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Daily News Digest – August 16, 2019

Good morning and Happy Friday!
Here’s your Daily News for August 16.


1. Two killed, three hurt in shooting near ASU.


  • Authorities say two men have been killed and three others injured in a shooting near the campus of Alabama State University.
  • Montgomery police Sgt. Jarrett Williams says a man was pronounced dead at the scene, while another died at a hospital. Both had been shot. Williams says two other men were hospitalized with life-threatening gunshot wounds, while another man was hospitalized with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
  • Investigators did not immediately release details about what prompted the shooting or if there are any suspects.
  • Read more HERE.


2. 32 new State Troopers graduate.

  • Thirty two new State Troopers will be hitting the highways soon after graduating from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s academy Thursday.
  • It’s part of ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor’s plan to remedy the trooper shortage by having 550 new troopers protecting Alabama highways by the end of 2020.
  • That’s not easy at a time when record low unemployment tempts potential troopers into other jobs.
  • But strong benefits, top notch training, and the opportunity to serve the state are working as selling points to recruits.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall was on hand in Selma to give the commencement address, and said the new troopers have been “given a chance to have a legacy.”
  • So congrats to the new troopers! And to the rest of us, slow down!
  • Watch Reshad Hudson’s full report from the Selma trooper academy HERE.


3. New charter school opens.

  • Montgomery’s first charter school – and only the fourth statewide – has officially opened its doors.
  • LEAD Academy held a ribbon cutting Thursday, inviting the media and community members to see the newly renovated facility and meet the faculty.
  • The school will serve 375 students. More than 900 had applied for a chance to attend. By law, a random lottery was used to select students for the limited slots.
  • It wasn’t an easy road, as lawsuits from the state teachers’ union and a feud with the Montgomery School Board slowed the school’s progress.
  • LEAD Academy will begin classes on August 19.
  • Read and watch more from WSFA’s Samantha Day HERE.
  • Also, the Montgomery School Board on Thursday voted against providing food services to the new school, even though it was an opportunity to bring in needed revenue to the cash-strapped system.
  • Just in case you thought everything had been fixed with that board since the elections, that story and video from the Advertiser’s Krista Johnson is worth a read/watch.


4. Crowd packs toll bridge opposition gathering.

  • Hundreds of people turned out for a meeting organized by opponents of a plan to use tolls to pay for a $2 billion bridge planned for Mobile.
  • Speakers at the forum held Thursday night at a community center in Spanish Fort say one-way tolls of as much as $6 would crimp their household budgets.
  • About 150 people attended the meeting, and many of them opposed the tolls. News outlets report about the same number was turned away because of the size of the crowd.
  • The proposed Interstate 10 bridge across the Mobile River and Mobile Bay would stretch about 10 miles and rise hundreds of feet above the water near downtown.
  • Supporters say the project is needed to eliminate congestion and improve safety, and officials are looking at funding alternatives.
  • Read more from’s John Sharp HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.

