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Starting in October, Alabamians will be charged a fee on their monthly bills for using a cell phone and land line telephone. The Montgomery Advertiser reports the Alabama Legislature approved the levy in 2012. The law will allow wireless carriers and phone companies to charge $1.60 per phone every month. The newspaper said the revenue will be used to fund 911 systems in all 67 counties. Previously, 911 systems were funded by municipalities and counties.
Economic Recovery Tour
Governor Robert Bentley continues his "Road to Economic Recovery Tour" with a series of stops in Elmore County today. The governor will participate in a round table discussion at the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce on East Bridge St. Bentley will visit the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative in Titus and tour Southeastern Business Printers in Wetumpka.
Prattville Police say a man already in prison has been charged with multiple counts of impersonating a police officer and was responsible for a scam that targeted Prattville residents. 23-year-old Jesse Mainor is accused of making a series of phone calls from a Georgia prison. Police said he would tell residents that they had an outstanding warrant for their arrest. Mainor then would tell the citizen they needed to buy a MoneyPak gift card and call him back with the card number to clear the warrant. Prattville police said Mainor, who is a native of Prattville, pulled of the scam at least nine times. He is serving a sentence in a Georgia prison for armed robbery and assault.
An east Alabama man goes on trial today in Opelika in connection with the fatal shooting of an Anniston police officer. Opening statements will be heard in the state's case against 25-year-old Joshua Russell. He's accused of killing Anniston Police Officer Justin Sollohub in August 2011. Russell has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect. Russell's trial was moved from Anniston to Opelika due to pre-trial publicity.
An Alabama appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former legislator and ex-high school principal accused of having sexual contact with a student. In a recent ruling, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals said there was sufficient evidence that James Thomas kissed and touched a then 17-year-old female student at Wilcox Central High School in November 2010. Thomas was sentenced to one year in prison.
Alabama State University has been awarded a grant of more than $1.5 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health. ASU officials said the grant will be distributed over a five-year period. The program is aimed at increasing the number of Ph.Ds in the field. Director of the school's Center for NanoBiotechnology Research, Dr. Shree Singh, will manage the program with help from other ASU researchers.