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Daily News Digest – August 15, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, August 15.


1. States move to oppose Alabama’s Census lawsuit.

  • Fifteen states and several cities are intervening to oppose Alabama’s lawsuit challenging who is counted in the U.S. Census.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall and Congressman Mo Brooks last year spearheaded a federal lawsuit that argues the Census should only count legal residents of the United States, and not those in the country illegally. States with stricter immigration policies, like Alabama, stand to lose congressional representation and federal funding, while states with more lax laws stand to gain, they argue.
  • Now those states that stand to gain (or at least stand to lose if Alabama wins) are officially pushing back, asking to intervene in the lawsuit.
  • “No individual ceases to be a person because they lack documentation. The United States Constitution is crystal clear that every person residing in this country at the time of the decennial census — regardless of legal status — must be counted, and no matter what President Trump says, or Alabama does, that fact will never change,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement on the court filing.
  • The states seeking to intervene in the lawsuit are: New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. The United States Conference of Mayors, the District of Columbia and nine other cities and counties, including Seattle and New York City, are also asking to join the lawsuit. The city of Atlanta also asked to intervene in a separate court filing.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.



2. Roby speaks.

  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby on Wednesday spoke publicly for the first time since announcing she would not seek a sixth term in Congress.
  • Addressing the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce’s “Eggs & Issues” event, Roby used the opportunity to talk less about her own decision not to run and more about how grateful she has been to represent the area in Congress.
  • Peppered with questions about why, exactly, she’s not running and whether she’ll run for something else in the future, Roby stuck to her story that it was just time and that she really doesn’t have any political plans for the future.
  • Read more from the Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE and from’s Mike Cason HERE, or watch WSFA’s coverage HERE.
  • Later in the day, I caught up with my former boss for a longer discussion about her decision, the state of Congress, and her plans. That’ll be on the next “In the Weeds” podcast, so you’ll have to #waitforit.


3. Making their case for Montgomery mayor.

  • Candidates vying to become the Capital City’s next mayor took part in the first and maybe only major televised forum Wednesday night.
  • WSFA and the League of Women Voters hosted the event, which was broadcast and live streamed by WSFA and several radio stations.
  • This is a major event in the race because it’s perhaps the biggest opportunity for candidates to appeal to a large audience of voters.
  • If you know anything about Montgomery, the topics were obvious: fixing the broken school system, reducing gun violence, jumpstarting economic growth, and so on.
  • Frontrunner Steven Reed mostly stuck to the script playing error-free ball, while those competing for that second place slot – Artur Davis, David Woods, J.C. Love, Elton Dean and Ed Crowell – tried to stand out among the field with novel or memorable answers.
  • That wasn’t easy to do amid 11 candidates and the short answer times.
  • Among the lesser known candidates, Victorrus Felder stood out as a passionate and serious candidate.
  • WSFA has the questions and answers broken down into categories, which you can watch for yourself HERE.


4. Feds to ease trucker regulations.

  • The Trump administration took a key step Wednesday toward relaxing federal rules that govern the length of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, a move long sought by the trucking industry but opposed by safety advocates who warn it could lead to more highway crashes.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the Transportation Department, issued proposed changes to the “hours of service” rule , which dictate breaks truckers are required to take, and their time on and off duty.
  • “It puts a little more power back in the hands of the drivers and motor carriers,” said Raymond Martinez, head of the federal safety agency. Martinez said the agency listened to drivers and their calls for safer and more flexible rules.
  • Trade groups that represented truck drivers and motor carriers have pushed for years for less rigid hours of service rules, arguing that the regulations were too rigid and out of step with the daily realties confronting most truck drivers. They found a supporter in President Donald Trump, who has made rolling back layers of regulatory oversight a priority.
  • Full story HERE.


5. Steve Flowers: The story of Floyd Mann

  • Steve Flowers has an interesting column this week on Floyd Mann, who headed the Alabama State Troopers during the late 1950s.
  • Of course, that was when civil rights tension and violence was starting to really heat up.
  • In contrast to the infamous Bull Connor who would succeed him, Mann worked to ease tensions, not inflame them.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“When the Freedom Riders arrived at the old Greyhound Bus Station behind the Federal Court House in Montgomery, they were met and surrounded by 50 to 75 white citizens who had baseball bats ready to welcome the Freedom Riders to the Cradle of the Confederacy.  There was not one Montgomery policeman anywhere in sight.
“Colonel Mann got word of the scenario.  He immediately jumped into the Head of Public Safety Trooper car and drove 90 miles an hour down Dexter Avenue with his siren blaring.  He wheeled into the parking lot and pulled his revolver out of his gun belt and placed it into the temple of the biggest, meanest, slicked backed, undershirted, baseball bat holder who was waiting at the door of the bus for the Freedom Riders.  He said, ‘I’ll give ya folks five minutes to all clear out of here or I’ll start shooting with this fellow and we will take names later for families.’
“Mann saved about a dozen Freedom Riders lives that day. They decided to not even exit their bus and to get the Hell out of Alabama.”
  • Read Steve Flowers’ full column HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.


