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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • JSU president accused of Plagiarism
  • Light sentences sought for former Gadsden officials
  • Police release sketch of alleged shooter

JSU president accused of Plagiarism 

Jacksonville State University President Dr. Bill Meehan is being accused of Plagiarism.  The accusations some from a JSU alumnus who has accused Meehan of plagiarizing most of a recent newspaper column that carried his byline. According to the Birmingham news, an Aug. 1 column dealing with stress management, appeared in The Jacksonville News under Meehan's name. Jeff Youngblood, a 1995 JSU Graduate, said about 75 percent of the article came from an Internet article from Merck & Co.  Youngblood, who says he objected to Meehan's hiring in 2000, said he read the article over the Internet and then ran a search, immediately finding the similar article. He said a student would face a harsh penalty for doing something like this.

Youngblood said that The board of trustees should remove him or ask him to step down. Meehan said an occasional newspaper column is prepared under his name by Al Harris, the university's retired news director, and university staff members. The column, which has been running since Meehan took the president's post, occasionally deals with topics in the news or spotlights university programs. Meehan said he proofreads the final article before publication, but he did not know about similarities between his article and the Merck article. Dr. Meehan said "If we did it and we didn't cite Merck as the source, then we're in error, It’s got my name on it, and if that's the case, then I accept full responsibility for it."


Light sentences sought for former Gadsden officials 

Federal prosecutors have filed documents seeking lighter sentences for three defendants involved in a public corruption probe in Gadsden citing their "full and complete cooperation." Prosecutors are asking that former Gadsden City Council members Jim Armstrong and Fred Huff and former Commercial Development Authority Director Cathy Back be given a "downward departure" in sentencing, set for Aug. 16 in Birmingham. Armstrong, Huff, Back and consultant Larry Thompson pleaded guilty last year in federal court to bribery and wire fraud charges. Prosecutors did not request that Thompson be given a lesser sentence and filed documents in June asking that he be ordered to repay money provided by the FBI during the sting operation.  As part of the plea negotiations, Back, Armstrong and Huff were promised a downward departure, which means a lesser sentence, if they pleaded guilty, provided substantial assistance in the investigation and agreed to testify in any other proceedings. Thompson also was given the same promise.

Police release sketch of alleged shooter 

While a Leesburg woman is recovering in a hospital after she was shot four times as she drove a three-wheeled Honda motorcycle south on U.S. 411 last week. Leesburg Police continue their search for the shooter.  The Department Monday released a sketch of a person of interest in the shooting. The man is described as between 45 and 55 years old, white, with salt and pepper hair. He appears to be medium build, possibly between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches.  47 year old Loretta Gilbert, was shot but officials said the bullets missed any vital organs. She assisted a sketch artist from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with the description of the shooter.
The vehicle was described as a black or dark blue GMC Jimmy with an Etowah County license plate. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Leesburg Police Department at 526-8888 or 927-3939 or the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department at 927-3365.

Leesburg Suspect



The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for counties in Central Alabama including Calhoun, Etowah and Cherokee counties. The advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday and could be extended through Friday. The advisory states that a strong high pressure system remains in place across Central Alabama and this will result in temperatures well above normal with some locations topping out above 100 degrees Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. The combination of the hot temperatures and high humidity will produce heat indexes around 110 degrees at most locations. According to the Weather Service, A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. People are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors who may be susceptible to heat-related problems.

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