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Weekend Digest- November 3, 2019

1. England Elected as new chair; Worley not backing down

  • After the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday stayed a temporary retraining order that had blocked a Saturday morning meeting for the insurgent wing of the Alabama Democratic Party, they now have elected a new chair and vice-chair.
  • Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, received 104 of 171 ballots cast at the meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee, the state party’s governing body.
  • Former Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, was elected as vice-chair.
  • The vote came after the SDEC voted 172 to 0 to remove Chair Nancy Worley and Vice-Chair Randy Kelley.
  • After the vote, Worley said she was reelected in 2018 and she intends to continue leading the party.
  • “The true SDEC members did not elect two new officers in our places today,” Worley said in a statement. “Randy and I look forward to continuing our leadership roles.”
  • England, 43, a city attorney for Tuscaloosa, has served in the Alabama Legislature since 2006. He has been at the forefront of attempts to change the leadership and direction of the party and pledged before the vote to work to “leave no stone unturned” in rebuilding the party.
  • England would be the first African American to chair the party and and Todd would be the first openly gay person to be vice-chair.
  • Read the full report HERE.
  • Also read Brian Lyman’s reporting for the Montgomery Advertiser HERE.

2. Breaking News: State School Board member Ella Bell has died

  • Some breaking news this morning: long-time Alabama State School Board member Ella Bell who was elected or reelected five times to the board has died.
  • Bell was a native to Montgomery and has represented the city and much of the Black Belt on the school board for 19 years.
  • “I’ll be in prayer for the family of State Board of Education member, Ella Bell,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “We shared a passion for the children of our state. She was an ardent champion of her district and will be missed. May the Lord be with her family and friends during this time.”
  • You can read more about Bell’s passing from Trisha Powell Crain at HERE and Krista Johnson at the Montgomery Advertiser HERE.

3. Condolences offered for State Rep. Allen Treadaway after his wife’s passing

  • State and city leaders are offering condolences to State. Rep. Allen Treadaway after the passing of his wife, Susan, who died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.
  • Last year, the Treadaways lost their daughter, Kelsey, in a tragic car accident.
  • House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said the staff and members of the House of Representatives asked everyone to “lift the Treadaway family up in prayer” amid the news that “Susan took her heavenly flight early this morning.”
  • House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter said members were “saddened… but we take solace in the knowledge that she is free from cancer and experiencing a joyous peace that only God and Heaven can provide.”
  • Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin offered support for Treadway, who in addition to his legislative seat, serves as Assistant Police Chief for the City of Birmingham.
  • “We stand in solidarity and support of our own Assistant Police Chief Allen Treadaway, whose wife Susan transitioned this morning following her bout with cancer. You have served this city well, and that same city is here to support you and your family in this time of loss,” Woodfin said.

4. UFC Fighters add reward money for missing student

  • A reward has risen to $80,000 for information about the missing stepdaughter of an Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight.
  • News outlets report UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones announced Thursday on Instagram that he would donate $25,000 in the case of 19-year-old Aniah Haley Blanchard. The money is in addition to two $25,000 donations from UFC President Dana White and an anonymous donor from Homewood, along with a $5,000 donation from the state of Alabama.
  • An Auburn police statement says evidence found inside Blanchard’s vehicle indicates she was a victim of foul play.
  • Blanchard is the stepdaughter of fighter Walt Harris. Authorities launched a criminal investigation into her whereabouts, and the reward is for information leading to a conviction.
  • The Governor’s office already announced a $5,000 reward for information on Blanchard’s disappearance on Wednesday.
  • The Southern Union State Community College student was last seen Oct. 24.
  • Read the full report HERE.

5. News Briefs.

‘Mockingbird’ courthouse gets preservation grant
  • MONROEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The south Alabama courthouse linked to Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is receiving a preservation grant.
  • The program Partners in Preservation says the old Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville is receiving $125,000 to repair serious structural problems in a wall.
  • Recipients were announced following an online vote.
  • The 115-year-old old courthouse is now a museum that tells the story of Lee and fellow writer Truman Capote, who were both from Monroeville.
  • Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book used the red-brick courthouse as the model for a pivotal trial scene in her story of racial injustice. The two-story courtroom was then recreated as a Hollywood set for the 1962 movie based on Lee’s novel.
  • Partners in Preservation is a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.
Federal grants to aid energy efficiency in Alabama
  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Nearly $370,000 in federal money is going to help improve energy efficiency at nearly 20 locations around Alabama.
  • The grants announced Friday by Gov. Kay Ivey’s office are from the Energy Department. The aim is cut expenses for local governments, public schools and nonprofits.
  • Schools in Cherokee and Colbert counties and the city of Huntsville are getting money for lighting upgrades, and Cleburne County will receive grant money for its courthouse and jail.
  • The south Alabama town of Luverne will use grant money for lighting along streets and improvements at a wastewater treatment plant. Two churches in Mobile and Perry County will receive grants for lighting improvements.
  • In all, $367,050 was awarded in 18 grants.
National Peanut Festival opens in southeast Alabama
  • DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — An event that bills itself as the world’s largest celebration of the peanut is under way in Alabama.
  • The National Peanut Festival opened Friday in Dothan and continues through next Saturday with rides, exhibits, music and agricultural competitions.
  • Now in its 76th year, the festival began in 1938 as a three-day event with an appearance by agricultural scientist George Washington Carver of Tuskegee. It has been held each year since except during the 1940s, when organizers took a break for World War II.
  • The festival now lasts 10 days and draws an estimated 200,000 people annually. The festival site isn’t hard to find if you make it to Dothan: a 24-foot-tall peanut marks the entrance.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Alabama Democratic chair elected; infighting continues
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Condolences pour in for State Rep. Allen Treadaway after wife’s passing
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – UFC fighter Jon Jones adds $25K to reward for missing woman
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US added a solid 128,000 jobs in October despite GM strike
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mark Dixon: Remember When We Could Say ‘Thank Goodness for Mississippi?’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – November 1, 2019
AL.COM – Nancy Worley out; Democrats pick Chris England as chair.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: What do you do when you can’t trust the public schools?
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Projects expected to create 500 jobs.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – UA research aims to lower infant death rate in Alabama.
GADSDEN TIMES – The Gadsden Times: There’s no consensus for tossing Trump out.
ANNISTON STAR – Forgotten dead: Commissioner wants to preserve site where soldiers were buried two centuries ago.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Voters in House District 42 go to the polls Tuesday.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Alfred Saliba Family Services Center celebrates 25 years of building families.
WASHINGTON POST – As Warren and Buttigieg rise, the Democratic presidential race is competitive and fluid, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.
WASHINGTON POST – Smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall.
WASHINGTON POST – The Washington Post: The economy is in good shape, but two big clouds hang over it.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Kristina Brown:   My family faces an impossible choice: caring for our mom, or building our future.
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans say that Trump’s quid pro quos were normal. Here’s why they’re wrong.
NEW YORK TIMES – National Peanut Festival Opens in Southeast Alabama
NEW YORK TIMES – How Trump Reshaped the Presidency in Over 11,000 Tweets
NEW YORK TIMES – Dementia Can Make Patients Wander. What if They Cross the Border?
NEW YORK TIMES – Judge Blocks Trump’s Plan to Bar Immigrants Who Can’t Pay for Health Care
NEW YORK TIMES – Americans Trust Local News. That Belief Is Being Exploited.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Carol Giacomo: Suicide Has Been Deadlier Than Combat for the Military

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