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Tennessee Valley News Week in Review 9-1-2023

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 week's biggest stories about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley.

Alabama House Representative David Cole was arrested Tuesday. He is facing charges of voting fraud after being accused of voting in the wrong district. Cole represented House District 10, which includes Huntsville. He has faced questions about his residency in the area since 2022. Cole was charged with fraud-voting at multiple or unauthorized locations, a Class C felony and booked into the Madison County Jail where he was later released on a $2,500 bond. WAFF TV reports Cole entered a guilty plea in part of an agreement on Aug. 24. He was sentenced to three years in the Alabama Department of Corrections, split to serve 60 days in the Madison County Jail. The remainder of his sentence would be served on unsupervised probation.

The Government Accountability Office is reporting it has agreed to investigate the decision to keep the Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, and not relocate it to Redstone Arsenal. The GAO’s agreement followed a request by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. A GAO spokesman told WHNT TV the agency will conduct the investigation. Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, says they have not yet decided on the scope of the investigation and they don’t yet have an expected completion date.

Alabama health officials say they’re beginning to see an increase in COVID-related inpatients in hospitals over the last month. Don Williamson, President and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association tells WHNT TV the state saw about 150 COVID-19 inpatients by the end of July. During the month of August, it was up to about 300. COVID-19 symptoms appear to have remained mostly the same: cough, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and fatigue. Williamson says that even with the slight rise in the number of cases, the state is seeing very few COVID-related deaths.

Madison Square Hotel, which operates the Holiday Inn on University Drive is suing the Camp at Mid-city. They’re complaining that late-night live music and profanity is disturbing its customers. The lawsuit alleges that music at the open-air event facility, “plays amplified music at deafening volumes.” The suit states that The Camp generates noises so loud that it rattles the windows at the hotel. AL.com reports the lawsuit also said that the hotel’s general manager raised the issue to the city of Huntsville. Police investigated the complaints and assessed fines to The Camp because of violating the city’s noise ordinance. In addition to seeking damages, the lawsuit also asks for a permanent injunction on the late-night music.

For the safety of the traveling public, as well as maintenance workers, there will be no temporary lane closures on Alabama interstate highways through midnight Monday, Sept. 4. Emergency lane closures may be possible depending on specific circumstances on interstates and other state roadways. Highway travel during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be heavy in Alabama, and ALDOT urges motorists to drive safely.

In preparation for the four-day holiday weekend, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has initiated a social media campaign to share safety reminders. The agency’s Highway Patrol Division also started their ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ national campaign on August 16. The campaign runs until September 4. WBRC TV in Birmingham reports that as part of the campaign, troopers are starting to have high-visibility enforcement and driver license checkpoints across the state. According to the agency, the goal is to get drunk drivers off the roads.

The Mars 2020 mission is landing at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with opening of the “Roving with Perseverance” roadshow this weekend. The Huntsville Business Journal reports the Rocket Center is the only location in the Southeast to host the roadshow, which includes full-size “twin” models of NASA’s Perseverance rover and the history-making Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. There will be special presentations by members of the Mars 2020 mission team, as well as Mars-themed activities at the Spark!Lab invention center. More information is at rocketcenter.com.