WVAS Local

Fire Alert Issued for 46 Counties in Alabama

Oct 11, 2016

Forestry officials are banning outside burning across most of Alabama because of the threat of wildfires. Coleen Vansant of the Alabama Forestry Commission says the fire alert took effect Monday and covers 46 of the state's 67 counties. The fire alert means no outside fires are allowed in the region. Officials hope it will stem the spread of wildfires in drought-plagued areas of the state. Vansant says the ban will remain in effect until Alabama receives the substantial amount of rain that will be needed to reduce the threat of wildfires.

Investigation Launched into Alabama's Prison System

Oct 7, 2016

   The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into conditions within Alabama's troubled prison system. The department says its investigation will focus on safety in men's prisons and whether inmates are protected from physical harm and abuse. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement that the U.S. Constitution requires humane conditions for prisoners. Alabama's prison system has come under criticism for crowding and recent outbreaks of violence. State prisons house nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold.

   46 counties in Alabama have been placed under a fire danger warning by the Alabama Forestry Commission. A warning was issued because of the extremely dry weather conditions, low humidity and lack of rain in the extended forecast. Commission officials say the abnormally dry weather has created an environment conducive for wildfires. The fire danger warning encompasses all of North Alabama and parts of Central Alabama. The tri-county area is included in the warned counties. A full list of counties can be found on the Commission’s website.

Area Cities Have New Mayors Following Runoffs

Oct 5, 2016

   State legislator Darrio Melton has been elected as the new mayor of Selma. Melton last night defeated former Mayor James Perkins, Jr. in a runoff election. Melton has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2010.  Mayoral races were also decided in Tallassee and Alex City last night. Johnny Hammock is the new mayor of Tallassee after topping George McCain in the runoff. In Alex City, retired Russell Corporation executive Jim Nabors won the mayor’s office by a wide margin over the incumbent Charles Shaw. 

Two Traffic Deaths in the Tri-County Area

Oct 3, 2016

   Two traffic deaths were investigated by state troopers in the Tri-County vicinity over the weekend. Both happened Saturday.  Around 3:15pm a car is reported to have run off the road and struck a tree in Elmore County. It happened on Elmore County Road 407 about five miles north of Eclectic. Troopers say the driver was killed. He’s been identified as 37 year old Leon Livingston Minchew of Eclectic. No word on what caused the accident.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has announced a new program aimed at helping veterans resolve debt collection issues.  Central Alabama VA, Tyeasa Ewell says a Community Care Call Center has been set up to assist veterans with credit issues as a result of wrongly billed Choice Program claims.  The number is 1-877-881-7618.  

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended for the rest of his term for defying federal gay marriage rulings. The punishment effectively removes Moore from office, without the court officially ousting him. The nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary handed down the punishment Friday after ruling Moore had violating standards of judicial ethics. Moore was found to have encouraged probate judges to deny marriage licenses to gay couples six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that everyone has a fundamental right to marry in all 50 states.

Alabama State University's annual Fall Career Fair hosted hundreds of people Thursday.  Organizers say more than 100 representatives were on hand offering information about full-time, part-time, co-op and internship positions. The annual career fair was held at ASU's Dunn-Oliver Acadome.  

 The Alabama House Judiciary Committee is meeting to discuss the ongoing impeachment investigation of Gov. Robert Bentley. The committee on Tuesday afternoon is to hear an update from special counsel Jack Sharman and discuss his proposed changes to the committee's rules of procedure. Committee members will vote on a number of proposed changes. One specifies that the governor's attorneys would not have the right to cross-examine any witnesses who testify before the committee.

The Alabama State University family is mourning the death of one of its students, 18-year-old Jerrett Mumford. In an official statement the university offers its prayers and condolences to the family of Mumford.  Officials say Mumford was killed on Sunday in a car accident in Georgia.  ASU President, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd says “we extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.  A student-led memorial service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Card Residence Hall, where Mumford resided on campus.