WVAS Local News

Aug 9, 2012

The latest U.S. drought map shows conditions continue to worsen in the Plains states that are key producers of corn and soybean crops.

More than 78 percent of the U.S. is in drought and it's considered extreme or exceptional in nearly a quarter of the country.  The U.N. food agency says the U.S. drought caused global food prices to rise six percent last month.

Gas Prices

The average price of gasoline is now higher than it was a year ago for the first time since late April. The national average for retail gasoline is $3.66. per gallon today, a penny higher than it was on this date in 2011.  Triple A- Alabama reports the statewide average for regular fuel is almost $ 3.46 per gallon, 31 cents higher than a month ago.  Analysts expect gas prices to continue to rise through Labor Day because of refinery and pipeline issues that have affected supplies.

Eight Candidates

The State Board of Education has picked eight people, including some with Alabama ties, to interview for chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system.  The list includes John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor of advancement at Troy University; Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at Air University at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base;  Mark Heinrich, president of Shelton State Community College; and Kandis Steele, director of academic programs for Alabama's postsecondary program. 

Renaming Stores

An Alabama-based grocery chain is renaming its stores.  The new owner of Southern Family Markets plans to convert all its locations to the Belle Foods banner.  Belle Foods purchased the Birmingham-based company earlier this year, acquiring stores that operate under banners including Bruno's, Food World and Piggly Wiggly.

AG Strange

Alabama's Attorney General fielded questions on various issues Wednesday in a question and answer session with reporters.  Luther Strange said last month's raid at Center Stage near Dothan should served as a warning others about illegal gambling machines.  Strange also said a federal appeals court in Atlanta has not yet ruled on Alabama's Immigration law. 

More Storms

U.S. Forecasters are raising their estimate of potential storms in the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea temperatures mean chances for storms are higher and as many as 17 tropical storms and five to eight hurricanes could form before the season ends.