September 19 News

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September 19, 2012, Morning News

Many voters say they held their noses when approving the withdrawal of 437 million dollars from a state trust fund yesterday. The measure passed by a two-to-one margin with what election officials say was a light turnout. The state can now transfer the money from the trust fund to help balance the General fund budget for the next three years. The move prevents cuts of 12 percent or more from the General Fund budget moving into the next fiscal year in two weeks. Still, many voters who approved it said it was lesser of two evils.

BP will relax several documentation requirements regarding the submission of claims filed after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In May, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier gave preliminarily approval to a proposed class-action settlement. Yesterday, the Plaintiffs’ attorneys announced that BP has agreed to waive several documentation requirements including proof of employability and age and vessel ownership. They say the changes will speed the processing of claims. BP estimates it will pay about $7.8 billion to resolve more than 100,000 claims by people and businesses who blame the spill for economic losses

Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley will get at least two more weeks as a free man. Gilley was scheduled to begin his sixyear, eight month prison sentence next week, but U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is pushing that back until October 9 because Gilley is scheduled for surgery today. Gilley’s attorney is seeking a longer delay to allow him time to recover. Gilley pleaded guilty to offering bribes to legislators to support pro-gambling legislation designed to keep his Dothan casino operating during a state crackdown on electronic bingo games.

A new report suggests Alabama’s health care costs will skyrocket in the coming years because of obesity. The report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is called “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.” It predicts that by the 2030, 62.6 percent of adult Alabamians will be obese. That’s nearly double last year’s adult obesity rate of 32 percent. That increase would translate into an estimated:

  • $662,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes
  • $1.5 million new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • $1.3 million new cases of hypertension

Arthritis and obesity-related cancers would also increase. The results would be staggering health care costs, says the executive director of Trust for America’s Health.

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to historically black colleges in Alabama. The five-year grants will affect curriculum and teaching programs, campus building improvements and the purchase of scientific equipment. Alabama State University will get the most: nearly $4 million. Lawson State Community college gets nearly $3 million and Tuskegee University will receive $2.3 million. Miles College is getting $2 million and Stillman College will receive $1.7 million.

Actress and activist Rosario Dawson will speak at UAB as part of a campus celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The New York native has been featured in many films, including “Men in Black II” and ”Rent”. Besides acting, Dawson co-founded the non-partisan organization Voto Latino in 2004. The group encourages young Hispanics to register and vote. She also serves as a director for V-Day, which campaigns against violence toward women, and Scenarios USA, which encourages youth to set and achieve goals. Dawson appears at the Alys Stephens Center Thursday night.