July 31 Morning Newscast

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July 31, 2012 Morning Edition News

Craft beer enthusiasts in Alabama are anxiously awaiting a change in the bottle law that goes into effect tomorrow. The change authorizes bigger beer bottles and, industry officials say, will increase the number of beers sold in the state. Local beer sellers have already been clearing out cooler space and making rooms on shelves for an anticipated 200 new craft brews and international imports. Until the state legislature changed the law this spring, bottle sizes were limited to 16 ounces. Under the new law much larger bottles can be sold around the state. High end specialty beers are usually sold in 22 ounce bottles, the same size as most wines.

In related news, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has reversed itself and approved distribution of a craft beer it had banned for having an obscene name. In April, the ABC board banned Founders Brewing’s Dirty Bastard Beer from the state – saying it wanted to protect children from seeing the foul language. Beer aficionados balked because the ABC has previously approved the sale of Fat Bastard wine. The ABC board has announced it is reversing course and will now allow the Michigan beer to be sold here with the Dirty Bastard name.

State law enforcement officials hope a new law going into effect tomorrow will help curb metal thefts across the state. The law governs the sale of recycled metals and requires buyers and scrapyards to get more information from sellers, including a copy of a photo ID and a vehicle license plate. The law also makes selling stolen metal valued at more than $250 a Class C felony, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Rising scrap metal prices in recent years has led to the increase in metal thefts, especially copper.

More than 2,300 Alabama businesses are getting savings from special electric rates that the state’s utility regulatory board approved last year to encourage an economic recovery. The Public Service Commission worked with Alabama Power last summer to institute the rates for businesses that move into buildings that have been vacant for at least six months or businesses that create new jobs. Participating businesses save about $25 a month, but so far the total savings is nearly $850,000.

Dozens of road and bridge projects, including three in Etowah and Marshall counties, will get underway thanks to new funding announced yesterday by Governor Robert Bentley. The money comes from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program and will be used to rehabilitate or replace several bridges that are in desperate need of repairs. The funds will also go to road widening and resurfacing projects. The Gasden Times reports Etowah County will get $1.67 million for upgrades in the latest round of funding. All told, 139 transportation projects will receive $78 million dollars worth of funding in what Bentley says is a massive economic development plan. Eighty percent of the money will come from federal bonds and the remaining 20 percent from private/public partnerships. Click here to see a photo of one of the Etowah County bridges slated for much needed upgrades.

The Unit 1 reactor at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan is generating electricity again. The Southern Company says the reactor resumed generating electricity yesterday following testing on a diesel generator. Workers had shut it down Friday to make repairs on an engine cooling valve for a diesel generator.

Birmingham attorney Phillip McCallum is the new president of the Alabama State Bar. McCallum replaces Birmingham attorney Jim Pratt as head of the State Bar’s 17,000 members. The Cumberland Law School graduate says his goals for his one-year term include campaigning for adequate funding for the state court system and making sure society’s most vulnerable have the same access to justice as the most powerful.

Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has filed a $61 million claim in the bankruptcy case of a company associated with closed Country Crossing casino near Dothan. Mayweather claims he loaned Resorts Development Group LLC four million dollars. He says he was supposed to be paid his initial investment plus $1 million in interest by June 2010. And if he wasn’t paid on time, he says, the loan provided for interest of $100,000 per day. Country Crossing reopened last summer as Center Stage, but its casino closed last week following a raid.


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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