Unemployment Rate Rises
Alabama's unemployment rate has risen to 6.4 percent. The state Department of Labor says the February rate is up from 6.1 percent in January, but it's below the same month last year, when the state measured 6.6 percent. Wilcox County recorded the state's highest unemployment rate at almost 17 percent while Shelby County's rate of 5.1 percent was the lowest among the 67 counties.
High Gas Prices
The price of gasoline in Alabama is around $3.29 a gallon. It has jumped some twenty cents since January and is expected to continue that trend for the next couple of months. AAA Alabama Spokesman Clay Ingram said the seasonal changeover by refineries to a more expensive blend of fuel, increased demand by consumers and speculation on the market have led to the price surge.
Former Lawmaker Dies
Former Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton has died. A grandson says the 89-year-old has been in declining health for the past year. Denton survived more than seven years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and alerted the U.S. military to conditions there when he blinked the word "torture" in Morse code during a television interview. The conservative Republican served one term in the Senate.