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Daily News Digest – April 15, 2020

Presented by

The Alabama Grocers Association

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, April 15.

1. Ivey: not the time to let our guard down

  • Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday said Alabama’s social distancing measures appear to be slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but it is too soon say when shuttered businesses could reopen.
  • Ivey expects to have recommendations by Friday from a small business task force chaired by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth about how and when to allow different types of companies to resume operations.
  • “And, as everybody knows, this is not a simple process like flipping on a light switch,” Ivey said.
  • The governor said she’s also asked the state’s congressional delegation to report on the unique economic situations facing each of Alabama’s seven congressional districts.
  • Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the latest information on infection cases and travel patterns show the stay-at-home order issued earlier this month is working. They did not give a timeline for when residents could expect businesses to open back up, and in fact Ivey issued a stern warning about taking the state’s progress for granted.
  • “Now is not the time to let our guard down and pretend like things are back to normal,” she said, after thanking Alabama citizens for taking the order to heart.
  • “All indicators suggest that it is working,” she said. “It is imperative that we keep doing what we are doing.”
  • Some lawmakers and business groups have recently suggested that the state’s current stay-at-home order, in place until the end of the month, disproportionately impacts smaller businesses, while big box stores are allowed to remain open. Ivey said she’d be open to recommendations addressing those situations.
  • One thing to make note of for the weeks and months ahead: I asked Dr. Harris how the state was faring on critical resources like ventilators and personal protective equipment, or PPE. He said the state is in good shape when it comes to having enough ventilators and ICU beds, but that he’s worried about a shortage of PPE.
  • “I think that’s going to be an issue as we open the economy up,” Harris said.
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell and me HERE.
  • And, because the diversity of reporting in the Capitol Press Corps hasn’t been this broad in probably ten years, also read AP’s Kim Chandler HERE, the Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE,’s Mike Cason HERE, WSFA’s Lydia Nussbaum HERE, and YellowHammer’s Henry Thornton HERE.

2. No hugs or handshakes: Pandemic complicates storm relief

  • For people who lost homes to the deadly tornadoes that rampaged across the South, there are no comforting hugs from volunteers or handshakes from politicians. For homeless families, there are no Red Cross shelters, only hotel rooms.
  • These and other changes reflect how disaster response has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Workers are still trying to provide all the help they can, but from a distance.
  • Within hours of the tornado onslaught, which began Sunday and killed more than 30 people, church groups were out in damaged communities, and Southern Baptist volunteers were told to avoid holding hands with people as they prayed, said Sam Porter, director of disaster relief for the nearly 15 million-member denomination. Hugs also are out.
  • “You’re talking about a very hard change in procedures,” Porter said Tuesday. “It’s agonizing. Jesus touched people all through his ministry. He created us as emotional beings. But we are trying to comply with the guidelines.”
  • About 550 people in four states were staying in hotel rooms funded by the Red Cross since mass shelters were not an option, said Brad Kieserman, a vice president of the organization.
  • People are being fed catered meals delivered to the hotels instead of through a large kitchen, he said, and workers are wearing masks, gloves and other gear when dealing with people affected by the storms. Other agencies are making similar provisions, he said.
  • “How ironic is it that the very thing that may unify people and unify communities is the condition in which we have to remain 6 feet apart,” Kieserman said.
  • Read the full story from Jay Reeves HERE.





A message from

The Alabama Grocers Association

Grocery retailers are working tirelessly with current suppliers to ensure consumer demands are met at an unusually high rate.
In addition, Alabama Grocers have been creative at sourcing additional products from non-traditional suppliers to ensure the shelves are stocked as quickly as possible. The grocery retail industry is a very low profit margin and highly competitive business.
Consumers can assist Alabama grocery stores in keeping prices as low as possible for Alabamians by not stockpiling products and utilizing normal shopping habits. Take what you need but leave some for your neighbor.
Thank you, Alabamians, for your support of Alabama Grocery Workers!

