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This Hour: Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment

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Ala jobless rate jumps to 6.7 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's unemployment rate is rising.

The state Department of Labor says Alabama's March unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, which is three-tenths of a percent higher than the February rate. It's also above the March 2013 rate of 6.6 percent.

The job rate represents 144,628 unemployed people. But the number of people in the labor force also grew by more than 14,000 people, and the number of working Alabamians increased by 7,000.

The state labor commissioner, Tom Surtees, says the unemployment rate is up because of the growth in the labor force.

Surtees says employers reported more than 12,000 additional jobs, and construction showed a gain for the first time in months.

Wilcox County has Alabama's highest jobless rate at 16.4 percent, and Shelby County is lowest at 4.8 percent.


Greene Co. bingo centers resuming operations

EUTAW, Ala. (AP) - Some of Greene County's bingo parlors are reopening following a raid by state authorities.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that Sheriff Joe Benison says the businesses can resume operations, so that's what they're doing.

Attorney General Luther Strange didn't have any immediate comment.

State police and Strange's office seized more than 1,300 machines and nearly $117,000 from three bingo parlors in Greene County two weeks ago.

The state contends the machines are illegal gambling devices. The county and the bingo operators claim the machines are legal.

Workers at River's Edge Casino in Knoxville were unloading machines on Thursday. Green Charity Bingo in Eutaw has resumed operations.

Greenetrack president Nat Winn says a rally is planned in Tuscaloosa on April 26 to bring attention to the dispute.


Former Alabama Senate Secretary Lee remembered

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lieutenant governors are remembering the former secretary of the Alabama Senate, McDowell Lee, for his dedication and service to the state.

Lee died Thursday at his home in Auburn. He was 89.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey says Lee "was tough, smart and a joy to be around." She said he knew the rules of the Senate like the back of his hand.

Three-term Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. says Lee was a great friend and mentor to all lieutenant governors during his 47 years of service. Folsom says Alabama is far better place today because of Lee's service.

A visitation for Lee is scheduled at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika from 5-7 p.m. Monday. A graveside service is at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Pea River Presbyterian Church in Clio.


7-year-old has loaded gun at Jefferson Co. school

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The Jefferson County sheriff's department says a teacher at Center Point Elementary School removed a loaded handgun from a 7-year-old student.

Department spokesman Randy Christian says a teacher observed the child showing the gun to another student Thursday. The teacher took the gun away and notified the principal and a school resource officer from the sheriff's department.

The parents of the child were also notified and went to the school. Christian says the gun apparently belonged to the child's grandfather, but it has not been determined how the child got it.

Christian says the student is too young to be charged with any crime. But the child has been suspended from school and faces a disciplinary hearing with the Jefferson County Board of Education.


Court orders new trial in 1997 double murder

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court says a man convicted of the 1997 murders of his girlfriend and her toddler son is entitled to a new trial because of jury misconduct.

In an opinion Friday, the justices wrote that two jurors did not disclose pertinent information during jury's selection at Larry Dunaway's trial in Barbour County.

Justices said one juror did not disclose that a close family member had recently been the victim of an attempted murder. Another juror did not disclose that the prosecutor had represented her in a custody dispute.

Dunaway was convicted of shooting Tressa Patterson to death and then setting her mobile home on fire, killing her 22-month-old son, James. He received a death sentence.

Justices said Dunaway was accused of horrendous crimes but still deserved a fair trial.


Jags' Tinker aims for inspiration not sad story

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Carson Tinker wants to use his personal story to lift people up not bring them down.

The Jacksonville Jaguars' long snapper was injured and his girlfriend was killed during a 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa while he was playing for Alabama.

Tinker has since shared his experience with youth groups and churches and now has written a book - "A Season To Remember: Faith in the Midst of the Storm." Tinker always tries to keep the message about how he's responded to the tragedy.

Tinker said Friday he's "trying to take people to what I thought was the darkest point of my life and show how God got me to where I am now."

He's donating the book's proceeds to his foundation, "Be a Blessing."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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