MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Almost 90 percent of Alabama is under drought conditions and for 59 percent of the state the drought is moderate to exceptional.
The U.S. Weather Service's drought monitor shows conditions are the driest in the farming heavy southeast and eastern sections of the state and is threatening crops that need lots of moisture.
Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan said the corn crop is considered a compete loss in some parts of the state. There has been more rain in recent weeks, but McMillan said the worst of the drought hit in late June, a sensitive time for growing corn.
Agriculture experts say the recent rain has not been nearly enough to catch up in an area which has seen rainfall deficits annually in many of the past 10 to 15 years.
CEDARTOWN, Ga. (AP) -- A Florida man has died in a plane crash in northwest Georgia.
WSB-TV reports that a small plane went down in Polk County, near the Haralson County line. The crash site is in a rural area near the Alabama state line and about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta.
Authorities did not immediately release the crash victim's identity.
However, The Florida Times Union of Jacksonville reported that the pilot was 67-year-old Ronald J. Murphy of Nassau County. Murphy's son told the newspaper that Murphy was on his way to an air show in Wisconsin when the plane crashed.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane was an RV-4.
The RV-4 is kit plane that seats two people. Bergen said the pilot was the only person on board.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A Jefferson County Circuit judge has ordered Birmingham school officials to not interfere with the state school board's efforts to take over the finances of the city's schools.
After a hearing on Friday, Circuit Judge Elisabeth French ordered school board members not to interfere with decisions of state Superintendent Tommy Bice to ensure city schools open for the fall in a timely manner. The judge also ordered board members to make sure Bice and his staff have access to school system records and computers.
The Alabama attorney general and board of education are suing Birmingham school board members, saying their challenge to the state taking over their finances has put the interests of schoolchildren at risk.
AG Luther Strange, the state school board and Bice filed the lawsuit Friday.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Democratic leaders in the Alabama House and Senate have issued a news release asking Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to postpone calling a special session of the Legislature.
But a spokeswoman for the governor says Bentley has nothing to postpone.
The release Friday by House Minority Leader Rep Craig Ford of Gadsden and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Roger Bedford of Russellville said the state can't afford to call a special session at this time.
Ford and Bedford said in the release that "rumors have spread" in Montgomery that the governor plans to call a special session in late August to build support for a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot Sept. 18.
The governor's press secretary Jennifer Ardis said Bentley has no plans to call a special session.
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