MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The Alabama Department of Public Health
is changing its policy as the swine flu virus spreads.
Alabama Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson says Thursday testing
for the H1N1 virus is no longer necessary in most cases because
patients with flu-like symptoms most likely have swine flu.
He says the state lab's limited capacity means that the agency
is restricting testing to hospitalized patients, pregnant women and
certain others. The new policy will allow the agency to more

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The State Employees' Insurance Board has approved several increases to health insurance premiums for Alabama's state government workers, requiring single employees to pay a preminum for the first time.
The board voted Wednesday to charge all active employees a
premium of $15 a month.
Employees who are also paying for family coverage will have
those premiums go up by $10 from $180 a month to $190 a month.
Smokers will pay an additional $5 a month, going from $25 to

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The Alabama Department of Youth Services is making big changes to the way it keeps records.
The department is in its first year of switching from paper to mostly electronic record keeping. Now, contractors enter data into spreadsheets instead of just filling out incident reports to turn in to DYS and put into the child's file.
That way the data can be easily viewed and analyzed on
electronic spreadsheets.
DYS officials say it's already paying off after they noticed

(AP) - An investment banker accused of paying
bribes to Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford has agreed to plead
guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.
Federal court documents filed Tuesday show William Blount admits
giving Langford thousands of dollars in exchange for Langford using
his influence to send Jefferson County's bond financing business to
Blount. Langford was on the Jefferson County Commission at the
Blount initially pleaded not guilty. But a federal judge

(AP) - An independent study of Alabama's prepaid college tuition program shows that the most viable option for the troubled program is for the state to finance it over 18 years.
Buck Consultants didn't recommend a specific plan or source of
the funding. But it would presumably require the Legislature to
appropriate more than $52 million in fiscal year 2011 and possibly
more later.
All this would come as schools across the state struggle with
mandated budget cuts.

Montgomery, Alabama – The ASU Lady Hornet Softball team is holding a special effort to benefit a local women's shelter.

Softball Coach Telma Hall says team members will collect used and old cell phones for donation to the battered women's shelter through the Family Guidance Center.

Members of the Lady Hornet Softball Team will collect the donations in front of the Alabama State University Dining Hall on August 25,2009 from Noon through 1:00 p.m.

(AP) - A federal magistrate judge has ruled that Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford cannot afford to pay a lawyer to represent him in his upcoming trail.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Greene on Monday appointed Michael Rasmussen to continue representing Langford, who is facing bribery charges.
Green wrote that Langford is not completely indigent, he just can't afford to pay for representation.
Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre were named in a 101-count indictment in December.

(AP) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is preparing for the largest vaccination program in state history.
The health department says the H1N1 virus, often called swine
flu, is likely to surge again and could double the number of
flu-related deaths this season.
The state should start receiving doses of the swine flu vaccine
in the fall and should eventually have enough to give everyone two
State Health Officer Don Williamson said schools will play a big
role in containing the virus.

Montgomery, Alabama – The Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Thompson, says the school system is bracing for the possibility of deeper cuts in the amount of state funds it receives.

Writing in her blog on the Montgomery Public Schools website, Dr. Thompson states that the system is beginning the school year with a budget that is almost $8
MILLION below state funding from the final prorated amount of 2009.

Dr.Thompson says there is "a real possibility" there could be a 6 percent proration announced as the new fiscal year begins in October.