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Daily News Digest – July 11, 2019

Good Morning!
Here’s your Daily News news for Thursday, July 11.


1. Storm veers west.


  • The “tropical cyclone” in the Gulf could be a tropical storm or even a hurricane by the time it makes landfall tomorrow, but its track is now taking it west into Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • It looks like Alabama’s coast will be spared the worst of the wind and rain, while many parts of the state could benefit from the rainfall. The storm may also keep an algae bloom from entering our shores and closing beaches.
  • It’s a slow-moving storm with a lot of rain, and that’s bad news for New Orleans, which sits in its direct path.
  • The Big Easy is already flooding with the worst of the rain yet to come.
  • Welcome back to hurricane season. We’ll be dealing with this through November.
  • Read more, see the latest charts, and watch James Spann’s analysis from the Alabama News Center HERE.


2. Community Colleges get funding bump.

  • Alabama’s 23 community colleges all will see an increase in funding in the upcoming year.
  • And for the second year, some will get an extra bump in state dollars based on how well they’re retaining students and getting them to graduation.
  • The Alabama Community College System Board met in downtown Montgomery yesterday to discuss and vote on the funding.
  • Fiscal 2019-2020 will be the second year the “performance-based outcomes” model is used to distribute a portion of schools’ state dollars.
  • “…It’s kind of like a reward, in a way,” Chancellor Jimmy Baker told Alabama Daily News after the board meeting.
  • “It works in the reverse as well, so it may look like they got a bigger bump, but someone else may have gotten a lesser amount.”
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell and Caroline Beck and see the full community college funding chart HERE.


3. Toyota shifts gears for Huntsville plant.

  • Toyota says it will scrap plans to build the Corolla compact car at a new factory under construction in Alabama.
  • Instead it will build a new unspecified SUV at the plant it is building with Mazda in Huntsville.
  • The company said Wednesday that the decision is being made in response to growing demand for SUVs and light trucks. For the first half of this year, Corolla sales are down 5.3 percent, to just under 153,000.
  • Toyota will continue to build Corollas at its factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi.
  • The new $1.6 billion Alabama plant is expected to start making vehicles in 2021. Mazda also plans to build a new yet-to-be-unveiled SUV there.
  • The combined factories will employ up to 4,000 workers.


4. Skip Tucker: Rolling like Thunder.

  • Skip Tucker is back this week with a column about the evolution of news in Alabama, complete with tales from his days as a newsman.
  • The Alabama Press Association has been helping support the newspaper industry though good times and bad since the 1870s.
  • The organization recently held its annual summer convention in Orange Beach (ADN was proud to be there) and continued its tradition of recognizing the excellent work of writers, editors and publishers.
  • Skip toasts those winners and has some great stories from yesteryear.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Bill O’Connor settled something within APA that had become disputatious. Its prestigious annual Better Newspapers Contest has become incestuous. The newspaper that won an award selected next year’s winner. As papers began to consolidate, an award went most often to another paper within the fold.
“O’Connor instituted a swap system with press associations in neighboring states. They’d judge Alabama’s entries and vice versa. Sheldon Prince and I formed the notion so OC included us in the judging in Kentucky…
“Prince judged the General Excellence category, the star lode. Never one to shrink, Prince announced to the twin meeting that he couldn’t find a Kentucky paper worthy of the General Excellence award. He gave a second place. There was some muttering.
“One Kentucky Gentleman that night did a wonderful thing. Free liquor to a convention full of newsfolk is like, well, free liquor. No bottle was left standing. Neither was one of the Kentucky publishers.” 
  • Read the full column HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.

