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Daily News Digest – August 27, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, August 27.


1. Monster hurricane lands

  • Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a ferocious Category 4 monster early today, swamping a low-lying coast with ocean water that forecasters said could be 20 feet deep and unsurvivable.
  • The National Hurricane Center said the storm, which intensified rapidly Wednesday before plowing into land, came ashore at 1 a.m. CDT near Cameron, a 400-person community about 30 miles east of the Texas border.
  • “Potentially catastrophic impacts will continue,” forecasters said.
  • Winds gusted above hurricane force to 128 mph while Laura’s northern eyewall moved onshore over Cameron Parish. Forecasters said even stronger winds were possible that could rip apart buildings, level trees and toss vehicles like toys.
  • Authorities had implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before howling winds began buffeting trees back and forth in an area that was devastated by Rita in 2005.
  • “There are some people still in town and people are calling the building but there ain’t no way to get to them,” Tony Guillory, president of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, said over the phone as he hunkered down in a Lake Charles government building that was shaking from the storm.
  • With hours of violent weather ahead, officials said the extent of destruction likely wouldn’t be clear until daybreak, when search and rescue missions will begin.
  • Read more and see the interactive map HERE.



2. Mayors highlight help for small business during BCA virtual conference

  • Mayors from Alabama’s largest cities spoke at the Business Council of Alabama’s virtual conference on Wednesday to give updates on how their local business communities have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mayors from Montgomery, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Huntsville spoke about working with the private sector to handle communities’ needs, especially that of small businesses.
  • “The pandemic created a situation where there was greater collaboration between business and government than I have experienced since I’ve been here,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson during the virtual event.
  • Engage Alabama is the BCA’s two-day online conference that is replacing the yearly event at Point Clear due to safety concerns about the coronavirus.
  • BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt said that this year’s goal was to provide expertise and resources for Alabama’s business community on how to handle the ongoing hardships created by the pandemic.
  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle discussed the amount of adaptation and inventiveness Huntsville’s large bio-tech, technology, retail and manufacturing businesses have had to undergo in order to survive.
  • He said the way businesses have had to adapt to at-home work or change their entire marketing strategy has been very impressive.
  • “They created solutions rather than look at it as a problem,” Battle said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



3. Hospitals urge Ivey to extend mask order

  • Hospitals are urging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to extend an order requiring face coverings in public — a directive currently set to expire at the end of this month — as health officials credit the measure for a drop in the state’s COVID-19 cases.
  • “We absolutely support extending the mask order,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
  • The governor’s office did not say when she would announce a decision. The Republican governor has faced a mix of praise from health officials and criticism from some conservatives for the decision to issue the statewide mask order unlike some Southern governors.
  • Williamson likened the state’s COVID-19 situation to an improving patient. That doesn’t mean it is time to stop, or change, the treatment, he said.
  • “Now is not the time to do away with the mask order because the disease will recur,” Williamson said.
  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that with increased mask usage, the state has seen a corresponding drop in hospitalizations and the percentage of tests that are positive.
  • “We in public health believe the mandate has been very effective in lowering transmission,” Harris said.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. Troy University names building for John Lewis

  • Troy University announced Wednesday that a university building will be renamed in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis who tried unsuccessfully to attend the then-all white school in the 1950s.
  • The Troy University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to rename historic Bibb Graves Hall — named for a former governor who had ties to the Ku Klux Klan— in honor of Lewis. While Lewis became a longtime Georgia congressman, he was a native of Pike County, Alabama, and grew up not far from the university. The civil rights icon died July 17 at the age of 80.
  • The university said the name change is effective immediately and the building will now bear the name John Robert Lewis Hall.
  • “John Lewis is a towering figure in American history, whose leadership and advocacy for non-violent change have left a lasting legacy for us all,” said Chancellor Jack Hawkins.
  • Lewis as a teen applied to the then-all-white university but did not get a reply. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave him the nickname the “boy from Troy” at their first meeting in 1958 in which they discussed a possible lawsuit against the university for its policy of not admitting Black students.
  • Full story from Jay Reeves HERE.


5. Trump’s big night

  • Four years ago, Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president with a dark convention speech that painted a dystopian portrait of America in decline and offered a singular solution: himself.
  • Though Trump has been president for three-and-a-half years, his rhetoric on the state of the nation has remained bleak. And as he prepares to deliver his second acceptance speech on Thursday, the president faces a country in crisis, one gripped by a once-in-a-century pandemic, a battered economy, a racial reckoning and a massive hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
  • Though he will promise national greatness, there was little expectation he would deliver a message designed to unify the divided electorate.
  • In 2016, his message was “I alone can fix it.” This time, while trailing in the polls, he will offer himself as the last remaining defense against radical forces threatening the American way of life.
  • Aides have closely guarded details of the address, which was being revised the night before Trump is to speak from the White House South Lawn.
  • Against a backdrop of patriotism, Trump will describe America as a work in progress, one that is not perfect but has achieved much. It’s an argument meant to offer a contrast with Democrats whom the president has described as not loving their country. In a similar vein, aides said, Trump would speak to progress made on combating the coronavirus, which has been treated as something of an afterthought during much of the convention although it is still killing 1,000 Americans a day.
  • “He needs to give those people who don’t approve of him an excuse to be for him,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Laura makes landfall as major hurricane


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mayors highlight help for small businesses during BCA virtual conference


