Daily News Digest – August 30, 2019

Daily News Digest – August 30, 2019
Good morning and Happy Friday! It’s finally football season, y’all. Speaking of which, UAB drew their biggest crowd in two seasons last night going on to defeat Alabama State 24-19.
Here’s your Daily News for August 30.

1. Ivey apologizes for college blackface skit.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey is apologizing for participating in a blackface college skit after being made aware of a decades-old radio interview of she and her then-fiancé discussing the event.
  • The governor said that even after listening to the tape, she does not recall the skit or the interview itself, but would not “deny what is the obvious.”
  • The recording, soon to be released as part of an Auburn University Libraries historical audio project, includes an interview with Ivey and her then-fiancé Ben LaRavia describing a skit involving black paint on her face. The couple was asked about their “most hilarious” memories from Baptist Student Union’s skit night.
  • “As I look at my fiancé across the room, I can see her that night,” LaRavia said. “She had on a pair of blue coveralls, she had put some black paint all over her face, and we were acting out this skit called ‘Cigar Butts.’
  • Asked by the interviewer if she’d like to “defend herself” from her fiancé’s characterization, Ivey laughingly says, “that was just my role for the evening,” before quickly changing to another memory from that night.
  • “I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can – going forward – to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s. We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”
  • Listen to the full recording, see Ivey’s video apology, and read reaction from lawmakers and others in mine and Mary Sell’s story HERE.

 

2. Biscuits pitcher: ‘My life as I knew it is destroyed.’

  • Montgomery Biscuits pitcher Blake Bivens said his “heart was turned to ash” when his wife, 1-year-old son and mother-in-law were slain this week.
  • “My life as I knew it is destroyed,” the 24-year-old pitcher wrote Thursday night in an Instagram post, his first public statement since the slayings. “The pain my family and I feel is unbearable and cannot be put into words. I shake and tremble at the thought of our future without them.”
  • Bivens flew from a road trip back to southern Virginia when he learned of Tuesday’s tragedy. He was accompanied by Montgomery Biscuits manager Morgan Ensberg.
  • “It was awful,” Ensberg said. “Blake is an incredibly strong man. He’s an incredibly strong man, and he went through just a rotation of tearing up, and then he would shake and then he would just stare.
  • “I didn’t let him out of my sight.”
  • The 18-year-old brother of Bivens’ wife has been charged with first-degree murder in the slayings, which have shocked his coaches, teammates and the community where his family lived.
  • “You don’t wish this on any community, any family,” Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor said. “We’re a small community. It affects us all.”
  • Bivens posted a series of photos of his wife Emily, 14-month-old son Cullen and mother-in-law Joan Bernard.
  • Read the full story and see the Bivens’ Instagram post HERE.
  • Also read the Advertiser’s Kirsten Fiscus’ moving story HERE.

 

3. Inside Alabama Politics.

Another edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out today.
In this IAP:
  • Montgomery Mayor’s race: what happened, why it matters, and what’s next;
  • The meltdown over the Mobile Bayway and potential upshot;
  • AL-2 confirmed and potential candidate update;
  • Tax Tribunal throws out $75 million Greenetrack tax assessment;
  • Charlotte Meadows plans to remain at LEAD Academy if elected to State House;
  • Wireless providers, cities still struggle to find “5G” agreement;
  • Graddick bringing a familiar face to Pardons and Paroles.
Read those stories, analysis and more HERE .
As a reminder, Inside Alabama Politics is our sister, paid subscription publication. It’s hard to make a news business work without some paid subscription model, and we’re working to bring more and more exclusive political content to our subscribers as integrate the platforms.
You can subscribe online HERE .

4. Skip Tucker: My ‘stepaway’ column.

  • Sadly, this is Skip Tucker’s last column as a featured columnist for Alabama Daily News. He’s stepping away for now and stepping into a role inside state government. But I’ll let him tell you about it.
  • In researching for his new role, Skip came across some disturbing information about how infrequently homicides are solved and the perpetrators put away.
  • It got him writing, and it has us reading.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“Last year there were 110 homicides in Birmingham, according to the Jefferson Co. DA’s office. More than 40 are unsolved nor are they likely to be solved, according to state statistics. That’s not the scary part… 
“Dr. Matthew DeLisi, Iowa State University, is a leading criminologist with Fellowships awarded from both the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and Association for Psychological Science. He is the only scientist in the world who is a Fellow of both organizations…
“Terrifying facts were produced by his study. There is no doubt that more than 40 percent of homicides in America are not just unsolved, but that no arrest has been made or will be made in almost half of them. Where arrests are made, more than 90 percent of the suspects are free on bond shortly after being arrested…
“Like many things, the American system of justice is less than perfect, but Americans have a right to expect better.”
  • Read Skip’s full column HERE.

