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Daily News Digest – July 30, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 30.


1. Progress on New NAFTA.

  • Congressional Democrats appear to be moving from “no way” to “maybe” on President Donald Trump’s rewrite of a trade pact with Canada and Mexico.
  • House Democrats have met four times with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, most recently on Friday, and both sides say they are making progress toward a deal that would clear the way for Congress to approve Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
  • Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who heads a House subcommittee on trade, declared a couple of months ago that there was “no way” Democrats and the administration could bridge their differences. Lately, he’s reconsidered. “In the course of the last two months, we have seen significant progress,” Blumenauer said.
  • Supporters of USMCA are pushing for a deal before the 2020 election campaign heats up, which could make it harder for Democrats and Republicans to compromise.
  • A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said there was growing optimism within the administration about USMCA’s prospects amid signs that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was willing to work toward a compromise.
  • “The smart money in Washington is that USMCA will pass this fall following a bargain,” said Daniel Ujczo, a lawyer with Dickinson Wright in Columbus, Ohio, who specializes in North American trade. “However, it is just as likely that we will be in a ‘bump and blame’ scenario where the president can blame Speaker Pelosi and Speaker Pelosi can blame the president.”
  • Full story HERE.



2. ADEM head defends agency, rips media.


  • The head of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is defending himself and his agency from recent media criticism over contamination incidents.
  • “Normally I don’t respond to items about me appearing in the media because media has no accountability, does not offer a comparable forum for responding, and rarely sets the record straight,” Lance LeFleur wrote in a five-page letter that was sent to his commission and Gov. Kay Ivey.
  • LeFleur iss reacting in particular to pieces by two columnists at and defending ADEM’s responses to incidents around the state, including 3M’s release of chemicals into the Tennessee River in Decatur.
  • “The EPA is the agency responsible for the reporting, record-keeping, testing and restrictions of potentially hazardous chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act,” he wrote. “(The EPA) does not delegate its TSC authority to any state nor is TSCA information shared with the states.”
  • In an interview Monday, LeFleur told Alabama Daily News that some of the very news media complaining about a lack of transparency from ADEM received the information for their reporting from the agency’s website.
  • About 3M, LeFleur reiterated to ADN that the EPA hasn’t determined if the chemicals released are toxic. He also said the ADEM has “absolutely” done its job.
  • “(But) ‘plane lands safely after uneventful trip’ doesn’t make a headline,” LeFleur said.
  • We’re not quoting all of it, but his five page letter is really quite something.
  • ADN’s Mary Sell has the full story with a link to the letter HERE.



3. There she is…


  • Ms. Ann Trucks is this year’s Ms. Alabama Nursing Home. She was crowned by Miss Alabama 2019, Tiara Pennignton, who also co-hosted the pageant at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover on Monday.
  • Trucks won out of a group of ten finalists that were evaluated on their outlook on life, personality, poise and involvement in their individual nursing homes.
  • Trucks is a resident of Woodland Village Rehab & Healthcare Center in Cullman. She is 76 years old and serves as a resident activity volunteer, which involves setting up activities and assisting other residents in participating.
  • “It’s important to let people know that nursing homes are a second home,” Trucks said after being crowned. “If you go into it smiling, you’re going to get so much out of it. I am so thankful God placed me where he did.”
  • She was married for 56 years and has three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
  • As part of her duties as Ms. Alabama Nursing Home, Trucks will travel to various nursing homes and community events to share her experiences.
  • Trucks now will serve as a spokesperson for nursing home residents and the Alabama Nursing Home Association.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck and watch footage from the event HERE.


4. Matthew Stokes: Talking honestly about race.

  • Matthew Stokes is back this week and he’s talking about the subject de jour in America: race.
  • For those of us addicted to Twitter, it’s hard to escape the constant shouts about racism from here or there, and we have a president that stokes those fires almost daily.
  • Stokes argues that, however tough the issue might be to talk about, it doesn’t have to be that decisive if we practice basic human decency.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“I remember the first time my high school classes talked honestly about race. Like a lot of Alabamians, I went to an almost all-white high school. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get comfortable with a diverse group of classmates at a young age. Nevertheless, one of the weird byproducts was that as young people we could ask our teachers a lot of questions without the fear of being overtly rude to anyone else. A lot of our questions were framed imperfectly, as you might expect with teenagers, and our teachers really did their best to push us towards being open and accepting of others, bridging divides, and all the other things that you hope to see in young people.
“The problem that we always circled back towards was one of guilt. Guilt that our families had done something wrong during the Civil Rights Movement. Guilt that we were doing something wrong in the moment. Guilt that our material comforts – both real and perceived – came at the expense of someone else. That’s a difficult thing to process, and it’s made even harder as most people try to get on with the business of earning a living and raising a family.
“Sometimes the issue of race becomes unavoidable, as in the case of President Trump’s recent comments about the four young Congresswomen known as the Squad; Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…”
  • Read the full column HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.

