Inverness photographer’s patriotic photo featured as stamp

An Inverness photographer took a photo that will soon travel the world. For just 49 cents, you can get your own copy.

Dog involved in mauling death of Tallassee 4-year-old put down

Tallassee police say a dog involved in the mauling death of a 4-year-old girl this week has been put down.

And the highest paid interns are….

The highest-paying internships are at tech companies like Palantir, VMWare, and Twitter, according to Glassdoor.com.

Teens accused of throwing brick from Tuscaloosa overpass plead guilty

Two teenagers accused of throwing a brick from a highway overpass in 2012 have pleaded guilty.

Cramer’s 1st annual Golden Bull Awards

Did any of your favorites walk away with Mad Money gold?

As spring approaches, 6 Birmingham Public Library branches switch to spring/summer hours Monday

The six branches switching to spring/summer hours are the East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam locations.

The new hours for those branches are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, those six branches will be open 1-6 p.m. Those branches will not be open on weekends.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -
The frequent swings between miserable winter weather and delightful spring
might make you feel as if spring may never come. But at the Birmingham Public
Library, folks are optimistic that we could eventually see a real spring/summer
season.

Six of the Birmingham Public Library branches are switching
to their normal spring and summer hours on Monday, March 3.

The six branches switching to spring/summer hours are the
East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam locations.

The new hours for those branches are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-6
p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, those six branches
will be open 1-6 p.m. Those branches will not be open on weekends.

The winter hours are slightly different – 8 a.m. to noon,
1-5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 1-5 p.m. on Wednesday,
with no weekend hours.

In addition, BPL announced that renovations are still
underway at the Inglenook branch, meaning that branch is operating out of the
Inglenook Rec Center 1-6 p.m. five days a week.

The Birmingham Public Library system operates 19 branches. You can see a list of hours for those
branches on the BPL website.

Former Fort McClellan soldier charged in theft of ammunition, MREs

Court documents also give an insight into how much the government pays for its ammunition and that an audit shows more than 1,100 other cases of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) – not associated with the theft – are unaccounted for or are simply missing from Fort McClellan.

DIV7 Scales of justice & gavel_full.jpeg

ANNISTON, Alabama — A former National Guard soldier at Fort
McClellan has admitted to stealing more than $11,000 in
ammunition and Meals Ready to Eat, which he sold to pawn shops and Army surplus
stores, according to court documents filed today.

The documents also give an insight into how much the
government pays for its ammunition and that an audit shows more than 1,100 other
cases of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) – not associated with the theft – are
unaccounted for or are simply missing from Fort McClellan.

Jimmy Lewis Haney, 51, who is charged with one
count of theft of government property, has
agreed to plead guilty and repay the money under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,
according to court documents.

“Mr. Haney is remorseful for his conduct and he has taken
steps to admit his responsibility,” his attorney, Michael Hanle, said this
afternoon.

Haney, a former master sergeant, voluntarily resigned from the National Guard during
the investigation last year, Hanle said.

Haney served as the Property Book Officer for the Alabama
Army National Guard, 200th Leadership Regiment, located at Fort McClellan in 2011.
His responsibilities included accounting and control of property, including
MREs and ammunition assigned to the Alabama Army National Guard, according to
his plea agreement.

“At various times in 2011, Haney removed MREs and ammunition
belonging to the Alabama Army National Guard and sold those items to pawn shops
and Army surplus stores in and around the Talladega County area without the
authority or approval of the United States Government,” according to the plea
agreement.

Haney sold the items for less than it cost the government to
buy them, according to the plea agreement.

In late 2011 Haney sold two cases of 5.56-caliber ammunition
- 900 rounds per case – and one case of 9mm ammo – 500 rounds – to one pawn
shop, according to the plea deal. He sold the 5.56 ammunition for $.20 per
round, and the 9mm ammunition for $.15 per round.

Haney also sold MREs, including to one surplus store, which
the owner told investigators he had purchased 100 to 110 cases for between $20
and $25 a case, according to the plea agreement.

The 5.56 ammunition costs the government 25 cents a round and the 9mm ammunition 21 cents a round,
according to the plea agreement. Haney admits to taking 1800 rounds of 5.56 ammunition and 500 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

The ammunition was manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.

Haney also admits that he sold 110 cases of MREs. The MREs cost the government $99.95 per case, according to the plea agreement.

An audit revealed that 1,248 cases of MREs were unaccounted
for, or otherwise missing, from Fort McClellan, according to the plea agreement.

Soft lockdown lifted at 2 Blount Co. schools after police pursuit in the area

Two Blount County schools are under a soft lockdown after police pursued multiple car theft suspects in the area.

Beware of dirty Mardi Gras beads

The lights, the music, and the floats: it all makes carnival season a sight to behold. “It's the king factor, for an hour you have the most power,” said party store owner and parade participant Nelson

They’re watching everyone (Traffic Mike)

Also: What irks you about the things Alabama drivers do on the roadways?

MikeSmith_column3.jpg

Q: I see Hoover police in the medians of Interstate 20 at the Leeds exit. This is clearly not Hoover. Why are they there?

A: The vehicles are there as a form of inter-agency cooperation.

The officers you see are part of a drug task force with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Hoover Police Capt. James Coker said.

The officers are sworn deputies on top of their duties as Hoover police, which gives them jurisdiction to make stops or arrests anywhere in the county, Coker said.

Something else to keep in mind: Coker said though speed stops typically are done within an officer’s jurisdiction, it is possible for these sworn deputies to write tickets for traffic violations if they catch you doing something.

I’ve noticed them on Interstate 59, too. It’s good that they have the noticeable impact law enforcement vehicles always have — many people slow down when they see them and drive like traffic laws actually apply to them.

Q: I recently moved to downtown Birmingham and have noticed a lot of drivers turning left from a one way onto another one way, despite a red light. Is this legal?

A: Title 32, Sec. 32-5A-32 says it’s legal. Except where a sign is in place prohibiting it, traffic facing a red light may “turn left from a one-way street into a one-way street,” the law states.

Of course, by law that can only be done after properly stopping at the intersection and yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk or other traffic that has the right of way.

My only thing to add is to pay attention to signage and be totally sure you’re heading the right direction down that one-way. Hey, it happens.


One more thing: A few months ago, I marked a year of driving in Alabama with a few road pet peeves. What are some things you notice your fellow drivers could use a bit of clarity on, relearn or learn about for the first time? If what you see a lot irks you, gets under your skin and just leaves you flabbergasted, comment below or send me an email at [email protected]

Reschedule reminder: The Alabama Department of Transportation’s public involvement meeting on the Interstate 20/59 downtown bridge replacement is Tuesday, March 11.

The meeting was canceled the afternoon of its original date — Jan. 28. — as we all slipped and slid into stranded chaos during the Great Never-ending Commute of 2014.

Road rubbish found on area roadways this week:
  • Interstate 20/59 west: Mattress in the roadway at Arkadelphia Road
  • I-459 north: Debris (unknown type) scattered in the left lane near Montgomery Highway
  • I-459 north: Mattress in the center lane after Morgan Road
  • I-65 south: Pieces of steel rope scattered across the I-459 interchange
  • I-65 south: Large piece of something, believed to be plywood, in the road ahead of Montgomery Highway
  • I-65 north: 55-gallon metal drum sticking out in the inside lane of the Valleydale Road bridge

Don’t just buckle up. Tie down.

Traffic Mike writes about traffic and roads in the Birmingham area. Contact Mike D. Smith at [email protected], @TrafficMike_BHM on Twitter or (205) 209-2878.