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Filed 05/25/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Anniston passes smoking ordinance
  • Judge binds Pell City woman over to grand jury in son’s death
  • Oxford to vote on Sweepstakes ordinance
  • Anniston & Oxford join tax holiday


Anniston passes smoking ordinance  

After over an hour and a half of sometimes confusing discussion and deliberation, the Anniston City Council on a vote of 4 to 1 Tuesday night approved a new smoking ordinance for the city.  According to Mayor Chip Howell, the new ordinance that takes affect on October first will give restaurants a choice of whether they want to be smoking or non smoking.  Councilman Ben Little voted against the plan.  Little had pushed for an outright ban on smoking in the city, his measure failed on a three to two vote of the council.  Representatives from the Calhoun Coalition Against Tobacco voiced their opposition to  the measure to give people a choice,  they supported an outright ban on smoking in the city and chastised the council during the meeting for their action.  Under the new ordinance if a restaurant proposed to allow smoking, they would be required to install a hospital grade air filtration system that not only would remove the smoke but other minute particles in the air.  Those supporting a stronger smoking ban claim that businesses would not see an economic impact as a result of the banning of smoking.  Many businesses in areas where smoking bans have been instituted say they have seen a decline in business,  those who say they have been most affected are restaurants with attached bars.   ALABAMA 810 AUDIO   ANNISTON MAYOR CHIP HOWELL ON SMOKING ORDINANCE



Judge binds Pell City woman over to grand jury in son’s death 

A State Trooper told prosecutors Tuesday that On the morning Vicki Howard was driving her son to daycare and wrecked her truck, resulting in her son’s death, Howard’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. Trooper Shane Porter’s testimony came during the preliminary hearing for the 41 year old Howard, of Pell City, who is accused of the reckless murder of her 5-year-old son, Adren "Chance" Howard. Chance died at the scene of the crash from head trauma caused when the truck struck a tree and flipped after leaving Camp Creek Road around 8 a.m. St. Clair County District Court Judge Phil Seay bound over the case against Howard to a grand jury, which could review the case June 12.

Porter is heading the investigation of Chance’s death, and said Howard’s blood alcohol level was determined from a blood test taken around 9:30 a.m. the day of the wreck, which Porter subpoenaed from the hospital where Howard was treated for injuries. Porter said he is still awaiting the results of tests on blood and urine samples taken from Howard that were sent to the state Crime Lab in Montgomery.

A 9-11 recording from the morning of the wreck was also played in court Tuesday, which contained a call from a female motorist who was following Howard’s truck prior to the wreck. In the recording, the woman tells the dispatcher a red truck, later identified as Howard’s, driving along Camp Creek Road in front of her was driving erratically. Howard was arrested March 29 after she was released from the hospital where she received treatment for minor injuries she suffered in the wreck. Seay denied posting a bond for Howard, who has been housed in St. Clair County Jail awaiting trial. At the time of the wreck, Howard was on probation after being convicted of public intoxication two weeks prior to the wreck. If convicted of reckless murder, Howard could be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison, according to District Attorney Richard Minor.  


Oxford to vote on Sweepstakes ordinance 

The Oxford Mayor and Council will vote on June 13th on a proposed ordinance to regulate sweepstakes gaming operations in the city.  City officials say the ordinance will be much like the ordinance approved by Jacksonville this week.  The mayor placed a moratorium on businesses licenses for the internet cafes in April until the council could address the issue.  The Jacksonville ordinance, among other things prohibits anyone under 19 from entering the business and prohibits them being located close to residences, schools or churches.  The Jacksonville ordinance takes affect Wednesday.


Anniston & Oxford join tax holiday 

Both the Cities of Anniston and Oxford will participate in the statewide sales tax holiday the first weekend in August.  The Oxford City Council unanimously approved the measure Tuesday night as did the Anniston Mayor and Council.  Anniston Mayor Chip Howell said the benefits to the citizens outweighed his concerns.  The holiday will exempt both state and local sales taxes on back to school purchases of items such as, clothing up to a hundred dollars per item, Computers, software and computer supplies up to $750 per item.  School supplies and textbooks up to $50 each and other books up to $30 each.  The City of Jacksonville is expected to approve participation in the holiday when they meet in two weeks.

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