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Daily News Digest – October 23, 2019

Presented by AlabamaWorks!

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, October 23.

1. The “unimaginable”

  • The body of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney was found Tuesday, and two people are being charged with the little girl’s murder.
  • McKinney had been missing for more than a week after being kidnapped while outside a birthday party in Birmingham on Oct. 12.
  • Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith told a news conference that the girl’s remains were located in a trash bin that had been taken to a landfill. Police had been watching garbage deposits from a certain part of the city, he said.
  • Mayor Randall Woodfin said the girl’s parents were experiencing “unimaginable” pain.
  • “This is a tough moment for our city, a tough moment for the family,” he said.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey, in a statement Tuesday night, offered her condolences to Kamille’s family.
  • “The heart of our state is broken…,” Ivey said. “Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”
  • It wasn’t clear how long the child might have been dead. Police said 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown are being charged with murder.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.
  • Also read Carol Robinson, who covered the kidnapping from the beginning, HERE.


2. Diplomat’s testimony called ‘troubling’

  • Former Ambassador William Taylor testified Tuesday that President Donald Trump was in fact holding back military aid for Ukraine unless the country agreed to investigate Democrats and a company linked to Joe Biden’s family.
  • His testimony opens a new front in the impeachment inquiry, and it calls into question the account from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who told Congress last week that he did not fully remember some details of the events and was initially unaware that the gas company Burisma was tied to the Bidens.
  • Taylor’s description of Trump’s position is in sharp contrast to how the president has characterized it. Trump has said many times that there was no quid pro quo, though Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney contradicted that last week. Mulvaney later tried to walk back his remarks.
  • “President Trump has done nothing wrong,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “This is a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution. There was no quid pro quo.”
  • Read the full story, including Taylor’s lengthy opening statement, HERE.


A message from AlabamaWorks!

Success Plus is Alabama’s program for improving the statewide level of education beyond high school. 
Whether it’s a degree earned in a four-year or community college, a professional certification or a credential, this additional preparation creates improved opportunities for Alabamians to better their lives by participating in the workforce.
It also ensures that Alabama businesses can continue to grow with the highly-skilled workforce they need.





3. Shelby warns of shutdown

  • Could you imagine a situation in which Washington was dealing with a government shutdown amid an ongoing impeachment probe? I don’t think even the post-Sorkin West Wing writers could dream that kind of thing up.
  • And yet, as Congress moves toward another spending deadline, it’s actually plausible.
  • The Senate took action Tuesday to proceed on a domestic spending package that includes funding for Commerce, Justice, Science; Agriculture, the FDA; Interior and Environment; Transportation; and HUD.
  • That’s a hopeful sign. However, even as that took place, Sen. Richard Shelby urged his colleagues to take up the next spending package that includes critical military funding and warned of the consequences of more stop-gap spending measures.
  • Here’s an excerpt of Shelby’s speech from the Senate floor:
“The prospect of serial continuing resolutions – or worse, another government shutdown – casts a dark shadow over our previous success.
“Such uncertainty also wreaks havoc on every federal agency’s ability to plan, and it is particularly acute when it comes to the military.
“As our military leaders seek to ensure that planning and operations keep pace with activities around the globe, they are faced with the hard reality that Congress is not keeping pace with its own duties.
“Congress’s failure to do its own job makes that of the military all the more difficult.
“That is unacceptable.”
  • Read more and watch his full remarks HERE.



4. Panel tours aging, understaffed prison

  • The Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice toured Holman as part of its work of preparing recommendations ahead of the 2020 legislative session. The panel was convened as the state faces continued criticism of prison conditions, a federal court order to boost prison staffing and improve mental health care — and threats of a lawsuit by the Department of Justice.
  • The prison tour comes as Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration is exploring a plan to build three new mega-prisons and close most facilities. Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn pointed out the physical problems at Holman Prison.
  • Holman was built in 1969. Dunn said the 50-year-old prison lacks classrooms and other spaces for rehabilitation programs. He said improving the prison system is “not just building more beds.”
  • “This was a facility that was built for warehousing,” Dunn said. “It was not built to rehabilitate and give people the best shot to be a law-abiding citizen. That is our goal.”
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Also, a correction for clarity on our story on the prison situation earlier this week. The report included some history involving former Attorney General and current Pardons and Paroles Director Charlie Graddick. Mr. Graddick was not available for an interview, but his staff did talk to ADN and said questions about his involvement in the prison takeover in the 1970s and 80s were irrelevant. The original report simply noted that Graddick’s office declined an interview on his behalf, so I hope this clears that up.
  • In any case, if you haven’t read Caroline Beck’s in-depth story on that federal takeover of state prisons and how it applies to the ongoing issues, it really is worth your time.

