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Daily News Digest – October 30, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, October 30.


1. Candidates react to Sessions rumors

  • Day Two of the Sessions-for-Senate story has those who are already running for the GOP nomination reacting to the rumors.
  • The biggest political story in the state right now is how former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is apparently considering running for his old seat in the Senate.
  • Speculation that Sessions could jump in the race has persisted since he resigned his AG post a year ago. But, the rumors have picked up recently due partly to the deadline for qualifying approaching at the end of next week.
  • Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, who is leading the field in early polls, went straight for Sessions, saying he “had a chance to stand and defend the President and he failed,” adding a reference to the dreaded “career politician” moniker.
  • Congressman Bradley Byrne said President Donald Trump “does not want [Sessions] to be the U.S. senator for Alabama,” and that a pro-Trump state like Alabama wouldn’t elect him.
  • Nobody is saying they would exit the race if Sessions jumps.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Read reports from Mike Cason HERE and from Brian Lyman HERE.
  • Also read this story from the Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim, who goes a little deeper into Byrne’s comments and the Trump-Sessions relationship.
  • And if you haven’t read my column on the subject, that’s HERE.


2. Consolidations coming for county health departments

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health plans to consolidate some services and staffing at county health departments.
  • The changes will be implemented around Jan. 1, State Health Officer Scott Harris told Alabama Daily News. Funding changes at the state and local level are at least part of the reason for the scale back. County specific plans have not been finalized.
  • Alabama Daily News has previously reported that ADPH is looking for ways to save money after losing about $21 million in revenue this year that it previously received from Alabama Medicaid to manage the care of some Medicaid recipients.
  • Harris said ADPH officials are talking to lawmakers about potential changes in their districts.
  • Meanwhile, Harris said he plans to ask in the 2020 legislative session for additional funding for county departments.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Abortion ban blocked

  • U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction blocking Alabama’s near total abortion ban from going into effect.
  • The law, passed in the 2019 Regular Session, would make performing an abortion a felony in almost all cases.
  • From the outset, supporters of the abortion ban have said they wanted a court case to use as a vehicle to challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade decision at the Supreme Court.
  • Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the ban, said the ruling “is merely the first of many steps on that legal journey.”
  • Opponents of the law, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Alabama celebrated the ruling as a victory for the rule of law and pointed out the amount of taxpayer money being spent to defend the law.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


4. The latest on the impeachment push

  • House Democrats on Tuesday released the text of a resolution that would authorize the next phase of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
  • The eight-page resolution calls for open hearings and requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations.
  • However, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the measure denies the administration due process and confirms that the impeachment probe “has been an illegitimate sham from the start.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he and other GOP lawmakers will review the House language to see if it passes a “smell test” of fairness to Trump.
  • Meanwhile, an Army officer serving at Trump’s National Security Council testified to impeachment investigators that he twice raised concerns over the administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.
  • Previous testimony had been from individuals who had not actually listened to the call, but rather heard accounts of it.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is the first official to testify who actually heard Trump’s July 25 call with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • Vindman said that he tried to correct the White House’s rough transcript of the call by filling in at least one of the omitted words, “Burisma,” a reference to the company linked to Biden and his son.
  • Full story, including a link to Vindman’s prepared testimony (which is worth a read), HERE.


5. News Briefs


No jail time for probate judge convicted of ethics violation

  • PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama judge has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor ethics charges for appointing his son to handle matters for his own court.
  • The Montgomery Advertiser reports former Autauga County Probate Judge Al Booth entered his plea to one count of theft of services on Monday. The 75-year-old faced felony ethics violations, but a grand jury indicted him on misdemeanor charges instead.
  • Circuit Judge Ben Fuller suspended jail time and gave Al Booth 40 hours of community service and mandated he pay back the county and serve two years’ probation.
  • The indictment accused Al Booth of appointing his son to handle court matters for pay while he was the judge. The indictment says the son was paid less than $500 on each of four occasions.
  • Booth says the violation was unintentional.