Trump to hold news conference on census citizenship question
  • President Donald Trump said he’ll hold a news conference Thursday to talk about the 2020 census and his push to include a question on citizenship.
  • A Supreme Court ruling has temporarily barred the question, but Trump has said he may issue an executive order or memorandum to try to force the issue.
  • The government has already begun the process of printing the census survey without that question.
  • An executive order would not, by itself, override court rulings blocking the question. But such a move could give administration lawyers a new basis to try to convince federal courts the question could be included.
Alabama cotton farmers may be affected by new virus
  • Alabama cotton farmers will face threats to their crops this year in the form of a new virus with no known cure.
  • WSFA-TV reports the cotton leafroll dwarf virus is a new strain of cotton blue disease.
  • The Alabama Cooperative Extension System says the virus is transmitted by aphids and diminishes blooms and bolls in the upper canopy, resulting in lower yields, mainly in late-planted cotton.
  • The new strain was discovered in Alabama in 2017 but has been observed in Brazil since 2006. It has since been confirmed in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
  • The virus reduced cotton yields by nearly 50,000 bales in 2018.
  • Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady said symptoms include red leaf veins, cupped leaves and sterility.
  • Hornady says it will likely take years to develop new resistant cotton cultivars.
Chlorine leak causes scare in Pelham
  • Authorities have asked residents to stay inside after a chlorine leak was discovered near homes and businesses in suburban Birmingham.
  • Pelham Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt says a worker discovered a leaky container containing about 150 pounds of chlorine gas inside a water treatment station Wednesday. He says a resident had called after smelling something unusual in the area.
  • One person was sent to a hospital with breathing problems, but no serious injuries were reported.
  • The chief said workers were able fix the leak. But city officials asked residents of a nearby neighborhood and businesses to shelter in place and to avoid going outside until the gas dissipated.
  • Exposure to chlorine gas can cause breathing problems, burning eyes and nausea.
Former officer arrested on prison contraband charge
  • An Alabama corrections officer has been arrested on charges of accepting money to help smuggle forbidden items into a state prison.
  • The Alabama Department of Corrections said Wednesday that Willie Gene McLemore, Jr. was arrested last month on charges of using his official position for financial gain.
  • The prison system said investigators discovered evidence that McLemore had received electronic transfers of money that were traced to criminal activity by an inmate.
  • It was unclear from court records if McLemore had an attorney.
  • A prison spokesman said McClemore resigned following his arrest. He had been with the department since 2013.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some community college funding now tied to graduation, retention rates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – James Spann: Tropical storm expected to form later today, with big Alabama impact
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Rolling Like Thunder
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 10, 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Validity of Obama health care law at issue in appeal hearing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ocasio-Cortez’s feud with Pelosi tests party heading to 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump directing government to revamp care for kidney disease
INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Auburn to ‘step up’ State House game; A familiar name to lead Pardons and Paroles; Special session talk; Van Davis makes rounds in Montgomery; SLC starts this weekend; Contracts for abortion law defense, Clotilda shipwreck up Thursday; Billy McFarland apparently still being creepy.
AL.COM  – Alabama Toyota plant will be delayed by vehicle change
AL.COM  – Nearly extinct sturgeon ‘barely hanging on’ in Alabama
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: Is mayor’s $147k investment in conflict resolution too much or not enough
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: With gerrymandering ruling, the Supreme Court could have saved democracy. It didn’t
AL.COM  – SPLC says it will ‘likely’ sue if Montgomery mayor does not veto panhandling ordinance
AL.COM  – Preparation, cancellations and Alan Sealls on Facebook: How Coastal Alabama is readying for storm
AL.COM  – Contributor Wayne Flynt: Birmingham and Atlanta: A tale of two cities
Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama corrections officer arrested in alleged prison contraband scheme
Montgomery Advertiser – Attorneys for officer request another immunity hearing
Montgomery Advertiser – SPLC threatens to sue Montgomery if panhandling rule goes into effect
YellowHammer News – Rogers’ report from Washington: Socialism has no place in America
YellowHammer News – Toyota to build new SUV in Huntsville instead of Corolla
