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2 people found shot to death inside car in Bessemer

November 22, 2019 in Alabama

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — The Bessemer Police Department is investigating a shooting that left one man and one woman dead in the vehicle near I-59/20.

Bessmer PD says the victims were discovered around 4:30 p.m. Thursday near the Alabama Adventure Parkway exit.

No suspects are currently in custody.

No other information has been released at this time. Stay with CBS 42 as this is an ongoing story.


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‘It could’ve been a dangerous situation’: Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office addresses video that led to teacher’s arrest

November 22, 2019 in Alabama

ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT)– Two videos appeared on YouTube alleging sexual misconduct of two Calhoun County men and both videos led to an arrest.

Three Calhoun County teenagers went “undercover” to entice potential predators for their digital channel “Hive vs Predator”.

One video led to the arrest of a Calhoun County choir teacher.

The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office is addressing the videos.

Chief Deputy Lynde Meeder said that while the video showing 27-year-old Bradley White entering Walmart to meet up with underage students ended up being positive, the outcome could have been much worse.

“We prefer people not do this because it could’ve been a dangerous situation,” Meeder said. “Meeting up with an unknown person and not knowing what their intent is, if they were armed with weapons– we would prefer anyone else not do this.”

The creators behind the YouTube channel say they expected the video to lead to White being arrested and fired.

The video, which can be viewed by clicking here, was posted Nov. 12 has been viewed over 70,000 views.

Meeder said White had no previous record with the CCSO and this video brought new information to light.

“There were some issues that had developed after this investigation that he had resigned from another school board outside of Calhoun County,” she said.

White also taught choir at a local church.

Still, she said it’s best for any information regarding a potential predator be reported to law enforcement for investigating.

“Not only do we want to catch the person doing this, but we want to be able to preserve the evidence, and be able to prosecute and convict the person doing this,” she said.

Meeder explained that Internet Crimes Against Children is a trained law enforcement division that performs undercover stings.

The “Hive vs. Predator” team tell us they are “focusing on what’s next for us and moving on to the bigger picture”.

Ultimately, Meeder said if anyone has any information regarding someone who may be involved in predatory behavior, report it to police.


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Reach Out and Read-AL expands program to families and children served by Midtown Pediatrics

November 22, 2019 in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) It is all about integrating reading aloud into pediatric care. The ‘Reach Out and Read’ program encourages healthy development and early literacy by providing books and coaching parents.

Thursday. Clinicians at Children’s of Alabama Midtown Pediatrics introduced an important evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children during well-child visits.

Guest readers including Erica Williams, Director of Educational Advancement from the office of Mayor Woodfin, and Candice Hardy, Birmingham Public Library participated in the event.

WATCH: REACH OUT AND READ

REACH OUT AND READ

📚REACH OUT AND READ | Reach Out and Read-AL expands the program to families and children served by Midtown Pediatrics. By integrating reading aloud into pediatric care, Reach Out and Read encourages healthy development and early literacy by providing books and coaching parents.📚

Posted by CBS 42 on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Children who attended also received a book to take home. 

The Reach Out and Read program begins at the 6-month well-child visit and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities.

Families served by Reach Out and Read-Alabama read together more often, and their children enter school with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential.

For more information on Reach out and Read Alabama visit: http://www.roralabama.org/

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4 teenagers charged with murder of Ramsay High student

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Four teenagers have been charged with killing a senior at Ramsay High School.

Jakobi Witherspoon, 18; Aja Whitt, 17; Jamaal Phillips, 17 and a juvenile whose identity has not been released were arrested Thursday and charged with murder and first-degree robbery of Stanley Turner II, who was found dead in his car Oct. 20 from an apparent gunshot wound.

Witherspoon, Whitt and Phillips are all from Pleasant Grove.

According to a press release posted on the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, the investigation was part of a multi-agency operation that included the Shelby County Coroner’s Office, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, the Pleasant Grove Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and School Resource Officers, Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, the Jefferson County Metro Area Crime Center, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, and the Department of Homeland Security.

“We are always saddened by the loss of life as a result of a violent crime, but even more so when that crime involves a teenager. Our hearts are with the friends and family of Stanley Turner II, and we hope these arrests give some comfort to the family,” Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said in the statement.

According to law enforcement, investigators believe Turner’s death was the result of a robbery.

This is an ongoing investigation that could result in more arrests. Anyone with information on Turner’s murder is encouraged to call the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 205-669-4181 or CrimeStoppers at 205-254-7777.


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Aldridge Gardens holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony for New Educational building

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) Officials with Aldridge Gardens and the City of Hoover held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Aldridge Gardens Educational Building.

The building was funded by the NaphCare Foundation. It was built primarily to be used as a facility for hands-on instructional classes.

Educational groups such as Aldridge Gardens’ Bonsai Members, greenery pruning classes and other gardening type classes needed a facility where you could get dirt and water on the floor and no one would care. And now and the new building will provide that experience.

WATCH: RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY

The new Educational Building compliments the Garden Setting of Aldridge Gardens and was designed by Goodwyn Mills & Cawood Architectural Firm and Built by DL Acton Construction Inc.

Aldridge Gardens is a 30-acre public garden nestled in the heart of Hoover, Alabama featuring walking trails through beautiful plantings and a five-acre lake. It is owned by the City of Hoover and is a free admittance attraction and event venue open daily.

(Information provided by the City of Hoover)

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Alabama Power fees on solar challenged

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A University of South Alabama teacher was found shot to death inside his home after police went to check on him because of co-workers’ concerns, authorities said Thursday.

