Democratic CEO: Birmingham visit great so far
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The chief executive of the Democratic National Committee says a visit to assess Birmingham's bid to host the 2016 national convention is going great so far.
Party CEO Amy Dacey briefly addressed the crowd at a public event in downtown Birmingham on Monday night. The two-day site visit concludes Tuesday.
Dacey says the city is being considered for the convention because of the passion and pride displayed by leaders during a meeting to discuss the bid.
But Birmingham is a long way from getting the convention.
The party will also visit potential convention sites in Columbus, Ohio; New York; Philadelphia and Phoenix, Arizona. Officials hope to announce a decision by late this year or early 2015.
Leaders hope the bid will raise Birmingham's profile even if it isn't selected.
Body pulled from lake identified as missing woman
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - DeKalb County sheriff's officials say a body that was pulled from Weiss Lake in Leesburg has been identified as a 20-year-old woman who was recently reported missing.
Sheriff Jimmy Harris says the body of Sarah Jane Ortiz of Valley Head was found in the lake by a fisherman on Friday. Harris says the woman's body was positively identified on Monday at a forensics lab in Huntsville.
Harris says Ortiz was reported missing July 16 by friends and relatives after she failed to return home on July 14.
Harris says Ortiz's cause of death hasn't been released and authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding her death.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office at 256-845-3801.
Panhandle homicide suspect captured in Alabama
(Information in the following story is from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com)
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Florida Panhandle authorities say a man wanted in connection with three homicides has been captured in Alabama.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office tells The News Herald that Derrick Ray Thompson was taken into custody without incident early Tuesday in Troy, Alabama, on a warrant for the slaying of nightclub owner Allen Johnson.
Authorities say Thompson also was wanted for questioning in the deaths of a Milton couple.
The sheriff's office has scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to release more details about Thompson's arrest.
Authorities issued a nationwide alert for Thompson and Johnson's truck after Johnson's body was discovered Monday in his Lynn Haven home. Santa Rosa County authorities say the bodies of the Milton couple were discovered Sunday in their home.
Bills DT Dareus to enter substance abuse program
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) - Marcell Dareus' attorney says the Buffalo Bills' defensive tackle has agreed to enter an NFL substance abuse program in a bid to have felony drug charges in Alabama dismissed.
Rod Giddens wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that Dareus was allowed to enter the program during a hearing at Cleburne County Court in Alabama earlier in the day. Dareus attended the hearing while being excused from training camp in suburban Rochester, New York.
Buffalo's WKBW-TV first reported the agreement.
Dareus, who is from Alabama, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after being stopped by a state trooper on May 5.
The charges will be dismissed and potentially expunged should the 2011 first-round draft pick successfully completes the program.
Police probe fatal shooting involving juvenile
OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - Opelika police are investigating a fatal shooting involving a juvenile.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports that the shooting happened Monday afternoon on Edmon Avenue.
Police say they received a call around 12:50 p.m. Monday about a male juvenile being shot.
Emergency personnel took the boy to East Alabama Medical Center, where he later died while in surgery. Police declined to release his name, and have not released further details about the circumstances of the shooting.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact them.
LAKE LANIER SEAPLANES
Seaplane pilots want to land planes on Lake Lanier
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - A group of seaplane pilots is asking federal authorities to allow them to land on Lake Lanier.
The Lanier Seaplane Pilots Association is petitioning the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow their aircraft to land in the lake northeast of Atlanta.
Pilot Troy Wheeler tells The Times that he and others who fly seaplanes are responsible pilots want to use the lake for recreation, just as boaters do.
The Gainesville newspaper reports that many of the seaplanes can land on water or land. After landing on water, the planes can pull up to a dock or travel up boat ramps.
The pilots group started the formal process last year with the Corps of Engineers, flying to district offices in Mobile, Alabama.
Mobile County constable charged with murder
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) - A Mobile County constable is in jail on a murder charge with bond set at $250,000.
District Judge Scott Taylor set the bond for 68-year-old Larry Sheffield of Semmes during a hearing Monday afternoon at the Baldwin County Courthouse in Bay Minette.
Sheffield was arrested early Sunday and charged with murder in the shooting death of 52-year-old Jeffrey McMillan outside a bar on the Mobile Causeway. Spanish Fort Police Chief David Edgar says the two men argued inside the bar and then it turned physical outside. He says the victim was shot once at close range.
Sheffield declined comment as he was being transported from the Spanish Fort Jail to the county jail. He was elected constable for the Semmes area in 2012.
DeKalb County Lake to be closed for renovations
FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) - A lake in DeKalb County will be drained next month for renovations and isn't expected to reopen until June 2016.
The Fort Payne Times-Journal reports DeKalb County Lake will close Aug. 3. State Lake Supervisor Matthew Marshall says the lake's physical renovations should be complete by December. Marshall says the remaining time will be used to allow fish that are newly introduced to the lake to grow and spawn.
Marshall says officials are also planning bank improvements and repairs to boat ramps and piers.
Ala woman says rings found on balloon were hers
BROOKWOOD, Ala. (AP) - A mystery involving wedding rings and a pair of balloons has apparently been solved.
A teenager in the northwest Alabama town of Winfield found a pair of rings attached to two deflated balloons that landed in his yard on July 6.
Now, a Tuscaloosa County woman says the rings were hers.
Caley Burkett tells WBRC-TV that she wanted to get rid of the rings from a failed marriage. So she and her fiance attached the rings to balloons and released them from their home in Brookwood.
The rings were found about 75 miles away and became the subject of news stories, prompting Burkett to come forward.
Burkett says she never expected to hear anything about the rings again, and she doesn't want them back.
Tropical depression moving westward in Atlantic
MIAMI (AP) - A tropical depression is moving west in the Atlantic and is expected to degenerate over the next few days.
The depression's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday were 35 mph. Little change is strength is expected Tuesday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says some weakening is expected by Wednesday night. The depression is forecast to degenerate into a trough of low pressure in two to three days.
The depression is centered about 910 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is moving west at about 17 mph.
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