WVAS Local News

Mar 12, 2013

Alabama Schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice spoke with reporters Tuesday in an effort to debunk some misinformation surrounding the state's use of common core standards.  The standards have been criticized as a federal intrusion since the Obama administration decided in 2009 to use them as one of several measures on which states would receive education grants.  Alabama has not received a grant, and Dr. Bice says the state hasn't relinquished any sovereignty.  A Senate Committee is set to consider a bill Wednesday that would repeal the common core in Alabama.  Dr.  Bice says if that bill makes it through the legislature, schools would have to revert to older standards which he believes would be taking a step backward. 

New Legislation

Governor Robert Bentley has announced his support for changes to Alabama's Medicaid system Tuesday.  The Medicaid Advisory Commission supports changing the basic operating model from a fee-for-service system to a managed care program.  The legislation includes private-sector contractors developing care networks in eight newly-created regions statewide.  The new framework would aim to offer better service to patients through regional operations that are responsive to local needs, according to Governor Robert Bentley.  The Legislature will have to enact new laws before changing the state's Medicaid system. 

Hefty Reward Offered

Governor Robert Bentley is offering a $5,000 dollar reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the death of 73-year-old Kate Ragsdale, a retired University of Alabama professor.  Authorities say a neighbor found Ragsdale dead inside her home in the Highlands neighborhood Feb. 24th after noticing several newspapers in her yard.  Authorities say Ragsdale died of sharp force trauma. 

Toomer's Corner

Prosecutors are asking a judge to find a new location for the trial of a University of Alabama fan charged with poisoning Auburn University's oak trees at Toomer's Corner.  Lee County District Attorney Robert Treese made the request in a document made public Tuesday in the case of Harvey Updyke.  The prosecutor asked the judge to find a new sit for the trial, now set for April 8th.  The state dropped its opposition to Upkdyke's request to move the trial away from Opelika.  The defense argues the trial needs to be held elsewhere because of extensive media coverage in the Auburn area.