Jacksonville State demolishing class building hit by twister
  • An Alabama university is demolishing a classroom building that was severely damaged by a tornado last year.
  • Jacksonville State University held a ceremony Monday to mark the beginning of the end of Merrill Hall. The business school building was damaged so badly in the 2018 twister it couldn’t be repaired.
  • Demolition is supposed to take about three months. The university plans to replace the nearly 50-year-old building with a new business building that should be complete in 2021.
  • An EF-3 tornado ripped through the northeast Alabama campus on March 19, 2018. About two-thirds of the university’s buildings were damaged.
  • Classes from Merrill Hall were moved into a vacant elementary school that was no longer being used.
Coast Guard rescues stranded boaters off Alabama coast
  • The U.S. Coast Guard says it has found four people who were stranded when their boat’s battery died off the coast of Alabama.
  • An agency statement says the four left Orange Beach on Sunday morning to go fishing, but no one had heard from them hours later. It says they were reported missing that night and authorities found the boaters the next day.
  • A Coast Guard crew from Mobile found the vessel, and the Coast Guard towed the boat and its uninjured passengers to shore.
  • The Coast Guard identified the rescued boaters as Hunter Mccutcheon, Butch Mccutcheon, Cary Miller and Brent Baker. No other information about the four was immediately released.
Walker County cites finances in ending work-release program
  • An Alabama county is shutting down its work-release programs for prisoners because of money problems.
  • The Daily Mountain Eagle of Jasper reports that a local community corrections board voted last week to end the program in Walker County.
  • Work release allows inmates to live in a corrections facility while working in jobs outside of prison to make money. Prisoners help fund the center with their earnings.
  • But District Judge Greg Williams says the system wasn’t working in Walker County since fewer than 10 people were in the program. He says it didn’t make sense to keep the center open since the court system was using it less often.
  • Williams says the county will continue other community corrections programs.
Clanton man charged with murder after July boating crash
  • Authorities have arrested a man on charges of murder and boating under the influence following a Fourth of July boating collision on an Alabama lake that killed two people.
  • Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol troopers on Monday announced the arrest of 41-year-old Damien Bruno of Clanton.
  • Authorities said two boats collided after dark on that holiday at Lake Jordan, a reservoir north of Montgomery. Killed in the crash were 26-year-old Devin Clay Jackson and 17-year-old Travis Lee House.
  • Authorities say Bruno is being charged with two counts of murder, one count of assault in the first degree, one count of assault in the second degree and boating under the influence of alcohol.
  • It was unclear if Bruno has an attorney who could comment for him.
Last slave ship: Alabama files federal claim of ownership
  • Alabama has filed a federal court claim to ownership of the wreckage of the last ship known to bring enslaved people from Africa to the U.S., a move the archaeologist who helped find the ship says will bolster protection of the site.
  • The so-called admiralty claim presented by Alabama in federal court asks a judge to declare the state the true owner of the Clotilda, which was discovered earlier this year in state waters. The claim, which was filed Friday, also seeks to ensure that the Alabama Historical Commission has the exclusive right to the site.
  • The historical commission said in a statement that the action is an attempt to prevent salvagers from disturbing the ship or taking artifacts from it.
  • that the state is taking appropriate action and called the court step “another tool in the historic preservation toolbox.”
  • “This wreck is nationally important, for the events that took place on it and for its association with the very long and terrible trade in human lives,” James Delgado, a maritime archaeologist who helped lead the team that found and verified the wreck as that of the Clotilda, said Monday.
  • Full story HERE.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In letter to governor, ADEM head defends agency, rips media
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ann Trucks Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Last slave ship: Alabama files federal claim of ownership
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump administration, Democrats make progress on new NAFTA
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Talking about race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – To get 500,000 newly-credentialed workers, state looks to undereducated, underemployed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pepper Bryars: Alabama must build more prisons, but taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2019 is turning into a deadly year for Alabama officers
AL.COM  – National committee to consider changes in Alabama Democratic Party bylaws
AL.COM  – Prattville’s Clyde Chambliss says he won’t seek Roby seat
AL.COM  – Pack Health partners on diabetes blood sugar control system
AL.COM  – ‘Myth Busters’ targets ‘misinformation’ on I-10 project and toll plan
