no family. For those who do, circumstances such as strained relationships make it in the person's best interest for an impartial person to take over. That's the situation in many of the cases that have been moved from probate to circuit court by attorneys hired by those family members. Fairhope attorney Jim Smith handles conservatorships in Baldwin County. He expects to become the conservator for a man in one of Hutto's cases that a local attorney had moved from probate court to circuit court. The ward now lives in south Alabama. Smith has been receiving the man's Social Security checks since June 2011 after being contacted by the man, who felt his money wasn't being properly administered by probate court in Tuscaloosa. He supported moving the case after learning that Hutto had never filed an accounting in the case. “There hadn't been an accounting filed in a long time. By the time I was involved, she had filed something and there were questions about who his checks were going to,” Smith said. “It didn't look like the probate office was doing the job right. Frankly, the impression was that nothing was going to be done.” As a conservator in Baldwin County, Smith files regular accounting each year. If he forgets, the probate office there sends him a reminder. “The procedures up there had been allowed to descend into a shambles, apparently,” Smith said of the Tuscaloosa probate office. Attorney John McCulley, who represents the present guardian and conservator for K.E., said that proper procedures had not been followed in her case, which is why it was moved to circuit court. For example, he said, Hutto had never acquired a bond, which is required to protect the ward in case of mismanagement. “The court ordered the appointed conservator to file a bond. The conservator did not file a bond, and despite that order, the court issued letters to the conservator,” he said. “Letters are the conservator's written evidence of authority to act on behalf of the ward. Once we found out that there had been no bond issued, we immediately sought an accounting. Additionally, the probate court entered judgment in the case against a third party in favor of Zondra Hutto and at her request without giving the third party either notice or an opportunity to defend.” The case was moved to circuit court. Hearings have been held and the case is pending a detailed analysis of the accounting. McCulley said that he was also concerned about money that the probate court had ordered a third party to pay K.E.'s estate. A judgment had been filed in the case against that person, who had been given no notice of a hearing. Attorney Bryan Winter represents a family member of a woman whose case was moved from probate to circuit court. He said that the case is pending while Hutto's accounting receives an in-depth review. “The parties are working in the current litigation to appropriately address the significant issues that have been raised with the accounting of the estate,” he said. McCollum, the probate judge, said that he wasn't sure how many cases remain open in his court. After asking to review Hutto's cases, a Tuscaloosa News reporter was provided 66 court files. In most of those cases, Hutto had been appointed to serve as a guardian only, meaning that she was not required to handle any money or assets. Guardians are tasked with ensuring that wards' basic needs are met, such as housing, clothing and health care. Most of the files provided in which she was a conservator involved very little money. No final accounting had been filed in any of those cases, which was required when Hutto resigned. The News later learned that there were many more cases that weren't made available. Many files in those cases, when viewed on the Tuscaloosa County website, did not include final accountings. Others did include an accounting similar to what Hutto submitted in the circuit court cases, but without receipts or further explanation of charges. The News found charges in those accounts similar to the ones that were disputed in the circuit court cases, including a $5 monthly charge for postage and copies to each account, lawn care fees paid to a family friend and hundreds of dollars in storage fees. Hundreds of dollars were paid to an accountant for tax preparation. Almond, the circuit judge, ordered Hutto to reimburse accounts for those type of charges, which also included late fees for bills or money spent on another ward. J.B.'s account showed that Hutto charged him nearly $300 each month for storage fees. Another $178 from his account was used to pay for medicine for another of Hutto's clients who has no connection to J.B. Like the other court files reviewed, J.B.'s file indicates that there has been no guardian ad litem to represent him by reviewing his account and that no final hearing has been set to approve Hutto's accounting. McCollum says that the cases in his court have been reviewed by an accountant and that he plans to review more detailed examinations of Hutto's accounts and issue a final order in each one. In the resignation filings in which she submitted accounting, Hutto requested that the judge hold a hearing and issue a final order in each case. There were no hearings scheduled as of last week. McCollum said that final orders have been issued in some of the cases; however none of the files provided by his office or viewed online indicated that. “We've looked at all of her files. We scrutinize these closely, we've gone through these with a fine-tooth comb,” McCollum said. “We haven't found anything that's missing in