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Daily News Digest – July 13, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, July 13.


1. COVID-19 update

  • More than 1,600 new confirmed coronavirus cases were reported in Alabama on Sunday, along with seven additional virus-related deaths.
  • The state has recorded 16,520 new confirmed cases of the virus over the last 14 days, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, accounting for about 31% of the 52,908 total cases confirmed since the pandemic’s start.
  • Health experts say official counts likely only capture a fraction of those who have been infected.
  • At least 1,093 people in Alabama who contracted the virus have died.
  • Read the latest HERE.


2. Sessions vies for Senate comeback in race shadowed by Trump

  • Seeking a political comeback, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to beat out ex-college football coach Tommy Tuberville in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff and reclaim the Alabama Senate seat he held for decades.
  • To do that, Sessions also has to go through President Donald Trump.
  • Trump has endorsed Tuberville and turned decisively against his former Cabinet member, making direct appeals for Alabama voters to reject Sessions’s candidacy. “Do not trust Jeff Sessions,” Trump tweeted this spring. “He let our Country down.”
  • The president weighed in again Saturday on Twitter, calling Tuberville “a winner who will never let you down” and castigating Sessions as “a disaster who has let us all down. We don’t want him back in Washington.”
  • Sessions responded quickly: “My honor and integrity are far more important than these juvenile insults. … As you know, Alabama does not take orders from Washington.”
  • Sessions safely held the Senate seat for 20 years before resigning to lead Trump’s Justice Department. Their relationship soured after Sessions withdrew from the investigation of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election, a move that infuriates Trump to this day. Sessions said he had no choice because he participated in Trump’s 2016 campaign and could have been a potential subject or witness.
  • He has asked voters to look past the feud. “I’m calling on the people of Alabama and I’m saying this. You know me. You know I can be trusted,” Sessions said during a campaign stop this past week.
  • “I have stood with you. I have advanced our values and I’m asking you now to stand with me and make sure that the seat from Alabama in the United States Senate is not a potted plant, not an empty suit and is somebody who knows the issues and will fight for them.”
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


3. Pac-12, Big Ten shelve games and fears grow of ripple effect

  • The Big Ten and Pac-12 became the first Power Five leagues to shift to an all-conference fall schedule as college sports faces a dramatically different landscape due to the coronavirus pandemic. In football alone, 73 games were scrapped in two days, from marquee matchups like Oregon-Ohio State to storied rivalries like USC-Notre Dame.
  • All eyes are now on the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern and Big 12 conferences to see if more games will be shelved in what is already shaping up as a college football season like no other. Hundreds of games have already been canceled, suspended or pushed to the spring semester at the lowest tiers of college football.
  • To me, this is the biggest signal yet that college football games won’t include many fans, if they are played at all.
  • Why? Because ticket sales offset the huge costs of paying out-of-conference cupcakes to come play teams like Auburn and Alabama. If you know you’re not going to have those gate receipts, better start unloading the million dollar pay outs.
  • At least with conference games schools can count on big time television contract money.
  • Read more from John Marshall HERE.


4. Trump, Biden try to outdo each other on tough talk on China

  • China has fast become a top election issue as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden engage in a verbal brawl over who’s better at playing the tough guy against Beijing.
  • The Trump campaign put out ads showing Biden toasting China’s Xi Jinping, even though Trump did just that with Xi in Asia and hosted the Chinese leader at his Florida club. Spots from the Biden campaign feature Trump playing down the coronavirus and praising Xi for being transparent about the pandemic, even though it’s clear China hid details of the outbreak from the world.
  • “I think it’s going to be absolutely critical, but I don’t know who is going to have the advantage,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. He has been reviewing the ads and thinks China is one of the three leading issues along with the economy and the handling of the coronavirus.
  • China is not just a foreign policy issue in the November election. It’s an issue that runs deeply through the troubles with the virus, which tanked the U.S. economy. Voters also will be asking themselves whether Trump or Biden can best defend the U.S. against China’s unfair trade practices, theft of intellectual property rights, rising aggression across the globe and human rights abuses.
  • “Which person looks more subservient to the Chinese leaders is the person who’s in more jeopardy,” Luntz said.
  • As the coronavirus spread throughout the U.S., a Pew Research Center poll in March found Americans with increasingly negative views of China, with 66% saying they had an unfavorable opinion. That was the most negative rating since the question was first asked in 2005. The same poll found 62% of Americans calling China’s power and influence a major threat to the U.S., compared with 48% two years ago.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Column: Absentees and outside groups factor big in runoff

