The state teacher's organization, a mining company and an Indian tribe that operates casinos are among the top campaign contributions in Alabama for next year's elections. Campaign finance records show the Alabama Education Association has donated $770,000 to candidates since June. AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry said the group is donating to Democrats and Republicans who support public education. The Birmingham -based Drummond Co. has donated $489,000. That included $25,000 donations to both Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have $350,000 to political action committees run by the tribe's lobbyists. Other contributions include Alabama Power Company and Great Southern Wood.
A former Alabama inmate is suing prison officials, saying she was raped by a correctional officer. Olivia Osborne tells the Montgomery Advertiser that she filed the federal lawsuit because she shouldn't expect to be raped and abused in prison. The lawsuit names an ex-officer Vincent Cheatham with the Birmingham Work Release Center warden, and the state prison commissioner. A state Department of Corrections spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit, but said Cheatham resigned in July 2011 rather than face firing. The state want everyone but Cheatham dismissed from the lawsuit. Osborne says she was attacked three times in 2011 while at her work release job at a motel. She served five years for forgery and theft.
The catfish industry has faced some hurdles in recent years with the glut of Asian fish on the market and the high cost of feed. Farmers, processors and support staff in the industry held an update meeting in Demopolis Monday to discuss issues farmers grapple with on a daily basis. Alabama is second only to Mississippi in catfish production, harvesting some 100 million pounds each year. Most farmers operate out of West Alabama.