Morning news update - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Morning news update

Birmingham Murder Suicide

Two people are dead following what police are calling a murder/suicide in Birmingham's west end community. Police say a family member came to a home in the 200 block of 22nd Street Southwest and found two people dead suffering from gunshot wounds. Birmingham police say the victim is 22-year-old Teresa Wright. Detectives say the suspect in this case is Talmadge Owens. Investigators believe Talmadge shot and killed Wright and then shot himself. Police report that this was the 35th homicide in 2009. Last year at this time there was 35 homicides.

Jeffco worker layoffs appear imminent

Job cuts appear imminent for some Jefferson County workers. The Jefferson County Commission says it will vote next week to lay off more than 200 employees. The employees are listed as non-classified workers; mostly laborers not protected through the Personnel Board. The commission will also vote to suspend all merit pay raises of classified workers. Commissioners say they wished the cuts were not necessary, but say they are necessary to make pay roll for July. Commissioner Jim Carns noted, "It's terrible. It's absolutely terrible. I hate it. These people have families to feed and mouths to feed. Basically this is the beginning of what we have to do." Jefferson County's court system is also feeling the pinch. Judges have been asked to see if they can release non-violent criminals on bond as soon as possible in order to save costs.

Legal battle rages on between Jeffco Sheriff and Jeffco Commission

The legal battle continues between Sheriff Mike Hale and the Jefferson County Commission because of the budget cuts. On Wednesday, Judge Teresa Petelos, the presiding judge in Bessemer, transferred the case to Birmingham. Sheriff Hale is suing the county in order to prevent a five-million dollar budget cut to the Sheriff's Department. Judge Dan King granted Hale a temporary restraining order for ten days, but has since removed himself from the case citing a potential conflict of interest because some of his salary comes from the county.

Two officers arrested on robbery charges

Two Fort Deposit police officers will appear in court on robbery charges. Prosecutors say the two stopped a driver on I-65 south near Montgomery and robbed the driver. They are charged with first degree robbery.

McCalla homeowners trying to prevent railroad hub

Some McCalla homeowners are trying to put the brakes on a railroad project before it is even announced. They plan to voice their concerns to the Planning Commission today. The group called "No Hub 4 McCalla" says Norfolk Southern Railroad is preparing to build a major transport hub facility.  The land is located on hundreds of acres of farmland near McAdory Elementary School. The group wants it stopped. Norfolk Southern officials confirm they do want to put an intermodal transport hub in Birmingham and say it would mean billions in economic development dollars and the potential for thousands of new jobs. The railroad would not confirm whether it's chosen a site or if it is ready to make an announcement. Homeowners say they believe it may be only a matter of a week before Governor Riley makes an announcement they say could harm their community. Fox6 News contacted the Governor's Office and local economic development officials, but both said they cannot comment on this story.

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