September 7, 2012, Morning News



90.3 WBHM Travel expenses for two Birmingham City Council members are raising some eyebrows. The Birmingham News reports that Johnathan Austin and Jay Roberson (left and right, respectively) each spent more than thousand dollars in city money to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, this week. They say they were there to attend leadership and charitable events but they also attended the Democratic National Convention – they say in their “off-time.” In an Associated Press story last year the organizers of the leadership conference Austin attended compared their group to the former Democratic Leadership Council and said it serves as a recruiting tool for Democratic candidates. Mayor William Bell also attended the Democratic Convention, but told the Birmingham News he was there in his private capacity and the city did not pay for his trip.


Alabama now has up to $8 million to help families repair or replace homes that were destroyed by last year’s April tornadoes. Jim Byard is the director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. He says the money is from a federal grant and owners of single-family homes can receive up to $25,000 each. The money is for people who didn’t know how to access aid immediately after the killer tornadoes and people who had insufficient insurance to rebuild or repair. Three organizations that serve the damaged regions — the Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless, the Community Services Program of West Alabama, and the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama — will take applications.


If a remnant of Hurricane Isaac becomes a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico — which forecasters say could happen — it would be a rare event. In 2005, a remnant from a tropical depression that dissipated near Puerto Rico eventually became part of a new depression, which evolved into Hurricane Katrina. National Hurricane Center forecaster Todd Kimberlain says Katrina is the only modern example he could find of a system's partial remains regenerating and getting a different tropical designation. At midday yesterday, forecasters gave the Hurricane Isaac remnant a 40 percent chance of regenerating. An approaching cold front could influence its future.


A North Alabama man will be put to death in the first test of a state law that makes it a capital crime to harm an unborn child. A Marshall County judge handed down the sentence yesterday to Jessie Phillips. In June, a jury convicted Phillips of killing his wife and her unborn child at a car wash after an argument escalated to gunfire. Phillips gets an automatic appeal because he was sentenced to death.


A German auto supplier plans to build a $34 million plant in Tuscaloosa County. Friedrich Boysen Company made the announcement yesterday at a board meeting of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority. The plant will supply exhaust systems for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan. It will employ about 100 people once it’s up and running.


Is your retirement fund being eaten away by state taxes? Not if you live in Alabama – according to a new Kiplinger.com guide to taxes on retirement income, social security benefits, property and purchases. Alabama made the Top 10 Friendly Tax States, along with four other southern states. You can see a map of the Friendliest and most unfriendly tax states here.