Good Afternoon everyone!
Here's your Weekend Digest for Sunday, October 20.
1. Report Cards Released
  • Report cards for Alabama’s public schools and school systems were released (officially) on Friday by the State Department of Education.
  • As was reported earlier this week when the reports were leaked briefly, Alabama’s public schools appear to be improving overall. Schools rose from a grade of 80 to 84.
  • The latest report cards include enhanced graphics and features to make it easier to view data and compare school systems, state education officials said. This is the third academic year that the letter grades have been released.
  • "We hope this can be used a catapult to jumpstart conversations about what is working in public schools as well as identifying areas that may need support and/or additional resources," State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey said in a statement.
  • The grades are based not just on the latest test scores, but how much students improve in reading and math from one year to the next.
  • View the report cards and the full report HERE.
2. Prayer Vigil Held for Cupcake
  • Community members held a prayer vigil Saturday as the search continues for a missing 3-year-old who disappeared from a birthday party last week.
  • News outlets report family members and supporters gathered at St. James AME Church, a church a few blocks from the housing development where the child disappeared. Kamille McKinney, known as "Cupcake" to her family, disappeared last Saturday during a birthday party.
  • April Thomas, Kamille's mother, was present at the vigil but declined to speak to the congregation. Her older brother, Steven Long, spoke instead.
  • "On behalf of our family we appreciate everybody helping in the search for my niece. It's very hard right now," he said.
  • Police on Friday released surveillance video they believe shows McKinney shortly before the abduction.
  • The grainy footage shows two children playing outside at the housing project. One man walks by the children without stopping. Later, the children leave with a second man who walks with a limp.
  • Police said the second man is a suspect in the case, but they also want to find the first man as a potential witness.
  • Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith on Friday told news outlets they don't believe a lot of planning was put into the kidnapping and they remain hopeful she will be found.
  • Read the full report HERE.
3. DNC Writes Back
  • DNC Chair Tom Perez wrote the Alabama Democratic Chair Nancy Worley again on Saturday saying that their meeting last weekend and the actions taken then were invalid.
  • Worley is reported saying that she is not surprised by the letter and now expects to go to court over the dispute.
  • Perez said in the letter that the bylaws passed last weekend are invalid and were not pre-cleared by the Rules and Bylaws committee of the DNC. Instead the bylaws adopted on Oct. 5 are what is valid.
  • Perez now says that SDEC members attend a Nov. 2 meeting to choose members of the new caucuses and hold new elections for party chair and vice chair.
  • Worley says that she does not like the DNC approved bylaws because she believes they would unfairly reduce the amount of seat held by African-Americans on the SDEC.
  • You can read the full story from Mike Cason HERE.
4. Trump scraps plan to host G-7
  • Responding to mounting criticism, President Donald Trump has abruptly reversed his plan to hold the next year’s Group of Seven world leaders’ meeting at his Doral golf resort in Florida.
  • “I think he knows,” his acting chief of staff said Sunday, “people think it looks lousy.”
  • Trump announced a rare backtrack Saturday night after facing accusations that he would profit from the presidency by hosting the international summit at the private resort owned by his family.
  • “Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020,” Trump tweeted. He said his administration “will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”
  • The striking reversal raises further doubts about the position of the president’s top aide, Mick Mulvaney, who held a news conference Thursday announcing the choice of Doral for the summit.
  • He insisted his staff had concluded it was “far and away the best physical facility.” Mulvaney said the White House reached that determination after visiting 10 sites across the country.
  • You can read the full report HERE.
5. News Briefs .

Scottsboro Boys to get museum in Decatur

  • DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — Nearly 100 years since being wrongly accused of rape, the nine African Americans known as the "Scottsboro Boys" will be honored in a new museum in Alabama.
  • The Celebrating Early Old Town with Art board will formally unveil the museum's plans at its annual gala in Decatur next month.
  • reports the primary goal of the museum is to "depict Decatur's role in the historic trial, reflecting the civil rights struggles and victories during that era."
  • The nine males, ages 13 to 20, were accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931. Eight were convicted. The verdicts were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2013, Gov. Robert Bentley signed legislation exonerating them.
  • The Nov. 14 gala's guest speaker will be former NFL player Thom Gossom Jr.

Man killed in canoeing accident on Tennessee River

  • SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a Tennessee man died when his canoe capsized on an Alabama river.
  • News outlets report that the accident occurred Friday evening near Scottsboro on the Tennessee River.
  • The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says 51-year-old Gregory Lawson from Hixon, Tennessee was killed when the canoe capsized.
  • A woman with Lawson was able to swim to shore for help.
  • State authorities said Saturday that the incident remains under investigation.

