WVAS Local News
Governor Robert Bentley says he wants to move quickly to implement two recommendations of a commission he appointed to study the availability and rising cost of homeowners insurance. Bentley received the recommendations of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission Wednesday at the Capitol. He says he will move forward with a recommendation to use part of the money Alabama gets from the BP oil spill to provide grants to residents of Mobile and Baldwin counties to strengthen their homes against high winds. A group of coastal homeowners, the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative, say none of the proposals will fix the problem of finding affordable homeowners insurance on the coast.
School Flexibility Act
The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved the "School Flexibility Act" at the Alabama Statehouse. The bill is designed to give greater flexibility to local schools in how money is spent and in dealing with state education laws. Several amendments were added to the legislation after opponents of the bill said it would remove tenure protection and open the door for charter schools. The bill would allow school systems to apply for an exemption from many state education laws. The exemptions would have to be approved by the State Board of Education. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Tuskegee Airman Dies
Luther McIlwain, a navigator with the famed Tuskegee Airmen who broke military racial lines during World War II, a retired New York City police officer and a civil rights advocate in Massachusetts, has died at the age of 91. McIlwain was born in Blaine, S.C., and moved with his family to Massachusetts when he was two-years-old. He graduated from a Methuen high school in 1939 and attended Allen University in Columbia, S.C., before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1943. He was a 2nd lieutenant with the black 477th Bombardment Group and was honorably discharged in 1947. He was a Methuen police officer until 1968. He is survived by his wife.
A judge has revoked the bond of a university of Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees. Officers hand-cuffed Harvey Updyke and took him to jail after the ruling Wednesday by Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III in Opelika. Walker granted prosecutors' request to jail Updyke after watching a video of his arrest after a confrontation with store employees at a Louisiana home improvement store in September. The defense argued that Updyke should remain free because the arrest was improper. The judge said Updyke violated terms of his bond by getting arrested and notes that Louisiana still has an arrest warrant for him. Updyke is set for trial April 8th on charges that include criminal mischief. The university says the trees are all but dead and will be removed.