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Daily News Digest – November 30, 2018

PRESENTED BY the Stop The HIT Coalition

Good morning and Happy Friday! Here’s your Daily News for November 30.

1. Jo Bonner to Ivey Administration.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey will appoint former Congressman Jo Bonner as Senior Adviser in her administration as she prepares to begin a full term in office.
  • According to the Governor’s Office, the appointment is effective beginning December 1.
  • Bonner retired from Congress in May 2013 amid his sixth term representing Alabama’s 1st District. He was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and chaired the House Ethics Committee. Prior to being elected, Bonner served as Press Secretary and Chief of Staff to his predecessor, Congressman Sonny Callahan.
  • He worked as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at the University of Alabama for five years before stepping away in July 2018 to lead industrial recruitment efforts for Tuscaloosa County.
  • Ivey said Bonner’s high-level experience in government and economic development make him ideal to serve the state in this new capacity.
  • You’ll hear a lot today about how this is a very strong addition to the Gov’s team and those takes will be correct. I was able to see his work from both a state and federal perspective and there’s a reason he built a reputation for being the epitome of a public servant. Remind me to tell you about a story from the oil spill back in 2010.
  • Full story HERE.


2. Kelly Butler named permanent Finance Director.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey will name Kelly Butler Finance Director today.
  • The appointment makes the job permanent for Butler, who has been serving as Acting Finance Director since August following the departure of Clinton Carter.
  • Butler began his state career with the Alabama Department of Revenue more than thirty years ago. Later, he worked for the Legislative Fiscal Office before joining the Alabama Department of Finance.
  • The Finance Director is one of the top positions in state government, responsible for crafting the governor’s annual budget proposals, ensuring the state’s bills and payroll get paid, and overseeing a department with 13 divisions and 350 employees.
  • Like with Bonner, Ivey’s appointment is effective December 1.
  • Congrats, Kelly!
  • Full story HERE.


A Message from the Stop The HIT Coalition

  • The Stop The HIT Coalition thanks Senator Doug Jones for protecting Alabama small businesses, middle-class families and seniors from the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.
  • This costly, unfair and hidden tax increases the cost of health insurance in the small business market, needlessly stifles economic growth and should be repealed.
  • Senator Jones joined a bipartisan group in urging Senate leadership to prioritize urgent cost savings for hardworking Alabamians before the tax returns.
  • Thank Senator Jones for working for Alabama small businesses and families by supporting efforts to stop the 2020 Health Insurance Tax.


3. Galleria shooting suspect arrested; the latest.

  • Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20, of Bessemer was captured in Georgia and is awaiting a hearing to be sent back to Alabama.
  • ALEA says Brown was charged in the shooting of Brian Xavier Wilson, who was wounded at Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
  • Not sure there’s anything to this, but he is not charged with the shooting of the 12 year old who was also wounded. At least not yet.
  • Protests over the killing of E.J. Bradford continued Thursday, as did pleas for ALEA to release video footage of the shooting.
  • ALEA says releasing video evidence before the investigation is complete would hamper their efforts, including by possibly discouraging witnesses from coming forward.
  • The full story including a thorough timeline of events from Jay Reeves and Kate Brumback HERE.
  • Watch the latest from WBRC’s Alan Collins HERE.


4. Donald Watkins arrested.

  • An indictment was handed down Thursday against Atlanta attorney Donald Watkins Sr. and his son Donald Watkins Jr.
  • They face multiple counts of wire and bank fraud and one count of conspiracy.
  • The senior Watkins is somewhat of an enigma in Alabama politics and beyond.
  • He represented one of the Scottsboro Boys, Judge U.W. Clemon, Richard Scrushy, and Auburn football player Eric Ramsey.
  • Charles Barkley said Watkins cheated him out of millions.
  • He was the first to publicly accuse former Gov. Robert Bentley of having an affair.
  • There’s a lot more to Donald Watkins, which Kyle Whitmire gets to in his piece.
  • But now he’s indicted along with his son, charged with inducing investors to pay millions into an account that was supposed to grow two companies they were associated with. According to the indictment, the money was used for other costs, including alimony and clothing.
  • They are also charged with conspiring to obtain loans from Alamerica Bank through an allegedly fraudulent scheme involving the use of a third party to take out the loans on their behalf.
  • Watkins denies all wrongdoing.
  • Given the personalities involved and Watkins’ long history, this case could get wild.
  • Full story HERE.

5. FBI bringing 1,350 positions to Redstone.

  • The FBI is expanding is presence at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and adding as many as 1,350 positions.
  • The agency already has two campuses on Redstone, including the Terrorist Explosive Devise Analytical Center.
  • They’ve been transitioning offices and personnel from Washington, D.C. to Huntsville for the past few years and Mayor Tommy Battle says the FBI could eventually employ 5,000 people on Redstone.
  • That’s a big deal, even for Huntsville.
  • Congressman Mo Brooks said it shows “the Bureau’s commitment to growing its presence in the Tennessee Valley.”
  • Paul Gattis has the full story HERE.

