Opponents of efforts to build a new monument to a Civil War Confederate General in Selma will ask the City Council today to refuse the plan. The statue would honor General Nathan Bedford Forrest – an innovative cavalry leader and leading southern advocate in the postwar years, who also served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Auburn University historian Wayne Flint says many southern communities struggle with how to honor historical figures who also have dishonorable pasts. A statue of Forrest had stood in the city’s cemetery for about 10 years, but disappeared earlier this year. Organizers hope to replace it. But Selma resident Malika Fortier says she’ll lead a march from the Edmund Pettus Bridge about three blocks to Selma City Hall to submit several hundred thousand petition signatures. Click here to listen to Andrew Yeager’s interview with historian Wayne Flynt about the Selma situation.
A former University of Huntsville biology professor will spend the rest of her life in prison for killing three colleagues and wounding three others during a faculty meeting two years ago. A jury deliberated for about 20 minutes yesterday before convicting Amy Bishop. She showed no reaction as the verdict was read. Bishop had avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty.
The first person to plead guilty in Alabama’s gambling corruption investigation is seeking probation, but federal prosecutors are recommending two years in prison. Former Country Crossing casino lobbyist Jennifer Pouncy is scheduled for sentencing tomorrow in Montgomery. Her attorney has filed court papers stressing her early cooperation with investigators and her testimony at two trials. But an Assistant Attorney General says while Pouncy helped get the guilty pleas of two others, she still deserves prison time because she was motivated by greed to offer bribes to legislators to support pro-gambling legislation.
Some Alabamians who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011 may be eligible for payments in a court settlement. State Attorney General Luther Strange says claims forms are being mailed to more than 29,000 Alabama borrowers who had mortgages with Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The payments are from a $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement with those companies. The deadline for returning the claims form is January 18. How much money each resident receives will depend on how many borrowers submit a claim.
The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations and the Alabama Department of Labor will merge next week, with the new department known as the Department of Labor. Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees will lead the combined department, which is supposed to save the state up to $200,000 a year.
Longtime Alabama newspaper executive Paul Davis has died after battling pancreatic cancer. Davis served as a reporter and associate editor of the Tuscaloosa News, where he uncovered problems at Bryce Hospital and Partlow School in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His reporting led to federal court decisions that set new national standards for the care of the mentally ill and mentally disabled. He also served as editor of The Selma Times-Journal, general manager of the Natchez Democrat in Mississippi, and publisher and editor of the Auburn Bulletin, The Tuskegee News and Tallassee Tribune. Paul Davis was 74.