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Daily News Digest – September 5, 2019

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, September 5.


1. Prison tour shows deficiencies.

  • The Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy met yesterday to discuss policy and programatic changes for Alabama prisons.
  • But before the meeting, members of the group were taken on a tour of one of those prisons: Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County.
  • That allowed them and the media that was following to see up close and personal just how dire the situation is at some state prisons.
  • “We need easily twice as many correctional officers and staff than what we have right now,” Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said during the tour.
  • Progress is being made, however. 175 officers have been hired in the last year, most during the last three months after a pay raise went into effect. They expect 140 additional officers over the next several months.
  • As the tour showed, some of the problems go beyond staffing to the aging facilities themselves.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey is proposing the construction of three new state prisons, which the administration says will pay for itself through cost savings from not having to maintain old facilities.
  • ADN’s Caroline Beck followed the group to Staton and was on hand for their meeting afterward. Read her full story HERE.


2. Report: Teen had just learned of parentage before slayings.

  • A cousin of an Alabama youth charged with killing five relatives said the slayings occurred days after the teen learned that the woman he considered his mother wasn’t a biological parent.
  • Daisy McCarty told WAFF-TV she believes that revelation led to the slayings, which happened Monday in the north Alabama town of Elkmont.
  • The youth told authorities he fatally shot his father, stepmother and three siblings who were 6 or younger, sheriff’s officials said.
  • McCarty told the station the youth learned about his stepmother last week.
  • “He didn’t know any different of who his mom was,” she said, adding: “And they just recently told him, and I think that’s really what triggered the little boy, to be honest with you.”
  • Read more HERE.


3. Border wall transfer includes Anniston Depot maintenance funding.

  • The Pentagon on Wednesday shared with Congress the details of how it plans to transfer funding from military construction projects to put toward the wall along the border with Mexico.
  • Alabama has one project on that list: $5.2 million for the Army Depot in Anniston.
  • The funds were allocated to construct a weapons maintenance shop at the Anniston Army Depot and would have been officially awarded next year. Alabama Daily News first reported in March that the $5.2 million could be on the chopping block.
  • Both the Pentagon and Congressional leaders have said they want to work to replace any transferred military construction funds in future budgets.
  • Most of the funding for the $3.6 billion transfer will come from overseas projects, but some U.S. bases are affected as well.
  • Read more and see the full list of projects HERE.


4. Trump insists Alabama was on warning map.

  • The other day, President Donald Trump tweeted about the impending path of Hurricane Dorian and included Alabama in the list of states that could be impacted by the storm.
  • He was mistaken, as most people on Twitter frequently are. Alabama was not going to see an impact from the storm, and meteorologists like James Spann quickly clarified that fact before we all went out to clear the bread and milk shelves at Publix.
  • However, in the ridiculous times we are living in, we apparently can’t ever admit or accept that we were simply mistaken.
  • And so it was that yesterday, during a press conference in the Oval Office, President Trump showed a map of the storm’s path with what is pretty clearly a sharpie-drawn extension of the “cone” into the southeast portion of Alabama. Later the president insisted to reporters and to his Twitter following that original forecasts showed the storm possibly impacting Alabama.
  • It’s one of those times when we didn’t really want to be the news and certainly didn’t ask for it.
  • Anyway, there’s also a deadly hurricane still churning off the coast of Florida and Georgia at the moment.
  • Read and watch the full story HERE.


5. Bottoming out: SEC’s top teams roll, other squads struggle .

  • Most Alabama and Auburn fans were so wrapped up in our own games last Saturday that we might have missed the rest of the conference not faring so well.
  • Ole Miss lost to Memphis. Missouri lost to Wyoming. South Carolina lost to North Carolina. And – hoo boy – Tennessee lost badly at Georgia State.
  • For a conference that has been so solid for years, the games revealed just how top-heavy the league has become.
  • Read more from John Zenor HERE.


News Briefs.

