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Daily News Digest – December 1, 2020

Presented by Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies


Good morning!

I’m jealous of those of you in North Alabama who got a nice dusting of snow yesterday. The pictures from Marshall County were awesome.

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, December 1.

1. Alabama hits record hospitalizations

  • We are no longer waiting for another coronavirus surge – we’re in one.
  • The state on Monday reached a new high for the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19, a record that comes before an expected spike in cases in the weeks following Thanksgiving gatherings.
  • A total of 1,717 Alabamians are now hospitalized with COVID-19. The previous record was 1,613 on Aug. 6.
  • New cases are also ticking up. The 2,080 reported Monday do not represent a new record, though the disparate data makes that less significant. What is significant is the trend, which unmistakably shows transmissions rising.
  • “The spread is out of control. That is probably the least inflammatory way I can describe it,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association. “I try not to engage hyperbole, but I’m truly worried,” he added.
  • Williamson has said a significant concern for hospitals is the number of nurses and other medical employees who are out because they have gotten COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus.
  • “The problem is none of this is due to Thanksgiving,” Williamson noted. He said it will take several more days to start seeing the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings on cases and hospitalizations.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler and see the latest Bama Tracker charts HERE.



2. Supreme Court seems skeptical of census plan

  • The Supreme Court sounded skeptical Monday that the Trump administration could categorically exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count used to allot seats among the states in the House of Representatives.
  • But it also appeared possible that the justices could avoid a final ruling on the issue until they know how broadly the Trump administration acts in its final days in office and whether the division of House seats is affected.
  • No president has tried to do what President Donald Trump outlined in a memo in July — remove millions of noncitizens from the once-a-decade head count of the U.S. population that determines how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives, as well as the allocation of some federal funding.
  • Justice Amy Coney Barrett was among several members of the court who said the administration’s argument for broad discretion in deciding whom to exclude is troublesome because “a lot of the historical evidence and long-standing practice really cuts against your position.”
  • The court decided to hear the case on a fast track, based on the administration’s plea for a decision by early January, when Trump is required by law to transmit census numbers to Congress. The Census Bureau is supposed to send the data to Trump by Dec. 31.
  • Read more HERE.




A message from Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies

  • Alabama’s community pharmacists are more than just the friendly faces that fill your prescriptions every month; they are an essential link in the healthcare chain.
  • In rural areas, community pharmacists are often the first – and sometimes the only – healthcare contact for residents in a community.
  • In addition to keeping Alabama communities healthy by filling prescriptions, most of the APCI network of community pharmacies provide vital healthcare services such as immunizations, clinical testing, and medication counseling.
  • We appreciate the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy staff members – your friends and neighbors – in our locally-owned pharmacies who go above and beyond to safely meet the healthcare needs of Alabamians.
  • Find your locally-owned community Health Mart pharmacy HERE.






3. Beshear to retire; Boswell will lead Mental Health

  • Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear is retiring this month after leading the agency since July 2017.
  • Kim Boswell, currently Beshear’s chief of staff, will be appointed commissioner, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday.
  • “When Lynn was appointed, I knew that she would approach her role always thinking of what is best for the people of Alabama,” Ivey said in a written statement. “She has created a collaborative team approach within the Alabama Department of Mental Health to solve intricate problems regarding delivery of services for mental illness, substance abuse disorder and intellectual disability. I am truly grateful for her service to our state and wish her best in her next chapter.”
  • Ivey credited Beshear with several initiatives to increase Alabamians’ access to mental health services, including Stepping Up Alabama, which uses the national model to reduce the numbers of individuals in jails with mental illness.
  • Boswell has more than 36 years of experience working with individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities. She has previously served as the ADMH’s associate commissioner for administration and director of human resources.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.



4. Carl hires top staff

  • Congressman-elect Jerry Carl announced this week three staff hires: Chad Carlough as chief of staff; Elizabeth Roney as district director; and Zach Weidlich as communications director.
  • Carlough previously worked in current Congressman Bradley Byrne’s office as chief of staff. Roney has served as district director in Alabama’s 1st District for many years, including for Congressmen Byrne, Jo Bonner and Sonny Callahan. Weidlich was Carl’s campaign manager throughout the primary and general elections and also handled communications with the press.
  • Inside Alabama Politics had previously reported that Carlough and Weidlich were being considered for top jobs.
  • Full story from Mary Sell HERE.




