WVAS Local News
Governor Robert Bentley told retired educators Tuesday that he signed a bill providing private school tax credits because of the flexibility it gives public schools to try new ideas to improve learning. Bentley said he knew he would be facing an upset audience when he addressed the Alabama Education Retirees Association in Montgomery, but he did it because of his respect for teachers. Bentley told the retired educators he understand their anger. The Alabama Accountability Act provides tax credits for parents who send their children to a private school rather than a public school rated as failing.
Birmingham Airport Tragedy
A lawyer for the city of Birmingham says a large cabinet housing flight information monitors that toppled and killed a 10-year-old boy inside a renovated airport terminal wasn't inspected after installation. The monitors were installed in a recent $201 million upgrade at Birmingham's airport. An assistant city attorney said that the monitor display didn't require inspection under municipal code because it wasn't a structural component of the building. The lawyer said the unit that killed Luke Bresette was a free-standing cabinet housing video monitors that rested on the floor, similar to a home entertainment center.
Reward Money Increases
The sheriff in Escambia County says investigators are still trying to solve the disappearance of an Atmore woman 10 years ago. The married mother of two, Melinda Wall McGhee, disappeared on March 24th, 2003, after returning home from her night shift job at a nursing home. Sheriff Grover Smith said the $10,000 reward originally offered in the case is still being offered, as well as $5,000 added by the family.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding a program intended to reduce poverty and improve life in rural areas through better access to federal money. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that the program is flexible to help communities where they need it most. StrikeForce is operational in ten states, the program is designed to help relieve persistent rural poverty by making it easier for people to get their hands on money that is available from the USDA but may be hard to access. The federal money helps farmers, food producers and other businesses fund projects such as community gardens and summer meals for low-income school children.