1. Trump celebrates ‘greatest political journey’ in history
- President Donald Trump celebrated the story of America as “the greatest political journey in human history” in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy but cheering crowd of spectators, many of them invited, on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday.
- Supporters welcomed his tribute to the U.S. military while protesters assailed him for putting himself center stage on a holiday devoted to unity.
- As rain fell on him, Trump called on Americans to “stay true to our cause” during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history’s heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights and other endeavors of American life.
- He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign. But in one exception, he vowed, “Very soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars,” actually a distant goal not likely to be achieved until late in the 2020s if even then.
- By adding his own, one-hour “Salute to America” production to capital festivities that typically draw hundreds of thousands anyway, Trump became the first president in nearly seven decades to address a crowd at the National Mall on the Fourth of July.
- Read more about the event HERE.
2. Defense claims death of Brambletts not a crime
- An attorney for a teenager charged in the traffic deaths of Auburn University’s sports announcer and his wife denied that any crime occurred, calling the crash a “terrible tragedy” instead.
- Tommy Spina, a lawyer for 16-year-old Johnston Edward Taylor, told al.com his client simply fell asleep at the wheel and wasn’t impaired before the wreck which killed broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula.
- There was no indication the teen tried to stop before the wreck, authorities said.
- Spina said Johnston had spent the day at Lake Martin with his girlfriend’s family and “had been without sleep for a period of time.”
- “He did not drink at the lake and he did not partake of marijuana while at the lake. This is undisputed,” Spina said.
- You can read more about it HERE.
3. New Program on teacher/student relationships
- Alabama education officials are trying to combat what they say is a growing problem of sexual relationships between teachers and students.
- The state Department of Education has released a training program that officials in Montgomery are urging local school systems to use in teaching educators about avoiding inappropriate encounters.
- The program also encourages teachers to report colleagues they suspect of having inappropriate relations with students.
- The training material quotes reports that say Alabama is among the worst states in the nation for sexual relationships between school workers and students, and it depicts the problem as getting worse.
- After Alabama criminalized teacher-student sex, 45 such cases were reported in 2017, the curriculum states, and Alabama leads the nation in inappropriate student-teacher relationships on a per capita basis. More than 200 educators have been arrested on sex charges involving students since 2010, and social media and texting are fueling the problem, it says.
- “This is a topic people don’t want to talk about, but there is no choice,” Alabama School Superintendent Eric Mackey said in a program video.
- You can read more about it HERE and from Al.com’s Trisha Powell Crain HERE.
4. U.S. added 224,000 jobs in June
- U.S. employers sharply stepped up their hiring in June, adding a robust 224,000 jobs, an indication of the economy’s durability after more than a decade of expansion.
- The strength of the jobs report the Labor Department issued Friday could complicate a decision for the Federal Reserve late this month on whether to cut interest rates to help support the economy. Most investors anticipate a rate cut.
- Last month’s solid job growth followed a tepid gain of 72,000 jobs in May, a result that had raised concern about the economy. The burst of hiring in June may indicate that many employers have shrugged off concerns about weaker global growth, President Donald Trump’s trade wars and the waning benefits from U.S. tax cuts.
- The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in June from 3.6% for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed. Average hourly wages rose 3.1% from a year ago.
- The job gains in June were broad. Construction companies added 21,000 workers after having increased their payrolls by only 5,000 in May. Manufacturers hired 17,000, up from just 3,000 in May. Health care and social assistance added 50,500 jobs. Hiring by transportation and warehousing companies increased 23,900.
- Read more about the jobs report HERE.
5. AP News Briefs
Federal loans to help Alabama businesses hit by Michael
- The federal government is offering assistance to businesses in southeast Alabama that were affected by Hurricane Michael last October.
- A statement by the Small Business Administration says disaster loans are available to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, aquaculture businesses and nonprofits that were hit by the Category 5 storm.
- Low-interest loans of as much as $2 million are available in seven counties in all. Those include Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.
- The loans can be used for needs including paying fixed debts, payroll and bills.
- The storm made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, but its winds and rain created problems as far north as Alabama and Georgia.
Crews search for missing kayaker on north Alabama river
- Searchers are trying to locate a kayaker who has been missing on a north Alabama river for nearly a day.
- Marine Patrol officials say 39-year-old Michael Rynders of Athens was paddling with his girlfriend on the Elk River in Limestone County when she heard him yell about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
- News outlets report that she later saw the kayak, but there was no sign of Rynders.
- Members of about a half-dozen rescue squads and other groups searched for the man without finding him on Thursday.
