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Daily News Digest – August 28, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Friday, August 28.

1. Ivey: Keep wearing masks

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday announced she is extending a statewide mask order that she and health officials have credited with reducing COVID-19 cases in the state.
  • The Republican governor said the mask order, which had been set to expire next week, will be extended another five weeks until Oct. 2. The governor also said she will keep in place other health orders, such as reducing occupancy in stores and limiting table seating in restaurants.
  • “Folks, I understand you don’t want to wear the mask. I don’t either,” Ivey said in a news conference at the Alabama Capitol.
  • “I wish we didn’t have to wear masks but we are seeing significant drops in our hospitalizations and daily positive COVID-19 numbers and I have no doubt this is a result of our mask order,” Ivey said. “When you wear a mask you are protecting the people in your office, school, church and your vulnerable family and friends.”
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 668 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the seven-day average for new cases down to 768 – the lowest level it has been at since late June. Hospitals around the state reported 1,052 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 Thursday, down from the peak of 1,613 on August 6.
  • 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 are cautiously optimistic about what we have been seeing recently,” Harris said.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Inside Alabama Politics

A new edition of Inside Alabama Politics is out today.
It may be the dog days of summer, but we are still talkin’ politics and striving to bring you the very latest in rumors and rumblings throughout the state.
In this issue:
  • Special session talk
  • HD 49 Runoff Tuesday
  • Farmers Federation backs Barry Moore
  • What’s on the Ballot in November?
  • Bronner Talks Cancer Diagnosis
  • A More Aggressive API
  • Alabama Well Represented at National Conventions
Read these stories and more in the full IAP HERE.
Not a subscriber? Has your subscription lapsed? Still having to embarrassingly ask your buddy for the password she paid for?
Signing up is easy and not expensive. Plus, members will be grandfathered in as we merge the two websites in the coming months.
See rates and subscribe today HERE.

3. Laura’s impact

  • One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S., Laura barreled across Louisiana on Thursday, shearing off roofs and killing at least six people while carving a destructive path hundreds of miles inland.
  • A full assessment of the damage wrought by the Category 4 system was likely to take days, and the threat of additional damage loomed as new tornado warnings were issued after dark in Arkansas and Mississippi even as the storm weakened into a depression.
  • But despite a trail of demolished buildings, entire neighborhoods left in ruins and almost 900,000 homes and businesses without power, a sense of relief prevailed that Laura was not the annihilating menace forecasters had feared.
  • “It is clear that we did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “But we have sustained a tremendous amount of damage.”
  • He called Laura the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, meaning it surpassed even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005. The storm toppled trees and damaged structures as far north as central Arkansas.
  • Laura’s top wind speed of 150 mph put it among the strongest systems on record in the U.S. Not until 11 hours after landfall did Laura finally lose hurricane status as it plowed north and thrashed Arkansas.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Trump lashes Biden, defies pandemic on White House stage

  • President Donald Trump blasted Joe Biden as a hapless career politician who will endanger Americans’ safety as he accepted his party’s renomination on the South Lawn of the White House.
  • While the coronavirus kills 1,000 Americans each day, Trump defied his own administration’s pandemic guidelines to speak for more than an hour to a tightly packed, largely maskless crowd.
  • Facing a moment fraught with racial turmoil, economic collapse and a national health emergency, Trump delivered a triumphant, optimistic vision of America’s future Thursday. But he said that brighter horizon could only be secured if he defeated his Democratic foe, who currently has an advantage in most national and battleground state polls.
  • “We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years,” Trump said, referring to the former senator and vice president’s career in Washington.
  • When Trump finished, a massive fireworks display went off by the Washington Monument, complete with explosions that spelled out “Trump 2020.”
  • His acceptance speech kicked off the final stretch of the campaign, a race now fully joined and, despite the pandemic, soon to begin crisscrossing the country. Trump’s pace of travel will pick up to a near daily pace while Biden, who has largely weathered the pandemic from this Delaware home, announced Thursday that he will soon resume campaign travel.
  • Teasing once more that a vaccine could arrive soon, the president promised victory over the coronavirus pandemic, which has left millions unemployed and rewritten the rules of society. And, in the setting for his speech, Trump sought to project a sense of normalcy by throwing caution about the coronavirus aside.
  • Full story and video HERE.

5. BCA conference elevates women’s voices

  • Normally at this time of year, a who’s who cast of Alabama political characters would be gathering at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear for the Business Council of Alabama’s governmental affairs conference.
  • Like many things these days, BCA had to scrap the in-person conference this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, instead of doing nothing, the group worked to produce a virtual conference, one that was perhaps as much or more substantive as any in-person conference in recent memory. Rebranded as Engage Alabama, it featured panels about leadership, diversity and engagement with speakers ranging from mayors and other elected officials to executives and chambers of commerce leaders.
  • The online feel wasn’t the only thing that was different. This year’s conference also elevated the voices of women in Alabama business and politics in a way that hasn’t been seen before at the annual event.
  • Alexia Borden of Alabama Power, Sheron Rose of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Mary Pat Lawrence of Protective Life led a special panel about how women can influence positive outcomes in their workplaces.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


