Payday lending moratorium extended in Montgomery
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Montgomery City Council has extended a moratorium on issuing new business licenses for payday lending companies.
Council voted Tuesday to extend a 90-day moratorium by six months. WAKA-TV reported that Councilman Richard Bollinger said the extension would give city officials time to examine how the businesses impact Montgomery.
Bollinger says city leaders are looking to foster a diverse business climate, and are unsure of why payday lending businesses are concentrated in specific areas of the city.
The moratorium provides exceptions for payday lending business owners looking to renew their licenses or transfer their license to another person or entity.
Short-term lenders have been controversial among Alabama lawmakers for several years. The companies include title loans, payday loans and check-cashing businesses.
Alabama cities, including Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, have enacted similar moratoriums.
Report: HIV/AIDS cases decline in Alabama
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A new report says Alabama's HIV and AIDS rate has dropped slightly, but its rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have gone up.
The report from the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn University at Montgomery says there were 12.27 people per 100,000 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2012. That's down from 13.75 in 2011. A similar decline occurred with the diagnosis of syphilis, which went from 15.55 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 14.85 in 2012.
In contrast, the diagnosis of chlamydia climbed from 611.21 per 100,000 in 2011 to 641.60 in 2012. Gonorrhea increased from 188.27 per 100,000 to 194.69.
The center also reported that the teen pregnancy rate dropped. It went from 32.5 per 1,000 females ages 10-19 to 29.6.
Ala. councilwoman pleads guilty to bank fraud
BIRMINGAM, Ala. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a Childersburg city councilwoman has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.
U.S. Attorney's officials said Wednesday that Bonny Jean Carter pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $1 million from SouthFirst Bank.
Investigators have said 61-year-old Carter worked as an account clerk at the bank and embezzled the money between October 2002 and March 2013.
Authorities say Carter also issued debit transactions from the bank's expense accounts to pay some of her personal debts.
Carter is ordered to pay more than $951,700 in restitution to the bank and she's scheduled to be sentenced March 11.
Holmes says he refused to make ASU fight racial
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - State Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery says he's been criticized by a former Alabama State University trustee and others because he refused a request to help turn an investigation of the university into a racial fight.
The Montgomery Democrat, who taught history at ASU for many years, said former trustee Donald Watkins and ASU's executive vice president, state Rep. John Knight, asked him to question the motives of former university President Joseph Silver and to go after Gov. Robert Bentley on racial grounds. Holmes said he refused because he doesn't believe race played a role in Silver's questions about university contracts or Bentley's pursuit of a forensic audit.
Watkins and Knight told the Montgomery Advertiser they never asked Holmes to get involved, and they haven't spoken to him recently.
Alabama faces Dec. 10 for Boeing Co. proposal
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Alabama faces a Dec. 10 deadline to respond to Boeing Co., which is seeking proposals from several states hoping to land an aircraft assembly plant.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has said the community is among several cities being considered for a 777X assembly site.
Boeing said it would consider a new location to build the airplane after union members rejected a proposed contract in Seattle last month.
AL.com reports that Boeing already owns about 300 acres at the Huntsville International Airport and the site is large enough to accommodate the needed 1 million square feet of production space.
Alabama earlier landed an Airbus plant in Mobile with an incentive package worth about $158.5 million.
WATER TOWER SHOT
City officials think gunshot punctured water tower
WICKSBURG, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama town is hooking hundreds of residents into another water system after someone apparently fired a gun at a City of Taylor water tower.
Taylor Field Supervisor Charles Douglas said he discovered a hole in the city's water tower off Bump Road in Wicksburg on Monday morning.
Douglas tells The Dothan Eagle that it appears someone shot it with a rifle, and that he thinks it was intentional.
Douglas said city employees drained the tower, and took it out of service on Monday. He said workers connected the 600 customers in the Wicksburg community into the Dothan water system.
It is deer hunting season and several hunters are using rifles, though it's not known whether a stray shot punctured the tower. No arrests have been made.
Singer's funeral set for Sunday in Arab, Ala.
ARAB, Ala. (AP) - A funeral will be held in the north Alabama town of Arab for country singer and former University of Alabama football player Wayne Mills.
The singer's Facebook page says the memorial service is set for Sunday at Arab High School.
The 44-year-old Mills was from the Marshall County town.
Mills was shot and killed Nov. 23 at a bar in Nashville, Tenn. The bar's owner says he and Mills got into an argument over Mills smoking in a no-smoking area, and he shot in self-defense.
Mills led the Wayne Mills Band, which played college towns for more than 15 years.
Country music stars Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton, as well as American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, opened for the band early in their careers.
Elberta man convicted of child sexual abuse
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) - Baldwin County District Attorney's officials say an Elberta man has been convicted of sexually abusing a 2-year-old girl.
District Attorney's spokeswoman Martha Simmons says a jury deliberated for less than half an hour before convicting 30-year-old Raymond David Dechant on Wednesday.
Assistant District Attorney Chalea Tisdale says the victim's mother saw Dechant on top of the girl whose underwear had been taken off and immediately reported the incident to police in Fairhope.
Officials say Dechant will be sentenced Feb. 20 and faces between 10 and 20 years in prison.
District Attorney Hallie Dixon says she hopes that Dechant receives the maximum sentence.
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