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Daily News Digest – April 30, 2020

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Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, April 30.



1. Democratic leader argues waiting on passing state budgets

  • Alabama House Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, believes it is unwise for the Legislature to pass the state budgets in the coming weeks without more information about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect state revenues in fiscal year 2021.
  • “We want a budget that works and a budget process that’s considerate, deliberate and open,” Daniels said during an online press conference Wednesday. “Moving forward when there are more questions than answers isn’t just unnecessary and illogical, it’s fiscally irresponsible and it’s just bad public policy.”
  • Daniels suggested that the Legislature wait until at least July before considering budgets because state income tax information is expected to be ready by July 15.
  • The House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene on Monday with the sole purpose of passing non-controversial local legislation and the state’s two budgets, the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund.
  • The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee voted 13-1 on Tuesday to send its budget proposal to the full Senate next week.
  • Committee Chairman Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, told reporters on Tuesday that the Legislature has enough data at this time to pass an informed General Fund budget and should get to work on passing it now rather than waiting.
  • “You can gather data for a long time. This way we have a budget established, we know where we’re going and we can always come back and adjust when and if we need to,” Albritton said.
  • The proposed 2021 General Fund budget is around $2.38 billion, an increase from the current fiscal year funding but less than what was expected before the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


2. Study finds drug works against coronavirus

  • For the first time, a major study suggests that an experimental drug works against the new coronavirus, and U.S. government officials said Wednesday that they would work to make it available to appropriate patients as quickly as possible.
  • In a study of 1,063 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care, officials said. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far.
  • “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
  • “This will be the standard of care,” and any other potential treatments will now have to be tested against or in combination with remdesivir, he said.
  • No drugs are approved now for treating the coronavirus, which has killed about 226,000 people worldwide since it emerged late last year in China. An effective treatment for COVID-19 could have a profound effect on the pandemic’s impact, especially because a vaccine is likely to be a year or more away.
  • Full story HERE.






A message from


  • AlabamaWorks! is here as a resource for the people and businesses in our state during this difficult time.
  • Important workforce resources, tools and updates regarding COVID-19 can be found all in one place on our website.
  • Visit for more information on small businesses, unemployment information, state agency updates as well as information for those recently unemployed on how to establish a career pathway or reskill.







3. Calls, tips come in after reward increases for info on teen’s death

  • A month after Maryuri Aleman Cantillano disappeared and two weeks after the Montgomery teen was found stabbed to death, her former employers have increased reward money in hopes of finding who killed her.
  • “Whoever did this has to pay,” James Brown, a former employer of Cantillano, said Wednesday. “There has to be justice for Maryuri. You feel anger because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. It’s unfortunate it takes money to get answers from people sometimes. At this point, we’re desperate. We just want answers.”
  • Cantillano, 17, was last seen March 31. Nearly two weeks later, her body was found in a tree line a couple of streets away from where she lived. Cantillano was listed as a runaway by police until she was found stabbed. Her family had insisted she was not a runaway and was in danger.
  • Director of Central Alabama CrimeStoppers Tony Garrett said calls and viable tips have come in since this week’s announcement that reward money increased from $7,500 to $10,000. CrimeStoppers sends police tips that include specific details like dates, times, locations and names.
  • Brown said the police investigation into Cantillano’s disappearance was poorly handled, but didn’t place all the blame on the Montgomery Police Department. He said MPD had limited resources due to the coronavirus pandemic. Miscommunications and division between family and friends also hurt the search for Cantillano, Brown said.
  • Read the full story from Sara MacNeil for Alabama Daily News HERE.


