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Daily News Digest – December 11, 2019

Presented by

the Alabama Bicentennial Commission



Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, December 11.



1. Federal judge concerned about ADOC staffing numbers, lesser trained positions


  • The federal judge in a lawsuit over Alabama’s crowded and dangerous prison system said he’s concerned about a recent prison staffing report, including the number of new hires the state considers corrections staff but who don’t come into contact with inmates.
  • The Alabama Department of Corrections has been hiring different tiers of personnel – cubicle staff that monitor by video, “basic” officers who have limited authority with inmates, and full-on corrections officers.
  • The goal, according to ADOC, is to keep training many of these employees to eventually become full corrections officers, but that hasn’t happened yet.
  • During a status hearing in chambers with attorneys from the state and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is suing ADOC, Judge Myron Thompson expressed concern about the myriad staffing moves.
  • “I guess an overall concern is that, you know, you get what you pay for and if you’re paying these people less and they have less training, then the quality of what the system is providing is not going to meet what’s needed for, say, a correctional officer or what a correctional officer could provide,” Thompson said.
  • Correctional staffing is up at ADOC by at least 258 from June to September, according to a staffing report. But it is unclear how many of those are cubicle staff, basic officers, and full corrections officers. Also, there has been a drop in supervisors.
  • Attorneys also discussed whether a company contracted to provide medical care to inmates is meeting its requirements.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck and Mary Sell HERE.


2. New ALFA poll shows closer race

  • Another day, another poll.
  • Mere hours after the Jeff Sessions for Senate campaign released an internal poll showing him surging in the GOP field, the Alabama Farmers Federation released its own polling showing a much tighter race between Sessions and its endorsed candidate, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville.
  • The poll, which surveyed 607 likely Republican voters via live calls, showed Sessions leading the field with 35% of respondents saying they would vote for him if the election was held today. Tuberville was right behind with 31%, according to the survey.
  • With the survey’s margin of error at +/-3.97%, that would put Sessions and Tuberville in a statistical dead heat for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
  • Congressman Bradley Byrne was third with 12%, and his campaign pointed out that the real advertising in the race has only just begun.
  • The survey also had some interesting fav/unfav numbers.
  • Full story HERE.







A message from

the Alabama Bicentennial Commission

Come celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial on Saturday, December 14 th  in Downtown Montgomery!
The day will include family activities with exhibitors from all around the state participating in the Bicentennial parade, park dedication and festival, all showcasing Alabama’s communities and honoring her people.
  • 10 a.m. Alabama Bicentennial Parade – Dexter Ave;
  • Noon: Alabama Bicentennial Park Dedication – State Capitol Steps;
  • 1 p.m. Alabama Bicentennial Festival – Capitol Complex & Downtown Montgomery;
  • 4 p.m.Alabama Bicentennial Concert and Finale Presentation – State Capitol Steps.
For more information, visit .

3. Trade deal finally reached

  • The photo above was taken in July, when the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was agreed to in principle by the three nations’ leaders.
  • More than four months later, there is finally a deal to get the agreement through a divided Congress in Washington.
  • House Democrats and the White House announced a deal Tuesday on a modified North American trade pact, handing President Donald Trump a major Capitol Hill win on the same day that impeachment charges were announced against him. Both sides hailed the deal as a win for American workers.
  • The White House and Republicans had been hammering House Democrats for dragging their feet on an important trade deal that will replace the unpopular NAFTA, while focusing instead on investigations of Trump. Democrats claimed the provisions they added to the agreement will make it stronger and more enforceable.
  • Closer to home, the Alabama Legislature had joined dozens of other legislative bodies in urging Congress to take action on the agreement.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said trade “is an issue which is vital to our state and our nation, and my colleagues in Alabama and from around the country recognize that the USMCA is a good deal for everyone involved. I am glad that members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together and agree that this is the best deal to ensure that the strongest economy in our lifetime continues to grow.”
  • Canada and Mexico are each huge trading partners for Alabama, both with imports and exports.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Hundreds mourn Huntsville officer Billy Clardy III

