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Daily News Digest – September 6, 2019

Good morning and Happy Friday!
Here’s your Daily News for September 6.


1. Jobs report: 130,000 new jobs, unemployment flat.

  • U.S. employers added a modest 130,000 jobs in August. The job gain was boosted by the temporary hiring of 25,000 government workers for the 2020 Census.
  • The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, near the lowest level in five decades. The jobless rate was flat for a positive reason, though: Americans surged into the workforce, lifting the proportion of adults who are either working or looking for work to its highest level since February.
  • Job growth has averaged 150,000 a month for the past six months, a decent rate, though down from 223,000 for all of last year.
  • The rate of job creation is significant because at a time when the economy has been slowing, additional steady hiring — and higher pay — can continue to fuel consumer spending, the primary driver of growth.
  • Unlike consumers, many businesses have slowed their spending and delayed expansion and investment given their uncertainty about the duration and impact of the trade war. In addition, retaliatory tariffs from China have cut into U.S. exports.
  • Full story HERE.


2. Medicaid change means major cut for Public Health.

  • The Alabama Medicaid agency now has contracts worth up to nearly $89 million with seven private entities to manage the care of most Medicaid recipients under a new system the agency says will result in better care.
  • The two-year contracts are for the new Alabama Coordinated Health Network, which begins Oct. 1. The program creates a coordination system that links patients, providers and community resources in seven regions, according to Medicaid.
  • Medicaid’s stated goals for the ACHNs include making improvements to the quality of care and incentivizing the networks and providers to achieve “quality measures” in the areas of childhood obesity, infant mortality rates and substance abuse disorders.
  • “Those are three very serious issues and we are really excited about this program,” Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar told members of the Legislative Contract Review Committee Thursday.
  • State lawmakers and health advocates applauded the change as a step in the right direction.
  • The move to privatize the service has one unfortunate upshot, though. It will mean a $21 million revenue loss to Public Health, which is currently paid by Medicaid for the services of about 150 social workers, Public Health Officer Scott Harris said.
  • “I can understand Medicaid’s position, they are trying to save money by privatizing this, but it is a tremendous impact on our agency,” he said.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Merrill: State will monitor Montgomery election.

  • Twelve complaints regarding the recent municipal election in Montgomery have prompted state officials to provide monitors for the next vote.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Thursday that five teams of two observers each will watch over the Montgomery municipal runoff on Oct. 8.
  • Merrill says reports of voter fraud following the city’s municipal election Aug. 27 sparked the plan. He says most complaints were about delays in reporting information and improper use of election equipment.
  • Voting machines weren’t tested ahead of the election, which Merrill says is standard operating procedure. He says some of the election workers lacked proper training.
  • “We’re going to do whatever’s necessary to ensure the credibility and the integrity of the elections process, with municipal, county, state or federal level,” Merrill said.
  • Probate Judge Steven Reed and businessman David Woods were the top vote earners in the August 27th election for mayor and will face each other in the runoff. Reed received about 42 percent and Woods received 24 percent.
  • As Probate Judge, Reed’s office oversees the Montgomery County Election Center, which was the focus of the complaints.
  • Merrill says the state has sent observers to other elections in the past. State monitors have been used in seven municipal elections in Alabama since 2016.
  • Story link.
  • Also read the Advertiser’s Sara Macneil HERE and watch WSFA’s Jenn Horton HERE.


4. Graddick places three Pardons and Paroles officials on leave.

  • The new director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles has placed his predecessor and two others on leave, citing job performance.
  • The Parole Board said Thursday that Director Charlie Graddick placed three members of the agency’s previous leadership on leave pending disciplinary hearings regarding job performance.
  • They are Eddie Cook, former executive director; Chris Norman, former assistant executive director; and Belinda Johnson, former director of personnel.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Graddick to replace Cook under a new law that gives her the authority to appoint the director.
  • The action comes during Graddick’s first days on the job. Graddick took over Sept. 1.
  • Jackie Graham, director of the State Personnel Department, said the employees must use their accrued paid leave. She said the process is used during investigations or before disciplinary hearings.
  • Story link.


