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This Hour: Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment

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ALABAMA STATE TRUSTEES

Governor removes Wiggins from ASU board

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley has removed Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins as a trustee of Alabama State University.

Bentley, who is president of the Alabama State board of trustees, had given trustee Chairman Elton Dean and Vice Chairman Wiggins until Thursday afternoon to resign. Dean did, but Wiggins refused.

Bentley sent Wiggins a letter Friday saying he was using his authority as governor to remove him immediately out of deep concern for the future of the university.

Wiggins says Bentley has denied him due process. He says he will review the letter with lawyers, and consider his options including filing suit or continuing to serve and forcing the governor to take legal action.

CHILD ABUSE ARRESTS

Anniston pair charged with abusing 2-year-old girl

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) - Police in Anniston have arrested two people on charges that they physically abused a 2-year-old girl found with cigarette burns and fractured ribs.

Al.com reports the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources removed the child from her home and had a doctor evaluate her. Police said Friday the medical examination found multiple bruises, two fractured ribs that were healing and cigarette burns on the toddler's hands, feet and abdomen.

Police jailed 28-year-old Jeremy Dewayne Wilbanks and 26-year-old Lisa Anne Smith on felony child abuse charges. It was not immediately known whether they had attorneys or how they were related to the child.

TEACHER-SEXUAL ABUSE

Former teacher worker sentenced for sexual abuse

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A judge in Huntsville is sending a former teacher to prison for sexually abusing a child.

Madison County Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall imposed a 20-year sentence on Brett Naff during a hearing Friday.

Naff worked at Country Day School, which was owned by his mother. The private school is located in Huntsville and accepts preschoolers through teenagers.

Naff was a middle school teacher accused of forcing a student to perform sexual acts on him from 2004 to 2006.

He was convicted of two counts of sodomy last month.

Naff told the judge he is innocent, but a prosecutor calls him a child molester.

The victim is now an adult. She reported the allegations to police in 2012 and testified during Naff's trial last month.

The defense is appealing.

ALABAMA CRIME

Report says Alabama crime down 4 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A new report says the crime rate in Alabama went down 4 percent in 2013.

The annual report from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center says 173,916 crimes were reported by law enforcement agencies in Alabama in 2013. That was down from 181,752 crimes in 2012. It was the second consecutive year for a decrease.

The center reports that property crimes were down 5 percent, burglaries down 11 percent and robberies down 6 percent. Homicides were up 5 percent and crimes involving motor vehicles went up 9 percent.

The report notes that 24 percent of the crimes were cleared by an arrest or other means. That was the highest rate in the last five years.

BURGLAR KILLED-GRAND JURY

Ala. grand jury clears woman who shot burglar

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A grand jury won't bring charges against an Autauga County woman who shot and killed a knife-wielding burglar who forced his way into her home.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports District Attorney Randall Houston confirmed the grand jury opted to take no action against the woman Friday morning. He did not release the woman's name.

Authorities say 18-year-old Mikel Smith of Marbury came to the door of the woman's home in Booth after midnight on April 4. A police report says he told the woman his car had broken down and he needed help, then pushed his way into the home armed with a knife.

Police say the woman had come to her door armed with a revolver and she shot Smith several times.

PORT OF GULFPORT

Louisiana firm wins West Pier contract

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The Port of Gulfport has awarded a $47 million contract for work on the port's West Pier.

The Sun Herald reports the contract went to Southern Industrial Contractors LLC of Rayville, Louisiana.

The company will build a transit shed for tenants Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Crowley Liner Services Inc., and Dole's administrative office building and entry gate. The transit shed will include storage for Crowley's dry goods and chillers for Dole's fruit.

The Dole office, plus electrical systems, will sit about 25 feet above sea level for storm-surge protection. The office will be attached to the transit shed. Construction is expected to take 16 months.

The West Pier was expanded and restored after Hurricane Katrina. Work included elevation of the pier to about 14 feet for storm-surge protection.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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