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Last Build Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 04:29:03 +0000


The Secret Life of Santas

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:28:18 +0000

Some things happen like clockwork this time of year. Trimming the Christmas tree, long lines at the shopping mall—and for parents of small children, there’s the traditional photo with the kids on Santa’s lap. There are plenty of children waiting to talk to Kris Kringle, and that means an annual recruiting drive for Santas to keep up with demand. APR student reporter Allison Mollenkamp takes this look into the secret life of Santas… The Railroad Café in Bessemer, AL isn’t all that busy on Wednesday mornings. Even in a crowd, it’s hard to miss James Bo Macdonald. He’s the lead Santa at Birmingham’s Galleria Mall and a dead-ringer for the jolly old elf. “Just being in stores and stuff throughout the year, I have children and adults both come up to me all the time.” “It’s always exciting to see the children running up to him and giving him a big old bear hug, you know.” Mr. Macdonald’s wife, May Macdonald plays Mrs. Claus when the pair does photo shoots. She got her husband started wearing

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Gifts for Pet People

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:45:00 +0000

Gifts for pet people are easy to find, and they don't have to be expensive. One year my sister-in-law cross-stitched a cat picture on a pillow; I still use the pillow and enjoy it all year long! ***********

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Prison Reform: Health Care in Alabama's Prisons

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:25:00 +0000

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Violence, inmate riots, allegations of mismanagement and corruption and a failed prison building plan in the state legislature have all pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. Today, APR’s Alex AuBuchon looks at the quality of prison health care in Alabama and examines a large federal lawsuit challenging whether inmates receive the minimum care guaranteed in the Constitution. “It hurts. He was my best friend…” Eryka Fykes is talking about her father Phillip Anderson. She’s his youngest daughter. Anderson was arrested in Tuscaloosa in early February last year. Prosecutors say he missed a child support hearing. A week later, he was dead. “We went down thinking he was fine, because the chief told us he was fine.” That’s Kimberly Coats,

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Here Comes Christmas!

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 14:45:00 +0000

That cute little face peeking out between the limbs of the Christmas tree is trouble in the making. Taking care to keep your pets safe around the holiday trimmings will help to make all the seasons of the year happy ones. ******************

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Thanksgiving and Your Pet

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 14:45:00 +0000

Sharing Thanksgiving foods with your best friend (or friends) is fine, as long as you make sure it's safe for them. Just give them small amounts, and they will enjoy the treat! ********************

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Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 14:45:00 +0000

The reason this little cat (along with its fellow shelter residents) has a chance for a new forever home and a loving owner is because the shelter workers are there to feed her and take care of her until her new owner finds her. That's something to appreciate! *****************************

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Painting the Political Picture: Editorial Cartoons in Alabama

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:32:51 +0000

Alabama was a popular destination for those seeking the presidency this year. Republicans and Democrats made it a point to visit the Yellowhammer State to try and keep it red or turn it blue. This of course means news coverage, which in turn, brings out cartoonists. If you follow sites like Al-dot-com you’ll see the work of one man in particular… “Never dreamed I’d get a job drawing editorial cartoons, political, I’m not really that political by nature, I just make fun of everything.” That’s J.D. Crowe, the cartoonist for the Alabama Media Group. He says people noticed he had a knack for drawing as a child… “My mother found out early on that if she kept me drawing in paper and pencil, I was a pretty good kid. So when I was a toddler she would tear out an old paper bag and lay it out on the floor and I would start drawing and disappear into the brown paper just drawing animals and critters and whatever came to my imagination.” But it wasn’t until college that he got his start in

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Future of State Parks at stake with Amendment 2

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 18:55:25 +0000

Voters in Alabama and the rest of the country head to the polls tomorrow to help determine the next President of the United States. But that won’t be the only issue citizens in the Yellowhammer State have on the ballot. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has more on the issue known as “Amendment 2”… Alabama’s State Parks, like many services in the state in recent years have seen its fair share of funding cuts. Over the past five years, more than $30 million from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources budget has been slashed. “Budget woes in Alabama have caused some of our park funds to be transferred to other public programs.” That’s Greg Lien. He’s the Director of the Alabama State Parks Division. “And the circumstances associated with that have created a great deal of uncertainty in terms of our annual operations plans,” Lien says. “How we attend to the maintenance of the state parks facilities that uncertainty has made it almost impossible for us to be able to plan from one

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Adopt a Senior Pet

Sat, 05 Nov 2016 13:45:00 +0000

Senior pets in animal shelters have a tough time finding homes. Just being in a shelter may be traumatic if they are accustomed to a home and a caring owner. Consider sharing your home with one of these "experienced" pets! **********************

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Feet to Faith: Alabama Students Help With Louisiana Flood Recovery

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:36:04 +0000

The Louisiana floods didn’t completely destroy Katherine’s Ray home. But it came close. Students from the University of Alabama and Troy University are using hammers to tear down what’s left. “I would say by the time we arrived on the scene, things had leveled off quite a bit.” Brandon Sinanan is one of them. He says it’s the resilience of the people that he’s encountered here that will stick with him… “There was still some hidden emotion. You could see people cracking a little bit as they talked about their houses and about their possessions and all the things that they lost, but I think they were faced with the reality of the situation that they had to keep moving on and they were resolved to do so.” “You would be talking on the phone and everything would be fine, and like fifteen-twenty minutes later, people are running for their lives. The water is coming.” Marlyn Elbert remembers that day. Her friends tried sending a boat— but it was going to take too long. Then they tried sending

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Hero Dog Award Winner 2016

Sat, 29 Oct 2016 13:45:00 +0000

The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer, others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions, and some are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way. "Overcomer" - that's Hooch! ******************

