CROSS BURNING-SENTENCING DELAY
Judge delays sentencing for man in cross burning
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has delayed sentencing for the second of two men who pleaded guilty to burning a cross in southeast Alabama.
Thomas Windell Smith of Dothan was supposed to be in court Tuesday. But records show a judge has delayed his sentencing until May 15.
Smith and former Ku Klux Klan leader Steven Joshua Dinkle pleaded guilty last year to burning a cross in a black neighborhood in Ozark in 2009.
A judge recently delayed Dinkle's sentencing to allow time for a mental evaluation, and Smith's also is delayed.
Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to violate housing rights by setting a cross afire in a black neighborhood.
Man shot by Opelika police was airman on way to NC
OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - The father of an airman shot by an Opelika police officer says his son suffered serious injuries to his stomach and colon and may never fully recover from his injuries.
Billy Davidson said his son, 20-year-old Michael Darrett Davidson of Beckville, Texas, was driving on Interstate 85 on his way to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro, N.C., when the shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is probing the shooting that involved Opelika Officer Phillip Hancock, a seven-year veteran with the department. Hancock, who wasn't injured, has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Billy Davison tells The Opelika-Auburn News that his son was moved from the ICU at East Alabama Medical Center Monday afternoon.
Police have released few details about the encounter.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE KILLING
Jury selection continues in college slaying trial
OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - Jury selection is underway in the trial of a man charged in a deadly shooting at an east Alabama community college.
Thomas Franklin May III is facing a potential death penalty in the killing of his former mother-in-law, who was shot to death on the campus of Southern Union State Community College in Opelika in 2011.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports jury selection began Monday and continues Tuesday.
Authorities say Brenda Marshall Watson was in the car with May's estranged wife, their 4-year-old daughter and the wife's grandmother when the man began shooting into the car.
Brenda Watson was killed, and three others were injured.
The 37-year-old May surrendered after the slaying. He is pleading innocent by reason of mental problems to capital murder and attempted murder charges.
Ala. committee holds hearing on Common Core bill
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A legislative committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday morning on a proposal to let local school systems opt out of the Common Core curriculum standards.
Republican Sen. Scott Beason, a frequent critic of Common Core, is sponsoring the legislation. The Gardendale senator says local school officials should be able to decide for themselves about the standards.
The bill would let school systems stop using Common Core and implement an alternative curriculum for those subject areas.
Opponents of Beason's bill say it would cause chaos across the state to have different school systems using different standards.
The Senate Education Committee has set aside two hours for the public hearing.
2 Ala. children hospitalized after pool rescue
SOMERVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A sheriff in northern Alabama says two young boys found face-down in a swimming pool could have been in the water anywhere from one minute up to 30 minutes.
The children were taken to Decatur Morgan Hospital and then transferred to Huntsville Hospital.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said a baby sitter called 911 when the children were found in the family's pool in Somerville on Monday afternoon.
Franklin tells WAAY-TV that two baby sitters, an adult and a teenage family member, pulled the children out.
The sheriff tells The Decatur Daily that the boys are cousins, and both live at the home. She said they apparently got out a back door unnoticed.
ALABAMA TAX RETURNS
More Alabamians filing returns electronically
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service says more Alabamians are filing their tax returns electronically.
The IRS says it received nearly 1 million electronic returns from Alabamians through March 7. That's a 3 percent increase over the previous year. The IRS says more than 375,000 of the tax returns were done by people who prepared their own returns and filed them electronically. That's an 8 percent increase over last year.
The IRS says people with household incomes of $58,000 or less can use brand-name tax software free at the IRS website. IRS spokesman Dan Boone says that makes electronic filing free for many people.
Mobile mayor working on waterfront
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Visitors can have a hard time getting to Mobile's waterfront, and Mayor Sandy Stimpson says the city needs to make improvements.
Stimpson is back from a three-day meeting of mayors in Texas, and he's discussing ways to make Mobile's waterfront both more attractive and easier to access.
Stimpson says planners see a lack of connection between structures and attractions on Mobile's waterfront. An example is the city's cruise ship terminal, which isn't used regularly because ships no longer operate through the port.
One problem is Water Street, which runs along Mobile Bay in the city and can be difficult to cross on foot. Another problem is waterfront property that isn't being utilized to the fullest.
The mayor says Mobile needs to be made more walkable for pedestrians.
TVA spring sport fish survey to begin
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority says its annual spring sport fish survey is starting this week.
TVA biologists conduct the survey in order to assess the overall health of species such as crappie and black bass on nine TVA reservoirs in Alabama and Tennessee.
The biologists record the abundance, distribution, age, relative weight and general health of sport fish found in the reservoirs. The surveys are used by the TVA and shared with state agencies to protect and improve sport fishing.
The surveys start Tuesday on Wilson Reservoir near Muscle Shoals, Ala., and continue through May 1 on Douglas Reservoir near Knoxville.
Other reservoirs to be sampled are Nickajack, Chickamauga, Guntersville, Wheeler, Pickwick, Watts Bar and Fort Loudoun.
The public is invited to observe.
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