Police: Woman made up raccoon story to cover up shooting

  • DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Police say an Alabama woman told a story about trying to shoot a rabid raccoon to cover up a fight that left her and her boyfriend with gunshot wounds.
  • News outlets report 37-year-old Catherine Fernandez was arrested on a domestic violence charge after investigators determined her tale about a wild animal wasn't true.
  • Police Lt. Doug Magill says officers were called to a home Thursday about an accidental shooting.
  • Magill says the woman told police she was firing at a rabid raccoon in the home when she accidentally shot the man. She also was wounded.
  • Magill says the woman made up the story and shot herself in the leg to make the incident appear accidental.
  • Court records don't show whether Fernandez has a lawyer. Police haven't released the man's name.
Week in Good News
Cyclists raise awareness of poverty, civil rights

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A group of cyclists are traveling across Alabama to raise awareness of rural poverty and civil rights.
  • The group Civil Rides said in a news release that 20 cyclists are taking part in the ride on Saturday and Sunday. Civil Rides said the group sees poverty as a modern civil rights issue in America.
  • The cyclists will make stops at sites important to the civil rights movement.
  • Riders will travel from Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery and through Selma and Alabama's Black Belt. The ride will end Sunday in Birmingham at Kelly Ingram Park.
  • The ride also raises money for the Together for Hope program and Out Hunger, a hunger initiative.

First all-female space walk happens

  • Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made a history making space walk on Friday when they worked outside of the International Space Station for more than five hours to replace a power controller that failed the week before.
  • This moment was meant to happen seven months back on March 29, but there were problems in getting the best fitting spacesuit for fellow astronaut Anne McClain. She then had to switch places with astronaut Nick Hague.
  • The minor mishap was just another reminder that fields traditionally dominated by men still have some problems to work out to make the tools they use accessible to all genders and sexes.
  • But hopefully this is just the first of many all-female space walks for the international space station.
  • Read more about the space walk and the suits HERE.

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Alabama releases school report cards

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Prayer vigil held as search for missing girl continues

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS - Trump scraps plan to host G-7 at his Doral golf resort

AL.COM - Nancy Worley says clash with DNC probably headed to court.
AL.COM - Trump to visit Mississippi days before statewide election.
AL.COM - Alabama gives Trump his highest approval rating – again.
AL.COM - Columnist Roy Johnson: ‘Consummate legislator’ Rep. Elijah Cummings remembered by Birmingham native who worked for him.
AL.COM - Columnist Frances Coleman: From culverts to hotels, corruption looks, smells and feels the same.
AL.COM - Contributor Jesse Kelley: Alabama juvenile probation officers can be more effective with smaller caseloads.
AL.COM - Columnist Kyle Whitmire: How many free passes does the GOP have to give?
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - Ainsworth: ‘We want to make sure Alabama is the most military-friendly state in the country’.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS - Mooney in Senate ad: ‘We can put America first, or we can keep emptying out Central America’.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY - 2020 Legislative Agenda for League of Municipalities highlights Local Authority.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS - Eight to be inducted into Civic Hall of Fame.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Beto O'Rourke calls for urgent responses to gun violence, climate change.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor Vanzetta McPherson: Presence or participation: There is a difference.
DOTHAN EAGLE - The Dothan Eagle : Warren fools no one by avoiding Medicare tax talk.
WASHINGTON POST - Trump says his Doral golf resort will no longer host next year’s G-7 summit, bowing to criticism.
WASHINGTON POST - ‘They are livid’: Trump’s withdrawal from Syria prompts rare public criticism from current, former military officials.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor Ron Chernow: Hamilton pushed for impeachment powers. Trump is what he had in mind.
WASHINGTON POST - Add risk of government shutdown to impeachment and other legislative logjams.
WASHINGTON POST - Judge rules Florida can’t block felons from voting, even if they have unpaid fines.
WASHINGTON POST - Rebuilding the village: A West Virginia school system strives to lift up its children by tackling poverty.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Timothy Egan: One Cure for Malnutrition of the Soul
NEW YORK TIMES - In a Strong Economy, Why Are So Many Workers on Strike?
NEW YORK TIMES - New Energy Secretary Fits Trend: Cabinet Dominated by Lobbyists
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT - Cyclists Raise Awareness of Poverty, Civil Rights
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT - Scottsboro Boys to Get Museum in Decatur
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