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Daily News Digest – July 17, 2019

Good morning! Hope you enjoy today’s clichéd headlines edition.
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, July 17.


1. House divided.

  • It was a wild day in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Amid the ongoing feud between President Donald Trump and four liberal Congresswomen, House Democrats pushed though a resolution formally condemning the President’s recent controversial tweets.
  • But before that happened, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to be reprimanded from the chair for breaking House rules by calling Trump a racist.
  • The Alabama Delegation voted along party lines, but each had unique reactions to the tweets, the resolution and the overall controversy.
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck has those reactions in her write up HERE.
  • By the way, the GIF above is of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, who had enough of all the bickering and offered a short rant before “abandoning the chair.”
  • “We don’t ever, ever, want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate. And that’s what this is,” Cleaver said. “We want to just fight. I abandon the chair.”
  • That full story on the chaotic day in the House from Roll Call HERE.


2. Taking a toll.

  • The Bay Way toll situation is now the dominant political topic in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, and is quickly becoming a statewide issue as well.
  • This morning, the Department of Transportation will hold a news briefing to announce its modified plans for tolling the Interstate 10 bridge over Mobile Bay as a way to pay for the $2 billion project.
  • According to John Sharp of, ALDOT will announce a $6 base toll, with options for a $90 monthly pass or 15 percent discount for frequent, local drivers.
  • So, if you commute to work between Mobile and Baldwin, that toll cost would come to $1,080 with the monthly pass. That’s steep, but less than the $1,500 or so you’d pay on the base toll.
  • The question becomes whether that cost to commuters is worth it.
  • Pretty much every local politician, from congressional candidates to those running for Senate, has come out against the toll.
  • Read John Sharp’s full story HERE and watch WKRG’s coverage HERE.


3. To the Moon.

“We choose to go to the Moon… We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
  • People don’t really talk like that anymore.
  • Those are the famous words of President John F. Kennedy at Rice University in Houston in 1962. He had been around the country touring NASA’s facilities in Huntsville and Cape Canaveral, and came to Houston to announce that would be the location for the manned spaceflight center. It just so happened local Congressman Albert Thomas was the Chairman of Defense Appropriations in the House. Do yourself a favor and learn more about Kennedy’s declaration and the nation’s buildup to the moonshot via American Experience’s “Chasing the Moon, Part 1.”
  • Last night, the National Parks Service projected a full scale Saturn V Rocket on the side of the Washington Monument. The small picture above really doesn’t do it justice, so go see the higher-res photo plus some videos HERE.
  • Governor Kay Ivey, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jody Singer and Dr. Margrit von Braun (Wernher von Braun’s daughter) were some of the featured guests at at a special gala marking Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary in Huntsville.
  • “It’s a good reminder that Americans — Alabamians — can accomplish just about anything when we put our mind to it,” Ivey told the crowd.
  • Read more from YellowHammer’s Sean Ross and WAFF’s Chris Joseph, who were there.


4. Look who’s talking in HD74.

  • The primary runoff election that will all but decide who serves in Alabama House District 74 is a little more than a month away.
  • Charlotte Meadows is the clear frontrunner, having captured 44 percent of the vote to Michael Fritz’s 22 percent. Meadows has also secured the support most of the groups you’d want backing you in the Montgomery-based GOP runoff like the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Forestry Association, and the Alabama Homebuilders Association.
  • Curiously, Fritz is claiming he has support from an unlikely place: House Speaker Mac McCutcheon.
  • According to The Montgomery Independent, Fritz is telling people around town that the Speaker supports him and that his advisers are making calls on Fritz’s behalf.
  • Meadows says that’s not true and that she’s meeting with the Speaker soon.
  • Speaker McCutcheon’s political operation had a pretty incredible success rate with its selected candidates in the 2018 elections – both in the primary and general, which is why him throwing even a quiet endorsement here seems a bit far fetched.
  • This is politics, after all, and candidates sometimes exaggerate to get a little attention. If that’s the case, well done, I suppose.

