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  • PCHS librarian Sissy Moore goes through a box of donated books she just received from the Library of Congress. (Carter Watkins / WHNT)

    Phil Campbell High School library gets generous contributions during recovery efforts

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (WHNT) – Four years after an EF-5 tornado destroyed Phil Campbell High School, school leaders are still trying to recover from the devastation. A new school opened in September of last year, but it’s taking donations from other schools and organizations to fill the shelves in the library. Cardboard boxes line the walls of the Phil Campbell High School library. They’re filled with books donated by groups wanting to help replace thousands of books destroyed in 2011. […]

  • A concrete slab remains in Phil Campbell, four years after an EF-5 tornado blew a church off its foundation. (Carter Watkins / WHNT)

    4 years later, Phil Campbell still has a long road ahead

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (WHNT) – On April 27, 2011 an EF-5 tornado destroyed much of the small Franklin County town of Phil Campbell. Four years later, the clean-up has ceased and the volunteers are long gone, leaving the town trying to recover the best they can. In the center of town, a granite marker is etched with the names of 27 Phil Campbell residents who lost their lives that day. An afternoon no resident will ever forget. “It’s really sad, especially […]

  • 042215 FR Russellville Downtown Rehab 6pm PKG

    Russellville looks to rehab and energize downtown

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – City leaders want to re-energize downtown and they’ve taken the first steps in doing so. Boarded up windows and empty store fronts welcome visitors to downtown Russellville each and every day. Years of neglect by building owners has grabbed the attention of Mayor David Grissom. “Hopefully, looking back ten years from now, when you’re in this district you’ll see a huge difference,” Grissom explained. The city council and mayor have taken steps this week to change […]

  • 041515 LD New Middle School 6pm PKG

    Florence school leaders vote to build a new middle school

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Florence Board of Education has chosen to take on the first major school campus construction project in more than 30 years. Administrators say Florence Middle School is not only busting at the seams, it’s a security threat as well. For months now, school system leaders have been pouring over data and options about what to do with the middle school campus. Built in 1951 as Coffee High School, the school transformed into a middle school […]

  • 041315 LD Jobs Survey 5pm PKG'

    Shoals leaders look to consultants for ideas on how to bring jobs back

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – It may have been the toughest year in the Shoals when it comes to manufacturers shutting down their operations.  There’s no way to sugar coat how deep job losses in 2014 hurt when 1,400 people suddenly became unemployed. Hillshire Brands, izzy +, and HON Industries all closed up shop, leaving a large gap in the labor force. Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock said through August, consultants are in the Shoals evaluating the workforce.  And starting this week, […]

  • terhune770

    Lauderdale County man pleads guilty in March 2014 shooting

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – One of two men charged in connection with a March 2014 shooting in Florence has pleaded guilty in the case. Matthew Joseph Terhune, 25, was initially charged with attempted murder, assault and discharging a gun into an occupied building or vehicle.  Late last week, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of third-degree assault and second-degree attempted assault. Both are misdemeanors. Terhune received a 12-month sentence which will run concurrently with a five-year sentence he is […]

  • 041015 FR Economic Announcement WEB

    Poultry processor announces major expansion in Franklin County

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (WHNT) – A poultry processor has announced plans to invest $50-million in northwest Alabama operations, including a new $25-million feedmill to be built near Phil Campbell. More than two hundred acres of pasture land and the adjacent Norfolk Southern rail lines which run through Spruce Pine Alabama lured in the major expansion project. During an announcement on Friday morning, Mar-Jac Poultry outlined plans to build the multi-million dollar feedmill to support their growing operation. “When we went […]

  • heli_banner

    Teams pull helicopter wreckage from Tennessee River, still no sign of pilot

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A recovery barge on the scene at Colbert Ferry Park and teams has pulled the wreckage of the helicopter from the Tennessee River. Crews got most of the aircraft above the water shortly after 12 p.m. Thursday. The search continues for the pilot, who has not been publicly identified.  Searchers have been using cadaver dogs and specially equipped helicopters in their efforts. Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board is focusing on the wreckage of the aircraft, which […]

  • helicopter_search

    Teams locate aircraft in Tennessee River near Colbert Ferry Park, continue search for pilot

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Late Tuesday evening, crews found a Haverfield Aviation’s Hughes 500 helicopter which reportedly went down Monday near the Natchez Trace Bridge. The body of the pilot was not recovered. Wednesday, cadaver dogs stood by, ready to search the water for the body of the pilot. The The National Transportation Safety Board also arrived, ready to take over the investigation. Tuesday, crews searched the area by boat, using sonar to help pinpoint the location of the downed aircraft.  It was a […]

  • Justin Butler (Photo: Florence Police Dept.)

    NEW DETAILS: Florence Police arrest suspect in 2013 murder

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Florence Police have arrested a man and charged him with capital murder in a 2013 shooting death. The victim, Eric Watkins was shot to death while sitting in his vehicle at the intersection of Marion Avenue and Chisholm Road. The crime happened on November 10, 2013. Police say someone approached Watkins’ vehicle and shot through his window several times, killing him. Monday afternoon, investigators say that person was Justin Antonio Butler, aka ‘Papa Molly.’  A Lauderdale County […]

  • Matthew Tidwell

    Lauderdale County man indicted in wreck that killed 8-year-old daughter

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A Shoals man has been indicted for the death of his 8-year-old daughter in a December 2014 wreck. According to Lauderdale County prosecutors, 32-year-old Matthew Tidwell was indicted last week for manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault. Prosecutors say Tidwell was under the influence when his vehicle left county 76 near Lexington, overturned and hit a tree. Samantha Tidwell, 8, died in the wreck on at the corner of County Roads 76 and 92 […]

  • 040315 LD Recycling Carts 5pm PKG

    All Florence residents to receive recycling carts in the weeks ahead

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – City leaders are taking recycling efforts to the next level, with the help of public and private funds. As workers sift through mounds of materials brought into the Florence Recycling Center, on the opposite side of the building a big announcement was made Friday. Through private funding by corporate sponsors and a grant of $300,000 the Alabama Department of Environmental Management gave to the city, all residents will soon have a blue recycling cart. It’s an […]


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