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Daily News Digest – July 15, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, July 15.

1. Pardons & Paroles could see new Board chair.

  • Last week we learned that Gov. Kay Ivey will use her new direct appointment authority to replace current Pardons and Paroles Executive Director Eddie Cook with Charlie Graddick.
  • Now, ADN’s Caroline Beck and Mary Sell report that Pardons and Paroles Board Chairperson Lyn Head may also be replaced.
  • Head’s term expired June 30, though she continues to serve until a new appointment is made.
  • She’d like to be reappointed, and Ivey’s office says “all options remain on the table.”
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth also have thoughts about this. Marshall has to work a great deal with Pardons and Paroles and Ainsworth plays a role in selecting the board. Both are from Guntersville, where last year a parolee committed three murders, spurring legislative action on the subject.
  • Read the full story HERE.



2. In the Weeds w/ AG Steve Marshall.

For this week’s episode of “In the Weeds” with Alabama Daily News, I sat down with Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Though not planned this way, the timing ended up being fortuitous because it came the same week amid the first shake-up at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. On Friday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced the appointment of Charlie Graddick as Executive Director of that agency ( t hough Inside Alabama Politics subscribers got this scoop on Wednesday ) and now Caroline Beck and Mary Sell are reporting  that Board Chairman Lyn Head could now also be replaced as her term recently expired.
During this episode, I unpack the Pardons and Paroles saga going back at least two years into the Jimmy O’Neal Spencer case to the recently-passed legislation to overhaul the system. Marshall talked about the situation in depth, and it’s clear this is one of his biggest frustrations and highest priorities.
We also talked about:
  • His background as a lawyer and why he got into prosecution after starting out in private practice (a good story);
  • His college days (I did not know he was a UNC Tarheel during the Michael Jordan era);
  • The Census / immigration situation (If you’ve ever confused the Census question with the immigration reapportionment question, his explanation will be helpful);
  • Ethics reform, what the end game is going to be, and how the Supreme Court might influence the Legislature’s actions;
  • The new dual track appeals process policy he successfully championed, which essentially amounts to quicker appeals decisions, especially in death penalty cases;
  • And of course, Pardons and Paroles;
Also, it has been a little over a year since the death of Marshall’s wife, Bridgette. That’s obviously not a fun topic to bring up, but I thought it was important to at least ask about in terms of his willingness to help other families deal with addiction and suicide issues. And for all that was said back a year ago, I wanted to give him the opportunity to say as much as he wanted in an un-redacted form. I think you’ll find his candid comments as illuminating and meaningful. I certainly did.
Listen to the full episode HERE .
You can also listen and subscribe via Apple podcasts HERE or on Google podcasts HERE .

3. Moon fever: catch it!

  • This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.
  • The above picture of the Alabama-built Saturn V rocket taking off from Cape Canaveral was taken July 16, 1969. Four days later, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were taking man’s first steps on the moon.
  • All week, people around the country and around the world will be marking this week with special events.
  • The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville is one of those premier places. Residents will moonwalk down the roads of “Rocket City,” reliving the day they danced in the streets in 1969.
  • The Center is also going for a world record. On July 16 at 8:32 a.m. local time, exactly 50 years after Apollo 11 astronauts blasted off for the moon, the museum will attempt to set a Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously.
  • “It’s going to be epic,” said Pat Ammons, spokeswoman for the museum and its popular space camp. The cardboard rockets will be set up in circles representing the five F-1 engines that propelled Saturn V into space.
  • The museum has also invited space fans around the world to launch their own rockets that day. So far, people from 29 countries have joined, including Argentina, Vietnam and China, Ammons said.
  • I’m a nut for NASA, and especially the moon landing, so you’re probably going to hear a lot more about this all week.
  • For now, read a primer on the 50th anniversary plus more about the week’s festivities HERE.

4. Matthew Stokes: Let’s try optimism.

  • ADN Columnist Matthew Stokes is excited about SEC Media Days starting this week, even if it is just a cruel tease.
  • The start of football season always brings think-pieces comparing and contrasting the success of the state’s teams to the struggles of its public programs, like schools, prisons, etc.
  • Stokes takes issue with one such recent piece by John Archibald, not so much for its substance but for its tone.
  • There is plenty of reason to be a lot more optimistic about Alabama’s future, Stokes writes.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“… Archibald fails to recognize that progress is a process. To borrow from another great Alabama coach, Gene Stallings, we should not confuse activity with accomplishment. To carry on the football metaphor, the progress necessary to pull people out of poverty and restore communities bears more resemblance to the old-school offenses of Stallings and Pat Dye; slow, consistent, and determined. We do not cure poverty by legislative fiat alone.
“…If Alabama is to experience progress, what good comes from stewing resentment towards the wealthy, even if it is the head football coach of your hated rival? Instead, let us focus hard on how we might improve specific problems within our state.  
“Our state has a tragic past and an imperfect culture. No serious person denies this. The path to Alabama’s prosperity does not lie in guilt, or second-guessing every legislative decision in hopes of finding a racist skeleton in every closet. The better play is to appeal to all our better natures, and unite Alabamians in optimism as we pursue quality outcomes for our friends and neighbors.”
  • Read the full Matthew Stokes column HERE.