‘Tis the Season

  • The official state Christmas tree arrived at the Capitol yesterday.
  • The Eastern Red Cedar stands at 35 feet tall and approximately 24 feet wide. The tree will be decorated throughout this week and next until the official tree lighting ceremony that will be held on December 7 at 5:30 p.m.
  • The cedar was grown in Bullock County on the same farm that previous year’s Christmas trees are from as well. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ray Allen of Fitzpatrick, Alabama.
  • The tree was placed directly in front of the main entrance to the Capitol building and it overlooks Dexter Avenue.
  • See more photos and video from Caroline Beck HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey names former Congressman Jo Bonner as Senior Adviser
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey names Kelly Butler Finance Director
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Suspect arrested in Galleria shooting case; protests continue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State Christmas Tree arrives at Alabama Capitol
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pelosi nominated for Speaker, must now get the floor votes
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – November 28, 2018
AL.COM – Man struck, killed while crossing U.S. 98 in Baldwin County
AL.COM – Dozens gather to mourn E.J. Bradford’s death, promote peace
AL.COM – Man jailed in Kentucky after Alabama schools, business threatened
AL.COM – Suspect in Alabama mall shooting captured by U.S. Marshals in Georgia
AL.COM – FBI announces 1,350 jobs moving to Huntsville
AL.COM – Jefferson County judge hurt in Denver hit-and-run released from hospital
AL.COM – Ivey, Marshall say parole board’s corrective plan falls short
AL.COM – Donald Watkins and son indicted on fraud charges
AL.COM – Who is Donald Watkins? Indicted attorney involved in Richard Scrushy case, Auburn NCAA violations.
AL.COM – Group helping 13 counties look good for Mazda Toyota suppliers
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Donald Watkins: Ineffable, incorrigible and indicted
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Donald Watkins charged; this will be one for the ages
AL.COM – As parting gift to Birmingham, Energen donates large art collection to UAB
AL.COM – Bentley building a home near governor’s beach house he spent $1.8 million to fix up
AL.COM – High-level Alabama education department employees trimmed, $1.7 million saved
AL.COM – Hoover may share mall shooting information if state won’t release video
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions jokes about getting ‘pink slip’
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Four women charged in mid-November assault
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Police searching for two men in U-Haul facility break-in
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Ivey, Marshall say parole plan doesn’t go far enough
DOTHAN EAGLE – Longtime United Way employee Donna Clemmons now leading Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity
DOTHAN EAGLE – Turvin credits peer recognition to ‘knowing his audience’
DOTHAN EAGLE – Bond allowed with weighty conditions in fratricide case bound over to grand jury
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Mayor Woodfin calls on protesters to help end violent crime in Birmingham
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Byrne makes ‘friendly wager’ with GA congressman over SEC Championship Game
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Hoover officials meet with E.J. Bradford’s family, request ALEA to release shooting video
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Oakdale begins rebuilding its outdoor classroom
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Timeline of events in Hoover mall shooting
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Donald Watkins and son indicted in investment fraud scheme
DECATUR DAILY – Perez goes from learning English to proficient to reading 6 million words
DECATUR DAILY – Alcohol ordinance changes on tap next week
DECATUR DAILY – Decatur ready to bring out ‘Christmas spirit’ with parade
TIMES DAILY – Killen man indicted for rape, sexual abuse
TIMES DAILY – Tuscumbia budget scaled back to match revenues
TIMES DAILY – R.E. Thompson fourth-graders create virtual tours
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Carrasco’s collecting toys for storm victims
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Dauphin hopes to win tourney, scholarship funds on ESPN
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Candyland opening
THE ANNISTON STAR – Calhoun County cancels contract for animal center
THE ANNISTON STAR – Piedmont man flown to hospital after shooting
THE ANNISTON STAR – Columnist’s fans get autographed copies of second collection
TROY MESSENGER – Atwell heading to Huntingdon
TROY MESSENGER – Trojans rout Hornets 116-46, earn fifth straight win
TROY MESSENGER – DREAMVENTION: Troy family creates robotic toy bin for contest
GADSDEN TIMES – Mall shooting suspect arrested in Georgia
GADSDEN TIMES – GLENDA BYARS: God may not be finished writing your story
GADSDEN TIMES – EXTENSION CORNER: Food companies offer hotlines for holiday cooking help
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Opelika announces free Wi-Fi service in downtown railroad area
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Leath’s office: ‘No change’ to Malzahn’s standing as Auburn’s head coach
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – College options, robots part of career fair/STEM day at Loachapoka
CULLMAN TIMES – Suspect arrested in bomb threats
CULLMAN TIMES – (UPDATE) West Point Schools clear after bomb threat investigation
CULLMAN TIMES – Sheriff’s Rodeo set to return
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – County responds to Birmingham’s opposition to Cahaba Beach Road project
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Helena now accepting applications for vacant city council position
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Pelham BOE moves forward with renovation projects at PHS, PPMS
THE MADISON RECORD – Huntsville FireFighters Association to host annual Special Needs Dance this Sunday
THE MADISON RECORD – Huntsville Ballet, Symphony to present ‘The Nutcracker’
THE MADISON RECORD – Bob Jones football hands out season awards
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – We need a little Christmas now…
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – 28 Arrested by Sheriff’s Office during drug roundup
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Kids Loving Kids low on donations to help 500 youth
NEW YORK TIMES – Sheryl Sandberg Is Said to Have Asked Facebook Staff to Research George Soros
NEW YORK TIMES – How a Lawyer, a Felon and a Russian General Chased a Moscow Trump Tower Deal
NEW YORK TIMES – At Stake When Xi and Trump Meet: The Possibility of a New Cold War
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe
WASHINGTON POST – ‘It’s a business. We’re numbers’: Many hurt by GM cuts blame others, not Trump
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Very legal & very cool’: Trump dismisses criticism of his 2016 business project in Russia
USA TODAY – Trump’s business ties to Russia stretch back more than 30 years, from big building projects to beauty pageants
USA TODAY – Northern California, reeling from Camp Fire devastation, evacuates from flash floods
USA TODAY – Calif. man on face transplant: ‘It’s important to share my story to help inspire others’
POLITICO – The China hawk who captured Trump’s ‘very, very large brain’
POLITICO – ‘The perfect witness’: Dems want Cohen to testify on the Hill
POLITICO – Trump’s wealthiest Cabinet members earned millions in 2017


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