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Daily News Digest – August 27, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, August 27.


1. It’s Election Day.

  • It’s Election Day in Montgomery, and a pretty big one.
  • The Capital City will go to the polls to select a new mayor and city council as well as a Republican nominee for State House.
  • Mayor Todd Strange is stepping away after ten years at the helm and 12 candidates are running to replace him.
  • Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed is the frontrunner, but with such a large field, Reed is unlikely to avoid a runoff.
  • That means it’s really a race for second place between former Congressman Artur Davis, WCOV Broadcaster David Woods, attorney J.C. Love, and retired Gen. Ed Crowell. Every campaign has a poll saying their candidate is surging, but with small sample sizes and an uncertain racial breakdown, it’s difficult to really know what movement is happening.
  • Also this: it’s raining today in Montgomery. That always affects turnout, especially for undecided voters or for those dependent on public transportation.
  • The real question will be whether or not the second place finisher can consolidate enough support to mount a serious challenge to Reed. That’s why I’m watching Reed’s number today. If he gets into the high 30s, he may be hard to catch no matter who is in the runoff.
  • Read more on the race from Sara MacNeil, the Advertiser’s new city beat reporter, HERE.
  • For State House District 74, education advocate Charlotte Meadows is facing attorney Michael Fitz in the GOP primary runoff. The special election is necessary because of the unfortunate passing of State Rep. Dimitri Polizos in March.
  • This one is a little more predictable because Meadows captured a full 44% in the primary to Fitz’s 22%. Generally speaking, the challenger picks up vote share in the runoff, but Meadows has also had superior fundraising and organization.
  • The winner will face Democratic nominee Rayford Mack on Nov. 12. House District 74 is heavily Republican and comprised of many active and retired state employees. The candidates discussed their views on state employee / retired employee issues at a recent forum in Montgomery.
  • Brian Lyman has an Election Day profile on the race that’s worth your time if you live in that district.


2. State opens European development office.

  • The Alabama Department of Commerce has opened an economic development office in Europe, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday.
  • The new Stuttgart, Germany-based office is aimed to give the state an advantage in attracting more European companies to locate facilities and bring jobs to Alabama, Ivey said.
  • “Communities across Alabama have seen real benefits from the state’s economic ties to Europe,” Ivey said in a news release. “Establishing a European business development office to strengthen this relationship and spark even more economic activity just makes sense for Alabama.”
  • Christoph Doerr has been named as the director of the state’s new European office. Doerr is a German businessman who has managed major industrial firms in both Europe and the United States, including auot suppliers in Alabama.
  • Reacting to the news Monday, Richard Grennell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, welcomed Alabama’s investment in a European economic development office.
  • “Alabama has jumped out front by opening a business development office in Germany,” Grennell told Alabama Daily News. “We are working every day to increase German investment in the United States, and having someone on the ground here will be a significant asset for Alabama.”
  • Grennell said he plans to travel to Alabama in October to attend the Alabama Growth Summit, an economic development event sponsored by Alabama Power in Birmingham.
  • Full story HERE.


3. Byrne in Montgomery: Disagreement could kill bridge plan.

  • U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne on Monday said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Mobile Bridge Bayway project dies if state and project leaders can’t agree upon a plan and its financing.
  • “I don’t know if it will be postponed or not. The only reason to postpone it is if we can’t get a plan we can all agree upon. If we can’t, I would be surprised if it’s not killed,” Byrne told reporters after speaking to the Montgomery Rotary Club.
  • Byrne, who represents Mobile and Baldwin Counties in Congress and has championed the Mobile Bayway project, said the goal is to avoid having tolls be the principal way the proposed $2.1 billion Interstate-10 project is funded.
  • He did not float a specific plan, but said he is in talks with local officials to come with an alternative.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey has said she’d like to see specific, solid proposals from opponents at the Oct. 7 Toll Road and Bridge Authority meeting, not just criticism.
  • Byrne also talked about his U.S. Senate race and reacted to recent polling.
  • He discussed trade’s impact on farmers in Alabama and had some interesting comments on how that should go forward.
  • Read that full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. Prison plan takes next step.

  • Five companies have expressed interest in building new prisons for the state of Alabama, the governor’s office announced Monday, as a prison construction plan inches forward.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said five firms responded to a “request for qualifications” to build the three proposed prisons that would house 3,000 or more inmates each.
  • Ivey’s press office said the firms are The GEO Group, Corvias, Corrections Consultants, CoreCivic and Alabama Prison Transformation Partners.
  • GEO and CoreCivic are the nation’s two largest private prison companies.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Read more still from The Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE and from’s Mike Cason HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.