Woman charged in slaying of 2 sons

  • CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama woman has been jailed on murder charges in the deaths of her two young sons.
  • The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office tells news outlets that 32-year-old Sara Franco Tapia was booked on Monday.
  • The woman is being held in the deaths of 3-year-old Alvaro Garcia and 9-year-old Taylor Garcia. They were found dead inside their home on Oct. 12.
  • The woman was found in a field near the home with cuts and stab wounds, and she’s been hospitalized since. She was taken to jail after being released from the hospital.
  • A booking photo shows what appears to be stitches in the center of her chest.
  • Court records aren’t available to show whether Tapia has a defense attorney who could speak on her behalf.

Cullman County man accused of double slaying dies by suicide

  • PROSPECT MOUNTAIN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man accused of killing two people and severely wounding another has died by suicide.
  • Cullman County Coroner Jeremy Kilpatrick told news outlets that 30-year-old Matthew LeWayne Clayton died Tuesday at the hospital after a suicide attempt in his cell over the weekend.
  • Sheriff Matt Gentry said last week 76-year-old Thomas Frank DeWille and 75-year-old Rollan Frank Edwards were found dead with fatal knife and gunshot wounds. Forty-eight-year-old Jody Jay Tudor was found with similar wounds and was later hospitalized. His condition is unclear.
  • Gentry says the attack seemed to stem from a past dispute. He says the victims all lived together near Clayton, who was arrested near Interstate 65 after crashing his car.
  • Al.Com says DeWille was a concert pyrotechnics innovator who worked with Kiss and Bon Jovi.

