August 8 Morning Newscast

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August 8, 2012, Morning Newcast

Jefferson County leaders are nearing a decision on whether to quit admitting patients to the county’s charity hospital as a cost-saving move. The Jefferson County Commission will vote next Tuesday on whether to cease in-patient care at Birmingham’s Cooper Green Hospital. The hospital would continue seeing patients at its emergency room, but it would quit admitting patients. Commissioners say the 120-bed hospital averages less than 40 patients a day. Opponents of the proposed closing are collecting petition signatures and say they will stage protests if the commission decides to end hospital admissions.

Birmingham’s mayor has commissioned a study to determine whether the city could be home to sports teams displaced by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Birmingham News reports the city hired Bravis Building Solutions to research whether Birmingham has the capacity to serve as an evacuation city for pro teams when natural disasters strike their home cities. The study will also explore the possibility of Birmingham hosting National Football League summer training camps. Recruiting some type of professional team to Birmingham has been among Mayor William Bell’s goals. The report focuses on teams from Atlanta, New Orleans and Nashville because of their proximity and chances Birmingham could attract them for summer training.

The judge hearing the lawsuits against Alabama Public Television says he’d like to render a decision by the end of the month. Former APT executive director Allan Pizzato is suing the Alabama Educational Television Commission and its seven members, claiming they violated the state’s open meeting law when they fired him at a June 12th meeting. Interim Alabama Public Television director Don Boomershine testified that Commission chairman Ferris Stephens contacted him eleven days before Pizatto was fired to ask if he might be interested in serving as interim director. In that same conversation, he said, he was informed that one of the reasons for the possible change in leadership was a difference of opinions between the Commission and management over “Christian programming”. After the firing, the television commission board members stated Pizzato’s removal had nothing to do with a controversial Christian documentary series one commissioner wanted to air. During two days of testimony this week, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boohaker said time is of the essence since Alabama Public Television’s license if up for renewal. Click here for extensive coverage of this issue.

A judge is delaying the trial of a former Alabama university professor accused of killing three colleagues and wounding three others during a campus faculty meeting. Madison County Judge Alan Mann didn’t give a reason for pushing back the trial of Amy Bishop by two weeks. It will now begin September 24 in Huntsville. Attorneys for the Harvard-educated biologist have been fighting with the state over payments for expert witnesses they say are needed to prepare her insanity defense. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

A Huntsville woman is hoping to get several candidates for the Alabama Supreme Court disqualified. Sherry Broyles has filed petitions with the state Democratic and Republican parties. She says the Democratic Party should disqualify its nominee for chief justice, Harry Lyon, for not filing monthly campaign finance reports as required by a new law. She also wants the Republican Party to disqualify incumbent Justices Lyn Stuart, Glenn Murdock and Jim Main for not filing all the required reports. The candidates say they did file the necessary paperwork.

Kudzu bugs (those pea-sized Asian insects with hearty appetites for soybeans, as well as the weed they’re named after) have apparently hitchhiked from Alabama to western Mississippi. Entomologists and farmers in Arkansas and Louisiana are keeping a wary eye out for an invasion. The bugs were found near Vicksburg, Mississsippi, in July. That’s about 270 miles west of the nearest Alabama county where they’d been seen. Since first spotted near Atlanta in 2009, kudzu bugs have spread to southern Virginia, northern Florida, Alabama and east Tennessee. Click here to see a photo of the bugs.

Descendants of Civil War soldiers from Alabama are looking forward to the upcoming dedication of a Civil War cemetery in Virginia. The Birmingham News reports the newly restored Civil War cemetery in northern Virginia will be dedicated next month. The ceremony is expected to draw descendants of Tenth Alabama Infantry Regiment soldiers who died there during an 1861 disease outbreak. The 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment included companies from Jefferson, Shelby, Calhoun, Talladega, St. Clair, and DeKalb counties.


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.

Expert says inadequate staffing is driving deaths in prisons across the Gulf South

An expert explains how issues from staffing to healthcare to climate change have contributed to a recent rise in deaths in prisons across the Gulf South.

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