UA in the News: Jan. 15, 2016

Weekend activities honor legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Tuscaloosa News – Jan. 14
Tuscaloosa will have a range of activities honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. beginning tonight and continuing through Monday, the holiday that marks the birth of the slain civil rights leader. The Realizing the Dream Legacy Banquet will be at 6:30 p.m. today at the the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa. Former U.S. attorney G. Douglas Jones will deliver the banquet lecture … banquet tickets are $25 each, or $200 for a table of 10. Dress is semi-formal. Tickets are available at the Moody Music Building box office, which will be open from 8 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. today. Call 205-348-7111 for more information.

Sluggish Recovery of State Funding for Public Colleges
Inside Higher Ed – Jan. 14
State funding for public higher education has increased in the five years since the recession. However, those increases are not keeping pace with inflation. Just two states — Utah and Massachusetts — have had operating-fund support for public higher education that matched or surpassed the rate of inflation in each of those five years, according to a new report from the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center. Five states failed to hit the inflation rate a single time. Tuition hikes have continued due to state disinvestment, found the report, which was based on a survey of state-level leaders of community colleges in 49 states. Tuition rates are expected to top this year’s 2.1 percent inflation rate (from the Higher Education Price Index) for community college students in 25 states, regional university students in 28 states and flagship university students in 26 states, according to the report. State-based student aid also is not keeping up with inflation.

Slow growth ahead for Alabama economy
Montgomery Advertiser – Jan. 14
Don’t expect 2016 to be the year that Alabama suddenly rebounds to the heady job and salary levels of a decade ago. It’s been a slow, steady climb back for the state since the recession hit, and some of the region’s leading economists said Thursday there’s more of the same ahead. In fact, progress may be even slower this year. The University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research is predicting a slightly lower rate of growth for the state’s economy in 2016 – partly because of economic concerns in China and the effect it could have on manufacturing here. “China is now the second largest trading partner for Alabama,” said Ahmad Ijaz, executive director of the center. “Any impact on the Chinese economy does have some impact on the state, particularly in manufacturing.” – Jan. 14

UA Political Science Professor comments on State of The Union
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Jan. 13
Dr. Joseph Smith, a University of Alabama Political Science professor, says President Obama wanted to send the message that everyone needs to work together.

UA Winter 2015 graduates announced
Southeast Sun (Enterprise, Ala.) – Jan. 14
The University of Alabama awarded some 2,200 degrees during winter commencement Saturday, Dec. 12, on campus. With this graduating class, UA will have awarded more than 249,000 degrees since its founding in 1831 as the state’s first public university. Local students receiving bachelor’s degrees include: Anna Lauren English, Tyler B. Jones, Connor P. Kelley, Jaron P. Kelley, Hannah Abigail Lawrence, Jacob Daniel Railsback and Erica Michelle Willis, of Enterprise; and Shellie A. Parrish, of New Brockton. Earning a master’s degree is Januar Anastacia Marie Page, of Enterprise.

Infant death: Manslaughter charge dismissed against woman
Yahoo! – Jan. 14
An Alabama judge on Thursday dismissed a reckless manslaughter charge against a woman in a case in which police said her infant daughter was fatally beaten by a boy while she and a friend were at a club. Jefferson County District Court Judge Shelly Watkins said in an order that probable cause doesn’t exist to support the charge against 26-year-old Katerra Lewis … However, University of Alabama associate law professor Jenny Carroll has said that moves to charge Lewis with manslaughter could have been a potential strategy to instruct a jury to consider convicting Lewis of a lesser charge of child neglect during a trial if the manslaughter case isn’t strong enough. A phone call and an email to the district attorney’s office weren’t immediately returned.
Oroville-Mercury Register (Calif.) – Jan. 14

Why elderly wife of man murdered and dismembered in 2014 was questioned by authorities – Jan. 13
Investigators do not plan to bring forward additional charges in a 2014 grisly murder case, but Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said Wednesday that there was enough suspicion of the victim’s wife that warranted her appearance before a grand jury last year. Mack said that Carolyn Hood – described as being in frail health – was married to 87-year-old Kenneth Hood at the time of his slaying inside the couple’s Foley home. She was inside the house with her son, William Minton, the accused killer at the time of her husband’s death … John Gross, assistant professor of clinical legal education and director of the criminal defense clinic at the University of Alabama’s School of Law, said the seriousness of capital murder cases heightens the attention of possible conflicts of interest even if the relationships between the judges and attorneys are not direct. “I don’t want to suggest they are only paying attention to conflicts of interest based on the publicity and seriousness’s of the case,” Gross said. “It goes back to maintaining the public trust and confidence of the judiciary.”

Alabama becomes first state to certify ringside physicians
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Jan. 14
Alabama has become the first state to require certification of ringside physicians. Beginning January 25, all physicians wishing to serve or be licensed as a ringside physician for professional boxing in the state will have to be certified by the Association of Ringside Physicians, and the American College of Sports Medicine. University of Alabama Athletics Department Medical Director, Dr. Jimmy Robinson is one of the first physicians in the state to become ringside certified.

Collier says law enforcement consolidation protected some jobs – Jan. 14
Legislators questioned Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier for more than two hours on Thursday about his agency’s budget needs. They spent much of that time seeking answers on whether a consolidation of state law enforcement that took effect last year is saving money. Collier said the consolidated agency does its enforcement and investigative work  more efficiently. But he said the legislation that brought about the consolidation protects some jobs that could otherwise be eliminated … Collier said ALEA has 420 state troopers. A study by the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety determined that the state needed 1,016 troopers. “If you don’t want to believe their study – say they’re half wrong – well, we’re still woefully understaffed,” Collier said.