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Daily News Digest – February 24, 2020

Presented by the

Yes For The Best Education Committee

Good morning!

It’s going to be a great day. I can just feel it.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, February 24.

1. In the Weeds w/ Jeff Sessions

  • In the Weeds is back for a second season.
  • At long last, our Alabama Daily News podcast about politics and policy is back up with three episodes landing this week.
  • On Friday, I interviewed each of the top contenders for the GOP primary for U.S. Senate: Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville and Bradley Byrne.
  • We’ll have each of those interviews with full ADN stories out this week.
  • My friend and seasoned political consultant David Mowery joined me for this first episode to discuss the state of play in the Senate race and offer a little analysis on campaigning and fundraising.

  • First up is Sessions, the former U.S. attorney general and also longtime occupant of the seat he’s now running to reclaim.
  • We spoke for 20 minutes about why he’s running again, what kind of senator he wants to be if he wins, parochial interests versus national interests, and what a budget hawk thinks about a $22 trillion national debt.
  • He also responded to attacks from his opponents and went in depth about his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election (along with President Donald Trump’s frustration over it).
  • Sessions was determined to drive home a message to Republican voters that he has not changed from the rock-ribbed, leadership-agitating conservative he’s always been, even if the last 15 months have seen him go from the highest levels of power in Washington to campaigning along country roads back home in Alabama.
  • Read the full story and listen to our complete interview HERE (Sessions interview starts at 25:45)
  • The In the Weeds w/ Alabama Daily News podcast also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher & Android.



2. Leaders: Cruise passengers won’t come to Anniston

  • Alabama’s state and federal political leaders confirmed Sunday that a Department of Homeland Security facility in Anniston will not be used to quarantine passengers from a cruise ship known to have been home to the spread of COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus.
  • News broke over the weekend that the Federal Emergency Management Agency Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston would be considered to house passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Some Americans with the virus who were on the cruise ship were evacuated to the U.S. from Japan, the Associated Press reported.
  • However, by Sunday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, Gov. Kay Ivey and Congressman Mike Rogers each posted on Twitter that they had spoken to President Donald Trump and he had assured them no Coronavirus patients would be brought to Alabama.
  • “I just got off the phone with the President. He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the Coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama,” Shelby said via Twitter.
  • Read more from me HERE.
  • Also, the Anniston Star has been doing terrific reporting on this situation all weekend and into Monday. Read the latest from Tim Lockette, Ben Nunnally and Mia Kortright
  • HERE.






A message from the

Yes For The Best Education Committee

  • Raise your hand if you like being dead last in math? How about 49th in reading?
  • Just what I thought. We’re NOT ok with that. So let’s change it.
  • We’re one of the last states in the U.S. to elect its school boards.
  • On Tuesday March 3rd, Vote YES on Amendment One to change that.
  • Our 2-year college system did the same thing a few years ago, and it’s changing for the better.
  • Vote YES on Amendment One, March 3rd.
Paid for by Yes For The Best Education Committee
P.O. Box 11000 Montgomery, AL 36191

3. Payday loan bill dies, but issue still alive

  • Payday lending reform, specifically of the fees allowed to be charged to borrowers, has become a perennial issue in the Alabama State House.
  • A bill by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, to give borrowers up to 30 days to repay the money instead of what can be 10 to 20 days, was killed earlier this month on an 8-6 vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
  • Lenders say their numbers have decreased in recent years and more regulations will impact them further, sending Alabamians to online lenders that aren’t regulated by the state.
  • Max Wood, a payday lender and president of Borrow Smart, a payday industry group, told Alabama Daily News that the number of licensed storefront payday lenders in Alabama has declined by about 50% in recent years to about 600.
  • Wood said there are two reasons for that: a proliferation in online lenders and enforcement of Alabama’s $500 cap on the amount of money people can borrow at one time.
  • Orr has sponsored a variety of payday-lending reform bills in recent years, many getting killed in committee as this year’s legislation did. Orr said he isn’t giving up.
  • “I’m still committed to the issue and getting a more fair rate for Alabama borrowers,” he said last week.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



4. After Nevada, moderates try to slow Sanders’ momentum

  • Bernie Sanders’ commanding Nevada caucus victory made him a top target for his Democratic rivals and a growing source of anxiety for establishment Democrats worried that the nomination of an avowed democratic socialist could cost the party in November.
  • The win solidified Sanders’ front-runner status as the race turned to Saturday’s presidential primary in South Carolina. The Vermont senator was trounced in the state by more than 40 percentage points in 2016, but he is hoping that his success in diverse Nevada will prove to black voters in South Carolina that his campaign has broad appeal.
  • Any momentum that Sanders gains in South Carolina could be devastating to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is looking to the state for a commanding victory that can keep his candidacy alive through Super Tuesday. The March 3 contests will unfold in 14 states, including Alabama, and award one-third of the delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.
  • Full story HERE.