the way of the accounting, and no funds have been disbursed in any case. In fact, she's owed money for legal fees in some cases.” In several of the probate cases reviewed, orders accepting her resignation and appointing a new conservator were included in files, but they were undated and unsigned by the judge. None of the court files reviewed for this story indicate that a guardian ad litem had been appointed to review accounts, or that a hearing had been scheduled and advertised in a newspaper or posted in a public building for the three weeks required by statute. McCollum appointed Carol Geer to serve as the successor guardian and conservator in Hutto's old cases. He said that there was no need to appoint someone else as a guardian ad litem to review Hutto's submitted finances because Geer would do that. The law, however, states that the guardian ad litem must be an attorney. Geer, who is president of Complete Nursing Service, which provides nursing care and sitting services for patients, is not an attorney. In the cases reviewed by The News, no inventories had been filed listing the wards' money and personal property, another requirement of the conservator law. When she took over many of the cases, Geer took a check to the circuit clerk's office with money Hutto had pooled from several wards' accounts. As of last week, Almond has ordered that $61,397.73 be returned to wards after hearings in his court regarding Hutto's accounting. There is still $46,369.10 being held by the circuit clerk that has not been ordered paid to anyone. It is unknown who the money belongs to. Court records also indicate that Hutto wasn't keeping up with the required accounting in her cases. Law requires conservators to file accounting at least every three years. In all of the resignation documents filed by Hutto, she states that no previous accounting had been filed, even though many of those cases were at least three years old. It was customary for Hutto to give herself a commission of 5 percent in each case. In at least one case involving a large amount of money, an attorney has questioned that 5 percent. In one circuit court case, Hutto took $95,366 in commission from the woman's accounts and requested around $20,000 in attorney fees. Attorney Paige Oldshue wrote in a motion disputing Hutto's accounting that “in this case, Hutto routinely paid herself a 5 percent commission on monies she paid on behalf of (the ward) and items she sold on behalf of (the ward) without any approval from the court and without any proof of reasonableness. Any compensation to Ms. Hutto for her service as the conservator should have been reviewed and approved by the court with a finding of reasonableness as to the fee.” Those fees and others are among the ones disputed in the circuit court cases. One of those still pending is the case that originated in circuit court that involves the federal charges against Hutto and her former employee. Hutto, 62, will be released from the medium-security Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in central Florida on March 4. Her former employee, Brian Lunceford, 30, has agreed to plead guilty to spending $20,291 that belonged to a woman who was in a nursing home, suffering from dementia, a delusion disorder and paranoia. According to the federal plea agreement, he said that the woman had more than $2 million in her accounts and said, “I don't disagree what I did was wrong or against the law.” The court records do not indicate a sentencing date. 16153
February 27th, 2012
LEND A HAND: Chili cook-off fundraiser will benefit community soup bowl - TUSCALOOSA | First Christian Church, 627 Paul W. Bryant Drive, will host its Men's Chili Cook-off fundraiser at 6 p.m. on March 3. The fundraiser will benefit the East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl, which is temporarily being housed at Hargrove Memorial United Methodist Church. The service organization serves hot meals to those in need every Wednesday and Friday at noon, and sandwich sack lunches every Sunday at 2 p.m. 16152
February 26th, 2012
News sports staff earns 10 AP awards - The Tuscaloosa News was honored with 10 national awards for its 2011 coverage by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and cited for the third year in a row for taking home top-10 recognition in at least three of the four major categories. 16151
February 26th, 2012
Prom dress fundraiser provides inexpensive formals; proceeds fight domestic violence - TUSCALOOSA | Midtown Village and Clear Channel Broadcasting’s WZBQ 94.1 have joined forces to collect gently used formal attire to give high school girls an opportunity to buy affordable prom dresses and evening shoes. 16150
February 26th, 2012
Students make nest from April 27 tornados debris - TUSCALOOSA | In the middle of Rosedale Park, where playground equipment and basketball goals were blown away 10 months ago, a group of people huddled together and hurriedly worked on an obscured object. 16149
February 26th, 2012
Next chief justice will deal with budget cuts - How well the next Alabama chief justice copes with the state’s fiscal issues will play a significant role in the campaigns of the three Republicans vying for the job in the March 13 GOP primary. 16148
February 26th, 2012
Mental health chiefs plan will hurt UA and Alberta, Tuscaloosa leaders say - The Alabama Department of Mental Health’s decision to transform the psychiatric hospital under construction near the University of Alabama into a facility for the criminally insane has provoked a passionate response from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and other local leaders, who say the department should reconsider. 16147
