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Daily News Digest – November 20, 2019

Presented by

The Boeing Company

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, November 20.

1. Today it’s Sondland

  • Day Four of impeachment hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives will see U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gary Sondland testify.
  • Testimony from multiple witnesses has described a pair of pivotal, sometimes tense, meetings at the White House on July 10 involving combinations of U.S. and Ukrainian leaders. Several of those present say Sondland explicitly connected a coveted White House visit to a public announcement by Ukraine of corruption investigations.
  • Sonland himself has gone back and forth in his previous testimony, so today could get interesting.
  • Read more and watch the hearing live HERE.


2. Griffin schedules hearing

  • The legal fight over who is in control of the Alabama Democratic Party is dragging onward.
  • Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin has scheduled a Dec. 5 hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by one side of the ongoing squabble.
  • Both State Rep. Chris England and longtime party leader Nancy Worley claim to be the properly elected party chair.
  • The Democratic National Committee recognizes England as the state party leader after members of the state executive committee elected him this month.
  • Worley maintains the election was illegitimate and filed a lawsuit to try to block England from taking control.
  • The two factions have been battling for control of the party.












A message from

The Boeing Company

  • Boeing’s Huntsville-managed Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program received an Aviation Week Laureate Award in the Defense Weapons Platforms category for supporting a historic missile flight test.
  • This third such award was due to Boeing’s GMD program – in partnership with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency – completing a first-of-its-kind flight test earlier this year when two GMD system interceptors were launched to destroy a threat-representative target.
  • The test solidified confidence in the nations’ only system that can intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile and data collected from the test will enhance missile defense for years to come.
  • The success of this flight test is yet another example of Boeing’s commitment to supporting our customers and meeting their mission.










3. Prosecutor: Smith was a ‘bully with a badge’

  • A Montgomery police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was a “bully with a badge,” a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday, while a defense lawyer said the young officer had to make a split-second decision to defend himself.
  • The attorneys’ opening statements offered contrasting depictions of the Feb. 25, 2016, shooting that led to murder charges against Montgomery Officer Aaron Cody Smith.
  • Smith, who is white, fatally shot 58-year-old Gregory Gunn after Smith stopped Gunn as he was walking home and Gunn fled a pat-down. The defense maintains Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole, but prosecutors said Gunn was never a threat to the officer.
  • Prosecutors acknowledged an autopsy showed Gunn had cocaine in his system and that he did run from Smith, but told jurors, “you can’t kill a man because he ran.”
  • Full story HERE.


4. Marshall: For violent crime, enough is enough

“Over the last six weeks, the people of Alabama have been confronted with a frightening reality that very few of our politicians have been willing to acknowledge: our state has a violent crime problem.
“Don’t believe me?
“Violent crime in Alabama is up 20% over the last ten years, despite some improvement over the past year. We have the seventh-highest murder rate in the nation and FBI data indicates that we are the fifth most violent state in the nation.
“Let that sink in. The kidnapping and murder of a three-year-old, the abduction of a bright college student, and the cold-blooded killing of a 20-year-old National Guardsman—in light of these statistics, these incidents don’t seem quite as unforeseen, do they?
“But who is talking about it?”
  • Read Marshall’s full piece HERE.



5. News Briefs

Tua Tagovailoa’s parents send message of thanks for support

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The parents of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa say the support the family has received “is nothing short of amazing.”
  • Galu and Diane Tagovailoa issued a statement Tuesday through Alabama’s athletic department and on Facebook. Tua Tagovailoa had surgery Monday in Houston for a dislocated right hip suffered in the Mississippi State game. The team’s surgeon, Dr. Lyle Cain, predicted a full recovery for the Crimson Tide star, who has been projected as a high NFL draft pick.
  • The statement thanks “all of the Alabama family and everyone across the world for the prayers and outpouring of love and support for our son and our family.”
  • It also says the family has “felt the unceasing prayer, and words can’t express how overwhelming and uplifting that has been for us.”

