Obama OKs honor for Birmingham bombing victims
WASHINGTON (AP) - Four girls killed in an Alabama church bombing during the civil rights movement are receiving the highest honor Congress gives to civilians.
President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair.
The three 14-year-olds and an 11-year-old were killed Sept. 15, 1963, when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
September will mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing, which helped spur passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Three Ku Klux Klan members were convicted of the bombing years after the attack. Two are dead and one is in prison.
Extra troopers, less road in Ala. during weekend
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Motorists traveling through Alabama during the long Memorial Day weekend will see extra state troopers on the road.
Alabama officials announced the extra troopers are the result of the state participating in the nationwide Click It Or Ticket campaign to increase the use of safety belts. Many of the state's city and county law enforcement agencies are also participating.
The state Department of Transportation is anticipating heavy traffic and says it won't have any temporary lane closures on interstate highways from noon Friday through midnight Monday. The department also said road construction and maintenance work will be limited during the busy holiday weekend.
1ST DISTRICT RACE
Alabama Rep. Davis running for 1st District seat
DAPHNE, Ala. (AP) - The campaign to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner of Mobile has begun one day after he announced he would step down in August to take a job with the University of Alabama System.
Republican state Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne said Friday that he will run in the 1st District race. Davis says the district "needs a conservative trench fighter who will stare down the D.C. liberals."
Davis is a retired educator who is serving his third term in the Legislature.
Several others have indicated they are considering the race, including former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne.
Gov. Robert Bentley will have to set a date for the special election to fill Bonner's seat.
Ala. governor signs bond issues, campaign bill
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley has signed two bond issues into law, along with a bill changing Alabama's campaign finance law.
Bentley spokesman Jeremy King said Friday the governor signed a $30 million bond issue to repair six schools damaged by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012. He also approved a $50 million bond issue to purchase equipment for technology training programs in public schools.
The other new law signed by the governor removes the limit on how much corporations can give to political candidates in Alabama. Corporate contributions are now unlimited like individual contributions.
All three bills passed on the Legislature's last meeting day Monday.
The Legislature passed another bond issue Monday for $50 million for construction of National Guard armories, but it must be approved in a statewide referendum.
STORM SURGE-COMMUNICATING THE DANGER UPDATE
Hurricane center: Beware of the storm surge
MIAMI (AP) - During a hurricane, storm surge is 1 of the greatest threats to life and land, yet many people don't understand the dire warnings from forecasters to get out of its way.
This season, forecasters hope to offer easy-to-understand, color-coded maps and change the way they talk to the public.
Simply put, storm surge is the abnormal rise of sea water. Predicting it is far more complicated, and so is explaining it. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami discovered that again during a review of Superstorm Sandy.
Forecasts during Sandy were exceptionally accurate, but often confusing. Perhaps because so many things contribute to storm surge: intensity, pressure, forward speed, size, where it makes landfall and other factors.
Dothan board weighs officer's Facebook posts
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - The Dothan Personnel Board expects to take a few weeks to decide what could be a landmark case involving the use of social media by police.
The board held a four-hour hearing Thursday in the case of Cpl. Raemonica Carney. She turned to the board after she was suspended for 10 days without pay and put on probation for two years for Facebook posts that appeared favorable to former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner.
Carney's attorney, Sonya Edwards, told the Dothan Eagle she's being retaliated against for having an unpopular belief. City attorney Kevan Kelly said the posts disrupted the department's working order,
Dorner was accused of killing four people, including two officers, before apparently killing himself in a burning cabin in February.
ALABAMA A&M-BAND DIRECTOR
Alabama A&M names alum as new band director
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Alabama A&M University has named a new leader for its marching band.
Al.com reports that the school announced this week that Carlton Wright will be the new band director. He replaces interim director Derrick Yates.
Wright is a 1986 graduate of Alabama A&M. He has worked as band director for three Birmingham-area high schools.
Wright says his first order of business will be to reach out to current band members, including those recruited by Yates. He says he wants to introduce himself. He also says he plans to build on the band's tradition and to improve the school's band program.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.