Are we buying Greenland?
  • Aiming to put his mark on the world map, President Donald Trump has talked to aides and allies about buying Greenland for the U.S.
  • A Trump ally told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Republican president had discussed the purchase but was not serious about it. And a Republican congressional aide said Trump brought up the notion of buying Greenland in conversations with lawmakers enough times to make them wonder, but they have not taken his comments seriously. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
  • Still, it wouldn’t be the first time an American leader tried to buy the world’s largest island, an autonomous territory of Denmark.
  • In 1946, the U.S. proposed to pay Denmark $100 million to buy Greenland after flirting with the idea of swapping land in Alaska for strategic parts of the Arctic island.
  • Neither the White House nor Denmark immediately commented Thursday. Trump is set to visit Denmark next month.
Law enforcement sweeps Elmore County prison for contraband
  • Law enforcement officers swept the Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County as part of an operation to find and remove contraband.
  • The Alabama Department of Corrections led the joint law enforcement operation early Thursday. The prison system said it recovered an assortment of makeshift weapons, contraband cellphones and the synthetic drug, flakka.
  • The prison houses more than 1,300 inmates.
  • This is the fifth joint operation of a major correctional facility this year to remove illegal contraband, which officials say is a leading cause for violence and criminal activity inside state prisons.
  • Local law enforcement agencies joined several state agencies to help conduct the pre-dawn prison sweep.
Psychologist admits $1.5 million Medicaid fraud
  • A Birmingham psychologist has admitted to trying to defraud Medicaid by billing for counseling services that were never provided, state and federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
  • Sharon Waltz has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud Medicaid of at least $1.5 million, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town announced. Waltz also agreed to pay restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $1.5 million, they said.
  • Waltz billed the Alabama Medicaid Agency for counseling services to at-risk youth that her company did not actually perform, according to a prosecution filing in federal court.
  • Full story HERE.
Israel bars US congresswomen – with a nudge from Trump
  • With a push from President Donald Trump, Israel on Thursday barred two Muslim-American congresswomen from entering the country for a visit, an extraordinary step bringing the longtime U.S. ally into Trump’s domestic fight against political rivals at home.
  • The U.S. president is essentially relying on Israel to retaliate against two freshman lawmakers, Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who are both outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. They are also part of the “squad” of liberal newcomers — all women of color — whom Trump has labeled the face of the Democratic Party as he runs for reelection.
  • Israel announced the ban shortly after Trump tweeted that “it would show great weakness” if the two were allowed to visit. Asked later if he had spoken to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, “I did talk to people over there,” but he declined to say to whom.
  • In Israel, Netanyahu said his country remains “open to critics and criticism,” except for those who advocate boycotts against it. The congresswomen support a Palestinian-led boycott and divestment movement.
  • Netanyahu said Tlaib and Omar were leaders in promoting boycott legislation and their itinerary “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
  • Full story HERE.
Big surprise: Harvey Updyke isn’t paying his restitution
  • A prosecutor wants to know why a University of Alabama fan who pleaded guilty to poisoning landmark oak trees at Auburn University isn’t making court-ordered restitution payments.
  • Harvey Updyke was ordered to appear in court Oct. 30 to explain himself, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told WRBL-TV.
  • Updyke served more than 70 days in jail in 2013 and was ordered to pay about $800,000 in restitution after admitting to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. Fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a win, but the original oaks died after being doused with herbicide.
  • Updyke has paid less than $5,000 and often misses payments, Hughes said.
  • He posted recent Facebook updates with a crude comment about Auburn and a video saying his monthly rent was going up almost $200 to $700 with a $500 deposit.
  • He’s also been attending Alabama sporting events, which didn’t please prosecutors.
  • “If you have enough money to go see your team play, you have enough money to pay Auburn University,” said Hughes.
  • Full story HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Israel bars US congresswomen – with a nudge from Trump
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Global stocks recover some ground at end of turbulent week
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP sources: Trump has talked about buying Greenland for US
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – DA: ‘Bama fan who poisoned Auburn trees not making repayment
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 – Daily News Digest – August 15, 2019