Police detective fired, accused of stealing from evidence

  • WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Alabama say a police detective has been arrested for stealing items from an evidence locker.
  • News outlets report 32-year-old Sean Blackburn was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of second-degree theft.
  • Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Lt. Shawn Loughridge says the Wetumpka police requested the agency’s help in investigating the suspected theft.
  • Wetumpka Assistant Police Chief Ed Reeves says the department noticed pieces of evidence missing from case files last week and traced the disappearance back to Blackburn.
  • Loughridge says Blackburn is accused of taking a gun and narcotics from the department’s evidence locker. District Attorney Randall Houston says the investigation is ongoing.
  • The nine-year veteran was fired from the department last week.
  • It’s unclear whether Blackburn has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

Hearing scheduled in Aniah Blanchard case

  • OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A preliminary hearing is scheduled for a man charged in the kidnapping of a missing college student.
  • Ibraheem Yazeed is scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday.
  • Yazeed is charged in the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. She was last seen Oct. 23 in Auburn, Alabama. She hasn’t been found.
  • Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a motion seeking permission to take a DNA sample from Yazeed. A judge said he will hear arguments on the request Wednesday.
  • Blanchard’s car was found abandoned more than 50 miles (90 kilometers) away. Police said the car contained evidence that Blanchard had suffered a life-threatening injury.
  • The charging document says a witness identified 29-year-old Yazeed as the man he saw force Blanchard into a car.

