Daily News Digest – July 18, 2019

Daily News Digest – July 18, 2019
Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, July 18.


1. Heat wave continues.

  • The heat wave that has been roasting much of the U.S. in recent days is just getting warmed up, with temperatures expected to soar to dangerous levels through the weekend.
  • More than 100 local heat records are expected to fall Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Most won’t be record-daily highs but record-high nighttime lows, and that lack of cooling can be dangerous, meteorologists say.
  • It’s pretty normal for us here in Alabama, but other places to the north and west of us will be dealing with extremely rare conditions. That means it could be deadly, especially in bigger cities.
  • The heat index is expected to hit 110 degrees in Washington D.C. today.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Kids get rabies shots after bat scare.

  • A bat infestation at a Union Springs day care last month resulted in 47 children receiving treatment for possible rabies exposure.
  •  The bats, including two dead ones in living areas of the child care center, were reported to Alabama Department of Public Health in June.
  • “We would normally test any dead bats to determine if rabies is present, but these bats had already been discarded by the facility staff before we were notified,” Alabama Public Health Officer Scott Harris told Alabama Daily News. He praised the department and other agencies’ response to the situation. It was reported to ADPH by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
  • The vaccinations cost the department $170,000.
  • The daycare was temporarily closed, but has re-opened.
  • Full bat story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Barr, Ross held in contempt of Congress.

  • The Democratic-controlled House voted Wednesday to hold two top Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  • The House voted, 230-198, to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt. The vote, a political blow to the Trump administration, is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute the two men.
  • The action marks an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration.
  • The White House called the vote “ridiculous” and “yet another lawless attempt to harass the president and his administration.”
  • “Holding any secretary in criminal contempt of Congress is a serious and sober matter — one that I have done everything in my power to avoid,” said Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
  • Former Congressman Trey Gowdy, who led his own contempt charges against Obama administration officials, albeit after longer periods, said the contempt of Congress isn’t what it used to be.
  • “Nobody cares what Congress does. What we saw yesterday — they can’t even enforce their own House rules against their own members. So, there used to be a stigma attached to being held in contempt of Congress. There ain’t no more,” Gowdy said. “So, I would tell Bill Barr, ‘Your reputation as an incredible lawyer is intact. Don’t give it another thought.'”
  • Read and watch more HERE.


4. Skip Tucker: Newspapers running out of time.


  • Skip Tucker has heard predictions of doom and gloom for the newspaper business for decades.
  • Talk of how internet news will put traditional papers out of business is nothing new, but lately he feels a sense of urgency about it.
  • The big boys like the New York Times and Washington Post are doing really well, and so are many hometown weeklies and bi-weeklies. It’s the middle tier that seems to be getting squeezed the most.
  • It’s partly why Alabama Daily News has sought to partner with the state’s newspapers and help bridge the content gap.
  • Here’s an except:
“What’s coming in the way of news and information in general is fearful and creepy. Consider that Google, for instance, not only knows most every keystroke we make on the Internet, it keeps a record of it. Of that there is no doubt. Also, there is no doubt that it owns and controls your information….  
“Trust will become a saleable product (always has been, in one form or another). Eerie words like Transaction Based Information are in play, and rumors of an information intervention messiah called Blockchain. Anything that has an on/off switch can and probably will become part of the Internet. 
“Almost 50 percent of Americans don’t trust standard national news sources now, nor should they. News is going to become even more untrustworthy because of multiple sources like social media and intentional misrepresentation and God knows what. Transaction sites will become more and more untrustworthy…
“But news will always exist. The real stuff, if one can find it.”
  • Damn right.
  • Read Skip’s full column HERE.