3. Trump stops payments to World Health Organization

  • President Donald Trump said he was cutting off U.S. payments to the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the organization of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
  • Trump, who had telegraphed his intentions last week, claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and that lives could have been saved had the U.N. health agency done a better job investigating the early reports coming out of China.
  • “The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a Tuesday briefing. He said the U.S. would be reviewing the WHO’s actions to stop the virus before making any decision on resuming aid.
  • The United States contributed nearly $900 million to the WHO’s budget for 2018-19, according to information on the agency’s website. That represents one-fifth of its total $4.4 billion budget for those years.
  • Read more about that HERE.
  • Meanwhile, a new report shows that the Chinese government waited six days to warn the public about the new coronavirus threat at a critical time – in mid January at the beginning of the outbreak.
  • In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, the city of Wuhan at the epicenter of the disease hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people and millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.
  • President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, Jan. 20. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence.
  • The full investigative story is worth a read HERE.



4. Dems attempt to coalesce around Biden

  • Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday, giving the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a boost from the party’s biggest fundraiser and one of its most popular figures.
  • “Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said in a 12-minute video in which he argued the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the need for better leadership.
  • The endorsement marked Obama’s return to presidential politics more than three years after leaving the White House. He didn’t mention his successor, President Donald Trump, by name and instead sought to bridge the ideological divide among Democrats.
  • Obama commended Bernie Sanders, who was the leading progressive foil to Biden during the Democratic primary. The Vermont senator ended his campaign last week and threw his support behind Biden on Monday.
  • The endorsements come as Democrats attempt to coalesce around a nominee after a primary battle that saw sharp ideological divisions and left many on the far left unsatisfied that Biden can motivate young progressives to vote on election day.
  • Some hold outs remain, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who could announce her support soon.
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, like Sanders, is a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, has also not endorsed Biden and actually fanned the flames of the sexual assault claims against the former vice president by saying the claims are “legitimate to talk about.”
  • Full story from Alexandria Jaffe, Julie Pace and Bill Barrow HERE.



5. Officer charged with murder after ‘love triangle gone wrong’

  • A Birmingham police detective fatally shot a woman as part of a “love triangle” dispute with a colleague, authorities said.
  • Detective Alfreda Fluker, 39, was charged Tuesday with capital murder in the Friday killing of Kanisha Nicole Fuller, news outlets reported. Fluker was also charged with the attempted murder of Detective Mario Theodore White, her coworker on the Birmingham Police Department’s Crime Reduction Team.
  • Officers responding to a reported shooting at a Birmingham park found Fuller, 43, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was hospitalized and later pronounced dead.
  • Full story HERE.





Teacher Resources

from A+ Education Partnership

Alabama students are learning from home for the rest of the school year. We know t eachers are being inundated with remote learning resources. So we’ve filtered them to provide just the resources teachers need right now. We hope you’ll share these resources with educators you know. Access them here.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama makes progress slowing virus’ spread, still too soon to reopen economy, Ivey says


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – No hugs or handshakes: Pandemic complicates storm relief


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Trump ends US aid to WHO, says not enough done to stop virus


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – China didn’t warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Obama endorses Biden as the best leader for ‘darkest times’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Officer charged with murder after ‘love triangle gone wrong’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cities, counties fear losing out on US virus rescue funding


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Parole Hearings to resume May 18


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blue Cross continues waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn professor to start COVID-19 vaccine testing


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – April 14, 2020


AL.COM  – Tuscaloosa mayor to announce plan to reopen city


AL.COM  – Hyundai providing 100K COVID-19 test kits in Montgomery


AL.COM  – Alabama airports get $54 million in coronavirus grants


AL.COM  – Alabama small businesses get $3.8 billion in loans so far


AL.COM  – Coronavirus projections ‘better than we thought,’ Alabama health official says


AL.COM  – UAB doctor who got coronavirus ‘unhappy’ he tried unproven treatment


AL.COM  – Mobile leads Alabama in citations for breaking virus curfew


AL.COM  – Mobile sees surge, added the most coronavirus cases in Alabama last week


AL.COM  – After Topgolf shanked on minority- and women-owned participation in construction, Birmingham terminated tax incentives


Montgomery Advertiser – MPS set to roll out six school WiFi buses on Wednesday


Montgomery Advertiser – Gov. Kay Ivey: Stay-at-home order appears to be working to stop coronavirus


Montgomery Advertiser – Body found near Regency Park Community Center


YellowHammer News – Nearly $4 billion in economic stimulus funds approved for Alabama small businesses


YellowHammer News – Univ. of Alabama System working to provide America’s safest campuses following COVID-19 outbreak