5. AP News Briefs.

Watkins sentenced to 5 years for scamming Barkley, others
  • A lawyer convicted of swindling NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to bolster an investment scam was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday.
  • U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre also ordered Donald Watkins to pay about $14 million in restitution.
  • Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of 17½ years for Watkins and 6½ years for his son, Donald Watkins Jr. Both were convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges earlier this year. The two men stole more than $15 million from investors and a bank, prosecutors said.
  • Bowdre said she took the elder man’s age, 70, into consideration in imposing a lighter sentence, but the term was stiffer than the home confinement requested by Watkins.
  • The younger Watkins was sentenced later Tuesday to 27 months in prison.
  • Full story HERE.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies
  • John Paul Stevens moved left as the Supreme Court shifted to the right during his nearly 35 years as a justice.
  • That’s how the bow-tie wearing Republican from the Midwest emerged as the leader of the high court’s liberal wing and a strong proponent of abortion rights, consumer protection and limits on the death penalty.
  • Stevens, who died Tuesday at age 99 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, served longer than all but two justices and was the second-oldest after Oliver Wendell Holmes in the court’s nearly 230 years.
  • He stepped down from the bench at age 90, but remained active in public life. He wrote books, spoke frequently in public and contributed lengthy pieces to The New York Review of Books.
  • Stevens liked to argue that his views remained more or less the same, while the court became more conservative during his tenure. “I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” Stevens told The New York Times in 2007. “I think as part of my general politics, I’m pretty darn conservative.”
  • But the justice began his Supreme Court years as a critic of affirmative action and a supporter of the death penalty. The Gerald Ford appointees’ views on both shifted substantially to the point that Stevens declared in 2008 that he believes the death penalty is unconstitutional.
Federal data shows opioid shipments ballooned as crisis grew
  • Newly released federal data shows how drugmakers and distributors increased shipments of opioid painkillers across the U.S. as the nation’s addiction crisis accelerated from 2006 to 2012.
  • The data, released this week by a federal court in Ohio as part of a far-reaching opioids case, shows that companies distributed 8.4 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to commercial pharmacies in 2006 and 12.6 billion in 2012. That’s an increase of over 50%.
  • Over that seven-year period, 76 billion pills were distributed in all, according to an analysis by The Washington Post, which had sued along with another outlet, HD Media, to obtain the data. During the same timeframe, prescription opioids contributed to more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The shipments increased even after one of the companies, Purdue Pharma, was leveled with a $635 million federal fine in 2007 for falsely claiming its drug, OxyContin, was not as addictive as earlier opioids.
  • Full story HERE.
Police: Fugitive shoots self as marshals try to arrest him
  • A man wanted in South Carolina has died after he apparently shot himself during a standoff with authorities in Tuscaloosa.
  • reports the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force tried to take the 56-year-old suspect into custody in unincorporated Fosters, Alabama, shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday. Marshals breached the residence’s door and, as they entered, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Cliff LaBarge says the man fired toward the entry team. As the marshals retreated, the suspect fired another round from a window.
  • The news site reports the unidentified man barricaded himself inside for several hours before shooting himself around 11:30 a.m.
  • LaBarge says the man was wanted in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, on a state warrant for harassing communications. He also faced additional warrants for burglary and property damage.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Attorney General Steve Marshall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama delegation reacts to House vote condemning Trump’s tweets
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Federal data shows opioid shipments ballooned as crisis grew
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate candidates: Central American teens in Alabama result of broken system
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Watkins sentenced to 5 years for scamming Barkley, others
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC’s Sankey talks link between sports gambling, mental health
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ALFA Gifts New Truck to Auburn Equestrian team after winning National Championship
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 16, 2019
AL.COM  – Both sides may ask court to keep abortion law on hold until May 2020
AL.COM  – $90 monthly pass highlights latest toll plan for I-10 Mobile River Bridge project
AL.COM  – This Alabama company was spotlighted at the White House
AL.COM  – Motus to build $15 million plant in Gadsden, employ 100