A statement from the Mobile Police Department said the death of Matthew Wiser, 39, was being investigated as a murder.

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Alabama looking for ways to tackle opioid crisis

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — When describing the opioid situation in Alabama, most people hear words like “crisis” and “epidemic.” Experts say all of those are true when talking about this deadly problem.

“We certainly characterize it as a crisis, we certainly do,” said Lynn Beshear, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

Beshear knows the crisis affects millions of people, such as Ebony Vaughn, who is one of many in Alabama who are seeking help with addiction through the Council on Substance Abuse, or COSA. She said she’s doing it to save her own life.

“Overdoses is an all-of-a-sudden thing, you’re use to being around your friends that you get high with, you don’t realize that it could be over that instantly,” Vaughn said.

Today, Vaughn has surpassed 100 days of recovery from a number of drugs like Percocet, crack cocaine, alcohol and Xanax.

Shereda Finch is the executive director of COSA, one of many recovery programs in Alabama that are partially funded through state funds.

“We are helping them address some of the needs that are pretty general such as housing and employment,” Finch said. “Something as simple as helping someone get their birth certificate or state ID.”

Finch sits on the Gov. Kay Ivey’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, where she said their work is bringing different groups together.

“From law enforcement to your medical providers, to your education system, to your health systems the conversations are taking place,” she said.

Beashear, who is also on the council, said she believes one of the big problems in the crisis is doctors who issue too many prescriptions.

“Instead of prescribing opioids, maybe Tylenol and Advil can be a good pain reliever,” she said.

Next year, the state’s opioid response budget will see a decrease from $20 million to $13 million dollars.

The council will deliver their report to Ivey on Dec. 31. From there, there could be potential legislation developed to target opioid response in Alabama.


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Sumiton Police searching for missing 41-year-old woman

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

SUMITON, Ala. (WIAT) The Sumiton Police Department needs your help in locating a missing woman.

41-year-old Leah Fitzgerald Gilliland was last seen Friday at 2 p.m. Police say she was recently reported missing. She is 5’8″ tall and weighs 160 pounds.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Leah Gilliland please contact the Sumiton Police Department at 205-648-3261.

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Troy police searching for person of interest tied to death of Troy man

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

TROY, Ala. (WIAT) — Troy police are searching for a suspect that they believe is connected to the death of 58-year-old Willie Charles Scott of Troy.

According to CrimeStoppers, the incident occurred on Wednesday. Troy Police Department officers responded to the residence of Scott located on the 22,000 block of U.S. 231 North.

Officers found Scott dead inside of his home when they arrived. Scott’s vehicle, a red, four-door 2003 Saturn Ion (see picture for sample image) was missing from Scott’s home.

The missing car should have Alabama tag 55AY701 displayed.

The murder is under investigation.

Troy police are being assisted by the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, The Pike County Coroner’s Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Science.

If anyone has information regarding the death of Willie Charles Scott, they are encouraged to call the police or CrimeStoppers at (24-hour line) 215-STOP (7867). Informants can also call CrimeStoppers at 1-833-AL1-STOP.

Submitting a tip could lead to a cash reward of up to $5,000.


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Should Alabama schools be used as voting locations?

November 21, 2019 in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Ronda Walker had a decision she had to make.

For years, Flowers Elementary School in Montgomery had been
used as a polling place for county elections. Walker, a member of the
Montgomery County Commission, has her district where Flowers is located.

On Monday, Walker took to Facebook to announce that Flowers would
no longer be used as a polling location, opting to use nearby Eastern Hills
Baptist Church as a polling place for that precinct instead. Walker, who said
the decision was months in the making, emphasized safety as the driving force
behind the move.

“I felt strongly that it is no longer safe to have the public utilize a school for voting,” Walker said on her post. “It puts the students, teachers, and staff at unnecessary risk.”

Speaking to CBS 42 Wednesday, Walker said that recent events like the kidnapping of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney in Birmingham or the abduction of Aniah Blanchard in Auburn ultimately did not start the conversation to move the location, but that it certainly sped up the process.

“These principals are basically having to open their doors
wide open with limited ability to keep the kids separated,” Walker said. “We’re
walking in and out of the lunchroom when kids are walking to and from rooms.”

Elsewhere across the country, other cities and counties have
had to grapple with whether or not schools should be used by the public to
vote. Following the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado,
voting in schools was banned in Jefferson County, whose population is over
400,000.

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, a presidential commission was formed to get feedback from elected officials on whether they should have polling places in schools.

“Schools are in many ways a perfect polling place
because of accessibility concerns, they usually have adequate parking, they’re
large facilities, large rooms, they’ve historically been used as polling
places, and they’re ubiquitous,” said Nathaniel Persily, the commission’s
senior research director said during a meeting. “The closing of schools
poses a real problem for finding adequate facilities for polling places.”

Historically, schools have been ideal locations for polling
locations due to the fact that there is at least one school in most communities
nationwide and they are able to hold large groups of people. However, people
like Walker believe that those days are done.

“That was the original model,” Walker said. “Communities were built around schools and churches. They became public meeting spaces. That was the norm, but in light of the world we live in where evil is rampant, we have to rethink the way things used to be.”

Nonetheless, Walker said she wants to have polling places
that don’t place an undue burden on a potential voter.

“The fact that the commission has a role in voting is one that I am proud of,” she said. “People need to have easy access, unfettered access to the process.”

Walker said the Montgomery County Commission’s goal is to have its polling place completely taken out of schools by the 2020 primaries in March.


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