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Daily News Digest – November 14, 2018


Good morning! Will it ever stop raining? Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

1. Glenn, Phillips indicted on ethics charges.

  • A Jefferson County grand jury on Tuesday brought back indictments for Southeast EPA Regional Administrator Trey Glenn and former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner Scott Phillips.
  • Phillips is accused of violating the state’s ethics laws, specifically provisions barring public officials from accepting gifts. Glenn is accused of knowing about or helping Phillips violate the law.
  • There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the details of the charges, but they appear to be related to the North Birmingham EPA Superfund cleanup case.
  • Glenn and Phillips previously had a firm together and were contracted to test EPA’s original 35th Avenue Superfund site. Former Rep. Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty while Drummond VP David Roberson and Balch attorney Joel Gilbert were convicted on charges linked to that project.
  • That was a federal trial, though, and these are state charges. They are being brought by the Jefferson County District Attorney after an investigation with the Alabama Ethics Commission.
  • Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton released a statement saying the indictments are evidence of his team’s commitment to work with local DAs to enforce the state’s ethics laws.
  • Read more from ADN’s Will Whatley HERE.

2. House GOP selects leadership.

  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon will retain the gavel for the next term of the Alabama Legislature. He was unanimously affirmed by the House GOP Caucus during their meeting on Tuesday.
  • He and Speaker Pro-Tem nominee Victor Gaston will be officially chosen when the full House meets in the organizational session in January.
  • Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter of Rainsville was reelected to his post as Majority Leader. Along with McCutcheon, Ledbetter led the political effort to grow the House GOP by five members in the 2018 elections.
  • Two second-term lawmakers are stepping up into leadership roles within the caucus: Rep. Connie Rowe of Jasper was elected to serve as Caucus Vice Chair, and Rep. Phillip Pettus of Killen was elected Secretary/Treasurer.
  • Read the full story on House GOP leadership elections HERE.


A Message from The Poarch Creek Indians

  • Being productive, staying connected and helping Alabama thrive are embodiments of the Poarch mission to create goodness out of what we have.
  • That’s the message of the Poarch Creek Indians’ new advertising campaign that continues this week.
  • Poarch’s 2018 campaign includes two much-anticipated commercials, “Land” and “Craft” — real stories about real people in the place they call home.
  • Iconic images send hopeful messages about traditions, which fuel life and help lay the groundwork for a better future.
  • Everyone that you meet on screen and in voiceover is Poarch Creek. All scenes and locations are authentic to the Tribe.
  • Click here to watch the second spot, “Craft.”


3. It’s Moving Day.

  • In case you hadn’t noticed, a lot of staff shuffling comes after an election.
  • Whether it is a midterm, as it is nationally, or an end of a term, as it is here in the state, there tends to be a lot of churn after the elections.
  • Such seems to be the case in the Trump Administration. The president already made his most anticipated change by removing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but he’s ready to do a broader shake-up to prepare his White House for the next two years of divided government.
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are all thought to be on the chopping block.
  • That’s to say nothing of mid and lower-level advisers within the White House and various departments.
  • Read more on that HERE.
Meanwhile in Congress
  • The House is in full shake-up mode. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will soon be House Minority Leader, or at least he hopes he will.
  • He’s trying to wrangle the votes to retain leadership of the Conference and fend off a challenge from Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan.
  • Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would very much like the Speaker’s gavel back, and it looks like she’ll get it.
  • It will be a different Democratic Caucus on the Hill, though. Democrats are known for their ability to whip votes and stay united. But The Resistance has come to Washington, and they aren’t the go along to get along type.
  • Pelosi might have her own Freedom Caucus to deal with, which will make things very interesting given such slim majority.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Skip Tucker: Trump’s a fighter, but he let his best wingman go.

  • Skip Tucker has figured out why liberals hate Trump and conservatives love him: he found a way to win.
  • In his column this week, Skip talks about Trump the fighter and how his ability to win where others lost make him uniquely appealing to conservatives and horrifying to liberals.
  • But, in forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions out, he may have lost his best wingman in the fight.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“…sometimes the president chews his shoe leather, so to speak. Sometimes he makes mistakes, as do we all. But a mistake by a president is rather far-reaching. And I think one is his forcing Jeff Sessions to resign the office of U.S. Attorney General…
“When I was editor of The Eagle, I found that one sure way of knowing I was doing the right thing was when both sides of an argument were angry at me.
“That is what happened to Jeff Sessions. Media found him too Trumpy, and Trump found him not Trumpy enough. It is an untenable position.”
  • Read Skip’s full column HERE.


