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Daily News Digest – October 28, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, October 28.


1. The al-Baghdadi raid: how it happened

  • The helicopters flew low and fast into the night, ferrying U.S. special forces to a compound where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding in Syria. Half a world away, President Donald Trump watched the raid in real time via a video link as troops blasted into the hideout and sent the most-wanted militant running the last steps of his life.
  • The daring raid was the culmination of years of steady intelligence-gathering work — and 48 hours of hurry-up planning once Washington got word that al-Baghdadi would be at a compound in northwestern Syria.
  • The night unfolded with methodical precision and unexpected turns. This reconstruction is based on the first-blush accounts of Trump and other administration officials eager to share the details of how the U.S. snared its top target, as well observations from startled villagers who had no idea al-Baghdadi was in their midst.
  • Read the full tick-tock report of how the raid that killed the world’s leading terrorist unfolded HERE.


2. Rep. Chris England to run for Dem party chair

  • State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, announced Sunday night that he will run for chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party.
  • In a tweet last night, England said “Transparent. Inclusive. An Alabama Democratic Party for everyone. That’s what we’re building. Together. It’s official. I’m in. SDEC members mark your calendars. Nov 2. Let’s get this done.”
  • Of course, there are basically two Alabama Democratic Parties at the moment, each operating under different sets of recently passed bylaws changes.
  • England is in the camp backed by the Democratic National Committee attempting to rid the party of its current leadership, including Chairwoman Nancy Worley.
  • There’s really no telling how this leadership election is going to go down. Worley said she expects the whole thing to end up in court.
  • In any case, England’s entrance into the race for chair is a significant development.
  • Read more from Brian Lyman HERE.



3. Missing woman’s car found

  • The vehicle of a missing college student was found in Montgomery over the weekend.
  • Nineteen-year old Aniah Hayley Blanchard, a student at Southern Union Community College in Opelika, went missing on Wednesday after reportedly arranging to meet a young man.
  • Here black Honda CR-V was found Friday with some damage to the front end.
  • Blanchard’s whereabouts are still unknown.
  • Anyone with information is asked to contact Auburn police at 334-501-3140 or the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391.
  • Full story from WSFA HERE.



4. Brian Rell to Balch

  • The government relations arm of Balch & Bingham is gaining a heavy hitter in its Washington, D.C. office.
  • Brian Rell, who has worked as Congressman Robert Aderholt’s chief of staff for 11 years, will join the Balch team on Nov. 1.
  • Of note, Rell has managed Aderholt’s responsibilities on the House Appropriations Committee, including leadership roles on Defense, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Commerce, Justice and Science (NASA). That knowledge and experience makes him extremely valuable for those needed to navigate the very complicated, insular appropriations process.
  • Aderholt said he was sorry to see his longtime staffer go, but happy for his professional success.
  • “Brian has worked alongside me since managing my first congressional campaign and I have valued his counsel since,” Aderholt said. “While I am sad to see him go, I am happy that he has found a place at a first-rate firm like Balch.”
  • On joining the firm, Rell said, “I am truly grateful to have worked with Robert for these many years and the legislative accomplishments we have been able to achieve. I am excited to join Balch & Bingham given their footprint in Washington and state capitals. I am attracted to their collaborative culture and commitment to client service.”
  • Full story HERE.
  • Speaking of staff moves, Caroline Franklin starts today as Rep. Martha Roby’s communication’s director. Franklin, who had been working in Sen. Richard Shelby’s press shop, replaces Emily Taylor, who recently took a position on the House Budget Committee.
  • Congrats to all!


5. News Briefs

$3M grant to fund climate change education at Auburn

  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A $3 million grant will help fund climate change education at Auburn University.
  • The school announced recently that money from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship will be used to teach students how to study the changing climate.
  • Faculty members will work with about 85 graduate students to create an interdisciplinary team. The team will work over a five-year period.
  • Students will examine both natural systems and man-made infrastructure. Associate professor Karen McNeal says in a statement that understanding vulnerabilities, resiliency and recovery time is crucial as natural disasters become worse.
  • The grant is the first such award in the state of Alabama. Auburn’s Department of Geosciences recently began offering a doctoral program related to climate change.

Prison contraband search finds more than 280 weapons

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Prison officials say more than 280 makeshift weapons and other contraband were confiscated during a sweep of a prison.
  • The Alabama Department of Corrections said Friday that the search at Bullock Correctional Facility found 283 makeshift weapons, 71 contraband cellphones, 756 grams of synthetic drugs, and 416 pills or suboxone strips.
  • The law enforcement operation was conducted Thursday. The Bullock County prison houses about 1,500 inmates.
  • Several outside law enforcement agencies assisted the prison system in the operation.
  • The Department of Corrections has conducted a series of similar prison sweeps in an effort to crack down on prison contraband.