5. Meigs: Physicians are no longer on the front lines of this pandemic. You are.

  • John Meigs, Jr. contributes an op-ed for today’s Daily News. He’s a medical doctor and the president of the Alabama Medical Association of Alabama.
  • Meigs says he was disturbed to read reports of State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris receiving death threats and other harassment from people angry over state health orders.
  • He argues that, while medical professionals like Harris are working to save the lives of their fellow citizens, the true responsibility of how far the coronavirus will spread now lies with the people at large.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“As President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, I would like to proudly declare my support of Dr. Harris and Governor Ivey in regard to the mask ordinance, social distancing guidelines, and other measures to protect the citizens of Alabama. Science and data have shown us time and time again that these guidelines work. That being said, why are there still Alabamians who push against these life-saving initiatives?”
“While appealing to a sense of personal responsibility should be effective enough, it has proved not to be. What happens when personal responsibility is not enough, and people are endangering others? Mask mandates. Social distancing guidelines. Occupancy limitations.”
  • Read Meigs’ full op-ed HERE.




News Briefs

Lawyer: Prison plans raise environmental, financial concerns

  • Local residents who are fighting plans to build a 3,000-inmate prison in Bibb County on Monday asked for a meeting with the governor, arguing the project raises environmental concerns for the area and financial concerns for all taxpayers in Alabama.
  • Birmingham attorney Chris Christie, who represents the Block the Brierfield Prison group, wrote in a letter to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey that the proposed prison could hurt the local water supply. He said the “environmental impact on the Brierfield area needs serious study before deciding whether to move forward.”
  • If that name sounds familiar, besides it being the same as the former New Jersey governor and noted Springsteen fan who ran for president, it’s because Christie ran for Attorney General in 2018. He lost a close race in the Democratic primary to Joseph Sielgelman.
  • In his letter, Christie said that any well dug for the project would create a “cone of depression” that could pull water away from residents and businesses, and would diminish the water flow of Mahan Creek and the Little Cahaba River.
  • The governor’s office says it has not yet received the letter.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.

30 named storms: Record hurricane season comes to a close

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A record-setting Atlantic hurricane season that saw the highest number of named storms officially came to a close Monday.
  •  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set multiple records while producing a record 30 named storms. There were so many that the list of 21 conventional names was exhausted and the Greek alphabet was used for only the second time.
  • The season also saw the second-highest number of hurricanes on record after 13 of the storms reached hurricane status. There were six major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph or greater. NOAA said an average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three become major hurricanes.
  • “We had more named storms in the Atlantic basin than any other year on record, breaking the old record of 28 set in 2005,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.
  • This season also set a record for the number of storms that made landfall in the continental U.S. with 12 such storms. Klotzbach said of those 12 named storms, six made landfall at hurricane strength, tying the record of six hurricane landfalls also set in 1886 and 1985.
  • Read more HERE.

Saban expects to return to sidelines for Alabama-LSU game

  • Alabama coach Nick Saban expects to be back on the sidelines Saturday at LSU.
  • Saban, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday, had to watch the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s 42-13 victory over rival Auburn from home over the weekend while offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian ran the show.
  • “I’m feeling fine, so you don’t need to worry about me,” Saban said on Monday. “And just to make it clear, I’ll be evaluated by the medical staff later in the week and they’ll make a determination as to when I come back. But I don’t anticipate any problems in being able to coach the game this week.”
  • The 69-year-old coach has said he had only mild symptoms and no fever. The Southeastern Conference requires those with positive tests to remain isolated for at least 10 days from when they first started experiencing symptoms. They have to have gone at least 24 hours without a fever before being allowed to return.
  • Read more from John Zenor HERE.

School system dismisses early after cybersecurity threat

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama school system dismissed students early Monday because of what school officials described as a cybersecurity threat.
  • Huntsville City Schools announced that students would be dismissed beginning at noon because of a potential cybersecurity threat. Students and staff were directed to shut down any school-issued devices and to keep them powered off until further notice.
  • The school system said that, “administrators are working with authorities to work to resolve the issue.”

Body found at Wilson Dam in north Alabama

  • FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities said a body of a man was discovered Monday on a dam in north Alabama.
  • WAFF reports that the Tennessee Valley Authority confirmed the body on a deceased man was found at Wilson Dam. The body was found on the downstream side of the structure.
  • The station said no additional information is currently available.
  • The hydroelectric dam spans the Tennessee River between Colbert and Lauderdale counties.






