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Daily News Digest – October 4, 2019


Presented by
The Boeing Company.


Good morning and Happy Friday!
First some good news: U.S. employers added 136,000 jobs in September, enough to help lower the unemployment rate to a new five-decade low of 3.5% .
Here’s the rest of your Daily News for October 4.



1. The latest: Texts show pressure on Ukraine.

  • Top U.S. diplomats encouraged Ukraine’s newly elected president to conduct an investigation linked to Joe Biden’s family in return for a high-profile visit to Washington with President Donald Trump. It soon escalated into what one feared was a “crazy” swap that risked vital U.S. military aid.
  • That’s according to a cache of text messages released late Thursday by House investigators following a 10-hour interview with one of the diplomats, Kurt Volker, who stepped down as special envoy to Ukraine amid the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
  • The text messages convey a distinct campaign among the three diplomats, who — apparently against some of their stated better judgment — appear to be trying to help Ukraine reset its relationship with Trump by pushing his interest in investigating his Democratic rival and the 2016 election.
  • Perhaps the most significant thing the texts show is that the effort to apply pressure on Ukraine wasn’t just President Trump himself making a few random comments, but rather a foreign policy initiative carried out by administration officials.
  • Read that full story, including the texts themselves, HERE.
  • Meanwhile, the White House is preparing to formally object to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as soon as today, saying it won’t cooperate with the probe because it was initiated without a vote of the House.
  • The White House Counsel’s Office was preparing to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objecting to the form of the impeachment investigation.
  • Pelosi last week announced that the House was beginning the formal inquiry but didn’t seek the consent of the full chamber, as was done for impeachment investigations into former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
  • Trump allies have suggested for days that without a formal vote, the House is merely conducting standard oversight, entitling lawmakers to a lesser level of disclosure from the administration. The Justice Department raised similar arguments last month, though that was before Pelosi announced the impeachment investigation.
  • That full story HERE.


2. Charter school group gets start up funds.

  • The non-profit New Schools for Alabama will soon use $400,000 in state funds for their charter school incubator program.
  • New Schools Executive Director Tyler Barnett told Alabama Daily News that the funds will go toward their school founders’ program, which identifies promising local leaders and helps them cultivate a successful charter school application.
  • “It’s a year-long fellowship where we identify at least two high-caliber candidates per year and support them with robust technical assistance to make sure they have a high-quality charter school application,” Barnett said.
  • Charter schools are publicly funded but operate outside the traditional structure of public schools. According to the 2015 law that allows them in Alabama, their applications must be approved by either local authorizing boards or a state commission.
  • The legislative Contract Review Committee approved the $400,000 to New Schools on Thursday. It’s part of a total of $800,000 in the 2020 education budget for the Alabama Charter School Commission, the state organization that can approve charter schools.
  • The chosen applicants of the program also get to participate in a year-long residency program that allows them to shadow a leader or a high performing charter management organization from another state that has proven successful results with creating a charter school.
  • Full story from Caroline Beck HERE.


A message from

The Boeing Company.

  • As Alabama’s largest aerospace employer, Boeing has 3,100 employees driving innovation that affects the nation.
  • Boeing’s Alabama workforce is taking a lead role in building Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever built to take us to the Moon and Mars. Operations in Alabama also include headquarters for Boeing Strategic Missile Defense Systems and Ground-based Midcourse Defense, the nation’s only shield against long-range ballistic missile attacks.
  • Boeing also works with nearly 200 businesses across Alabama, generating $600 million in expenditures that directly and indirectly support 20,000 jobs.
  • As we celebrate Manufacturing Day, this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the Boeing employees driving the economy in Alabama.




3. Drought worsens.

  • Not sure if you noticed, but it’s pretty hot out there.
  • It’s also pretty dry, and Alabama’s drought conditions are worsening.
  • In fact, more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of what’s being called a “flash drought” that’s cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires, scientists said Thursday.
  • The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle.
  • Overall, nearly 20 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states is experiencing drought conditions.
  • The current drought has been putting stress on a wide variety of crops across the South, including cotton, peanuts and tobacco, according to reports from the National Drought Mitigation Center.
  • Read more from Jeff Martin and see the latest maps HERE.


4. Inside Alabama Politics.

A new Friday edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out today.
In today’s issue:
  • Rep. Mike Jones could land Community College gig;
  • Shelby ‘instrumental’ in Airbus tariff decision;
  • Senate poll shows Tuberville sustaining lead;
  • Sen. Cam Ward eyes run for Supreme Court;
  • Any appetite for paid college athletes in Alabama?
Read these stories and more HERE .
As a reminder, Inside Alabama Politics is our sister publication where paid subscribers get the latest political skinny from Montgomery, Washington, and beyond.
If you’d like to subscribe, you can do that HERE .

