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Ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of 9/11 have begun in earnest. Cities and towns across Alabama joined the rest of the nation to observe moments of silence at Ground Zero in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and in western Pennsylvania. Locally, ceremonies were held this morning in Montgomery and Prattville.
Tributes are pouring in following the sudden death of a veteran legislator from Birmingham. Al.com reports that Democratic State Representative Demetrius Newton has died. Newton was the first black speaker Pro Tem of the Alabama House. State Rep. John Rogers also of Birmingham said Newton has been seriously ill. Funeral arrangements for Rep. Newton are incomplete.
City-Run School System?
Mayor Todd Strange said a recent conversation with the State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice prompted him to reconsider a plan that would allow the city to operate the Montgomery School System. Strange said he and Dr. Bice discussed several issues that included improper grade changes and raising standards for non-magnet schools. MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson recently responded to the State Department of Education. Thompson outlined several initiatives to correct the problems. Mayor Strange also said he plans to monitor the situation.
Paper Mill Closing
International Paper is closing a mill in north Alabama, a move that affect 1,100 jobs. The Tennessee-based, company said today the plant in Courtland will shut down by early 2014. The mill makes a type of paper that's used in magazines, forms, copiers and printers. International Paper says customer demand for their products is down. International Paper said it will provide assistance for hourly workers. Salaried employees will receive severance packages and other aid.