Alabama man charged in killing of rival college football fan

  • LITTLEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff says two football fans “got into it” while watching the Louisiana State University-Alabama game and one is accused of fatally shooting the other during a fight.
  • Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson told the Florence TimesDaily that a group gathered to watch the Nov. 9 game at David Allen Fulkerson’s home in Littleville. James Michael Roland Merritt was cheering for LSU, who beat Alabama that day 46-41.
  • Court documents say the fight escalated when Fulkerson thought Merritt called him an expletive. Williamson says Fulkerson shot Merritt and added that alcohol was a “big” factor. Fulkerson contends he acted in self-defense during the fight.
  • News outlets report Merritt died Friday after nearly a week on life support. Fulkerson is charged with murder.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – WATCH LIVE: Day 4 of public impeachment hearings
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecutor: Officer who shot man was a ‘bully with a badge’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Marshall: For violent crime in Alabama, enough is enough
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Roby introduces resolution marking Alabama’s bicentennial
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ethics Commission rule would stop ex parte communications
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – White House backing off flavored vaping ban
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tua Tagovailoa’s prognosis ‘excellent’ after his surgery
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Daily News Digest – November 19, 2019
AL.COM  – Dutch consulate exploring Alabama business avenues
AL.COM  – Alabama inmate’s prison death investigated; no foul play suspected
AL.COM  – Richard Shelby tries to ease concerns over possible government shutdown
AL.COM  – First black students to integrate Alabama schools reuniting
AL.COM  – Coast Guard moves training out of Mobile Bay after swimmers get sick
AL.COM  – Senator Doug Jones introduces legislation to address teacher shortages in rural areas
Montgomery Advertiser – Tears, testimony and ‘bully with a badge’: What we learned Day 2 in AC Smith’s murder trial
Montgomery Advertiser – Man stabbed at Z-Mart gas station on Ann St. dies from wounds
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery officer AC Smith trial: What we’ve learned each day for Greg Gunn murder charge
YellowHammer News – Bradley Byrne slams Democrats’ allegation of ‘bribery’ against President Trump
YellowHammer News – Alabama AG Steve Marshall leads national coalition defending Second Amendment to SCOTUS
YellowHammer News – Roby: Alabama bicentennial amplified by current ‘extreme economic development and job growth’
Dothan Eagle – Wayne Farms showcases Wiregrass economic impact by highlighting plant expansion
Dothan Eagle – Local pediatrician advises short window for being seen, treated for flu
Dothan Eagle – Alabama Driver Licence Division to open for service on Saturday in Dothan
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Council revokes business license for High Tide Bar
Tuscaloosa News – Kigen named South Region Athlete of the Year
Tuscaloosa News – UA extends Athletic Director Greg Byrne’s contract, increases salary to $1.3 million
Decatur Daily – 3M: Groundwater contaminated at old Lawrence dump
Decatur Daily – Decatur Police Department receives accreditation
Decatur Daily – Limestone County Jail inmate dies
Times Daily – Sheffield school board approves stipend for full-time employees
Times Daily – Teen killed in Saturday crash was ‘runaway’ from group home
Times Daily – 2 local sex offenders up for parole this week
Gadsden Times – Longtime Gadsden attorney dies
Gadsden Times – Albertville Council OKs surplus of IT equipment
Gadsden Times – Commissioner wants second opinion on $4 million jail renovation bid
Anniston Star – Crews demolish Salvation Army building on Noble Street
Anniston Star – Piedmont Council approves Christmas bonus for city employees
Anniston Star – Hospital board hears of bridge closure on crucial Heflin highway
Troy Messenger – LIVING HISTORY: PLAS wax museum honors key figures
Troy Messenger – Annexation, zoning to be requested for apartment complex
Troy Messenger – Deadline extended to enter Troy Christmas Parade
Andalusia Star News – SARA seeks $1.8M for runway safety area
Andalusia Star News – Run for God group tries out new XC trail
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika city council addresses disabled parking
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn to take up enrollment cap Friday
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn Mall welcomes popup shops
Daily Mountain Eagle – Many local areas will get paper census forms
Daily Mountain Eagle – Mayor touts city’s $2.2M in reserves, commitment to ‘fiscal responsibility’
Daily Mountain Eagle – Contractors work on Sumiton Main Street project
Trussville Tribune – PVHS to present ‘Pinson Notables: An Alabama Bicentennial Event’
Trussville Tribune – Missing Child Alert issued for 10-year-old Tuscaloosa County boy
Trussville Tribune – Police detective fired, accused of stealing from evidence
Athens News Courier – 2 churches join National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child
Athens News Courier – Limestone finalizes event center deal with vets museum
Athens News Courier – Trial begins in 2016 fatal Alabama police shooting
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
Sand Mountain Reporter – Salem Cut-Off paving complete in Geraldine
WSFA Montgomery – Day 1: Jury hears from witnesses in murder trial for Montgomery officer
WSFA Montgomery – Prattville man arrested in Auburn shooting over the weekend
WSFA Montgomery – Gov. Ivey awards $95K grant to provide shelter for pets belonging to victims of domestic violence
Fox 6 Birmingham – Governor Ivey awards Shelby Humane Society grant to help pets from domestic abuse homes
Fox 6 Birmingham – Trussville Police adding chaplain program
Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabaster Mayor: We can’t afford to recycle
WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County deputy regaining more mobility since near-fatal crash last year
WAFF Huntsville – Franklin County man accused of shooting his brother
WAFF Huntsville – Storm shelter installed in Owens Cross Roads
WKRG Mobile – Self-proclaimed local pastor wanted for harassment
WKRG Mobile – Pensacola man sentenced for murder of his neighbor
WKRG Mobile – Family raising awareness on dangers of drowsy driving in Alabama
WTVY Dothan – Authorities searching for missing child from Tuscaloosa area
WTVY Dothan – Honeysuckle Road expansion project looks to add lanes; nearly connect to 231
WTVY Dothan – Trail expansion will bring advanced routes to Dothan
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘Comes down to one guy’: In impeachment probe, all eyes turn to Gordon Sondland
NEW YORK TIMES – Gordon Sondland testifies he worked with Giuliani to pressure Ukraine “at the express direction of the president.”
NEW YORK TIMES  – Murder Trial of Alabama Officer Begins After Tying Courts in Knots
NEW YORK TIMES  – As Climate Risk Grows, Cities Test a Tough Strategy: Saying ‘No’ to Developers

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