DRIVER'S LICENSE SHUTDOWN
Ala shutting down driver's license system for work
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama is shutting down it entire driver's license system later this month for computer work.
The Department of Public Safety says state offices won't be able to issue new or renewed licenses for nearly five days starting April 25.
Crash reports will also be offline during the shutdown, as will access to motor vehicle records.
Officials say they're timing the outage to begin over a weekend to help lessen its impact.
The state says the shutdown is needed to convert computer systems to a new database to comply with federal regulations.
The work is supposed to be done and all systems back in operation by the start of business on Wednesday, April 30.
SEX ABUSE-LIFE SENTENCE
Man sentenced to life in prison in sex abuse case
ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - A northeast Alabama man has been sentenced to three life prison terms without the possibility of parole in the rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse of a 4-year-old girl in 2013.
The Anniston Star reports that Calhoun County Circuit Judge Debra Jones on Monday handed down the sentence for 29-year-old Raleigh Steven Rowan of Piedmont.
Jones also sentenced Rowan to 99 years for kidnapping the girl and 20 years for sexual abuse of a child younger than 12.
Rowan told the court during his March trial that he abducted the victim from her Piedmont home on Feb. 5, 2013. Prosecutors told the jury during the trial that the girl suffered bite marks, scrapes and bruises all over her body. Investigators found DNA evidence that linked Rowan to the victim.
New book tells story of PCB pollution in Anniston
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A new book tells the story of decades of chemical pollution in the east Alabama city of Anniston.
Written by University of Alabama researcher Ellen Griffith Spears, "Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution and Justice in an All-American Town" traces the history of the toxic chemical in the city.
The book details how the production of the chemical polychlorinated biphenyls led to Anniston being once listed among the most toxic towns in America.
A sprawling factory made the chemical in Anniston for generations, and the resulting pollution resulted in a multimillion dollar legal settlement. The city's black community was particularly affected by contamination.
The book was released this month and published by the University of North Carolina Press. The author is an assistant professor in Tuscaloosa.
GULF OIL SPILL-TRIAL SCHEDULE
Deadlines, meetings set ahead of Jan. BP trial
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January's trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The Jan. 20 date for the trial was set earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier (BAHR'-bee-aye). It will be the third phase of litigation to determine penalties arising from the disaster
On Monday, a U.S. magistrate judge issued a lengthy schedule of pre-trial activities, including telephone conferences and deadlines for providing witness and exhibit lists.
Earlier phases dealt with causes of the 2010 rig explosion and estimates of the amount of oil that spewed into Gulf waters as a result of it.
Ala. school district launching nursing program
PIEDMONT, Ala. (AP) - An eastern Alabama school district is launching a program to help high school students work toward becoming certified nursing assistants.
The Anniston Star reports the Piedmont school system is using a $99,000 state grant to launch the Health Science iWork Academy in fall of 2014.
Students who enroll in the program as ninth graders will take a medical class each year until the 11th grade. During their senior year, participating students will be able to intern at local medical offices and enroll in medical-related college courses, director of administrative services Mike Hayes says.
Hayes says the district consulted with Jacksonville State University, Gadsden State Community College and Regional Medical Center while they developed the program.
Morgan Co. deputy resigns after Wal-Mart shooting
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say a sheriff's deputy who was charged with assault after shooting a wanted felon at a Huntsville Wal-Mart has resigned.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin tells WAAY-TV that Brian Fulford resigned after a meeting with department officials on Monday.
Police have said Fulford was off-duty and shopping at a Wal-Mart last week when he saw a man who was wanted on a burglary warrant. Authorities have said the man ran from the store and sustained a minor gunshot wound while he was being apprehended.
The man was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries and Fulford was placed on unpaid administrative leave after the shooting.
Ala. man gets 3 life sentences in rape, kidnapping
PIEDMONT, Ala. (AP) - A judge has sentenced an eastern Alabama man to three consecutive life terms for kidnapping and raping a 4-year-old girl in 2013.
Raleigh Steven Rowan of Piedmont was sentenced Monday in Calhoun County Circuit Court. The 29-year-old Rowan was sentenced on two counts of sodomy and a count of rape. Rowan was also sentenced to 20 years for kidnapping the girl.
Prosecutors have said Rowan kidnapped the victim from her home, raped her and left her by herself in a Piedmont trailer park afterward.
The Anniston Star reports Rowan was sentenced without the possibility of parole.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Weems says the state is very satisfied with the judge's sentence. Rowan's attorney says he expects to file a motion for a new trial soon.
Joe Namath grand marshal for Birmingham races
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Professional Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath will be the grand marshal for the Honda Indy Grand Prix in Birmingham this weekend.
Barber Motorsports Park and ZOOM Motorsports announced the former University of Alabama quarterback will participate in the grand prix events, which run Friday through Sunday.
ZOOM Motorsports President Gene Hallman says it's an opportunity for fans to get up close with a sports legend.
Namath led New York Jets to a victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
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