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Daily News Digest – November 26, 2019

Presented by

Alabama’s Trucking Industry

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, November 26.



1. Remains found believed to be Aniah Blanchard’s

  • Human remains found in rural Macon County Monday are believed to belong to Aniah Blanchard, the 19-year-old college student who disappeared more than a month ago.
  • “I can confirm that human remains have been found in Macon County on County Road 2 and we have good reason to believe they are that of Aniah Blanchard,” said Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes.
  • On Monday, a warrant filed in court showed that the second suspect arrested in the case, Antwain Shamar Fisher of Montgomery, was believed to have disposed of evidence. Soon after, authorities made their way to the Macon County site.
  • Auburn Police said Monday that investigators “obtained information regarding the possible location of a body.”
  • A third man, David Johnson Jr., was arrested Monday in Montgomery and charged with hindering prosecution in the case. According to an arrest affidavit, Johnson helped suspect Ibraheem Yazeed escape to Florida.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Lawmakers: Police killings a sign of ‘contempt’

  • Even before the shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams on Saturday, there were already at least five on-duty law enforcement officers killed in Alabama this year.
  • Killing an on-duty law officer is a capital crime in this state. That means it can carry the ultimate punishment: the death penalty.
  • Is that deterrent working? Are other factors like mental health and illegal gun trafficking playing into this disturbing trend?
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck and Mary Sell spoke to several lawmakers who have a background in law enforcement about what can be done to address the problem and what we might see in the upcoming legislative session.
  • Their full story HERE.






A message from

Alabama’s Trucking Industry


  • Trucks move Alabama’s economy, and a career in trucking can open many doors for working Alabamians of all ages, genders and races.
  • Did you know that Alabama trucking businesses provide 107,160 jobs – 1 out of 15 in the state?
  • From professional truck drivers, diesel technicians, logistics professionals, fleet managers, safety/HR professionals and sales directors, the jobs our industry offers are diverse and plentiful.
  • And we’re talking about good-paying, highly technical jobs… and they are available right now!





3. GOP candidates speak in Butler County

  • Remember last year when the Butler County GOP candidate forum turned into a can’t-miss political event that sparked all kinds of stories and campaign ads?
  • Cleve Poole and his group of local Republicans organized another candidate forum Monday night that once again saw candidates mix it up.
  • This time it was the U.S. Senate candidates, four of them at least. Congressman Bradley Byrne, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Rep. Arnold Mooney and businessman Stanley Adair each pitched their candidacies to a solid gathering of local voters.
  • They mostly avoided attacks on each other, while predictably pointing their ire toward Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.
  • One candidate even suggested Jones should consider living outside the United States if he is defeated next November.
  • Read my full story on the event, including video of each one of their speeches HERE.



4. Club comes after Byrne

  • Club for Growth, a Washington political group that often plays in House and Senate primaries, is coming after U.S. Senate candidate Bradley Byrne in a new ad set to run this week.
  • The ad accuses Byrne of putting “special interests” ahead of “Alabama interests,” in a not-so apparent reference to votes supporting the Export-Import Bank.
  • Byrne’s campaign pushed back saying it’s “hysterical” that the group is attacking him on a policy issue that President Donald Trump supports. Byrne press secretary Lenze Morris said the group should call themselves “Club for China.”
  • The ad will get seen, at least in Mobile. It’s set to run in that market during the Iron Bowl and on Fox News thenafter.
  • Full story, including the ad itself, HERE.



5. News Briefs

Sessions staffs up

  • John Rogers is leaving his role as communications director for the Alabama Senate Majority to join former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ U.S. Senate campaign.
  • Rogers is no stranger to the campaign game. He ran comms for the Roy Moore campaign after Moore became the GOP nominee in 2017, but later left the campaign when Moore was accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct. That’s not an easy thing to do, but it was honorable under the circumstances, in my opinion.
  • State Senate leaders sang John’s praises amid the news he is leaving, calling him a “consummate professional” whose communications counsel would be “sorely missed.”
  • Full story from ADN’s Will Whatley HERE.

Former sheriff sentenced to 18 months for food fraud

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A judge on Monday sentenced a former Alabama sheriff to 18 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to scamming a food bank and his own small-town church to obtain inexpensive jail food and boost his personal income.
  • U.S. District Judge Liles Burke sentenced former Pickens County Sheriff David Abston to serve 18 months for wire fraud and filing a false tax return, federal prosecutors said in a news release. Abston was ordered to pay $51,000 in restitution.
  • Abston was sheriff for over 30 years until the accusations derailed his lengthy law enforcement career. He resigned and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.
  • Prosecutors said Abston in 2014 got the West Alabama Food Bank to agree to provide low-cost food to his own church, Highland Baptist of Gordo. The food bank agreed to provide food to help feed the poor, including poor children. Instead, much of the food went to the Pickens County Jail which Abston ran.
  • Full story HERE.