Trump suggests trade deal can wait for Hong Kong resolution
  • President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that trade talks with China can wait until tensions in Hong Kong have eased, tweeting: “Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
  • Trump also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him a “great leader” and saying he could quickly resolve the unrest in Hong Kong if he wanted to. “I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?” Trump tweeted.
  • Trump has previously said little about the protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, except to make it clear he believes that Hong Kong and China need to “deal with that themselves.” He has urged the two sides to exercise caution and voiced hopes that the situation will be resolved peacefully.
  • His more extensive comments Wednesday came as U.S. stock markets tumbled, in part because of uncertainty over the trade standoff with Beijing. Investors have also been rattled about the widespread protests in Hong Kong. Flights resumed at Hong Kong’s airport after two days of disruptions that descended into clashes with police.
  • While Trump has been reticent to take sides, some Republican and Democratic members of Congress have voiced their support for the protesters.
  • Full story from Kevin Freking HERE.
Tyson blames contractor for Alabama fish kill
  • Tyson Foods is blaming temporary piping installed by a contractor for pollution that killed tens of thousands of fish in a north Alabama river.
  • An open letter posted by an arm of the agricultural company says about 220,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater was released from a River Valley Ingredients plant at Hanceville on June 6.
  • The company says a contractor had installed temporary piping that failed. It says waste reached the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork, where an estimated 175,000 fish were killed.
  • The company says fish died because of low oxygen levels in the water, not chemicals. The company says oxygen levels are now normal and fish are returning.
  • State conservation officials say it could take years for the river to recover, and area residents have filed suit.
  • Story link.
Alabama woman sentenced for embezzling from fire departments
  • A federal judge has sentenced an Opelika woman to prison for embezzling more than $600,000 from volunteer fire departments in Alabama.
  • U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said Wednesday that a judge sentenced 63-year-old Andrea Payne to 42 months for wire fraud.
  • Town’s office says Payne served as the treasurer of the Talladega County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments between 2012 and 2018, and was responsible for distributing tax revenue to 15 volunteer fire departments. Prosecutors said she used some of the money to pay her credit card bills.
  • Prosecutors wrote in a court filing that she also used the money to take cruise vacations and for cash advances off her credit card.
  • Payne pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud.
Senior class president involved in school bus crash dies
  • An Alabama high school’s senior class president who was involved in a collision with a school bus has died.
  • News outlets report 17-year-old Christopher Rogers died Tuesday afternoon. He had attended Central High School in Phenix City.
  • Phenix City police said the accident happened Friday when Rogers was headed south on Highway 165 and the bus turned onto the highway. Three students, one monitor and a driver were on the bus. Police Capt. Darryl Williams says no one on the bus was injured, but the occupants were taken to a hospital as a precaution.
  • A passenger in Rogers’ car was treated and released.
  • Williams said in a news release Wednesday that police will investigate the crash and the findings will be submitted to a grand jury for review.
Necropsy to determine why giraffe died at Montgomery Zoo
  • A 4-year-old giraffe has died unexpectedly at the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.
  • A news release from the zoo says Connye the giraffe died Monday. Zookeepers noticed she was in an unusual position and animal care and veterinarian teams were sent in, but they weren’t able to stabilize her condition.
  • The statement says Connye didn’t show any symptoms of illness in the days or weeks before her death. It says state veterinarians at the Thompson Bishop Sparks Diagnostic Laboratory will perform a necropsy and the findings will be publicly available.
  • Connye was born at the zoo on March 23, 2015.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weather, trade take toll on farmers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – States oppose Alabama’s effort exclude migrants in Census
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Government moves toward easing drive-time rules for truckers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Flowers: The story of Floyd Mann
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tyson blames contractor for Alabama fish kill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Festival of Cranes factored into new hunting season, concerns remain
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump delays tariffs on some Chinese goods until December
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rodney Smith invites police to help mow lawns in all 50 states
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 14, 2019
AL.COM  – Mysterious group bombarding Birmingham TV airwaves to pressure Doug Jones on surprise medical bills
AL.COM  – Does the rest of Alabama care about the toll concerns in Mobile and Baldwin counties?
AL.COM  – Alabama AG’s office silent on new execution method
AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey, census boss tell Alabama why the coming 2020 count matters
AL.COM  – Top airbus exec: Mobile-built A220 to be ‘a global airplane’
