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Daily News Digest – January 6, 2020

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, January 6.



1. Session preview: Police jurisdiction issue returns for 2020

  • There are 29 days (!) until the 2020 Regular Session begins on Feb. 4.
  • For the last few months, ADN has been reporting on some of the issues and bills that are likely to be discussed, and we’ll continue that coverage over the next month.
  • One issue you should expect to hear about is police jurisdictions. You know, those 1.5- and 3-mile borders around some cities where residents and businesses get municipal services like fire and police protection at a reduced cost.
  • Current state law says police jurisdictions can extend three miles beyond the corporate limits of a city with more than 6,000 people and 1.5 miles beyond the corporate limits of cities with fewer than 6,000 people.
  • In the 2019 session, State Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Daphne, had a bill to keep police jurisdictions and taxing authorities within cities’ corporate limits. He called it a “grenade” of a bill meant to raise awareness to the issue. It was amended to grandfather in existing police jurisdictions but still would have eliminated building code enforcement within even current police jurisdictions. It would have also limited city planning commissions’ reach outside of corporate limits. The bill passed the Senate, then died in the House.
  • Elliott is working on a new bill he says will allow counties to have referendums to keep existing police jurisdictions.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


2. New Byrne ad takes on Kaepernick, Squad

  • There are 57 days between now and the March 3 primary election. That’s a small window to campaign in, especially when you consider the Iran situation and the legislative session burning up a lot of the oxygen in the news cycle.
  • So, you’re about to start seeing A LOT of campaign advertising over the airwaves, as well as on your phones and in the mail.
  • In the U.S. Senate race, it looks like Congressman Bradley Byrne is first out of the gate in the new year with a campaign ad aimed to position himself against liberal members of Congress and outside activists.
  • In the new ad, Byrne sits by a campfire and recalls the military service of his late brother, Dale.
  • He says Rep. Ilan Omar, D-Minn., is “cheapening 9/11” and that “entitled athletes” are dishonoring the flag, as an image of former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shows on the screen.
  • Byrne’s ad may be well timed in terms of connecting with all of those getting riled up about the Iran situation. Both Omar and Kaepernick have waded into the debate recently.
  • The Byrne campaign would not say how large the new ad buy is, only offering that it would be seen on broadcast, cable and digital platforms in an expanded footprint of state markets.
  • Read more and watch the ad HERE.


3. Trump doubles down on attacks; Pelosi announces resolution limiting war powers

  • President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that Iranian cultural sites were fair game for the U.S. military, dismissing concerns within his own administration that doing so could constitute a war crime under international law. He also warned Iraq that he would levy punishing sanctions if it expelled American troops in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian official.
  • Trump first raised the prospect of targeting Iranian cultural sites Saturday in a tweet. Speaking with reporters Sunday as he returned to Washington from Florida, he doubled down, despite international prohibitions.
  • “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said.
  • Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave notice that the House would be voting this week on a war powers resolution to limit the president’s military actions regarding Iran. In a letter to House Democrats, Pelosi called the airstrike “provocative and disproportionate” and that it had “endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.” A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate.
  • Read the full story, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s interview on Face the Nation as well as Pelosi’s message to Democrats, HERE.


4. School report cards offer wealth of data

  • Almost eight years ago, the Alabama Legislature passed a new law mandating that the State Department of Education publish a simple, yet comprehensive report card on all public schools.
  • The idea was that the A-F grades, along with specific criteria for why schools succeed or struggle, would give parents and community leaders the tools they need to demand more of local schools.
  • About two years ago, the school grading system was at long last implemented and now, here in 2020, Alabama’s Education Report Card is fully online with a wealth of relevant information published for all to see.
  • For instance, the high school I went to showed a slip from an 84 to an 82 in its overall score and saw academic achievement fall from a 76 to 69. Ouch.
  • Of course, the data goes much deeper than that, giving parents, education advocates and community leaders considerable tools to hold the education system accountable or see what funding gaps may exist.
  • Again, it’s meant to be simple enough, but it helps to have a tutorial. Thankfully,’s Trish Crain is up to the task. Her story provides an excellent guide through the State Department of Education’s report card website, offering screenshots and helpful tips along the way.
  • Want a good example of what this new data can provide? Crunching the numbers, Trish points out that the poverty rate for black students is 73%, compared to 41% for white students. That may seem obvious, but until you have the actual data and layer it on top of academic performance, how can you start a conversation about the equitable distribution of resources?
  • Also, as the state begins to implement a new literacy law, Trish’s reporting shows that passing grades for schools don’t exactly correlate with proficiency in reading for the student population. I think we might be hearing a lot more about that over the next several months.
  • The full story is worth a read HERE. Also, here is Trish’s Twitter thread extrapolating some of the more interesting conclusions.