5. News Briefs

Convicted killer escapes from Alabama work-release facility

  • Authorities are searching for a convicted killer they say escaped from a work-release facility.
  • The inmate escaped from the Childersburg Work Release Center Saturday night, the Alabama Department of Corrections said in a statement.
  • Daniel Miner was not found in his bed during a count of inmates at the facility, officials said.
  • Miner was last seen wearing state prison-issued white clothing, WHNT-TV reported. He’s serving a life sentence for a 1994 murder in Marshall County.
  • The inmate is white, 5’6″, 192 lbs, bald, bearded and has blue eyes.
  • Childersburg is about 30 miles southeast of Birmingham.

Fishery raising flounder for first time on Alabama coast

  • GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s conservation agency says it’s raising flounder for the first time to supplement a decline in the natural population of the flat fish in coastal waters.
  • Workers with the Marine Resources Division are tending to thousands of larval flounder at a state hatchery in Gulf Shores, according to a news release from the agency. They hope to get between 1,000 and 5,000 fish from the hatchery in the first year with a goal of releasing about 60,000 fish annually in a few years.
  • Those fish would help add to a population of southern flounder that’s been falling since 2008. Scientists aren’t sure what is causing the decline.
  • The state decreased bag limits for the fish this year and closed the season for the whole month of November to protect the flounder that were migrating through coastal bays on their way to winter spawning grounds.
  • Adding to the natural population will take time. Max Westerndorf, the hatchery manager, said it takes about 60 days for a young flounder to reach a length of 1 to 1.5 inches.
  • “My goal for this first year is to get one up to a 2-inch fish,” he said. “That will prove that we have successfully closed the cycle, and we can increase that significantly next year.”
  • Young flounder go through a metamorphosis where they switch from swimming upright to lying flat on the bottom, and their right eye moves to the left side of the head.

State reviewing possible artifacts at construction site

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s preservation agency is investigating whether pottery shards, bone fragments and spearheads found near where a subdivision is being built might be evidence of an ancient settlement.
  • reported that the Alabama Historical Commission is reviewing reports of nearby residents and an Army archaeologist who raised concerns about items found near a development called Flint Crossing, located in Huntsville near the Flint River.
  • Jeff Benton Homes began building the subdivision last year, but nearby residents reported finding items that could be linked to a onetime Indian settlement in and around the site. They contacted Ben Hoksbergen, post archaeologist at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, who said he informed the developer and the city about the finds in mid-2019.
  • Jeff Benton, owner of Jeff Benton Homes, said in an email the company had no prior knowledge of “significant artifacts” or human burials on the site.
  • The Alabama Historical Commission said it couldn’t comment on an active investigation, but law requires that construction stop if human remains are found at a site.
  • Hoksbergen said an assessment of the site conducted a decade ago by Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research found a large number of artifacts.
  • “Normally when we find five artifacts or more, we consider it high density and potentially National Register eligible,” Hoksbergen said. “TVAR, some of their shovel tests had well over 100 artifacts in each test. So that’s extraordinary, especially in an upland area like this.”



A message from the

Alabama State Port Authority

Alabama’s leaders are investing in the state’s only seaport.
The Rebuild Alabama Act will modernize our seaport to leverage $1.2 billion already spent in shore-side and harbor improvements.
A modern and efficient seaport, coupled with excellent rail, waterways and highway networks lowers shipping rates for Alabama businesses, attracts new investments and creates jobs.
The PORT: Investing today in Alabama’s tomorrow.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Sessions campaigns as the consistent conservative he’s always been


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Leaders: Cruise passengers won’t come to Anniston


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Payday loan bill dies, but issue not dead


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Nevada, moderates try to slow Sanders’ momentum


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Opioid settlement still elusive as some lawyers criticize it


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – GOP attorneys general seek to block Equal Rights Amendment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US ‘honor roll’ of historic places often ignores slavery


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – February 21, 2020


AL.COM – Calhoun County officials press on to ensure coronavirus patients don’t come


AL.COM – Anniston community, city leaders torn on coronavirus patients coming to Alabama


AL.COM – US ‘honor roll’ of historic places often ignores slavery


AL.COM – ‘Just Mercy’ takes home 4 trophies at NAACP Image Awards


AL.COM – Amazon’s Nazi ‘Hunters’ show depicts Huntsville, Von Braun


AL.COM – Plan to bring coronavirus evacuees to Alabama cancelled by Trump, lawmakers say


