WVAS Local

Polls have opened across Alabama as voters cast ballots in party primary elections for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, is seeking to fight off challengers that include former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks. President Donald Trump has endorsed Strange and recorded automatic phone calls on his behalf. Brooks has criticized Strange's backing by a super political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

   Alabama Schools Superintendent Michael Sentance provided his response yesterday to an unflattering evaluation from the State Board of Education. Last month all but one board member gave the superintendent low marks for his job performance thus far. Sentance told the board his administration already has a string of accomplishments. Some of the achievements Sentance touted include creating the first office of school improvement, creating a strategic improvement plan and developing plans to better teacher education programs.

   Montgomery Police have arrested two people in connection with a homicide from last year. The fatal shooting happened in the 300 block of Burgwyn Road on November 12 of 2016. That’s where 31 year old Jacurtis Howard was found shot to death. Police have now charged 29 year old Raheem Brown and 20 year John Turner with capital murder in the incident. The two Montgomery men are being held in the Montgomery County Detention Facility without bond. Investigators believe Howard was shot during the course of being robbed. 

Students in the Montgomery Public School system will start a new year Thursday and the MPS Transportation Department says  they are making sure everything is in order before the first routes is taken. WVAS News Reporter Brittney Jones-Dabney spoke with MPS officials regarding bus safety. 

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY: If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand back from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps include:

An Alabama woman pleaded guilty to fraud charges for portraying herself as a terminal cancer patient in a pair of online fundraising schemes. A statement from acting U.S. Attorney Robert Posey says 37-year-old Jennifer Flynn Cataldo of Shelby County entered her guilty pleas  Tuesday to one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud in federal court. Authorities say Cataldo agreed to repay nearly $80,000 to people verified to have given her money. Authorities say Cataldo used online fundraising drives to ask for money for medical expenses and a family trip to Disney World.

Lower voter turnout is expected in next week's U.S. Senate primary for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that he is projecting that 20 percent to 25 percent of voters will go to the polls on Tuesday. Merrill said a typical primary brings turnout of 30-32 percent. The summer special election comes at a time that voters aren't accustomed to going to the polls. The seat is currently held by Republican Sen. Luther Strange who was appointed. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Congressman Mo Brooks and state Sen.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials announced Thursday 26 people were arrested in connection with a drug trafficking with ties to East Alabama.  Officials say the suspects are facing various charges including narcotics and money laundering.  Acting U.S. Attorney Clark Morris for the Middle District of Alabama says it is one of the largest takedowns in recent years.  She says the estimated economic impact of removing the suspects from the streets could be in the millions.  

In an effort to educate Alabama residents about the upcoming special election for U.S. Senate Seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions; the League of Women Voters of Alabama launched an updated digital resource guide online –VOTE411.org. Reporter Brittney Jones-Dabney files this report with Alabama Board Member Renee Collini. 

Alabama Abortion Law Struck Down by Federal Judge

Aug 1, 2017

A federal judge has struck down an Alabama law that put minors seeking court permission for an abortion through a trial-like proceeding where the fetus could be represented by a court-appointed lawyer. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker sided with the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday, saying the law imposes undue burdens on girls, violating their rights to a confidential proceeding by allowing the district attorney, witnesses and others to get involved in opposing her decision.

Tuskegee Man Killed in Weekend Accident

Jul 31, 2017

   There was one fatal accident in Central Alabama over the weekend. It happened in Macon County. State Troopers report that the single-vehicle wreck took place on Macon County Road 65 Saturday afternoon about three miles north of Tuskegee. A car left the roadway and struck a tree. Troopers say the driver, 64 year old Ronald Cleo Gibbs of Tuskegee, was killed. He was reportedly not wearing a seat belt and pronounced dead at the scene. No word yet on what may have caused the crash.

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