Judge weighs defamation claim against Roy Moore
  • Lawyers squared off in state court Monday on whether Roy Moore made defamatory statements during the 2017 U.S. Senate race against a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
  • Judge John E. Rochester held a hearing on Moore’s request for summary judgment in the defamation lawsuit against him.
  • Leigh Corfman said Moore molested her decades ago, when she was 14 and he was 32. Corfman last year filed a lawsuit against Moore and his Senate campaign committee saying they defamed her as a liar when they denied the accusation.
  • “We have repeated, systematic attacks on Ms. Corfman,” argued Jeff Doss, an attorney representing Corfman.
  • Moore attorney Melissa Isaak argued that the political firebrand was merely defending himself by calling the accusations untrue.
  • “Judge Moore is being sued for simply denying the allegations. … There is nothing that attacks Leigh Corfman,” she said.
  • Full story HERE.
Breweries teaming up for Alabama environmental group
  • Some south Alabama breweries are working on a new beer to benefit a nonprofit environmental group that works to protect the state’s coast.
  • Six breweries in Mobile and Baldwin County are teaming up to produce an ale called “Friends in Low Places IPA” as a fundraiser for the Alabama Coastal Foundation.
  • The New England-style India pale ale will be available in the coastal region beginning next month, and it will go statewide after that.
  • Participating breweries include Braided River, Iron Hand, Old Majestic and Serda in Mobile, plus Fairhope Brewing and Big Beach Brewing in Baldwin County.
  • The Alabama Coastal Foundation started in 1993. It teaches about the state’s coastal environment and works to preserve marine ecosystems.
Judge finds Johnson & Johnson liable for opioid crisis
  • An Oklahoma judge has found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid drug crisis, ordering the consumer products giant to pay $572 million to help address the problem.
  • Cleveland County Judge Thad Balkman issued the decision Monday in the nation’s first state trial against the companies accused of contributing to the widespread use of the highly addictive painkillers.
  • An attorney for the company and its subsidiaries says they will appeal. Sabrina Strong called the judge’s decision “flawed.”
  • Oklahoma argued the company aggressively marketed opioids for years in a way that overstated their effectiveness and underplayed the addiction risk.
  • Oklahoma previously reached a $270 million settlement with Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma and an $85 million deal with Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
  • Oklahoma’s case could shape negotiations to resolve roughly 1,500 other opioid lawsuits consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio. Alabama is a party to that case.


Bonus: Talkin’ Football.


