September 20 News

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September 20 News

It’s been a lengthy legal battle, but the city of Hoover could now get three free-standing emergency departments that would not be connected to hospitals. The state board that decides who can provide health care yesterday approved requests by UAB’s Medical West and the Baptist Health Systems to build free-standing emergency rooms in West Hoover. Birmingham Business Journal Editor Cindy Crawford says emergency rooms are the most expensive kind of health, but this move might make sense because it’s in a wealthy community where people are likely to have health insurance. Medical West and Baptist both plan to build their ER’s near the intersection of Interstate 459 and Alabama 150. They’ve opposed each other’s plans and have the right to appeal yesterday’s decision. The state board also approved Brookwood Medical Center’s plan for a standalone ER in the Greystone area of east Hoover.

Some papers stuffed in an envelope and lost in some Birmingham city police files could help solve a 50-year-old civil rights era bombing cold case. The Birmingham New has the story. A News reporter interviewed Birmingham lawyer Doug Jones yesterday afternoon. Jones is the former U-S attorney who successfully prosecuted the two men who bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Jones told the News he wouldn’t name the case that’s in question now, but he said the papers that were recently discovered could help close the case.

More legal wrangling over in the Birmingham Board of Education. Yesterday, the state sent a letter to the board informing board members that two outside attorneys who had been representing them will no longer be paid to represent the system. The Birmingham News spoke to one of those attorneys, who says the edict only covers new work and that he’ll still be paid for work that is already underway. The letter from the state gave three reasons for the decision to let the attorneys go: the attorneys met with small groups of board members and excluded others; the attorneys fees add to the financial burdens of the school system; and the use of outside attorneys caused confusion as to which attorneys represent the board. The Birmingham News reports that going forward, the district’s general counsel Afrika Parchman will be the sole person to represent the school board.

Alabama’s infant mortality rate is at a record low. New figures released by the Alabama Department of Public health show that in 2011 state had a rate of 8.1 infant deaths per 1,000 births. That’s a record. Still, Alabama’s infant mortality rate is expected to be far higher than the national average. And the mortality rate for African American babies is twice that of white babies.

Kroger is recalling spinach sold in Alabama and 14 other states due to possible listeria contamination. No illnesses have been reported, but a single package of the spinach tested positive in Ohio. The grocery chain is asking customers to return the recalled product for a full refund or replacement. The Kroger Fresh Selections Tender Spinach was sold in 10-ounze bags and had a “best if used by” date of Sept. 16. It has a universal product code, or UPC, of 011110916495.

Gulf of Mexico fishing boats hauled in far more menhaden last year than in 2010. That’s a forage fish that’s used for its Omega-3 fish oils and as bait for other fish and crabs. Catches of some other important species were above pre-spill levels in some Gulf Coast states too. Roy Crabtree of NOAA Fisheries says that’s guardedly good news. But he says it’s probably too soon to tell whether the spill killed eggs and immature fish. If that happened, the loss would show up when fish hatched in 2010 were due to spawn. Maturity rates vary widely. So do annual catches.