Hearing set for Harvey Updyke

  • OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama fan who admitted poisoning Auburn University’s famed oak trees is due in court for a hearing on whether he should be jailed for not paying restitution.
  • A Lee County judge scheduled a hearing for Wednesday afternoon for 71-year-old Harvey Updyke, who pleaded guilty to poisoning the trees in 2013.
  • The retired Texas state trooper wrote in a public Facebook post he’s taking a bus to Auburn from his Louisiana home and expects to be jailed. But a doctor who treats Updyke submitted a letter saying the man is too ill to travel.
  • Circuit Judge Jacob Walker says he will address Updyke’s medical condition at the hearing.
  • Records show Updyke has paid only $6,900 of about $800,000 he was ordered to pay in penalties and restitution.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As Sessions considers campaign, rivals emphasize Trump feud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will he or won’t he? Sessions Senate speculation runs wild
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Consolidations coming to county health departments
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Federal judge blocks Alabama’s strict abortion ban
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House will vote on impeachment inquiry
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Colonel testifies he raised concerns about Ukraine, Trump
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 29, 2019
AL.COM  – Federal judge blocks Alabama abortion ban
AL.COM  – Blocking of Alabama abortion ban latest in national test cases
AL.COM  – Lawyer who wrote abortion ban lays out plan to overturn Roe v. Wade
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: What judge’s ruling on abortion ban means
AL.COM  – President Trump to officially qualify for Alabama primary
AL.COM  – Alabama Senate candidates react to talk that Jeff Sessions might run
Montgomery Advertiser – Man accused in retaliatory shooting to spend 10 years in prison for firearm possession
Montgomery Advertiser – Birmingham man charged in Montgomery shooting, robbery that left one with fractured femur
Montgomery Advertiser – In House District 74 race, Rayford Mack focuses on schools, health care
YellowHammer News – Jones supports, Tuberville opposes NCAA athletes profiting off of names, images, likenesses
YellowHammer News – Museum of Alabama set to offer ‘rare opportunity’ to examine the state’s ‘defining documents’
YellowHammer News – Huntsville firm awarded major contract to support U.S. special forces ops
Dothan Eagle – Mission on course for Substance Abuse Partnership despite changes
Dothan Eagle – Driver injured when car plunges into Bear Creek in western Houston County
Dothan Eagle – Edwards urges board to request tax increase from Dothan
Tuscaloosa News – Monster Makeover marks its 10th year: Creature feature started small, then grew
Tuscaloosa News – Lurleen work to close 12th Street intersection through December
Tuscaloosa News – Former Alabama star Jim Farmer arrested in sex trafficking sting
Decatur Daily – Morgan authorities await extradition of suspect in homicide
Decatur Daily – Authorities continue search for Morgan jail escapee
Decatur Daily – Murder defendant Cedric Cowan seeks to suppress police statement; trial set next week
Times Daily – Blood drives continuing this week across northwest Alabama
Times Daily – UNA Fall Choral Showcase is tonight
Times Daily – 2 suspects in Brass Monkey incident are in custody
Gadsden Times – Negotiations move forward on East Gadsden Community Center
Gadsden Times – Etowah Co. woman ordered to return $3.8 million to mother’s estate
Gadsden Times – 20 arrested in nine-day span in DeKalb County
Anniston Star – Man charged with attacking man, woman in Weaver
Anniston Star – Jacksonville council delays new zoning ordinance
Anniston Star – Oxford gives more money to private EMS service
Troy Messenger – Symposium to deep dive into ‘Opportunity Zones’
Troy Messenger – Premier clay shoot, band party raises fund for Pike Medical Foundation
Troy Messenger – ‘Cradle to Career’ round two to focus on actions, outcomes of local education
Andalusia Star News – Veterans to be honored at exhibit
Andalusia Star News – Federal judge grants injunction blocking new abortion law
Andalusia Star News – OMS earns C on school report card
Opelika-Auburn News – More employers offer workers help paying off student loans
Opelika-Auburn News – Mayor Anders holds State of the City Address
Opelika-Auburn News – Camp Hill man killed in accident on U.S. 280
Daily Mountain Eagle – Close race in annual beef cook-off
Daily Mountain Eagle – Tuberville talks on issues during DME interview
Daily Mountain Eagle – Waid, Carson bring new ideas to Oakman High
Trussville Tribune – The Trussville Tribune acquires The Leeds Tribune, expands coverage to Moody
Trussville Tribune – Former Bama hoops star arrested for human trafficking
Trussville Tribune – Suspect charged with capital murder in slaying of brother of NFL player
Athens News Courier – BOO: Rain likely on Halloween
Athens News Courier – ATHENS STATE: $2.1M Title III grant to assist low-income students
Athens News Courier – Crawford honored by forestry group
Sand Mountain Reporter – MVAC final fall concert, costume contest slated for Halloween
Sand Mountain Reporter – Car crashes into Old Mill Park
Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville Museum details city’s haunted history
WSFA Montgomery – Grocery store employee surprised with 100th birthday bash
WSFA Montgomery – Auburn police investigating foul play among other possibilities in case of missing teen
WSFA Montgomery – Ala. town welcomes new turning lanes on Highway 55
Fox 6 Birmingham – City to vote on funding for Village Market renovation in East Lake
Fox 6 Birmingham – Halloween comes early for kids, families at Lakeshore Foundation
Fox 6 Birmingham – Riverchase Galleria announces Thanksgiving shopping hours
WAFF Huntsville – Man charged following New Hope death investigation
WAFF Huntsville – Blue pumpkins raising autism awareness this Halloween
WAFF Huntsville – Authorities locate missing Geraldine woman
WKRG Mobile – Dauphin Island Police search for missing man
WKRG Mobile – Milton brothers hold haunted house to honor mom, raise funds for cancer research
WKRG Mobile – Walt Massey named Mississippi 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year
WTVY Dothan – Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman puts congressional campaign in high gear
WTVY Dothan – Ariton students working to make a difference in the community
WTVY Dothan – Former basketball standout from Dothan charged with sex crimes
WASHINGTON POST  – Firsthand account of Trump’s Ukraine call puts GOP in bind, emboldens Democrats
WASHINGTON POST  – Scientists triple their estimates of the number of people threatened by rising seas
WASHINGTON POST  – Potential GOP rival warns Sessions against run for old Senate seat over Trump ire
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration working to close immigration ‘loopholes’ — but border is still a crisis, officials say
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump’s Rust Belt Revival Is Fading. Will It Matter in 2020?
NEW YORK TIMES  – Stories From Slavery, Shared Over Generations
NEW YORK TIMES  – The Fed Is Expected to Cut Rates for a Third Time. Its Next Move Is a Mystery

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)








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