Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent. The last time Alabama has a rate at or below 6.1 percent was October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent. The state Labor Department says December's rate of 6.1 percent compares to 6.2 percent in November and 6.8 percent a year ago. Alabama's rate is below the national average of 6.7 percent.
Authorities said an Alabama man was shot at a Columbus motel and later died, marking the west Georgia city's first homicide of the year. The Muscogee County chief deputy coroner says 39-year-old Troy Saunders of Fort Mitchell, Alabama, was pronounced dead at 1:10 Friday morning. He was shot at a Super 8 Motel.
A north Alabama woman with a successful career in farming is the newest member of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey nominated Larkin Martin of Courtland for the spot, and the Alabama Senate approved her selection.