Halloween parade packs the streets of Crestline Village (photos, video)

Parade had a Mardi Gras feel

Watch video

Gallery preview

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Alabama–Kids and their parents packed the
streets of Crestline Village to watch the Mystics of Mountain Brook Halloween
Parade today.

The 25-minute parade had a Mardi Gras feel as it was lead by
Chinese dragons followed by floats full of children throwing beads and moon
pies to the crowd.  Santa Claus even
drove an all-terrain vehicle.

But the big attraction for the kids was the pounds of candy
thrown to them from the floats.

Kids wore their Halloween costumes that included ghosts,
skeletons super heroes and ballerinas. A
menagerie of animal costumes lined the street.
Even a four-foot tall version of Paul Stanley of the band Kiss was seen
in the crowd.

The crowd scattered at the end of the parade as kids hurried
to begin their trick-or-treating rounds.

Disney buys LucasFilm, slates Star Wars 7 for 2015

Mickey Mouse and Luke Skywalker are joining forces.

Suspect identified in Montevallo cat killing investigation

University of Montevallo campus police say they have identified the person they think is responsible for killing three cats on campus this month.

Operation New Birmingham handed keys and cash to save historic Ensley tower

With the endorsement from Mayor William Bell and approval from the City Council, Operation New Birmingham/Main Street now begins the process of stabilizing the 83-year-old Ramsay McCormack building and developing a plan for its reuse.


Ramsay-McCormack4.jpg The 10-story Ramsay-McCormack building in downtown Ensley on the corner of Avenue E and 19th Street was completed in 1929. it has been unoccupied for years and is the subject of proposed development from ONB. (Frank Couch/[email protected]) 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — A long-vacant art deco office tower in the Ensley historic business district is getting another chance at revival after Birmingham city leaders handed the keys – and more than $800,000 – to an economic development agency working to save it.


With the endorsement from Mayor William Bell and approval from the City Council, Operation New Birmingham/Main Street now begins the process of stabilizing the 83-year-old Ramsay McCormack building and developing a plan for its reuse.


“Our first priority will be to clean up and secure the structure to protect the public and prevent more deterioration,” said ONB President David Fleming. “At the same time, we’ll be pursuing development and re-use strategies for the landmark building. We’ve already identified some good options that we’re researching.”


The city has owned the building since 1983, at the decline of the area’s major industrial and commercial activity. The building was completely vacated in 1986.


Fleming said the building could be used as a mixed use residential and commercial property or for residences. He said the priority is stabilizing the building.



Ramsay-McCormack3.jpg The Ramsay-McCormack office tower in Ensley onced housed several professional offices. (Frank Couch/[email protected])

Fleming said the group would begin the bidding process for work, which could run through the end of the year.


“We’ll begin physical work as soon as we can after that,” he said.


However, the final word on the building still rests with a Jefferson County judge, following a lawsuit from Ensley residents and business owners demanding that the city level the building after years of inaction regarding the property.


Lawyer Antonio Spurling last month filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ensley businesses and residents. Spurling, whose law office is in Ensley, cites his previous lawsuit that he dropped in 2009 when the city promised to demolish Ramsay-McCormack if redevelopment efforts proved futile.


Spurling also recalls a failed 2008 effort, in which Main Street Birmingham played a role, as an example of the group’s inability to save the building.


That earlier project was led by Ensley Centre Development Group, a joint venture of Main Street Birmingham and Veristar Development Services LLC. of White Plains, N.Y. The project was abandoned when it failed to received tax credits.


Fleming has called comparisons between the two endeavors inaccurate because Main Street’s only role in 2008 was aiding in securing tax credits. ONB/Main Street in this latest effort will be the sole responsible agency, Fleming has stressed.

Poarch Creeks resume construction of Wetumpka casino

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has resumed construction of a 20-story hotel and casino in Wetumpka after a brief delay for talks with Oklahoma Creeks upset with the development on what they say is sacred ancestral land.


wind creek.JPG

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have resumed construction of a 20-story hotel and casino in Wetumpka similar to their flagship casino in Atmore. (AP Photo/Phillip Rawls) 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has resumed construction of a 20-story hotel and casino in Wetumpka after a brief delay for talks with Oklahoma Creeks upset with the development of what they say is sacred ancestral land.