4. Marsh wants relief money for broadband push

Senator Del Marsh presents a resolution, in a nearly empty Senate Chamber with barely a quorum present, allowing an adjournment until April 28, in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday March 31, 2020. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
  • Congress last month approved $150 billion to help states and local governments deal with increased expenses and revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
  • As Alabama Daily News reported yesterday, the state has already received $1.7 billion, which amounts to most of the state’s share of the funding.
  • That’s a lot of money, and state lawmakers have been talking about how they might want to spend it.
  • One idea percolating, including from the Senate’s top brass, is to use part of it to expand access to broadband internet in rural parts of the state.
  • As ADN reported a few weeks ago, the coronavirus outbreak has laid bare the wide gaps in internet access and might hasten efforts to close them. A shift to learning, working and accessing health care from home has been a lot easier for those with access to high-speed internet.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said this that he hoped to put $800 million from an estimated $1.7 billion in federal relief dollars for broadband access.
  • “Now is the time to take some of that, a big enough section of that money, (for) high-speed broadband across this state, in every corner of this state,” Marsh said. “Had this been in place, our kids would still be in school. Telemedicine would exist for all citizens of this state.”
  • You could probably get a majority of lawmakers in Montgomery to approve the use of such funds. Here’s the catch: under the CARES Act legislation, relief dollars (1) must be spent on “necessary expenses incurred” due to the outbreak, (2) cannot be used to replace existing revenue, and (3) must be used for expenses between March 1 and December 30.
  • Is connecting the state broadband internet a necessary expense resulting from the coronavirus? You could argue that, and some lawmakers are. Sen. Arthur Orr, who chairs the Senate education budget committee, said this week that he views it as a related and necessary expense.
  • “If your kids are sitting at home because of a relapse or new spike in the virus with new shelter-in-place orders coming down, let’s say in October or November, I would say it is a good expenditure because these kids have to get educated.”
  • Here’s another catch: if the state doesn’t spend the money, or spends it on unrelated expenses, it must be paid back to the federal government.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said it will seek guidance on the issue.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



5. Economists: No quick rebound from recession likely

  • Devastated by the coronavirus, the U.S. economy is sinking. And the plunge is accelerating.
  • Now, as some businesses in a few states start to trickle back to work, hopes are beginning to arise that the economy, damaged as it is, might be poised to rebound by the second half of the year. If more employees and consumers were to gradually return to working and spending, the idea goes, the economy might be able to mount a sharp comeback.
  • Yet most economists have the same response: Keep such expectations in check.
  • Among their concerns is that the coronavirus could flare up again after the economy is re-opened, forcing reopened businesses to shut down again. Another is that people — employees and consumers alike — will remain too wary of contracting the coronavirus to return to anything resembling normal economic behavior. If that were the case, no meaningful economic recovery would likely take hold.
  • “The virus has done a lot of damage to the economy, and there is just so much uncertainty now,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
  • The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the January-March quarter, the government estimated Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and began triggering a recession that will end the longest expansion on record.
  • Full story HERE.



News Briefs

Alabama student names NASA’s first Mars helicopter

  • NORTHPORT, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama high school student named NASA’s first Mars helicopter that will be deployed to the Red Planet later this summer.
  • Ingenuity, the name submitted by Vaneeza Rupani, was selected for the 4 pound (1.8 kilograms) solar-powered helicopter, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday. The name coined by the junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport was just one of 28,000 names submitted in NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest for K-12 students across the United States.
  • “The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration,” Rupani wrote in her essay. “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.”
  • In March, the space agency selected the name Perseverance for the Mars Rover based on a Virginian student’s essay, but decided to come back to the submitted essays to also pick a name for the helicopter that will accompany the Rover.
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Ingenuity “encapsulates the values that our helicopter tech demo will showcase.” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby also congratulated Rupani for the honor.
  • “It was really cool I got to be a part of something like this,” she told the AP.
  • Full story HERE.