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Cuba Week at the University of Alabama

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:28:01 +0000

This week, the University of Alabama celebrates its third annual Cuba Week. APR student reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more… UA’s Cuba Week offers an array of opportunities for the public to immerse themselves in Cuban history and culture. There will be presentations of artwork and performances with 25 Cubans from Havana, UA professors and student counterparts taking part. Steve Miller is the co-director of the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship. He says the University of Alabama has persevered through the toughest times with their political relationships with the government of Cuba and the U.S. “We are at the front of American universities. We’ve had the strongest relationship with scholars, health professionals, artists, musicians. It’s been quite incredible the effort that it has taken on the part of the University of Alabama to make this happen.” Miller says over 100 UA professors have done work and research in Cuba and that the center provides eye-opening, life

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Perfect Dog Owner

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 13:45:00 +0000

When we adopt a dog we think we're doing it a favor, giving it a home. What do they give us in return? It has been proven that pets can make us happier and healthier people. They give us companionship and loyalty and acceptance. What a bargain! *****************

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A Look at the Traditions of the University of Alabama's Million Dollar Band

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:42:00 +0000

When it comes to Alabama’s Million Dollar Band, each week fans get a chance to see the music and marching come together at halftime. Here’s what you don’t see. Football fans take a break during the week after each game. Alabama’s marching band doesn’t. The band practices for an hour and a half every afternoon, but when I arrive an hour early, the field is already coming to life. Every week during football season, these student musicians play “Yea, Alabama” -- that’s the Crimson Tide fight song -- and they march the same pattern on the football field. It makes you wonder, what keeps these musicians coming back? Behind the music and the hot, hot red uniforms, there are the rituals. “After practice every day, one of the captains will choose one of the members, usually it goes by seniority, and then halfway through the year we’ll start getting freshmen to do a chant.” Danielle Wineger is a sophomore member of the Color Guard. “They’ll say 1-2-3 and then everybody will say M-D-B-C-G Huh.

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Pets in the Storm

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 13:45:00 +0000

If you wonder how you can help the pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the answer is to make a donation to one of the many organizations that are working in the storm area. And consider adopting a pet. Every animal that is adopted from a shelter or rescue group makes room and gives another animal a chance to be adopted! *****************

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Prison Reform: Alabama's overcrowding problem

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 20:32:04 +0000

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Inmate riots, as well as allegations of mismanagement and corruption have pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. Today, APR’s MacKenzie Bates hears from critics of Alabama’s prisons are run and how plans to fix things may just throw money at the problem… If you’ve never been inside Alabama’s Atmore Prison, don’t worry. Back in March, Atmore came to you… This cell phone video was shot during riots at the prison. Inmates set fires, and attacked guards and the warden. The violence was supposedly sparked by overcrowding. Rufus Ricks knows the problem first hand… “At lights out, it would be quiet,” Ricks says. “People would asleep. Now it’s not like that no more. There’s always somebody awake and people are always moving around because it’s

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Voices from Roy Moore's Ethics Trial

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:22:31 +0000

Roy Moore is no longer serving as the Chief Justice of Alabama. On September 30, a majority of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary decided to suspend Moore for the remainder of his six-year term as punishment for ethics violations. The charges relate to Moore’s role in the controversy over same-sex marriage in Alabama. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has been following the Chief Justice’s case. He has this report on reactions to the trial and what may be coming next. At Chief Justice Moore’s summary judgement hearing in August, supporters of traditional marriage outnumbered supporters of gay marriage by a wide margin. At the official trial, that scale flipped. “This is the first time that this many equality groups have come together.” That’s Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen and civil rights activist who has been a thorn in Roy Moore’s side from the beginning. “Normally, before, you see one or two. But today, there must have been somewhere between seven and nine equality organizations that all joined

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Wildfires Raging Throughout Alabama

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:13:44 +0000

Forest fires have been chewing through acres of land throughout Alabama. APR student reporter Parker Branton has more. On Sunday alone, there were 65 active forest fires burning through the state. The Alabama Forestry Commission is working around the clock to control the fires by bulldozing containment lines and backfiring until the fires are no longer a threat. Coleen Vansant is the spokeswoman for the Alabama Forestry Commission. She says the weather conditions have made this fall fire season unlike any other. “We went into it this year in an extended drought, and then a couple of weeks ago a cold front came through and has lingered, and it has brought with it extremely low humidity and winds. It’s like all the elements of a perfect storm came together in fall fire season.” With no foreseeable rain in the future, Alabama will continue to be under a Fire Danger Warning.

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Justice Reform: "What is three years on death row worth?"

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:48:37 +0000

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Inmate riots, allegations of mismanagement and corruption, and a failed prison building plan in the state legislature have pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. This week, I examine what the State of Alabama does when people are convicted of crimes they didn’t do. Critics say, not much… If you had just been released after three years on Alabam’s death row, what would be first on your to-do list? “Well, hug my kids and my family,” says Randall Padgett of Guntersville. “And, see some nature, touch a tree, touch some grass. I think a tree was the first thing…no, I had to walk across some grass to get to the tree…” Padgett was convicted for the murder of his estranged wife in 1990. He was exonerated seven years later. As a free man, you

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Ragsby's Story

Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:45:00 +0000

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and Ragsby's story is a perfect illustration of the great dogs who just need the opportunity to show somebody what great pets and companions they can become, if only they are given the chance. If you're looking for a canine companion, visit your local shelter or rescue group. You won't change the world by adopting a pet but you will change the world for your new furry friend - and you just might find your world is better, too. *********************

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