Freed hostage Ingrid Betancourt will be greeted in France today with a welcome ceremony at an air base and an invitation to the presidential palace. Betancourt’s plane from Colombia is expected to land in the next few hours at the air base outside Paris. French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be there to meet her. The dual French-Colombian citizen was freed Wednesday in a daring military rescue operation. She had been running for president as a reformer in Columbia when she was kidnapped six years ago. Three US military contractors and 11 others held captive by Colombian rebels were also rescued.
President Bush Spending Time at Monticello for the Fourth
President Bush will spend some time this July 4th at the home of the man who virtually wrote the Declaration of Independence. President Bush plans to visit Thomas Jefferson’s hilltop home, Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. He will be taking part in Monticello’s annual naturalization ceremony, addressing 76 new American citizens.
CA Wildfire Five Percent Contained
A wildfire in Big Sur, California is now five percent contained, but has already engulfed 20 homes. The fire has charred more than 100 square miles. It has forced people and wildlife from the area. A 63-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed. There are 367 wildfires burning in California. Just a few days ago there were more than a thousand.
Jeffco Commissioners Fight Over Financial Advisers
Some Jefferson County commissioners want to change the financial advising the county receives on its massive debt. Bettye Fine Collins, Shelia Smoot and George Bowman say they will vote to fire the current team of Merrill Lynch, Porter and White and Bradley-Arant Rose and White. The group proposed paying off bonds by raising sewer rates and taking cash from the county's general fund. The three commissioners now want to hire Sterne-Agee, Goldman-Sachs and Morgan-Keegan. The remaining two commissioners, Jim Carnes and Bobby Humphryes, criticize Collins for supporting the change. Collins did not attend the meeting. Both Humphryes and Carnes say changing teams could lead the county into bankruptcy. The full commission votes on the termination next week.
Stan Mims Gets a New Job
Former Birmingham school superintendent Stan Mims has a new job. He has been hired as a consultant for an East St. Louis, Illinois high school. That is the town Mims used to work in. Mims was fired as head of Birmingham schools after being accused of altering a report that was critical of the school system.
Investigators Work on First Northport Homicide of the Year
Northport authorities are questioning a person about the city's first homicide of the year. Officers were called to Valley Hills Apartments on Wednesday night shortly before midnight. They found the body of 20-year-old Roderick Hudson behind a building. Shafurs Lavar Bonner turned himself into authorities shortly on Thursday and is being questioned.
Jeffrey Stone Murder Suspects Remain in Jail Without Bond
Two Etowah County murder suspects will remain in jail without bond. Judge Wayne Owen has agreed to appoint attorneys for Troy Andrew Smiley, but will do that next week. Smiley and Nathaniel Lee are in the Etowah County Jail. They are charged with the shooting death of 15-year-old Jeffrey Stone. Investigators say stone was shot to death and buried in a shallow grave before being moved to a freezer at Lee's home.
Accused Lipscomb Police Office Speaks
A Lipscomb police officer accused of harassment speaks out. A woman is accusing officer Antonio Allums of offering to drop a traffic ticket in return for what he allegedly called a favor. Last year, Allums was convicted of harassing another woman. Allums tells FOX6 News he is innocent of all the charges. Allums was placed on probation for the 2007 conviction. On Thursday, an arrest warrant was issued for Allums for violating that probation.
Pharmacist Arrested for Possession
A pharmacist has been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance in Blount County. The Blount County Sheriff's Office says Alfred Johnson had illegal prescription medication and an undisclosed amount of cash in his vehicle. Drug task force agents later searched Johnson’s residence in Etowah County.
Drug Companies to Appeal $114 Million Judgement
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis say they will appeal a 114-million dollar judgment in a lawsuit that accuses the drug companies of over-charging Alabama’s Medicaid program. On Tuesday, a Montgomery jury found the companies liable for compensatory damages.
Bob Riley Wins General Fund Lawsuit
A legal victory for Governor Bob Riley means 63 million dollars will be added back to the states general fund budget. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate did not have the right as a taxpayer to file the lawsuit. Pate said Riley should not be able to put any of the 121 million dollar settlement with Exxon in the general fund. Pate said he's not surprised by the court's decision because they're paid through the general fund.