Grant program to aid Alabama inland ports

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state of Alabama is offering money to help develop its inland ports.
  • The Department of Economic and Community Affairs says it’s accepting applications for grants of as much as $1 million to help improve infrastructure at ports located away from the coast.
  • Money could be used for improvements like storage, moorings, new construction and maintenance.
  • The grants are being offered through a $5 million program created by state legislators earlier this year.
  • Alabama has inland ports along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in western Alabama, and there are more port facilities located in Florence and in Jefferson County near Birmingham.
  • The head of the state agency overseeing the program, Kenneth Boswell, says the grants will help inland ports increase cargo and get products to coastal areas.

Flounder fishing prohibited in November

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Flounder fishing in state waters will be halted in November to protect migrating fish.
  • The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding anglers that commercial and recreational fishing for flounder is prohibited from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30.
  • Flounder migrate from Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound and other inshore waters into the Gulf of Mexico to spawn beginning in November each year. Kevin Anson, chief biologist with the Alabama Marine Resources Division, said the November closure was established to protect the migrating fish and help grow the population.
  • Additionally, the department said Alabama waters will close to the recreational harvest of greater amberjack on Nov. 1. That coincides with the closing of Gulf federal waters. State and federal waters will remain closed to amberjack fishing through April 30.

Tech park could mean 1,200 jobs in Birmingham

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Work is beginning on a business park that promoters say could mean about 1,200 jobs in Birmingham east of downtown.
  • Officials held a groundbreaking on Thursday for Grand River Technology Park, which will be located off Interstate 20 beside Barber Motorsports Park near Leeds.
  • The project is planned as a regional site for research, development and light manufacturing. It’s also being billed for tourism since the race track is nearby and the Southern Museum of Flight plans to relocate there.
  • reports the park is being funded in part by a $6 million grant from an Alabama Labor Department program to use abandoned mine sites.
  • The park will reclaim about 105 acres (42 hectares) of undeveloped land surrounding several old coal mining areas in eastern Jefferson County.