AL.COM  – Mistake forces state to call off plans to execute triple-murderer
AL.COM  – Losing bidders on I-10 project will get up to $2 million in reimbursements
AL.COM  – Toll opposition ramps up at public hearing
AL.COM  – Texas wants to take NASA moon landers from Alabama
Montgomery Advertiser – Police investigating after two men dead, three others injured by gunfire near ASU
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man nabbed in Prattville bank robbery
Montgomery Advertiser – MPS says no to making money: Board votes against providing food service to charter school
YellowHammer News – Watch: ‘West Alabama and the coal industry’ News Shapers event shines light on high-paying jobs
YellowHammer News – On this day in Alabama history: LBW Community College named in Andalusia
YellowHammer News – Census Bureau director, Alabama officials urge everyone to participate in 2020 Census
Dothan Eagle – Dothan schools propose budget with extra $2.7 million saved with schools merged, thriving local economy
Dothan Eagle – Dale Earnhardt Jr., family OK, taken to hospital following Tennessee plane crash
Dothan Eagle – Dothan planning to revamp fire stations with construction of two new facilities, relocating of third
Tuscaloosa News – Committee seeks guidance on parks spending
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa Native Trains the Future of the Navy
Tuscaloosa News – Construction, utility work to close Tuscaloosa streets
Decatur Daily – Decatur officials, lawmaker differ on whether guns can be banned from Point Mallard
Decatur Daily – Alert for speeders: Steps taken to improve safety of Point Mallard Parkway
Decatur Daily – Proposed Hartselle budget includes alcohol revenue for schools
Times Daily – Design work for Lauderdale bridge goes to ALDOT
Times Daily – Man accused of pulling knife on mail carrier
Times Daily – Church sanctuary needs repairs after tree falls during storm
Gadsden Times – Overturned truck blocks AL 77 in Southside
Gadsden Times – Piedmont councilman convicted for menacing
Gadsden Times – Tennessee sex offender arrested for failing to register with Albertville police after move
Anniston Star – Ceremony gives way to paperwork in coming marriage law
Anniston Star – Plaintiff speaks at wrongful death trial
Anniston Star – Piedmont councilman found guilty of menacing
Troy Messenger – Scarbrough named president of Alabama Circuit Clerks Association
Troy Messenger – Kelley joins Alabama Department of Education
Troy Messenger – Wilson appointed as Coffee County district judge
Andalusia Star News – Rep. Roby plans to fight until the finish
Andalusia Star News – CCH ranked in top 5 percent for second year in a row
Andalusia Star News – Major heat causing problems for livestock
Opelika-Auburn News – New students move into their homes for the next year during Auburn University Move-In
Opelika-Auburn News – Updyke misses numerous payments, due back in Lee County court
Opelika-Auburn News – Police reports from Aug. 15
Daily Mountain Eagle – Marshall salutes Smith, defends conservative principles
Daily Mountain Eagle – Bevill official praises partnership with Alabama Power
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jack’s near WBMC closed for remodel
Trussville Tribune – Rudd Principal Wesley Graham speaks to Pinson Council about $12.2 million school improvements
Trussville Tribune – Trussville Historical Society Museum Open on Aug. 17
Trussville Tribune – Birmingham psychologist admits $1.5 million Medicaid fraud
Athens News Courier – DIALYSIS VAN: Limestone County asked to provide driver
Athens News Courier – Historian shares some Fort Henderson history
Athens News Courier – Tractor Supply to host animal adoptions, pet supply drive
Sand Mountain Reporter – Tennessee man arrested for failure to register as sex offender in Albertville
WSFA Montgomery – Buckmasters returns to Montgomery Friday
WSFA Montgomery – MPS addresses school safety concerns at PTA meeting
WSFA Montgomery – Second person dies after shooting near Alabama State University
Fox 6 Birmingham – Questions surround shooting death of 19-year-old college student in Talladega by off-duty officer
Fox 6 Birmingham – Second person dies after shooting near Alabama State University
Fox 6 Birmingham – UA researcher studies why heatwaves are strengthening across the United States
WAFF Huntsville – Florence church sanctuary needs repairs after tree falls during storm
WAFF Huntsville – Rats & gnats: Your August 16th, 2019 Kitchen Cops report
WAFF Huntsville – Man accused of pulling knife on mail carrier in Tuscumbia
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: 2 dead, 3 injured in shooting near Alabama State University
WKRG Mobile – Latino actors, writers pen ‘letter of solidarity’ amid fears
WKRG Mobile – Crestview man dumps dirt on car after girlfriend refuses to answer question
WTVY Dothan – DCS school board discusses cell phone policy for the last time before voting on decision
WTVY Dothan – Second person dies after shooting near Alabama State University
WTVY Dothan – Students hospitalized after possible carbon monoxide poisoning
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn
WASHINGTON POST  – The census citizenship question failed. But Alabama is seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants in apportioning congressional seats
NEW YORK TIMES  – Citing Economy, Trump Says That ‘You Have No Choice but to Vote for Me’
NEW YORK TIMES  – Economic Trouble Signs Hang Over Trump’s Trade War
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Is Said to Ask: Can We Buy Greenland?

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