Alabama is likely headed for the deep freeze. The National Weather Service says freezing temperatures and sub-freezing wind chills throughout the state will range between minus 5 and 7 degrees Thursday morning. Art Faulkner, Alabama's Emergency Management Director, is urging residents to protect household property, pets and assist others, especially the elderly.
Temperatures will continue to plunge as through the rest of the week. Forecasters say frigid temperatures will impact the eastern two-thirds of the nation, including the South. The arctic air is expected to pack quite a punch with wind chill values throughout Alabama ranging between minus 5 and 7 degrees Thursday morning. Temperatures are projected to hit the teens and possibly single digits in many areas of central and north Alabama.
Severe weather rolled across much of Alabama during the first weekend of the new year. Storm-related damage occurred early Sunday morning in Crenshaw County where a possible tornado destroyed chicken houses and damaged several homes in the Spring Hill community. No injuries were reported. Severe storms also are blamed for toppling trees and damaging structures in Sumter, Marion and Lamar counties in west Alabama. The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office said a 3-year-old boy suffered a minor head injury when a tree limb crashed through a house in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama's unemployment rate is down to six percent. The preliminary jobless rate represents the state's best unemployment numbers in more than six years. But the state is still slightly above the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.8 percent. Shelby County has the state's lowest unemployment at 3.8 percent, and Wilcox County has the worst joblessness at 12.2 percent.
Alabama's Medicaid program is being restructured. Governor Robert Bentley says his administration is changing the way Medicaid services are delivered to control costs. The new system eliminates a fee-for-services model and would change to a managed care program to be operated by six regional care organizations. The RCOs are scheduled to begin operating in October of next year, if the federal government approves the new plan for Medicaid.
Governor Robert Bentley joined state health care officials Thursday to announce major changes to Alabama's Medicaid program. Bentley says several private organizations have been certified to provide health care services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Regional Care Organizations will transition out of a volume-based fee-for-service model to a payment system that awards the delivery of quality services. State Health Officer, Dr. Don Williamson, says the transition will offer more patient flexibility. Dr.
The city of Montgomery has introduced its new chief of police. He is Ernest Finley, a former chief deputy in the Atlanta Police Department. He had served in the capacity for the last five years before retiring to take the Montgomery job. Finley says he visited the city and attended several church services before deciding to pursue the position. Finley has served in law enforcement for 29 years. He takes over for Kevin Murphy, who was forced to retire after allegations that he created a hostile work environment. Finley's first day as chief is set for January 16th.
His name is Ernest Finley, the veteran law enforcement officer and former deputy police chief in Atlanta will be named the new Montgomery police chief today. Finley will join Mayor Todd Strange and other city officials at a news conference set for 4 p.m. at City Hall.
Lonnie Washington, a Bessemer attorney, has been appointed trustee of Alabama State University by Gov. Robert Bentley. His appointment, made Tuesday, needs approval by the state Senate. Washington will replace Larry D. Thornton Sr.; a Birmingham businessman and former chairman of the ASU board. Washington, 49, is 1988 ASU graduate.
The suspect charged in Sunday's slaying of an Auburn football player made his initial court appearance Monday. A district judge ordered 22-year-old Markhale Hart of Camp Hill held on $500,000 bond. Hart is accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Jakell Mitchell of Opelika. Family members and other held a candlelight vigil last night to remember Mitchell.