A message from

Alabama’s Rural Electric Cooperatives

  • Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives are grateful that Rep. Terri Sewell is the lead sponsor of a bill which would ensure that co-ops don’t lose their tax-exempt status if they accept government grants to restore power after natural disasters or provide broadband service to rural communities.
  • A majority of House members are now co-sponsoring the RURAL Act, which would fix the problem.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – The tip, the raid, the reveal: The takedown of al-Baghdadi
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Brian Rell joins Balch & Bingham’s Washington office
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ed Castile: Blind spots on Alabama’s Workforce Super Highway
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Help wanted: retail, nursing jobs in demand
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers approve additional $5 million in ‘equalization funds’ for state universities
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – AP Top 25: LSU No. 1 ahead of ‘Bama in close vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tax fix needed to allow cooperatives to serve their communities
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SPORTS BREAK: The 2019 SEC as 2020 Presidential Candidates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – October 27, 2019
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama Dems, here’s how you beat Joe Reed.
AL.COM  – Contributor Rachel Bryars: Alabama’s boomtown may soon become ugly town unless pro-growth conservatives hug some trees.
AL.COM  – City of Huntsville joins legal fight in opioid crisis.
AL.COM  – Alabama bans flounder fishing in state waters in November.
AL.COM  – Contributor David Sher: How Birmingham could be more like Hollywood.
AL.COM  – What are companies looking for in Alabama?
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Bonita Carter is more than a memorial.
AL.COM  – 2 inmates dead within week of each other in separate Alabama prisons.
AL.COM  – Columnist Frances Coleman: The chief was right; Kamille’s death wasn’t a movie. It was reality.
Montgomery Advertiser – President Trump says ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead after U.S.-led raid in Syria
Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville woman died from multiple stab wounds; suspect charged with murder
Montgomery Advertiser – Statue of controversial Montgomery namesake unveiled near City Hall
YellowHammer News – Jones bashes 2012 Trump tweet after mission killing ISIS leader — ‘Partisan hackery’
YellowHammer News – Assessing the health of Mobile Bay
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Orr vows to renew push to take State of Alabama out of retail alcohol sales
Dothan Eagle – Dothan’s Glasstream Powerboats making waves in foreign markets
Dothan Eagle – Jury trials scheduled for two Wiregrass men facing manslaughter charges
Dothan Eagle – GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: Dothan City Manager Kevin Cowper makes impact in first 6 months on job
Tuscaloosa News – Works of Alabama Writers Hall of Fame honorees span wide range
Tuscaloosa News – Dream Center aims to offer help, hope in Shoals region
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama student killed in crash
Decatur Daily – Morgan County Master Gardeners: Save the plants as well as the planet
Decatur Daily – Authorities search for Morgan Jail escapee with history of violence
Decatur Daily – AKC: Proposed ordinance bad for dogs, dog owners
Times Daily – Florence-Lauderdale Tourism hosting trick-or-treat event Thursday
Times Daily – Mars Hill Bible School earns STEM certification
Times Daily – Meriwether Lewis burial site closing Nov. 10
Gadsden Times – Fatal shooting under investigation; ECSO seeking suspect
Gadsden Times – Attalla warehouse fire most destructive in local history
Gadsden Times – Tropical Storm Olga remnants leave damage in Alabama, other states
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: Who’s convinced Little could become mayor? He is.
Anniston Star – Coldwater cyclists pedal through dreary weather
Anniston Star – Ward 4 residents in Star survey opposed to Annexit
Troy Messenger – Two arrested in burglary of Brundidge home
Troy Messenger – AJHS raise its state report card 11 points
Troy Messenger – SHS students learn Alabama history through art
Andalusia Star News – AJHS raise its state report card 11 points
Andalusia Star News – SHS students learn Alabama history through art
Andalusia Star News – AHS HOMECOMING TRADITIONS: Float Buildin
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATE: Auburn police locate vehicle of missing Auburn teen
Opelika-Auburn News – Camp Hill man killed in accident on U.S. 280
Opelika-Auburn News – OPD raises wages to combat nationwide officer turnover
Daily Mountain Eagle – Atypical Oakman school day yields positive results
Daily Mountain Eagle – Carbon Hill Elementary observes Red Ribbon Week
Daily Mountain Eagle – Library boxes installed in Oakman, Carbon Hill
Trussville Tribune – 2 dead, 14 injured in shooting at college party in Texas
Trussville Tribune – Auburn teen still missing, vehicle found damaged
Trussville Tribune – Search underway after shots fired at Jefferson County deputy near Center Point
Athens News Courier – I-65 project to switch to daytime work
Athens News Courier – The tip, the raid, the reveal: The takedown of al-Baghdadi
Athens News Courier – California declares state of emergency over fires, winds
Sand Mountain Reporter – School News: Aggies Vocal Ease to perform at Carnegie Hall
Sand Mountain Reporter – School News: Aycock named DAR Good Citizen
Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County Commission talks trash | Health Department accepting garbage exemption affidavits Nov. 1–Dec. 31
WSFA Montgomery – One person dead following officer-involved shooting in Madison; five officers on administrative leave
WSFA Montgomery – Two families held together by 4-year-old with heart transplant attend LSU and Auburn football game
WSFA Montgomery – Etowah Co. teen shot dead at a party
Fox 6 Birmingham – B’ham barber uses passion for cutting hair to comfort the family of Kamille McKinney
Fox 6 Birmingham – ‘God has gained an angel in His kingdom’: Community celebrates life of Kamille McKinney
Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect still at large after shots fired at deputy vehicle
WAFF Huntsville – One person dead following officer-involved shooting in Madison; five officers on administrative leave
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Police have a reminder about Halloween and sex offenders
WAFF Huntsville – Two families held together by 4-year-old with heart transplant attend LSU and Auburn football game
WKRG Mobile – Kurt Cobain’s unwashed sweater sells for $334K
WKRG Mobile – Human remains identified as missing Florida mother
WKRG Mobile – Coastal Gateway Boulevard closure in Gulf Shores starts Monday
WTVY Dothan – Etowah Co. teen shot dead at a party
WTVY Dothan – Actress Melissa Joan Hart cheers on the Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas
WTVY Dothan – Romance scams are a growing problem in Alabama
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump frustrated as White House effort to defy impeachment inquiry fails to halt witness testimony, advisers say
WASHINGTON POST  – The U.S. deficit hit $984 billion in 2019
WASHINGTON POST  – CDC: Most people who died from vaping-linked disease used products containing THC
WASHINGTON POST  – Hundreds mourn slain girl at funeral in Alabama’s major city.
NEW YORK TIMES  – Leaving Prison at 72: For nearly two decades, Geneva Cooley assumed she would in an Alabama prison for nonviolent drug crimes.
NEW YORK TIMES  – Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory

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