5. What will Tua do?

  • University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will announce today whether he will enter the NFL draft or return to college for another season.
  • At a news conference with Head Coach Nick Saban scheduled for 11:00 this morning, Tua is expected to reveal his long-anticipated decision.
  • Tagovailoa is recovering from season-ending hip surgery and has not played since being injured at Mississippi State on Nov. 16. He had surgery two days later.
  • Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and safety Xavier McKinney are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.
  • They announced their decisions recently on Twitter and Instagram, and are projected as likely first-round picks.
  • Two other underclassmen, middle linebacker Dylan Moses and left tackle Alex Leatherwood, have both said they plan to return for their senior seasons.
  • Read more HERE.


News Briefs


Hearing scheduled for man accused of killing sheriff

  • HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A man accused of killing an Alabama sheriff is set to appear before a judge for a preliminary hearing, court records show.
  • The preliminary hearing is to be held Monday for William Chase Johnson. The 18-year-old faces capital murder charges in the shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff John “Big John” Williams. Williams was shot and killed Nov. 23 at a gas station in the county where he served as sheriff. Johnson was arrested several hours later.
  • Johnson is the son of a sheriff’s deputy in neighboring Montgomery County, a public information officer for the sheriff’s department confirmed to The Associated Press.
  • Law enforcement officials have released little information about the slaying. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has said Williams was responding to a noise complaint.
  • Court records show that investigators subpoenaed an iPhone that belongs to Johnson.
  • More than 2,000 mourners attended funeral services for Williams last month.

Authorities: Deputies fatally shoot gun-wielding man

  • ELKMONT, Ala. (AP) — A man brandishing a shotgun was shot to death by Alabama sheriff’s deputies as they responded to a domestic violence call on Sunday night, the agency confirmed.
  • The shooting by Limestone County deputies happened after 5 p.m. at a home in a rural area of Elkmont, sheriff’s office spokesman Stephen Young told news outlets.
  • George Dison, 57, had walked out of the woods near the scene and approached deputies with a shotgun, Young said. Dison ignored orders to drop the weapon, then pointed it at the deputies, Young added. The deputies fatally shot Dison and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • An autopsy will be performed at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Limestone County Coroner Mike West said.
  • The state Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the shooting.

Alabama companies must pay disabled workers back wages

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A recycling center that employs adults with intellectual disabilities in Alabama should have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to its workers, federal labor officials said.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that employees were rightfully owed $540,000.
  • Montgomery Arc and two of its partners – Hanan Center and McInnis Recycling Center – will now pay $541,597 in back wages to 80 employees, federal officials said.
  • The deal is part of a settlement between the organizations and the federal agency, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.
  • Read more HERE.

