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The Sunrise News Sampler

In news that could change the face of the city, yesterday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox issued an executive order to create a task force to study Tuscaloosa’s student rental housing market, as it’s produced a great deal of questions and concerns from the community. The task force is expected to examine the market and infrastructure needs and present a report to the mayor and City Council by November 5th.

Tomorrow morning at 10:30, a Jumpstart Summer Celebration will be held in the library at Holt Elementary School. Jumpstart is a half-day five week program for children who are about to begin kindergarten and have had little or no preschool activities, according to the United Way of West Alabama.

Yesterday, Governor Bentley announced that the state will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs. This is part of a $9.4 million funding  increase approved by the Legislature.

In other school news, the U.S. Agriculture Department says it will make sure all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier, and it’s putting more limits on fat, calories, sugar, and sodium sold during the school day.

Things just keep getting worse for celebrity chef Paula Deen, as Walmart has moved to sever ties with her, the fourth company to do so following the news of her language use. Then, Home Depot dropped her, too, according to MSN.

Officials say Alabama voters will have to present identification at the polls in the next election. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out key elements of the Voting Rights Act.

In other Supreme Court news, a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down, clearing the way for same-sex marriages in California. Supporters of gay marriage are celebrating across the country.

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is behind bars, accused of killing semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.

This morning, the granddaughter of 94-year-old Nelson Mandela confirms that the former South African president remains in critical condition. She says that she and other family members are gathering flowers and messages of support that have been left outside the Pretoria hospital where Mandela is being treated.

The Senate is preparing to vote, possibly today, on a major immigration overhaul which would offer eventual citizenship to millions now in the U.S. illegally and spend billions of dollars to secure the border.

The second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman continues. Yesterday, Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before he was fatally shot, testified that she told Martin to run after he told her he thought he was being followed. And speaking of the Zimmerman trial, the jury was shown pictures of Martin’s body. His father walked out of the courtroom as his mother looked away and then walked out.

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