Melanie Hogan

News Reporter I

Melanie cut her teeth as a work study student working in the areas of news reporting and announcing.  After graduating from Alabama State University, she also worked as a production assistant at the local NBC affiliate, WSFA-TV.  Her professional achievements include News Reporter of the year in 2010 and 2011 by the Alabama Broadcasters Association.  She is a member of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists and says her goal is to continually grow as a dynamic journalist. 

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The Alabama State Board of Education voted Thursday to begin the process to intervene in the Montgomery County School system because of the system's academic struggles.  A news conference was held after the board voted unanimously to begin the invention process.  Reaction about the resolution was mixed; WVAS News spoke with Reverend Charles Thomas, the Political Director of the Montgomery Ministers Union who disagrees with the resolution.  MPS Board of President Robert Porterfield says the process will take some time.

Members of the Montgomery County Board of Education held a work session discussing the potential intervention by the Alabama Department of Education.  No votes were taken at the meeting; instead the a legal advisor presented an overview of the 2013 Intervention Act, discussed changes to the law and answered board members.  A meeting with the state superintendent is scheduled for January 9, 2017.  A leader with Montgomery's school system tells the Montgomery Advertiser that officials there have been told the state is taking control.

The National Weather Service says a tornado did not directly kill four people who died Monday in southeast Alabama.  A survey team concludes a tree that crashed through a mobile home near Rehobeth in Houston County, killing four, fell by straight-line winds.  The team concludes winds of 85 mph were related to a nearby tornado, though.  That twister touched down in Geneva County and ended 8 miles later in Houston County, creating a 500-yard-wide damage path.  A second tornado hit Bullock County.  

Members of the NAACP held multiple protests throughout the state against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the U.S. Attorney General.  In Montgomery, a group gathered outside the city's downtown Federal Courthouse Building. Reverend Rayford Mack, president of the Metro Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP pointed to Sessions' track record on voting rights and race as reasons behind the objection.  Other protests were held in Huntsville, Birmingham, Dothan and Mobile.   

Authorities say they found 167 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $2.2 million in a hidden compartment of a tractor trailer during a traffic stop in western Alabama.  A local news agency reports the truck was pulled over Dec. 22nd on Interstate 20/59 in Greene County.  An official says the seizure, made by the 17th Judicial Drug Task Force, is the largest in the agency's history.  Authorities said the semi driver was arrested on a charge of cocaine trafficking.  

The "Have a Heart for Children" held its annual Christmas party for more than 800 special needs students Monday at a church in Montgomery.  This year marks the organization's 17th year, the Christmas party was held at Frazer United Methodist Church.  Have a Heart for Children Founder, Earnestine Woods, says she is amazed at the organization's growth.  Students were treated to performances and served dinner by community members, elected officials, educators and law enforcement officials.

More than 120 seniors were served a Thanksgiving luncheon at the McIntyre Community Center in west Montgomery Monday.  The 6th annual event was sponsored by several individuals and organizations including Alabama State University's College of Education and ASU's Health Physical Education Recreation Department.  Seniors won door prizes and giveaways.  The event also honored Jiles Williams, Montgomery County Commissioner.  

The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless in Montgomery are still collecting warm weather items for their annual Blanket Drive.  This year's event will end on November 19th.  MACH Executive Director Molly Stone says collection sites will be at three locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Stone says gently used or new warm weather items are needed.  PODS storage containers are located at Regions Bank at 301 Coliseum Blvd; the Winn-Dixie on East South Blvd at Troy Highway and the Festival Plaza Shopping Center at the intersection of Taylor and Vaughn Roads.  

This Saturday a symposium aimed at reducing health disparities will be held in Montgomery.  One Humanity LLC, an organization focused on positive social change through education and economic development will be hosting the event; founder Robert Jackson says the conference will center around identifying better health practices and developing new plans.  The theme is "Developing a Faith and Community based plan to address Health Disparities."  The conference will be held on Saturday, November 12th from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Business Center at 600 South Court Street.

The city of Tuskegee welcomed its new mayor Monday; dozens of community leaders, elected officials and supporters attended the inauguration of Lawrence “Tony” Haygood.  Haygood garnered 62 percent of the vote, unseating long-time Mayor Johnny Ford.  Mayor Lawrence Haygood tells WVAS News he is ready to get to work.  New members of the Tuskegee City Council and the Utilities Board were also sworn-in.  The event was held at the Tuskegee Municipal Complex Plaza. 

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