5. Football is back.

  • Bo Nix is getting thrust right into the fire as Auburn’s new quarterback.
  • Just like his father, nearly 26 years ago.
  • The 16th-ranked Tigers’ freshman is set to make his college debut Saturday against No. 11 Oregon in Arlington, Texas, in a nationally televised game with ESPN’s College GameDay in town for the game.
  • “I guess it’s as good as you can write up, but College GameDay for a freshman walking in … some people view that as tough, but I kind of see it as fun just because it’s what you prepare for,” Nix said. “I mean, why else would you play if you can’t play at the highest atmosphere, environment and all that stuff? It will be fun, and we’ll be ready to go.”
  • At least he had significant warning before being thrust into such a high-stress situation. His dad and high school coach, Patrick Nix, came off the bench for Auburn in the 1993 Iron Bowl, facing fourth-and-15 after a knee injury to starter Stan White.
  • Full story HERE.
  • The hits keep on coming for Alabama’s defense in 2019.
  • The latest blow to the second-ranked Crimson Tide defenders was Tuesday’s knee injury to star middle linebacker Dylan Moses that likely sidelined the defensive play caller and leader for the season. Fellow starting inside linebacker Joshua McMillon was also knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury in preseason camp at another position where there was already scant experienced depth.
  • It has left this Alabama defense a work in progress going into Saturday night’s opener with Duke, though there’s never a shortage of talent in Tuscaloosa.
  • The Tide is expected to start three freshman defenders against the Blue Devils. Christian Harris has already moved atop the depth chart to replace McMillon. Shane Lee is the likely candidate to replace Moses and nose guard D.J. Dale is manning the position vacated by No. 3 overall NFL draft pick Quinnen Williams.
  • “It’s definitely crazy,” Alabama defensive end Raekwon Davis said. “When I came in, there wasn’t really an opportunity for a freshman to really just play like that.”
  • Full story HERE.

 

 

AP News Briefs.

Florida preps for an ‘absolute monster’: Hurricane Dorian
  • “All indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big,” President Donald Trump said in a video he tweeted Thursday evening, comparing Hurricane Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.
  • The National Hurricane Center said the Category 2 storm is expected to strengthen into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 with winds of 130 mph (209 kph) and slam into the U.S. on Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia — a 500-mile (805-kilometer) stretch that reflected the high degree of uncertainty this far out.
  • “If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that’s a big deal,” said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. “A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims.”
  • Jeff Byard, an associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency who is awaiting Senate confirmation as full director, warned that Dorian is likely to “create a lot of havoc with infrastructure, power and roads,” but gave assurances FEMA is prepared to handle it, even though the Trump administration is shifting hundreds of millions of dollars from FEMA and other agencies to deal with immigration at the Mexican border.
  • “This is going to be a big storm. We’re prepared for a big response,” Byard said.
  • Full story HERE.
Watchdog: Comey violated FBI policies in handling of memos
  • Former FBI Director James Comey violated FBI policies in his handling of memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday.
  • The watchdog office said Comey broke bureau rules by giving one memo containing unclassified information to a friend with instructions to share the contents with a reporter. Comey also failed to return his memos to the FBI after he was dismissed in May 2017, retaining copies of some of them in a safe at home, and shared them with his personal lawyers without permission from the FBI, the report said.
  • “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” the report said.
  • The report is the second in as many years to criticize Comey’s actions as FBI director, following a separate inspector general rebuke for decisions made during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. It is one of multiple inspector general investigations undertaken in the last three years into the decisions and actions of Comey and other senior FBI leaders.
  • The White House in a separate statement called Comey a “proven liar and leaker.”
  • Full story HERE.
Trump eyes mental institutions as answer to gun violence
  • When shots rang out last year at a high school in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 people dead, President Donald Trump quickly turned his thoughts to creating more mental institutions.
  • When back-to-back mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, jolted the nation earlier this month, Trump again spoke of “building new facilities” for the mentally ill as a way to reduce mass shootings.
  • “We don’t have those institutions anymore and people can’t get proper care,” Trump lamented at a New Hampshire campaign rally not long after the latest shootings.
  • Now, in response to Trump’s concerns, White House staff members are looking for ways to incorporate the president’s desire for more institutions into a long list of other measures aimed at reducing gun violence.
  • As the White House looks for ways to fight gun violence, officials have looked at Indiana as one potential model in addressing mental illness.
  • The state opened a new 159-bed psychiatric hospital in March, Indiana’s first in more than 50 years. The hospital is focused on treating patients with the most challenging psychiatric illnesses and then moving them into treatment settings within the community or state mental health system.
  • Full story HERE.
Dothan mom gets 99 years over death of baby found in freezer
  • A woman has been sentenced to at least 99 years in prison for the death of her 6-month-old son, whose body was found in an Alabama motel room freezer last summer.
  • News outlets report 36-year-old Amanda Gail Oakes was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges including manslaughter and corpse abuse. Oakes also agreed to testify against Carlton James Mathis, her boyfriend at the time. His murder trial is set for November.
  • Authorities say the couple fled Georgia with the baby after authorities tried to arrest Mathis on burglary and parole violation charges. They say the baby died in Mathis’ care, was stuffed in the freezer and abandoned.
  • WSFA-TV reports it was revealed in court that the baby died after ingesting methamphetamine.

 

Headlines.

INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – August 30, 2019
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey apologizes for college blackface skit after recording surfaces
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biscuits pitcher: Life ‘destroyed’ by slayings of wife, son, mother in-law
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Phil Williams: Less outrage, more leadership
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Unresolved Murders Most Foul
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Florida preps for an ‘absolute monster’: Hurricane Dorian
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump eyes mental institutions as answer to gun violence
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Watchdog: Comey violated FBI policies in handling of memos
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 2 Alabama’s defense absorbs tough hits before opener
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn’s Bo Nix getting tossed into fire, just like his Dad
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: Mobile Bridge and Bayway project ‘dead’ after Eastern Shore vote
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama job growth continues as Labor Day approaches
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mattis says bitter politics threaten US
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 29, 2019
AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey apologizes for racist skit from time at Auburn.
AL.COM  – Kay Ivey just the latest southern governor ensnared in racial scandal
AL.COM  – Alabama NAACP calls on Gov. Kay Ivey to resign over blackface skit from 1967
AL.COM  – Report: Police in Alabama schools need specialized training
AL.COM  – Alabama taxpayers spent nearly $60 million on I-10 bridge project
AL.COM  – Space Command is real now, so are Alabama’s headquarters hopes
AL.COM  – Dr. Angela Davis to accept once-rescinded Fred L. Shuttlesworth Award
AL.COM  – Zeigler requests Ivey remove ALDOT director
AL.COM  – Historian Wayne Flynt defends Gov. Kay Ivey as a product of her times
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: We didn’t need blackface to know who Kay Ivey is. She already showed us.
AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: Kay Ivey made a mistake; and a choice
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: From Section 8 to homeowner, ‘It’s supposed to be a steppingstone’, not a dependency
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man convicted of reckless murder in street racing death
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Get a life’: Heated social media exchanges between MPS board members, parents raise concerns
Montgomery Advertiser – Gov. Kay Ivey apologizes for appearing in racist sketch as Auburn undergrad
YellowHammer News – ALGOP Chair Lathan: ‘We stand with Governor Ivey uniting our state for a greater future’
YellowHammer News – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey apologizes after 1960’s radio clip surfaces alleging she wore blackface
YellowHammer News – ALGOP Chair Lathan defends Ilhan Omar resolution — ‘Because the representative is from another state does not mean the people in Alabama just be quiet’
Dothan Eagle – Alabama governor apologizes for wearing blackface in college
Dothan Eagle – Alabama governor apologizes for wearing blackface in college
Dothan Eagle – Geneva County man dies in Dothan wreck
Tuscaloosa News – Downtown construction closes O’Henry’s Coffees
Tuscaloosa News – Police identify victim of fatal Hugh Thomas Bridge crash
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa man facing child porn charges
Decatur Daily – Ivey apologizes for college blackface skit after recording surfaces
Decatur Daily – Limestone man charged with murder after property dispute
Decatur Daily – Morgan convictions, guilty plea resolve older major cases
Times Daily – Beloved Shoals singer/songwriter Donnie Fritts dies at 76
Times Daily – Partnership between UNA, Russellville Hospital encourages health care education
Times Daily – Shoals Walk to End Alzheimer’s needs teams for fundraiser