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: What’s in Birmingham’s secret $2.6 million contract? You don’t get to see. And here’s why


Montgomery Advertiser – Not in my backyard: Alabama balks at plan to house coronavirus patients


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama inmate sentenced to life for murder escapes from work-release facility


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Unwilling to just wait’: Alabama State sit-in brought change, cost protesting students dearly


YellowHammer News – Montgomery earns two Smart 50 awards for innovation


YellowHammer News – Shelby: Coronavirus-infected cruise ship passengers not coming to Alabama


YellowHammer News – Alabama film industry set for blockbuster year after record 2019


BIRMINGHAM WATCH – Legislature to Get Bills Addressing Needs of Alabama’s Troubled Prisons


BIRMINGHAM WATCH – Payday Loan Bill Dies, but Issue Not Dead


Tuscaloosa News – Convicted killer escapes from Alabama work-release facility


Tuscaloosa News – 2nd person in days killed by Mardi Gras float in New Orleans


Tuscaloosa News – Soggy streets at University of Alabama


Decatur Daily – Leaders: Positive change coming to Morgan, Decatur


Decatur Daily – ‘Alternative cover’ landfill bill moves forward, but coal ash no longer allowed


Decatur Daily – Explosive growth not a given for towns near automakers


Times Daily – Zeus gets around without paws-ing


Times Daily – Tuscumbia City Hall paid off earlier than expected


Times Daily – Montgomery Avenue has new ‘Shine On Sheffield’ banners


Anniston Star – FAQ: COVID-19, where it’s from and how to avoid it


Anniston Star – PHOTOS: Anniston, Calhoun County grapple with coronavirus plans


Anniston Star – Officials say plan to house Covid-19 patients in Anniston is canceled


Dothan Eagle – Watch: Inmate falls through ceiling during attempted escape from Ohio jail


Dothan Eagle – Florida man seriously injured when car hits tree


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: What are the laws for campaign signs on highways?


Gadsden Times – Safety in stores: Sheriff speaks to business people


Gadsden Times – Officials: Anniston virus quarantine plans canceled


Troy Messenger – Sales tax holiday continues for severe weather supplies


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn’s new police chief wants ‘to build on the success’


Opelika-Auburn News – Nursing students work with dogs for research, stress relief


Opelika-Auburn News – Jones to leave Opelika council after decades of service


Daily Mountain Eagle – Over 300 miles of roads need major work in county


Daily Mountain Eagle – Nauvoo woman arrested following pursuit


Daily Mountain Eagle – Governor’s Office offering internship opportunity


Sand Mountain Reporter – Sen. Doug Jones to visit Guntersville


Sand Mountain Reporter – Snead State welcomes new addition to career, technical faculty


WSFA Montgomery – Man arrested after admitting to torching vehicle over a family dispute


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery being awarded for technological advances


WSFA Montgomery – Teenager arrested after high speed chase in Morgan County


WRBC Fox 6 Birmingham – Anniston city leaders blindsided by plan to use local FEMA facility as part of Coronavirus quarantine


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Authorities searching for convicted murderer


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Payday loan bill dies, but issue not dead


WAFF Huntsville – Community members and families participate in third annual Madison Ready Fest


WAFF Huntsville – Drivers concerned with potholes on city and county roads in Huntsville


WAFF Huntsville – Anniston city leaders blindsided by plan to use local FEMA facility as part of Coronavirus quarantine


WKRG Mobile – Governor Kay Ivey: President Trump cancels plans for cruise ship coronavirus quarantine in Alabama


WKRG Mobile – 12-year-old accidentally shot with flare gun loaded with a shotgun shell in Irvington


WKRG Mobile – Florida man arrested on child sex charges


WTVY Dothan – Watch: The $10 million con man


WTVY Dothan – Newman confirms he suffered head injury in Daytona 500 crash


WTVY Dothan – Blind, deaf dog survives being snatched by hawk, owner says


WASHINGTON POST – Trump announces $3 billion defense deal with India


WASHINGTON POST – Bernie Sanders, powered by diverse liberal coalition, forces a reckoning for Democrats


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. Supreme Court to decide winner in case of gas pipeline vs. Appalachian Trail


NEW YORK TIMES – One Side of a Nuclear Waste Fight: Trump. The Other: His Administration.


NEW YORK TIMES – Sanders Looks to Knock Out Biden as Pressure Builds on Democrats


NEW YORK TIMES – Coronavirus Live Updates: Outbreaks Around the World Raise Fears of Pandemic



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