The state is now in possession of several hundred electronic bingo machines seized from a casino near Dothan. State and local law enforcement raided the Center Stage casino yesterday as part of an ongoing investigation of illegal gambling. Center Stage is the casino that replaced Country Crossing, which was closed during former Gov. Bob Riley’s crackdown on gambling. The new casino opened last year with machines it describes as legal electronic bingo. But State Attorney General Luther Strange says Center Stage refused to turn over the machines so the state could make sure they were, in fact, legal.
Disgraced former health care executive Richard Scrushy is free after nearly six years in federal custody. A prison spokesman says the former multimillionaire HealthSouth Corp. founder and CEO was freed yesterday from home confinement in Houston. That’s the final step as he begins three years of supervised release. Scrushy was acquitted on multiple criminal charges in an accounting scheme in 2005 but was sentenced to almost eight years in prison for a bribery conspiracy involving former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. The term later was trimmed to 70 months. He served time in a federal prison in Beaumont, then was moved to a halfway house and to home confinement. Scrushy still faces a $2.9 billion judgment from a separate Alabama civil suit related to the accounting scheme.
The Alabama Media Group says it has hired Michelle Jones to oversee its community news operations in Mobile. Jones is currently content director for Raycom Media’s Digital Hub in Montgomery, where she oversees 42 websites. Raycom owns or provides services for 48 television stations in 36 markets and 18 states. The Alabama Media Group publishes the Press-Register of Mobile, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, The Mississippi Press, and the al.com and gulflive.com websites. See the rest of the content management team here.
An automotive supply company is expanding its operations in Cullman and will add almost 50 jobs. Gov. Robert Bentley announced the expansion of Zero RPM yesterday at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. The company’s headquarters are in a business incubator on the Wallace State campus. The company that currently has eight workers will expand its workforce to 54. The company produces idle mitigation systems for vehicles. The system is a battery pack that allows a vehicle’s electronic and air conditioning systems to operate when the vehicle’s engine is turned off.
A U.S. Forest Service official says the Alabama Forestry Commission does not owe the federal government millions of dollars in grant money. Earlier this year the Forest Service claimed Alabama owed it 5-point-1 million dollars in federal funds because the state couldn’t document how it spent the federal stimulus grant money. The Gadsden Times reports that Forest Service deputy director James E. Hubbard now says he wants the situation resolved and does not want the Alabama Forestry Comission to owe the federal government “any amount.”
A longtime professor and civil rights pioneer who helped launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott has died. Thelma McWilliams Glass was 96. Glass was one of a group of women who helped launch the bus boycott in Montgomery and bring an end to segregation of public transportation in the South. She served as an educator for 40 years, most recently as a geography professor at the Alabama State University. Funeral arrangements for Glass have yet to be announced.
The artist who created Auburn University’s tiger mascot Aubie has passed away. Former Birmingham Post-Herald artist Phil Neel died yesterday at age 84. Neel lived in Pinson and created the cartoon tiger that appeared on football game programs for 18 years starting in 1959 with the Hardin-Simmons game. His sons, Mike and Rick, both played football at Auburn and each won the Cliff Hare Award given annually to the school’s top male student-athlete. Athletic director Jay Jacobs says Neel gave Auburn “a wonderful gift when he created Aubie more than 50 years ago.” Aubie went from the pages to the sideline in 1979 at the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament.