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Daily News Digest – November 19, 2019

Presented by

The Boeing Company




Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, November 19.



1. Hearing is live

  • The House Intelligence Committee has just gaveled in for Week Two of impeachment inquiry hearings.
  • Testifying today are Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who works at the National Security Council, and State Department/White House adviser Jennifer Williams.
  • Vindman and Williams were listening with others in the White House Situation Room when President Donald Trump had his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • They reportedly testified in a closed door hearing that they heard Trump pressure Ukraine’s president to do him the “favor” of investigating Joe Biden and his son, all while the U.S. had placed a hold on aid to Ukraine.
  • In addition to the hearing, all eyes will be on the president’s Twitter account. Trump previously criticized Williams’ account, telling her to “read BOTH transcripts” and calling her a “Never Trumper.”
  • You can read more and watch the hearing for yourself as it live streams HERE.



2. Ethics rule would stop ex parte communications

  • Back in early 2018, there was a somewhat public disagreement between the Alabama Ethics Commission’s members and staff over interpretations of the Ethics Code. That all got worked out when the law finally changed, but it was notable.
  • Now, a proposed administrative rule would prevent Alabama Ethics Commission members from discussing or receiving information about matters before them outside of official settings.
  • The prohibition on ex parte communications wasn’t caused by any singular event, Ethics Commission  Executive Director Tom Albritton told Alabama Daily News.
  • “It’s not prompted by anything except the desire for the commission’s official decisions to have credibility in the public’s mind,” Albritton said. “The idea is that the official decisions by the commission should be independent and free from outside influence except that influence that is expressed publicly in an open meeting. It’s the same idea behind why judges can’t engage in ex parte communications.”
  • The proposed rule says that in the case of ex parte communications, commissioners shall publicly state, for inclusion in the official minutes of the commission, the name of the individual who initiated the communication, the date and time of the communication, the individuals involved and the subject matter discussed.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.










A message from

The Boeing Company

  • This year, Boeing supported a series of successful missile tests, including the most complex flight test in the history of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program — the only system that can intercept a long-range ballistic missile.
  • In a first-of-its-kind “salvo” test, two Ground-Based Interceptors were launched against a single incoming Intercontinental Ballistic Missile-range target. The first interceptor destroyed the target. And, the second observed the intercept, and selected and hit the remaining most threatening object.
  • As the GMD prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.
  • GMD flight tests demonstrate that the systems Boeing developed and fielded are prepared and able to defend our nation and deter global threats.








3. Trial begins in Montgomery police shooting

  • After years of delays, the trial of Montgomery police officer Cody Smith for the shooting of an unarmed black man is under way.
  • The trial was moved to Dale County in southeast Alabama after defense attorneys argued the high-profile nature of the case meant Smith couldn’t get a fair trial in Montgomery.
  • Smith is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn. Smith maintains he shot Gunn in self-defense. Gunn was shot five times.
  • Read more HERE.
  • Also read reporting from The Advertiser’s Melissa Brown HERE and watch the story from WSFA’s Jenn Horton HERE.



4. White House backs off flavored vape ban

  • Amid staunch political resistance, President Donald Trump has backed away from a proposal to ban most flavored e-cigarettes.
  • After meeting with political advisers on Air Force One, Trump shelved the ban, convinced it could alienate voters who would be financially or otherwise affected by it.
  • A news conference scheduled by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to announce the ban was canceled, while more meetings with industry leaders and lobbyists were proposed, according to White House officials.
  • Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and others showed the president polling data indicating that e-cigarette users could abandon him if he followed through with the ban, the officials said.
  • Campaign aides also highlighted an aggressive social media campaign — #IVapeIVote — in which advocates claimed a ban would force the closure of vaping shops, eliminating jobs and sending users of electronic cigarettes back to traditional smokes. Parscale also pointed out the risk that a ban could have on e-cigarette users in key battleground states that Trump narrowly won in 2016.
  • Full story HERE.



5. News Briefs

Tua Tagovailoa’s prognosis ‘excellent’ after his surgery

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s team surgeon said Tua Tagovailoa’s prognosis was “excellent” after the quarterback underwent surgery to repair a dislocated hip, although there is no timeline for Tagovailoa’s recovery.
  • Dr. Lyle Cain said Tagovailoa is expected to recover fully after Monday’s surgery in Houston — probably the best possible news the QB could have received about the devastating season-ending injury, which has cast a cloud over his football future.
  • The 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Tagovailoa emerged as a likely high draft pick — possibly No. 1 overall — with fans of downtrodden NFL teams using the Twitter hashtag “Tankfortua” to show their hopes of getting the QB in the draft.
  • If Tagovailoa does decide to enter the draft, it’s unclear how the injury will affect how teams evaluate him.
  • Full story HERE

Worley asks judge to block rival from acting as party chair

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Nancy Worley is asking a judge to block state Rep. Chris England from replacing her as chair of the Alabama Democratic Party.
  • Lawyers for Worley, a longtime leader of the party, filed the action Monday.
  • England was elected as party chair earlier this month. But Worley and her allies argue the election was illegitimate and Worley remains party chair.
  • Worley asked for a preliminary injunction to enjoin England and others from “misrepresenting themselves” as acting for the state party.
  • The two factions have been battling for control of the party.
  • The Democratic National Committee recognizes England as the state party’s properly elected leader. The DNC is asking to intervene in the lawsuit.

Authorities investigating county jail inmate’s death

  • ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Alabama are investigating the death of an inmate who was found unresponsive in the booking area of a county jail.
  • The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office told news outlets that inmate Randall McCafferty was declared dead at a hospital Monday. Records show the 57-year-old was arrested Sunday and charged with driving under the influence. The sheriff’s office said in a statement that he’d been hospitalized for four hours before being taken to jail that night.
  • His body has been sent for autopsy and a state law enforcement official said the Alabama Bureau of Investigations is reviewing the death at the sheriff’s request. Sheriff Mike Blakely said it isn’t being considered suspicious.
  • McCafferty was being temporarily housed in the jail’s booking area. The sheriff’s office says he was under constant observation.

Man charged with murder after remains found

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a man has confessed to killing a person they believe is a southwest Alabama teenager missing since 2008.
  • News outlets report 46-year-old Eldee George Henage is being charged with murder and corpse abuse after authorities found skeletal remains over the weekend in Wilmer, located near Mobile.
  • The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office says Henage told investigators he strangled a woman and buried her body behind his camper.
  • Investigators believe the remains they found are those of Nancy “Larie” Cowan, who was 19 when she was reported missing in 2008. Investigators are awaiting positive identification.
  • Video from news outlets shows Henage saying “voices” and “12 years” when a reporter asked if he had anything he wanted to say while being taken to jail Monday.

