Fort Payne, AL – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 201,000 visitors to Little River Canyon National Preserve in Fort Payne, Alabama in 2012 spent $10,822,000 in communities near the park. That spending supported 160 jobs in the local area.
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota said Wednesday it is recalling 1.9 million hybrid Prius cars globally for a software glitch that could cause the vehicle to stall.
Toyota Motor Corp. said that 997,000 Prius cars in Japan, some 713,000 in North America, another 130,000 in Europe and the rest in other regions are being recalled for a problem in the software to control the hybrid system.
No accidents or injuries have been reported related to the problem.
The software could cause transistors to become damaged, causing warnings lights to go off, driving power to be reduced or the car to stop. The recalled vehicles were manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014.
The Japanese automaker suffered massive recalls starting in 2009, affecting more than 14 million vehicles for problems including floor mats, gas pedals and brakes.
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — The IRS on Tuesday lost a federal appeal in a legal battle over its effort to institute competency exams and other new regulations for as many as 700,000 paid tax preparers.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld a lower court's ruling last year that the IRS lacked authority to impose the new rules without congressional authorization.
The regulations were challenged by the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va., a libertarian legal group that has filed a variety of lawsuits challenging occupational licensing laws. It argued that the proposed regulations for tax preparers were onerous and would have put thousands of mom-and-pop tax preparers out of business.
Dan Alban, a lawyer for the institute who argued the case in front of the D.C. circuit, called the ruling "a clear win both for tax preparers and taxpayers" and said it could have broad implications for federal agencies that attempt to issue regulations without a mandate from Congress.
"Congress never gave the IRS the power to license tax preparers, and the IRS cannot give itself that authority," Alban said.
The IRS has said the rules are needed to weed out ill-trained and incompetent tax preparers. It said it had the authority to impose the regulations under an 1884 law passed to help Civil War soldiers seeking compensation for dead horses.
That law authorizes the IRS to "regulate the practice of representatives of persons before the Department of the Treasury" but the appellate judges said it should not be stretched to give the IRS regulatory dominion over tax preparers.
"It might be that allowing the IRS to regulate tax-return preparers more stringently would be wise as a policy matter. But that is a decision for Congress and the President to make if they wish by enacting new legislation," Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in an opinion joined by David Sentelle and Stephen Williams. "The IRS may not unilaterally expand its authority through such an expansive, atextual, and ahistorical reading" of the law.
Kavanaugh was appointed to the court by George W. Bush. Sentelle and Williams are both Reagan appointees.
On Tuesday the IRS said it is reviewing the decision and "continues to believe that it's critical for taxpayers to be able to rely on quality work from tax preparers."
Paid tax preparers fill out 60 percent of all U.S. tax returns, according to a study from the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency. The GAO has found significant problems over the years in the quality of work done by them. In one 2006 study, the GAO took tax returns to 19 different commercial tax preparers, and 17 of 19 incorrectly calculated the taxes due.
The regulations sought by the IRS would have required preparers to pass a qualifying exam, pay an annual application fee, and take 15 hours annually of continuing-education courses. Attorneys and CPAs would have been exempt from the rules.
Had the regulations not been challenged, they would have taken effect this year.
Sabina Loving, an independent tax preparer from Chicago who was the lead plaintiff on the case, said in a statement that "(m)y customers — not the IRS — should be the ones who get to choose who prepares their taxes. I have a right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS."
NEW YORK (AP) — Chick-fil-A says its plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics within the next five years.
The Atlanta-based chain says it's working with suppliers to build up an adequate supply for its nearly 1,800 restaurants. It says it's asking suppliers to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to verify that no antibiotics are administered on the chickens at any point.
The use of antibiotics to fatten up farm animals and prevent disease has become a growing concern. The fear is that the practice could lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs, though the actual health effects on humans have not been established.
Still, many consumers don't like the idea of eating meat raised with antibiotics, and serving meat was raised without antibiotics can be a marketing advantage for companies.
Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of operations, said in a phone interview that the company planned to keep customers updated on its progress in coming months and eventually advertise its completion in stores.
"We're going to make sure customers know," he said.
Chipotle has also made its commitment to "responsibility raised" meat without antibiotics a part of its identity, which has no doubt helped fuel the Mexican food chain's popularity. But supply issues have forced the chain to use conventionally raised meat at times, most notably for beef. For chicken, Chipotle says less than 1 percent of its meat was conventionally raised last year.
Chipotle says the chicken it advertises as antibiotic-free is verified as being so by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, Tassopoulos says that the switch to chickens raised without antibiotics would likely result in higher prices for customers, but said the company is working with suppliers to ensure it's "minimal."
Chick-fil-A says its conversion will require "changes along every point of the supply chain — from the hatchery to the processing plant." The company's suppliers include Tyson, Purdue and Pilgrim's Pride.
Chick-fil-A is based in Atlanta and has locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
The crusade by anti-union forces in Tennessee, including the state’s governor, is now as much a fight with Volkswagen management as with the United Auto Workers union.
The Cherokee County Commission had a special called board meeting on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 9 a.m. to discuss the special 1 percent educational sales tax.
A Spring Creek property owner is seeking the assistance of the Cherokee County Commission for what he claims is an unfair citation for violation of the county’s sewer ordinance.
The recently formed committee on annexing the Cherokee Country Club into the Centre City limits wasted no time getting to work.
The Centre City Council has once again visited the issue of annexing Cherokee Country Club residents into the city limits.
The Cherokee County Board of Education has named Jeff Walls as assistant principal at Cedar Bluff School.
Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead announced recently that the Party’s Steering Committee has set qualifying dates for all statewide candidates in the 2014 election cycle. Qualifying will begin Monday, January 13 at 9 a.m. at ALGOP Headquarters, located at 3505 Lorna Road in Birmingham.
The Rome Council of Volunteer Administrators (COVA) will host a seminar and workshops for non-profit agencies across the region Jan. 10, 2014 at the Berry College Krannert Center.
One could say 2013 was a year for a fresh start as the President of the United States began a new term as did several local and state office holders.
The Cherokee County Board of Education has named Kevin Porter as the new principal for Cedar Bluff School.
Hundreds of thousands of people whose health plans are being canceled because their coverage doesn’t meet Obamacare rules will be exempt next year from the U.S. mandate that all Americans carry medical insurance.
The Alabama Farmers Federation honored the Cherokee County Herald with its Communications Award for Print Journalism during its annual meeting in Montgomery recently.
ATLANTA (AP) — An executive at The Weather Channel says a significant investment is needed for the network to remain at its current headquarters in suburban Atlanta.
Shirley Powell, executive vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement to The Associated Press the company needs significant levels of investment due to projected growth. She said The Weather Channel is in discussions with Cobb County and the local chamber of commerce about ways they can support the company's growth and investments.
Powell made the comments Tuesday, after The Marietta Daily Journal reported that The Weather Channel is seeking significant tax breaks as it plans its expansion.
The newspaper reports the expansion would include 200 to 300 employees at its headquarters, near the site where the Atlanta Braves plan to build a new stadium.
The Leesburg Town Council met recently for their December regular meeting. Mayor Ed Mackey called the meeting to order and welcomed the guest. Then Mayor Mackey led all in the pledge to the American flag.
The Cherokee County Commission, during its Monday, Nov. 25 meeting, adopted resolutions for three local ATRIP Road projects.
Plans for a $32 million Surya Rug operation in Bartow County passed a Development of Regional Impact study by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.
The Centre Lions Club celebrated its 75th anniversary year with a banquet that drew an audience of more than 85, including current and former Lions members; district, state, and International Lions leaders; area elected officials; and many interested members of the community.