July 24 Morning Newscast

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July 24, 2012 Morning Edition News

Scientists studying long-term effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are looking for 15,000 more people who worked on the cleanup, even for one day. Nearly 25,000 people already have signed up for what the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says is the largest study ever of long-term effects in oil spill workers. Lead researcher Dale Sandler tells The Courier newspaper of Houma, Louisiana, that it’s been hard to find people who helped with the cleanup, because many have moved and changed phone numbers.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health’s Greil Hospital in Montgomery will close next month. State officials had said this spring they’d be closing Greil to deal with budget cuts. They announced the official closing date yesterday. Greil currently has 119 workers serving 62 patients. The patients are being moved into community-based care. Department of Mental Health officials say they’re working with Greil employees to help them find new jobs.

The man who allegedly went on a shooting rampage in Northport and Tuscaloosa last week will have a preliminary hearing in Tuscaloosa County District Court on September 7th. Nathan Wilkins faces 18 counts of attempted murder for the shootings at a private home and the Copper Top bar in downtown Tuscaloosa. Two victims remain hospitalized. Wilkins remains in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $2 million bond.

A former Anniston police officer who allegedly shot his wife to death yesterday is in custody. Police captured Frederick Boyd in Meridian, Mississippi, just hours after he shot his wife and shot at his uncle. The incidents caused a lockdown of several Anniston city offices and the Ayers and McClellan campuses of Gadsden State Community College. Boyd resigned from the Anniston Police Department last August.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference now boasts college football’s winningest coach, but says the focus should remain on the sex abuse victims and their families in the Penn State scandal. The league sent out a statement yesterday after the NCAA vacated 111 of Joe Paterno’s 409 wins at Penn State. That leaves Bobby Bowden’s 377 wins as tops in major college football and the late Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson as the leader at all levels.

Honda says it’s expanding its Alabama operations. The company says it will invest another $115 million, move to a two shift work schedule and fill 50 new positions in an effort to meet growing demand. The Birmingham News reports that since last fall the company has announced nearly 300 new jobs and $390 million in new investment in Lincoln, Alabama. All told, Honda employs more than 4,000 people at the plant.

BancorpSouth says profits in the second quarter of 2012 rose 61 percent from the same period last year as the regional bank set aside less money to cover future loan losses. The Tupelo-Mississippi based bank has offices in Mississippi, Alabama and five other states.

The man who founded the company that helped build some of north Alabama’s best known roadways has died. Cecil Ashburn was a member of the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. In 1946 — and with just one bulldozer — he helped form a road building company called Ashburn & Gray Construction. In about 10 years the company had grown into one of the state’s largest road builders with offices in Huntsville, Decatur and Guntersville. His company built U.S 72, much of Huntsville’s Memorial Parkway and the runways at Huntsville International Airport. Cecil Ashburn was 92.