WVAS Local

The National Weather Service says a tornado did not directly kill four people who died Monday in southeast Alabama.  A survey team concludes a tree that crashed through a mobile home near Rehobeth in Houston County, killing four, fell by straight-line winds.  The team concludes winds of 85 mph were related to a nearby tornado, though.  That twister touched down in Geneva County and ended 8 miles later in Houston County, creating a 500-yard-wide damage path.  A second tornado hit Bullock County.  

Authorities have reported a sixth death as the result of strong storms that swept through the South: a woman in Georgia. Albany, Georgia, Fire Chief Ron Rowe said Tuesday that he did not have any details about exactly how the woman was killed. Her identity has not been released. Rowe says the approximately 1-mile-wide "violent" storm happened about 11 p.m. Monday, 30 minutes or so after a tornado warning was issued for the area.

Four people were killed in a mobile home in Rehobeth, Alabama during the storms. A Florida man died in the flooding. 

Members of the NAACP held multiple protests throughout the state against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for the U.S. Attorney General.  In Montgomery, a group gathered outside the city's downtown Federal Courthouse Building. Reverend Rayford Mack, president of the Metro Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP pointed to Sessions' track record on voting rights and race as reasons behind the objection.  Other protests were held in Huntsville, Birmingham, Dothan and Mobile.   

Former Alabama Governor Albert Brewer Dies

Jan 3, 2017

Former Alabama Gov. Albert Brewer has died at the age of 88. Brewer reshaped public education during a fill-in term and then championed constitutional reform as the elder statesman of state politics. Gov. Robert Bentley in a Monday statement about Brewer's death said the state had lost a great leader. Wayne Flynt, a Southern history expert at Auburn University called Brewer "the only governor we had who ever came close to being a 'New South' governor." He assumed the office of governor when Governor Lurleen Wallace died in 1968. Brewer was Lt. Governor at the time. 

Authorities say they found 167 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $2.2 million in a hidden compartment of a tractor trailer during a traffic stop in western Alabama.  A local news agency reports the truck was pulled over Dec. 22nd on Interstate 20/59 in Greene County.  An official says the seizure, made by the 17th Judicial Drug Task Force, is the largest in the agency's history.  Authorities said the semi driver was arrested on a charge of cocaine trafficking.  

Arrest Made in November Murder

Dec 16, 2016

   An arrest has been made in a homicide that occurred in November. Montgomery police have charged 23 year old Devin Robinson with capital murder in the death of 27 year old Roderick Bell. Bell was found shot to death in the 41-hundred block of Fitzpatrick Boulevard back on November 17th. He reportedly turned himself in to police. He is being held in the Montgomery County Detention Facility under no bond.

Judge Roy Moore Appeals His Suspension

Dec 15, 2016

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is appealing his suspension from the bench. In a brief filed Tuesday, Moore's attorney says a judicial discipline panel exceeded its authority by suspending Moore for the remainder of his term. It requires a unanimous vote to remove a judge from office. Moore argues the lengthy suspension is a "de facto removal" without the required unanimous vote. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled in September that Moore violated judicial ethics.

Elementary students receive new bikes

Dec 13, 2016

Being on time for school and having good behavior is essential to learning and for students at Davis Elementary school, it’s also an easy way to grab a new bicycle. 30 students grades K through second exceeded in attendance and behavior goals for the month of December. Principal Aleysia Abernathy-Alves said the students were entered into the drawing for the new bicycles based on a point system. The points were split between attendance, no tardiness, no checkouts and utilizing conflict resolutions.

The chief psychiatrist for the Ohio prison system says that Alabama fails to spot mental illness in many inmates and lacks the staff to effectively treat those who are diagnosed. Al.com reports that Dr. Kathryn Burns testified Monday as an expert witness on behalf of inmates who sued the state. Burns says the percentage of inmates identified as mentally ill in Alabama — about 14 percent — is about half that seen in other states. She says that suggests many ill prisoners are being missed.

The "Have a Heart for Children" held its annual Christmas party for more than 800 special needs students Monday at a church in Montgomery.  This year marks the organization's 17th year, the Christmas party was held at Frazer United Methodist Church.  Have a Heart for Children Founder, Earnestine Woods, says she is amazed at the organization's growth.  Students were treated to performances and served dinner by community members, elected officials, educators and law enforcement officials.