WVAS Local

   Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has named state Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat left empty by Jeff Sessions. He made the announcement this morning. Strange will replace Sessions, whose selection as U.S. attorney general by President Donald Trump was confirmed Wednesday. The 63 year old Strange has been the state's attorney general since 2011. Strange will serve until an election is held to fill the seat for the remainder of Sessions' term, which ends in January of 2020. Bentley has said that election will be held in the general election in 2018.

Siegelman Freed

Feb 8, 2017

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been released from a federal prison in Louisiana where he was serving a six-year sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice.  Siegelman's supporters cheered the release of the 70-year-old Democrat who for decades was a dominating figure in state politics. A spokesperson for Siegelman said the former governor's friends and family are "very excited about his release and very much look forward to seeing him."  

   Alabama’s aging and overcrowded prison system was the central focus of Governor Robert Bentley’s State of the State address last night. He urged lawmakers to pass his 800 million dollar prison construction plan that would build four new prisons while closing most of the current facilities. Bentley says the consolidation would alleviate the cost of the bond issue. Not all lawmakers are on board, worrying that the cost of the prisons will outweigh the savings.

   Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman could be released from prison this week. So says his former aide Chip Hill. According to Hill, Siegelman was told he would be released to house arrest Wednesday from a federal prison in Louisiana.  The 70 year old Democrat is nearing the end of a 6 and a half year sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice. Siegelman was convicted of selling an appointment to a state health board in exchange for donations to his 1999 lottery campaign.

Montgomery Police have arrested three men in connection with a January murder.  17-year-old Joquan Belyue, 17-year-old Terrance Moorer and 22-year-old Errol Johnson have all been charged with the murder of Joshua Rogers.  Police say the suspects, along with the murder victim, were committing a robbery on January 9th when Rogers was fatally shot.  Police found him in the median of the 800 block of Northern Boulevard.  Another adult male was shot as well, but because of the alleged robbery, the three men are being charged with Rogers' murder.

   A sobering update from the Alabama Corrections Commissioner on the status of the state’s prison system to lawmakers yesterday. Commissioner Jeff Dunn told a joint meeting of the house and senate judiciary committees that the risk in Alabama’s crowding prisons is growing every day. He said conditions are declining as the system deals with overcrowding and understaffing. The Bentley administration is trying to build support for an $800 million prison construction bond issue.

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts will be hosting two exhibits this week; Sewn Together: Two Centuries of Alabama Quilts and Contemporary Japanese Ceramics will open on Thursday.  The museum's curator, Margaret Lynn Ausfeld says the quilt collection spans more than a hundred years.  She says the Contemporary Japanese Ceramics will feature flower vases, tea bowls, candle holders and platters.  A free reception will be held on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.   

Seven Tornado Touchdowns Confirmed in Alabama So Far

Jan 24, 2017

   Multiple tornadoes touched down in Alabama during the past weekend according to survey teams from the National Weather Service. So far officials have confirmed seven tornadoes in four counties. Three twisters reportedly touched down in Lee County alone, near Pepperell Parkway in Opelika, near Smith’s Station and near Crawford. Two more have been confirmed in Marengo County and one each in Barbour County and Pike County. All of the tornadoes to this point have been classified as EF-1 or EF-0 in strength.

Storms Leave 19 Dead in the Deep South

Jan 23, 2017

A severe storm system that spun off apparent tornadoes, pulverized mobile homes and scattered other destruction around the Southeast has claimed at least 19 lives on a two-day assault on the region. At least 14 people were killed Sunday in Georgia as the intense, fast-moving storms tore across the state throughout the day. Four people were killed Saturday in Mississippi. The deadliest toll came before daybreak Sunday when an apparent tornado blew through a mobile home park in south Georgia — about 60 miles southeast of Albany — killing seven people.

The YMCA of Greater Montgomery announced the operation of it’s first-ever food mobile on Tuesday. The food mobile, called “The Brown Bag Bus”, will provide fresh, healthy meals to communities facing hunger. President and CEO of the Greater Montgomery YMCA, Gary Cobbs says the mobile initiative will serve as a nutrition education and food assistance outreach hub. The bus features seating for 30 children, pull-out tents and chairs for outside eating and a kitchen for nutrition education.