Inmates sue prison guards after being beaten while cuffed

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two Alabama inmates who reported being beaten while handcuffed by a prison guard have sued him and other prison employees, saying they conspired to conceal the assault and violated their rights.
  • In February 2019, Cortney Rolley and Christopher Hampton were beaten by Elmore Correctional Facility Sgt. Ulysses Oliver Jr., who faces up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in a criminal case to assaulting the pair, AL.Com reported.
  • Rolley and Hampton filed a seperate civil lawsuit this month against Oliver and other prison employees stating they violated the men’s constitutional rights and conspired to conceal the violations, according to the media outlet.
  • Rolley lost consciousness, defecated on himself and was later hospitalized with a concussion, the lawsuit said. Hampton suffered a broken wrist, and multiple contusions, the suit added.
  • The lawsuit said several employees watched the assault and did nothing. It said the men were later threatened if they told anyone about the beatings.
  • The men remain imprisoned and each has tentative parole consideration dates in October.
  • Rolley is serving a 30-year sentence for the abduction of two women in 2001, and Hampton was sentenced to 33 years in 2000 for assault and violating sex offender registration requirements, according to authorities.
  • Department of Corrections spokeswoman Samantha Rose declined to comment on the pending litigation.
  • Full story HERE.

Alabama man gets attempted murder charge in child’s shooting

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man accused of involvement in a shooting that seriously wounded a 1-year-old girl was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, authorities said.
  • Larry Jackson Jr., 20, was booked into the Jefferson County Jail on the charge and a count of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, according to Birmingham police.
  • The victim, Liberty Hall, remained hospitalized and in intensive care Tuesday after being struck by a bullet in the backseat of a car Sunday evening, news outlets reported. The girl’s mother told she was running an errand with Liberty in the car when gunfire erupted.
  • The investigation remains ongoing and detectives are searching for other suspects that may have been involved, news outlets quoted Sgt. Rod Mauldin as saying.
  • It was unclear whether Jackson had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democratic leader argues waiting on passing state budgets


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate leaders seek COVID-19 money for broadband


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Study finds drug works against coronavirus


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Calls, tips come in after reward increases to $10,000 for info on teen’s death


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Economists: No quick rebound from recession likely


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama student names NASA’s first Mars helicopter


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Inmates sue prison guards after being beaten while cuffed


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Ivey issues new ‘safer at home’ order, retail businesses, beaches to open


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate committee OKs $2.38B General Fund budget


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Cities gauging coronavirus revenue loss


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – The US reopening is coming, but ‘normal’ is still a ways off


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – April 29, 2020


AL.COM  – Around 100 commercial jets parked at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport due to COVID-19 pandemic


AL.COM  – University of Alabama system suffers millions in losses, considering pay cuts and furloughs


AL.COM  – Contributor Wayne Flynt: An Alabama Epiphany


AL.COM  – University of Alabama system planning to reopen for fall: ‘We fully expect to have on-campus instruction’


AL.COM  – Alabama House minority leader says too many uncertainties to pass state budgets


AL.COM  – 42% of Alabama’s new coronavirus cases come from 1 county


AL.COM  – Alabama okays drive-in graduation ceremonies and other socially distanced options


AL.COM  – Alabama barbers angry after new coronavirus order leaves them closed: ‘This is an atrocity’


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama House Democratic Leader says budget vote should wait for summer


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery police searching for suspects in months-long business burglary spree


Montgomery Advertiser – As COVID-19 closes courts, Alabama prosecutors face collapse in revenues


YellowHammer News – Auburn-developed microscope technology finds use on COVID-19 battlefront


YellowHammer News – Former state senator, Ivey advisor Bryan Taylor rejoins Bachus, Brom, & Taylor


YellowHammer News – Huntsville Hospital, HudsonAlpha team up to study patients in the hopes of developing COVID-19 treatment


Tuscaloosa News – Teen charged in week’s second shooting at West Tuscaloosa store


Tuscaloosa News – Police respond to second shooting at Winston’s this week


Tuscaloosa News – Federally protected sea turtles begin nesting in Georgia


Decatur Daily – Good deeds: Agencies spurred by generosity during pandemic


Decatur Daily – Chosen DYS director took $9,000 less to stay at Athens State


Decatur Daily – New health order brings ‘utter disappointment’ for hair stylist


Times Daily – Sheffield’s newest canine officer worked in Iraq


Times Daily – Pettus hopes open office will reduce drive-in line


Times Daily – 2 killed in 1-car wreck


Anniston Star – Democratic leader argues for pausing Alabama’s budget process


Anniston Star – Shooting at Anniston family latest of several over years


Anniston Star – Senate committee OKs $2.38B General Fund budget


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Democratic leader argues waiting on passing state budgets


