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Daily News Digest – November 18, 2020

Presented by

the Boeing Company


Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, November 18.


1. Bedsole wins in HD49; Runoff in SD26

There were two special elections to determine who would fill legislative vacancies Tuesday, and we have the results.


  • Republican Russell Bedsole won the House District 49 special general election Tuesday night, according to unofficial results.
  • Bedsole, an Alabaster City Councilman, won about 63% of the votes; Democrat Cheryl Patton received about 37%, according to unofficial results from the Alabama Secretary of State.
  • “A million thanks to all who supported us,” Bedsole, a captain at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “Now it’s time to get to work for all of District 49.”
  • House District 49 encompasses portions of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties. A special election was called to fill the vacancy created by former State Rep. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, who resigned to take a position with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


  • State Rep. Kirk Hatcher and former State Rep. John Knight will face each other in a runoff for the Democratic nomination in the special election to fill Montgomery-based Senate District 26.
  • Results posted by the Secretary of State’s office showed Hatcher won 48% of the vote, almost capturing the nomination outright, while Knight won the second most votes with 21%.
  • The runoff is scheduled for Dec. 15.
  • It is likely to be a low turnout affair. Only 5,246 people voted Tuesday, or 5.69% of the electorate, and runoffs tend to attract fewer voters. That means it’s all about ground game and getting your people out.
  • Hatcher vs. Knight sets up a fascinating “new school” vs. “old school” Montgomery matchup in a district that seems to have had an election every few months for the past three years.
  • The vacancy was created when former State Sen. David Burkette, D-Montgomery, resigned after pleading guilty to ethics and campaign finance charges.
  • Read more from the Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE.




2. Ivey taps Ward to lead Pardons and Paroles

  • State Sen. Cam Ward will be the next director of the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles starting next month.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey tapped Ward to replace outgoing director Charlie Graddick.
  • You may remember that ADN/IAP broke the news that Graddick was out after a tumultuous year at the helm of the agency. We then (wrongly) speculated about Graddick’s replacement in the Nov. 6 edition of Inside Alabama Politics. (For what it’s worth, almost all feedback since that publication pointed toward Ward, so, thanks for the clarification.)
  • What we didn’t get wrong in the Nov. 6 writeup was the revelation of myriad personnel issues within the agency and the resulting lack of morale among state employees there. It could use a real shakeup.
  • Ward makes a lot of sense as the new leader at Pardons and Paroles. He’s currently the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and has spent more than a decade working on prison and criminal justice issues.
  • Read more about the appointment HERE.
  • Of course, Ward’s departure from the Senate will mean yet another special election to fill the vacancy.
  • I did some Twitter speculating on who might run for that seat, in case you’re interested.







A message from

the Boeing Company


  • Boeing’s Huntsville facility has partnered with NASA for more than five decades.
  • The Space Launch System (SLS) – the world’s most powerful rocket – is supported by hundreds of Alabama employees.
  • SLS’s path to the Moon and Deep Space will be a national achievement rooted in Alabama and the Gulf South.
A new generation of space exploration is here and it’s being made possible by the dedicated employees of Boeing Huntsville.

3. BCA launches ‘Keep Alabama Open’ initiative

  • The Business Council of Alabama launched the “Keep Alabama Open” movement on Tuesday in reaction to some states seeking stricter public health orders and continued talk of federal mandates from the incoming Biden administration aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • BCA argues that stricter mandates unnecessarily harm business and aren’t ultimately effective in curbing the virus.
  • “Now is not the time to mandate a nationwide, one-size-fits-all lockdown,” Katie Boyd Britt, BCA’s president and CEO said in a press release. “…instead, we must each renew our personal commitment to combatting this invisible enemy in order to safely and responsibly Keep Alabama Open.”
  • She encouraged Alabama businesses to sign an online petition that will be shared with Ivey and other state leaders, including the state’s congressional delegation.
  • Ivey said she supports the initiative and her spokesperson said the governor does not intend to return to the “stay at home” orders from the spring that led to businesses temporarily closing or limiting capacity.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Fed nominee stalls

  • The nomination of Judy Shelton, President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for the Federal Reserve, is stalled in the Senate.
  • Two key Republicans were absent because of COVID-related concerns and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber to cast a key vote against Shelton. The 47-50 vote came as the Republican-controlled Senate continues to focus its energies in the post-election lame-duck session on confirming Trump’s appointees.
  • Shelton is a critic of the Fed and was opposed by two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, in Tuesday’s vote.
  • A revote after Thanksgiving is possible, but the math is unclear. There were effectively 49 votes against Shelton because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell switched his vote to Nay in order to preserve the right to call up the vote again. Three other likely Yes votes were not present Tuesday in Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Bill Cassidy, R-La.. However, one yes vote will soon be replaced with a no vote as Democrat Mark Kelly is seated next month after defeating Arizona Sen. Martha McSally. Because it was a special election to fill the vacancy left by the late Sen. John McCain, Kelly will be seated before all the other new senators. Also, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who didn’t vote Tuesday, could be a no as well.
  • All in all, accounting for absences and new arrivals, Shelton would appear to be one vote short, assuming there won’t be a revote this week. The Senate is slated to be recessed next week for Thanksgiving.
  • Full story HERE.



5. Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security

  • President Donald Trump fired the nation’s top election security official Tuesday.
  • While abrupt, the dismissal Tuesday of Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was not a surprise. Since his loss, Trump has been ridding his administration of officials seen as insufficiently loyal.
  • Krebs was a prime target. He had issued statements and tweets over the past week attesting to the proper conduct of the election and denouncing the falsehoods spread by Trump and his supporters without mentioning the president by name.
  • A former Microsoft executive, Krebs ran the agency, known as CISA, from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 election through the November election. He won bipartisan praise as CISA coordinated federal, state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference.
  • Hours before being dismissed, Krebs tweeted out a report citing 59 election security experts saying there is no credible evidence of computer fraud in the 2020 election outcome.
  • Trump responded on Twitter later in the day. He repeated unsubstantiated claims about the vote and wrote “effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
  • The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, came the week after the dismissal of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, part of a broader shakeup that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions.
  • Full story HERE.



News Briefs


Man goes on trial in slaying of exhibitionist wife

  • COLUMBIANA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man went on trial Tuesday on a murder charge in the death nearly three years ago of his wife, who lived a double life as a stay-at-home mom and an online exhibitionist.
  • William Jeffrey West, 47, of Calera killed Kathleen Dawn West, 42, with a blow to the head from a liquor bottle, prosecutor Daniel McBrayer told jurors during opening statements, according to WIAT-TV. Her partially clothed body was found outside their home.
  • Defense attorney John Robbins argued that the woman, intoxicated after a night of drinking, died accidentally after she fell and hit her head.
  • Testimony could last several days, court officials said. Attorneys selected a jury on Monday.
  • The woman, who bore a resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, publicly posted lingerie photos online while charging viewers to see sexier images. Her body was found along a street outside the couple’s home in suburban Birmingham in January 2018.
  • Full story HERE.

Man found on roof, killed after standoff with Alabama police

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A man who was found on the roof of an Alabama restaurant is dead after being shot by police during a standoff early Tuesday, authorities said.
  • Officers received a call about a person on the roof of Ted’s Bar-B-Q with a gun around 10 p.m. Monday, said Lt. Tony McElyea, a spokesman for the Huntsville Police Department. Officers arrived and after several hours of negotiation the gunman agreed to come down a ladder, he said.
  • “We believed that he was going to be giving up,” McElyea said.
  • But the man ran once on the ground before turning and pointing a gun at officers, McElyea said. Police shot and killed the man, who was pronounced dead at Huntsville Hospital.
  • No names were released immediately, and it was unclear why the man was on the roof. Authorities didn’t say how many shots were fired.

6 injured as Gadsden trolley overturns in collision

  • GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A collision between a small bus and a sport-utility vehicle left six people injured on Tuesday, authorities said.
  • News outlets reported that a bus with the Gadsden Trolley Service was involved in a crash near a retail development. Photos showed the bus on its side and the SUV badly damaged.
  • Will Reed, chief of emergency medical services with the city, said six people were injured, including one who had to be transported by air to a hospital in Birmingham. Five others were taken to hospitals in Gadsden.
  • It was unclear what caused the crash, and authorities did not release any names.






A message from

the Business Council of Alabama



  • The Business Council of Alabama has launched Keep Alabama Open, working to unite hardworking Alabamians in the earnest pursuit of protecting jobs and safeguarding self governance.
  • Businesses, while following state health orders to keep customers and themselves safe, should be able to continue to earn a living and support their families.







