WVAS Local

Lottery legislation to come up this week

Apr 22, 2019

   Lawmakers are headed to a vote on lottery legislation this week, as supporters aim to change Alabama's status as one of the few states without the games. The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on one of two rival lottery proposals introduced this session. Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh said his hope is to get a bill before the full Senate on Thursday. If a bill is approved by both chambers, the proposal would go before Alabama voters.

     The Alabama Supreme Court has appointed a new judge to oversee the trial of a Montgomery police officer accused of murder in the shooting of an unarmed black man. The court last week named retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Samuel Henry Welch to preside in the case. Aaron Cody Smith is awaiting trial in the fatal shooting of 58-year-old Greg Gunn nearly three years ago. Smith contends he fired in self-defense after Gunn fought with him.

   French street artist JR’s mural of Montgomery residents has begun installation at One Court Square downtown. The Inside Out project had photographed more than 16-hundred people in Montgomery as of Sunday afternoon. Sarah Beatty Buller with local revitalizer Montgomery Builds says 2-thousand pictures are supposed to be taken, but the turnout has been greater than anticipated. The project has continued all week and in fact, an Inside Out pop-up photo booth will be on the campus of Alabama State University Thursday from 10am until 2pm for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Southern Poverty Law Center names new leader

Apr 3, 2019

   The Southern Poverty Law Center has new leadership. Former juvenile court judge Karen Baynes-Dunning has been named as the group’s interim president and chief executive officer. She has served on the SPLC board of directors since 2017. Baynes-Dunning now becomes the organization’s first African-American woman president. The SPLC statement says there will now be a nationwide search for a permanent leader.

This announcement follows the firing of SPLC founder Morris Dees and t


   The Alabama State University Distinguished Lecture Series is bringing a special guest to its campus Friday. Former Alabama Death Row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton will share his story at the event. He was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 28 years in prison. His best-selling book “The Sun Does Shine : How I found Life and Freedom on Death Row” was a selection for the Summer 2018 Oprah Book Club.

The lecture begins at 10am at ASU’s Abernathy College of Education auditorium, to be followed by a VIP 

     A prosecutor says he'll seek the death penalty against a man charged in the slayings of two Alabama teenagers nearly 20 years ago. District Attorney Kirke Adams says 45-year-old Coley McCraney can be prosecuted for capital murder in the killings of 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B.


Alabama drivers will see a 10-cent per gallon increase in the state gas tax to fund road and bridge construction, under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. Ivey signed the bill, and related measures into law, shortly after they won final approval in the Alabama Legislature. The swift legislative approval was a political victory for Ivey, who called lawmakers into special session to consider the tax increase, and for Republican legislative leaders who also threw their support behind the bill.

Montgomery Police investigating latest homicide

Mar 12, 2019

   Police are conducting a homicide investigation into the death of a Montgomery woman. In a release, the police department states that 31 year old Laquanda parker was found dead of a gunshot wound in the 28-hundred block of Fairwest Street yesterday around 7am. That location is near the campus of Carver Elementary School. 

Alabama House could vote on gas tax bill

Mar 8, 2019

   The Alabama House of Representatives will soon vote on a proposed 10 cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax. House members will debate the bill today. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon says he expects lawmakers to vote on the bill following a lengthy debate. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is proposing a 10-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase to fund road and bridge construction. The increase would be phased in over three years. The proposal would also place an annual fee of $200 on electric vehicles and $100 on hybrid vehicles.

Tornado Devastation in East Alabama

Mar 4, 2019
Associated Press

   Rescuers have been searching for victims today amid homes smashed to their foundations, after a tornado ripped through a rural Alabama community and killed at least 23 people, including children. Traveling straight down a county road, the twister carved a trail of destruction at least half a mile wide and about a mile long Sunday, overwhelming the Lee County coroner's office, which was forced to call in help from the state. The community of Beauregard is populated by roughly 10,000 people. It is about 60 miles east of Montgomery near the Georgia state line.