BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A former Alabama sheriff accused of scamming a food bank and church and pocketing leftover money meant for feeding inmates has pleaded guilty to two of nine federal charges lodged against him. The Tuscaloosa News reports former Pickens County sheriff David Abston pleaded Tuesday to committing one count each of wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Prosecutors say Abston defrauded a food bank and church to pocket thousands under an old law that let sheriffs profit from feeding prisoners.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama is asking a judge to uphold the state's practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote, arguing party preference, and not racial prejudice, has created the current all-white courts. A federal judge will hear arguments next month in the 2016 lawsuit alleging the practice violates the Voting Rights Act. State lawyers argued in a Monday court filing that the judges should be elected statewide because they are accountable to all Alabamians.

FULTON, Miss. (AP) - The federal government is giving $52.4 million to build a highway in Mississippi's northeast corner. Federal and state officials said Tuesday that the money will be matched by $43.6 million in state and other federal funds. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will construct an 8.3-mile (13.4-kilometer) four-lane highway in Itawamba County. The Mississippi 76 extension will connect with Mississippi 25 north of Fulton, completing four lanes between Batesville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that an Italian company plans to expand its foundry in Auburn. Ivey's office said Tuesday that the $15 million expansion project at 2A USA in Auburn will create more than 50 jobs. The facility is a Tier 1 supplier to major producers of automobiles and heavy trucks.

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