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PRIVATE SCHOOL TAX CREDITS
Alabama's new tax credits limited to transfers
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Department of Revenue says the state's new private school tax credits don't apply to students who are already in private schools, even though they are zoned for a failing public school.
The department has been developing regulations to implement the Alabama Accountability Act, which the governor signed into law in March. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Tuesday the law is clear that the tax credits are to offset the cost of transferring students out of failing public schools, and it starts with the semester beginning in August.
She said tax credits for parents will depend on their child transferring to a private school that is accredited by an agency recognized by the state and that accepts scholarships provided under the new law.
Parole denied in almost 40-year-old murder case
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Parole has been denied for a 75-year-old man charged in the 1974 beating death of 18-year-old Kelly Zettle of Florence.
The Florence Times-Daily newspaper reported Jacinto Rodriguez was denied parole Tuesday. He has had more than a dozen hearings.
Rodriquez was a musician. He was accused of luring Zettle and her University of Alabama in Huntsville roommate, Bobbi Ann Ostrander, to a vacant home in Madison County.
He confessed to beating Zettle and Ostrander, who was 19 and now lives out of state. Rodriguez was sentenced to life in prison for Zettle's death and 15 years for the attempted murder of Ostrander.
Zettle's mother, Jackie Zettle, told Huntsville television station WAFF she was relieved parole was denied. She said she feared he might be released because of crowded prisons.
MASSAGE PARLOR SHUTDOWN
Ala. massage parlor closed after pair of raids
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham's city council has voted unanimously to shut down a massage parlor that has been the target of 2 prostitution raids.
WBRC-TV reports the council voted Tuesday to revoke the business license for Bali Spa, which was raided in March and April. Nine employees were arrested and charged with prostitution and drug-related offenses.
Chairman of the council's public safety committee Johnathan Austin says he wants the city to begin scrutinizing massage parlors in the same way bars and nightclubs are probed before they're granted a liquor license.
SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA BUST
Ala. synthetic marijuana manufacturing ring busted
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Authorities in Birmingham say they've busted a multimillion dollar drug operation that was being run out of an apartment near UAB.
Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Capt. Hal Taylor told WBRC-TV Tuesday that (http://bit.ly/1bOV9F1 ) the suspects were manufacturing synthetic marijuana in the bathtub of an apartment near the university. Taylor says the operation may have netted about $4 million annually.
A 15-month investigation revealed the suspects were taking orders for the drug online and shipping them from the apartment. So far, officials say one person has been arrested in connection with the drug operation. The suspect's identity has not been released.
Ga. man spared prison sentence in fraud scheme
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A Georgia man has been spared from serving a prison sentence for his involvement in an Alabama fraud scheme.
AL.com reports 23-year-old Raymond Spellen pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in March and appeared Tuesday in federal court. Spellen's brother has admitted to running a multi-state scheme that used stolen credit card information to buy electronics that were then resold on eBay.
Authorities say Spellen delivered checks and occasionally picked up electronics that were purchased with stolen credit card information. Although mandatory sentencing guidelines called for a year in prison, Spellen's attorney argued people who were more closely involved in the scheme have been sentenced to less prison time.
Spellen is ordered to serve three years of probation and must serve six months of house arrest.
Ala. Rep. Chad Fincher running for US House
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Republican state Rep. Chad Fincher of Semmes has joined the crowded field to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner in Alabama's 1st District congressional race.
The two-term legislator kicked off his campaign Monday.
The 39-year-old Fincher owns a real estate agency. He says he decided to run in part because of his struggles and frustrations as a small-business owner.
Fincher says he would work to reduce taxes on small businesses.
Other Republicans who've announced are columnist Quin Hilyer of Mobile; state Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne; Mobile real estate agent Jessica James; Orange Beach businessman Dean Young; and Mobile attorney Bradley Byrne.
Independent James Hall of Stapleton also is running for the seat, which represents southeast Alabama.
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