July 20, 2012 Morning Edition News




90.3 WBHM Hospital officials say two of those injured in the shooting outside a Tuscaloosa bar remain hospitalized. A spokesman for DCH Regional Medical Center says one man remains in serious condition. Another is in fair condition. A total of 17 people were hurt by gunfire or debris from the Tuesday morning shootings at the Copper Top bar. Suspect Nathan Van Wilkins has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder. Police say Wilkins stood outside the crowded downtown bar and opened fire with an assault rifle, sending patrons running or crawling for cover in a chaotic and bloody scene.


In Other News:

The former chief of Alabama Public Television is suing the Alabama Educational Television Commission over its decision to fire him last month. Allan Pizzato claims the commission violated various state laws and statutes when it fired him and another top executive who spoke out against a proposal to air a controversial documentary series that suggests the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation. The complaint also alleges Commission chair Ferris Stephens is not eligible to serve in that position because a state statute says “no member of the commission shall hold any other office.” Stephens is an assistant attorney general. The lawsuit seeks to remove Stephens and void all decisions by the commission since his arrival in 2010. You can read the entire complaint here.


The federal judge presiding over a proposed class-action settlement of BP oil spill claims says two websites are misleading visitors into believing they are filing official claims. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Thursday ordered the operator of the sites — bpclaims.org and deepwaterhorizonsettlementclaims.com — to post disclaimers at the top of every page on the sites. Those disclaimers would state that the websites aren’t the court-authorized site. The site where residents can submit claims is deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com. In May, Barbier gave preliminary approval to a settlement proposal to resolve billions of dollars in claims by people and businesses who blame economic losses on the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Nearly a dozen people from five states are charged in an alleged $15 million mortgage fraud operation that included the attempted murder of a witness. Federal officials in New Jersey says the defendants -- from Alabama, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and George -- engaged in a scheme to create false documents and use straw buyers to persuade lenders to give them millions of dollars for oceanfront properties that were worth far less.


Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says efforts to reduce the size of the state's government have been successful during his first 18 months in office. At a press conference yesterday Bentley said he made a pledge to reduce the cost of state government by $1 billion. He admitted some changes are long range, such as a law changing the pension plan for state employees. He said it may be years before the state feels the full benefits of those changes. He said actions taken since he took office will allow the state to achieve $675 million in current and projected savings.