AL.COM  – Johnson: Bully General Marshall’s overreaching infatuation with bingo
AL.COM  – Birmingham high schoolers to receive mental health kits thanks to local effort
AL.COM  – It will soon be a crime in Alabama to misrepresent a pet as a service animal
AL.COM  – Martha Roby sheds no new light on decision to retire from Congress
AL.COM  – Want a beltline, Jeffco? Make it a toll road
AL.COM  – Contributor Wayne Flynt: Black Belt resurrection
Montgomery Advertiser – Officials offer $11,000 reward for information in fatal shooting of Courtney Jones
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery teen held on $300,000 cash bond after robbery, SUV theft, police chase
Montgomery Advertiser – $11,000 reward offered for information in January slaying of Jaylen Saunders
YellowHammer News – Alabama’s ULA chosen for six missions, lauded for ‘proven safety record and on-time performance’
YellowHammer News – Tuberville on Senate campaign: ‘When people are coming at you, you’re doing pretty good’
YellowHammer News – Madison County’s credit rating upgraded, now highest in county history
Dothan Eagle – No cash appropriation increase for schools in city budget proposal, again
Dothan Eagle – Alabama Municipal Electric Authority to reimburse city for costs of new utilities operations center
Dothan Eagle – Ex-Blackwater security contractor gets life in prison for 2007 Iraqi civilian shooting massacre
Tuscaloosa News – States oppose Alabama’s effort to count only legal residents in Census
Tuscaloosa News – Southern heat blamed for 1 death; eases slightly with front
Tuscaloosa News – Thomas Davis Jr. sings the National Anthem
Decatur Daily – $1M West Morgan Road improvement approved
Decatur Daily – Man arrested at one abuse hearing for alleged abuse of another child
Decatur Daily – Festival of Cranes factored into new hunting season, concerns remain
Times Daily – Cramer Children’s Advocacy Center gets $1M grant
Times Daily – UNA set for largest-ever number of residents on campus
Times Daily – Northwest Alabama Reading Aides holds fundraiser Aug. 24
Gadsden Times – Gadsden pedestrian struck by two vehicles, killed
Gadsden Times – Jones says Mobile bridge project downfall could be Etowah’s gain
Gadsden Times – People falsely claiming service animal could face charges
Anniston Star – UPDATED: Woman rescued by helicopter 17 hours after parkway crash
Anniston Star – Hobson City celebrates 120 years during Founder’s Festival this week
Anniston Star – Oxford ambulance service to look at operational savings
Troy Messenger – Troy man charged with fraudulent securities sales
Troy Messenger – Pike County man indicted on child sex abuse charges
Troy Messenger – Gov. Ivey visits Rex Lumber for soft opening
Andalusia Star News – Major heat causing problems for livestock
Andalusia Star News – Ivey signs bill to properly fund Alzheimer’s education
Andalusia Star News – Alabama to receive $6.3 million to combat opioids
Opelika-Auburn News – Central-Phenix City High School senior dies following Friday afternoon school bus crash
Opelika-Auburn News – Phenix City searching for two armed robbery suspects
Opelika-Auburn News – Chambers County court bookkeeper convicted on ethics charges, stealing more than $290,000
Daily Mountain Eagle – UPS driver injured in accident
Daily Mountain Eagle – City may cut water to apartments over $12K debt
Daily Mountain Eagle – Blue Devils begin season with burst of old spirit
Trussville Tribune – After 1 death, Southern heat wave eases slightly with front
Trussville Tribune – Trussville woman jailed on felony drug charges, total bond over $2.2 million
Trussville Tribune – Alabama woman sentenced for embezzling from fire departments
Athens News Courier – Teen killed in shooting by off-duty police officer
Athens News Courier – States oppose Alabama’s effort exclude migrants in Census
Athens News Courier – Southern heat wave eases, but not much
Sand Mountain Reporter – Gadsden awarded $1 million airport grant
Sand Mountain Reporter – Huntsville Hospital CEO to speak at annual Healthcare Breakfast
Sand Mountain Reporter – Gadsden awarded $1 million airport grant
WSFA Montgomery – Crime, education and entertainment among topics at Montgomery Mayoral Forum
WSFA Montgomery – Enterprise City Schools sees enrollment increase as tuition increases
WSFA Montgomery – VIDEOS: What the candidates said at the Montgomery Mayoral Forum
Fox 6 Birmingham – Public outrage over proposed max bus rate increases and route changes
Fox 6 Birmingham – AC problems corrected at 1 Birmingham school
Fox 6 Birmingham – Protesters march after college student shot by Lincoln officer in Talladega
WAFF Huntsville – Slow state background checks leave hundreds of vacancies in Huntsville schools
WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Council revokes business license for juvenile detention facility
WAFF Huntsville – Hiring alert: Madison County Schools still searching for bus drivers
WKRG Mobile – Senior class president involved in school bus crash dies
WKRG Mobile – Pensacola salon cameras help sheriff’s office make murder arrest
WKRG Mobile – A Mobile family sends a message loud and clear after a drunk driver crashes into their fence; barely missing their home
WTVY Dothan – Woman charged with DUI manslaughter after fatal crash in Washington County
WTVY Dothan – Dothan High teachers back in school to set up classrooms
WTVY Dothan – Officers raid home and seize drugs, cash, guns
WASHINGTON POST  – Stocks losses deepen as a key recession warning surfaces
WASHINGTON POST  – Columnist Elizabeth Bruenig: In God’s country: Evangelicals view Trump as their protector. Will they stand by him in 2020?
WASHINGTON POST  – Agency did not conduct required oversight of program for those with disabilities
NEW YORK TIMES  – Congressman Steve King: Would Humanity Exist Without Rape, Incest?
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump’s Policy Could Alter the Face of the American Immigrant

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