5. Sad news: Muscle Shoals Sound Studios founder Jimmy Johnson dies.

  • Jimmy Johnson, a founder of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and guitarist with the famed studio musicians “The Swampers,” has died.
  • He was 76. His family announced in a Facebook post that he died Thursday.
  • As a studio musician, recording engineer and record producer, Johnson played a role in iconic hits by Percy Sledge, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others.
  • Musician Jason Isbell posted on Twitter, writing “The mighty Jimmy Johnson has passed. A lot of my favorite music wouldn’t exist without him.”
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Also read an in-depth story on Johnson’s life from Times Daily reporters Russ Corey and Bernie Delinski HERE.


News Briefs.

Alabama joins states, NRA to fight Sandy Hook ruling
  • Alabama is one of ten states and joining the National Rifle Association in supporting gun-maker Remington Arms as it fights a Connecticut court ruling involving liability for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
  • Officials in 10 conservative states, 22 House Republicans and the NRA are among groups that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday. They urged justices to overturn the Connecticut decision, citing a much-debated 2005 federal law that shields gun-makers from liability, in most cases, when their products are used in crimes.
  • Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first graders and six educators at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on Dec. 14, 2012.
  • Remington has a manufacturing facility located in Huntsville.
  • A survivor and relatives of nine victims of the massacre filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington in 2015, saying the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public and alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games.
  • Citing one of the few exemptions in the 2005 federal law, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in March that Remington could be sued under state law over how it marketed the rifle. The decision overturned a ruling by a state trial court judge who dismissed the lawsuit based on the federal law, named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
  • Full story HERE.
Treasury unveils plan to privatize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has unveiled its plan for ending government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two giant mortgage finance companies that nearly collapsed in the financial crisis 11 years ago and were bailed out at a total cost to taxpayers of $187 billion.
  • The administration’s plan calls for returning Fannie and Freddie to private ownership and reducing risk to taxpayers. That while preserving homebuyers’ access to 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a pillar of housing finance. The Treasury Department published the plan Thursday and submitted it to President Donald Trump, who called for it in March.
  • While not prominently in the public eye, the two companies perform a critical role in the housing market. Together they guarantee roughly half of the $10 trillion U.S. home loan market.
  • Fannie and Freddie, operating under so-called government conservatorships, have become profitable again in the years since the 2008 rescue and have repaid their bailouts in full to the Treasury.
  • Full story HERE.
US farmers hope Trump delivers on trade deal with Japan
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — American farmers have not only endured retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations, they’ve watched as most of their top foreign competitors used free trade agreements to make inroads into Japan, a historically protectionist market with nearly 127 million consumers.
  • Now they’re wondering if the coming U.S.-Japan trade deal that President Donald Trump is showcasing will be as strong for farmers as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was ditched by Trump as soon as he took office.
  • When Trump bailed on TPP, competitors such as Canada, Mexico and Australia forged ahead with a revamped version of the trade deal. Not wanting to be left out, the European Union reached its own free trade agreement with Japan. Both agreements went into effect at the beginning of this year.
  • Trump has said the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a new trade pact that the two parties hope to make official later this month.
  • Trump announced the agreement a couple of days after he raised retaliatory tariffs on China and ordered American companies to consider alternatives to doing business there, moves that contributed to significant drops in the financial markets.
  • “We’ve agreed to every point, and now we’re papering it and we’ll be signing it at a formal ceremony,” Trump said.
  • Full story HERE.
4 charged in death of missing man found stuffed in barrel
  • BLOUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Four people have been arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of a missing Alabama man whose beaten body was found wrapped in plastic and stuffed inside a steel barrel.
  • News outlets report the body of Adam Beard was found Tuesday night, a day after his mother reported him missing. Charging documents say authorities received a call from a woman that said her friend had been killed and dumped behind a trailer. They say responding authorities followed a pungent smell directly to the barrel holding Beard.
  • Authorities found apparent blood spatter in the trailer, which had a red-tinged floor and was missing a section of carpet. Authorities say 19-year-old Haley Ragsdale, 20-year-old Ryan Hunter Farr, 36-year-old Sarah Moore and 38-year-old Jesus Flores all blamed each other during questioning.
3 Alabama teens arrested, accused of shooting at deputies
  • BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — Three teenagers face charges for allegedly firing on deputies in Alabama’s Jefferson County.
  • The sheriff’s office said Thursday that 18-year-olds Jaheem Carlisle, of Fairfield, and Malik Cooper, of Bessemer, and the 17-year-old brother of one of them, were arrested for attempted murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and second-degree criminal mischief.
  • Jail records don’t indicate if any of them have an attorney. The 17-year-old’s name was withheld because of his age.
  • reports gunfire erupted about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Bessemer Police Chief Mike Roper says no one was injured.
  • Roper says the on-duty deputies were in plain clothes and an unmarked car when a vehicle passed and stopped. The suspects then shot at the deputies before fleeing.
  • Sheriff’s Capt. David Agee says deputies recovered two AR-15-type rifles and two handguns.
Alabama driver in fatal DUI crash to serve 6 months
  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man will spend the rest of the year in jail for causing a DUI crash that killed another man in 2014.
  • The Tuscaloosa News reports 49-year-old Edward Michael Sexton, of McCalla, was charged with murder in the Dec. 23, 2014, head-on collision that killed 61-year-old Samuel Hedgemon, of Holt. He pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, in August and reported to the Tuscaloosa County Jail on Thursday to serve his sentence.
  • Sexton reached an agreement with prosecutors to serve 12 months in exchange for the guilty plea. Six of those months will be served in jail, with the remaining six on probation. He will receive credit for the 68 days he spent jailed after his arrest in 2016, which puts his release date around Christmas.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS- Jobs report: US added a modest 130,000 jobs in August
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS- Medicaid moves to privatized managed care of recipients; Public Health to take $21 million hit
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Merrill: State will monitor Montgomery election
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Graddick places three Pardons and Paroles officials on leave
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios founder Jimmy Johnson dies
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Treasury unveils plan to privatize Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US farmers hope Trump delivers on trade deal with Japan
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama joins states to back Remington in Sandy Hook appeal
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Tour of Staton Correctional Facility shows severely understaffed conditions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bottoming out: SEC’s top teams roll, other squads struggle
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 5, 2019
Inisde Alabama Politics – AUGUST 30, 2019
AL.COM  – Alabama prison study group to turn to sentence reforms next
AL.COM  – Future of Alabama’s education department to be decided in evaluation
AL.COM  – Virginia software company coming to Huntsville
AL.COM  – Jamie Riley, UA’s dean of students, resigns following Breitbart story on controversial tweets
AL.COM  – Alabama high schools tackle football game security
AL.COM  – 16-year-old arrested for bomb threat at Gardendale High School
AL.COM  – John Merrill will monitor runoff in Montgomery mayor’s race
AL.COM  – Store clerk shot during robbery at Gardendale gas station; assailant sought
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabama prisons: What we don’t see is what we’ll get — and pay for
AL.COM  – State investigating north Alabama judge
Montgomery Advertiser – Police investigating Madison Avenue fatal shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – No guards on post when Alabama prisoner died, fellow inmates say
Montgomery Advertiser – After election complaints, Secretary of State promises to keep close watch on Montgomery mayoral runoff
YellowHammer News – UAB technology, research leads to promising anti-aging startup company in Birmingham