Police: Speed a factor in crash that killed 3 teens

  • GENEVA, Ala. (AP) — Speed was a factor in the Christmas night crash that killed three 16-year-old high school students and injured two other passengers, according to initial findings released by police in Alabama.
  • The posted speed limit in that area was 25 MPH, but the five girls were traveling “well above that” when their small sport-utility vehicle went over a hill, ran off a road and crashed into trees in south Alabama, Geneva police Lt. Michael McDuffie told news outlets on Thursday. Initial findings showed the vehicle may have swerved to avoid a deer, and no skid marks or any signs of braking were present, he added.
  • The three victims, Cassidy Dunn, Emilee Fain, and Addyson Martin, were longtime friends and on a cheerleading team together, news outlets reported. The group had gathered for Christmas at someone’s home and were headed elsewhere. Addyson was driving, and Cassidy and Emilee were sharing the other front seat, McDuffie said. None of the three girls killed were wearing seatbelts. Emilee’s sister, Mollie Fain, and Emma Justice were in the back seat, police confirmed. They both were wearing seat belts.
  • The roof of the car had to be cut off to remove the girls. The backseat passenger who was seriously injured is expected to recover. The other passenger’s injuries were listed as not serious at the time.
  • Neither alcohol, drugs nor distracted driving were involved in the crash, McDuffie added. Geneva police haven’t finalized an official crash report.

2 killed in plane crash in north Alabama

  • CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) — Two people have died in a plane crash in north Alabama, authorities said.
  • The crash happened shortly after 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Cullman Regional Airport, news outlets reported.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is handling the investigation. The names of the victims were not immediately released.

Rough weather sinks 3 boats during catfishing tournament

  • Three boats capsized and sank Saturday during a catfishing tournament on a north Alabama lake, but no injuries were reported, authorities said.
  • The boats were participating in the annual Winter Blues on Wheeler tournament on Lake Wheeler. They capsized shortly after setting out from Ingalls Harbor in Decatur.
  • High winds caused swells of up to 7 or 8 feet, authorities told news outlets.
  • “It was just not a good time to be out in the water this morning,” Michael Overall with the Morgan County Rescue Squad told WAAY-TV. “When you look at the water and it looks like the back side of the ocean, you might just want to stay in the house for a little while.”
  • Six boats were missing when the rescue squad was called around 5 a.m. Saturday. All the boats were located but three had sunk.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Debate over police jurisdictions coming back to State House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Byrne ad targets Kaepernick, ‘squad’ for questioning military actions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump doubles down on striking cultural sites in Iran; Pelosi announces resolution limiting war powers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – What will Tua do? Tide QB to announce his plans


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Recycling companies must pay disabled workers back wages


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Small cracks have appeared in GOP unity on impeachment trial process


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Attorneys: Alabama making little progress in prison staffing


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Body IDed as missing woman who texted she was ‘in trouble’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Trump says 52 targets already lined up if Iran retaliates


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Census estimates show increase in Alabama’s population; House seat still at risk


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – AG Marshall: Alabama already has gun, stand your ground laws for churches


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 3, 2019


AL.COM – How to find and read your school’s report card


AL.COM  – Much of the South is growing rapidly, but Alabama not so much


AL.COM  – ‘Trash Costs Cash’: Roadside litter costs Alabama $6.8 million


AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: Dr. Jill Biden on how she felt ‘betrayed’ by her faith


AL.COM  – Alabama research leads to new treatment for painful illness


AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Welcome to the Golden Age of the schoolyard bully


Montgomery Advertiser – Milbrook police arrest man who pointed rifle at officer


Montgomery Advertiser – From Africa to Alabama: Tim Cearley is working to reach the unreached


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery teen receives life threatening injuries in shooting


YellowHammer News – VIDEO: Iran situation isn’t Trump’s ‘Benghazi’, Jones tries to sell being undecided, Alabama to revisit guns in church and more on Guerrilla Politics


YellowHammer News – Wattsworth Weevil the latest pest to join ‘Weevil Way’ in Enterprise


YellowHammer News – New species of fossil shark named for beloved Birmingham volunteer


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Did the building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Cherokee Avenue used to be a grocery store?


