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Daily News Digest – December 16, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, December 16.

1. Impeachment push turns toward Senate

  • The House will vote on the impeachment of President Donald Trump this week after spending the past three months investigating and holding hearings about the president’s dealings in Ukraine to decide whether his behavior was grave enough to qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors.
  • The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment against Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote came after a bitter two-day debate in which Democrats said it was their duty to impeach and furious Republicans defended the president and battled over process.
  • With the House vote all but assured to pass with Democrats in the majority, all eyes now turn to the Senate to see how the actual impeachment trial will take shape.
  • The ultimate outcome is virtually assured there, too, with Republicans holding the majority.
  • It is unclear how long the trial will last or exactly how it will be structured. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed that four witnesses be called, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
  • Schumer and McConnell are expected to discuss the contours of a Senate trial, much as the Democrats and Republicans did during Bill Clinton’s impeachment two decades ago.
  • “Leader McConnell has made it clear he plans to meet with Leader Schumer to discuss the contours of a trial soon,” McConnell spokesman Doug Andres said. “That timeline has not changed.”
  • Read more on what’s next HERE.



2. Inside Alabama Politics

A new edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out this morning. For the uninitiated, IAP is our sister publication where paid subscribers get the inside scoop on the various goings on, well, inside Alabama politics.
Today’s edition is a doozy, and includes the following headlines:
  • A Senate 2020 update
  • State House shakeup?
  • Battle for the Supreme Court
  • Latest AL-2 analysis
  • Another Higher Education funding fight?
  • What about that teacher pay raise?
  • Speaking of pay raises…
  • Prison contracts in question?
  • Marijuana Commission voting this week
  • Agencies butt heads over training center
  • Lurleen finally has a president
  • Next legal advisor?
  • Small town races
Read these stories and more in today’s edition HERE .
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3. Woodfin endorses Biden  

  • The mayor of Alabama’s largest city is endorsing Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination just weeks after the vice president met with a group of Southern black mayors representing millions of voters in key early primary states.
  • In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he left that Atlanta meeting in November convinced that Biden is the best choice to defeat President Donald Trump and lead the country.
  • “I think he would view mayors as his partners in the campaign and he would view us as partners in the White House,” Woodfin said. “That’s important to me.”
  • Woodfin’s endorsement, which he is expected to officially announce on Monday, is the latest amid a scramble among the 2020 candidates to shore up support with mayors.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Rep. Debbie Wood: Alabama’s Aerospace Companies Play a Pivotal Role in Our State’s Economic Growth

  • State Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, contributes an op-ed for Alabama Daily News today. In it, she highlights the significance of Alabama’s aviation and aerospace industry on the economy and how those industries are pivotal to the state’s future.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“The aerospace and aviation industry is one of the biggest economic drivers in our state, with over 300 private aerospace companies residing here – and it shows no sign of slowing down. 
“Take Blue Origin for example, the aerospace company is building a Huntsville engine production facility that they began construction on at the beginning of this year. Blue Origin has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the facility and is utilizing over two dozen Alabama suppliers for its construction. It’s also expected that the engine facility will support over 300 jobs. 
“Unfortunately, the Air Force is planning to cut off the development and certification portion of the NSSL program, known as Launch Service Agreements (LSA), before the benefits have been fully realized. The Air Force plans to down select companies from the program – meaning an Alabama company could lose funding. This would not only be a detriment to our country’s ability to compete in space with countries like Russia and China, it could hurt Alabama’s economy directly…”
  • Read Rep. Wood’s full op-ed HERE.

5. Joe Burrow wins Heisman by largest margin ever

  • LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in a record-breaking landslide, becoming the first LSU player to bring college football’s most prestigious award back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 60 years.
  • Burrow received 2,608 points and 841 first-place votes, a record 90.7% of all the first-place votes available.
  • Burrow’s margin of victory of 1,846 points broke the record of 1,750 set by O.J. Simpson of Southern California in 1968.
  • Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was second with 762 points. Quarterback Justin Fields of Ohio State was third and defensive end Chase Young of Ohio State was fourth.
  • Burrow transferred last year to LSU from Ohio State, where he was a sparingly used reserve. After finishing strong for the Tigers in 2018, he broke out this season, setting a Southeastern Conference record with 48 touchdown passes and leading top-ranked LSU (13-0) to its first College Football Playoff appearance.
  • If you haven’t seen Burrow’s acceptance speech, do yourself a favor and watch it in the full story HERE.


