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Daily News Digest – July 31, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, July 31.


1. Alabama sued in transgender case.

  • U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson held a hearing Tuesday for a lawsuit filed by three transgender women seeking to change the gender on their state driver license.
  • He questioned the state’s requirement for a transgender person to undergo full gender reassignment surgery before they can change the sex on their driver’s license, suggesting that a license that contradicts a person’s public appearance essentially marks them with a “scarlet letter T.”
  • The ACLU says Alabama differs from most states and the federal government that allow people to change the gender identity on a government-issued ID without proof of surgery.
  • While he did not rule in the case, Thompson noted the violence faced by transgender individuals after a state attorney contended the Alabama policy treats everyone the same. Thompson said a person would be publicly disclosed as transgender if they present a license that does not match their daily public appearance.
  • “You might as well have a scarlet letter T,” Thompson said.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. 11 brothers from Alabama, 158 years of US military service.

  • The sons of Ben and Hattie Davis give special meaning to the term ‘band of brothers.’
  • Eleven in all, their combined 158 years of service to the U.S. military make them brothers in arms as well as brothers raised on a family farm in rural Alabama.
  • Seven of the 11 gathered recently for a reunion thick with brotherly love and military pride. They laughed together, told stories from their days growing up and serving the country and reminisced about what it was like to be black in the U.S. military in the 20th century in America.
  • But in the end, they talked less about racism than the lack of respect all veterans feel from their fellow Americans.
  • “Being in the military, it was a fine thing,” said Lebronze Davis, who fought in the Vietnam War and has survived cancer and heart surgery. “We all think we’ve done an outstanding job.”
  • In 2017, the Davis men were honored by the National Infantry Museum Foundation. The names of the 11 brothers and their uncle are engraved on four paving stones installed at the museum.
  • Sixteen siblings — the 11 veterans, plus three sisters and two brothers who did not enter the military — grew up on a 60-acre (24-hectare) cotton farm in Wetumpka, Alabama, where their parents worked hard to put food on the table. Mom was the disciplinarian, dad had a softer approach.
  • Read the full story from Adrian Sainz HERE.


3. Fed to cut interest rates.

  • Thinking about buying that house or refinancing?
  • The Federal Reserve is poised to cut its key interest rate Wednesday to counter what it sees as threats to the U.S. economy from uncertainties and a darkened global outlook.
  • It will be the Fed’s first rate cut since December 2008 in the depths of the Great Recession.
  • Most analysts expect the Fed to announce a quarter-point cut in its benchmark short-term rate. That rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, is now in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% after nine quarter-point rates increases from December 2015 to December 2018.
  • Under Chairman Jerome Powell, the Fed has faced pressure to ease credit since it raised its key rate in December for the fourth time in 2018 and hinted that additional rate increases were likely this year .
  • Stock prices sank afterward and ignited criticism, notably from President Donald Trump, that the Fed was tightening credit too much and threatening the economy.
  • The Fed then made an abrupt policy shift at the start of the year, suggesting that it would remain “patient” about any changes in rates and implying that rate increases were off the table.
  • On Tuesday, the president asserted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would be 10,000 points higher and that the pace of economic growth would be twice what it is now if the Fed hadn’t raised rates last year.
  • “I would like to see a large cut” in rates, Trump said Tuesday.
  • Full Story HERE.


4. Dems mix it up in Detroit.

  • Did you watch the Democratic debate? There’s another one tonight.
  • If you didn’t, you missed a lot of talk about “Medicare for All” and how it would reshape health care.
  • Here’s the lede: The signature domestic proposal by the leading liberal candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination came under withering attack from moderates in a debate that laid bare the struggle between a call for revolutionary policies and a desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump.
  • Standing side by side at center stage on Tuesday, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren slapped back against their more cautious rivals who ridiculed “Medicare for All” and warned that “wish-list economics” would jeopardize Democrats’ chances for taking the White House in 2020.
  • “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” said Warren, a Massachusetts senator, decrying Democratic “spinelessness.”
  • Sanders agreed: “I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas.”
  • A full six months before the first votes are cast, the tug-of-war over the future of the party pits pragmatism against ideological purity as voters navigate a crowded Democratic field divided by age, race, sex and ideology. The fight with the political left was the dominant subplot on the first night of the second round of Democratic debates, which was notable as much for its tension as its substance.
  • Twenty candidates are spread evenly over two nights of debates Tuesday and Wednesday. The second night features early front-runner Joe Biden, the former vice president, as well as Kamala Harris, a California senator.
  • Read more and watch the highlights HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.