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Oncologists concerned about people putting off important screenings during COVID-19


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State health officials discuss future of summer camps amid COVID-19 pandemic


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama COVID-19 cases rise to 6,904; ADPH verifies 255 deaths


WAFF Huntsville – As PPP delays persist, Arts Huntsville credits local bank in securing funding


WAFF Huntsville – Tuscumbia business owner ready to reopen Friday, easing back into business


Gadsden Times – Reopening plans vary among local retailers


Gadsden Times – COVID-19 orders scuttle Patriot Association plans


Gadsden Times – Etowah courthouse to reopen Monday


Dothan Eagle – Mobile County surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 cases


Dothan Eagle – Dothan Airport awarded $1.4 million FAA grant


Dothan Eagle – Alabama Department of Corrections confirms additional COVID-19 case


Troy Messenger – Antibody testing offers answers for some


Troy Messenger – COOKING CURE: ‘Depression Cake’ offers a sweet diversion


Troy Messenger – County to provide help with residential debris removal


Opelika-Auburn News – Locals see hope from Ivey’s reworked order


Opelika-Auburn News – Knee High Foundation reaching out to local students


Opelika-Auburn News – Merchants: Keep Auburn Rolling by buying a T-shirt


Daily Mountain Eagle – County BOE offers new district app


Daily Mountain Eagle – Capstone giving tests, looking for supplies with COVID


Daily Mountain Eagle – COVID-19 spread slows down in county


Trussville Tribune – Drug bust in Center Point nets four people, 2 1/2 lbs. of meth, among other drugs


Trussville Tribune – Trussville police arrest man following robbery on Norrell Drive


Trussville Tribune – Man found shot within car on Highway 79 at Commerce Circle in Tarrant


Athens News Courier – LCCI sees rise in volunteers, need; new hours announced


Athens News Courier – Republican Senate leader seeks COVID-19 money for broadband


Athens News Courier – UPDATED: LCSO investigating possible child stabbing


Sand Mountain Reporter – Police pursuit of stolen vehicle ends in fatality | Alias used to confirm driver’s identity


Sand Mountain Reporter – Alabama counties may apply for COVID-19 related election expense reimbursement


Sand Mountain Reporter – Albertville Kindergarten & Pre-K Custodian Crowned 2020 Cintas Custodian of the Year


WSFA Montgomery – Bond reinstated for teen charged in crash that killed Rod, Paula Bramblett


WSFA Montgomery – Valley woman dies following single-vehicle crash on U.S. Hwy. 280


WSFA Montgomery – Retail businesses prepare to reopen Thursday


WKRG Mobile – COVID-19 question of the day: ‘Is it safe to use a public pool right now?’


WKRG Mobile – Mobile Airport Authority will receive $8.8 million to rehabilitate a runway at downtown airport


WKRG Mobile – 10 testing sites for COVID-19 in Mobile County


WTVY Dothan – Sen Jones reacts to Ivey’s Safer at Home order


WTVY Dothan – New flight plans for Dothan Regional Airport


WTVY Dothan – John Krasinski to host virtual graduation


WASHINGTON POST  – U.S. passes 60,000 dead as hopes rise for a promising drug therapy


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump presented with grim internal polling showing him losing to Biden


WASHINGTON POST  – Mass layoffs begin in cities and states amid coronavirus fallout, threatening education, sanitation, health and safety


WASHINGTON POST  – Supreme Court arguments resume next week, with all the grandeur of working from home


NEW YORK TIMES  – U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is Far Higher Than Reported, C.D.C. Data Suggests


NEW YORK TIMES  – Worst Economy in a Decade. What’s Next? ‘Worst in Our Lifetime.’


NEW YORK TIMES  – Fed Suggests Tough Road Ahead as It Pledges to Help Insulate Economy


NEW YORK TIMES  – The Bad News Won’t Stop, but Markets Keep Rising



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