Good morning, West Alabama! It is Thursday July 4, 2024, Independence Day!!

This is the day we traditionally celebrate our nations' independence from England. No longer were we a colony of the greatest empire in the world at the time but also a nation that could be repressive in governing their far-flung subjects.

This is the anniversary of the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. One year earlier, many subjects in the thirteen colonies began fighting a much more powerful British military sent by King George III to quell unrest.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved, and the document was published.

The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

It was a brave act by a group of mostly wealthy, well-educated men who had much to lose, including their own lives, if the revolution failed.

We are an imperfect nation founded by well-intentioned but imperfect men. With all its imperfections, since this day 248 years ago the United States of America has become a beacon of freedom to the world.

Since 1776 we have struggled to maintain and add to the freedoms described in the declaration. We have fought a great civil war to end the scourge of slavery, seen women march in the streets to gain the rights they should have had from the beginning and witnessed a powerful movement for racial justice and inclusion.

Today is a time to celebrate but also a time to rededicate ourselves to a more perfect union as described in that declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Weather:

A Heat Advisory is in effect for virtually all of Alabama thru 9"00pm. today. Hot and humid conditions are expected through the upcoming weekend. Additional Heat Advisories may be needed on Friday and/or over the weekend. Heat index values ranging from 100 to 108 degrees are expected.

The Forecast:

Independence Day
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 94. Heat index values as high as 107. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 10pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Friday
Showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. High near 94. Heat index values as high as 105. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Friday Night
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
Saturday
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. North wind around 5 mph.
Saturday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.
Sunday
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 94.
Sunday Night
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72.
Next Week
Showers and thunderstorms possible Monday through Wednesday with during the day Monday and Tuesday being the highest risk at 60%. Lesser 30% chances each night.
Highs in the lower 90s and lows in the lower 70s.

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Topping the News:

34-year-old Casey Lee Kirkman of Northport faces charges related to child sexual abuse material.
The West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force and NPD officers searched a residence on 15th Avenue in Northport and found evidence enough to charge Kirkman with two counts of disseminating illegal child pornography and eight counts of possessing such material.Each of the 10 charges is a felony.


 

An ammunition vending machine powered by artificial intelligence selling bullets in a Tuscaloosa grocery store is both real and legal according to TPD. It is one of the very first unmanned vending machines installed by American Rounds, a company looking to revolutionize how ammunition for handguns, rifles and shotguns is sold.

TPD Chief Brent Blankley and other city staff reported to the city council that the machines are legal and have been vetted by the ATF. The Fresh Value store where the machine was installed is also appropriately zoned for the sale of ammunition.

READ MOREAI-Powered Vending Machine Selling Bullets at Tuscaloosa Store 


 

A series of scammer calls to Tuscaloosa County residents is getting the attention of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office. Residents are reported receiving calls from an individual who claims to be representing the sheriff's office, informing them that they missed their required response to jury duty. That person asks for payment of a fine during the call.

The sheriff's office points out that at no time will a deputy ever call about a warrant or ask for a fine to be paid via the telephone.


 

Like many state and local school systems across the country, the Alabama State Department of Education has been hit by hackers. State Superintendent Eric Mackey told a news conference there was a data breach on June 17th, but all servers were restored.

Dr. Mackey said the hackers were able to breach some data and disrupt services before staff interrupted and stopped the attack. State and federal law enforcement, the Alabama Attorney General, the state’s Office of Information Technology, and an independent contractor known as an expert in anti-hacking response all responded to the incident.

Mackey provided the following website where more information and updates can be accessed: https://www.alabamaachieves.org/DATABREACH/


 

Fireworks stands have been opening across the area for several weeks selling all the items that go boom, sparkle and light up the sky for the 4th of July holiday. But the National Safety Council warns they can be dangerous when misused.

Fireworks Safety Tips - National Safety Council (nsc.org)


 

Tuscaloosa's annual Fourth of July Celebration on the River is set tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater. This free, family-friendly event is open to the public and will include fireworks, live music, kids’ activities and more.

Schedule of activities:

6 – 7:45 p.m. City of Tuscaloosa Kid Zone (with games and activities for all ages)
6 – 7:50 p.m. DJ Tank Performance
7:55 – 8:55 p.m. Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra Performance
9 p.m. Fireworks begin after brief remarks from Mayor Walt Maddox

Attendees are encouraged to park in the free parking deck located on the corner of 7th St and 23rd Ave and take a shuttle or walk to the Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater. Accessible parking will be available in the Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater box office parking lot.

The Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater's clear bag policy will be in effect for this event. For event updates and weather alerts, text “TUSC4TH��� to 888-777. To learn more, visit Tuscaloosa.com/COTR.



 

Topping the Sports News:

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Nate Oats and Alabama are hiring Brian Adams of the Detroit Pistons as the third assistant coach on Alabama's staff. He was also with the Philadelphia 76'ers and Los Angeles Clippers.

Adams replaces Austin Claunch, who accepted the head coaching job at UTSA in the midst of Alabama's NCAA Final Four run.

Read More: Nate Oats Hires Another NBA Assistant 


 

According to Hayes Fawcett of On3 Sports, four-star linebacker Myles Johnson has decommitted from the Crimson Tide. UA has also lost four-star athlete Zymear Smith.

However, the kickers room at Bama now has to be one of the best in the nation. The Tide also picked up a commitment from an outstanding edge rusher.

Read More: Alabama Earns Commitment from No. 4 Kicker (tide1009.com)

Read More: Alabama Lands 4-Star Edge Prospect 


 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!!