The Poarch Band earlier this month halted construction on the project for discussions with the Muscogee Creek Nation. The Poarch Band announced this afternoon that following a meeting in Oklahoma this week they are proceeding with the project.

Poarch Band Tribal Chairman Buford L. Rolin said the groups were at an impasse.

“This development is a reasonable approach to land use; and no one cares more about the sanctity of our land and the well-being of our people and our neighbors than we do,” Rolin said in a prepared statement.

“Since 2006, we have reached out to the Muscogee Nation with the hope
that they would be open to understanding the facts about the
twenty-first century conditions of what was once Hickory Ground Town and
would recognize that our development in Wetumpka does not alter that.
Unfortunately we have reached an impasse,” Rolin said. 

The Poarch Band last summer announced the expansion of their electronic bingo casino in Wetumpka. The new $246 million Wind Creek Wetumpka will include a 20-story hotel tower with 285 rooms and a 90,000-square foot gaming floor with more than 2,500 electronic bingo machines. It is expected to be open by May 2013.

However, the Muscogee Nation of Creeks demanded a halt to the casino plans with the possibility of legal action if the development was not ceased.

Muscogee Nation officials say the Wetumpka site, called Hickory Ground, is considered sacred because it is a burial ground, a ceremonial site and was the last home of the Muscogee Nation, prior to the tribe’s forced removal to Indian Territory in the 1830s.

The Oklahoma Creeks objected to the fact that the Poarch Band several years ago exhumed 60 sets of remains and accompanying ceremonial objects instead of preserving the site.

“From the beginning, it has been our stance that the remains should be put back where they were excavated. The ceremonial ground remains sacred, so it is not a proper place for a casino. Hickory Ground needs to be restored to nature–that’s what we are striving for,” Mekko George Thompson, a Muscogee chief of 42 years, said in a statement released this evening.

Thompson released correspondence with Rolin from 2010 that indicated the Muscogee wanted the remains reburied in their original location.

“We believe our ancestors expected the graves to remain undisturbed in the ground,” Thompson wrote.

Rolin responded that they could not agree to that and planned for re-interment on the northern portion of the property.

Poarch Band Tribal Council Member Arthur Mothershed said today that remains found at the site have been re-interred, but the Oklahoma group wanted them moved again.

“It has been almost eight years since any remains have been unearthed. We cannot change the fact that remains were found and removed. Those remains are now re-interred and we cannot support disturbing those remains again,” Mothershed said.

Mothershed said no more remains will be disturbed. Poarch officials said the ceremonial site will be preserved.

“We have been extremely careful to plan a development that is culturally sensitive while ensuring the economic well-being of our tribal members, our community, and our state,” Mothershed said.

The Wetumpka facility will be taller than the Poarch Creek’s flagship Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore, which is 17 stories tall.

Tuscaloosa police arrest suspect in 25-year-old cold case

Tuscaloosa police have made an arrest in a case that dates back 25 years.

Google Is Going After Appleā€™s Siri

Tuscaloosa police solve 25-year-old cold case

Tuscaloosa police have made an arrest in a case that dates back 25 years.

Peppermint Patty day care owner pleads guilty to filing false tax return

The owner of a Birmingham day care center pleaded guilty to filing a false federal income tax return and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The
owner of a Birmingham day care center pleaded guilty to filing a false federal
income tax return and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22.

Evelyn Denise Harper, 43, of
Jefferson County, entered her guilty plea today before District Court Judge
Abdul Kallon. She pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false income tax
return and under-reporting her income, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White
Vance and IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge Donald B.
Yaden.

Harper owns Peppermint Patty
Day Care. According to her guilty plea, she falsely claimed total income of
$62,000 in 2006, when her actual income for the year was more than $125,000. Harper
also admitted to under-reporting her income for tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In total, she under-reported her income from 2006-2009 by $214,532, resulting
in additional tax due of $60,069. Harper has agreed to pay the $60,069 in
restitution to the U.S. Treasury, plus any penalties and interest.

She faces a maximum sentence
of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Criminal Investigation
Division of the IRS investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Davis Barlow
is prosecuting the case.

How to help Sandy storm victims

As Superstorm Sandy cleanup efforts begin and Alabamians reach out to help, social organizations say it's important to give, but to give what's needed. Here are some ways you can help Sandy survivors.