Byrne makes case for Huntsville as site for Space Command
  • Congressman Bradley Byrne sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressing his strong support for the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) to be permanently headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama.
  •  Byrne is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and is also running for U.S. Senate.
  • “The space legacy and unmatched workforce of the Rocket City make it an ideal choice for the U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Byrne wrote.
  • “Huntsville’s contributions to America’s space program and national security have expanded over the years, making Huntsville the premier hub of America’s space technology. I have no doubt Huntsville is perfectly situated to rise to the occasion as Space Command headquarters.”
  • Full story from Paul Gattis HERE.
Man indicted in boating crash that killed woman, young girl
  • FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man involved in a boat crash that killed a Georgia woman and her young daughter has been indicted on two counts of manslaughter.
  • News outlets report Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly announced the indictment Tuesday in Florence against 33-year-old Ross “Trey” Wooten III.
  • Thirty-seven-year-old Lauren Cowart and her 5-year-old daughter Blakely died in the June 8 crash on Wilson Lake. The two were from Augusta, Georgia.
  • The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences says Wooten had a blood alcohol content of .121 at the time of the crash. The legal limit is .08.
  • It’s unclear whether he had an attorney who could speak for him.
  • Connolly says the driver of the other boat involved in the crash could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Sheriff: Dad killed son then self, as he vowed to do
  • NAUVOO, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff says a man killed his son, sent a picture of it on social media and then killed himself when a deputy arrived.
  • Walker County Sheriff’s spokesman T.J. Armstrong told Al.Com that it happened on Tuesday.
  • Sheriff Nick Smith told The Daily Mountain Eagle that someone called for help saying the father had sent them a picture on Facebook messenger, showing that the victim had been shot.
  • Smith says the father also threatened to shoot himself if law enforcement came to the house. The sheriff said a responding deputy heard a single gunshot before both bodies were found.
  • Authorities didn’t immediately release their names. An investigation is ongoing.
Couple gets prison for producing child porn
  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama couple has been sentenced to prison on charges related to producing child porn.
  • A Justice Department statement says 36-year-old Kenneth Earl Hooks got two life sentences and 120 years, to run consecutively. Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Pauline Morris was sentenced to about 16 years.
  • The statement says Morris had tried to record children in a bathroom before she was arrested in a California desert in May 2018.
  • Authorities then found child rape videos on her cellphone, and learned that Hooks had taken a minor from Mississippi to Alabama with the intent to rape and record her. He was later arrested in New Mexico.
  • The minor girl’s mother still awaits trial on charges of contributing to her daughter’s sexual abuse.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS- After cancer, water concerns, EPA to sample in Cleburne County
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Tour of Staton Correctional Facility shows severely understaffed conditions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cousin: Teen in family massacre just learned of stepmother
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Anniston Depot among military bases affected by border wall transfer
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge dismisses wrongful death lawsuit over abortion
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump clings to idea Alabama faced big threat from Dorian
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Steve Flowers: Two Open Congressional Seats in the Heart of Dixie in 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bottoming out: SEC’s top teams roll, other squads struggle
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 4, 2019
Inisde Alabama Politics – AUGUST 30, 2019
AL.COM  – Alabama prison study group to turn to sentence reforms next
AL.COM  – Federal notice renews I-10 project worries
AL.COM  – Auburn University, alumni have $5 billion economic impact on Alabama
AL.COM  – Study group sees good and bad inside Alabama prison
AL.COM  – ‘We won’t forget this fear’: Alabama’s youth fed up, scared of being shot
AL.COM  – 200,000 Alabamians are driving with dangerous airbags: report
AL.COM  – Did Trump draw on Dorian map to include Alabama in hurricane’s path?
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Gov. Ivey admitted wearing blackface. The Alabama Democratic Party said nothing
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Support more than our troops; support our people
AL.COM  – Contributor Olivia Blanton: A student’s view: Lack of mental health resources undermines H.S. education in Alabama