5. AP News Briefs.

Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans
  • The Trump administration on Monday moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president’s battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • According to a new rule published in the Federal Register , asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.
  • There are some exceptions: If someone has been trafficked, if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them) or if an asylum-seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum.
  • But the move by President Donald Trump’s administration was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border.
  • The policy is almost certain to face a legal challenge. U.S. law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the U.S. regardless of how they did so, but there is an exception for those who have come through a country considered to be “safe.” But the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined “safe”; it says “pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.”
  • Full story HERE.
Trump shrugs of criticism of racism, doubles down on attacks of congresswomen “squad”
  • President Donald Trump is not apologizing for his weekend tweets that four congresswomen of color should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from. Instead, Trump tweeted Monday that they ought to apologize to him for past remarks about Israel and about him.
  • Trump’s new tweets came as the White House tried to defend his weekend remarks, widely condemned by Democrats as racist.
  • While Democrats have condemned Trump’s remarks, Republicans have remained largely silent.
  • In a tweet Sunday night, Trump says it is “so sad” to see Democrats sticking up for the women.
  • While Trump didn’t name the four, he is almost certainly referring to congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.
  • Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said Monday that those tweets were aimed at “very specific” comments made by Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and not as a “universal statement.”
  • Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in reply, “You are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”
  • Read more HERE. Delete your Twitter account HERE.
Crash on Lake Wedowee leaves father dead, daughter injured
  • A collision on a lake between two personal watercrafts has left a father dead and his daughter injured.
  • Alabama Marine Patrol Division Northern District Assistant Commander Sgt. Chad Pate says the father and daughter collided with each other on Lake Wedowee on Sunday.
  • News outlets report both people were from Atlanta. The 53-year-old father died at the scene. The 17-year-old daughter lost her right leg and was flown to a hospital in Georgia.
  • Pate says the victims’ family doesn’t want their names to be released.
  • No other boats or people were involved in the incident. An investigation is ongoing.
Shooting kills man; wounds 2 including child in Hope Hull
  • Authorities say a man has been killed and two other people wounded in a shooting in an Alabama neighborhood.
  • Montgomery County deputies said the shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Hope Hull.
  • Deputies told news outlets a man and a child were wounded in the fatal shooting. Their conditions were not released Sunday.
  • Deputies did not say what led to the shooting or say if they have identified a suspect.
SEC media days back in Birmingham
  • Southeastern Conference media days begins at the event’s longtime home.
  • SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey kicks the four-day event off Monday with his annual media address about the state of the league and college football. Media days returns to the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, Alabama after one year in Atlanta.
  • The spotlight will be on LSU coach Ed Orgeron on Day 1, with Florida’s Dan Mullen and Missouri’s Barry Odom also taking the podium.
  • Some things haven’t changed: Alabama and Georgia remain the division favorites. The Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban speaks Wednesday, a day after Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has his turn.
  • All 14 teams will make the rounds, including star quarterbacks like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Every SEC head coach returns this season for the first time since 2006.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Attorney General Steve Marshall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Graddick appointment, Pardons and Paroles could also see new board chair
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Let’s try optimism
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Apollo 11 at 50: Celebrating first steps on another world
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The Latest: Trump renews attacks on congresswomen
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Barry drenches Gulf Coast, but initially spares New Orleans
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Troopers begin crackdown on speeding motorists
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham sees conflict resolution as one way to curb crime
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More to come: FTC fine doesn’t spell closure for Facebook
AL.COM  – Hurricane Barry leaves flooding, sewer overflows, closed beaches in its wake
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: We should learn from the soldiers next to us, while we can
