Melanie Hogan

News Reporter I

Melanie cut her teeth as a work study student working in the areas of news reporting and announcing.  After graduating from Alabama State University, she also worked as a production assistant at the local NBC affiliate, WSFA-TV.  Her professional achievements include News Reporter of the year in 2010 and 2011 by the Alabama Broadcasters Association.  She is a member of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists and says her goal is to continually grow as a dynamic journalist. 

Ways to Connect

The "Have a Heart for Children" held its annual Christmas party for more than 800 special needs students Monday at a church in Montgomery.  This year marks the organization's 17th year, the Christmas party was held at Frazer United Methodist Church.  Have a Heart for Children Founder, Earnestine Woods, says she is amazed at the organization's growth.  Students were treated to performances and served dinner by community members, elected officials, educators and law enforcement officials.

More than 120 seniors were served a Thanksgiving luncheon at the McIntyre Community Center in west Montgomery Monday.  The 6th annual event was sponsored by several individuals and organizations including Alabama State University's College of Education and ASU's Health Physical Education Recreation Department.  Seniors won door prizes and giveaways.  The event also honored Jiles Williams, Montgomery County Commissioner.  

The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless in Montgomery are still collecting warm weather items for their annual Blanket Drive.  This year's event will end on November 19th.  MACH Executive Director Molly Stone says collection sites will be at three locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Stone says gently used or new warm weather items are needed.  PODS storage containers are located at Regions Bank at 301 Coliseum Blvd; the Winn-Dixie on East South Blvd at Troy Highway and the Festival Plaza Shopping Center at the intersection of Taylor and Vaughn Roads.  

This Saturday a symposium aimed at reducing health disparities will be held in Montgomery.  One Humanity LLC, an organization focused on positive social change through education and economic development will be hosting the event; founder Robert Jackson says the conference will center around identifying better health practices and developing new plans.  The theme is "Developing a Faith and Community based plan to address Health Disparities."  The conference will be held on Saturday, November 12th from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Business Center at 600 South Court Street.

The city of Tuskegee welcomed its new mayor Monday; dozens of community leaders, elected officials and supporters attended the inauguration of Lawrence “Tony” Haygood.  Haygood garnered 62 percent of the vote, unseating long-time Mayor Johnny Ford.  Mayor Lawrence Haygood tells WVAS News he is ready to get to work.  New members of the Tuskegee City Council and the Utilities Board were also sworn-in.  The event was held at the Tuskegee Municipal Complex Plaza. 

The faith community is responding to the news of an historic African-American church in Mississippi being vandalized by a presumed Trump supporter or supporters.  Reports say the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was burned and vandalized with a "Vote Trump" scrawled across building.  WVAS News spoke with Montgomery's Pastor Terry Ellison of New Life Baptist Church about the incident; Ellison says forgiveness should be the initial step.  News outlets report the fire damaged the sanctuary of the 111-year old church.  

A legal clinic for veterans was held Thursday at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System in Montgomery.  Representatives from the Jones School of Law and the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office advised veterans and their families on civil and criminal matters at no charge.  Organizers of the Veterans Civil Legal Assistance Clinic say there are plans to conduct more clinics in the near future.  

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford delivered his final State of the City Address.  The event was held at the Tuskegee Municipal Complex.  WVAS News spoke to Ford about his experience in office and his expectations for the next chapter in his life.  Ford says he will work to revitalize historic neighborhoods surrounding Lake Tuskegee and plans to add author to his name with an upcoming book release.  

Cheerleaders at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery presented a check to a local breast cancer awareness group.  The cheer squad and their coach, Anteidra Martin presented a $400 check to the Women of Hope Foundation; President Donna McCord says she is grateful for the cheerleaders taking an active role in breast cancer awareness.  McCord says the proceeds will be used to buy care items for baskets presented to women diagnosed with breast cancer.  

A mini-mart opened in downtown Montgomery Thursday.  Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange joined other city elected officials, community leaders and supporters packed "Sous La Terre" or SLT Mart for its soft opening.  Owner George Trawick tells WVAS News the mini-mart will serve residents and visitors in the downtown area.  The store will host its grand opening on Oct. 25th.