Third person charged in death of woman found in well
  • A third person is charged in the death of a woman whose body was found at the bottom of a well in Alabama.
  • News outlets report 27-year-old Devon Trent Hall is charged with murder and corpse abuse in the killing of 20-year-old Willie Watkins.
  • Hall was being held on drug charges in Birmingham when authorities linked him to the slaying. Court records aren’t available to show whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
  • Court records indicate Watkins was killed in a dispute over a cellphone. Her remains were found Monday in Tuscaloosa County in a well, where they’d been covered with cement.
  • Two more people are being held in the killing.
Florence foster parent pleads guilty to child abuse charges
  • A former foster parent in Alabama has pleaded guilty to child abuse, sexual abuse and torture.
  • News outlets report that 50-year-old Daniel Spurgeon agreed Monday to a deal to serve 25 years in prison. His wife, Jenise Spurgeon, also faces numerous charges and is set for trial in October.
  • Lauderdale County Chief Assistant District Attorney Angie Hamilton says Spurgeon cannot be paroled or receive time off for good behavior.
  • The couple was arrested two years ago in Florida and charged with 700 counts of child abuse and other crimes against 11 children they adopted or fostered.
  • Police in Florida began investigating the couple in 2016 after getting a call about two intoxicated teenagers. One of the girls told authorities there had been multiple incidents while they lived in Alabama in 2008.
Dothan delays classes again, citing malware attack
  • A public school system in Alabama has delayed classes a second time because of continuing problems from a computer malware attack.
  • Houston County school officials say students now won’t return to class until Aug. 12. That’s 11 days behind the original schedule and a week later than the first delay.
  • Education officials won’t say what type of attack hit the southeast Alabama school system. But phones and computers aren’t working properly.
  • Officials also haven’t said whether payroll or student information was affected. But Ashford High School posts on its Facebook page that workers can’t view their pay information online so statements have to be printed.
  • The school board says law enforcement is involved, and network engineers are trying to get equipment running again.
3 dead, 4 hurt in south Alabama wrecks
  • Three people are dead and four are injured following a pair of collisions in southeastern Alabama.
  • Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas tells news outlets a log truck and two vehicles were involved in two crashes on a rural road on Monday night.
  • Details aren’t clear, but news outlets report that two victims are from Pike County and one was from Crenshaw County.
  • The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fed is poised to cut rates for first time in a decade
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sanders, Warren fight with moderates over ‘Medicare for All’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 11 brothers from Alabama, 158 years of US military service
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – To get 500,000 newly-credentialed workers, state looks to undereducated, underemployed
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sued in transgender driver’s license case
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 – 2019 is turning into a deadly year for Alabama officers
AL.COM  – Judge likens Alabama driver’s license policy for transgenders to scarlet letter.
AL.COM  – Jake, Alabama prison K9 killed by drugs, gets 21 gun salute
AL.COM  – Talk show host turns to threats and name-calling in dispute with Eagle Forum leader
AL.COM  – National panel rejects Alabama Democrats’ proposed bylaws.
AL.COM  – Report: Trump bashes Delta for buying Airbus jets — many of which come from Alabama
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Who’s worse for Alabama: Mike Hubbard or Nancy Worley?
AL.COM  – Gadsden thinks Motus plant is a ‘sign we can win’ in global economy
AL.COM  – Ole Miss investigating response to students posing with Emmett Till sign, guns
AL.COM  – Conservative group poll shows Hightower with strong lead in AL-1 race
AL.COM  – Baldwin County Schools recognized nationally for construction funding plan
AL.COM  – Alabama’s schools rated 46th in the country
Montgomery Advertiser – Maxwell Honor Guardsmen save a home, receive Air Force Achievement Medals
Montgomery Advertiser – Shooting victim’s family prays for man arrested
Montgomery Advertiser – Crews to install overhead signs on Eastern Boulevard
YellowHammer News – Van Smith endorsed by Alabama Forestry Association, supported by job creators in HD 42 race