News Briefs

Auburn’s Derrick Brown wins Lott IMPACT Trophy

  • NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Derrick Brown of Auburn has won the Lott IMPACT Trophy given to the nation’s top defensive player who excels in both performance on the field and character off it.
  • The senior defensive tackle received the award from Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott on Sunday night at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. Brown was chosen over finalists Jordan Fuller of Ohio State, Evan Weaver of California and Isaiah Simmons of Clemson.
  • Brown, a 6-foot-5, 320-pounder, had 50 tackles, including 12.5 for a loss and four sacks this season. Off the field, Brown made the SEC academic honor roll. He graduated from Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers will play Minnesota in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
  • Brown is the first player from Auburn to win the IMPACT award, which stands for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
  • Auburn will receive a $25,000 check for its general scholarship fund. The other finalists’ schools will receive checks for $5,000.
  • Story link.

Updyke increases restitution payments

  • OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama fan convicted of poisoning Auburn University’s landmark oak trees has increased his restitution payments since prosecutors threatened to have him jailed, court records show.
  • One-time Texas state trooper Harvey Updyke has made $3,330 in court-ordered payments since an October hearing on whether he should be arrested, according to circuit court payment records.
  • The amount is nearly half as much as Updyke had paid previously since 2013 after pleading guilty to poisoning the oaks at Toomer’s Corner.
  • The increased payments came as Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker considered whether to have Updkye jailed for failing to pay about $800,000 in restitution for killing the trees with herbicide.
  • Updyke previously claimed in videos posted online that monthly expenses including rent were going up. But records show he made his largest payment of $1,266 on Nov. 6, and this month he made two payments of $399 each.
  • Updyke lives in Louisiana and failed to show up for a hearing about the payments held in Opelika on Oct. 30. A letter from Updyke’s doctor said the 71-year-old man was too ill to attend, and court records show Updyke most recently used a hospice and palliative care facility for a return address.
  • Updyke served more than 70 days in jail after admitting to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner, where Auburn fans traditionally rolled the trees with toilet paper after a win.
  • Story link.

Kidnapping victim leads Alabama deputies to slain woman

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Alabama responded to a kidnapping call to find an injured woman bound by zip ties who led deputies to a slain woman’s body, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.
  • The victim called the sheriff’s office on Friday and told deputies she was being held against her will at an apartment, but didn’t know where, news outlets reported. Deputies tracked her location to a Birmingham complex and discovered the caller bound and falling down a flight of stairs. She told them she had knowledge of a homicide and that may have been the reason she was kidnapped, Deputy Chief David Agee told news outlets.
  • Her information led detectives to a wooded area about 4 miles (6 kilometers) away, where crews found a woman’s body in a secluded area, Agee said. The body was taken to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.
  • Two suspects have been identified and a bulletin has been issued for a stolen rental car, Agee said.
  • He added that detectives are still working to establish a motive, but it’s possible all those involved knew each other.

