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Filed 04/21/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 


Independent Candidate for Governor Arrested

An Alexandria man who is attempting to qualify as an independent candidate for Alabama Governor was arrested by the FBI outside the Anniston Post Office Wednesday.  U.S. Attorney David Roper in Dallas, Texas said that James Ray Phipps is charged in a federal indictment with running a fraud from June 1996 to August 2001 that involved about 21 million dollars and more than 500 people.  The indictment alleges that Phipps ran a project called “Life without debt” out of Colleyville, Texas.  Authorities have termed the alleged investment scheme as a Ponzi scheme which they said was an illegal pyramid scheme where money from new investors is used to pay off earlier investors until the scheme collapses.  Roper said that Phipps is charged with three counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and 13 counts of money laundering and several tax-related offenses.
Officials said that Phipps reportedly told the Internal Revenue Service that he was a “sovereign citizen” not subject to the jurisdiction or tax laws of the United
States. Phipps is scheduled to appear this afternoon in Birmingham for a bond hearing on the charges.


St Clair County bears brunt of Wednesday storms 

St. Clair County felt the brunt of Wednesday’s storms with a tornado, high winds, hail and rain causing damage throughout the county.  Talladega County EMA director Ellen Hays said a tornado was spotted by three volunteer firefighters in shoal creek valley north of Odenville near 5:30 Wednesday evening.  Houses on Fourth Avenue south and Wolf Creek Road in Pell City were all damaged by fallen trees.  Two homes on 30th Street in the Mill Village in Pell City were also damaged by fallen trees and a structure on Sprayberry Road in Riverside received roof damage during the storm.  The storm also damaged a golf cart shed at the Pell City Country Club, ripping the roof completely off the shed.  EMA officials received reports from across the county of hail ranging from pea to golf ball sized hail.  Lightning struck a home on East Street in Talladega.  Talladega firefighters said the lightning appeared to have struck the roof, but showed no significant damage to the home.  In Anniston, a lightning strike started a fire at B&S Sporting Goods on West 12th Street.  Fire officials say that damage was very minor.  Firefighters responded near 7pm finding a fire on the outside of the building.  After extinguishing that fire they entered the building where the found that the lightning had traveled through a metal vent pipe from the outside and started another small fire inside the building in the wood surrounding the pipe.  The fire was extinguished and adjoining buildings were also checked with no damage reported.


Accident victims remain in hospital 

At least three people injured in Tuesday morning’s accident on U.S. 431 near Alexandria remain hospitalized.  21 year old Amber Ervin of Jacksonville remains in serious condition at UAB Hospital.  Family members say doctors have told them that Ervin had swelling and fluid on her brain.  35 year old Dionne Harris, also knows as Dionne Merriweather was transferred to UAB Hospital where she is listed in fair condition.  Her 13 year old son Quadarius Jones was treated and released from Regional Medical Center.  33 year old Brian Abney, who had been driving a Honda motorcycle in the accident, was transported to Baptist Medical Center-Montclair where he remains in the intensive care unit.  Troopers say they are continuing their search for a Pickup involved in the accident that left the scene of the accident.



Man Stabbed over argument about a dog 

A Gadsden man was stabbed by his neighbor during an argument over a don.  53 year old Ambrose E. Austin was stabbed in the abdomen and chest during the fight at his home on High Street in Gadsden’s Mill Village area.  Police say that a woman who lives at the home was also injured when she tried to break up the fight.  Police Detective Brad Arledge said that Austin and a 41 year old neighbor were fighting over a dog.


Cherokee running third party candidates 

Cherokee County has become a three party county with the announcement this week that a new independent party will run a slate of candidates on the November ballott.  Gary Laney, chairman of the Independent Party of Cherokee County, announced this week the party will field seven candidates in the general election.  Among their announced candidates is former Gadsden physician Pascual Herrera Jr., who lost his medical license five years ago following a hearing on the operation of his pain management practice.  Herrera has qualified to run for county coroner with the independent party.  Herrera had been accused of keeping inadequate records, performing unnecessary tests and prescribing controlled substances in excessive amounts to three patients.  Herrera is currently attempting to regain his license to practice medicine.  According to Lacy, the independent party was able to collect 600 signatures in their effort to get on the ballot.  They were required to obtain 183 signatures or 3% of the number of votes in the last gubernatorial election.  Other Independent party candidates are:  Bobby Borders for probate judge/county commission president, Bob Epperson for Sheriff,  Gloria McFarland for circuit clerk,  Larry Woodall for county commissioner district 4, Tim Abernathy for county commissioner district 2, and Wendy Chumbler for board of education place 4.   


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