  • Hundreds of mourners gathered Tuesday for the funeral of a Huntsville police officer.
  • A flag-draped casket stood at the front of a full church sanctuary at the service for Huntsville police officer Billy Fred Clardy III, 48. Many in the crowd at Mayfair Church of Christ wore police uniforms, and hundreds more watched the service online.
  • Earlier, police officers, relatives and others got out in a steady, snowy rain for a public viewing for Clardy, a husband and father of five who was fatally shot while on duty last week. A Tennessee man is charged with capital murder in Clardy’s slaying.
  • Mayor Tommy Battle expressed gratitude to relatives of Clardy, who he recalled meeting soon after his election.
  • “Thank you for sharing Billy with us. He made a difference,” Battle said. Clardy, he said, “believed in service.”
  • Read more HERE.



5. Pentagon orders review of international student vetting

  • The Pentagon on Tuesday ordered a broad review of vetting procedures for international students who participate in training on U.S. military installations and demanded the process be strengthened, in direct reaction to last week’s deadly shooting at a Pensacola Navy base by a Saudi aviation student.
  • The memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist also suspends flight and other operational training for all Saudi Arabian students in U.S. military programs. It follows a decision by the U.S. Navy to halt flight training for more than 300 Saudi Arabian students at the Pensacola Naval Air Station and two other bases in Florida.
  • The FBI confirmed Tuesday that the 21-year-old Saudi Air Force officer who killed three U.S. sailors and injured eight other people at the Pensacola base on Friday legally bought the 9mm Glock pistol he used. Investigators are digging into whether 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani acted alone, amid reports he hosted a party earlier last week where he and others watched videos of mass shootings.
  • The incident has raised questions about how well international military students are screened before they attend training at American bases.
  • Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, of Enterprise, was one of the shooter’s victims.
  • Full story HERE.



News Briefs

Kamille McKinney had been given meth, sedative

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An autopsy has found that a slain Alabama toddler was given methamphetamine and a sedative before she was killed and her body left in a dumpster, an investigator testified Tuesday.
  • The information was disclosed in a preliminary hearing for Patrick Stallworth, who faces a capital murder charge for the death of 3-year-old Kamille McKinney.
  • News outlets report that an investigator testified that an autopsy found methampetamine and Trazodone, an anti-depressant and sedative sometimes used to treat insomnia, in the girl’s system. The autopsy found that she died by asphyxiation.
  • Read more HERE.

AG Barr: FBI’s Russia investigation based on ‘bogus narrative’

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr leveled blistering criticism at how the Russia investigation was conducted, saying Tuesday that it was based on a “bogus narrative” that the Trump campaign might have conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
  • Barr spoke to NBC News one day after the release of a Justice Department inspector general report that found problems with the FBI’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but also concluded that there was a proper basis for opening the probe and that it was free of political bias.
  • Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said he disagreed with the inspector general that the FBI had enough information to open the investigation and particularly to use surveillance on a former Trump campaign aide. He said that law enforcement officials involved in applying for those warrants had withheld from judges what he said was key exculpatory information that they had received.
  • “I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press,” Barr said.
  • Read the full story and watch the interview HERE.

Prosecutors: Alabama man threatened Trump, Putin, vowed to kill kids

  • An Alabama man with a history of mental illness is accused of threatening to “destroy” President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and kill the children of U.S. officials.
  • Deryke Matthew Pfeifer also used Facebook to video himself in a hotel room with two handguns as he berated a federal judge and threatened to kill anyone who tried to arrest him, prosecutors said.
  • Pfeifer was indicted this month on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition and ordered to undergo a mental health exam.
  • In a Facebook video recorded in a south Alabama hotel room, Pfeifer names employees of the Secret Service and U.S. Attorney’s office and vows to slay their children, authorities said.
  • He said, “I promise you I will kill your children and put a bounty on your children,” a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrote in a criminal complaint.
  • Pfeifer underwent an earlier mental health exam in 2014, after the U.S. Secret Service accused him of threatening to kill then-President Barack Obama and blow up a federal building in Jackson, Michigan, court records state.
  • Full story from AP’s Jeff Martin HERE.