- Cadaver-sniffing dogs and divers are being used in the search along with underwater scanning equipment.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama aims to combat teacher-student sexual relationships
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS– Defense says deaths of Auburn broadcaster, wife not a crime
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump celebrates ‘greatest political journey’ in history
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jobs Report Shows a robust 224,000 jobs added in June
Montgomery Advertiser – Man, two juveniles shot Thursday in Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville’s July Fourth Cardboard Boat Race and Parade
Montgomery Advertiser – Defense says deaths of Auburn broadcaster, wife not a crime
YellowHammer News – Tuskegee Airman: America not perfect but it was, still is worth fighting for – ‘God’ was ‘my co-pilot’
YellowHammer News – Flowers: Legislative session for most part successful, especially for Governor Kay Ivey
YellowHammer News – Rep. Gary Palmer won’t rule out 2020 U.S. Senate run — ‘We’re praying about it’
Dothan Eagle – Dothan Eagle wins 18 awards in recent newspaper contests
Dothan Eagle – ‘Impaired’ Alabamians will have access to free towing July 4
Dothan Eagle – Chief Financial Officer: Dothan school system in best financial shape in several years
Tuscaloosa News – Alabama sheriff says murder suspect purposely got pregnant
Tuscaloosa News – Crews search for missing kayaker on Alabama river
Tuscaloosa News – Celebration on the River a nine-year Tuscaloosa tradition
Decatur Daily – Two black bear sightings reported in Morgan County
Decatur Daily – Lawrence schools to receive $1.25 million for improvements, technology, safety
Decatur Daily – Mayor: Honorees demonstrate ‘the Spirit of America’
Times Daily – New security in place at Point Mallard water park
Times Daily – Colbert Animal Control Board discusses funding issues
Times Daily – Lauderdale schools enjoy new fundraising, Wi-Fi programs
Gadsden Times – Swim Guide finds 3 moderate E.coli locales
Gadsden Times – DA drops charges against mother who lost fetus
Gadsden Times – Some big farms collect big checks from Trump aid package
Anniston Star – Hydrant testing prepares firefighters for emergencies
Anniston Star – Calhoun County school learns why its sports stand cost so much to power up
Anniston Star – Local cities waive sales tax during state back-to-school holiday
Troy Messenger – Brundidge seeks grant funding for city improvements
Troy Messenger – Outdoor movie Saturday at the Bass House
Troy Messenger – Meeksville hosts Fourth of July parade
Andalusia Star News – ANDALUSIA CELEBRATES THE FOURTH OF JULY IN STYLE
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn celebrates country, community on Independence Day
Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County Sheriff’s Office shares holiday weekend driving reminder
Opelika-Auburn News – Lanett man dies after vehicle strikes tree, overturns
Daily Mountain Eagle – Just trying to stay alive: Harold McMurran recalls D-Day
Daily Mountain Eagle – Vietnam vet writes of PTSD experiences
Daily Mountain Eagle – Sipsey Mayor Jerry Sadler dead at 82
Trussville Tribune – Family of veteran found in Clay’s Cosby Lake thankful for widespread response
Trussville Tribune – Springville man, Oneonta man killed in double-fatality crash in Blount County
Trussville Tribune – Strongest earthquake in 20 years rattles Southern California
Athens News Courier – Athens-Limestone Tourism Association hosting storytime events
Athens News Courier – 3 officers hurt in Alabama police chase
Athens News Courier – Accused Athens cat killer released from state custody
Sand Mountain Reporter – Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater anticipates spring opening
Sand Mountain Reporter – Reporter earns five Alabama Press Association awards
WSFA Montgomery – 2 missing, others injured after boats collide on Lake Jordan
WSFA Montgomery – Lake Martin becomes playground for American patriots in annual boat parade
WSFA Montgomery – 2 killed in head-on collision in Selma
Fox 6 Birmingham – FIRST ALERT: Hot temperatures expected today and Saturday
Fox 6 Birmingham – Multiple injuries reported in two-boat collision on Smith Lake
Fox 6 Birmingham – Mountain Brook residents dealing with coyotes
WAFF Huntsville – Insect invasion: Kitchen Cops finding flies all over the Valley this summer
WAFF Huntsville – Morgan County sheriff’s patrol vehicle hits pole, knocks out power
WAFF Huntsville – Shots fired leads to brief standoff in Athens; brothers arrested
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: Fight outside bar leads to shooting and police chase
WKRG Mobile – Families have fun at Pensacola’s 4th of July Celebration
WKRG Mobile – Bahamas police: 7 Americans killed in helicopter crash
WTVY Dothan – Hundreds of people celebrating the 4th of July on the water.
WTVY Dothan – Landmark Park, Daughters of the American Revolution hold Declaration of Independence reading
WTVY Dothan – Police: 3 stabbed, several trampled after Chicago fireworks
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s Fourth of July celebration thrills supporters, angers opponents.