  • I’m not sure if you heard, but there’s an election tomorrow.
  • It feels like we are coming to the end of a middle school track race in which the coach forgot to blow the whistle and we all kept running until we fainted.
  • Here’s the thing: it’s not boring! We’re all just tired.
  • Alabama’s election is once again capturing national attention, and not just for all the obvious reasons.
  • In my column this week, I share a few observations on what to watch in this delayed runoff.
  • First, absentee votes are way up. Mail-in votes could make up a significant portion of the electorate, which campaigns can take advantage of if they’re smart.
  • Second, the aggressive play of the Club for Growth is going to be a big story come Tuesday, no matter what happens.
  • Club has spent upwards of $3.3 million in Alabama this election cycle, which is a crazy number to anyone with experience in the game. Whether or not the group is successful in picking off seats is a big theme to watch tomorrow.
  • Read my full, longwinded column HERE.


News Briefs

ALEA to upgrade driver’s license system

  • The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is upgrading its driver’s license system, including software, which will put more services online and is expected to reduce customer wait times.
  • The agency has a two-year, $29.9 million contract with Colorado-based FAST Enterprises for the upgrade.
  • The current ALEA driver’s license system was installed in 2005 and has not been upgraded, ALEA told Alabama Daily News in written statement. It is dependent on programming and mainframe systems from the 1960s and 1970s, and this technology has placed limitations on the agency and customers.
  • According to ALEA, faster processes such as customer online pre-enrollment, along with other online services, will lessen the reasons customers must visit an office and speed up a visit.
  • “I appreciate y’all moving on this, it’s overdue,” Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, told ALEA representatives at a legislative Contract Review Committee meeting last week.
  • The agency hopes the new software will be in place prior to the two-year mark on the contract.
  • Story link.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. donates nearly 300,000 eggs to Alabama food banks

  • On Friday, Alabama received 280,800 eggs from Cal-Maine Foods, Inc.
  • The eggs were donated to the Feeding America Food Banks across the state and other organizations. The eggs were produced in Alabama with the goal of helping families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Commissioner of Agriculture Rick Pate joined with the Alabama Trucking Association and the Montgomery Area Food Bank to promote the donation and organize the distribution of eggs.
  • Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The Feeding America network of food banks feeds approximately 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. The network provides over 4.3 billion meals annually, helping 1 in 7 Americans facing hunger.
  • “This is more than eggs. What this does is show someone’s kindness and compassion,” Rich Deem, CEO of the Montgomery Area Food Bank said.
  • Read more about the donation from Reshad Hudson HERE.

Toyota starts production on new engine at Alabama plant

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Toyota says it has begun production of a newly redesigned four-cylinder engine at its manufacturing plant in north Alabama.
  • The factory at Huntsville supplies engines for one-third of all the Toyota vehicles assembled in the United States, and the company describes the start of production as an important milestone in a $288 million plant expansion.
  • A statement from the company says workers also have closed in a V6 assembly line inside a 150,000-square-foot building.
  • Toyota says the expansion is the fifth one at the plant in Huntsville since engine production began 17 years ago. About 450 new jobs are being added in the $1.2 billion project.
  • Total employment at the factory will exceed 1,800 people as production increases to 900,000 engines annually.

Bystander among 2 shot outside Tuscaloosa mall

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Two people were shot late Saturday afternoon outside an Alabama mall, police said.
  • Tuscaloosa police tweeted that the shooting occurred in a parking lot outside University Mall.
  • A police spokesman said a 15-year-old girl and a 24-year-old man were both hospitalized. Authorities did not immediately say what prompted the shooting.
  • Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said one of the victims was an innocent bystander.
  • “It’s a soul-crushing day for Tuscaloosa, there’s no doubt,” Maddox said during a news conference. “But it’s soul-crushing anytime anyone is involved in a shooting.”
  • The shooting came eight days after an 8-year-old was killed and three others injured in a shooting inside the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, about 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Tuscaloosa.

Body in creek ID’d as Alabama teenager missing since June 24

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A body found in an Alabama creek has been identified as a 17-year-old missing since late June.
  • News agencies report that the body found July 4 was identified Friday as that of Lesley Luna Pantaleon of Montgomery.
  • Her parents reported her missing June 24, and said she was last seen earlier that day.
  • Police said her body was found in Catoma Creek about a mile and a half north of the Montgomery airport.
  • It was identified in an autopsy. The cause and circumstances of her death are still being investigated.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sees over 1,600 new virus cases, 7 additional deaths


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions vies for Senate comeback in race shadowed by Trump


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ALEA to upgrade driver’s license system


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump, Biden try to outdo each other on tough talk on China


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate, House runoffs included on Alabama runoff ballot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pac-12, Big Ten shelve games and fears grow of ripple effect


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AL-2 GOP runoff, candidates battle for who is the truest Republican


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama elections chief: Masks can’t be required at polls.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ADOC says plan in the works to test entire inmate population


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – July 11, 2020


AL.COM  – 1,614 new coronavirus cases in Alabama since yesterday; Jefferson County up 313 cases


AL.COM  – Toyota starts production on new engine at Alabama plant


AL.COM  – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Club for Growth is bad for Alabama


AL.COM  – A nurse wanted her Alabama community to wear masks. Many didn’t want to hear it


AL.COM  – Why the nation is watching Sessions vs. Coach


AL.COM  – Reopening Alabama’s K-12 schools: Here are the plans so far


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – ZIP Code, Race Predict Lifelong Health Inequities


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – Not so Fast, COVID Says to Churches Trying to Reopen


Montgomery Advertiser – Pamela Rush exposed the injustice of poverty in rural Alabama. Ultimately it stole her life.


Montgomery Advertiser – Man fatally wounded in Friday night Atlanta Highway shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama GOP Senate runoff preview: Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville, and who shows up to vote


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey: ‘The direct reality is not good’


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: More than 1K Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as nearly 50K test positive & 22K recover


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Community reacts to 35215 zip code having most COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa chamber’s Jones reappointed to state workforce council


Tuscaloosa News – Police officer saved from Lake Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Officials: Road work, while frustrating, will pay off in future


Decatur Daily – Woman dies, her husband injured in Lawrence motorcycle accident


Decatur Daily – New principals hired for Austin High, Austin Middle and Austin Junior High


Decatur Daily – Barrett C. Shelton Jr., longtime Decatur Daily publisher, dies


Times Daily – Christmas for Kids back-to-school deadline is Tuesday


Times Daily – Colbert commission gives preliminary approval to vacate road


Times Daily – ICE ruling could leave international students’ futures in flux


Anniston Star – Anniston faith leaders pray for unity at Zinn Park


Anniston Star – Phil Sanguinetti: a century of warmth, expertise


Anniston Star – City, riders looking forward to trail’s extension


YellowHammer News – Alabama entrepreneurs can apply now for Walmart’s Open Call for products


YellowHammer News – Trump tweets support for Tuberville; Sessions responds


YellowHammer News – Auburn chemistry professor’s research aims to advance more efficient use of solar energy


Gadsden Times – Etowah County tops 1,000 COVID-19 cases


Gadsden Times – Southside man killed in early morning crash


Gadsden Times – Todd Entrekin’s lawsuit claims grudges, campaign and clicks led to defamatory story


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Can smoking marijuana cause cancer?


Dothan Eagle – Vigil acknowledges victims of injustice


Dothan Eagle – From gnome homes to yoga: Landmark Park eases back into programs


Opelika-Auburn News – Masks on Auburn council agenda Monday


Opelika-Auburn News – AU supply chain grads finding jobs despite ‘weird stuff’


Opelika-Auburn News – Op-ed: Local doctor makes plea for help: We face ‘a recipe for a disaster’


WSFA Montgomery – Thousands without power as storms pass through Ala.


WSFA Montgomery – Man killed in Millbrook shooting Saturday night, suspect still sought


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama sees over 1,600 new virus cases, 7 additional deaths


WAFF Huntsville – TPD Marine Police boat sinks off in Lake Tuscaloosa


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville man walking for social justice reaches Minneapolis


WAFF Huntsville – Trauma season injuries, violence and coronavirus keeping hospitals busy


WKRG Mobile – Driver runs off following crash on I-10 in Santa Rosa County


WKRG Mobile – Actress Kelly Preston dies following battle with breast cancer


WKRG Mobile – Feds to execute 1st inmate in 17 years for Arkansas murders


WTVY Dothan – Texas A&M police say student who reported racist notes placed them there himself


WTVY Dothan – Florida shatters U.S. record with 15k new COVID-19 cases


WTVY Dothan – Tuscaloosa PD: Two people shot outside University Mall


WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s drop in polls has confident Democrats sensing ‘a tsunami coming’ in November


WASHINGTON POST – Long delays in getting test results hobble coronavirus response


WASHINGTON POST – Sen. Graham says Mueller may be invited to testify in wake of op-ed on Trump’s commutation of Stone sentence


NEW YORK TIMES – America’s Governors Get Tested for a Virus That Is Testing Them


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump vs. the Women Who Lead Michigan: A Battle With 2020 Implications


NEW YORK TIMES – George Soros’s Foundation Pours $220 Million Into Racial Equality Push


WALL STREET JOURNAL – GOP Women Embrace Guns in House Races


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Education Secretary DeVos Renews Call for School Reopening


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Fed, Treasury Disagreements Slowed Start of Main Street Lending Program



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