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hospitals support extension of Alabama mask order


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Troy University names building for civil rights icon Lewis


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s big night: Expect talk of GOP progress, Dem anarchy


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – UAB: COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promising signs


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey urged to use remaining CARES relief funds for tax cut


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama: $230M contributed to community support during pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 26, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama adds 1,172 new coronavirus cases day after data delay; 494 added in Jefferson, Mobile


AL.COM – Southeastern Bar, other Auburn businesses choose to temporarily close doors


AL.COM – Troy University suspends fraternity activities after 14 Delta Chi members test positive for COVID-19


AL.COM – Ivey sending up to 350 Alabama Guard members to Wisconsin if needed


AL.COM – Auburn City Council to discuss potential additional COVID-19 measures


AL.COM – Huntsville’s embattled Confederate statue gets mystery pressure-washing overnight


AL.COM – Troy University renames campus building in honor of John Lewis


AL.COM – UAB responds to ‘misleading’ report ranking it as top U.S. college campus for coronavirus cases


AL.COM – Outbreak Alabama: A cluster at UA


Montgomery Advertiser – Steven L. Reed: While we must stay vigilant, Montgomery’s virus efforts are working


Montgomery Advertiser – Civil rights attorney and activist Fred Gray worthy of Presidential Medal of Freedom


Montgomery Advertiser – Bill Gillespie rides landslide to re-election as Prattville’s mayor


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa police investigating homicide near Greensboro Ave.


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Effort underway to find common ground on bar closures in Tuscaloosa


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Three Black women elected to Center Point city council for first time in city’s history


Tuscaloosa News – Mayor orders bars closed after rise in COVID-19 cases


Tuscaloosa News – United Way executives earn ‘local heroes’ honor


Tuscaloosa News – Bar owners cite students’ behavior for closures


Decatur Daily – 14 in Decatur schools positive for COVID-19; more than 200 in quarantine


Decatur Daily – Analyst: Bowling lead a hurdle for challenger in runoff


Decatur Daily – 18-year-old Pepper unseats 9-year councilman Kirby


Times Daily – Study needs public input to develop Colbert recreational plan


Times Daily – Killen, Lexington voters say yes to alcohol sales


Times Daily – Best Western in Tuscumbia wins Guertin Award


Anniston Star – Hobson City voters approve Sunday alcohol sales in referendum


Anniston Star – McClellan board gives nod to rescue access at bike trails


Anniston Star – Man arrested on child porn charges


YellowHammer News – Gov. Ivey prepared to send military police to assist with Wisconsin unrest, helicopters to aid hurricane response


YellowHammer News – James Spann: Laura makes landfall tonight; rain increases over Alabama Friday


YellowHammer News – Yellowhammer

Multimedia honors Alabamians as Women of Impact


Gadsden Times – Hurricane Laura makes landfall in southwestern Louisiana near Texas border as ‘catastrophic’ Category 4 storm


Gadsden Times – New leaders to take over in Glencoe, Rainbow City, Southside


Gadsden Times – Demolition planned for old East Gadsden Community Center; work continues on new facility


Dothan Eagle – Laura strengthens into ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 4


Dothan Eagle – Morning headlines: 3 shot, 2 fatally during Wisconsin protests; first lady defends president; Laura gains strength


Dothan Eagle – Missing Dothan man’s body found in shallow grave


Opelika-Auburn News – Two downtown Auburn bars voluntarily close doors due to COVID-19


Opelika-Auburn News – Fuller wins re-election as Opelika mayor; three races headed to runoffs


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn cuts size of student gatherings through Oct. 10


WSFA Montgomery – Visits could resume soon at some Alabama nursing homes


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama National Guard helicopters headed to Louisiana for hurricane aid


WSFA Montgomery – UA students moved out of dorm to make room for COVID-19 positive students


WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County discusses COVID-19 leave for employees


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville City Schools hit the road to help feed students


WAFF Huntsville – Lexington mayor excited for future after alcohol resolution passes


WKRG Mobile – Damage mounts as Hurricane Laura slams into the Gulf Coast


WKRG Mobile – Leesville church opens doors to those impacted by Hurricane Laura


WKRG Mobile – Commercial building in Lake Charles suffers roof damage


WTVY Dothan – Metropolitan mayors look back on the impact COVID-19 has made on businesses


WTVY Dothan – Some teachers express concern with Schoology platform


WTVY Dothan – ADPH reacts to low report of 175 COVID-19 cases Tuesday


WASHINGTON POST – Updates: Hurricane Laura makes landfall as Category 4 in Louisiana with ‘life-threatening’ surge


WASHINGTON POST – Headliner Pence attacks Biden, praises Trump’s leadership


WASHINGTON POST – GOP voters say they enjoy the ‘Trump Show’ but want to see a plan for second term


NEW YORK TIMES – Hurricane Laura Live Updates: Gulf Coast Braces for ‘Catastrophic’ Flooding


NEW YORK TIMES – With Wisconsin Unrest as Backdrop, Republicans Intensify Law-and-Order Message


NEW YORK TIMES – Top U.S. Officials Told C.D.C. to Soften Coronavirus Testing Guidelines


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Pence Headlines as Republican Convention Focuses on Military, Law Enforcement


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Wisconsin Identifies Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Abbott’s $5 Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Gets Emergency-Use Status From FDA




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