Dothan Eagle – Investigations ongoing in two different October shootings, that left two men dead


Dothan Eagle – Investigations ongoing in two different October shootings, that left two men dead


Tuscaloosa News – Hearing scheduled for man accused of killing sheriff


Tuscaloosa News – Paws and Pages: Pet adoption event


Tuscaloosa News – 2 killed in plane crash in north Alabama


Decatur Daily – Flu, other respiratory viruses circulating in state


Decatur Daily – Marker recognizes historical role of Decatur’s old Carver Elementary building


Decatur Daily – Census estimates show increase in Alabama’s population; House seat still at risk


Times Daily – Grant will allow Leighton to improve its water system


Times Daily – Howell Graves Preschool receives robotics grant


Times Daily – Census estimates show Alabama’s population is growing


Gadsden Times – It’s reality TV, but not the reality now at the Etowah Co. Jail


Gadsden Times – Trendy scooters bring safety, regulatory worries to Mobile


Gadsden Times – Registration open for startup weekend event to be held in Gadsden


Anniston Star – Area families mourn loss of loved ones in 2019 homicides


Anniston Star – Party activists taking sides in GOP, Dem primaries


Anniston Star – Piedmont polar plungers raise funds for foundation


Troy Messenger – TAKING ACTION: Law enforcement, pastors to train church security following Texas shooting


Troy Messenger – TAC to kick off 2020 season with annual membership drive


Troy Messenger – Tickets on sale for Colley Complex Mardi Gras Gala


Andalusia Star News – 53 tornado warnings went off in Covington County in past decade


Andalusia Star News – Physically challenged deer hunt set for this month


Andalusia Star News – State Board of Veterans Affairs selects new veterans home site


Opelika-Auburn News – Blanchard case wakes up students, parents


Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC prepping for possible increase in flu cases


Opelika-Auburn News – Beauregard water service interruption Jan. 9


Daily Mountain Eagle – Davis puts retirement on hold for Tucker


Daily Mountain Eagle – Scholarship deadline approaching for Space Camp


Daily Mountain Eagle – T.R. Simmons provides new start for Dickerson


Trussville Tribune – Trussville Police capture suspect after jewelry store break-in and chase


Trussville Tribune – GoFundMe account set up for family of Paighton Houston, family places yellow ribbons


Trussville Tribune – Family of Paighton Houston still gathering Saturday after body found in Hueytown


Athens News Courier – Hearing scheduled for man accused of killing Lowndes County sheriff


Sand Mountain Reporter – Buckelew selected as Wallace State’s 2020 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty honoree


Sand Mountain Reporter – Beck wins APA Emerging Journalist Award


Sand Mountain Reporter – BMS hosts American Character Community Service Expo


WSFA Montgomery – Auburn police searching for suspect in Friday night business shooting


WSFA Montgomery – Trussville painted yellow for Paighton Houston


WSFA Montgomery – Frazer United responds to proposed United Methodist Church split


Fox 6 Birmingham – Bail: The balance between rights and public safety


Fox 6 Birmingham – Trussville officers nab jewel thief after car chase


Fox 6 Birmingham – Officer-involved shooting under investigation in Limestone County


WAFF Huntsville – Arab Police investigating Saturday morning homicide


WAFF Huntsville – One person dead 2 others hurt following crash in Morgan County


WAFF Huntsville – Father, daughter killed in plane crash in Cullman


WKRG Mobile – Oil price keeps rising, industry frets over Iran-US conflict


WKRG Mobile – Car struck by train in Summerville area of Mobile


WKRG Mobile – Deadly plane crash at Cullman Regional Airport; investigation underway


WTVY Dothan – State Board of Veterans Affairs selects new veterans home site


WTVY Dothan – Missing Alabama woman’s remains discovered in shallow grave


WTVY Dothan – Ozark police probe deadly shootings of two men


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump threatens to strike Iranian cultural sites and impose ‘very big’ sanctions on Iraq as tensions rise


WASHINGTON POST  – Flouting War Powers Act, Trump claims his tweets are sufficient notice to Congress that U.S. may strike Iran


NEW YORK TIMES  – Oil Prices Surge as Markets Digest Iran News


NEW YORK TIMES  – To Fight Climate Change, One City May Ban Heating Homes With Natural Gas


NEW YORK TIMES  – What if a Vaping Tax Encouraged Cigarette Smoking?: Policies aimed at youth vaping may have negative effects on adult smokers




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