Thursday, Mar 5, 2015
The Alabama Supreme court has shut down same sex marriage in Alabama. The high court ordered all probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court ruled that the U.S. Constitution doesn't alter the probate judges duty to administer state law, which defines marriage between only one man and one woman. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore abstained from the vote. Six justices concurred. One justice concurred in part, but concurs with the final ruling. Only one, Justice Greg Shaw, dissented.
 
Meanwhile, the Mobile County probate court says it won't be issuing marriage licenses at all after the Alabama Supreme Court disagreed with a federal court and upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The announcement doesn't say how long that review might take and it's unknown what probate judges in Alabama's 66 other counties will do.
 
An Alabama Senate committee has approved a charter school bill. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, (R, Anniston), sponsored the bill and could get a Senate floor vote next week. The bill allows up to 10 startup charter schools in the state each year and allows school boards to convert existing schools. Proponents say charter schools provide innovation and opportunity. Opponents question their accountability.
 
Governor Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency due to possible icy conditions today in north-central Alabama. The declaration, which went into effect at midnight, clears 250 National Guardsmen to respond should the need arise. A similar declaration was made February 24th ahead of the snow storm in Alabama last week.
 
April Fools - early! The Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board is going up on its rates for residential, industrial and governmental customers beginning April 1st. The new rates for water, and sewage will increase about 7% across the board of all customers. Officials say the rate increase is necessary to pay for repairing Anniston's sewage and storm water drainage system which is old and very problematic.
 
Target plans to eliminate several thousand jobs over the next two years. But, according to company officials, the retail stores will be mostly unaffected by the reduction. The company instead will focus on downsizing its corporate office staff of 26,000 in Minneapolis and in India. The Oxford Target store appears safe for now.
 
Downtown Gadsden's First Friday tomorrow will spotlight local non-profit organizations for its March theme. "Downtown Gadsden Gives Back" will take place March 6th during First Friday, in partnership with The United Way. It is the fourth year for the emphasis on non-profits.
 
SPORTS!
 
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have agreed on a new contract for the 2015 season in which the five-time NFL, MVP will take a $4 million pay cut to provide more cash for the team to do business on the free-agent market.
 
Brett Moffitt, a Michael Waltrip Racing development driver who earned a career-high eighth-place finish in a substitute role Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, will drive the next three races for Front Row Motorsports. Moffitt will replace David Ragan.
 
At least seven backup players and two former starters have left Auburn's football program since the end of the 2014 season. Coach Gus Malzahn said this week that he will address changes to the roster when the Tigers open spring practices March 10th.