5. AP News Briefs.


Trump vs. Dems: ‘Racist,’ ‘socialist’ lines drawn for 2020
  • With tweets and a vote, President Donald Trump and House Democrats established the sharp and emotionally raw contours of the 2020 election campaigns.
  • In the process, they have created a fraught political frame: “racists” vs. “socialists.”
  • Trump’s aggressive condemnation of women of color in Congress has allowed House Democrats to mend, for now, their own political divisions as they put the president on record with a resolution condemning his words as racist.
  • But by pushing the House majority into the arms of the squad of liberal freshman women, Trump also adds to his narrative that Democrats have a “socialist” agenda, a story line he started to bring into focus during his State of the Union address.
  • Read more from Lisa Mascaro HERE.
State may agree to keep abortion ban on hold until 2020
  • Alabama indicated in a court filing that it might agree to keep prosecution efforts from the state’s new abortion ban on hold until 2020 to allow time for a lawsuit over its constitutionality to play out in court.
  • The law set to take effect in November would make performing an abortion a felony in most cases. Abortion providers have filed a lawsuit arguing the ban is unconstitutional.
  • Attorneys for the state and abortion providers this week submitted a joint status report to a judge indicating the two sides would agree to delay the law if it’s not possible to resolve the case before November. The court filing said they would agree to a temporary restraining order until May 24, 2020 — a year from when the lawsuit was filed — to allow time to resolve the lawsuit.
  • “Attorney General (Steve) Marshall agrees that, as suggested above, a temporary injunction would be appropriate to preserve the status quo,” the court filing stated.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
Birmingham officer shot, suspect killed in downtown shootout
  • Authorities say an Alabama police officer has been shot multiple times by a suspected armed robber who was then killed in a shootout in downtown Birmingham.
  • Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith tells news outlets officers were responding to a reported robbery at a convenience store Wednesday night when they spotted the male suspect leaving the scene.
  • Smith says the officers attempted to stop the man, who pulled out a gun and repeatedly shot Officer Cullen Stafford. AL.com reports Stafford was rushed to a hospital by fellow officers. Other officers responding to Stafford’s call for help were met with gunfire upon arrival.
  • Smith says the man fired a handgun from several locations that stretched across at least five city blocks, ending with a final shootout in which the man was killed.
  • Stafford was hospitalized and was out of surgery by 10 p.m., just two hours before his 36th birthday. Sgt. Johnny Williams says the surgery went well and Stafford is expected to undergo additional surgeries as he recovers. The police chief says a second officer was injured in a fall, but he was in good condition as of Wednesday night. Several officers kept vigil at the hospital.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey said the shooting was a reminder of the sacrifice by law enforcement officers.
  • Officials didn’t immediately release the name of the slain man, whose body remained at the scene late Wednesday.
  • AL.com reports Stafford and another officer were seriously injured in June 2017 when fleeing homicide suspects crashed into their patrol cruiser.
Coffee County judge resigns amid judicial ethics charges
  • An Alabama judge has resigned amid judicial ethics charges that accuse him of having an affair with an attorney who was handling cases in his court.
  • WDHN-TV reports that Coffee County District Judge Chris Kaminski says he is quitting because it isn’t “financially feasible” to fight charges filed with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary on Tuesday.
  • A complaint accuses Kaminski of beginning an affair with an unnamed female attorney while he was still married in 2017. The judge later got a divorce.
  • The charges say Kaminski improperly presided in cases involving the lawyer. It also says he obtained courthouse surveillance video that she posted on social media in an attempt to disprove rumors of their relationship.
  • The charges say Kaminski denied having an affair, but that evidence shows otherwise.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Attorney General Steve Marshall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officer: 47 children received rabies vaccine after day care bat infestation
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Skip Tucker: Newspaper Dissolution is News Evolution. Look Out.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House holds Barr, Ross officials in contempt in census dispute
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State may agree to keep abortion ban on hold until 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump vs. Dems: ‘Racist,’ ‘socialist’ lines drawn for 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US heat wave just warming up for long and scorching weekend
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama delegation reacts to House vote condemning Trump’s tweets
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 17, 2019
AL.COM  – After the abortion ban and #BoycottAlabama, small businesses struggle to find ‘a new normal’
AL.COM  – Local prison re-entry programs awarded $6 million federal grant
AL.COM  – Racial slur spray-painted on Alabama interracial couple’s ‘For Sale’ sign
AL.COM  – Officers recover 500 weapons, cell phones, drugs at Donaldson prison
AL.COM  – Judge resigns after complaint about romance with attorney in his court
AL.COM  – Hyundai to begin production of new engine this year
AL.COM  – Retired Justice John Paul Stevens left mark on Alabama
AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Sins of the father: Donald Watkins failed no one more than his son
