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Laura Christmas is a Multimedia Journalist for WHNT News 19 and the Sand Mountain Bureau Chief. A Florida native, Laura attended the University of Florida and will always be a Gator at heart. While attending UF Laura reported and produced for a NPR affiliate, Florida’s 89.1 WUFT-FM; a PBS affiliate, WUFT-TV; and ESPN 850 WRUF. Laura also anchored local news updates for NPR’s Morning Edition. She also completed a concentration in Political Science.

While still at UF Laura started reporting for WGFL-TV/WNBW-TV, a CBS/NBC affiliate in Gainesville. That job turned full-time after she graduated from UF in December 2012.

Laura is proud to call the south home. She grew up in a small town in Central Florida and enjoyed the experiences that afforded her. She was homeschooled for ten years before attending a public high school and then UF.

When she isn’t finding stories in Marshall, DeKalb and Jackson Counties Laura enjoys being outdoors, especially on Lake Guntersville. She enjoys reading, particularly historical novels and works on the Supreme Court.

She is thrilled and blessed to be able to find and share stories that matter in the Sand Mountain Region and to be a part of the WHNT News 19 team.

Have a story idea for Laura, or merely want to see if you can beat the record for the best ‘Christmas’ joke she’s heard? Email her at

Recent Articles
  • “It can be replaced. People cannot.” – Family of Ider tornado victims says they’re recovering, future of daycare uncertain

    IDER, Ala. – Crews are assessing damage in multiple counties, trying to piece together what the tornadoes left behind. A business in Ider was destroyed but among one family, the belief that things happen for a reason and items can be replaced is holding strong. Words don’t come easily to convey exactly what you see or exactly what you feel when you walk through tornado damage. Video doesn’t capture what your senses do. Pictures don’t adequately display what you can see. […]

  • Tornado damage in Ider

    UPDATE: Dozens of homes, buildings damaged or destroyed in DeKalb Co. tornado, several people injured

    IDER, Ala. – The storms that killed three people in Rosalie continued on and hit again near Ider in DeKalb County, injuring several people, knocking out power, and destroying homes. The path the tornado took when it touched down early Wednesday morning near Ider is clear: twisted trees like broken toothpicks still stand, branches litter the ground, and a trail of debris marks a clear direction. The National Weather Service confirms at 12:13 a.m. a tornado touched down in Dekalb […]

  • Gatlinburg wildfires / courtesy of Cassie Burgess

    “If your family is packed, leave now” – Marshall Co. family forced to evacuate Gatlinburg during vacation

    ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — A Marshall County family is glad to be safely back home after what was supposed to be a week-long visit with family in Gatlinburg was cut short. In their words, they’ve never seen anything like what they experienced. Cody and Cassie Burgess woke up Tuesday after a long night of driving, just glad to be safely home in Albertville. The family of three drove away from Gatlinburg overnight, praying they would make it back home to Alabama. […]

  • Image courtesy of MGN Online

    UPDATE: Fires started during storms Monday night in Sand Mountain area are controlled

    NORTHEAST ALABAMA — The Alabama Forestry Commission says all of the fires in north Alabama are controlled. Forestry officials say 130 fires were reported Monday statewide, and 80 of those were reported after four o’clock. Crews battled a fire in Fyffe near County Road 521/524 Monday night.  The Dekalb County EMA understands the fire started because a tree fell on some power lines.  Crews were forced to protect homes. EMA officials report another fire started in Mentone during the storm […]

  • Police warn of thieves while out shopping this season – keep an eye on your personal belongings in your cart

    ARAB, Ala. – The Christmas season comes with its fair share of cheer and spirit but unfortunately there are people out there who are ready to take advantage of you during this time of year. Police officers are already seeing people become victims, even while they’re out shopping. During the holidays law enforcement officials investigate all types of theft. This time of year thieves look for any opportunity, even eying your shopping cart. “We see it a lot, especially during […]

  • Photo: @BODonnell_11

    40 acres burn in Albertville; cause believed to be sparks from downed power pole

    ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – Multiple agencies responded to a fire off of Goodwin Road in Albertville  Monday afternoon. Albertville Fire and Rescue Chief Brad Hix says the cause seems to be from sparks from a power pole that blew over in the strong winds.  Officials say the flames burned about 40 acres of woods. An 18-wheeler truck, a car, and a tractor burned outside a home near the fire. Hix says no homes were damaged. Crews worked to prevent the fire from […]

  • Hollywood police and firefighters aim to raise funds through a chili cook-off to participate in Shop with a Hero

    HOLLYWOOD, Ala. – Hollywood police officers and firefighters need the community’s help to give Christmas to kids in need. “We’ve tried different things throughout the years as a way of giving back to the children,” Hollywood Police Chief Jason Hepler says. This year, his officers and firefighters with Hollywood Fire and Rescue hope to work together to give back in a way that’s new for them – Shop with a Hero. The entities need the community’s help to make it […]

  • Donations help Douglas Police reach goal of giving emergency first aid kits to Marshall Co.’s law enforcement

    DOUGLAS, Ala. — Marshall County communities helped Douglas police officers reach a goal to give an emergency first aid kit to each law enforcement official in Marshall County. Once the final kits are put together, each law enforcement official will be equipped with an emergency first aid kit. The kits are to be used in an officer down or an active shooter situation. The kits cost about $100  each. They’re uniform, filled with items like tourniquets, compressing bandages, and blood […]

  • Joseph Ray McGehee, 18, arrested in connection to a string of house fires.

    Hollywood Police charge man with arson

    HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — The Hollywood Police Department have arrested Joseph Ray McGehee, 18,  in connection to a string of house fires on Mitchell Drive. Hollywood Police Chief Jason Hepler says McGehee confessed to three out of the five house fires, and is charged with first degree arson and two counts of arson in the second degree. Investigators believe this is an isolated incident. From earlier: Police continue to investigate the fires, and say new cases haven’t cropped up. All of the […]

  • Shopping local affects your community, schools, and law enforcement

    ARAB, Ala. — This Saturday take a break from the big name stores and check out local businesses for your holiday shopping.  It’s Small Business Saturday this weekend, and officials say shopping local can help get things done in your community. “Shopping local affects so many different things in our small businesses, it creates such a community atmosphere,” Arab Chamber of Commerce President Wes Kitchens says. Kitchens says when you shop local you’re helping your community, because the tax dollars […]

  • Taking Action: Don’t let thieves ruin your holiday while you’re out of town – start with social media

    SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — While we give thanks this week for what we have there are some people who will be trying to take what you’re thankful for. If you’re headed out-of-town this holiday there are things you can do to prevent becoming a victim. Where you’re going and what you’re doing make it to the expansive world that is social media. Unfortunately, that can make you a victim of a crime. “The first thing you shouldn’t do is post and […]

  • Search scene Monday morning

    Vehicle belonging to missing Decatur man found in Jackson County

    JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – Crews wrapped up day two of the search in Jackson County for a man with Alzheimer’s who was reported missing last month. Crews searched a densely wooded rural area of Jackson County throughout the day Monday for James Robert Elliott.  The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issued a Missing Senior Alert for Elliott in October. He was last seen leaving his home in Decatur on October 11. Crews painstakingly searched a stretch of property on Crow Mountain, near […]