Escaped Alabama inmate free for months now back in custody

  • CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate who escaped from a state prison four months ago is now back in custody.
  • Kevin Bradley Nelson, 50, surrendered to Chilton County deputies in Clanton on Tuesday, news outlets report, citing the state department of corrections.
  • The agency has said Nelson was serving two years at a state prison for receiving stolen property when he escaped in August. Details surrounding his escape and what prompted his surrender were unclear as of early Wednesday.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New ALFA poll shows tight race between Sessions and Tuberville
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Sessions poll shows surge among GOP field
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘You get what you pay for’ Federal judge concerned about ADOC staffing numbers, lesser paid, trained positions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pentagon orders review of international student vetting
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats, White House forge new North American trade deal
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kamille McKinney had been given meth, sedative
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hundreds mourn Alabama police officer killed in line of duty
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecutors: Man threatened Trump, Putin, vowed to kill kids
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barr: FBI’s Russia investigation based on ‘bogus narrative’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Farmers Federation talks politics and policy at annual convention
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Two officers on leave amid investigation into inmate’s death
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 11, 2019
AL.COM  – $18.3 million in tax credits for scholarship program unclaimed
AL.COM  – Former Tannehill Park director fined, sentenced for theft from historical foundation
AL.COM  – Alabama man threatened Trump and Putin, prosecutors say
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Don’t be such a drag, Tommy Tuberville. The future is a lot more important than the past
AL.COM  – Santa has an Alabama helper who replies to children’s letters
AL.COM  – Articles of impeachment against Trump: ‘Witch hunt,’ ‘bogus,’ Alabama officials say
AL.COM  – From car dealership to education: Trendy virtual school opens
AL.COM  – Huntsville voters back public schools with property tax vote
AL.COM  – Teens in the South more likely to encounter religion in public schools, Pew survey says
AL.COM  – 12 cases of vaping lung disease in Alabama; 150-plus brands associated with illness
AL.COM  – The dizzying development of downtown Huntsville
Montgomery Advertiser – Mother of teen injured during 2017 encounter with Troy police files federal lawsuit
Montgomery Advertiser – Sen. Cam Ward says he’ll refile bill to strengthen Alabama open records law
Montgomery Advertiser – Former Prattville youth minister facing child sex charges pleads guilty to assault
YellowHammer News – Two officers on leave amid investigation into inmate’s death
YellowHammer News – U.S. House Dems throw their support behind historic Trump USMCA trade deal supported by Alabama job creators, officials
YellowHammer News – Auburn honors Dr. James Andrews with International Quality of Life Award
Dothan Eagle – Single-vehicle accident claims the life of a Slocomb man
Dothan Eagle – Boll Weevil monument centennial celebration, rededication ceremony Wednesday
Dothan Eagle – Tuberville criticizes ‘drag queens’ in Opelika parade; Facebook reacts
Tuscaloosa News – Slain toddler had been given meth, sedative
Tuscaloosa News – Southern Living hotel planned for north Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa News – Hundreds mourn Alabama police officer killed in line of duty
Decatur Daily – Athens council cuts library funding amid concerns over its financial management
Decatur Daily – Morgan sheriff: Danville residents charged with trafficking in meth
Decatur Daily – Russia, Ukraine to revive peace process, exchange prisoners
Times Daily – MPO sending proposals for railroad overpass feasibility study