5. President out at JSU

  • Jacksonville State University’s president has been fired.
  • Sam Monk, the school’s attorney told news outlets that John Beehler’s termination, without cause, was approved Tuesday by the school’s Board of Trustees. Monk said Beehler’s duties as president ended Tuesday. However, his last day is Nov. 21.
  • “I have never felt better, more optimistic and more encouraged about the future of this school,” board chairman Randy Jones said in a news release from JSU. “We have so many great things and great people here and the sky is the limit on what we can do to help this community and help our students become successful in life.”
  • Don Killingsworth, the school’s chief external affairs officer, has been named acting president.
  • “I am humbled by the decision of the board and honored to serve the institution in this role,” Killingsworth said in the statement.
  • Beehler’s termination comes weeks after a Georgia woman sued JSU and the board, claiming the university aided in covering up an alleged sexual assault by a basketball player in 2017.
  • Read more HERE.


News Briefs.

Chambliss honored by Civil Engineers
  • State Senator Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, was named the 2019 Outstanding Public Official by the American Society of Civil Engineers on Tuesday.
  • ASCE’s committee said they chose Chambliss to receive the national award for “impeccable service and dedication to the State of Alabama, as well as to the civil engineering profession and land surveying professionals.”
  • “Instituted in 1963, the award is made to those members of ASCE who have contributed substantially to the status of the engineering profession by meritorious public service in elective or appointive positions in civil government,” said Lawren Pratt, the ASCE member who nominated Chambliss for the award.
  • Chambliss led the effort to pass Senate Bill 316 in 2018 which required Qualification Based Selections (QBS) to be included in the State Administrative Code and added two public members to the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors.
  • In accepting the award, Chambliss said that he appreciated the collaboration between legislators and professionals in the engineering field that led to the passage of SB316.
  • Full story from Caroline Beck HERE.
Police officer accused of obstructing other city’s officers
  • DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — A police sergeant from Daleville, Alabama, is accused of obstructing officers investigating a suspicious vehicle in Dothan.
  • News outlets report 24-year-old Tyrian Quartez Richey was arrested Saturday on charges including obstructing a government operation and harassing a public official.
  • Dothan police Lt. Ray Mock says patrol officers noticed a suspicious vehicle outside a hotel Saturday and saw people laying down inside of it. He says officers were speaking with the occupants when Richey came down from a motel room and started an “altercation.”
  • Richey has since posted a signature bond and been released. Daleville police Chief Allen Medley says Richey, a two-year department veteran, was immediately put on administrative leave. He says this is the first time Richey has been accused of a crime while employed at the department.
Police: Siblings extort men over sexual orientation
  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities in Alabama say two siblings blackmailed and extorted several victims by threatening to reveal their sexual orientation, even calling in bomb threats to their job and church.
  • News outlets report 25-year-old Jvell Hurt and 23-year-old Whitney Hurt were arrested and charged with extortion and making terroristic threats.
  • Court records say a victim told police that Jvell Hurt threatened to distribute private photos of him and demanded $2,100 or Hurt would “end him.” Records say both Jvell and Whitney Hurt called in bomb threats to one victim’s church and the University of Alabama School of Nursing, where another victim worked.
  • Lt. Darren Beams says the investigation involves 10 victims. He says there may be more and he’s urging them to come forward.
  • It’s unclear whether the siblings have an attorney.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – ‘Unimaginable.’ Body of Kamille McKinney found; 2 being charged
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Shelby warns of shutdown, urges Senate to fund military
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Governor’s panel tours aging, understaffed prison
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Chambliss Chosen as Outstanding Public Official by American Society of Civil Engineers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US diplomat: Trump linked Ukraine aid to demand for probe
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jacksonville State fires president; His last day is Nov. 21
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump urges GOP to ‘get tougher and fight’ impeachment
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – ‘Sweet Grown Alabama’ now accepting applications
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – For prison problems, past is prologue
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jessica Taylor on Fox & Friends: ‘join our conservative squad’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 22, 2019
AL.COM  – Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney: Timeline of a Birmingham tragedy
AL.COM  – Alabama school board member launches campaign to save elected board
AL.COM  – Alabama criminal justice panel gets look inside Holman prison
AL.COM  – Indicted Alabama sheriff files to dismiss state ethics law
AL.COM  – ‘Dead fish everywhere’ raises alarms in Mobile