Gadsden Times – Authorities investigate alleged fraudulent fundraiser
Gadsden Times – Testimony continues in shootout trial; Ronagh expected to take stand
Gadsden Times – Gadsden man among 2 charged in explosive Crossville gas theft
Anniston Star – Final defendant found guilty of murdering Wellborn schoolteacher
Anniston Star – Hodges appointed next Calhoun County Commission chairman
Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: Birthday gifts, stuffed animals and an APD officer
Troy Messenger – Troy Lions Club celebrates charter night
Troy Messenger – Dean leaves TRMC
Troy Messenger – Paramore shares updates on Troy’s growth
Andalusia Star News – Headstart students learn about bus safety
Andalusia Star News – OPD receives $1,000 donation
Andalusia Star News – Dixon opens her own salon
Opelika-Auburn News – Southern Living names Auburn among best college towns in the South
Opelika-Auburn News – Former Lanett police officer faces child sex charges
Opelika-Auburn News – Alabama governor apologizes for wearing blackface in college
Daily Mountain Eagle – Bound for Wall Street, Aaron finds a home on Main Street
Daily Mountain Eagle – Five graduate from HVAC Boot Camp
Daily Mountain Eagle – Railroad arm damaged by accident
Trussville Tribune – Gov. Kay Ivey releases statement to lawmakers apologizing for ‘blackface’ skit
Trussville Tribune – St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office shows off new mobile crime unit
Trussville Tribune – Elderly man shot, killed when he answered the door at his home near Ruffner Mountain
Athens News Courier – Gov. Kay Ivey releases statement to lawmakers apologizing for ‘blackface’ skit
Athens News Courier – Elderly man shot, killed when he answered the door at his home near Ruffner Mountain
Athens News Courier – St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office shows off new mobile crime unit
Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County BOE introduces The Parent Project
Sand Mountain Reporter – Etowah duo faces drug charges
Sand Mountain Reporter – Arab’s SugarFest set for Saturday
WSFA Montgomery – Driver remains in hospital after collision with train
WSFA Montgomery – Person dead after shooting at Candlestick Park in Prattville
WSFA Montgomery – Gordon mayor arrested on harassment charge
Fox 6 Birmingham – Elderly man shot and killed after answering door at home near Ruffner Mountain
Fox 6 Birmingham – Governor Ivey responds to calls for resignation after blackface controversy
Fox 6 Birmingham – Pell City officer buys Xbox for boy after home burglary
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville police officers train in jiu-jitsu to help protect themselves
WAFF Huntsville – Governor Ivey responds to calls for resignation after blackface controversy
WAFF Huntsville – Travel adviser says be insured if you’re traveling this weekend
WKRG Mobile – Hurricane Dorian now a category 2 hurricane, forecast to become a category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida East Coast
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: Person dies after being thrown from vehicle into Mobile Bay
WKRG Mobile – Hearing scheduled in Mario Batali’s indecent assault case
WTVY Dothan – Hurricanes, seatbelts and cell phones: what to keep in mind while traveling Labor Day weekend
WTVY Dothan – Two shootings lead to numerous arrests in Geneva
WTVY Dothan – Scammers pose as United Way representatives
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘A dangerous drug’: Surgeon general warns against marijuana use by pregnant women, youths
WASHINGTON POST  – As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story
WASHINGTON POST  – ‘We don’t work for you’: Fox News’s Neil Cavuto rebukes Trump for slamming network
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Personal Assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, Steps Down
NEW YORK TIMES  – ‘It’s Really Close’: How the Amazon Rainforest Could Self-Destruct
NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump’s Methane Rule Rollback Divides Oil and Gas Industry

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