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This Hour: Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment

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AEA board expresses support for Mabry

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Education Association board of directors met behind closed doors for four hours Friday to discuss concerns raised by its longtime leader.

Former AEA executive secretary Paul Hubbert, in a Tuesday letter to board members, said AEA was in crisis. Hubbert says he was concerned about the association's finances and also the management style of current executive secretary Henry Mabry.

AEA President Anita Gibson says board members had extensive discussions about the issues raised by Hubbert.

Gibson says the discussions were productive, but she did not elaborate. She says the board pledged to remain unified and expressed support for the current AEA leadership team.

Gibson says a financial audit will be conducted soon.

Hubbert says the goal of his letter is to get AEA to live within its means.


Casino seeks to break AG's winning streak

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - VictoryLand casino is trying to break the attorney general's winning streak in a series of cases involving gambling machines seized in raids.

A four-day trial ended Friday involving the legality of 1,600 gambling machines the attorney general seized from VictoryLand in Macon County last year. Circuit Judge William Shashy will rule in a few weeks.

The outcome will determine whether VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor can reopen what was once Alabama's largest casino or whether the attorney general can destroy the machines.

Assistant Attorney General Sonny Reagan says they've won court cases allowing the destruction of gambling machines in Houston, Jefferson and Lowndes counties.

McGregor criticized the attorney general's case as week and predicted a good outcome for his side.


Alabama's Motus motorcycle: Not another cruiser

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama entrepreneurs Lee Conn and Brian Case are out to prove that American-made motorcycles shouldn't all have to look like the laid-back cruisers made by Harley-Davidson.

The founders of Motus Motorcycles are building a sport-touring machine, designed both for traveling in comfort over long distances and for more spirited riding once you reach prime motorcycling roads. Conn says his aim was to produce a motorcycle more in common with a contemporary Corvette than with a vintage Cadillac.

Creating a new American-made motorcycle designed to rival high-end machines from Europe and Japan may not have seemed like a priority amid the automotive industry's hardships during the global economic recession. But to Conn and Case, the downturn presented an opportunity to tap engineering expertise that wouldn't otherwise have been at their disposal.


Alabama Power warns customers of new type of scam

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Power Co. is warning its customers to be on the lookout for a new type of scam.

The company says scammers are sending text messages warning that a payment is due immediately. The text message lists the name of a bill payment company and a reference number to use in paying the bill.

Alabama Power spokesman Ike Pigott says the reference number could belong to anyone and once the money is transferred it is almost impossible to trace.

Pigott says customers with questions about their accounts can call a 24-hour customer service number, 1-800-245-2244.

Pigott says text messages are a new twist by scammers. Last year, some of Alabama Power's business and residential customers got phone calls from scammers about fake bills, and the callers asked for financial information.


Jefferson Co. inmate death under investigation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is probing the death of a Jefferson County jail inmate who died after a deputy used a Taser to try subduing him.

Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Randy Christian says 47-year-old Ricky Deangelo Hinkle was being moved to a specialized cell after he threatened to commit suicide Saturday morning.

Christian says Hinkle became combative, refused to enter the cell and started resisting deputies. Christian says a deputy used a Taser on Hinkle, who fell to the floor and was unresponsive afterward.

Christian says medical personnel at the jail and paramedics tried reviving him to no avail and he was pronounced dead.

Christian says Hinkle of Pleasant Grove had been in jail since Sept. 8 on a probation violation for assault charges.


New Ala. corrections post meant to improve safety

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama Department of Corrections veteran says she's using her position as deputy commissioner of women's services to improve worker education and inmate safety in women's prisons.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the state Department of Corrections appointed Wendy Williams to serve as a deputy commissioner in April. Williams oversees the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, the Montgomery Women's Facility and Birmingham Work Release.

Federal officials have criticized Tutwiler and the state Department of Corrections for reports of sexual harassment and abuse.

Williams says before her position was created administrators of male and female facilities reported through the same chain of command, despite differences in inmate needs.

Department Commissioner Kim Thomas says the goal in creating Williams' position was using gender-responsive practices to help guide oversight of women's correctional facilities.


Alabama offers flu vaccines to students, staff

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A campaign offering flu shots to University of Alabama students, faculty and staff begins on Monday.

College of Community Health Sciences Dean Dr. Richard Streiffer tells the Tuscaloosa News that the vaccine is the "first and most important" step to prevent the flu. Nurses will visit sites all over the campus during the next three months to provide the free shots, and no insurance is required. All students and employees need is their campus identification.

The vaccines also are available to children of UA employees.


Montgomery library system to begin cutting hours

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Funding cuts and an increased access to digital materials have prompted the Montgomery City-County Public Library system to begin cutting back operating hours.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports most library branches will be closed on weekends beginning in October and all of them will start closing earlier on some weekdays. Library Board President Thomas McPherson says the system's Pine Level branch will be closed for fiscal year 2015.

Head librarian at the Juliette Hampton Morgan branch Tim Berry says the value of libraries' physical locations will likely decrease in the future as digital content offerings become more prevalent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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