John Zenor has two new football preview stories out today that are worth your time if you’re a Tide or a Tigers fan. Below are snippets and links.
Tide aiming to be ‘just like any other Alabama team’
  • Whatever happened last season, the expectations remain the same at Alabama for fans, coaches and players alike.
  • Perfection.
  • “Just showing we can be just like any other Alabama team,” wide receiver Henry Ruggs III said Monday. “I mean, that is the goal, to go 15-0. The goal is to win a national championship, but our main goal is to play relentless and make opponents fear this team.”
  • The second-ranked Crimson Tide opens Saturday against Duke in Atlanta with the same ambition as ever, but also a sour taste from that national title game loss to Clemson . Perfection is no small feat, after all.
  • Alabama is favored by nearly five touchdowns in this game and will almost certainly be a sizable favorite for at least its first five games before visiting No. 12 Texas A&M.
  • But there are always areas of uncertainty, if not outright concern. Especially for a team that lost seven underclassmen to the NFL draft, had a couple of significant injuries in preseason camp and goes into the season with two freshmen starting in the middle of the defense.
  • Full story HERE.
Auburn’s Malzahn took ‘refreshing’ look at his past offenses
  • Gus Malzahn took a deep dive into his past during the offseason.
  • The Auburn coach watched film of his early offenses at Tulsa, two of which led the nation in total yards, and some of his most prolific teams with the Tigers. It was an encouraging refresher course.
  • “It’s been really good for me,” Malzahn said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to go back to your roots.”
  • Malzahn has reclaimed his role as No. 16 Auburn’s offensive playcaller after handing over the reins to then-offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey the past two seasons. Watching the Tulsa offenses from 2007 and 2008 and Auburn teams like those from 2010, 2013 and 2014 was “really refreshing.”
  • Malzahn’s roots are planted deeply in that hurry-up-no-huddle style offense he cultivated from his days coaching high school in Arkansas. He’s hoping to rediscover that success going into a season that starts Saturday against No. 11 Oregon in Arlington, Texas.
  • Even with a freshman quarterback, Bo Nix, and a brutal schedule, that makes this a potentially pivotal season for Malzahn. His initial return to calling plays was undeniably a success, a 63-14 Music City Bowl win over Purdue.
  • Full story HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Byrne: Lack of agreement could kill $2.1B Mobile bridge plan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 5 companies compete to build new Alabama prisons
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State opens European development office
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge weighs defamation claim against Roy Moore
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: 3-year-old boy starved to death; brother survived
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn’s Malzahn took ‘refreshing’ look at his past offenses
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tide aiming to be ‘just like any other Alabama team’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gas tax increase coming, road projects already moving
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: Look for ways to cut proposed bridge tolls
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Gratitude and School Choice
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – DNC denies seats to Alabama Party leaders
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump says ‘very serious’ talks with China to start
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 26, 2019
AL.COM – 5 companies tell Alabama they can finance, build, lease prisons
AL.COM – Toyota puts $500,000 into Alabama auto tech training
AL.COM – Couple who ran religious boarding school in Alabama arrested for human trafficking
AL.COM – Byrne says he’s seeking consensus on Mobile bridge with no tolls
AL.COM – The Alabama county with fastest-growing income may surprise you
AL.COM – Rabbis gather in Alabama bear witness to racial and reproductive rights injustices
AL.COM – Alabama charter school commission remade, here’s their track record so far
AL.COM – Alabama opening European economic development office
AL.COM – Barbie debuts Rosa Parks doll as part of series honoring iconic women
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: Detention of immigrants rights group board member brings national shame home
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama prison construction finalist has no business records, little online presence
Montgomery Advertiser – Father charged in Blount Elementary shooting re-arrested after escaping treatment facility
Montgomery Advertiser – CEO: Air Force must empower people to grow tech
YellowHammer News – Byrne: Stop calling Democrats ‘progressive’
YellowHammer News – Breweries teaming up for Alabama environmental group
YellowHammer News – Alabama opens Dep. of Commerce office in Germany to promote European investment
Dothan Eagle – Dothan man violates protection order, arrested on domestic violence charges
Dothan Eagle – Couple accused of shoplifting from local retail store
Dothan Eagle – Dothan woman arrested in weekend firearm assault
Dothan Eagle –  Editorial: Democrats must get house in order
Tuscaloosa News – Murder suspect visited gun range before shooting
Tuscaloosa News – 5 companies compete to build new Alabama prisons
Tuscaloosa News – Judge weighs defamation claim against Roy Moore
Decatur Daily – Council to hold public input meetings on branding plan
Decatur Daily – About 40 local AT&T employees on strike
Decatur Daily – Limestone Sheriff’s Office: Father fatally shot son; investigation continues
Times Daily – Colbert EMA will apply for FEMA funds for storm shelter
Times Daily – New Alabama marriage law takes effect Thursday
Times Daily – School tax renewal election set for Tuesday
Gadsden Times – Gadsden AT&T workers join region-wide CWA strike
Gadsden Times – Attalla woman arrested outside Boaz in vehicle stolen from Albertville
Gadsden Times – Judge weighs defamation claim against Roy Moore
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council approves jail agreement with Weaver
Anniston Star – Jury reviews DNA results from evidence in Thompson trial
Anniston Star – Anniston’s temporary City Hall location open
Troy Messenger – County continues budget talks
Troy Messenger – Peanut boil brings facelift to Tarentum Community Center
Troy Messenger – Clifford ‘at home’ as PCHS assistant principal
Andalusia Star News – Pharmacist: Number of customers affects data
Andalusia Star News – Hard hunting and fishing license now available in Covington County
Opelika-Auburn News – Two arrested in connection to Lake Martin-area meth lab explosion
Opelika-Auburn News – Local flower truck works to ‘bring joy’
Opelika-Auburn News – County offers self defense course for women
Daily Mountain Eagle – Gateway to Space: Images from Virgin Galactic’s new spaceport
Daily Mountain Eagle – RECAP: Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center Grand Opening Festival
Trussville Tribune – 30 arrests made in warrant roundup & narcotics detail in St. Clair County
Sand Mountain Reporter – Safe trade zones open in Albertville
WSFA Montgomery – 3-year-old boy missing in Wetumpka
WSFA Montgomery – Decatur man pleads guilty in deadly July 4 boat crash
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery County Elections prepared for big turn out
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham city councilor on youth gun violence: ‘We cant arrest our way out of this problem’
Fox 6 Birmingham – AT&T customers complain about long wait times as 20,000 employees go on strike
Fox 6 Birmingham – Threat against Pelham school determined not to be credible
WAFF Huntsville – ‘It’s a crisis under our feet’: Valley nursing homes putting the elderly at risk
WAFF Huntsville – Decatur man pleads guilty in deadly July 4 boat crash
WAFF Huntsville – Ala. teen killed father, critically injured brother after being told to clean room, family says
WKRG Mobile – Teen with no arms completes triathlon
WKRG Mobile – Toll bridge meeting in Foley one day before crucial Baldwin County vote
WKRG Mobile – The competition for the future of Africatown
WTVY Dothan – Make-A-Wish sends girl born with Gastroschisis to Disney World
WTVY Dothan – Managing Alzheimer’s Disease
WTVY Dothan – Polling places are changing in three Houston County precincts
CBS42 Birmingham – Gov. Ivey, Del Marsh unfazed by Alabama Republican Party’s disapproval of appointed school board
WASHINGTON POST – Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $572 million for its role in Oklahoma’s opioid crisis
WASHINGTON POST – Lunchtime is so short in some public schools, students are going hungry
NEW YORK TIMES – Farmers’ Frustration With Trump Grows as U.S. Escalates China Fight
NEW YORK TIMES – The U.S. Election Watchdog Needs 4 of 6 Members to Enforce the Law. It Now Has 3.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens: The Boy Who Cried Tariff



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