AL.COM  – Columnist Dana McCain: Godspeed, Martha Roby
AL.COM  – UNA’s first black student (and newest board of trustees member) reflects on historic role
AL.COM  – Tommy Tuberville on recruiting vs. campaigning and sleeping in his truck
AL.COM  – ‘People here are dying’: Walker County is epicenter of Alabama’s opioid crisis
AL.COM  – Contributor Richard Mauk: A bipartisan end to surprise medical billing in sight
Montgomery Advertiser – Death on the water: July has been a deadly month for boaters in Alabama
Montgomery Advertiser – Man facing strangulation charge in May incident
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Public Schools Summer Graduation
YellowHammer News – Ted Hosp named VP of Governmental Affairs for Blue Cross and Blue Shield
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Chambliss takes himself out of contention to replace Roby in AL-02
YellowHammer News – Crowell releases first ad, encouraged by polling in Montgomery’s mayoral race
Dothan Eagle – 3-year-old child dies after falling off balcony in Panama City
Dothan Eagle – Troy man faces capital murder charge in Brundidge store clerk’s slaying
Dothan Eagle – Dothan City Schools authorize extra $181 K to address construction delays
Tuscaloosa News – Defendant in fatal shooting case pleads guilty
Tuscaloosa News – Multiple Tuscaloosa Police officers fire shots at fugitive
Tuscaloosa News – Two West Alabama houses make ‘Places in Peril’ list
Decatur Daily – Decatur council wants more public input on branding proposals
Decatur Daily – Limestone DA has 11 murder cases pending, hopes to try 4 in next 2 months
Decatur Daily – Divers to search for missing woman on Smith Lake
Times Daily – City looks to improve Wilson Dam Road retention pond
Times Daily – Florence Tourism board to meet this week
Times Daily – August brings leadership transitions at UNA
Gadsden Times – Car reported stolen, found burning
Gadsden Times – GPD search for suspect in shooting
Gadsden Times – Community comes together to prepare for baby’s homecoming
Anniston Star – Police: Anniston man choked teenager
Anniston Star – Sears demolition marks next step in Quintard Mall redevelopment
Troy Messenger – Three killed, four injured in Henderson wreck
Troy Messenger – Man suspected of Brundidge gas station robbery-homicide arrested
Troy Messenger – BREAKING NEWS: Suspect charged in Brundidge murder
Andalusia Star News – Covington Veterans Foundation attends Remembering Rodney event
Andalusia Star News – Opp Chamber preps for last Downtown Get Down
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika man killed in I-85 accident near Auburn
Opelika-Auburn News – Boat operator faces murder charge for deadly July 4 Lake Jordan crash
Opelika-Auburn News – Olive oil research takes aim at preventing Alzheimer’s
Daily Mountain Eagle – Four arrested on drug charges
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jasper attorney attends world anti-bullying conference
Daily Mountain Eagle – 15 students sign with BSCC Career Pathways Academy
Athens News Courier – Limestone woman charged with chemical endangerment of a child
Athens News Courier – Rotary welcomes future district governor
Athens News Courier – Alabama man charged with murder after July boating crash
Sand Mountain Reporter – Business: Smith graduates from Alabama Banking School
Sand Mountain Reporter – Schools across Sand Mountain ready for new year
Sand Mountain Reporter – Business: Studio B introduces senior exercise course
WSFA Montgomery – Pike Road Schools set to make history with first full school system
WSFA Montgomery – Suspect in custody after stray bullet hits young child in Ala. apartment Sunday night
WSFA Montgomery – 2 arrested after missing woman’s body found in bottom of Tuscaloosa Co. well
Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect charged with attempted murder following officer-involved shooting in Tuscaloosa Co.
Fox 6 Birmingham – BBB warns against website promising cash
Fox 6 Birmingham – Police investigating triple shooting in west Birmingham
WAFF Huntsville – Lawn equipment returned to Mt. Carmel School
WAFF Huntsville – Suspect charged with attempted murder following officer-involved shooting in Tuscaloosa Co.
WAFF Huntsville – ’Honestly, I feel like my son was executed’: Scottsboro mom pushing for more answers in son’s death
WKRG Mobile – Trump administration, Democrats make progress on new NAFTA
WKRG Mobile – ALDOT releases ‘Myth Busters’ report, Congressman Byrne disagrees
WKRG Mobile – FWC to set trap to address bears in Gulf Breeze
WTVY Dothan – Some believe justice system to blame for clerk’s murder
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City School Board approves $181,000 in additional funding to Dothan Preparatory Academy
WTVY Dothan – Police investigating triple shooting in west Birmingham
WASHINGTON POST  – Capital One says data breach affected 100 million credit card applications
WASHINGTON POST  – Columnist Dana Milbank: It is time to deport Baltimore
WASHINGTON POST  – Immigration lawyers say Justice Dept. ruling could undercut thousands of asylum cases.
WASHINGTON POST  – Federal judge strikes down New Hampshire’s Medicaid work requirements
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration proposes first rule on health-care cost transparency
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Widens War on Black Critics While Embracing ‘Inner City Pastors’



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