2 men injured, 1 seriously, in shooting in Birmingham’s West End area

The shooting happened in the 1000 block of 16th Street Southwest late Wednesday afternoon.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Two men were
shot in Birmingham’s West End area Wednesday afternoon, and one victim suffered
life-threatening injuries.

The shooting
happened in the 1000 block of 16th Street Southwest late Wednesday afternoon,
according to Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards.

One victim
was taken to UAB Hospital with serious injuries. The other
man had minor injuries.

No suspects
are in custody.

Bessemer City Schools to be closed the remainder of the week

A Bessemer City Schools spokesperson says all city schools will be closed the rest of the week.

Bessemer community reaches out to storm victims

An EF-2 tornado hit Bessemer Monday night, leaving behind a trail of debris and damage in several neighborhoods.

Alabama BP Oil disaster fraud: 5 indicted in family-run $2.4 million false claim scheme

The five charged in today's indictment had recruited 15 others to make false claims, according to a statement from federal authorities.

deepwater_1801346b.jpgThe explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers in April 2010. (Photo: EPA)

 BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Five people were indicted today in
connection with a family-led scheme to defraud the fund established by BP PLC for victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, federal
authorities announced.

The five charged in today’s indictment had recruited 15
others to make false claims, according to a statement from federal authorities.

Marcella Truss, 53, her husband, Martee Davis, 41, both of
Grand Bay, Ala.; Robert Truss III, 26, Marcella Truss’ son, of Houston; Howard
Lenard Carroway, 42, Marcella Truss’ brother, of Mobile; and Cedric Dion
Ravizee, 37, of Birmingham were all indicted by a federal grand jury.

The five are charged with conspiring to commit wire and mail
fraud in order to make false claims of more than $2.4 million from the Gulf
Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), according to a joint statement by U.S. Attorney
Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.  About $1.4 million of the claims were actually
paid, according to the statement.

BP, which owned the Macondo Oil Well where the Deepwater
Horizon drilling rig exploded, established the GCCF in June 2010 to administer
and settle claims made against the company by individuals or business for
losses, damages or other costs resulting from the massive oil spill.

“This indictment, coming the same week as a series of
deadly and destructive tornadoes in Alabama, should be a strong warning to
anyone who considers taking advantage of a disaster to fraudulently enrich
themselves that we watch closely for this kind of crime,” Vance said.
“We place a high priority on the prompt investigation and prosecution of
fraud related to natural and man-made disasters to ensure that funds available
to help victims of those tragedies do not fall into the hands of

“Disasters bring out the best in people, who volunteer to
help with clean-up or make charitable donations. Sadly, disasters can also
bring out the worst in people, like scam artists,” Schwein said.

Schwein encouraged anyone with information about possible
disaster fraud to contact the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or the
Disaster Fraud e-mail at [email protected] Or fraud can be reported directly to
the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

The indictment charges that all five defendants recruited
individuals to provide personal identification information and pose as
claimants with the GCCF. Marcella Truss used the claimants’ identification
information and filed the fraudulent claims, and Robert Truss and Ravizee
helped claimants open bank accounts for receiving claim funds, according to the

All five would accompany claimants to banks to obtain
proceeds from the claim funds, and all five received portions of the false
claims that were paid, the statement quotes from the indictment.

So far, 15 others in north Alabama have been charged and
pleaded guilty since April 2013 to aiding and abetting the scheme to defraud
the GCCF, according to the statement.

According to the indictment, the GCCF paid about $1.4
million on the scheme’s fraudulent claims, all made between Aug. 27, 2010, and
Dec. 5, 2011. All the claims falsely stated that the individual had worked for
a company called Built by Request and had lost wages because of the Deepwater
Horizon incident.

Thirty-one of the BBR claims were filed by computer from an
Internet Protocol address in Center Point, according to the indictment. BBR was
a company registered with the State of Alabama by Marcella Truss. She and Davis
lived in Center Point during the period relevant to this indictment.

The five charged with the conspiracy to defraud the
oil-spill fund also face various other charges in the 60-count indictment,
including two counts of obstruction of justice against Carroway. The indictment
charges that Carroway tried to persuade two people to call the U.S. Attorney’s
Office to provide false information, intending to hinder communication with
prosecutors about the possible commission of a felony offense.

The FBI investigated this case, which Assistant U.S.
Attorney Henry Cornelius is prosecuting.

To sell or not to sell in May?

Stocks closed out April with a bang and many watchers believe this is not the year to sell in May.

The Alabama Gang Superstretch unveiled at Talladega

Officials at Talledega Superspeedway announced on Wednesday that the back straightaway has been named “The Alabama Gang Superstretch” to pay tribute “The Alabama Gang”, including Bobby and Donnie Allison and Red Farmer.

If You Want To Be A Leader, Start Acting Like One

People are constantly asking me for advice on how to get promoted. They want to move up the ranks at their company, take on more leadership work, and be held responsible for more moving parts. While the notion of being a leader seems nice (but far off), you’ve got it backward. It’s not suddenly that you’re anointed as a leader and with that, you’re bestowed responsibility – quite the opposite, actually.  Leadership isn’t about your title, nor is it about bossing others around. Being a strong leader means thinking about the teams’ needs before your own, helping other people to grow and maximize their own full potential, and sharing credit when it’s due (and shouldering blame as needed, too). Why do you need to wait to get a promotion to start doing any of this? You don’t – that’s the good news, so start today. The more qualities of a leader that you begin to exhibit, the more obvious a choice you’ll be for the actual promotion down the road. By positioning yourself as someone who’s ready to take on more (after having proven yourself over a longer period of time), you’ll be hard to ignore. Plus, over time, you’ll have benefited your overall team with your efforts – this makes it a personal and collective win.

Rotting whale stinks up Canadian town

A rotting whale carcass stinks up a Canadian town.

Rotting whale stinks up Canadian town

A rotting whale carcass stinks up a Canadian town.

You may soon pay more tolls on highways

Federal dollars for highways are drying up, and the White House may want states to pick up the slack.