Student wins Google contest
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Ansley Grider, an eighth-grade student at Fort Payne Middle School, has been named Alabama's statewide winner in the annual Doodle 4 Google contest.
Ansley, whose drawing of the search for a cancer cure bested entries from more than 100,000 Alabama schoolchildren, will compete against 49 other state winners, including Tennessee's Annaliese Tester, a third-grader from Dayton City School, for the chance to see her artwork displayed on Google's home page and to receive a $30,000 college scholarship.
The winning student's school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant for the establishment and improvement of a computer center or technology program.
Technical colleges to raise tuition
ATLANTA — The group that oversees Georgia's technical colleges has approved increasing tuition beginning in the fall of 2014.
Officials said the Technical College System of Georgia voted unanimously to raise tuition at the state's technical colleges by $4 per credit hour. Officials said students at the state's 24 technical colleges now will pay $89 per credit hour for standard programs, and average tuition for a full 15-hour course load this fall will be $1,335, plus books and fees.
Commissioner Ron Jackson said the system has done what it can to avoid tuition hikes, but operational costs for the programs being offered at the state's technical colleges continue to rise.
Appeals court sides with Barron
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama appeals court has sided with former state Sen. Lowell Barron in his criminal case being prosecuted by the state attorney general's office.
Barron and campaign aide Jill Johnson had been set for trial April 14 in Fort Payne on charges of misusing campaign funds. But the trial got delayed when the attorney general's office appealed a ruling by the trial judge. The judge said the prosecution couldn't present evidence about whether the two defendants had a romantic relationship.
The Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order Thursday saying the appeal should be dismissed because the attorney general tried appealing a nonappealable order. The Montgomery-based court gave the attorney general's office 14 days to show why the appeal shouldn't be dismissed.
8,200 families get student tax help
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Volunteers from 16 college campuses across Alabama helped more than 8,200 families get their income tax returns prepared.
The SaveFirst Tax Initiative reports that its eighth year was its biggest yet. It had more than 570 volunteers certified by the Internal Revenue Service, and the 8,200 families they served represented a 31 percent increase from last year.
SaveFirst targets lower-income working people who qualify for the earned income tax credit. SaveFirst said the volunteers helped families claim nearly $15 million in refunds. That's up from nearly $12 million a year ago. The organization estimates its free tax preparation saved the families more than $2.5 million in commercial tax preparation fees.