WVAS Local News

Feb 22, 2013

Democrats in the Alabama Senate are having trouble pressing their top issue.  Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile offered a resolution Thursday urging the Republican governor to reconsider his decision no to expand Medicaid.  The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, cut off debate on the resolution by getting it sent to the Senate Rules Committee.  Figures says expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act is the top priority for the Senate Democratic Caucus because it would add 300,000 Alabamians to the Medicaid rolls and create jobs.  She says the caucus won't give up on its efforts to get Gov. Robert Bentley to reconsider. 

Scottsboro Bill

The Alabama Senate voted 29 to 0 Thursday for legislation designed to allow for the pardons of the Scottsboro Boys.  The bill gives the State Parole Board the authority to pardon certain felons after their death, a power it currently doesn't have.  As it so happens, a new exhibit opened last night at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur focusing on the Scottsboro Boys.  That's the bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Arthur Orr from Decatur.  The legislation advances to the House where Senator Orr is confident it will receive a similar vote.  The Scottsboro Boys were nine young black men convicted by all-whites juries of raping two white women aboard a train in north Alabama in 1931.  One of the women later recanted her story. 

Montgomery Murder Cases

Authorities in Montgomery County and the state of Alabama are offering $10,000 dollar rewards for information that would help to solve three murder cases.  At a recent news conference, District Attorney Ellen Brooks said the rewards are being offered for an arrest and conviction in the April 2011 slaying of 19-year-old Arkita Stevenson, a pregnant woman, who was shot and killed in the 200 block of Fleming Road. 

A second unsolved homicide involved the murder of 50-year-old Robert Brown.  Brown was found shot to death in May 2011 in the 4,000 block of Amesbury Drive. 

A third murder case yet to be solved pertains the killing of 26-year-old Dermaine Belser.  The victim was slain in November 2011 in the 500 block of Juliette Street. 

The Crimestoppers program is offering an additional $1,000 dollar reward for any of the cases. 

Disney World Donations

Donors have given thousands of dollars to help the boy who was held hostage for days in an underground bunker.  An online campaign raise more than $10,000 dollars to send 6-year-old Ethan Gilman and his family to Disney World.  Authorities say another $7,000 dollars was given to the child, much in small donations in birthday cards.  Dr. Phil McGraw of the "Dr. Phil" TV show made a donation through his foundation.  Dale County Probate Judge Sharon Michalic has appointed two attorneys to help manage the donations and protect the interests of the boy, who lives with his mother in Midland City.