YellowHammer News – New game day shuttle service available around Jordan-Hare Stadium this football season
YellowHammer News – Alabama joins other states to back Remington in Sandy Hook appeal
Dothan Eagle – February trial date set for Dothan man charged in 2016 murder
Dothan Eagle – Trial dates reset for two men charged in Pettus Street murder
Dothan Eagle – Photos: 100+ images of Dorian’s path from Bahamas to Carolinas
Tuscaloosa News – Stillman College honors female pioneers at fall convocation
Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama System’s revenue, expenses set to grow
Tuscaloosa News – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios founder Jimmy Johnson dies
Decatur Daily – Major maintenance problems could threaten future of ice complex
Decatur Daily – Morgan 911 to accept cellphone videos, silent texts with new software
Decatur Daily – Decatur gets state funding for Sixth Avenue study
Times Daily – Swampers guitarist, engineer, producer, Jimmy Johnson dies at age 76
Times Daily – Groups asks Ivey’s help in erecting Dred Scott monument
Times Daily – Florence/Lauderdale Tourism gives $1,000 for Trail of Tears
Gadsden Times – Four held without bond in Blount County slaying
Gadsden Times – Crash on Black Creek Parkway sends driver to hospital
Gadsden Times – Man charged with threatening utility crew
Anniston Star – Trump’s border wall plan postpones Anniston Army Depot project
Anniston Star – Cleburne County parents have fun, learn about Title 1
Anniston Star – Jacksonville City Council talks vehicles in 2020 budget meeting
Troy Messenger – Fundraising efforts seek to make alumni center dream a reality
Troy Messenger – LEAVING A LEGACY: Hawkins reflects on 30 years as Troy chancellor
Andalusia Star News – Extreme Experience Retreat gearing up for 10th year
Andalusia Star News – Surgeon General releases advisory on marijuana
Andalusia Star News – New apartments coming to Andalusia
Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County hosts Florida evacuees fleeing Dorian
Opelika-Auburn News – Phenix City man charged with capital murder in connection to August homicide
Opelika-Auburn News – The growing power and anger of climate change voters
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sumiton school staff recalls Ilean Black
Daily Mountain Eagle – Council approves deductible from lawsuit
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sherer sworn in as circuit judge
Trussville Tribune – Pinson Council announces Palmerdale Homesteads community to be considered for historical registry
Trussville Tribune – Pastor in Clay publishes book on parenting, “Diapers to Dorms”
Trussville Tribune – 3 charges added against man accused in child porn case in Trussville
Athens News Courier – TRAGEDY IN ELKMONT: Coroner says victims sustained single gunshot wounds
Athens News Courier – Limestone Co. Judge Doug Patterson under investigation
Athens News Courier – TRAGEDY IN ELKMONT: Credit union account set up for funeral expenses
Sand Mountain Reporter – Shoe Station partners with United Way
Sand Mountain Reporter – Sign up for next GoldCare 55+ Lunch N’ Learn
Sand Mountain Reporter – ‘My Lake Guntersville’ campaign wins Regional Economic Development Communication Award
WSFA Montgomery – Investigation opened after fatal shooting near Madison Avenue McDonald’s
WSFA Montgomery – Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian hits close to home for one Biscuits player
WSFA Montgomery – Police looking for burglary, theft suspect
Fox 6 Birmingham – Oxford police crack down on motorists passing stopped school buses
Fox 6 Birmingham – JeffCo Sheriffs Office reacts to school bomb threats
Fox 6 Birmingham – Riverkeeper group calls new ADEM report “shameful” after Tyson wastewater spill
WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County family desperate for justice after man caught on camera peeping on stepdaughter
WAFF Huntsville – Elkmont teen murder suspect makes 1st court appearance; causes of death released
WAFF Huntsville – Mountain Gap Elementary librarian steps in when crossing guard doesn’t show up
WKRG Mobile – RESCAN YOUR TV ON OR AFTER SEPT. 6: WKRG 5, WFNA/Gulf Coast CW to move frequencies on Sept. 6, 2019
WKRG Mobile – Florida teens taken to hospital after drinking ecstasy juice
WKRG Mobile – Drivers, business owners happy to see Pensacola Bay Bridge progress
WTVY Dothan – TROY-Dothan unveils, dedicates new education center
WTVY Dothan – Peanut harvest stirs up allergies
WTVY Dothan – Houston Co. Commissioners will soon appoint new health care board
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘What I said was accurate!’: Trump stays fixated on his Alabama error as hurricane pounds the Carolinas
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump administration unveils plan to revamp the housing market
WASHINGTON POST  – An illusion of justice: Alabama’s baffling conviction and death sentence of Toforest Johnson reveal a broken system


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