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FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007
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Redstone Arsenal funding approved

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said Thursday that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill.

The bill includes more than $123 million for projects at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and $139 million for Base Realignment and Closure related programs in Alabama.

The bill provides $20 million for Phase II of the Software Engineering Directorate, $30 million for the first phase of the Army Materiel Command headquarters complex and $73.6 million for construction of the Von Braun Complex Phase III, all at Redstone.

The bill also includes $18.5 million for a veterans cemetery in Birmingham.

The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

- Seth Burkett

Traffic stop turns into drug bust

Officers stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and found about three ounces of marijuana on a passenger, Decatur police said Thursday.

Anti-Crime Unit officers Wesley Swoopes and Juan Penuelas made the discovery during the traffic stop on Chestnut Street Southeast at 18th Street on Wednesday.

Police charged the passenger, Michael Andrew Strong, 23, of 4229 Spring Ave. S.W. with first-degree possession of marijuana.

Once Strong makes his $1,220 bond on three charges of failing to pay for traffic violations, he will be transferred to Morgan County Jail and held on the marijuana charge in lieu of $25,000 bond, police said.

- Seth Burkett

Teen arrested, charged as juvenile

ATHENS — Limestone authorities are charging a teen accused of sodomy as a juvenile.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said the 16-year-old Elkmont male sexually assaulted a 10-year-old acquaintance.

Authorities arrested the teen Thursday for first-degree sodomy and released him into his guardian’s custody.

- Holly Hollman

Madison man charged with rape

ATHENS — Limestone authorities have located and charged a 19-year-old Madison man wanted on a rape charge, an investigator said.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said Darrick James Katka of 13234 Dickens Lane allegedly has had a sexual relationship with a female who is 15.

McNatt said the girl’s father came home and caught the couple, and Katka fled.

Authorities charged him Wednesday night with second-degree rape, also known as statutory rape.

- Holly Hollman

Homeland Security funding approved

WASHINGTON — The fiscal 2008 Homeland Security bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee contains about $1.8 billion in funding for projects in Alabama, said U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, on Thursday.

Included are $700 million in firefighter assistance grants and $828 in transportation security grants aimed at protecting ports, railways, buses and trucking.

The bill also included funding for the Center for Domestic Preparedness at Fort McClellan, replacement of a 14-mile CSX railroad bridge across the Mobile River and maritime patrol aircraft.

The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration. Shelby is a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

- Seth Burkett

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