AL.COM  – Columnist Roy Johnson: What if Richard Arrington had just said no to Donald Watkins Sr.?
AL.COM  – Von Braun’s daughter: Space is great, but climate change urgent
AL.COM  – Merrill says World Cup coverage shows media preoccupation with ‘homosexual activities’
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery municipal elections 2019: Here’s who has qualified for the 10 races
Montgomery Advertiser – Online, all the time: Alabama’s state property auctions move to internet
Montgomery Advertiser – Trenholm State Community College president announces retirement
YellowHammer News – Outrage over John Merrill’s comments is dishonest
YellowHammer News – Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule
YellowHammer News – Tuberville on Dem socialist push: ‘Money and power is what it is about for the left — They could care less about these people’
Dothan Eagle – Man convicted of 2015 Dothan murder released erroneously is back in custody
Dothan Eagle – House blocks maverick Dem’s attempt to impeach Trump over racism allegations
Dothan Eagle – Substitutes will need to sign up under Kelly Services to work at Dothan City Schools in upcoming school year
Tuscaloosa News – Former youth pastor to serve 20 years for sex abuse
Tuscaloosa News – Birmingham officer shot, suspect killed in downtown shootout
Tuscaloosa News – Coyote enters house through doggie door, killing pet in ‘unprecedented’ attack
Decatur Daily – Decatur’s 2 high schools may serve as public storm shelters
Decatur Daily – Decatur hopes to attract some of 1,400 FBI transfers
Decatur Daily – Austin grad to lay wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
Times Daily – Colbert Commission seeking more refined number of electric meters
Times Daily – Florence City Schools searching for new communications coordinator
Times Daily – Lauderdale man battles flesh-eating bacteria
Gadsden Times – Tennessee runaways leave local string of stolen vehicles
Gadsden Times – Second officer involved shooting this week in DeKalb County
Gadsden Times – RBC police arrest Jacksonville man for theft
Anniston Star – Councilman’s cost questions voted down
Anniston Star – Piedmont makes progress toward smart meter system
Anniston Star – School board adds to U.S. 431 conversation
Troy Messenger – Water, sewer revenues rise modestly after rate increase
Troy Messenger – Summer heat affects pets as much as humans
Troy Messenger – CHCHC celebrates 40th anniversary
Andalusia Star News – Two charged in death of Michael Davis
Andalusia Star News – ACS looking to bring Ident-A-Kid to all schools
Andalusia Star News – Cov. County teen arrested for stolen vehicle
Opelika-Auburn News – Deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo declared an international health emergency
Opelika-Auburn News – House blocks maverick Dem’s attempt to impeach Trump over racism allegations
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn teen driver’s case in fatal Bramblett crash headed to grand jury
Daily Mountain Eagle – Residents complain about gate on Club House Road
Daily Mountain Eagle – Poolos: River will take 5 years to restore itself
Daily Mountain Eagle – Dora veterans monument installed
Trussville Tribune – Alabama’s Roy Moore lags in 2020 fundraising, Jones leads
Trussville Tribune – Robbery suspect dead, 2 officers hurt, after officer-involved shooting in Birmingham
Trussville Tribune – Trussville woman convicted on charges of health care fraud and money laundering
Athens News Courier – Nuclear industry push for reduced oversight gaining traction
Athens News Courier – Nuclear industry push for reduced oversight gaining traction
Athens News Courier – Dog found injured, infected in Owens community; LCSO seeks answers
Sand Mountain Reporter – Driver burned in Mountainboro crash
Sand Mountain Reporter – RSVP shares stewardship report, encourages more volunteers to join
Sand Mountain Reporter – United Way’s Day of Caring set for Sept. 10, project adoptions now open
WSFA Montgomery – Officer shot, suspect dead after armed robbery in downtown Birmingham
WSFA Montgomery – Man serving time for fatal DUI assigned to work at alcohol distributor
WSFA Montgomery – Jones leads the cash race ahead of Ala. Senate election
Fox 6 Birmingham – Drier weather tomorrow with hot temperatures
Fox 6 Birmingham – Officer shot, suspect dead after armed robbery in downtown Birmingham
Fox 6 Birmingham – Vestavia Hills Phoenix treatment program
WAFF Huntsville – Gov. Ivey awards $1.7M to help domestic violence, sex assault victims in north Alabama
WAFF Huntsville – Scottsboro police working to increase department recruiting
WAFF Huntsville – Rain chances decreasing in 2nd half of week
WKRG Mobile – HORRIFIC: Mom and three young children killed in Columbus; homicide investigation underway
WKRG Mobile – Deadly shooting of suspect ruled “justifiable” in Walton County
WKRG Mobile – Birmingham officer shot multiple times; suspect dead
WTVY Dothan – Latest attempt by House to move impeachment forward fails
WTVY Dothan – Man charged with ATM thefts; some of them in Houston County
WTVY Dothan – Beverlye Intermediate teacher uses crowdfunding to help put books in student hands
WASHINGTON POST  – Opioid death rates soared in communities where pain pills flowed
WASHINGTON POST  – At rally, crowd responds to Trump’s criticism of Somali-born congresswoman Ilhan Omar with chants of ‘send her back’
WASHINGTON POST  – House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump, avoiding a direct vote on whether to oust the president
WASHINGTON POST  – 9/11 victims bill stalls as Republican senators seek conditions for funding
WASHINGTON POST  – Paid federal family leave faces Senate uncertainty after ‘huge win’ in House
WASHINGTON POST  – Democratic lawmakers accuse their own party of proposing ‘deep’ cuts to health centers for poor
NEW YORK TIMES  – As Congress Seeks Budget Deal, Negotiators Try to Sideline Mulvaney
NEW YORK TIMES  – House Holds Barr and Ross in Contempt Over Census Dispute
NEW YORK TIMES  – House Votes to Repeal Obamacare Tax Once Seen as Key to Health Law



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