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Daily News Digest – April 21, 2020

Presented by

The Boeing Company

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, April 21.

1. State cases top 5,000, decisions to come

  • Alabama on Monday topped 5,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as the state weighs a decision on whether to extend closure orders past April 30.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health said Monday that the state had 5,088 known cases of COVID-19. There had been 113 confirmed deaths and the state was investigating an additional 51 deaths in COVID-19 patients.
  • The state’s current stay home order, which has closed many nonessential businesses, lasts through April 30.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said the governor and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris will be reviewing and announcing a plan on or before April 28. Ivey is set to receive input from the state’s congressional delegation this week.
  • Fifth District Congressman Mo Brooks announced his input publicly last night, calling on the governor to end public health orders that have closed businesses statewide.
  • Brooks’ announcement comes as pressure begins to percolate to reopen parts of the economy, particularly from conservatives. Some Tea Party groups have organized protests throughout the state this week.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said yesterday that restaurants, gyms, hair salons and many other businesses could begin reopening Friday.
  • Alabama was expected to see its peak in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths this week, and Dr. Harris said the state is closely monitoring new transmissions in certain parts of the state and trying to obtain more testing resources.
  • Ivey has a news conference later this morning, so we’ll see what she says.

2. Some PPP loans go to bigger businesses

  • Companies with thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and risks of financial failure even before the coronavirus walloped the economy were among those receiving millions of dollars from a relief fund that Congress created to help small businesses through the crisis.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to infuse small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit, with $349 billion in emergency loans that could help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time.
  • But at least 75 companies that received the aid were publicly traded, an AP investigation found, and some had market values well over $100 million.
  • The analysis comes as lawmakers from both political parties negotiate an additional relief package that in large part would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program with more than $300 billion, but there are disagreements about terms for the new funding measure.
  • Read more HERE.






A message from

The Boeing Company

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  • As the GMD prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.
  • Boeing is currently enhancing the program by building more silos for 20 additional missiles to sustain the system.
  • Recognizing the importance of this mission, Boeing’s GMD team — managed out of Huntsville — continues to work tirelessly to meet this milestone under a presidential directive to detect, intercept and destroy a target aimed at our homeland.
  • Boeing stands ready to use its expertise to keep the GMD system modernized and help protect the nation 24/7.



3. Scammers seize on coronavirus fears

  • While staying home and away from the coronavirus, Alabamians also need to avoid scammers. New forms of scams are targeting people’s insecurities about the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement warned recently.
  • “Unfortunately, criminals have never seen a crisis that they couldn’t find a way to exploit,” U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin said in a written statement.
  • Scammers are targeting vulnerable people, Franklin said, and the best thing to do is to verify information before making final decisions on anything regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Alabama Department of Senior Services this week warned older Alabamians to be especially cautious.
  • “This is the ideal time for a scammer to prey on fear of our seniors,” Commissioner Jean Brown said in a written statement. “Stay alert and do not respond to a text, email or phone call from a sender that is unfamiliar, even if it looks official or appears to be from a respected agency or company.”
  • A Better Business Bureau report said seniors are receiving text messages from scammers posing as the U.S. Department of Health, about taking a mandatory online COVID-19 test in order to receive the recently approved stimulus payment. Others are receiving emails stating they qualify for a payment and to click on a link to claim a check.
  • “Remember to protect your Medicare number and only provide it to your doctor and Medicare providers.” Brown said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Devin Pavlou HERE.



4. AG Marshall: hundreds report price gouging

  • More than 600 individual complaints of price gouging were reported to the Alabama Attorney General between mid-March and late last week.
  • A spokesman for the attorney general said the complaints from consumers followed the declaration of  a state health emergency related to the coronavirus.
  • Information about what actions have been taken to investigate or stop the alleged gouging wasn’t available, but Attorney General Steve Marshall last month said, “those who seek to profit during this time of emergency through price gouging will be subject to the law.”
  • The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and those determined to have willfully and continuously violated this law may be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.
  • Read more about that HERE.
  • Meanwhile, in a news conference yesterday, Marshall and district attorneys from around the state said that crime victims’ voices will continue to be heard during the pandemic.
  • This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and normally there is a vigil held on the grounds outside the AG’s office. This year that vigil will be held virtually, but Marshall said prosecutors are still committed to seeking justice on behalf of victims.
  • “Our job is to respond with professionalism, with hope and with compassion because when we’re successful, justice is obtained, rights are protected and hope is inspired for those who desperately need it,” Marshall said.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