News Briefs

UAB, Boeing named state’s best employers

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Boeing Company have been named Alabama’s best employers by Forbes magazine.
  • Forbes and market research company Statista conducted an online survey of 80,000 Americans working at companies with more than 500 employees in every state. Respondents rated their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family, along with other work-life questions. Workers were also asked to evaluate other local employers.
  • UAB employs approximately 23,000 workers through its academic institutions and hospital system. As a major research university, UAB contributes to cutting edge medical research and is currently involved with the national effort to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • Boeing employs more than 3,000 workers at its Redstone Arsenal campus in Huntsville. The company’s work in Alabama is mostly in the aerospace and defense sector, and its programs include the International Space Station, Space Launch System and Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile system.
  • Full story HERE.

Man indicted in sale of ‘homemade’, untested cancer drugs

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man has been indicted on charges he manufactured homemade and untested cancer drugs in his kitchen and marketed them to “alternative-medicine doctors” in the U.S., Mexico and elsewhere, according to federal prosecutors.
  • Patrick Charles Bishop, 54, was charged with conspiracy and nearly three-dozen other fraud-related counts in the purchase, manufacture and distribution of drug products that were never reviewed or approved by federal regulators, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama announced Wednesday.
  • Prosecutors said Bishop claimed the drugs, which contained a compound he purchased from a Chinese manufacturer, were effective cancer treatments. He sold them to holistic cancer treatment centers and other clinics for use on patients, the U.S. Justice Department said.
  • According to the indictment, Bishop purchased the compound for $600,000 and “repeatedly assured” the manufacturer he would only use it for research purposes. But prosecutors said that instead, he and others used the ingredient to make homemade suppositories in nonsterile facilities such as his kitchen in Birmingham, and at a warehouse in Pelham.
  • Bishop was also charged with fraudulently introducing adulterated drugs and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, fraudulently obtaining pre-retail medical products, creating false documentation and knowingly possessing and trafficking in pre-retail medical products obtained by fraud, according to the indictment.
  • If convicted, Bishop could face more than 20 years in prison. The statement did not say whether he had an attorney who could comment for him.

Three charged after Alabama man found dead in Florida

  • BONIFAY, Fla. (AP) — Three people have been charged in connection with the slaying of an Alabama man who went missing nearly two months ago, authorities said.
  • Jeremie Odell Peters, William Shane Parker and Lauren Kay Wambles were arrested in the case, the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced Wednesday. That agency, along with law enforcement counterparts in Alabama, had been searching for Raul Ambriz Guillen of Dothan, Alabama, since early July.
  • Authorities said investigators determined Guillen, 51, was last at Peters’ home in Graceville, a community in Florida — more than 20 miles south of where the man was last sighted in Dothan.
  • Authorities said Parker and Wambles, Guillen’s girlfriend, were also at the house. Investigators searched the home and found evidence linked to Guillen’s death, according to a statement from authorities. The man’s body was later discovered in Holmes County.
  • Officials said Parker has been charged with murder and is awaiting extradition from Alabama to Florida. Wambles, of Dothan, Alabama, was charged with being a principal to murder and is also awaiting extradition. Peters is in custody in Florida, facing charges including abuse of a corpse, according to authorities.
  • It was not immediately clear if the three had attorneys who could comment for them.

Former Mobile chief of staff gets year in prison

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A former chief of staff for an Alabama city has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.
  • James Antuan Blackman, 33, of Mobile, pleaded guilty Feb. 19 to one count each of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and money laundering.
  • In addition to the jail time, Chief U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose on Aug. 21 ordered Blackman to pay more than $200,000 in restitution to the City of Pritchard, where he served as chief of staff, reported.
  • According to Blackman’s plea, during his time as Pritchard’s chief of staff and administrative assistant from November 2016 to January 2018, he used his position to divert money and property to himself.
  • Documents show Blackman said he falsified city invoices, deposited city checks to his own account, and used his position to divert three pieces of property from the city to his own benefit. Then, Blackman laundered money through a $39,200 wire transfer from a bank account under his control to a title company to buy property, authorities said.

Consultant to review utility CEO pay after Trump criticism

  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority has hired a new independent consultant to take a fresh look into its executive compensation after President Donald Trump earlier this month blasted the CEO as being “ridiculously overpaid,” the federal utility’s board chairman said Thursday.
  • At a virtual meeting, the board announced that hiring a new consultant, Erin Bass-Goldberg of FW Cook, would be one of multiple steps taken after Trump put the agency in his crosshairs. Trump fired the former board chairman and another board member earlier this month and called for the CEO’s replacement and the position’s pay to be capped at $500,000.
  • The board also provided more detail about plans to reverse course on the hiring of foreign labor for information technology jobs, which piqued Trump’s interest enough that in early August he invited the workers who would be replaced to the White House.
  • With the pay-scale review in place, CEO Jeff Lyash could have a breather from Trump’s wrath. Results are expected before TVA’s November board meeting.
  • Full story 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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