5. Sports ball.

  • No. 7 Auburn (5-0, 2-0) and 10th-ranked Florida (5-0, 2-0) will face off Saturday in a battle of two of the five remaining unbeaten teams from the heavyweight Southeastern Conference.
  • The winner will remain squarely in the hunt for the College Football Playoff, while the loser will face an uphill climb to stay in the mix for even a division race.
  • Head coaches Gus Malzahn and Dan Mullen have faced each other five times before, with Malzahn winning three of the five. But Malzahn has never coached in “The Swamp,” Florida’s stadium known for giving opponents headaches.
  • Read more on college football’s biggest matchup of the weekend plus some of my memories from Auburn-Florida games over the years HERE.


News Briefs.


Domestic dispute leads to 3 deaths in Alabama
  • ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say the three people found dead at a north Alabama home were killed amid a domestic dispute that ended with a double murder and suicide.
  • reports Limestone County Sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Young says the bodies were found during a welfare check Wednesday. The victims were identified as 48-year-old Jerry Thomas Phillips and 52-year-old Jamie Lynn Phillips. Young says they were killed by 31-year-old Robert Eart Gilchrist III, who shot himself inside the home after police arrived.
  • Young says Gilchrist was Jamie Phillips’ son and was recently released from prison in Tennessee.
  • Authorities found the bodies after getting a call from a relative, who hadn’t been able to contact the Phillips. The caller says Gilchrist told her the Phillips did not wish to speak to her.
Police: Death of infant left in parked car was accident
  • OXFORD, Ala. (AP) — Police say the death of an 11-month-old Alabama boy who was left in a parked car was an accident, but a grand jury will still look at the case.
  • Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge told a news conference Wednesday that investigators didn’t find any criminal intent in the child’s death last week.
  • He says a report is being turned over to Calhoun County prosecutors so grand jurors can review the case.
  • The boy and his twin sister were found in a vehicle parked outside a car dealership last Friday. The girl was fine, but the boy died.
  • Authorities say the twins’ father works at the business and mistakenly left them in the vehicle. The chief says it wasn’t the man’s normal routine to take the babies to day care.
Animal rights group wants mascot hit by player to retire
  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — An animal rights group was Mississippi State to retire its live bulldog mascot named Jak after he was crashed into by an Auburn University player making a mad dash for the end zone.
  • News outlets report People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a letter to the Mississippi college, saying it was sheer luck that Jak wasn’t severely injured or killed in the Saturday clash with tailback JaTarvious Whitlow.
  • Whitlow scored the first touchdown of the game, entering the end zone with a momentum that carried him past the goal line and out of bounds, where he crashed into Jak, who then briefly left the sidelines.
  • Jak’s official Twitter account says his chin and right hind leg were bruised, and he’ll return to mascot duties next week.
Unsupervised accused priests teach, counsel, adopt children
  • Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.
  • These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.
  • And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.
  • A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.
  • Dioceses and religious orders so far have shared the names of more than 5,100 clergy members, with more than three-quarters of the names released just in the last year. The AP researched the nearly 2,000 who remain alive to determine where they have lived and worked – the largest-scale review to date of what happened to priests named as possible sexual abusers.
  • Full story from Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US adds 136,000 jobs; unemployment hits 50-year low of 3.5%
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House prepares formal objection to impeachment probe
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Diplomats pushed Ukraine to investigate, dangled Trump visit
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Showdown in Swamp: Malzahn, Mullen tip visors to Spurrier
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – $400K approved to help potential charter schools
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Flash drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Unsupervised accused priests teach, counsel, adopt children
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 3, 2019.
AL.COM  – No easy, free fixes for Alabama prisons, study group told
  AL.COM  – ‘Really big deal for Mobile’: Reaction of praise, relief over Trump’s tariff plan for Airbus
AL.COM  – Mikayla Wyatt grows activist community at UA
AL.COM  – Alabama scientist sees chilling trend in wildlife trade
AL.COM  – Alabama Marine lost his leg in Iraq and his life to painkillers
AL.COM  – These Alabama companies get generous with paid maternity leave
AL.COM  – Columnist Perry Hooper: The cost of impeachment
Montgomery Advertiser – Inaugural downtown open air artists markets set for Friday night
Montgomery Advertiser – Council election: Race/gender makeup will remain disproportionate to Montgomery’s population