5. Talks drag on $450B virus aid for small business, hospitals

  • Late-stage negotiations in Washington on a new $450 billion coronavirus aid package dragged past Monday’s hoped-for deadline, but the Trump administration and key lawmakers insisted a final pact is within reach.
  • President Donald Trump said he expects a Senate vote “hopefully” on Tuesday.
  • As talks continued, the contours of the deal appear largely set. Most of the funding, some $300 billion, would go to boost a small-business payroll loan program that’s out of money. Additional help would be given to hospitals, and billions more would be spent to boost testing for the virus, a key step in building the confidence required to reopen state economies.
  • The emerging draft measure — originally designed by Republicans as a $250 billion stopgap to replenish the payroll subsidies for smaller businesses — has grown into the second largest of the four coronavirus response bills so far. Democratic demands have caused the measure to balloon, though they likely will be denied the money they want to help struggling state and local governments.
  • The Senate met for a brief pro forma session Monday afternoon that could have provided a window to act on the upcoming measure under fast-track procedures requiring unanimous consent to advance legislation, but it wasn’t ready in time.
  • Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set up another Senate session for today in the hope that an agreement will be finished by then.
  • “It’s now been four days since the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money. Republicans have been trying to secure more funding for this critical program for a week and a half now,” McConnell said. “Our Democratic colleagues are still prolonging their discussions with the administration, so the Senate regretfully will not be able to pass more funding for Americans’ paychecks today.”
  • Full story from Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro HERE.


News Briefs

Storm death toll climbs to 3

  • HEADLAND, Ala. (AP) — Suspected tornadoes killed at least two people as severe weather blasted the Deep South, and a house fire believed started by lightning claimed a third person, officials said Monday.
  • Jerry Oliver Williams, 61, died late Sunday night when winds flipped the home Williams shared with his wife and child in a rural Alabama county, authorities said. The area was under a tornado warning at the time.
  • “He was in a mobile home, and the mobile home was destroyed by a tornado. He was in the wreckage of the mobile home. His wife and child were with him, and they were OK,” said Coroner Derek Wright of Alabama’s Henry County.
  • Full story HERE.

Records: Man charged in Aniah Blanchard’s death bit officer

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man accused of kidnapping and killing the stepdaughter of a UFC fighter has also been charged with biting a correctional officer while in jail, authorities said.
  • Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, was charged with second-degree assault in connection with a March 23 incident at the Lee County Detention Center, news outlets reported Monday.
  • Court records said three officers were taking Yazeed back to his cell when Yazeed became hostile and refused to enter.
  • One of the officers attempted to use a stun gun on Yazeed but he continued to be combative, swinging and kicking at the officers, records said.
  • Two more officers came to help and Yazeed bit one of them in the leg, records said.
  • Yazeed was previously charged with capital murder in the death of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard.
  • Blanchard was last seen on Oct. 23 and her remains were found Nov. 25. in Macon County. She was the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris and a student at Southern Union College.
  • Yazeed was out on bond for kidnapping and attempted murder charges at the time of Blanchard’s death. He had been given the maximum bond on the state’s bail schedule, news outlets reported.
  • In February, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill, named after Blanchard, that would allow judges to deny bond to people accused of committing violent crimes.
  • It’s unclear whether Yazeed had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
  • Story link.

Police: Suspect in 4 Alabama killings arrested after manhunt

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A man suspected of killing as many as four people across Alabama and robbing several others was arrested after an hourslong search by police, authorities said.
  • Derrick Hightower, 32, of Columbus, Georgia, had been shot in the arm before being taken into custody Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, news outlets reported. Police said they believe he was wounded during an exchange of gunfire with officers.
  • Authorities said they suspect Hightower of one slaying in Birmingham, two in Dadeville and a fourth in Auburn.
  • Hightower thus far has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Nancy Nash, 54, who was found slain Friday near a burned pickup truck in Auburn. Kentrice Hill, 21, also was charged with capital murder in Nash’s death on Friday morning. She’s being held in the Lee County jail without bail.
  • Hours after Nash was found dead, Hightower was named as a suspect in shooting deaths of a couple found Friday evening at a home in Dadeville, about 25 miles northwest of Auburn. Willie Tidwell, 61, and his wife Barbara Tidwell, 65, were found dead in the home after a possible robbery, Dadeville Police Chief Johnathan Floyd said.
  • Full story HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Talks drag on $450B virus aid for small business, hospitals


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Georgia to reopen some businesses as early as Friday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Publicly traded firms get $300M in small-business loans


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AG: Hundreds report coronavirus-related price gouging


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AG Marshall: Crime victims will still be heard during pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Scammers look to cash in on COVID-19 pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Storm death toll climbs to 3


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Records: Man charged in Aniah Blanchard’s death bit officer


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Police: Suspect in 4 Alabama killings arrested after manhunt


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Then and now: Coast is different 10 years after spill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Coronavirus pushes telemedicine efforts, access in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Stacy column: In 10 years since oil spill, lessons for coronavirus response


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – April 20, 2020


AL.COM  – 4,946 coronavirus cases in Alabama: Latest county-by-county numbers


AL.COM  – Reopen Alabama rally draws small crowd in Huntsville


AL.COM  – Ivey urges Congress to replenish tapped out business loan program


AL.COM  – Business owners tell Alabama Congressman they are ready to reopen


AL.COM  – Alabama’s coronavirus peak: ‘Clearly the state can’t stay shut down’, ADPH’s Dr. Scott Harris says


AL.COM  – Airbus teams with USA to produce protective face masks


AL.COM  – Columnist John Hammontree: Peggy Wallace Kennedy: On choosing a different legacy from George Wallace


AL.COM  – Lasting damage of Deepwater Horizon explosion a mystery 10 years later


Montgomery Advertiser – Coronavirus in Alabama: ADPH confirms over 5,000 cases five weeks after first positive test


Montgomery Advertiser – Ibraheem Yazeed, charged in Aniah Blanchard case, accused of biting corrections officer


Montgomery Advertiser – When will a second wave of the coronavirus hit, and what will it look like?


