Search continues for missing Alabama fisherman
AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Authorities are still searching for a missing Autaugaville fisherman and county sheriff's officials say they don't suspect foul play in the man's disappearance.
WSFA-TV reports county sheriff's officials and emergency responders from other areas are now using a helicopter and search dogs from Limestone County to try finding 43-year-old David Taylor, who was reported missing Sunday.
Investigators have said Taylor went on a last-minute fishing trip to a gravel pit lake and hasn't been seen or heard from since then.
The man's sister, Denise Taylor, says hope for her brother's safe recovery began fading after divers found his boots and canoe floating upside down on Monday.
Autauga County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Joe Sedinger, says the water is about 47 degrees and divers are contending with low underwater visibility.
Lawyer to petition high court on Ala. prison rule
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An attorney representing several current and former Native American inmates says he's preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court's decision upholding a rule requiring inmates to cut their hair.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decided in November against reviewing the Alabama Department of Corrections hair length policy.
Some Native American inmates have said long hair is their religious right. However, state corrections officials have said long hair could pose safety concerns and that escaped inmates could alter their appearance by cutting their hair after fleeing a corrections facility.
Mark Sabel, an attorney representing the inmates, says the issue is a matter of religious liberty.
Corrections spokesman, Brian Corbett, says he's confident the policy will withstand any legal challenges.
Tuskegee airman William Booker dead at 90
SEATTLE (AP) - One of the first black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen, William L. Booker, has died at the age of 90.
Booker's family says he died Nov. 30 at a Kirkland, Wash., nursing home after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Booker served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Ky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.
After World War II he worked for Boeing for 34 years. He served 10 years as president of the local Tuskegee Airmen's chapter
Booker is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dolores, two sons, two daughters and grandchildren.
A memorial will be held Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle.
C SPIRE ACQUISITION
C Spire to acquire Alabama communication firm
RIDGELAND, Miss. (AP) - C Spire has announced plans to acquire Callis Communications, which provides cloud-based unified communications as a service for businesses.
Based in Mobile, Ala., Callis serves customers in key business markets across the Southeast.
Officials for Ridgeland, Miss.-based C Spire announced the acquisition in a new release Wednesday.
C Spire officials say once the acquisition gets regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the merger will help it expand its markets and offer comprehensive business solutions for customers.
C Spire expects final regulatory approval of the merger within the next 60 days.
Callis started in 1999 as a paging provider. It became a facilities-based competitive local exchange carrier and Internet service provider in 2005 and in 2009 became a cloud-based unified communications company.
Auburn's Malzahn wins Home Depot Coach of the Year
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Auburn's Gus Malzahn has been named Home Depot Coach of the Year, and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins was selected the John Mackey Award winner for the nation's outstanding tight end.
The announcements were made Wednesday. Both awards will be presented Thursday as part of the College Football Awards Show at Disney's Boardwalk.
In his first season as Auburn coach, Malzahn led the Tigers to a 12-1 record and berth in the BCS national championship game against Florida State on Jan. 6. A win in the title game would make Auburn's improvement from 3-9 in 2012 the best in FBS history.
Malzahn is only the second first-year coach to lead his team to the national championship game.
Seferian-Jenkins becomes the first Mackey Award winner from Washington and third from the Pac-12.
MISSISSIPPI SHERIFF INDICTED
Sheriff Byrd to submit resignation
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The defense attorney for Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal felony charge, says the sheriff will resign Wednesday.
Joe Sam Owen says Byrd will personally deliver a resignation letter to Board of Supervisors President Mike Mangum.
The resignation had been expected. Mississippi state law does not allow a convicted felon to hold public office.
U.S. District Judge William H. Steele, chief judge for the Southern District of Alabama, accepted Byrd's plea, found him guilty and set his sentencing for March 11, 2014.
The maximum penalty for the federal charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but prosecutors are recommending six months of house arrest and six months of probation. Byrd and Owen signed a plea deal in November.
June trial set for VictoryLand casino raid
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A Montgomery judge has scheduled a trial June 3 over whether the state government can keep the cash and destroy the gambling machines seized in a raid of VictoryLand casino in Macon County.
Court records show Circuit Judge William Shashy set the date after being assigned the case by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. The chief justice had to find a judge because all judges in Macon County stepped aside from hearing the case.
State Attorney General Luther Strange raided VictoryLand in February and seized 1,615 gambling machines and more than $223,000 in cash.
VictoryLand is trying to keep the state from keeping the money and destroying the machines. The casino has been closed since the raid.
The non-jury trial will be held in Montgomery rather than Macon County.
CHATTAHOOCHEE ZIP LINE
Zip line planned over Chattahoochee River
COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia company plans to build a zip line across the Chattahoochee River in the Columbus area.
The Columbus City Council on Tuesday approved a land deal that would make way for the 1,200-foot zip line.
Whitewater Express Inc. owner Dan Gilbert tells The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that the plans call for two parallel zip lines that would carry people across the river at speeds up to 40 mph.
Uptown Columbus Inc. President Richard Bishop said construction will begin next year, and the zip line could be operational before the end of October.
It is part of a larger project involving a whitewater rafting course that opened earlier this year on the river, which separates Columbus from Phenix City, Ala.
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