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Daily News Digest – August 8, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, August 8.



1. Judge hears elected judiciary case.

  • A U.S. district court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s system of electing state appeals court and supreme court justices.
  • The plaintiffs, the Alabama NAACP on behalf of several black voters, claim the system is unfair and produces an all-white judiciary.
  • “…because we have racially polarized voting, blacks are never going to have an opportunity to elect anyone to the highest courts in the state,” said plaintiffs attorney Keith Harrison.
  • The state, led by Assistant Attorney General Jim Davis, argue that voters’ party preferences, and not race, are the reason the state’s top courts are filled by white judges.
  • “It’s not race. It’s party and it’s issues,” Davis said. “The voters in Alabama know which party is pro-life. The voters in Alabama know which party is pro-Second Amendment.”
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Feds nab man for gun trafficking.

  • Prosecutors are charging an Alabama man with illegal gun sales in a case that involves weapons advertised online at and shipped to buyers in Mexico, New York and California.
  • In a newly unsealed affidavit, a federal agent says Arkeuntrez Kenyez Lareco Washington told him that he’s sold guns to out-of-state buyers since 2016 after watching a documentary film about firearms trafficking.
  • Washington admitted to using FedEx, with phony names and no return addresses, to ship packages to California and New York, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent wrote in the sworn affidavit.
  • The investigation began last month, when a federal agent reviewed “firearms multiple sales” reports associated with Washington. Such a report is generated when someone purchases two or more firearms within a five-day period from a federally licensed gun dealer.
  • From there, authorities found that he’d purchased many of the weapons from Hoover Tactical Firearms and Academy Sports and Outdoors stores in the Alabama cities of Hoover and Birmingham, court records show.
  • Full story HERE.



A message from
The Boeing Company

The Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville brings together experts from government, industry and academia to discuss defense capabilities across multiple domains, including land, sea and air, with an emphasis on space and cyber.
Nearly 200 exhibitors – from large defense and aerospace companies to small and innovative start-up businesses – are showcasing technologies and products, setting the perfect environment for networking and learning.
Titanium sponsor Boeing features models of legacy Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles, a Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor and the Compact Laser Weapon System.
The Symposium ends at noon Thursday, Aug. 8. For more information, visit .




3. Skip Tucker: The Times has changed.

  • When the New York Times changed its front page headline this week to be more negative toward President Donald Trump, Skip Tucker took notice.
  • Kowtowing to criticism, The Times changed a headline from “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism” to “Assailing Hate But Not Guns.”
  • Skip observed that “the brave Times caressed its underbelly with its tail, whined, and changed its headline.”
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“There is little that media hasn’t tried. Even my liberal friends from newspapers are shocked by what passes these days for journalism. Trump can do nothing that isn’t radon-poison, racist or a ruse. Everything from mass slaughter to (nonexistent) global warming is his fault. Nothing good is to his credit. The booming economy is luck. When it weakens, as eventually it must, the cries of told-you-so will echo.
“When I was in journalism school in Tuscaloosa, we wannabees thought New York was paradise and that if we were good reporters we’d go to the New York Times when we died. Today, I hardly recognize it, except for the front page and the “flag” at top in Olde English script.”
  • Read Skip Tucker’s full column HERE.


4. AARP: Fix the Rx price problem.


  • In a guest op-ed for Alabama Daily News this week, AARP Alabama Director Candi Williams is talking about the high cost of prescription drugs and what can be done about it.
  • Studies show that between 2012 and 2017, the average cost of brand name prescription drug treatment in Alabama increased 58 percent. That’s a lot, especially considering Alabamians’ average income increased by less than five percent.
  • The hardest hit are seniors, AARP argues, and Congress can take action to curb the skyrocketing costs.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Consider insulin, which people with diabetes rely on. Its price nearly tripled from 2002 to 2013. But it isn’t a breakthrough drug: insulin was invented nearly a century ago, yet modern formulations remain under patent, thanks to drug makers manipulating the system.
“Even those of us who don’t need insulin or other prescription drugs are affected by skyrocketing drug prices. We pay not only at the pharmacy counter, but through higher insurance premiums, and through the higher taxes we need to pay to fund programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Older Americans are hit especially hard. Medicare Part D enrollees take an average of 4-5 prescriptions per month, and their average annual income is around $26,000. One in three Americans has not taken a medication as prescribed because of the cost.
“The root cause of the problem is clear: the high prices of prescription drugs set by pharmaceutical companies when they first come on the market, which then increase faster than inflation year after year.”
  • Read her full op-ed HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.


