Alabama's public schools system will undergo changes in coming months. On Thursday, Governor Robert Bentley signed the Charter Schools bill into law. There was no ceremony. The state legislature approved the Republican-supported bill on Wednesday. The legislation calls for the state department of education to establish up to 10 charter schools annually for the next five years. Also, a statewide commission will have the final say over whether a school board can reject a charter school. The first schools could be open in the fall of 2016.
The child at the center of a state-wide Amber Alert issued Thursday has been found safe. According to authorities, 5-year-old Aaliyah Linton was found safe in South Carolina. Linton was abducted around 8:40 Thursday morning from her school in Bullock County. Investigators say Linton's aunt and grandmother took her from Union Springs Elementary School before fleeing in a maroon van. The names of the aunt and grandmother have not yet been released but they will face kidnapping charges.
Public education in Alabama is taking a new direction. The state Legislature, voting along mostly party lines, has given final approval to a bill allow charter schools in the state. The Alabama House passed the legislation Wednesday. The measure was sent to Governor Robert Bentley who has indicated he will sign the bill into law. No timetable was given.
Montgomery Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide. Authorities say the bodies of an adult male and adult female were found in a residence late Tuesday night at about 11:45 p.m. Montgomery Police did not reveal the address but said the two victims died of gunshot wounds. Authorities said the investigation indicated the adult male fatally shot his wife, then took his own life. The victims' names were not released.
Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped from 6.1 percent in December to 6 percent in January, but it remains above the national average. Governor Robert Bentley says this is the 14th straight month that Alabama has gone without any increase in unemployment.
The Lady Hornets basketball team will travel to Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday to take on Florida State. The Alabama State University women's squad is a number 15 seed in the NCAA tournament. ASU earned its first appearance in the tournament since 2003. Students, alumni and supporters held a Welcome Home rally Monday afternoon for the Lady Hornets. Connecticut, Notre Dame and South Carolina and Maryland are the top seeded teams in the Women's NCAA tournament.
Authorities in Montgomery say a child has died in a house fire that occurred early Monday morning. Police Sgt. Denise Barnes says fire crews were called to the 4300 block of Sunshine Drive around 7 a.m. and were told one of the home's occupants may have still been inside. The house was reportedly engulfed in flames when emergency responders arrived. The body of a child was found after the fire was extinguished. Barnes says the house sustained major fire and smoke damage. The family's dog also perished in the blaze.
It soon will be Montgomery's turn in the spotlight for the various events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the voting rights march and the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Mayor Todd Strange says he and other city officials learned a few lessons from the massive crowds that descended on Selma earlier this month.
Officials with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says the shortage of state troopers has reached a critical state. ALEA spokesman Sgt. Steve Jarrett says the state reached an all time low of 289 troopers on the road late last year. Since then, the agency has pulled manpower form other departments to bring the number of troopers on the road to 431. However, Jarrett says a recent study by the University of Alabama's Center for Advanced Public Safety puts the number of troopers the state should have on patrol at just over a 1,000.