August 27 Morning News

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August 27, 2012, Morning News

Residents along Alabama’s coast are scheduling to begin evacuating at 8 a.m. this morning. Governor Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency and ordered mandatory evacuations ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. The order covers much of southern Baldwin and Mobile counties, including the cities of Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island and Bayou La Batre. It does NOT cover Mobile. Current tracking has the storm making landfall in Louisiana some time tomorrow, but Alabama’s coastal areas are under a hurricane warning, and forecasters say strong wind and heavy rain could extend miles inland.


The man who is temporarily overseeing funding for Alabama’s health care program for the poor says Medicaid will be in deep trouble if voters do not approve a September 18 referendum to take more than $437 million from a state trust fund and use it to prevent huge cuts in spending on state programs for three years. State Health Officer Don Williamson says without the money from the trust fund the Medicaid program will be $100 million in the red. He says this could jeopardize programs that provide medicine for poor patients, reduce payments for doctors who treat Medicaid patients, send more poor patients to emergency rooms and eliminate optional Medicaid programs such as providing life-saving dialysis treatment. Opponents say the crisis can be solved without raiding the state’s savings.


The Alabama Department of Transportation is getting more than $51 million to be used for road work. The Birmingham News reports the money comes from old federal earmarks that have gone unused around the state. The Obama administration identified $473 million in unspent earmarks around the country and ordered states to come up with a plan for the money by the end of the year. Otherwise the funds go to other states. All 33 projects on Alabama’s list were contained in transportation spending bills from 2004, 2005 and 2006. Among the projects that are losing their earmarks are the Memphis to Atlanta highway and a connector from U.S. 231 to Interstate 10. Some local officials say they’ll argue to keep their money, but state officials aren’t making any guarantees.

 

Secretary of State investigating Bessemer for potential voter fraud

While rumors of election fraud or irregularities have lingered in the city for years, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed to WBHM his office is looking into allegations of voter fraud in Bessemer this election cycle.

Local health officials plan to increase monkeypox vaccinations

Health officials will soon begin offering intradermal vaccinations, reaching more people with less vaccine.

Some 3rd graders in local schools could be held back under new law 

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

How one Birmingham custodian preps for the first day of school

When the kids are away, the custodial and maintenance staff in schools work all summer long. One custodian told WBHM about what it takes to keep the kids happy and healthy as they trade sunshine for fluorescent lights.

Dollar store workers are organizing for a better workplace. Just don’t call it a union.

Fired up by a labor movement that’s seen big union victories recently, dollar store workers are organizing in their own way to improve work conditions.

Bill Clark has a knack for making comebacks. Will he make one more? 

Bill Clark has had to overcome some serious hurdles during his career at UAB, as well as in his personal life. He not only resurrected a football program that had been neglected—and then out-right killed—he’s also been fighting through what he’s called a serious injury since childhood.

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