5. News Briefs.

Florida recount back in court
  • Florida’s ongoing recount battle heads back to a courtroom Wednesday. Lawyers for Democrats will ask a federal judge to set aside the state law mandating that mailed-in votes be thrown out if the signature on the envelope doesn’t match the signature on file with election authorities.
  • This is the latest skirmish in Florida’s legally mandated vote recount, which is drawing national attention, including a stream of tweets from President Donald Trump.
  • Trump on Tuesday called on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to admit that he lost his re-election bid to Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Trump implied, again without evidence, that officials in two pivotal South Florida counties are trying to steal the election.
  • “When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida?” Trump wrote. “The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to ‘find’ enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!”
  • Read the latest HERE.
Ancient Artifacts
  • The recent recovery of three Native American artifacts stolen nearly 40 years ago could be the thread that unravels the mystery of the greatest antiquities theft in this part of the world.
  • Hundreds of pottery vessels, bottles, bowls, ornaments and jewelry items were stolen from the Erskine Ramsey Archaeological Repository at the University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park in 1980. It was a shot in the dark when archaeologists and others contributed to a reward fund for information, which was announced in May.
  • The publicity worked, leading to the recovery of three vessels in August.
  • Full story from The Tuscaloosa News’ Stephanie Taylor HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House GOP elects leadership for new term
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Glenn, Phillips indicted on ethics charges related to EPA cleanup site
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: The State of the Union
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Florida’s partisan recount battle goes back to court
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ancient artifacts stolen 40 years ago in Alabama recovered
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump eyeing staffing shakeup in Cabinet and at White House
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump ally Kevin McCarthy hopes to lead shrunken House GOP
AL.COM – Husband dead, wife seriously injured in Jefferson County domestic violence shooting
AL.COM – Inmate recaptured after leaving Montgomery County work-release center
AL.COM – Brenda Snipes, controversial Broward County, Florida election official, is Alabama native
AL.COM – Trump’s southeast regional EPA administrator indicted on Alabama ethics charges.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Charges against EPA chief, state regulator are shocking.
AL.COM – Birmingham Zoo gets first endowed gift for conservation efforts.
AL.COM – Amazon HQ2: Nashville gets $230 million operations center; 5,000 new jobs.
AL.COM – Republicans pick McCutcheon to return as Alabama House speaker.
AL.COM – Huntsville strikes new deal with struggling Remington.
AL.COM – More Alabama veterans struggle with homelessness.
AL.COM – Contributor Sen. Cam Ward: Alabama Board of Pardons will be held accountable.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Take a tour of Troy Trojans’ new football building
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – E. Paul Jones never gave up on his way of life
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Sabel Steel faces $320,261 in federal safety fines
DOTHAN EAGLE – Abbeville Christian Academy students honor veterans in celebration
DOTHAN EAGLE – Former Dothan radio stars Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway receive major award
DOTHAN EAGLE – Kinsey man arrested on burglary charge after breaking into Houston County Board of Education
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama women’s basketball falls to Utah
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Hanging remark puts spotlight on Mississippi Senate race
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Alabama’s Chelanga South Region Runner of the Year
DECATUR DAILY – Former Decatur pastor released to group home after murder charge
DECATUR DAILY – Athens woman gets 40 years for scalding her children
DECATUR DAILY – Students to take geometry sooner under proposed state changes
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan jail programs provide opportunities for inmates
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan building field for special need athletes
TIMES DAILY – Bicentennial event focuses on faith, Thanksgiving
TIMES DAILY – Rain alters plans, but Veterans Day spirit remains
TIMES DAILY – Muscle Shoals council to discuss 2019 budget
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama House GOP re-elects Nathaniel Ledbetter as majority leader, elects Rowe vice chair, Pettus secretary and treasurer
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – GOP caucus unanimously nominates McCutcheon for another term as speaker
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mo Brooks: Maxine Waters, House Dems will attempt to make Pelosi president
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Thanksgiving meals available at Green Tree
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – It’s boxed lunch day
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Students ready for Living History Parade
TROY MESSENGER – Aiming high: Troy hoping to make a return trip to NCAA Tournament
TROY MESSENGER – Douglas eying senior day return against the Bobcats
TROY MESSENGER – Bulldogs prevail: Poor weather doesn’t slow down Bulldogs in 21-8 win over Oakman
THE ANNISTON STAR – Heflin City Council considers new style of street lighting
THE ANNISTON STAR – Oxford council amends zoning ordinance for signage and mobile homes
ANNISTON STAR – Mental health care clients in Heflin worry about future
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Police: Robbery suspect used hot sauce in attack on 73-year-old store clerk
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – ALDI to provide job and money-saving opportunities
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Auburn University to consider new College of Education building; Birmingham building
CULLMAN TIMES – Table set for Good Hope Thanksgiving meal
CULLMAN TIMES – Anthem Lights adds new level of entertainment for parade, tree lighting
CULLMAN TIMES – Lieutenant governor names Arab woman chief of staff
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Fire heavily damages home, Gofundme established
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – County library system receives surprise $1 million donation
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Several run well in 7A state XC meet
THE MADISON RECORD – Heritage students wage ‘Penny War’ for St. Jude
THE MADISON RECORD – Troop 10341 builds, installs ‘Little Libraries’
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Parrish road to be closed for two weeks
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Wildcats hold strong following ‘traumatic’ incident
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Capturing a moment: Flora Freeman documents events on camera
NEW YORK TIMES – A $2 Billion Question: Did New York and Virginia Overpay for Amazon?
NEW YORK TIMES – Amazon Is Getting at Least $1.7 Billion to Come to Queens. Now Comes the Fight Over Whether It’s Worth It.
NEW YORK TIMES – A Search in Fire-Ravaged California for What No One Wants to Find
WASHINGTON POST – Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval
WASHINGTON POST – Key contests in Florida and Georgia remain mired in uncertainty amid expanding legal fights over ballot counts
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s big 2020 problem: The economy could be in recession
USA TODAY – Who is Mira Ricardel? First Lady Melania Trump wants the national security official fired
USA TODAY – President Trump and Melania Trump will skip the Kennedy Center Honors, again
USA TODAY – See the new portrait of Britain’s royal family – featuring a rare peek at Prince Louis
POLITICO – Florida recount gives Bondi a new shot at Trump’s inner circle
POLITICO – Trump taps ex-general for ambassador to Saudi Arabia
POLITICO – ‘The government’s story keeps changing’: CNN seen as likely to prevail in White House fight

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