Police offer reward for tips on professor’s slaying

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A police department in Alabama is calling for the public’s help in determining who killed a university professor found shot to death inside his home.
  • The Mobile Police Department posted on Facebook Monday offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest in the death of 39-year-old University of South Alabama professor Matthew Wiser.
  • Wiser was found dead inside his home on Wednesday with an apparent gunshot wound after concerned colleagues called for police to check on him.
  • Mobile police confirmed they are investigating Wiser’s death as a murder.
  • Wiser was an associate professor in South Alabama’s business school.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Remains found believed to be Aniah Blanchard’s
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers: Killings of police officers sign of ‘contempt’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – GOP Senate candidates speak in Butler County
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Byrne campaign: Attack ad ‘hysterical’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – John Rogers joins Sessions’ campaign team
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Former sheriff sentenced to 18 months for food fraud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Top lawmakers reach agreement on spending as deadline nears
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Study to look for signs of hookworm in Alabama’s Black Belt
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Daily News Digest – November 25, 2019
AL.COM  – Young Democrats of America to hold national meeting next week in Birmingham
AL.COM  – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin introduces plan to pardon misdemeanor marijuana convictions
AL.COM  – Ex-Alabama sheriff gets 18 months in federal prison
AL.COM  – 2 Alabama charter school founders chosen for fellowship
AL.COM  – Contributors James McClintock and Paul Erwin: Climate change in Deep South threatens children
AL.COM  – Alabama 1 of 7 states reporting widespread flu activity
AL.COM  – Feeling lucky? Mississippi lottery tickets on sale today
Montgomery Advertiser – Aniah Blanchard update: Antwain Fisher’s attorney requests $50K bond in kidnapping case
Montgomery Advertiser – No bond for suspect in Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams killing
Montgomery Advertiser – Funeral arrangements set for slain Lowndes County sheriff
YellowHammer News – Alabama Farmers Federation endorses all of state’s U.S. House incumbents seeking reelection besides Brooks
YellowHammer News – GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls unite on faith, Trump; Rally against Doug Jones at Butler Co. forum
YellowHammer News – Jessica Taylor endorsed by group dedicated to electing conservative women
Dothan Eagle – Father charged with manslaughter in son’s death indicted by a grand jury
Dothan Eagle – Body found in Macon County believed to be Aniah Blanchard
Dothan Eagle – One dies in Slocomb house fire Sunday morning
Tuscaloosa News – Purdue student dies in 200-foot fall in Alabama cave
Tuscaloosa News – Police investigating fatal shooting near Jemison Avenue
Tuscaloosa News – David Abston sentenced to 18 months in prison
Decatur Daily – Teammates helped Decatur Heritage player after father’s death
Decatur Daily – Council members concerned about Aquadome after report on old landfill
Decatur Daily – Preliminary analysis: Toxins at Brookhaven property
Times Daily – Thanksgiving holiday will impact Shoals garbage routes
Times Daily – Authorities: Remains believed to be Aniah Blanchard
Times Daily – Sheffield has 17 openings on seven boards
Gadsden Times – Remains found believed to be missing Birmingham teen
Gadsden Times – No bond for suspect in Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams killing
Gadsden Times – Operation Christmas Child exceeds county goal
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council hears of VeoRide departure
Anniston Star – Police investigating Anniston robbery
Anniston Star – Man reports being shot in the foot Sunday
Troy Messenger – City, Keep Troy Beautiful debut new ‘Adopt a Street’ program
Troy Messenger – Home cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving Day
Troy Messenger – PLAS implementing new policies to assess, prep for ACT
Andalusia Star News – Federal judge set pre-trial conference, trial date in ACS lawsuit
Andalusia Star News – Sheriff’s Department aided in manhunt for suspect in Lowndes County Sheriff shooting
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATED 8:35 P.M. MONDAY: All suspects that played role in Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance in custody; Human remains found in Macon County, believed to be those of Blanchard
Opelika-Auburn News – Breaking Barriers gives voice to diversity, inclusion concerns
Opelika-Auburn News – Conan the dog, hurt in ISIS raid, honored at White House
Trussville Tribune – Trussville teen hosts book-signing for ‘My Friend had a Seizure
Trussville Tribune – Body found in Alabama confirmed as missing Florida girl
Trussville Tribune – Moody man sentenced in identity theft, illegal gun possession case
Athens News Courier – Athens man charged with sexual abuse in attack on ex-girlfriend
Athens News Courier – Athens school board OKs personnel items
Athens News Courier – Athens man accused of child sodomy, sexual abuse
Sand Mountain Reporter – Go Medical Group’s facility nears completion
Sand Mountain Reporter – Johnson named executive director of Boaz chamber
Sand Mountain Reporter – RSVP Chorus, Ukesters, Dulcimer groups to perform at Guntersville Museum’s annual Festival of Trees
WSFA Montgomery – Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams remembered at vigil in Hayneville
WSFA Montgomery – Millbrook man charged with possession of child pornography
WSFA Montgomery – Missing student Aniah Blanchard’s remains possibly found
Fox 6 Birmingham – Missing 5-year-old Taylor Williams’ remains found near Demopolis, Ala.
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa PD identify victim in Monday evening homicide
Fox 6 Birmingham – State troopers clock driver going 112 mph through construction zone
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville man charged with murdering brother
WAFF Huntsville – Fire results in injuries near Hazel Green
WAFF Huntsville – Local sheriffs remember slain Lowndes County sheriff
WKRG Mobile – Prodisee Pantry’s pre-Thanksgiving food distribution Tuesday
WKRG Mobile – New details released in deadly stabbing at Big Lagoon State Park
WKRG Mobile – News 5 Investigates: The legal status of the drug Kratom after two recent arrests
WTVY Dothan – Death of Alabama sheriff recalls memories of slain Wiregrass lawmen
WTVY Dothan – Donation brings $83,000 piano to ESCC
WTVY Dothan – Hartford man killed in Monday crash
WASHINGTON POST  – Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with House subpoena, judge rules
WASHINGTON POST  – Jared Kushner’s new assignment: Overseeing the construction of Trump’s border wall
WASHINGTON POST  – Betsy DeVos poised to issue sweeping rules governing campus sexual assault
WASHINGTON POST  – An Alabama sheriff was allegedly shot by deputy’s son. It’s part of a statewide spike in cop killings
NEW YORK TIMES  – President Trump Signs Federal Animal Cruelty Bill Into Law
NEW YORK TIMES  – Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Disclosure of Trump’s Financial Records



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