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State Rests in Sheriff Impeachment Trial, UA Report Indicates Slow Economic Growth

Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark
Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark

The state of Alabama is resting its case in the impeachment trial of Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports yesterday’s testimony revolved around the relationship between Clark and one particular Sumter County inmate. A deputy reportedly testified the inmate had the passcode to the jail’s surveillance system and was frequently allowed to drive Clark’s truck without supervision.

Clark’s impeachment trial began Monday with accusations that certain Sumter County inmates were allowed to leave the jail unsupervised and return with contraband like drugs, cigarettes and cell phones.

Sheriff Clark testified yesterday that he did nothing wrong. He says he wasn’t aware the inmates weren’t being searched upon returning to the jail from work sites.

The impeachment trial is not a criminal proceeding. If the Alabama Supreme Court finds Clark guilty of the alleged violations, he’ll be automatically removed from office. Any potential criminal charges would be filed separately.

The State of Alabama’s economy should see only modest growth for the rest of 2016. That’s the result of a new report from the University of Alabama. APR’s Pat Duggins has more on what this may mean for the state job outlook.

The University of Alabama’s Center for Economic and Business Research says the state’s economy should grow by just under two percent this year. That’s weaker than the two point four percent Alabama saw in 2015.

Businesses in the state appear to be cautious about hiring, although the number of jobs in the UA report showed gains. 800 positions were lost in durable goods manufacturing. However, 1600 jobs were created in the manufacturing of wood products as well as automotive and aerospace parts. The service industry saw a increase of almost 12,000 jobs.

The report predicts economic activity should pick up a bit for the second half of the year.

Residents in southwest Alabama who need an ID to vote are getting some help from the state.

A mobile registration unit will be in Washington County tomorrow issuing free photo IDs and registering citizens to vote. Voter IDs are necessary due to a law recently passed by the state legislature. The state is sponsoring mobile van units which will travel to all of the state’s 67 counties.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says it is important for everyone eligible to be able to vote.

“Well, what we are trying to do is we are trying to encourage every eligible US citizen who is a resident of Alabama to be registered to vote, and to have a photo ID so that they can participate in the electoral process.”

The unit will be set up tomorrow morning and afternoon at the Millry Town Hall in Washington County. Then the mobile unit will travel to Lauderdale County.

Investigators believe a fire that caused heavy damage to the historic Macon County courthouse was intentionally set.

An investigation involving multiple agencies began shortly after the fire was extinguished earlier this month. The Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, Tuskegee Police and Fire Departments and the 5th Circuit District Attorney’s Office are all working together to find those responsible for the fire.

The blaze was discovered by a police officer July 9 and extinguished by Tuskegee firefighters. The courthouse was built in 1906 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

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