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Daily Digest – August 3, 2020

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, August 3.

1. COVID-19 update

  • There were 3,533 new COVID-19 cases confirmed Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total since March to 88,811, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • The website BamaTracker, an independent site that analyzes ADPH data, noted that of 2,031 cases added Sunday, 532 were in Mobile County, the most added in a single day to Mobile County since tracking began.
  • Jefferson County, the state’s most populated county, continues to report the most cases, followed by Mobile, Montgomery and Madison counties.
  • BamaTracker reports the seven-day average of new cases was at 1,637 Sunday, down from a high of 1,851 July 19.
  • Forty-five COVID-19-related deaths were reported over the weekend, bringing that total to 1,576.
  • On Sunday, 1,529 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. That number hit a high of 1,642 on Thursday, though the number of hospitals reporting each day varies slightly, according to ADHP.
  • Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, said on social media on Saturday that he was now off the ventilator and responding well to his medication.
  • Read the full update HERE.


2. State enters agreement to recruit South Korean STEM educators

  • Alabama education and South Korean officials have signed a memorandum of understanding for a pilot program to bring much-needed science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers here.
  • The partnership includes the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama-Korea Education and Economic Partnership and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea.
  • The program allows for a foreign teaching certificate conversion procedure. Selected South Korean teacher education graduates will participate in a two-year master’s program, the first year taught in their home country, the second at an Alabama university. They’ll then be able to work in Alabama schools.
  • “We are excited to expand joint efforts between K-12 and higher education in Alabama to address our teacher shortage,” ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell said in a written statement. “Through this program we will now be in a position to find qualified teachers to recruit in these high-demand areas.”
  • The first group of selected students will begin the program in South Korea this fall.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. RNC: Decision on private Trump renomination vote not final

  • The vote to renominate President Donald Trump is set to be conducted in private later this month, without members of the press present, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Convention said on Saturday, citing the coronavirus.
  • However, a Republican National Committee official contradicted that assessment Sunday, emphasizing that no final decisions have been made and that logistics and press coverage options were still being evaluated, the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
  • While Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month, citing spiking cases of the virus across the country, 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24 to formally vote to make Trump the GOP standard-bearer once more.
  • Nominating conventions are traditionally meant to be media bonanzas, as political parties seek to leverage the attention the events draw to spread their message to as many voters as possible. If the GOP decision stands, it will be the first party nominating convention in modern history to be closed to reporters.
  • Read more about the renomination HERE.


4. Survey launches on workplace behavioral health

  • The Alabama Workforce Council is asking employers to participate in a survey in order to research and eventually improve the health and wellbeing of Alabamians in the workplace.
  • AlabamaWorks! and the Alabama Workforce Council have partnered with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the University of Alabama and the Vital Initiative to create the 15-minute survey.
  • “Our state’s labor force is the cornerstone of workforce development efforts, and this survey will help promote a healthier workplace and workforce that will continue to drive our 21st-century economy”, said AWC Chairman Tim McCartney.
  • Employers of all sizes and from each industry sector are encouraged to respond to the survey.
  • The results of the survey will be used to inform public policy decisions on workplace health promotion and help employers build effective, science-based workplace health programs for their employees, the press release said.
  • Read more about the survey from me HERE.


5. Joe Biden nears final decision on running mate

  • As Joe Biden nears the announcement of his vice presidential choice, the top contenders and their advocates are making final appeals.
  • The campaign hasn’t finalized a date for naming a running mate, but three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans said a public announcement likely wouldn’t happen before the week of Aug. 10. That’s one week before Democrats will hold their convention to officially nominate Biden as their presidential nominee.
  • Biden said in May that he hoped to name his pick around Aug. 1 and told reporters this week that he would “have a choice in the first week of August.” He notably stopped short of saying when he would announce that choice.
  • Running mates are often announced on the eve of a convention. As Biden prepares to make his choice, a committee established to vet running mates has provided him with briefing materials. Biden will likely soon begin one-on-one conversations with those under consideration, which could be the most consequential part of the process for a presidential candidate who values personal connections.
  • The leading contenders include California Sen. Kamala Harris, California Rep. Karen Bass and Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. The deliberations remain fluid, however, and the campaign has reviewed nearly a dozen possible running mates.
  • Read more about the VP decision HERE.


