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  • Trayvon Martin's parents come to Alabama
    The parents of Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin, are expected in Alabama this week. They are expected at a town hall meeting on the state of justice and youth in America. The public will get a chance to discuss concerns related to the Trayvon Martin case.

    The meeting will be held at Pearson Hall at Miles College Thursday, from 5-7 p.m.

    A neighborhood watch member admitted to killing Martin in February. The killing caused major uproar among people who felt the killing was an example of extreme racial profiling and vigilantism.

    Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

  • Lawmaker not expecting Jeffco bill to pass
    A bleak forecast is expected by a state lawmaker concerning efforts to help Jefferson County’s finances.

    Vestavia Hills Representative Jack Williams fears his bill will die in the session. Williams’ bill would put a new occupational tax in place that is basically the same as the old one, no higher than .5% of your earnings if you work anywhere in the county.

    His bill, as written when it passed a House Committee last week, puts that tax on people like architects and doctors who pay the state a license fee, something the old tax did not and what Williams terms a mistake he never intended.

    That, plus a general lack of desire by several lawmakers to simply hand the county more money without other strings attached probably means the bill is dead before it hits the house floor.

    “At this point, I think the focus, my focus at least, is on finding a solution in the special session,” said Williams.

    County lawmakers have promised all spring that they would come up with a way to give the county's general fund some of the $40-million it needs to avoid even bigger cuts and help it get out of bankruptcy. No solution that has been floated out so far has gotten near enough support, and time is running out.

    Williams says the county's best hope may be a special session, but that would only happen if Governor Bentley agrees to call one for the county or add their problems to another special session scheduled for May. Williams says he thinks the county's best hope now is to get a bill that is put together by Bentley and the legislative leadership, not county lawmakers.

    “We've had such difficulties getting extremely divergent views together on a local bill that we may have to go with a statewide bill, and that's probably goint to involve the Governor and leadership of the House and Senate getting more directly involved,” said Williams.

    Representative Williams says the reason he is hopeful state leaders may get involved is because Jefferson County could be in danger of being thrown out of bankruptcy court if it can't find a revenue fix. If Jefferson County's bankruptcy fails, that could drive borrowing costs higher for other counties and municipalities in the state.

    Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

  • Railroad Park gets finance boost from Birmingham
    Railroad Park may soon get the financial help it has been looking for.

    Tomorrow, the Birmingham City Council will vote on giving the park another $250,000 to help keep its budget balanced.

    The park foundation is a privately-run group that pays for things like security and maintenance. This would be the second payment the city has made to the park this year.

    Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

  • Jeffco lawmakers looking to authorize traffic cameras
    Drivers beware in Jefferson County; we could be seeing more traffic cameras going up.

    On Wednesday, the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation in the Senate is looking at bills to authorize the cameras usage.

    One bill will allow any city to go to traffic cameras. Two other bills will allow the cameras to be used in Leeds and Vestavia Hills.

    Backers of the idea believe it will lead to safer driving habits.

    Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

  • Jeffco Commissioners request Cooper Green audit
    Jefferson County commissioners have requested a special audit into the finances of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.

    Next week, commissioners will vote to hire a company to conduct a comprehensive audit the hospital.

    Last week, the hospital announced almost $7-million in cuts because of funding problems. The hospital for the poor decided to shut down its O.B. and oncology departments.

    "For once and for all a forensic audit will uncover any deficiency whether it's the county commission or whether it's with Cooper Green Hospital," said Commissioner Jimmie Stephens.
    One Cooper Green official says, even with the budget cuts, the hospital still faces a deficit of up to $6-million by the end of the fiscal year.

    Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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