Madison police launch internal review into fatal shooting

  • MADISON, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police department is reviewing a fatal shooting by officers who killed a black man just steps away from his wife and 8-year-old daughter.
  • News outlets report Madison police are reviewing whether policy was followed in the Oct. 27 fatal shooting of Dana Fletcher. The 39-year-old Fletcher was shot by police responding to a report of a suspicious person outside a gymnasium. His wife, Cherelle Fletcher, has said her family was visiting so she could exercise, and they were sitting in a van when officers approached.
  • Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard has said the officers were justified in the shooting, but an internal police review board has yet to analyze the case. Five officers remain on leave pending the review, including the two officers who actually shot and killed Fletcher.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ethics Commission rule would stop ex parte communications
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tua Tagovailoa’s prognosis ‘excellent’ after his surgery
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – WATCH LIVE: Day 3 of public impeachment hearings
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – White House backing off flavored vaping ban
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More mental health support sought for firefighters
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate Candidates talk impeachment in Madison County
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Daily News Digest – November 18, 2019
AL.COM  – Infant mortality hits all-time low in Alabama, but racial gap remains, new report says
AL.COM  – Equal Justice Initiative sounds alarm over sharp rise in Alabama prison slayings
AL.COM  – Nancy Worley faction renews complaint in Democratic Party lawsuit
AL.COM  – UAB breaks record with $600 million in research funding
AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey ‘pardons’ Bates Farm turkeys in Thanksgiving tradition
AL.COM  – Contributor Sam Jones: Former Mobile mayor weighs in on annexation issue
Montgomery Advertiser – AC Smith trial: Day 1 coverage against Montgomery police officer who killed Greg Gunn
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man convicted in Wind Creek Casino theft
Montgomery Advertiser – Majority white Dale County jury to hear Montgomery officer’s murder trial
YellowHammer News – TruSpin Nanomaterials, GLOW latest winners in Alabama Launchpad startup competition
YellowHammer News – UAB shatters another record for research funding — ‘Powerful economic engine’
YellowHammer News – Ivey praises Austal, meets veterans-only apprenticeship class
Dothan Eagle – 2 Dothan officers assaulted Monday evening
Dothan Eagle – Bonuses heading to Dothan City School employees in time for holidays
Dothan Eagle – Ashford teachers remain suspended after leaked chats; another meeting set for Wednesday
Tuscaloosa News – Northport council approves 2020 budget with cost of living increases for employees
Tuscaloosa News – Media fighting gag order in case of missing Alabama student
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama authorities search for escaped work center inmate
Decatur Daily – Decatur Police Department receives accreditation
Decatur Daily – 3M: Groundwater contaminated at old Lawrence dump
Decatur Daily – Police: Weapons, ammo found at home of capital murder defendant
Times Daily – Free Thanksgiving meal is in its fifth year
Times Daily – Power Outage at Hatton Elementary Expected to Last Several Hours
Times Daily – Muscle Shoals will host quarterly workforce summit
Gadsden Times – Alabama’s safest cities? Three are in Etowah County
Gadsden Times – Boaz woman jailed after failing to appear on charge of beating, drugging child
Gadsden Times – Nine key witnesses to testify this week in impeachment hearings
Anniston Star – Minister drops appeal in daughter’s abduction
Anniston Star – Fire destroys Choccolocco Road mobile home
Anniston Star – Catching Pablo: “Narcos” agents speak at JSU
Troy Messenger – INTO THE FIRE: Hamilton Crossroads hosts Alabama Fire College
Troy Messenger – Special docket set to recover pay owed to victims
Troy Messenger – Troy Schools board honors education week
Andalusia Star News – Covington County Schools’ ‘Annie’ cast list announced
Andalusia Star News – AHS students teach holiday lesson at AES
Andalusia Star News – Run for God group tries out new XC trail
Opelika-Auburn News – Revolutionary recycling? A new technology turns everyday trash into plastic treasure.
Opelika-Auburn News – Banking that electric cars can also be cool, Ford introduces an all-electric Mustang
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika police investigating armed robbery
Daily Mountain Eagle – DME/ZipRecruiter announce online partnership
Daily Mountain Eagle – 3 honored at Top Women in Alabama Media awards
Daily Mountain Eagle – County residents donate to Operation Christmas Child
Trussville Tribune – Springville couple sentenced in pain clinic pill mill scheme in Moody
Trussville Tribune – Salvation Army issues statement after being cut from Chick-fil-A donor list
Trussville Tribune – Trial begins in 2016 fatal Alabama police shooting
Athens News Courier – Limestone finalizes event center deal with vets museum
Athens News Courier – Rogers scores 2,000th career point in East win
Athens News Courier – LCSO: Inmate found unresponsive at jail; SBI investigating
Sand Mountain Reporter – Salem Cut-Off paving complete in Geraldine
Sand Mountain Reporter – TVA reports $11.3 billion in operating revenues for FY 2019
Sand Mountain Reporter – Art show honoring Marolyn Smith set for Thursday at Albertville Public Library
WSFA Montgomery – New security measure added at Montgomery, Prattville Baptist hospitals
WSFA Montgomery – Man convicted of theft from Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery
WSFA Montgomery – 2 people claim to be the chair of AL Democratic Party
Fox 6 Birmingham – Fire officials: Homes in Fairfield being intentionally set on fire
Fox 6 Birmingham – “He embodied the best of humanity”: Former Fairfield City Schools principal’s life taken in murder-suicide
Fox 6 Birmingham – Physicians warn about dangers of pediatric flu
WAFF Huntsville – Cocaine, meth, $29K in cash seized in Limestone County
WAFF Huntsville – 3M says toxic chemicals were found at previously utilized landfill
WAFF Huntsville – 2 arrested after dead horse found in Jackson County
WKRG Mobile – Woman who threw drink at a Gulf Coast Congressman is sentenced
WKRG Mobile – Popular Mobile band asks for help after trailer full of equipment was stolen
WKRG Mobile – Neighbors showing support for Alabama teen injured in golf cart accident
WTVY Dothan – Superintendent hints texting teachers may keep jobs
WTVY Dothan – Memphis Baptist Church among 4 Operation Christmas Child drop off locations
WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Public Safety Center holds first class in new building
WASHINGTON POST  – Supreme Court puts temporary hold on Trump financial records ruling.
WASHINGTON POST  – Companies can get govt loans if revenue falls after disaster
NEW YORK TIMES  – House Proposes Stopgap Bill to Prevent Shutdown

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