Alabama News Stories May 27: Mandatory School Age Lowered

By: AP
By: AP
tornado disaster suspended...mandatory school age guard charged with murder...ship

Deadly Tornado as it approaches Tuscaloosa Alabama, April 27th, 2011,

Tuscaloosa to use disaster funds for 8 projects
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- City officials in Tuscaloosa are making plans for how to spend $16.6 million in federal disaster relief funding it's getting in the wake of the deadly tornado that struck in April 2011.
The Tuscaloosa News reports the City Council is scheduled to vote next week on eight projects proposed to receive the money.
Several council members have endorsed Mayor Walt Maddox's plan to put $11.9 million into improving streets and low-income housing projects. The mayor's plan also includes projects to help development of a City Walk recreational trail that would trace the tornado's 5.9-mile path of destruction.
Another $3 million would go to loan programs for homeowners and business owners displaced by the storm.

Bar suspends Ala. attorney over misuse of funds
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) -- A veteran Dothan attorney has had his law license suspended by the Alabama state bar, which says he misused a client's funds.
The Dothan Eagle reports that attorney Terry Bullard insists he's "done nothing wrong and wronged no one." Still, he'll be unable to practice when his suspension kicks in Friday for a period of 91 days.
Tony McLain, an attorney representing the Alabama Bar Association, says Bullard was suspended for "misappropriating funds from a trust account."
Bullard has been practicing law in Alabama since 1980 and he says this is the first time he's been sanctioned by the state bar. He says his son will take over his cases until he's able to return after the suspension period.

Officials plan for mandatory school age change
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama school officials do not anticipate a large influx of previously uneducated children into elementary schools this fall because of the Legislature lowering the mandatory school attendance age from 7 to 6-years-old.
The House sponsor of a bill establishing the new mandatory school attendance age, Republican Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa, says he believes there are children whose parents wait until they are 7 to send them to class. He says many of those children enter school behind the rest of the class and some have to be sent back a grade.
Alabama Board of Education spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert says schools will deal with new pupils by testing them and deciding what grade to place them in. School officials only expect about 50 new students statewide because of the law.

Security guard arrested in slaying at Ala. hotel
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Police say a security guard is in jail awaiting charges after a shooting at a Birmingham hotel left a man dead and a woman injured.
The Birmingham News reports the shooting happened late Friday at the Inn Town Suites on Huffman Road.
Authorities found 27-year-old David Winston of Birmingham dead at the hotel. Police say a 24-year-old woman was shot in the leg but is expected to recover.
Birmingham police Sgt. Johnny Williams said Saturday investigators believe a security guard working at the hotel shot both victims after getting into an argument with Winston. He says the guard was taken to the city jail but has not been charged.

Crew of Va. ship in piracy drama files lawsuits
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- More than half the crew members of a Norfolk-based container ship that was at the center of a piracy drama off Somalia in April 2009 are seeking damages totaling nearly $50 million.
The Virginian-Pilot reported Saturday that the lawsuits have been filed by 11 crew members aboard the Maersk Alabama. The five-day standoff ended when Navy SEALs killed three of Capt. Richard Phillips' captors.
While Phillips was hailed as a hero, his former crew members allege the New Englander's actions put them in grave danger when the ship sailed within about 250 miles of the African coast despite warnings to stay at least 600 miles offshore because of the threat of piracy.
The ship's owner and a contractor are named in the suits, filed in Norfolk and Alabama.

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