YellowHammer News – YellaWood feeds over 2,000 employees across two Wiregrass hospitals


YellowHammer News – Auburn apparel professor helping area health care workers with sewing project


YellowHammer News – Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato urges Ivey to ‘act as quickly as possible’ on reopening economy


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama passes 5,000 cases of coronavirus


Tuscaloosa News – Police: Suspect in 4 Alabama killings arrested after manhunt


Tuscaloosa News – Medal of Honor winner dies from COVID-19


Decatur Daily – Decatur council rejects hiring freeze


Decatur Daily – Limestone aims for $2M in road projects


Decatur Daily – Man arrested, woman identified as second suspect in robbery on US 31 South


Times Daily – Holden named superintendent of Muscle Shoals school system


Times Daily – Cox Boulevard project: 3 parcels must be condemned


Times Daily – Telemedicine has grown by leaps since March


Anniston Star – More than 5,000 in Alabama positive for COVID-19, 100-plus have died and more than 600 are hospitalized


Anniston Star – Coronavirus pushes telemedicine efforts, access in Alabama



Anniston Star – Anniston council to consider changes to coronavirus leave policy


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Jefferson County cases trending downward, Mobile County on track to lead state in COVID-19 cases


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – In 10 years since oil spill, lessons for coronavirus response


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Coronavirus pushes telemedicine efforts, access in Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama surpasses 5K COVID-19 cases; ADPH verifies 113 deaths


WAFF Huntsville – Business owners prepare for lt. governor’s plan to reopen local shops


WAFF Huntsville – North Alabama Red Cross director battling stage 4 lung cancer and self-quarantining


Dothan Eagle – Through the lens: Dothan photographer shows how life has changed for quarantined families


Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 cases reach 109 in Dothan’s hospitals


Dothan Eagle – UPDATE: Multiple Wiregrass counties report storm damage; 1 fatality


Gadsden Times – Albertville cancels council meeting


Gadsden Times – Attalla approves hazard pay for police and firefighters


Gadsden Times – Alabama tops 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases

Troy Messenger – State cases top 5,000; Pike County hits 41


Troy Messenger – ‘Brundidge was truly blessed’ to escape severe damage


Troy Messenger – Widespread damage, power outages reported


Andalusia Star News – Covington EC continues working to restore power following a severe weather outbreak overnight


Opelika-Auburn News – Lee announces grant program to provide marketing assistance to local businesses impacted by COVID-19


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika council hires contractor for Covington Rec


Opelika-Auburn News – Suspect charged in Friday homicides


Daily Mountain Eagle – Trump says governors play ‘political game’ with virus tests


Daily Mountain Eagle – Drive-up COVID-19 testing available in Jasper Thursday


Trussville Tribune – St. Clair County Health Department to set up drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Pell City High School


Trussville Tribune – Alabama confirmed coronavirus cases top 5,000 with 113 deaths, 641 hospitalizations


Trussville Tribune – ADOL has distributed more than $160 million in unemployment benefits since March; agency adding new call center to alleviate volume


Athens News Courier – 2 killed by suspected tornado as storms rake South


Athens News Courier – Attorneys seek dismissal in Patterson case


Athens News Courier – Alabama tops 5,000 cases as closure order nears deadline


Sand Mountain Reporter – TVA establishes $2 million COVID-19 Community Care Fund


Sand Mountain Reporter – Spices wins national excellence award


Sand Mountain Reporter – Market volatility builds buyer interest in rural land


WSFA Montgomery – Beauty and Beyond, That’s My Child donate thousands of masks to first responders


WSFA Montgomery – Investigators believe lightning strike caused music building fire at the University of Alabama


WSFA Montgomery – Governor Ivey: 28,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans issued in Alabama


WKRG Mobile – Governor Kay Ivey pushes for ‘Paycheck Protection Program’


WKRG Mobile – Pensacola mayor says city prepping for possible May 1 reopening


WKRG Mobile – Sheriff: More kids becoming targets of local predators online during pandemic


WTVY Dothan – Weather claims the life of Henry County resident


WTVY Dothan – Huntsville mom tests positive for COVID-19 twice


WTVY Dothan – Storm blows roof off and onto neighbors house


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump says he will issue order to suspend immigration during coronavirus crisis, closing off the United States to a new extreme


WASHINGTON POST  – White House, GOP face heat after hotel and restaurant chains helped run small business program dry


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready


NEW YORK TIMES  – Pandemic’s Costs Stagger the Nursing Home Industry


NEW YORK TIMES  – Doctors and Governors Vie for Masks in Cloak-and-Dagger Deals


NEW YORK TIMES  – What the Negative Price of Oil Is Telling Us: We’re in a deflationary moment that surpasses anything seen in most people’s lifetimes

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