February 26th, 2012
Hundreds sign petition in Alberta - Hundreds of Tuscaloosa residents, most of them from the Alberta area, signed a petition Saturday against proposed changes in the Alabama Department of Mental Health. 16146
February 26th, 2012
Reward offered for info in bald eagle shooting - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who can help find out who shot an American bald eagle in Tuscaloosa County. 16145
February 25th, 2012
Two teens charged in home invasion robbery - Two teenagers have been charged in connection with a January home invasion robbery. 16144
February 25th, 2012
County BOE OKs deal for interim chief - The Tuscaloosa County Board of Education approved interim superintendent Dan Butler’s contract Thursday and chose the Alabama Association of School Boards as the search firm to find a permanent replacement for School Superintendent Frank Costanzo, who retires March 1. 16143
February 25th, 2012
Myrtlewood pupils plant 30 trees in beautification project - Myrtlewood Elementary School students and teachers planted 30 trees on their campus Friday morning as part of an ongoing school beautification project. 16142
February 25th, 2012
Boys, mentors to meet at event - The eighth annual Men and Boys Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. today at the W.C. Jones Education Building behind Bailey Tabernacle CME Church’s sanctuary. 16141
February 25th, 2012
Performance at University of Alabama honors Perry County author - On the surface, there’s nothing remarkable about the sources of inspiration for Mary Ward Brown’s short stories. The stories are about people or things in a typical place at a forgettable moment. 16140
February 25th, 2012
Downtown bank changes name, sign - The RBC sign came down this week on the downtown high rise at the intersection of University Boulevard and Greensboro Avenue that has been its landmark location in Tuscaloosa for the past several years. 16139
February 25th, 2012
Absentee voting expected to surge - TUSCALOOSA | With next month’s primary falling on the Tuesday of spring break week, county election officials are expecting an increase in the number of absentee ballots. 16138
February 25th, 2012
Retired police trainer to investigate cold cases - Sharp retired Feb. 1 from the Alabama Criminal Justice Center, where he worked as an investigator, a chief investigator and field agent during his 28 years. He was a volunteer instructor with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission for 33 years. 16137
February 25th, 2012
Green available for Mississippi State game - Alabama forward JaMychal Green will be available against Mississippi State after serving a four-game suspension. 16136
February 24th, 2012
Officials expect spike in absentee ballots for primary election - With next month's primary falling on the Tuesday of Spring Break week, county election officials are expecting an increase in the normal amount of absentee ballots. 16135
February 24th, 2012
Bill could require invasive ultrasounds for abortions - The Right to Know and See Act, which was introduced by Sen. Clay Scofield, would require a physician to perform, explain and display images from an ultrasound before performing an abortion, “using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly,” the bill says. 16134
February 24th, 2012
Tide erases early deficit for big road win - FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. | The University of Alabama basketball team, patched in more patterns and stitched in more places than a grandmother's quilt, found a way not to wind up tattered on Thursday night nonetheless. 16133
February 24th, 2012
Deputies say woman had home meth lab - Tuscaloosa County sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman early Thursday after receiving a tip that people were making methamphetamine at the home near Skyland Boulevard. 16132
February 24th, 2012
Soul band Maze plans March 30 show - Soul band Maze featuring Frankie Beverly will play the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater at 8 p.m. March 30, concert promoter Red Mountain Entertainment announced. 16131
February 24th, 2012
Tyner plans petition drive against mental health plan - City Councilman Kip Tyner said he’s been “slammed” with calls from constituents upset about proposed changes in the Alabama Department of Mental Health. 16130
February 24th, 2012
Writer says blacks treated worse after slavery - TUSCALOOSA | In the 80 years after the Civil War, blacks in the U.S. endured conditions that were in some instances worse than slavery, author Douglas Blackmon said during a lecture Thursday night on the University of Alabama campus. 16129
February 24th, 2012
Trooper post earns honor for tornado response - 16128
February 24th, 2012
Northport council member to run for re-election - Bart Harper has decided to seek re-election to the District 5 seat on the Northport City Council in the August municipal election. 16127
February 24th, 2012
Volunteer says Hale County animal shelter problems not a secret - A former Hale County Humane Society board member and animal shelter volunteer said she tried to make board members aware of problems with personnel at the county’s animal shelter, but her concerns were swept under the rug. Some board members and former board members share her sentiments. 16126
February 24th, 2012
