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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Labor day Traffic
  • Piedmont utilities
  • Anniston program receives grant
  • USDA emergency funds

Labor day traffic

The Labor Day Holiday travel period concludes at midnight tonight, and as of Monday morning, local state troopers in Alabama reported no traffic fatalities in east central alabama, however in nearby Georgia, there have already been more traffic accidents during the period than had been predicted by the State Department of Public Safety. The prediction had called for 1,897 accidents and as of this morning there had been at least 1,945. The number of injured motorists and the number of fatal victims are both significantly lower than predicted. Seven motorists have died so far but  none were reported in west Georgia. Georgia state patrol Major Keith Sorrells says, like their counterparts in Alabama, troopers will be out in force. According to the Georgia State Patrol, The number of those injured thus far is well short of the predicted number for impaired drivers, seat belt violations and other unsafe driving practices as the holiday travel time continues.  The Alabama Department of Public safety does not release traffic figures until the holiday weekend is completed.


Piedmont utilities 

The mild winter and loss of industry in Piedmont has resulted in the city selling $600,000 less in gas by the end of the fiscal year than it did the year before. City Council members said last week that the sales figures do not necessarily mean a loss of city revenue, because gas the city has purchased can be sold later. The city projects gas sales for 2008 at $2.69 million, compared with $2.1 million to date this year, with sales from August and September yet to be determined. Sales in 2006 were $3.2 million. Meantime, officials said, a $3.7 million revenue projection from the electric department could climb once August and September figures are included, which officials say are the highest two months for electricity sales.



Anniston program receives grant 

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Education jointly announced the latest school-based random student drug-testing program grant awards.  The new grants, totaling over $1.5 million have been awarded to 14 local education agencies, health facilities, and non-profit organizations in six states including Alabama. The only agency in Alabama to receive funding is the Northeast Alabama Center for Community Initiatives in Anniston which will receive $198,378 in grant funds thru the program.  More than 1,000 schools in the United States have developed and implemented a random student drug-testing program.  Of that, nearly half have been assisted through Federal grants.  The grants can be awarded to local educational agencies and public and private entities to develop, implement, or expand school-based random student drug testing as part of their comprehensive substance abuse prevention program. In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the constitutionality of random drug testing for students participating in athletics or involved in competitive, extra-curricular, school-sponsored activities.  Since then, the Federal government, through the U.S. Department of Education, has provided $36 million in roughly 90 grants to local communities and school districts.


USDA emergency funds 

28 counties including a number in East Central Alabama will share in over a million dollars in Emergency conservation program funds due to the continued drought conditions.  According to USDA Farm service agency state executive Director Danny Crawford,  this is one of several conservation programs that provide funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate and strengthen environmental stewardship of their lands.  Crawford said the funds will be used to provide cost share assistance to eligible agricultural producers during periods of severe drought to supply emergency water for livestock or for existing irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards.  The program will be administered by the USDA’s farm service agency.  Farmers in the east central Alabama counties of Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, and Randolph counties are eligible for the program and should check with their local farm service offices for the sign up periods.

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