YellowHammer News – Alabama: The ‘backbone of national security space launch’
Dothan Eagle – Man charged with pawning stolen items at local pawn shop
Dothan Eagle – Former Jackson County, Florida, deputy Zachary Wester charged in evidence planting cases
Dothan Eagle – New Alabama Education Department regulations allow students to earn more high school credits for college English courses
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama legislators discuss prison reform, education at State of the State forum
Tuscaloosa News – Military historian John H. Morrow wins $100,000 award
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama deputy who made homophobic comments hired as officer
Decatur Daily – City, county leaders urged 3M to test landfills
Decatur Daily – Wells Fargo closing Hartselle branch
Decatur Daily – Decatur’s Dutton receives degree from Bethel University
Times Daily – Relief from swelter heat nears as rain moves into area
Times Daily – Police arrest man in package store robbery
Times Daily – Man charged with domestic violence strangulation
Gadsden Times – Kiwanis Club celebrates 100th birthday
Gadsden Times – Publix coupon on Facebook is fake
Gadsden Times – Beyond Coal official to address Sierra Club
Anniston Star – JPD hopes to interact with community with bike unit
Anniston Star – 4-H program teaches life skills to Cleburne County girls
Anniston Star – Police investigating Tuesday night robbery in Anniston
Troy Messenger – Tropical disturbance could impact Pike
Troy Messenger – Vehicular burglaries a ‘crime of opportunity’
Troy Messenger – Lake where Starling went missing after boat crash difficult due to depth, trees
Andalusia Star News – Byron Nichols earned Bronze Star for his work in G2
Andalusia Star News – July Jamz gearing up for first show
Andalusia Star News – River Falls propane tank struck by lightning
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn man arrested after posting kidnapping video to social media
Opelika-Auburn News – Tallassee family gathering ends in gunfire; two teens charged with murder
Opelika-Auburn News – Possible hurricane brewing in gulf, but impact here could be minimal
Daily Mountain Eagle – Fish Tales Week 6 Winner Announced
Daily Mountain Eagle – Council praises Hall in her final meeting
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sumiton Utility adds new device to treat sewage
Trussville Tribune – Argo to leave council seat vacant until after next election
Trussville Tribune – Planned lane closures on I-59 in St. Clair County
Trussville Tribune – Center Point man wanted on domestic violence charge
Athens News Courier – Toney man accused of robbing ‘friend’ at gunpoint
Athens News Courier – UPDATED: Production shift announced at Mazda Toyota plant
Athens News Courier – Ardmore seeks community support in updating sewer system
Sand Mountain Reporter – Lions Club donates mirrors to hospital to encourage diabetics to check feet daily
Sand Mountain Reporter – Freedom and independence with mental illness
Sand Mountain Reporter – Incorrect dates printed in Marshall County 2019 Valuation Notices
WSFA Montgomery – Selma mayor reacts to motions passed by council
WSFA Montgomery – Production change announced for new Mazda Toyota plant
WSFA Montgomery – Daleville hires economic development company to recruit businesses, jobs
Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama Dept. of Corrections offering new incentive package
Fox 6 Birmingham  – Wreck in Cullman County claims the life of one, injures another
Fox 6 Birmingham – Galleria shooting protesters choose jury trial
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Rescue Squad using new drone streaming technology
WAFF Huntsville – State decides on solution for deadly Madison County intersection
WAFF Huntsville – ’If it saves one pet, it’s worth it’: First responders using new oxygen masks for animals
WKRG Mobile – Tracking the Tropics: NHC calling disturbance in the Gulf Potential Tropical Cyclone Two
WKRG Mobile – Inmate escapes from Loxley Work Release Center
WKRG Mobile – Rep. Byrne honors legacy of Mobile businessman Jack Greer
WTVY Dothan – Mississippi candidate for governor denies female reporter access
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City Schools construction nearing completion as school prepares to start
WTVY Dothan – Lawmaker concerned about inmate’s release, others step up pressure
WASHINGTON POST  – White House pushes Congress to strike deal as Treasury could run out of cash faster
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘I hate this mission,’ says operator of new emergency shelter for migrant children
WASHINGTON POST  – Columnist Karen Tumulty: The real reason for the census debacle? Trump just wants to fight
WASHINGTON POST  – Contributor Bernie Sanders: The straightest path to racial equality is through the one percent
WASHINGTON POST  – Betsy DeVos’s civil rights office closes more cases than predecessor
NEW YORK TIMES  – Columnist Charles Blow: Trump Detests Apologetic Men
NEW YORK TIMES  – U.S. Prepares to Arrest Thousands of Immigrant Family Members
NEW YORK TIMES  – The New York Times: Obamacare’s Precarious Fate
NEW YORK TIMES  – The Fed’s New Message: The Economy Can Get a Lot Better for Workers

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