Website offers users local crime statistics - City residents will soon have a chance to see whether crime is a problem in their own backyards. The Tuscaloosa Police Department has joined with crimereports.com, an online database that updates crime locations several times a day. 16125
February 24th, 2012
Racy texts to student detailed in lawsuit - An amendment to a civil lawsuit on Wednesday revealed explicit details about a former Tuscaloosa County High School student’s allegations of sexual harassment by a former assistant principal at the school. 16124
February 24th, 2012
Program sheds light on citys civil rights role - A program held Thursday night at First African Baptist Church on Stillman Boulevard focused on Tuscaloosa’s role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. 16123
February 24th, 2012
Bill would cut red tape for foreign adoptions - Cris and Karen Mahy of Rainbow City adopted a young girl from the Ukraine about seven years ago and one of the bureaucratic hurdles the Mahys encountered in Alabama had Cris Mahy scratching his head. 16122
February 23rd, 2012
Judge acquits Alabama man accused in honeymoon death - Circuit Judge Tommy Nail ruled in Birmingham that prosecutors failed to present enough evidence of a crime to send the case to jurors. He ended the two-week-long trial by acquitting 34-year-old Gabe Watson on his own. 16121
February 23rd, 2012
Commission approves demolition of storm damaged houses - The Tuscaloosa County Commission authorized demolition of five storm-damaged houses Wednesday and its attorney is looking into getting the state Legislature to enact a local law that would give the county greater powers to condemn dilapidated houses. 16120
February 23rd, 2012
Steele putting positive spin on Bamas recent problems - According to University of Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant, tonight’s game against Arkansas is not about the players who are absent. 16119
February 23rd, 2012
AROUND TOWN: 2/23 - 16118
February 23rd, 2012
House delays action on Fire College bill - A state House committee on Wednesday delayed action on a bill that would create a stand-alone Alabama Fire College. 16117
February 23rd, 2012
Casino developer testifies state senator sought bribes - Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley testified Wednesday that a state senator on trial on corruption charges was his best recruiter for votes for pro- gambling legislation and she frequently sought bribes that she said would sway legislators’ decisions. 16116
February 23rd, 2012
Vanity Fair author, speaking at UA, says tribunal has links to today - The elements that contributed to the Spanish Inquisition still exist in today’s society, Vanity Fair magazine’s editor at large told an audience at the University of Alabama on Wednesday. 16115
February 23rd, 2012
WUAL fundraiser, home tour offers peek into kitchens - Organizers of WUAL’s 17th annual “Kitchens of Consequence” tour attribute much of the event’s past success to its wide variety of homes with new or remodeled kitchens available for viewing. 16114
February 23rd, 2012
Murray says give animal officers arrest power - County Commissioner Reginald Murray said Wednesday that the commission should give animal control officers the powers they need to enforce laws dealing with animal abuse and vicious animals. 16113
February 23rd, 2012
Local lawmaker blasts mental health prison plan - MONTGOMERY | State Rep. Chris England on Wednesday told Mental Health Commissioner Zelia Baugh that he rejects her plan to turn the replacement Bryce Hospital being built in Tuscaloosa into a prison for the criminally insane. England, D-Tuscaloosa, said that when first announced in 2010, there was no mention that the new hospital would become a mental health prison to replace the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, which is also in Tuscaloosa. 16112
February 23rd, 2012
Bryant crushes Talladega in Central Regional - Four players scored in double figures to help the Paul W. Bryant boys basketball team achieve a milestone. 16111
February 22nd, 2012
System to use personal alerts for severe weather - Alabama residents can sign up for a new, free system that will send severe weather alerts through email, phone calls and text messaging. The system was introduced Wednesday in Huntsville by Gov. Robert Bentley and other leaders. It was developed by Baron Services Inc., an Alabama-based company that works with the National Weather Service system to distribute warning information. 16110
February 22nd, 2012
Mental health advocates rally against funding cuts - Joe Farley of Demopolis spoke this morning at the annual mental health and disability day at the State House to make a plea for funding for community mental health care, which is threatened by declining state revenues. 16109
February 22nd, 2012
Proposed changes would allow the 'Biggest Cactus in Town' - In an apparent move to accommodate a local fast food chain, the City Council is considering changing the sign ordinance to allow for non-traditional signs. 16108
February 22nd, 2012
Bryant Bank receives national award for relief efforts - Tuscaloosa-based Bryant Bank received the American Bankers Association’s “Revitalizing Your Community Award” for its efforts and its employees’ efforts in responding to the state’s tornado recovery. 16107
February 22nd, 2012
Sylacauga knocks off Central in Class 5A regional - The Central High School Falcons tried to rally in the fourth quarter Wednesday, but they couldn't catch Sylacauga, which won 60-53 in the AHSAA Class 5A Central Regional. 16106
February 22nd, 2012