YellowHammer News – Ainsworth targets May 1 for return of most businesses


Tuscaloosa News – Elevate projects likely on hold amid coronavirus issues


Tuscaloosa News – One hospitalized after apartment fire


Tuscaloosa News – Police: Robbers stole jewelry, bound residents in break-in


Decatur Daily – Leaders contemplate end to stay-at-home order


Decatur Daily – Morgan County Health Department to serve as COVID-19 testing site


Decatur Daily – Athens Utilities extends to May 4 suspension of non-payment disconnections


Times Daily – Landers: We must not reopen too quickly


Times Daily – Governor: We must not let guard down on virus precautions


Times Daily – Colbert County drive-thru COVID testing is in week 3


Anniston Star – Auburn professor to start COVID-19 vaccine testing


Anniston Star – More than 3,900 COVID-19 cases in Alabama; 114 have died


Anniston Star – Stay-home order may be bending curve, officials say


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama makes progress slowing virus’ spread, still too soon to reopen economy, Ivey says


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Community bands together to help Carbon Hill tornado victims


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: 73 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 3,900 test positive


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama continues to waive costs for those who need COVID-19 treatment


WAFF Huntsville – Military sees no quick exit from ‘new world’ of coronavirus


WAFF Huntsville – Gov. Ivey working to help small businesses


WAFF Huntsville – Fla. man accused of murder a day after he was released from jail due to COVID-19 concerns


Dothan Eagle – Gov: Alabama must not let guard down on virus precautions


Dothan Eagle – Personal protective supplies sought for local nursing homes


Dothan Eagle – Portion of South Park to be closed Wednesday


Gadsden Times – National Weather Service says EF-2 twister hit Reece City


Gadsden Times – County coroners await information in COVID-19 crisis


Gadsden Times – City receives coronavirus grant for police


Troy Messenger – Called to serve: Local nurses volunteering in NYC


Troy Messenger – Pike County reports 21 confirmed cases


Troy Messenger – County spared brunt of deadly Easter storms


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Local deaths rise; nearly 60 hospitalized at EAMC with confirmed or suspected coronavirus; Southern Union moves online for summer semester


Opelika-Auburn News – IRS to roll out tool by April 17 to help users track stimulus payments online


Opelika-Auburn News – OLLI providing medical masks


Daily Mountain Eagle – Gov: Alabama must not let guard down on virus precautions


Daily Mountain Eagle – Emberg commended for coordinating WCSO response to storm


Daily Mountain Eagle – District 4 road washed out


Trussville Tribune – Alabama Retail Association wants to hear from non-essential businesses


Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County experiences rise in domestic violence cases during shelter-in-place order


Trussville Tribune – IMF: Global economy will suffer worst year since Depression


Athens News Courier – Athens Utilities extends suspension of disconnects for nonpayment until May 4


Athens News Courier – USDA unveils tool to help rural communities with COVID-19


Athens News Courier – E-learning, distance learning kick off in Athens


Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz chamber starts disaster relief fund


Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz mayor thankful for surrounding communities’ support after storm


Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall County Health Department expands COVID-19 testing


WSFA Montgomery – NWS damage surveys find tornadoes hit several counties on Easter Sunday


WSFA Montgomery – Man charged after explicit images found on child’s cell phone


WSFA Montgomery – Pandemic impacts human connection at Elmore County Food Pantry


WKRG Mobile – Eviction process begins for Orange Beach restaurant closed due to COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Poarch Creek Indians produce lifesaving COVID-19 supplies


WKRG Mobile – State of Alabama given ownership of last US slave ship


WTVY Dothan – Apr. 14th: 73 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 3,800 test positive


WTVY Dothan – 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths at Ala. veterans homes


WTVY Dothan – ‘Health predictions look better than they did a month ago’: Ivey and Harris give update on COVID-19


WASHINGTON POST  – In unprecedented move, Treasury orders Trump’s name printed on stimulus checks


WASHINGTON POST  – CDC, FEMA have created a plan to reopen America. Here’s what it says.


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump announces cutoff of new funding for the World Health Organization over pandemic response


WASHINGTON POST  – Biden’s endorsement rollout has one goal: To show him as the leader of a newly unified party


NEW YORK TIMES  – Jonathan Martin: Hello, What’s This? The Democrats Aren’t in Disarray


NEW YORK TIMES  – Criticized for Pandemic Response, Trump Tries Shifting Blame to the W.H.O.


NEW YORK TIMES  – After Coronavirus, Colleges Worry: Will Students Come Back?



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