A message from

the Business Council of Alabama

  • The Business Council of Alabama has launched Keep Alabama Open, working to unite hardworking Alabamians in the earnest pursuit of protecting jobs and safeguarding self governance.
  • Businesses, while following state health orders to keep customers and themselves safe, should be able to continue to earn a living and support their families.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Out of control’: Alabama hits record virus hospitalizations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court seems skeptical of census plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Beshear retiring from ADMH; Boswell appointed commissioner


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Carl hires top staff for congressional office


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Meigs: Physicians are no longer on the front lines of this pandemic. You are.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawyer: Prison plans raise environmental, financial concerns


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Saban expects to return to sidelines for Alabama-LSU game


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 30 named storms: Record hurricane season comes to a close


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Moore enters Congress focused on infrastructure, defense


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in weeks ahead


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress returns with virus aid, federal funding unresolved


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – November 30, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama public schools missing 9,800 students this year


AL.COM – Madison, Montgomery schools adapt class schedules to COVID


AL.COM – Plans for Bibb County prison raises environmental, financial concerns


AL.COM – COVID-19 testing in Alabama: Everything you need to know


AL.COM – Report: Oscar-winning writer has play on slain Alabama rights activist


AL.COM – Huntsville City Schools closing early for cybersecurity threat


AL.COM – Supercomputer may give us COVID meds to join vaccines


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery woman charged with murder in stabbing death of girlfriend


Montgomery Advertiser – 65 years ago, Rosa Parks’ arrest ignited the civil rights movement and led to yearlong Montgomery Bus Boycott


Montgomery Advertiser – It’s the 65th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Here’s how to celebrate it


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Doctors worried about healthcare system strain as hospitalizations surge


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – JeffCo. Bessemer division cutoff, DA establishes conviction integrity unit


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Demand for testing after Thanksgiving could put strain on state’s supply


Tuscaloosa News – Auburn wins virtual fundraiser to benefit children’s hospital


Tuscaloosa News – Visionary 70-year-old believes he has a plan to transform the town of Aliceville


Tuscaloosa News – Historic Minor-Searcy-Owens House goes up for sale


Decatur Daily – Decatur Morgan Hospital breaks record on number of COVID patients


Decatur Daily – Suspect in 1995 slaying free on bail


Decatur Daily – Tower Building developer weighs apartment construction bids, hotel project


Times Daily – Workers find body near Wilson Dam


Times Daily – 2 inmates in Lauderdale crimes up for parole


Times Daily – 2 Tuscumbia residents identified as suspects in Fuel City robbery


Anniston Star – Homeless Anniston residents to get hotel rooms as temperature plummets


Anniston Star – Ranburne gives light to its Christmas tree in livestreamed event


Anniston Star – Moderna plans to seek US, EU clearance for COVID vaccine


YellowHammer News – Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear retiring; Kim Boswell appointed as successor


YellowHammer News – Report: Democratic-aligned group tried to register dead Alabama woman to vote in Georgia


YellowHammer News – Alabama sets state record for COVID-19 hospitalizations


Gadsden Times – Hundreds meet, discuss opposition to proposed rendering plant


Gadsden Times – Inteva gets tax abatement for new project that will bring 67 jobs


Gadsden Times – Gold City to perform at RBC tree lighting


Dothan Eagle – Coldest temperatures since last winter befalls the Wiregrass


Dothan Eagle – Miracle on Register 6: Unlikely reunion takes place at Dothan Walmart


Dothan Eagle – Economic outlook seen brightening but dangers remain


Opelika-Auburn News – AU, Bama students use rivalry to fight food insecurity


Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County Sheriff’s Office personnel test positive for COVID-19, processing delayed


Opelika-Auburn News – Sheriff’s office investigating Beauregard shooting


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery Area Food Bank needs more donations amid pandemic


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery Zoo lighting up for Christmas Lights Festival


WSFA Montgomery – Ala. health leader reacts to new at-home COVID-19 test kit


WAFF Huntsville – Firefighters battle flames & frigid temperatures overnight


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville City Schools closed due to cyber attack


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Hospital Health System has largest number of COVID patients since start of pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Birmingham City Schools to return to remote learning amid pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Shelters prepare for cold weather during COVID-19 pandemic


WKRG Mobile – Dr. Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to President Trump


WTVY Dothan – Protecting plants during cold snaps


WTVY Dothan – Tis the season in Enterprise; festive week ahead


WTVY Dothan – Geneva transforms into an Old-fashioned Hallmark Christmas


WASHINGTON POST – Wisconsin and Arizona make it official as Trump fails to stop vote certification in all six states where he contested his defeat


WASHINGTON POST – Trump raises more than $150 million appealing to false election claims


WASHINGTON POST – Biden’s pick to lead White House budget office emerges as lightning rod for GOP


NEW YORK TIMES – These ‘Little Land Mines’ Could Prevent a Summertime Boom


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: School Policies Shift to Bring Back Younger Children


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Raises $170 Million as He Denies His Loss and Eyes the Future


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Point to Fresh Records for Major Indexes


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Hospital Stocks Are Heading Higher. So Are Covid-19 Cases.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Pfizer, BioNTech File for Covid-19 Vaccine Approval in Europe



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