WVAS Local

Reports of Prison Riots Prompt Governor's Visit

Mar 15, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley says prison uprisings will occur in other facilities in the state if the problems of overcrowding and understaffing aren't addressed.  Bentley visited a prison in southwest Alabama that has seen two violent disturbances over the past several days.  

ASU Women's Basketball Team Clinches Second Title

Mar 14, 2016

Alabama State University made history after winning the 2016 Toyota SWAC Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row.  The Lady Hornets defeated Southern 55-51 Saturday afternoon at the Toyota Center.  It's the third SWAC tournament crown for Coach Freda Freeman-Jackson and the fourth title in the school's history.  Jackson says the girls worked hard the entire season.  Britney Wright was named tournament MVP and teammates Daniele Ewert and Jasmine Peeples were voted to the All-Tournament team.  


Mar 14, 2016

Alabama State University is hosting its first, HBCU Presidents' Summit on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM.  Representatives from the National Science Foundation, the White House Initiative on HBCUs and HBCU presidents were on campus Monday and will be on campus Tuesday talking about research collaborations and minority underrepresentation in the STEM community.  Nearly 70 institutions are participating at ASU's STEM Summit.  

Contraband Found at Holman Correctional Facility

Mar 14, 2016

Corrections officers say they found 30 cellphones, makeshift knives and other contraband during a search after an uprising at William C. Holman Correctional Facility.  A Department of Corrections spokesman on Sunday said emergency response teams searched the prison housing units after the situation was contained.  During the Friday night disturbance, inmates stabbed the prison warden and a corrections officer, lit a fire and tried to take over the prison dormitory.  Emergency response teams brought the situation under control by Saturday morning.  

Alabama's unemployment rate remains unchanged even though the state added more than 8,000 jobs.  A statement from the governor's office released Monday says the state's unemployment rate for January was 6.2 percent, the same as the month before.  Shelby County has Alabama's lowest jobless rate at 4.5 percent, and Clarke County is highest at 12.4 percent.  Alabama is among 14 states where the jobless rate is unchanged.  

Montgomery City Partners with NextDoor

Mar 11, 2016

Montgomery city officials have announced a partnership with a private social website for neighborhoods.  The Nextdoor website allows neighbors to privately communicate with each other about local issues.  Roby Turner, a Senior City Strategist for Nextdoor says resident swill be able to have a direct line of communications with public safety officials.  The Public Safety Department will not be able to see what each neighborhood group is posting, but safety officials can post messages to the group like emergency weather information or crime prevention tips.

Vote Delayed on Payday Reform Bill

Mar 11, 2016

The Alabama Senate has delayed a vote on a Colorado-style payday loan reform that would give people at least six months to pay back the loan instead of just a few weeks.  Senators on Thursday postponed a vote after the bill hit opposition on the Senate floor.  Republican Sen. Arthur Orr, the bill's sponsor, said borrowers currently face oppressive fees as they roll over loans, they are unable to repay within a few weeks.  The bill would also allow installment payments.  Colorado lawmakers implemented similar legislation in 2010.

About two dozen people protested the fatal shooting of Greg Gunn by a Montgomery police officer Thursday.  Protesters marched down the sidewalk in front of City Hall, holding signs reading "Justice of Greg Gunn" and "Black Lives Matter."  Officer Aaron Smith fatally shot Gunn on Feb. 25th.  He was arrested les than a week later.  The group had a list of demands including the creation of an independent review board allowing for citizen input.  They also want the position of public safety eliminated.  The State Bureau of Investigation continues its probe of the case.  

Reward Money Offered in 2008 Murder Case

Mar 8, 2016

Authorities in central Alabama are offering a $5,000 reward for information about an unsolved killing that happened in 2008.  The Chilton County Sheriff's Office hopes the money shakes loose information about the death of Tony Derrell Pierce.  Pierce was shot in the back while sleeping in his bed at home in Verbena on Aug.  10, 2008.  Authorities say the killer fired a shotgun through the window, fatally wounding the man.  Sheriff John Shearon says the case is a mystery, and investigators hope someone comes forward with new information.  

Senate Committe Approves Teacher Tenure Increase

Mar 8, 2016

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would increase the time required for teachers to earn tenure from three years to five years and change the process of teacher evaluations.  The Education and Youth Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 5-4 vote after a public hearing during which more than 20 people spoke, divided about evenly between opponents and proponents.  The bill, by Sen. Del Marsh, moves to the Senate.  Teachers would be rated on one of five levels, and 25 percent of the score would be tied to student growth as measured by standardized tests.