AL.COM  – Daughter of Alabama KKK victim: Trump ‘ignorant, insensitive or racist’ for lynching comment
AL.COM  – Montgomery memorial shows how wrong Trump was about ‘lynching’
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: She flunked me in English, and saved me
AL.COM  – Trump said Democratic impeachment efforts are ‘lynching;’ Doug Jones responds
AL.COM  – Contributor Wayne Flynt: ‘Roots’ music: My home in Alabama
AL.COM  – Contributor Anthony Daniels: Rural Alabamians want action and a voice on climate change
Montgomery Advertiser – Body of missing Alabama girl found; 2 being charged
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man faces murder indictment in Coosa River crash
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘We’re in good hands’: Strange wins ethics award, praises Reed
YellowHammer News – Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama set to host Walk to END EPILEPSY in Birmingham
YellowHammer News – Dick, Liz Cheney to headline Bradley Byrne Senate fundraiser
YellowHammer News – Sewell: Trump tweet comparing impeachment inquiry to ‘lynching’ is ‘despicable’
Dothan Eagle – Dothan community leaders discuss big plans to end homelessness
Dothan Eagle – Man douses girlfriend with alcohol; sets her on fire
Dothan Eagle – Houston County fugitive arrested in Florida
Tuscaloosa News – Governor’s panel tours crowded, understaffed Alabama prison
Tuscaloosa News – Police find remains of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney in Birmingham landfill
Tuscaloosa News – Central High student charged with having loaded pistol at school
Decatur Daily – Decatur student recovering from cottonmouth snakebite
Decatur Daily – Guns, travel restricted by former Morgan sheriff’s probation
Decatur Daily – Hospital moves OB-GYN services to Decatur Morgan campus
Times Daily – Study: Ag center would generate $31M annually for economy
Times Daily – Retrial underway in deputy shooting
Times Daily – Man pleads to rape in Lauderdale case
Gadsden Times – Gadsden City Schools register improved report card
Gadsden Times – JSU board votes to remove President John Beehler
Gadsden Times – State’s burn ban lifted immediately
Anniston Star – JSU trustees terminate Beehler as president
Anniston Star – Man charged with choking, sexually assaulting woman
Anniston Star – Authorities: Man dealt meth, heroin to undercover agents
Troy Messenger – Pike County STEM takes home top award at BEST Robotics competition
Troy Messenger – Troy BOE celebrates new ‘report card’ grade
Troy Messenger – Farm-City Banquet celebrates rural-urban partnership
Andalusia Star News – AHS HOMECOMING TRADITIONS: The Skit
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn man facing child porn charges
Opelika-Auburn News – Toddler in critical condition after falling into family pool
Opelika-Auburn News – A Colorado mother who touted her daughter’s ‘bucket list’ is now accused in her death
Daily Mountain Eagle – Lupton art project part of Red Ribbon Week observance
Daily Mountain Eagle – Oakman declares October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Daily Mountain Eagle – Flowers: Shelby likely won’t run in ’22
Trussville Tribune – Trussville City Council approves alcohol license for Taco Mama, mayor talks interstate lighting
Trussville Tribune – Clay City Council passes proclamation in support of Wreaths Across America
Trussville Tribune – Nationwide school bus recall impacts over 50,000 buses
Athens News Courier – Boris Johnson inches toward securing Brexit but delay likely
Athens News Courier – THE LATEST: Cullman Co. murder suspect crashes in Limestone
Athens News Courier – Attorneys for Sheriff Blakely ask judge to drop indictment
Sand Mountain Reporter – Statewide fire alert lifted | Rain brings relief
Sand Mountain Reporter – DHS annual harvest festival returns Thursday; Boys, girls Eagle Madness set for Nov. 2
Sand Mountain Reporter – ‘A Sweet Strangeness Fill My Heart’ set for Oct. 29 at SSCC
WSFA Montgomery – Suspect in Macon Co. double murder arrested in Louisiana
WSFA Montgomery – Halloween Safety Tips: Map out registered sex offenders in your area
WSFA Montgomery – Sheriff gives update on condition of teen critically injured by punch
Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect in Macon Co. double murder arrested in Louisiana
Fox 6 Birmingham – Charges pending for Cullman Co. mother accused of killing her two sons
Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect charged with two counts of murder in Cullman Co. triple shooting
WAFF Huntsville – New Madison County superintendent meeting with district leaders, eyeing opportunities for growth
WAFF Huntsville – Charges pending for Cullman Co. mother accused of killing her two sons
WAFF Huntsville – Galactic mural in downtown Huntsville is finished
WKRG Mobile – “Justice was served,” family of Mobile County murder victim speaks after sentencing
WKRG Mobile – 4 arrested on prostitution charges in Baldwin County massage parlor raids
WKRG Mobile – Escambia County teachers awarded grants for STEM, literacy projects
WTVY Dothan – Bond hearing set for firefighter charged with molesting handicapped woman
WTVY Dothan – Chief will put extra police on the streets Halloween
WTVY Dothan – Documentary investigates Escape From Alcatraz
WASHINGTON POST  – New testimony undercuts Trump’s claim of no quid pro quo on Ukraine. How will Washington respond?
WASHINGTON POST  – Anxiety rises among Democrats worried about party’s prospects in 2020
WASHINGTON POST  – Rates for the most common ACA health plans drop for a second year
NEW YORK TIMES  – 6 Key Revelations of Taylor’s Opening Statement to Impeachment Investigators.
NEW YORK TIMES  – Medicaid Covers a Million Fewer Children. Baby Elijah Was One of Them.

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