Regional News: Ala Bicentennial; Pensacola Ship Readied for Halloween; Ga Man Rescues Beer from Fire

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's 200th birthday is coming up, and the state is looking for someone to be in charge of the party.
Directors of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission are now accepting resumes for the position of executive director.
The vice chairman of the commission, state Tourism Director Lee Sentell, said Saturday the celebration will culminate in 2019. That's the 200th anniversary of Alabama's establishment as a state in 1819.
Sentell says the commission is looking for someone with experience in non-profit organizations and event marketing. Directors also hope to find someone with in-depth knowledge of Alabama history. The job begins Jan. 1.
The salary for the position isn't yet set.
Legislators established the Bicentennial Commission earlier this year.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A retired United Methodist bishop is performing a wedding ceremony today in metro Birmingham for two gay men despite opposition from other church leaders. Bishop Melvin G. Talbert of Nashville, Tenn., says he will be the first Methodist bishop to officiate at a same-sex wedding.

UNION SPRINGS, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's first legal distillery since Prohibition has opened in a county famous for producing illegal whiskey. Jamie Ray is High Ridge Sprits' head distiller. Ray delivered the first 37 cases of his Stills Crossroads Alabama `Shine to the state liquor agency on Thursday.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- The Pensacola-based Coast Guard cutter Cypress is decked out for Halloween.
The crew of the 225-foot ship went all out in decorating the vessel as a haunted ship. The ship will be open for tours Saturday night.
Last year, more than 2,200 people visited the ship during the Halloween tours.
The Pensacola News Journal ( ) reports that the tours are free, but the crew is encouraging visitors to bring cans of non-perishable food to donate to a local food pantry.
The ship features a giant spider climbing up the hull, a grim reaper on the deck and knife-carrying clowns in the narrow halls.

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- A Houston man was arrested today at a southwest Florida hotel on human trafficking charges. The Lee County Sheriff's Office says Sael Nathaniel Williams forced a female victim to engage in prostitution by advertising services online. Investigators say each of several times the victim tried to escape, she was either met with violence or sent out of state and forced to engage in sex acts.

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (AP) -- A 68-year-old man is dead after crossing a road and being hit by a car while carrying his family's pet dog. Gilbert Greene was hit yesterday evening while crossing SR580 with his 66-year-old wife in Safety Harbor in the Tampa Bay area. The Greene family's miniature dachshund "Rudi" ran away after the crash. A citizen found the dog still dragging its red leash about two miles from the site of the crash Saturday morning.
The dog has been returned to Greene's wife.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A judge in Athens sentenced a man to life imprisonment plus 70 years after jurors convicted him of sexually assaulting a woman shortly after her graduation from the University of Georgia.
A judge imposed the sentence Friday on 20-year-old Allen Hendric Robinson.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports jurors convicted Robinson of rape, burglary, false imprisonment, robbery, aggravated assault and sexual battery.
Evidence showed the man talked his way into the victim's apartment by asking to use her cell phone and then requesting a glass of water.
The assault occurred in July 2012 as the woman was preparing to move back home after graduating from Georgia.
Witnesses included a woman who escaped a similar assault a week earlier because her roommate arrived home in time to scare away the attacker.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Officials say some of the 119 iPads stolen from an Atlanta school last month are showing up as far away as southeast Asia. Each of the tablet computers is equipped with a GPS tracker, and the school soon began getting messages about the machines' whereabouts.

COLUBUS, Ga. (AP) -- A man who walks with a cane was not injured when he ran into a burning Columbus house to recover beer he left inside the house.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire that broke out Thursday afternoon. Residents of the home say they believe the fire was caused by a water heater.
Six adults and two young children were inside watching television when the room began filling with smoke. After the children were rescued and everyone made it outside safely, Walter Serpit told WVTM television that he went back inside to retrieve his beer.
He said he went back inside "like a dummy" and the door shut behind him. He said he was able to escape without being burned and managed to save several cans of beer.