Monday, August 18, 2003
Saturday, August 16, 2003
Forums are back
You can now read and post in our forums.
We're back up
We seem to be back online at http://www.al.com/. Please be patient as the site comes back online. Some site features may not be working at first, but they will be fixed.
Right now we have today's stories from The Birmingham News, Mobile Register and The Huntsville Times. You can also find Friday's Huntsville Times online. We will work on restoring Friday's Birmingham News and Mobile Register once other issues have been resolved.
ChatXtra, Forums, Search and our NewsFlash Associated Press wires are not yet available.
Our producers are working feverishly to get al.com updated. At the same time the technical staff is making final preparations to restore the site to the Web. We expect to be online later this morning with today's stories from The Birmingham News, Mobile Register and The Huntsville Times.
Grant Police Chief dies in shooting
An update from The Birmingham News on the Friday shooting of Grant Police Chief Verlon LeMaster:
A juvenile wounded in a Friday shootout that killed the police chief of Grant is likely to be charged with capital murder, the Marshall County district attorney said.- Read More
Grant Police Chief Verlon LeMaster was shot about 10:30 a.m. Friday while serving a warrant on a runaway juvenile at a house on Cathedral Caverns Highway, the main road that runs through the town on Grant Mountain, authorities said.
Newletters have gone out
The good news is our e-mail newsletters have gone out today, which means we're coming back to life. The very unfortunate news is they do not actually contain news or anything else of much use to our subscribers. I apologize to those of you who have received one of these e-mails. I apologize many times over to those who subscribe to multiple newsletters. This error should not occur Sunday morning.
Friday, August 15, 2003
Rally planned as Moore takes commandments case to Supreme Court
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore took his fight for a Ten Commandments monument to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday as buses carrying supporters headed for the state Capitol to pray for his cause.- Read More
Moore and his attorneys said they were asking the nation's high court to nullify U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson's order to remove the 5,300-pound monument from the rotunda of the state judicial building.
Also: Moore pushes unusual legal strategy in Commandments fight
Highs this weekend will be in the low 90s. That's downright chilly for August in Alabama. Expect to see scattered thunderstorms across the state. More details are available for Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville and other cities.
Libertarian Party opposes tax plan; 2 other groups support it
The Associated Press is reporting the Libertarian Party is coming out against Gov. Riley's tax plan. Two other big groups, however, are giving it their support.
Libertarian Party Chairman Mark Bodenhausen said the party's executive committee voted unanimously to oppose the governor's $1.2 billion plan because it would harm homeowners, renters and senior citizens on fixed incomes.
Riley's plan picked up support from the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama District Attorneys Association.
Randy Hillman, executive director of the District Attorneys Association, said prosecutors expect to lose one-third of their state operating budgets unless voters approve Riley's plan Sept. 9 and wipe out a $675 million state budget shortfall.
Hospital Association secretary-treasurer Charlie Faulkner said Riley's program is crucial to supporting nursing home and mental health programs. He said about 70 percent of the nursing home patients in Alabama get their care paid for by the state Medicaid Agency.
Grant police chief shot and killed
GRANT, Ala. (AP) - Grant Police Chief Verlon Lemaster was shot to death and at least one other person was wounded Friday morning after a confrontation at a house in Grant, authorities said.
Lemaster accompanied Marshall and Madison County deputies to the home on Cathedral Caverns Highway looking for a stolen gun shortly after 10 a.m., Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall told The Huntsville Times.
When they confronted those at the house, shots were exchanged. Lemaster was shot in the face and died at 11:45 a.m. after being flown to Huntsville Hospital, hospital spokesman Jeremy Hosier said.
At least one other man was wounded and flown by helicopter to the hospital. The man's identity and condition was not immediately available.
Lemaster was the longtime chief in Grant, a mountaintop community of about 700 people in northeast Marshall County.
A deputy from Madison County accompanying Lemaster was not hurt, said Maj. Rick Weaver, spokesman for the Madison County Sheriff's Department.
State's unemployment rate unchanged
Alabama's unemployment rate for July was 5.7 percent, unchanged from the prior two months and below the national jobless rate.
Alabama Industrial Relations Director Phyllis Kennedy said Friday the rate is below the 6 percent figure of July last year and Alabama's jobless rate "has remained below the national rate every month this year."
The comparable national rate for July is 6.2 percent, a drop from 6.4 percent in June but higher than the 5.8 percent of July last year.
You can get more unemployment statistics on the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations web site.
As al.com comes online later today parts of the site may not be functioning properly, but we will get it all fixed. The site will also be outdated at first and we will not immediately have stories online from today's editions of our affiliate newspapers. We will work quickly to get the site updated and as we get newspaper stories published I will post updates here.
E-mail is down
Due to the power outages our al.com e-mail servers are also offline. If you attempt to e-mail us I suspect your messages will bounce back. All of our offices are staffed today, so if you need to conduct any business with us don't hesitate to call. Birmingham, (205) 322-7780; Huntsville, (256) 533-8800; Mobile, (251) 432-0250. We expect to have e-mail back online this afternoon.
Alabama leaders distancing themselves from Moore's stand
The Associated Press this morning has an update on Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's announcement Thursday that he will fight a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building rotunda.
Alabama's attorney general and some associate justices are distancing themselves from Chief Justice Roy Moore's pledge to defy a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state's judicial building.
Attorney General Bill Pryor, the state's top legal officer, said he would not help Moore violate the court order, which could result in contempt fines against the state. But he did not say what specific action he would take.
I'll add a link here as soon as I find a site running this story.
Update: You can read the full story here.
Update: Here is a link to coverage of Moore's announcement yesterday.
Update: Political science professor Steven Taylor has some thoughts on Moore's decision.
State school achievement test results
On Thursday the Alabama Department of Education released test results for the state's school systems. Scores show about one-third of Alabama's public schools are adequately teaching all their students to read, write and do math.
More information is available on the Department of Education web site. The site also allows you to find test results by school.
al.com temporarily offline
The power outages in the Northeast Thursday have disrupted our servers. Our systems are being restored, but until that job is complete I will be posting updates here on Alabama news and the status of our recovery.