Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco covers state politics as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. His main responsibility is the criminal justice system in Alabama.

The Fee Trap: Why Alabama’s local governments can’t shake fines and charges

By: - September 17, 2023

When Alabama needs to pay for services, it turns to fees and general charges, or fines and fees in the criminal justice system. Legislators passed almost 60 bills during this spring’s legislative session directing how local governments may raise revenues or spend money. Many generated money for counties, from fundraising events and lodging taxes to […]

The observation room in the Dr. Maurice Fitz-Gerald Birthing Center at Whitfield Regional Hospital, Tuesday, June 27, 2023 in Demopolis, Alabama

Birthing units in rural Alabama struggle with costs, driving risks for expectant mothers

By: - July 1, 2023

DEMOPOLIS, Alabama — Whitfield Regional Hospital closed its labor and delivery unit in 2014. Operating the unit and offering labor services was unsustainable. Then maternal mortality increased in its service areas. “I can’t tell you how many times we had patients show up in our emergency department who would say they didn’t even know they […]

A vigil is held for victims of a mass shooting in Dadeville, Alabama on April 16, 2023.

At least four dead, 28 injured in shooting at birthday party in Dadeville

By: , and - April 16, 2023

At least four people were killed and 28 injured in a shooting at a birthday party in Dadeville on Saturday night. The shootings took place on Broadnax Street around 10:30 p.m., said Sgt. Jeremy Burkett, a spokesman for ALEA, at a press conference Sunday morning. The Alexander City Outlook reported the shootings took place at […]