9:56am

Wed June 11, 2014
WVAS Local

VA Legislation Approved, Alabama House Unanimous

Alabama's seven member House Delegation joined the majority in approving legislation to address military veterans' long waits for care at VA hospitals.  The U.S. House unanimously approved the bill Tuesday to make it easier for veterans enduring lengthy delays for initial visits to get VA paid treatment from local doctors instead.  The U.S. Senate is taking up a similar bill.

Gay Marriage

In the latest challenge to Alabama's ban on gay marriage, a lesbian couple is suing the state over recognition of their marriage, performed in Massachusetts.  April and Ginger Aaron Brush of Birmingham filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Birmingham.  The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the ban unconstitutional and require Alabama to recognize same-sex marriages performed validly in other states.  A separate challenge to Alabama's ban was filed in February by a Montgomery man. 

Lease Renewal

Two community centers in Montgomery, Bellingrath and Harrison facilities will remain open and operated by separate non-profit organizations.  At its Tuesday meeting, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to renew lease arrangements for the community centers.  The board also approved a strategic plan that Superintendent Margaret Allen said restructures the school district's mission. 

Beeker Endorsements

Two former candidates for Place 2 on the Alabama Public Service Commission, Jonathan Barbee and Phillip Brown, have endorsed former Greene County Commission Chairman Chip Beeker in the Republican runoff July 15th.  The primary election June 3rd put Beeker in a runoff with incumbent Commissioner Terry Dunn.  Dunn responded to the endorsements by calling Beeker "Alabama Power's chosen one."  Republican voters also will decide runoffs on July 15th for secretary of state, state auditor and the 6th Congressional District. 

Colossal Fire

A west Alabama town was the scene of a major fire over the weekend.  Al.com reports that federal and state investigators are trying to determine what ignited a blaze that destroyed an estimated 10 percent of downtown Sulligent Saturday night.  Sulligent is located in Lamar County near the Mississippi line.  Sulligent Mayor Scott Bowman has said he believes the massive fire that gutted at least five buildings in the downtown district was started by a lightning strike.