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery woman accused of shooting man in domestic incident
YellowHammer News – Tuberville: Trump is ‘the only thing standing between socialism and the country’
YellowHammer News – 2019 POWER & INFLUENCE 40: Numbers 11-20
YellowHammer News – Ethics panel sends complaint about Alabama senator to DA
Dothan Eagle – ‘Burn this letter xoxo’: Fake weight-loss nurse tried to hire a hit man from Florida jail, police say
Dothan Eagle – MGM to pay up to $800 million to victims of 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre
Dothan Eagle – Couple arrested for lewd sex act at Dothan Housing complex
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa gets $3M to address lead-based home hazards
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama domestic dispute leads to 3 deaths
Tuscaloosa News – Relief from heat coming this weekend for Tuscaloosa
Decatur Daily – Man shot himself, killed mom and stepdad in Limestone incident, authorities say
Decatur Daily – Decatur man charged with child pornography
Decatur Daily – Construction could begin on new subdivisions in 2019
Times Daily – Monitor: portions of Shoals in drought
Times Daily – Officials encounter boat-load of dumping issues
Times Daily – Florence/Lauderdale Tourism seeing success in digital marketing campaign
Gadsden Times – Traveling Alabama Bicentennial exhibit to debut at GMA on Friday
Gadsden Times – RBC woman/care facility employee accused of stealing from resident
Gadsden Times – Excavators help clear path for firefighters at Attalla warehouse
Anniston Star – Ethics panel finds Jenkins violated law, sends complaint to prosecutors
Anniston Star – Man charged with running over deputy waives case to grand jury
Anniston Star – Fruithurst man indicted on multiple sex abuse charges
Troy Messenger – Escape plan an important part of fire safety planning
Troy Messenger – Byrne, Dismukes share about campaigns at Pike County Republican Women meeting
Troy Messenger – Pike County Farm City Committee off to fast start
Andalusia Star News – DaySpring Hospice builds new wheelchair ramp for patient
Andalusia Star News – 26 bands expected at A-Town this weekend
Andalusia Star News – First death in Alabama connected to vaping
Opelika-Auburn News – Study finds Chick-fil-A has slowest drive-thru wait time
Opelika-Auburn News – Beulah football player OK after spinal injury scare
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika City Council approves bike and pedestrian project
Daily Mountain Eagle – A shot in the arm: Flu season, vaccinations begin
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jones calls for background checks, gun studies
Daily Mountain Eagle – Jones: Immigration has become political football
Trussville Tribune – Pinson City Council stresses importance of census participation, readies for Butterbean Festival
Trussville Tribune – CRIME STOPPERS: St. Clair County man wanted for violation of Sex Offender Registration Notification Act
Trussville Tribune – Birmingham Police asking for information after deadly apartment shooting
Athens News Courier – COUNTY SCHOOLS: Board could vote Oct. 15 on interim superintendent
Athens News Courier – LCSO: Man who shot Limestone couple had served jail time in Tennessee
Athens News Courier – Dr. Dre, Iovine unveil high-tech new building at USC
Sand Mountain Reporter – Historic times at Boaz Harvest Festival | Community members reminisce ahead of 55th annual two-day event
Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County BOE approves 2020 budget
Sand Mountain Reporter – Sheriff’s Office floods | Marshall County Commission hires project manager to handle office, jail renovations
WSFA Montgomery – AL woman calls sheriff’s office to test her meth, deputies say
WSFA Montgomery – Huntsville man wins $1M surprise from Publishers Clearing House
WSFA Montgomery – Hospital association says new money helps hospitals hold on
Fox 6 Birmingham – Shooting death in North Birmingham
Fox 6 Birmingham – Woman setting out to save school lunches for some Hueytown students
Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover city leaders crunching numbers on potential purchases
WAFF Huntsville – Enrollment falls again at Calhoun, Athens State
WAFF Huntsville – Muscle Shoals accepting parade applications
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County bus driver arrested for DUI in Lincoln County
WKRG Mobile – FBI warns of threat during ‘Joker’ opening
WKRG Mobile – Kris the cheetah, Remus the rescue dog debut their playful friendship
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: 20-year-old shot multiple time at Cottage Hill and Hillcrest
WTVY Dothan – FAFSA is now open, here’s what you need to know
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City Schools to work on code of conduct
WTVY Dothan – Houston County promotes community health
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump wanted Ukraine’s president to launch investigations before face-to-face meeting, State Dept. texts show
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump publicly calls on China to investigate Bidens
WASHINGTON POST  – Vaping lung injuries top 1,000 cases as deaths rise to 18
WASHINGTON POST  – Wall Street pulled its financing. Stocks have plummeted. But private prisons still thrive
NEW YORK TIMES  – Texts From Top Diplomat Described ‘Crazy’ Plan to Keep Aid From Ukraine
NEW YORK TIMES  – The Middle-Class Crunch: A Look at 4 Family Budgets

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