Authorities investigate county jail inmate’s death

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Alabama are investigating the death of an inmate at a county jail.
  • The Madison County Jail inmate died Friday afternoon in Huntsville, the sheriff’s office announced. The inmate’s name was not immediately made public, news outlets reported on Sunday.
  • The agency said on Twitter that the death appeared to be related to a medical issue, but an exact cause is still being determined.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House vote, and on to the Senate: What’s next in impeachment
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham mayor backing Biden for president
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – LSU QB Joe Burrow wins Heisman Trophy in landslide vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn’s Derrick Brown wins Lott IMPACT Trophy
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama fan who poisoned Auburn trees increases restitution
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With focus on past and future, Alabama wraps up bicentennial
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court says workers can’t sue over blocked minimum wage boost
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump impeachment vote underscores a harshly partisan era
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest- December 15, 2019
AL.COM  – Small earthquake detected Sunday morning near Winfield
AL.COM  – Birmingham to open warming station Tuesday, Wednesday
AL.COM  – Alabama state superintendent’s performance above average, school board says
AL.COM  – After brutal 2019, Alabama to debate protecting police under hate crime law
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Who is Alabama’s Person of the Year?
  Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama Bicentennial Monuments unveiled
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama’s bright stars reflect on Bicentennial
Montgomery Advertiser – After 46 years, owner of iconic downtown Prattville hardware store calling it quits
YellowHammer News – Birmingham Design Review approves $123 million plan for BJCC Legacy Arena renovations
YellowHammer News – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby awarded the UAB President’s Medal
YellowHammer News – Have yourself a merry little Victorian holiday at Birmingham’s 1898 mansion B&Bs
Dothan Eagle – Holiday blues do exist; don’t let depression ruin your holidays
Dothan Eagle – Structure fire reported at house on Walnut Street
Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Who has the authority to order flags to be lowered?
Tuscaloosa News – Two Georgia teenagers arrested in weekend mall shooting
Tuscaloosa News – Lawsuit filed after recording banned at utility rate hearing
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama man arrested in fire vehicle theft that led to chase
Decatur Daily – Decatur branding effort fizzles after ‘wasted effort, energy and time’
Decatur Daily – A Veteran Remembered: Girl Scout on mission to place markers on veterans’ graves
Decatur Daily – Cemetery luminary tour joins annual Christmas Tour of Homes
Times Daily – Group considers major Tennessee Street project
Times Daily – Covenant students ‘Feed the Need’ with food packing party
Times Daily – Nearly 550 students participate in UNA fall commencement
Gadsden Times – Storms expected in Gadsden area after 6 p.m. Monday
Gadsden Times – Alabama to debate protecting police under hate crime law
Gadsden Times – Space Command HQ decision drawing near, Sen. Jones says
Anniston Star – Calhoun County school system faces crucial hearing on integration
Anniston Star – Owners, city leaders grapple with aftermath of night-spot shootings
Anniston Star – Students compete in robotics tourney at Anniston Middle
Troy Messenger – Fire officials stress safety during winter. holidays
Troy Messenger – Cradle to Career: Workforce development a priority
Troy Messenger – Britt encourages graduates to ‘reach back, give back’
Andalusia Star News – RLES soars over 500+ schools in national competition
Andalusia Star News – PHS lauded for safety practices
Andalusia Star News – SES hosts Pioneer Day
Opelika-Auburn News – SPECIAL REPORT: Can ‘Cyber Moonshot’ save America?
Opelika-Auburn News – Don’t let a porch pirate steal your Christmas cheer
Opelika-Auburn News – Ivanka Trump will do her job, whatever that entails, no matter what happens in Washington
Daily Mountain Eagle – JPD: Cell phones can be costly holiday distraction
Daily Mountain Eagle – Curry Middle again receives prestigious ‘Lighthouse’ status
Daily Mountain Eagle – Gallery: Carbon Hill hosts Christmas parade
Trussville Tribune – Blount County man killed in 2-vehicle crash on Saturday
Trussville Tribune – Minor earthquake detected northeast of Winfield on Sunday morning
Trussville Tribune – Man allegedly steals Alabama fire chief’s vehicle, leads police on high-speed chase
Athens News Courier – Ruf named junior member of Angus Association
Athens News Courier – USDA extends deadlines for programs
Athens News Courier – Statewide development group honors lawmakers Orr, Collins
Sand Mountain Reporter – School News: What goes on in Marshall Christian School’s busy lunchroom?
Sand Mountain Reporter – School News: Wilson has worked as librarian, art teacher for 10 years
Sand Mountain Reporter – School News: Stallions’ biology teacher has loved science her entire life
WSFA Montgomery – Scammers targeting holiday shoppers, AARP Alabama warns
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama celebrates Bicentennial Saturday with day of events
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery retailers gear up for ‘panic week’ of holiday shopping
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tools to keep yourself safe while holiday shopping
Fox 6 Birmingham – 2 people shot and killed, 1 injured at Jefferson Co. apartment complex
Fox 6 Birmingham – Arrangements announced for Aniah Blanchard memorial
WAFF Huntsville – Parents react to pill bottle candy given at Madison Christmas Parade
WAFF Huntsville – Deadly car fire under investigation in Madison County
WAFF Huntsville – U.S. Senator Doug Jones breaks down impact of defense bill on Redstone Arsenal
WKRG Mobile – Lovely Sunday, tracking line of thunderstorms Monday evening
WKRG Mobile – Faith Time: Remembering Seniors at the holidays
WKRG Mobile – BREAKING: I-65 NB lanes closed following fatal crash near Government Boulevard
WTVY Dothan – Law enforcement helps out furry friends
WTVY Dothan – New area organization aims to educate local voters
WTVY Dothan – U.S. Senator Doug Jones and Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting discuss Ozark police shooting
WASHINGTON POST  – Schumer calls for testimony from Mulvaney, Bolton in proposal to GOP on parameters for Trump impeachment trial
WASHINGTON POST  – U.N. climate talks end with hard feelings, few results and new doubts about global unity
NEW YORK TIMES  – There Are Economic Warning Signs for Trump in the Midwest
NEW YORK TIMES  – In 2020 Census, Big Efforts in Some States. In Others, Not So Much.
NEW YORK TIMES  – New Kind of Student Loan Gains Major Support. Is There a Downside?

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