AL.COM  – Contributor John Beard: New regs wills undermine home health care in Alabama
Montgomery Advertiser – Heading for eviction, Alabama man allegedly sets fire to rental home
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man to spend nearly seven years in prison on drug, firearm possession
Montgomery Advertiser – Police searching for suspect in Metro PCS armed robbery
YellowHammer News – Study shows Auburn University has $5.6 billion impact on Alabama
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Cam Ward reelected chair of Alabama legislature’s energy policy committee
YellowHammer News – Elite Alabama rescue team poised for Dorian response
Dothan Eagle – Trial set for man charged in 2017 murder
Dothan Eagle – Separated migrant children suffered trauma, serious mental health problems, US watchdog reports
Dothan Eagle – Eufaula residents involved in Florida wreck that left one man dead
Tuscaloosa News – Task force tours prison as inmate advocates seek voice
Tuscaloosa News – Study finds carving up school districts worsens segregation
Tuscaloosa News – Cousin: Teen in family massacre just learned of stepmother
Decatur Daily – Issue of juvenile vs. adult court critical for alleged Elkmont shooter
Decatur Daily – Historic Decatur Association asks city for help on wayfinding signs
Decatur Daily – Decatur man charged with rape, domestic violence
Times Daily – Waterloo’s Trail of Tears funding still in question
Times Daily – Keller festival receives $10,000 grant from RC&D Council
Times Daily – Workshop aims to help caregivers support loved ones with disabilities
Gadsden Times – Six months missing: Nothing found in case of Florida woman missing from Glencoe
Gadsden Times – Body found in steel drum in Blountsville
Gadsden Times – Council talks of Goodyear’s future
Anniston Star – Anniston council approves full-time PR position
Anniston Star – New Arc director has lifelong experience working with disabled
Anniston Star – Anniston school board members worry about federal money sent back unspent
Troy Messenger – TOWN HALL: Jones visits Troy University to talk issues
Troy Messenger – Troy City Schools tech director Eujon Anderson named Google Innovator
Troy Messenger – Hydock to tell “Audrey Williams story” at We Piddle Around
Andalusia Star News – County BOE approves $33.7 million budget
Andalusia Star News – New litter law goes into effect in Alabama
Andalusia Star News – LAAC to have quilt show this weekend
Opelika-Auburn News – Chambers Academy’s Braxton Allen picks up first scholarship offers
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn police continue search for missing AU student
Opelika-Auburn News – Valley woman reports waking up to assault from man with hammer
Daily Mountain Eagle – County dealing with constant theft of signs
Daily Mountain Eagle – Bishop: Trucks broke down, causing garbage problems
Daily Mountain Eagle – Airport fees to increase at hangars
Trussville Tribune – Habitat for Humanity to break ground on 15 townhouses in Center Point
Trussville Tribune – SHERIFF’S OFFICE: 3 arrested after shooting at deputies in Bessemer
Trussville Tribune – Task force tours prison as inmate advocates seek voice
Athens News Courier – Commission votes to transfer event center to museum
Athens News Courier – Pence defends stay at Trump property in Ireland
Athens News Courier – Commissioner praises new road machine
Sand Mountain Reporter – Aderholt talks importance of 2020 US Census
Sand Mountain Reporter – Wholebackstage sets ‘Noises Off!’ cast
Sand Mountain Reporter – Business: Albertville Home Bakery celebrates 70 years | Landers entering 15th year with family-owned business
WSFA Montgomery – Houston County commissioners closer to nailing down budget
WSFA Montgomery – Dadeville police chief to retire at the end of the month
WSFA Montgomery – Marine shot in throat by sniper among vets staging ahead of Dorian
Fox 6 Birmingham – 3 people in custody after shots fired at deputies
Fox 6 Birmingham – Anniston police searching for missing girl
Fox 6 Birmingham – Questions answered after woman discovered headstone on vacant lot
WAFF Huntsville – Limited funds leave Jackson County road buckled, sunken in
WAFF Huntsville – New fire safety system debuts in Huntsville
WAFF Huntsville – Man accused of stealing air conditioners from DeKalb County preschool
WKRG Mobile – State troopers captured speeding motorcyclist who ran into bayou
WKRG Mobile – Former W.S. Neal Middle School assistant principal indicted for torturing a child
WKRG Mobile – Active tropics while we have local heat and dry skies
WTVY Dothan – Trial nears for man charged in brutal beating death of woman
WTVY Dothan – HHCASA announces new Agency of the Year
WTVY Dothan – Rehobeth community supports girl fighting for her life
WASHINGTON POST  – President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart. Was it to cover up for ‘Alabama’ Twitter flub?
WASHINGTON POST  – Pentagon takes money from Puerto Rico, European projects to fund Trump’s wall.
WASHINGTON POST  – Following Walmart’s lead, Kroger asks customers not to openly carry firearms in stores
NEW YORK TIMES  – Contributor Carla Crowder: 36 Years in Prison for a $50 Robbery: When will Alabama stop throwing away people in its shameful prisons?
NEW YORK TIMES  – White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs

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