WVAS Local News
Three health insurance providers have filed proposals to participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange that is scheduled to start October 1. Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare and Humana have proposed plans for 50 of the 67 counties, their applications await federal approval. The federal government will operate the exchange in Alabama because Governor Robert Bentley is opposed to the federal Affordable Care Act. Also, 13 organizations in Alabama have been awarded 2.4 million dollars in grants to help educate uninsured citizens about the new options.
Alabamians are weighing in on the George Zimmerman case. Zimmerman is a free man after jury in central Florida cleared the neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Saturday night's verdict unleashed protests and debates across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. The case has drawn renewed scrutiny to the so-called Stand Your Ground laws across the nation. The Justice Department said it is reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal civil rights charges are warranted in the Zimmerman case.
After several years of mostly dry summers in Alabama, this summer has been different. Rainfall has been above average in most parts of the sates and no area of Alabama is currently listed under drought conditions, one of the first times that has happened in recent years. Weather forecasters say it's because of upper-level conditions that have left the eastern half of the country wet and western areas dry. A spokeswoman for the Alabama Farmers Federation , says the heavy rain has been good for cattle farmers by leaving fields "lush and green," but has created challenges for those needing to harvest early crops.
Sheriff's Deputy Cleared
A grand jury cleared an Elmore County sheriff's deputy in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Montgomery firefighter. Deputies went to the home of 34-year-old Jeremy Acre of Holtville on a domestic disturbance call on March 19th. Sheriff Bill Franklin says Acre was clearly agitated when he opened the door with a gun in his hand. An officer fired his Taser at the firefighter, who fell but got back up and threatened officers with his gun. Authorities say that's when a deputy fired a singled shot killed Acre. The grand jury's decision means the killing was justifiable. Authorities haven't released the deputy's name.
Police in Tuscaloosa say they're searching for the gunman who shot at a house and wounded a 4-year-old girl. Authorities say the girl was not intended target and the shots that were fired at the house Saturday night were meant for someone else who lives there. The girl's grandmother says she and her grandchildren had just fallen asleep when they were woken up by the sound of gunshots. She said she didn't realize the girl had been shot until she turned on a light. The girl was taken to Children's of Alabama in Birmingham. The child's medical condition was unavailable.
Teen Prison Sentence
A 17-year-old from north Alabama is now in state prison serving time for killing a middle school classmate. Hammad Memon is being held at Kilby prison near Montgomery. Memon pleaded guilty in May to shooting 14-year-old Todd Brown at Discovery Middle School in Madison in 2010. A judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison. Memon's parents are awaiting trial on charges of trying to help him escape following his arrest.