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Tennessee Valley News Week in Review 7-7-23

Catch up on the biggest news about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley
Catch up on the biggest news about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley

Catch up on the biggest news about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley

A bill recently signed by Governor Kay Ivey will allow school districts to install cameras in special needs classrooms and apply for it to be completely funded by the state. bill Sponsor State Senator Arthur Orr created Senate Bill 56 after a Madison parent voiced her concerns when her special needs child came home from school with injuries. Because the child was non-verbal, it was hard to pinpoint how the child was injured. In response, the Madison City School district installed security cameras in the special ed classrooms. Because of the high cost of the cameras, Senator Orr said they will only be mandated if the district has a funding source. WAFF TV reports the new law also created a $500,000 grant fund to make sure this security measure is in classrooms across the state.

The Alabama Community College System has seen two consecutive years of enrollment growth. This year’s summer enrollment is up about 10 to 11% from last year, and the ACCS expects more than 80,000 students this fall across its 24 colleges and 130 campuses. Alabama Community College System Vice Chancellor for Student Success Neil Scott tells WIAT TV in Montgomery he expects that trend will only continue, especially now with the Supreme Court overruling President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan.

The Annie Merts Center in downtown Huntsville is set to be renovated from an office building into 11 condominium units. The historic building was formerly the home of Huntsville City Schools' central office, and the building's outside will not be changed during the renovation. Some parts of the building that were determined to not be historic have been torn down to make room for five single-family homes. WAFF TV reports construction for the condos is expected to begin in the next two months.

Improvements are coming to Huntsville International Airport. A permit was recently issued for a $13.3 million terminal project. The airport plans to add more escalators and elevators as well as family restrooms, lactation rooms and a service animal relief area. Retired Airport CEO Rick Tucker tells AL.com escalators in the terminal building are “1967 vintage.” Roberts said the enhancements will also improve energy efficiency and achieve Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. He also said more space would be added for concessions. The project is expected to take more than a year to complete.

In a statement issued this week, Huntsville city officials said that people need to be aware of the presence of alligators and other wildlife in the south part of the city. The city is in the process of installing new signs warning people of the possible presence of alligators. Those new warning signs come after an unidentified Huntsville man said a 15-foot alligator killed the family’s golden retriever in May. AL.com reports it’s the first alleged attack by an alligator in Huntsville. The man said it occurred in the Hays Farm area in south Huntsville. The development has a greenway that extends along Haysland Road. There have been alligator sightings in the greenway in the past.

Alabama’s Big 10 Mayors have announced a statewide photo competition. Winner get a prize and recognition. WHNT TV reports the competition launched on Wednesday, July 5, and will run through Tuesday, September 4. Alabamians wanting to participate are asked to submit photos of their cities via direct message to the Big 10 Facebook page. The mayors will share the photos through social media and the one that receives the most likes wins a $500 VISA gift card and recognition by the Big 10 Mayors’ platform. Alabama Big 10 Mayors are comprised of the mayors from Auburn, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Hoover, Huntsville, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.