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Bama Dems are victims of their own dirty tricks
AL.COM  – Jones, Byrne raise most for Senate race in 2nd quarter
AL.COM  – Contributor Katie Willingham: The HIV epidemic continues to devastate Alabama. We need the ACA
Montgomery Advertiser – Donald Watkins gets 5 years for scamming Charles Barkley, others
Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville approves Sunday retail alcohol sales
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery signs multiyear deals with tech companies
YellowHammer News – Birmingham’s Southern Research, Southern Company help put Alabama on cutting edge of renewable energy future
YellowHammer News – Jones latest finance report: 88% of funds from out-of-state again
YellowHammer News – ALDOT denies I-10 Wallace Tunnel will be subject to ‘early tolling’
Dothan Eagle – Man convicted of 2015 Dothan murder released erroneously
Dothan Eagle – Dothan murder suspect apprehended in New York State
Dothan Eagle – Woman arrested for murder was on probation
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa sales tax hike takes effect Oct. 1
Tuscaloosa News – Crash on Alabama lake leaves father dead, daughter injured
Tuscaloosa News – LSU’s Delpit building on All-American season
Decatur Daily – Decatur woman involved in fatal wreck charged with manslaughter
Decatur Daily – Limestone DA asks commission for $100,000 in upcoming budget
Decatur Daily – Mayor tells Kirby,’You’re a nut!’ after councilman suggests independent water tests
Times Daily – Area school officials say Education Trust Fund appropriations a nice surprise
Times Daily – Lauderdale sheriff gets $18K pay increase
Times Daily – Barry leaves little local mark; more rain possible
Gadsden Times – Motus announcement ends lengthy recruiting process
Gadsden Times – Dangerous heat wave to expand across much of the U.S.
Gadsden Times – House votes to condemn Trump’s tweets as ‘racist’
Anniston Star – Councilman’s cost questions voted down
Anniston Star – Piedmont makes progress toward smart meter system
Anniston Star – School board adds to U.S. 431 conversation
Troy Messenger – Troy 6U team travels to Mississippi for World Series
Troy Messenger – BACK TO SCHOOL: Sales tax holiday for school supplies begins Friday
Troy Messenger – Troy Cablevision to spend $1.4M to bring broadband to rural Pike County
Andalusia Star News – OPD searching for two involved in shooting
Andalusia Star News – The 2020 DYW is Cameron Stephens
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn woman arrested, charged after stolen handgun recovered
Opelika-Auburn News – Man breaks into Opelika gas station, takes cigarettes; police seek suspect
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police searching for suspects in hotel burglary, theft
Daily Mountain Eagle – Poolos: River will take 5 years to restore itself
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dora veterans monument installed
Daily Mountain Eagle – Quinton woman assaults county deputy
Trussville Tribune – VIDEO: Springville’s Abby Swaney wins Bedzzz Express MVP Athletic Scholarship
Trussville Tribune – Trussville photography exhibit: Alabama Back Roads and Side Streets
Trussville Tribune – Federal data shows opioid shipments ballooned as crisis grew
Athens News Courier – Commissioners OK purchase of milling machine
Athens News Courier – Anxious immigrants wait to learn effect of new asylum policy
Athens News Courier – UPDATED: Apollo 11 astronaut returns to launch pad 50 years later
Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz Senior Center applies for ALDOT funding to replace bus
Sand Mountain Reporter – CDA building better Albertville
Sand Mountain Reporter – Studio B introduces Dancing Without Limits
WSFA Montgomery – ‘Weed and Seed’ initiative moving forward in Selma
WSFA Montgomery – Huntsville woman impersonated reporter to see Apollo 11 launch
WSFA Montgomery – Hot, humid pattern continues through mid-week
Fox 6 Birmingham – Georgia health officials investigate more cases of Legionnaires at downtown Atlanta hotel
Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover city leaders excited about momentum at Met complex
Fox 6 Birmingham – Chelsea public hearing on one-cent sales tax increase
WAFF Huntsville – ’Wells eventually run dry’: Fears raised over water quality with incoming Lincoln County chicken houses
WAFF Huntsville – Decatur mayor, councilman at odds over 3M landfill testing
WAFF Huntsville – Apollo celebration dinner joyful, but at times in the dark
WKRG Mobile – ONLY ON NEWS 5: Springhill Medical Center releases statement on ‘network security incident’
WKRG Mobile – Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99
WKRG Mobile – Orange Beach issues moratorium on business licenses for CBD shops
WTVY Dothan – Counties pitch for a veteran’s home in the Wiregrass
WTVY Dothan – Father and son arrested for trafficking cocaine in Walton County
WTVY Dothan – Hotel closes to investigate possible Legionnaire’s outbreak
WASHINGTON POST  – A divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s racist comments can be used against him in court as judges cite them to block policies
WASHINGTON POST  – White House readies immigration plan amid uproar over Trump’s ‘go back’ remarks
NEW YORK TIMES  – The Republicans Who Voted to Condemn Trump’s Remarks (and Other Things to Know)
NEW YORK TIMES  – Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities

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