Arrest warrant issued over threatening rainbow flag note
  • Police in Alabama have identified a man accused of leaving a threatening letter at a business that had displayed a rainbow flag.
  • News outlets report Homewood police obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday for 83-year-old James Willoughby Wood. The note was found last month on the back door of Salon U.
  • reports Homewood police Sgt. John Carr says Wood will be charged with misdemeanor harassing communication once he’s arrested. Carr says detectives haven’t made contact with Wood and don’t know the motive behind the letter.
  • Homewood detectives reviewed surveillance video to identify the person responsible. Wood was picked from a photo lineup.
  • Issam Bajalia owns the salon and says he and other workers had just returned from New York City’s World Pride event when the letter was found.
Sears closing in Alabama’s largest mall
  • Sears is closing its last full-size store in Alabama.
  • The company announced Tuesday it will shut down 26 full-size Sears stores and Kmart locations nationwide in late October. That includes the Sears at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, which is Alabama’s largest shopping mall.
  • Traditional retailers are being battered by online sellers, and Sears says it has to reduce the number of its largest stores. Sears will still have smaller locations it calls “hometown stores” in eight cities statewide.
  • Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last fall. The company has closed hundreds of stores in recent years.
Lawrence County woman jailed after infants bitten by ants
  • An Alabama woman is in jail after authorities say they found her two infant children covered with ant bites.
  • A statement from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office says 37-year-old Lizabeth Ann Landers is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment.
  • The sheriff’s statement says officers answering a call about possible child neglect on July 31 found Landers’ two 3-month-old children inside their home covered with ant bites. The woman was outside the home.
  • Authorities say the children’s bodies were swollen, and both were taken to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham for treatment.
  • The Decatur Daily reports Landers’ bail is set at $12,000. Court records aren’t available to show whether she has a lawyer to speak on her behalf.
Police: Distracted trucker charged in Auburn student’s death
  • An Alabama truck driver has been arrested more than a year after his 18-wheeler full of jet fuel slammed into a car and killed an Auburn University student.
  • News outlets report 45-year-old Robert Anthony Lockwood was indicted Tuesday on a manslaughter charge in the death of 20-year-old Cassidy Meadows in July 2018.
  • The indictment says an investigation revealed Lockwood was distracted by an electronic device and never applied the brakes before slamming into Meadows’ Kia Soul, which was stopped due to traffic.
  • Lee County Coroner Bill Harris says it took Auburn firefighters nearly three hours to extricate Meadows from the vehicle due to the damage. She was pronounced dead on the scene.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge hears arguments on Alabama’s method of electing judges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AARP: Alabamians Need Relief from Rx Greed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Man accused of selling guns to buyers in US and Mexico
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Beware When Ye Fight The Demon
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bipartisan ‘red flag’ gun laws plan has support in Congress
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AG files motion to stop Hart deposition
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama ‘regrettably’ expects injunction on its abortion ban
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 7, 2019
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Full Audio: Tuberville on Trump and veterans
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – On conference call, Alabama Democrats face leadership fallout
AL.COM  – Alabama will benefit as defense focus returns to arms race
AL.COM  – 1 dead from Legionnaires’ disease after staying in Atlanta hotel; 11 other confirmed cases
AL.COM  – ICE raids Mississippi food processing plants, makes 680 arrests
AL.COM  – Data centers in Birmingham, Huntsville land major client
AL.COM  – Rep. Bradley Byrne on Alabama-Duke, bridge tolls, running against Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate
AL.COM  – Understaffed Alabama prisons adding 70 correctional officers
AL.COM  – Trump’s net approval rating in Alabama highest in the country
AL.COM  – Alabama’s food stamp error rate among lowest in the country
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Moral decay didn’t pull that trigger
AL.COM  – U.S. Senate hopeful doubles down on gun rights
AL.COM  – Contributor Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin: Mayor on fire tragedy: Perhaps there is more we can offer than proverbial thoughts and prayers
Montgomery Advertiser – Man pulled over during traffic stop found to be wanted on robbery charge