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republican Russell Bedsole wins HD49 race


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Governor appoints Cam Ward to lead Alabama parole board


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Business Council of Alabama launches ‘Keep Alabama Open’ initiative


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fed nominee stalls in Senate test vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shelby County man goes on trial in slaying of exhibitionist wife


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2nd coronavirus vaccine shows early success in U.S. tests


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP VoteCast: Alabama voters mixed on state of nation


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mobile moves ahead with Mardi Gras plans amid pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – First veterans registered apprenticeship program launched in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – November 17, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama breaks record for daily new coronavirus cases, 7-day average tops 2,000 for first time


AL.COM – 1,616 COVID cases added to Alabama total; 411 new cases in 2 counties


AL.COM – Business Council of Alabama wants to ‘Keep Alabama Open’ despite COVID


AL.COM – Alabama sorority cancels 600-person party approved by Tuscaloosa city council


AL.COM – School system encourages parents to drive kids due to bus driver absences


AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey picks Cam Ward to lead Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles


AL.COM – New Orleans cancels Mardi Gras parades; Mobile weighs options


AL.COM – Why didn’t more Alabamians vote? They say, ‘Why bother?’


AL.COM – Will Alabama restaurants face additional COVID restrictions?


AL.COM – Wrongful death suit filed in ‘heartbreaking’ abuse of 19-month-old Tuscaloosa County girl


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man charged with murder after October shooting of 19-year-old


Montgomery Advertiser – Cam Ward to become next director of Board of Pardons and Paroles


Montgomery Advertiser – New set of wheels: Wounded officer’s family gets the keys to wheelchair-accessible van


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – FDA to make public emergency use authorization data for COVID-19 vaccines


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Top infectious doctor talks curbing rising cases numbers without lockdown


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – AL meat processing facilities receive boost during difficult year


Tuscaloosa News – Sorority farm party canceled after community complains of COVID-19 threat


Tuscaloosa News – Number of COVID-19 cases expected to continue to rise in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Documentary focuses on acclaimed musician’s environmental efforts


Decatur Daily – Local teens part of a growing movement of young entrepreneurs


Decatur Daily – Elective surgeries at risk as more Decatur Morgan Hospital staff quarantined


Decatur Daily – City of Decatur CFO to retire in January


Times Daily – COVID prompts council rules changes


Times Daily – COVID forces 2 Muscle Shoals schools to go virtual


Times Daily – Empty Table Fund kicks off year 46


Anniston Star – School officials to city: Help us, but ask what we need


Anniston Star – JSU waives test scores for admissions


Anniston Star – Salvation Army starts limited Red Kettle campaign Nov. 18


YellowHammer News – Congressman-elect Barry Moore names chief of staff, district director


YellowHammer News – ‘Lame duck’ Doug Jones votes to block more Trump judicial nominees


YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer reelected as Republican Policy Committee chair


Gadsden Times – Salvation Army launches Red Kettle Campaign with COVID-19 protections


Gadsden Times – Gadsden’s Cracker Barrel to begin serving alcohol


Gadsden Times – Free shredding, drug take-back day Saturday at Etowah County Courthouse


Dothan Eagle – USA Circle City BMX Nationals will bring thousands to Dothan


Opelika-Auburn News – Watch now: New local store showcases other local businesses, makers and merchants


Opelika-Auburn News – Phenix City Police seeking murder suspect considered armed and dangerous


WSFA Montgomery – State Senate District 26 Democratic primary heads to runoff


WSFA Montgomery – Jury trials resume in Montgomery County following 8-month hiatus


WSFA Montgomery – Nearly 1M more meals sent to seniors this year in Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – Community Urgent Care in Hartselle closed for over a week; patients concerned


WAFF Huntsville – EXCLUSIVE: WAFF speaks with family of man killed in Huntsville standoff


WAFF Huntsville – Franklin County Sheriffs Administration Office closed due to COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Citizens Police Advisory Committee discuss confusion about what their role is


WKRG Mobile – Mobile man pleads guilty to producing child porn


WKRG Mobile – Florida man who strapped utility pole to roof of car charged with grand theft, officials say


WTVY Dothan – Superintendent receives over $31,000 in vacation pay after walking off job


WTVY Dothan – Landmark Park offers setting for Christmas photos starting Saturday, Nov. 21


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise National Guard Unit sets off for deployment


WASHINGTON POST – In reversal, GOP officials in key Michigan county certify ballot count after striking a compromise with Democrats


WASHINGTON POST – Trump fires top DHS official who refuted his claims that the election was rigged


WASHINGTON POST – The president is golfing and exercising White male privilege


NEW YORK TIMES – In Georgia, a Republican Feud With Trump at the Center


NEW YORK TIMES – F.D.A. Authorizes the First At-Home Coronavirus Test


NEW YORK TIMES – Recession With a Difference: Women Face Special Burden


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Senate Republicans Fail to Advance Judy Shelton’s Confirmation to Fed Board


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Retail Sales Climbed at a Slower Pace in October


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Doctors Apply Covid-19 Lessons Learned as U.S. Cases Surge




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