News Briefs

Update: Dismukes files missing ethics report
  • On Friday afternoon ADN reported that state Rep. Will Dismukes said he filed an annual statement of economic interests but The Alabama Ethics Commission said they did not have his 2019 document.
  • We’ve now updated the story saying Dismukes filed the statement Friday night, according to the Alabama Ethics Commission’s website.
  • Members of the legislature, as well as most other elected officials and public employees at state and local levels, are required to submit the reports each year. They were due April 30.
  • Read the full story HERE.
South Alabama doctor indicted in drug-billing scheme
  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A south Alabama doctor has become the 30th person charged in what federal authorities describe as a fraud scheme involving a north Alabama pharmacy.
  • Dr. Michelle Martine Jackson of Fairhope was indicted on charges including conspiracy to receive kickbacks and fraud, according to a news release on Friday.
  • Jackson worked out of two clinics in Mobile, the statement said, and the charges are related to Global Compounding Pharmacy, which was based in Haleyville. Jackson allegedly got kickbacks in exchange for writing unnecessary prescriptions.
  • Court records didn’t list a defense lawyer for Jackson, who is due in court for a hearing on Aug. 13.
  • Two dozen of those charged in the case have pleaded guilty including the pharmacy’s chief executive and its chief operating officer.
Alabama police: teen bitten, possibly by a shark
  • ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy swimming with his father in the Gulf of Mexico off Alabama may have been bitten by a shark, authorities said.
  • It happened about 1:20 p.m. Friday in waters near condominiums at Orange Beach, Orange Beach Assistant Police Chief Robert Howard said. Police said the teenager was near a sand bar when the incident occurred.
  • Police told news outlets the teenager’s injuries consist of a “mild abrasion and a few small puncture wounds.” The father told investigators he saw a large number of small fish swimming around them and, as they were leaving the area, his son felt pain, Howard told news outlets. Neither the father nor the victim saw a shark or any large fish when that happened, police said.
  • The victim’s family took him to a nearby hospital for treatment.
  • Orange Beach Safety Chief Brett Lesinger tells WEAR-TV that it appeared to be a shark bite. Though rare, Lesinger said that would be the third time someone has been bit by a shark at Orange Beach in the past 10 years.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Seven-day average in reported COVID-19 cases declines
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State enters agreement to recruit South Korean STEM educators
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AlabamaWorks! launch survey on workplace behavioral health
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS– RNC: Decision on private Trump renomination vote not final
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Joe Biden nears final decision on running mate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Update: Dismukes files missing ethics report
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – “Save Space Camp” drive pulls in $1.1M; Boeing gives 500K
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vouchers to aid Alabama students stuck at home by pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Vouchers to aid Alabama students stuck at home by pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – August 2, 2020
Montgomery Advertiser – Lawsuits fighting mask mandates, business closures from COVID-19 from around the South
Montgomery Advertiser – Chauncey Blackburn’s family two years after his unsolved murder
Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Not one more’: Caravan protests Alabama’s parole board, plans to build new prisons
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Person killed in a single-vehicle crash on Warrior Jasper Road
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Man facing felony charges after car chase and tossing out drugs
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: More than 1,500 people have died from COVID-19 as over 88K test positive and 35K recover
Tuscaloosa News – New Alabama airport terminal design to be unveiled Tuesday
Tuscaloosa News – South Alabama doctor indicted in drug-billing scheme
Tuscaloosa News – America’s reckoning over Confederate monuments
Decatur Daily – Affidavit: Suspect used lighter to start Walmart fire
Decatur Daily – Local school districts defend decision to offer in-person instruction
Decatur Daily – With some campers in place more than 5 years, short-term sites planned at Point Mallard
Times Daily – COVID cases high, but official hopes for plateau
Times Daily – Florence allows COVID-related absentee voting
Times Daily – Lauderdale changes start date for opening schools
Anniston Star – Calhoun County COVID cases surge past 1,500
Anniston Star – COVID’s evil spell keeps Potter-thon crowd at 1
Anniston Star – Oxford police chief Bill Partridge recovering from heart attack
YellowHammer News – Watch live: Alabama Republican Party holds 2020 summer annual meeting
YellowHammer News – New advanced manufacturing training center coming to Alabama
YellowHammer News – Huntsville-managed missile defense program makes large deliveries
Gadsden Times – Agreement with South Korea could ease STEM teacher shortage
Gadsden Times – As the South’s Confederate monuments come down, where will they end up?
Gadsden Times – World’s Longest Yard Sale on for 2020
Dothan Eagle – Police: Child abuse cases climb as COVID-19 keeps children out of school
Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 creates a balancing act for businesses when it comes to livelihoods and safety
Dothan Eagle – New Alabama airport terminal design to be unveiled Tuesday
Opelika-Auburn News – Family says politician John Hume, who won Nobel Peace Prize for work to end violence in Northern Ireland, has died at 83
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika crime commission kicks off new prevention program
Opelika-Auburn News – Hospital beginning to feel optimistic about COVID-19 hospitalizations
WSFA Montgomery – Man seriously injured in Montgomery shooting late Saturday
WSFA Montgomery – Man injured in West Fairview shooting
WSFA Montgomery – Ala. state senator removed from ventilator in COVID-19 battle, condition improving
WAFF Huntsville – Nashville Predators team up with Red Cross to host largest multi-city summer blood drive, Huntsville to be part of drive
WAFF Huntsville – Saturday marks first night of earlier last call at Alabama bars
WAFF Huntsville – Fundraiser for Space and Rocket Center exceeds $1.2 million
WKRG Mobile – George County School District adjusts mask guidelines
WKRG Mobile – Microsoft confirms talks seeking to buy US arm of TikTok
WKRG Mobile – Man shot in arm by adopted son in Alabama
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise PD Searching for Suspect After Sunday Shooting
WTVY Dothan – Holmes County standoff ends with no injuries
WTVY Dothan – Ala. state senator removed from ventilator in COVID-19 battle, condition improving
WASHINGTON POST – Trump administration examining options for unilateral action if no coronavirus deal is reached with Congress
WASHINGTON POST – San Francisco flattened the curve early. Now, coronavirus cases are surging.
WASHINGTON POST – White House steps back from Trump suggestion about delaying the election
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Tests and Quarantines: Colleges Brace for an Uncertain Fall
NEW YORK TIMES – Scientists Worry About Political Influence Over Coronavirus Vaccine Project
NEW YORK TIMES – Relief Package Deal Remains Elusive as Impasse Over Jobless Benefits Persists
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Marathon Petroleum to Sell Gas-Station Chain to 7-Eleven Owners for $21 Billion
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Luxury Department Store Lord & Taylor Files for Bankruptcy
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Democratic, Administration Negotiators at Loggerheads Over $600 Jobless Benefit

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