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Everyone is safe.’ USA TODAY headquarters evacuated after unconfirmed report of person with a weapon
Montgomery Advertiser – Manhunt underway: ‘Extremely dangerous’ Tennessee man is person-of-interest in homicide
YellowHammer News – Byrne disagrees with Tuberville’s Trump-VA criticism: ‘Has done a lot to help veterans’ — ‘Very grateful’ for his leadership
YellowHammer News – Auburn University launches graduate certificate in cybersecurity management
YellowHammer News – ‘Pork’-laden proposed Jefferson County budget blasted ahead of Thursday vote
Dothan Eagle – Jury finds Cottonwood man not guilty of murder
Dothan Eagle – Former Coffee County judge Chris Kaminski pleads guilty on most ethics charges, banned from future judgeships
Dothan Eagle – Revisions to DCS cell phone policy would reduce severity of penalties
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa man killed by stray bullet as he slept, police say
Tuscaloosa News – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges
Tuscaloosa News – Rolling out the red carpet for students as school begins
Decatur Daily – Alabama senator predicts no new gun laws
Decatur Daily – Decatur may need additional teachers
Decatur Daily – NAACP has 3 recommendations for Hazlewood principal
Times Daily – Sheffield mayor secures grants for Riverfront Park redesign
Times Daily – Ex-Colbert EMA director working on hazard mitigation plans
Times Daily – UNA deans reflect on progress, future of COAS
Gadsden Times – Acton Bowen appears in Jefferson County court; lawyer says plea deal offered
Gadsden Times – Gadsden schools to look at school zone transfer policy for the future
Gadsden Times – Suspect sought in robbery-assault near DeKalb-Marshall County line
Anniston Star – Jacksonville Chick-fil-A stirs interest in Thursday’s opening with camp-out for hungry fans
Anniston Star – Alabama Power announces leadership changes for Eastern Division
Anniston Star – Stench has some Cleburne residents crying foul
Troy Messenger – Local schools to receive more than $1 million for security, tech upgrades
Troy Messenger – Artist Leach takes ‘Flights of Fancy’
Troy Messenger – Third annual Back to School Bash this Saturday on the Square
Andalusia Star News – FBC packs bus with school supplies
Andalusia Star News – Gulf Air Group coming to airport twin hangars
Andalusia Star News – Proposal would put business in former Coca-Cola plant
Opelika-Auburn News – Montgomery man indicted, charged in fatal July 2018 crash that killed AU student
Opelika-Auburn News – Community Comes Together for annual National Night Out
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika City Council approves Community Development Block Grant plan
Daily Mountain Eagle – New employees welcomed in Jasper City Schools
Daily Mountain Eagle – Liz Huntley inspires crowd of educators
Daily Mountain Eagle – Council looks at sidewalk blueprints
Trussville Tribune – Secretary Merrill Administers Absentee Voting Law Updates
Trussville Tribune – Man killed in crash on Interstate 59 in Trussville
Trussville Tribune – Woman charged with murder in shooting death of Birmingham man
Athens News Courier – UPDATED: Murder suspect behind bars in Limestone
Athens News Courier – Courthouse to go green tonight for muscular dystrophy
Sand Mountain Reporter – Kitchens’ lunchroom legislation signed into law | State schools can now provide students leftovers
Sand Mountain Reporter – Diamond Rio, Adam Hood to headline Fort Payne Boom Days
Sand Mountain Reporter – Tuckers murder trial begins Monday | Prosecution seeks death penalty for McKelvey
WSFA Montgomery – Festival Latino returns to Snowdoun with live music, rodeo, residents voice concerns
WSFA Montgomery – Man, woman from Fla. arrested in ‘bizarre’ central Ala. discovery
WSFA Montgomery – Few Walmart employees heed call for walkout over gun sales
Fox 6 Birmingham – Accident near Airport Blvd. blocks 3 lanes on I-59/20 N
Fox 6 Birmingham – Hueytown woman collecting donated bikes to distribute to kids
Fox 6 Birmingham – With Sears closing, what’s next for the Galleria?
WAFF Huntsville – Lockheed Martin donates $5K to Huntsville STEM club
WAFF Huntsville – Scottsboro man selling ‘Bear’ Bryant’s former car
WAFF Huntsville – Suspect fired gun into crowd in Decatur, police say
WKRG Mobile – BREAKING: Person hit by a car in Mobile
WKRG Mobile – BREAKING: Robbery reported at intersection of Airport, University
WKRG Mobile – FWC charges 4 people for stealing oysters from Pensacola company, running an illegal operation
WTVY Dothan – Man charged with vehicular death of Auburn University student
WTVY Dothan – Man found not guilty of murdering his brother
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City Schools near end of construction just under the wire
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s openness to extensive background checks for gun buys draws warning from NRA.
WASHINGTON POST  – ICE agents raid Miss. work sites, arrest 680 people in largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history
WASHINGTON POST  – Zombie debt: How collectors trick consumers into reviving dead debts
NEW YORK TIMES  – Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns
NEW YORK TIMES  – Don’t Assume Trump’s Approval Rating Can’t Climb Higher. It Already Has

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