Times Daily – School bus is part of hospital drill today
Times Daily – Cherokee’s TEC recipient of $2.6 million grant
Gadsden Times – Contractor named to finish East Gadsden Community Center
Gadsden Times – Southside residents ask to de-annex over water pressure
Gadsden Times – Committee hears update on local business developments
Anniston Star – Walmart secret Santa pays off layaway balance at Anniston store
Anniston Star – Cleburne commission takes charge of 911 service
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council schedules hearing for Brother’s Bar license revocation
Troy Messenger – Grocery Advantage owner says store to remain open for now
Troy Messenger – New ambulance service contract pinpoints expected response times
Troy Messenger – Pioneer Museum of Alabama to host ‘Ole Time Christmas’ this weekend
Andalusia Star News – Andalusia man arrested for failure to appear on sexual abuse after drawing attention to himself at parade
Andalusia Star News – Wheelhouse Restaurant has successful first weekend
Andalusia Star News – Attorney General Steve Marshall Leads Multi-State Coalition in Support of Trump Administration Reforms of Endangered Species Act
Opelika-Auburn News – Holocaust group honors OMS teacher
Opelika-Auburn News – Tuberville criticizes ‘drag queens’ in Opelika parade; Facebook reacts
Opelika-Auburn News – County approves $55.3M budget for 2020
Daily Mountain Eagle – Honda facility getting major facelift
Daily Mountain Eagle – JJHS presents STEAM museum
Daily Mountain Eagle – Carbon Hill meeting cancelled; parade still set this week
Trussville Tribune – Funeral arrangements announced for woman killed after saving dogs from house fire
Trussville Tribune – Multiple Birmingham firefighters injured in roof collapse
Trussville Tribune – Missing Boaz boy found safe, man wanted on child porn charges apprehended
Athens News Courier – FOREVER YOUNG: Organization helps to heal senior veterans
Athens News Courier – Sippin Cider returns to The Square Saturday
Athens News Courier – Limestone County Schools: Elementary schools to dismiss at 1 p.m.; high schools at 1:20
Sand Mountain Reporter – Search for missing Boaz child, father ends in Collinsville
Sand Mountain Reporter – Quality Hearing to host live nativity Friday
Sand Mountain Reporter – Peoples Independent Bank, Boaz Parks and Recreation awarded by ARPA
WSFA Montgomery – State intervention, more addressed at final MPS meeting of 2019
WSFA Montgomery – Shelby Co. couple accused of holding adopted son captive, starving him plead guilty to felony child abuse
WSFA Montgomery – WSFA film reel found in Montgomery time capsule now digitized
Fox 6 Birmingham – Abused cat in Shelby Co. continues to beat odds during recovery
Fox 6 Birmingham – Chief Smith reacts to recent wave of violence
Fox 6 Birmingham – Shelby Co. couple accused of holding adopted son captive, starving him plead guilty to felony child abuse
WAFF Huntsville – Voters select ad valorem tax for Huntsville City Schools
WAFF Huntsville – Child porn suspect, wife arrested following missing child report
WAFF Huntsville – Hundreds line streets for officer Clardy’s funeral procession
WKRG Mobile – Alabama woman charged in death of 5-year-old boy shot in crossfire
WKRG Mobile – Pigeons in tiny cowboy hats are a mystery in Las Vegas
WKRG Mobile – Update: New details in deadly shooting involving Mobile County Sheriff’s Deputies
WTVY Dothan – Growing drug concern in Abbeville
WTVY Dothan – Henry County Commissioners explore the possibility of a new jail
WTVY Dothan – 7-year-old collects Christmas gifts for less fortunate schoolmates
WASHINGTON POST  – Attorney general sharpens attacks on FBI’s Russia probe
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump expected to sign order to foster probes of anti-Semitism on campus
WASHINGTON POST  – The Arctic may have crossed key threshold, emitting billions of tons of carbon into the air, in a long-dreaded climate feedback
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump ‘Ignored and Injured’ the National Interest, Democrats Charge in Impeachment Article
NEW YORK TIMES  – Christmas Pyramid Lights Up Alabama City
NEW YORK TIMES  – Congress Finalizes Bill Restoring Black College Funding

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