AL.COM  – Columnist Dana McCain: Robert Foster gets it wrong
AL.COM  – Donald Watkins Sr. and Jr. to be sentenced Tuesday for fraud crimes
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Why does God need public records? In Alabama, that’s a real question
AL.COM  – Contributor Dr. Susan Codone: A message for all of us who attend church
AL.COM  – Apollo 11 launched Huntsville itself into unexpected orbits
AL.COM  – Cotton, once king in Alabama, still rules on these family farms
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: America: Land of the free, or of the fear?
Montgomery Advertiser – Nicaraguan asylum seeker: Immigrants need ‘opportunity to be free’
Montgomery Advertiser – One dead, two injured in Hope Hull shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – Victim identified in Wetumpka boat crash
YellowHammer News – VIDEO: McConnell’s Alabama relatives were slaveowners, big money being raised in the U.S. Senate race, citizenship question on census impacts Alabama and more on Guerrilla Politics …
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Chris Elliott: After Coastal Alabama, Toll Authority legislation could be next used in Birmingham, Huntsville
YellowHammer News – Cognitive neuroscientist to lead Alabama Life Research Institute at University of Alabama
Dothan Eagle – Government Oversight: County residents taking control of roads near their properties through vacating process
Dothan Eagle – Photos show a Dothan neighborhood that by 1961 was eradicated by urban renewal
Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Who is responsible for damage to vehicles from dump truck loads?
Tuscaloosa News – Two suspects charged in shooting of 15-year-old
Tuscaloosa News – Shooting kills man, wounds 2 including child in Alabama
Decatur Daily – Kirby says fellow city officials overspending
Decatur Daily – Schools waiting for Bible class guidelines
Decatur Daily – 1 giant leap for north Alabama: Remembering the Apollo 11 mission
Times Daily – Lauderdale sheriff gets $18K pay increase
Times Daily – UNA honors eight with annual Homecoming Awards
Times Daily – Auburn to pay departed president $4.5 million over 3 years
Gadsden Times – Local veteran recalls 50 years since return from Vietnam
Gadsden Times – Save on school supplies during tax free weekend
Gadsden Times – Barry’s flood threat lingers as storm slowly sweeps inland
Anniston Star – The economics of filling Anniston’s empty dwellings
Anniston Star – Officials: Amber Alerts effective in finding abducted children
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: An Anniston spat played out on Facebook
Troy Messenger – Eye witnesses help focus search for Starling
Troy Messenger – Local CBD market growing
Troy Messenger – Troy man charged with Walmart theft
Andalusia Star News – Andalusia native starts business to cut spare time
Andalusia Star News – $700,000 grant awarded for comfort dog program
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University paying Leath $4.5 million in separation agreement
Opelika-Auburn News – Downtown Auburn: AuburnBank announces remodel plans, potential hotel project
Opelika-Auburn News – Southern Living taps Auburn as one of the best retirement towns in the South
Daily Mountain Eagle – Tattoo helps Glover to keep sister to heart
Daily Mountain Eagle – Fred’s to close in Jasper; company’s future uncertain
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jasper proclaims July 14 ‘The American Legion Woods-Smith Post No. 9 Centennial Day’
Trussville Tribune – Shooting investigation underway at Summit Ridge Apartments
Trussville Tribune – The Latest: Louisiana governor ‘grateful’ storm wasn’t worse
Trussville Tribune – Shooting kills man; wounds 2 including child in Hope Hull
Sand Mountain Reporter – Three-county car chase ends with gun fire, suspect shot in Geraldine
Sand Mountain Reporter – West Nile virus confirmed in horse near Boaz
Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz man dies in single-vehicle accident
WSFA Montgomery – Rolling road blocks starting in early morning hours on I-85
WSFA Montgomery – Tuskegee University police officer rescues woman from lake
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery EMA offers tips to stay safe in severe weather
Fox 6 Birmingham – Shooting in Jefferson County after domestic altercation
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuskegee University police officer rescues woman from lake
Fox 6 Birmingham – Teenager in critical condition after shooting in Tuscaloosa
WAFF Huntsville – Man recovering after being struck by lightning in Lauderdale County
WAFF Huntsville – “He didn’t say anything strange,” Madison woman warns others after almost getting scammed on Facebook
WKRG Mobile – Barry extends Mobile cruise, shortens another
WKRG Mobile – Foley Walmart reopens after bomb threat
WTVY Dothan – Man faces 42 Felony Charges
WTVY Dothan – Police: Enterprise Woman Charged with Murder
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump tells four liberal congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries, prompting Pelosi to defend them
WASHINGTON POST  – As immigrant families wait in dread, no sign of large-scale enforcement raids
WASHINGTON POST  – Black lung disease cases grow, while federal program’s financing suffers
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire
NEW YORK TIMES  – Huge Turnout Is Expected in 2020. So Which Party Would Benefit?

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