UA filmmaker's documentary chosen for SXSW festival - Just as writers put their lives into words on paper and photographers view days through a lens, Andy Grace spent almost four years adapting his personal quest to get back to earth into the film “Eating Alabama.” 16105
February 22nd, 2012
Alabama House passes bill that bans texting while driving, 92-0 - The Alabama House voted Tuesday to ban drivers from sending or reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle on Alabama roads. The bill passed the House on a 92-0 vote Tuesday and now goes to the Senate for debate. 16104
February 22nd, 2012
AROUND TOWN: 2/22 - 16103
February 22nd, 2012
Bill would limit sales of ingredients to make meth - Bills that would restrict the sale of the ingredients needed to make methamphetamine and that also are intended to reduce the number of meth manufacturing labs have been introduced in the 2012 legislative session. 16102
February 22nd, 2012
City Council approves increases for roof costs - With a 6-1 vote, the Tuscaloosa City Council approved a $270,000 cost increase for two city facilities. 16101
February 22nd, 2012
State Senate approves Fire College bill - The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday to change the governance of the Alabama Fire College and put its employees under the state merit retirement system. 16100
February 22nd, 2012
UA filmmakers documentary chosen for Texas festival - Just as writers put their lives into words on paper and photographers view days through a lens, Andy Grace spent almost four years adapting his personal quest to get back to earth into the film “Eating Alabama.” 16099
February 22nd, 2012
Hale County animal shelter director arrested - The director of the Hale County Animal Shelter has been charged with possession of illegal drugs, and police say it appears that illegal drugs were being sold at the shelter. 16098
February 22nd, 2012
Downtown hotel rendering unveiled - Members of the Tuscaloosa City Council on Tuesday viewed a rendering and design plans for a new upscale downtown hotel. 16097
February 22nd, 2012
First step taken in rebuilding Alberta school - TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa City Board of Education unanimously approved Superintendent Paul McKendrick’s recommendation Tuesday that a new Alberta Elementary School be built. The board also approved a demographic study, to be conducted by the system, that would address questions about the Alberta area. 16096
February 22nd, 2012
Center will make UA 'nerve center' for water research - Ground was broken on the University of Alabama campus Tuesday morning for a structure federal officials are calling the national “nerve center” for water research. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Water Center will serve as a central location for collaboration between academic institutions across the country and the more than 20 federal agencies involved in critical water research. 16095
February 21st, 2012
Shelby says country headed for debt crisis - The United States is headed for a debt crisis much like the one happening in Greece today, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby told members of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama at a breakfast meeting Tuesday. 16094
February 21st, 2012
Hazel Green eliminates Hillcrest in Class 6A Northwest Regional - Parker Cothren sank two free throws with 1.1 seconds left as Hazel Green defeated Hillcrest 53-52 in the Class 6A Northwest Regional. Hillcrest took its last lead, 52-51, when Perrin Buford scored from the right baseline. Buford, a guard and forward, was the lone returning starter from last year's team that won the Class 6A title. 16093
February 21st, 2012
UA freshman takes 'The Face' to NBC's today show - 16092
February 21st, 2012
DCH offers free course on mental illness - Tuscaloosa’s National Alliance on Mental Illness is offering a free 12-week education course for families of individuals with severe mental illnesses. The course, taught by trained family members, begins on Feb. 28 at Northport DCH, and will be held every Tuesday from 6:30-9 p.m. 16091
February 21st, 2012
Students could win air show tickets with essays - High school students in Tuscaloosa County have a chance to win two free tickets to the 2012 Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show. 16090
February 21st, 2012
Redistricting leaders eye special session in May - The chairmen of the Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment said Monday they would like the Alabama House and Senate to redraw state House and Senate district lines in a special session in mid-May. 16089
February 21st, 2012
Bentley targets agencies to trim - Most new Alabama governors appoint a task force to write a report on streamlining state government and then let it collect dust. Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders say they are determined not to let that happen. 16088
February 21st, 2012
Gas price rise not apt to slow down - When gasoline fell below $3 a gallon near Christmas, a sluggish economy and the typical drop in demand during the winter months indicated the price would at least remain flat. No such luck. 16087
February 21st, 2012
Officials, classmates to remember players at Marshall' screening - TUSCALOOSA | Four former Druid Dragons football stars died when a Southern Airways chartered DC-9 clipped a tree and crashed into a hillside three miles south of the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va., on Nov. 14, 1970. 16086
February 21st, 2012
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