YellowHammer News – ‘Clowns’: Ad hits Jones’ pledge to support any Democratic presidential nominee
YellowHammer News – Allen Caton lands NRA endorsement in Alabama’s House District 42 race
Dothan Eagle – Three killed, four injured in Pike County automobile accident
Dothan Eagle – Trial rescheduled for September for Dothan Planning Commission member facing theft charges
Dothan Eagle – Dothan City School parents, students say second draft of cellphone policy is still ‘extreme’
Tuscaloosa News – Northport still looking for next planning director after finalist declines offer
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa Council delays purchase of Stan Pate-owned properties
Tuscaloosa News – Owner of Alabama trucker school accused of bribing proctors
Decatur Daily – Grants would improve safety, beautification for 2 streets
Decatur Daily – Ride-hailing services — from running errands to ferrying execs
Decatur Daily – Barron selected as Decatur High assistant principal
Times Daily – Former foster parent pleads to 14 counts of abuse
Times Daily – City looks to improve Wilson Dam Road retention pond
Times Daily – Elko urges educators: Be a friend to yourself
Gadsden Times – Gov. Kay Ivey, officials break ground for Motus
Gadsden Times – State sued in transgender case
Gadsden Times – Man with Etowah ties charged in attack on Tuscaloosa officers
Anniston Star – Group pushing for Ward 4 to exit Anniston
Anniston Star – Jacksonville man charged with rape
Anniston Star – Trial set for Piedmont councilman charged with menacing
Troy Messenger – Man suspected of Brundidge gas station robbery-homicide arrested
Troy Messenger – McNabb family hosts annual back to school event
Troy Messenger – Saving our Youth gives out school supplies
Andalusia Star News – Covington County Grassroots Alliance to host Alabama Arise listening session
Andalusia Star News – City of Opp ranked top 10 safest city in the state
Andalusia Star News – New FUMC Andalusia Pastor ready to get involved in community
Opelika-Auburn News – Two local bank employees plead guilty to embezzlement charges
Opelika-Auburn News – Alabama ranked among America’s deadliest states for teen drivers
Opelika-Auburn News – Valley business woman accused of stealing tax returns faces additional charges
Daily Mountain Eagle – Byrne supports Trump in Senate run
Daily Mountain Eagle – Parrish Elementary growing with grade addition
Daily Mountain Eagle – Four arrested on drug charges
Trussville Tribune – POLICE: Man arrested for toilet paper thefts in Trussville, using TP for janitorial business
Trussville Tribune – Man shot in Center Point, suspect not taken into custody
Trussville Tribune – Ann Trucks Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home 2019
Athens News Courier – COUNTY ENGINEER: Road projects proceeding as planned
Athens News Courier – SCHOOL PREVIEW — Blue Springs Elementary School
Sand Mountain Reporter – Business: Smith graduates from Alabama Banking School
Sand Mountain Reporter – Rachel’s Recipes: Irresistible zucchini bacon cheddar scones
Sand Mountain Reporter – Schools across Sand Mountain ready for new year
WSFA Montgomery – Houston County sheriff warning of new scam
WSFA Montgomery – Doctor pleads not guilty to federal drug distribution counts
WSFA Montgomery – Funeral plans set for 2 of 3 killed in Pike County crashes
Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham firefighters honored as they cope after fatal house fire in Wylam
Fox 6 Birmingham – Standoff at B’ham apartment ends after nearly 6 hours
Fox 6 Birmingham – V94.9 hosts ‘love rally’ after shootings in Gate City community
WAFF Huntsville – Fire breaks out at Huntsville residential complex
WAFF Huntsville – Man accused of entering UAH classroom, holding student against her will
WAFF Huntsville – Burglary suspect shot by Limestone County homeowner booked into jail
WKRG Mobile – Court hearing Wednesday for men accused in funeral home fiasco
WKRG Mobile – Tow truck company appeal denied, after being suspended due to price gouging allegations
WKRG Mobile – Pensacola Bay Cruises offering ferry ride while Blue Angels practice
WTVY Dothan – The Haven notices substance abuse patterns
WTVY Dothan – Samson man facing meth trafficking charges in Walton County
WTVY Dothan – Ashford principal prepares for school in the wake of malware attack
WASHINGTON POST  – In contentious Democratic debate, deep divisions on health care separate liberals and moderates
WASHINGTON POST  – The simple math that should keep Republicans up at night
NEW YORK TIMES  – No More Family Separations, Except These 900
NEW YORK TIMES  – How Four Cities Can Predict Murder in America
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Channels George Wallace With Racial Appeals
NEW YORK TIMES  – 500,000 Children Could Lose Free School Meals Under Trump Administration Proposal



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