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Daily News Digest – July 17, 2020

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Here’s your Daily News for July 17.


1. Unemployment rate drops to 7.5%

  • Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5% in June, continuing a slow improvement from a COVID-19-caused 13.8% in April.
  • May’s revised rate was 9.6%, the Alabama Department of Labor announced Friday morning.
  • “We continue to make gains in our unemployment rate but remain above the record low rates we were experiencing prior to this pandemic,” said Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. “People are returning to work as the economy further reopens, but we are beginning to see slight rises in the number of initial unemployment claims filed each week.”
  • Washington said 50,273 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by 42,300.
  • Read more HERE.


2. Alabama mask order takes effect as hospitalizations rise

  • Alabama’s health order requiring face masks in public places took effect Thursday as COVID-19 hospitalizations reached another new high in the state.
  • The order went into effect the same day that the state’s largest public school system announced students will not return to classrooms this fall because of the rise in cases.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that the state will require face masks in public places to try to curb a surge of new coronavirus cases. The order took effect at 5 p.m. Thursday and requires people over age 6 to wear masks covering their mouth and nostrils when in public and within six feet of a person from another household. There are exemptions for certain medical conditions, certain professions, exercising and when eating and drinking.
  • “Science says the masks coupled with social distancing dramatically reduces transmission,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the state’s former health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
  • The state on Thursday had 1,376 patients hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, the highest number since the pandemic began. Eighty-six percent of intensive care beds are full, Williamson said. While hospitals can add beds, health officials have expressed concern about that the upswing in cases could overwhelm hospitals if it continues.
  • The state’s caseload has been increasing by an average of about 1,500 a day over the past week, and nearly 17% of virus tests are now coming back positive, nearly double from May.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


3. State senator hospitalized with COVID-19: Don’t get complacent

  • State Sen. Randy Price, who has been diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19, said Thursday he is getting better each day.
  • “I have been overwhelmed with prayers, love and support since Oline and I fell ill, and it’s something that I will never forget,” Price, R-Opelika, said in a written statement to Alabama Daily News. “Thankfully, my wife, Oline, has recovered fully and I am thrilled to report that, although my condition was once serious, I’m getting better each day under the best care in our state.
  • “I want to personally thank the nurses and doctors at East Alabama Medical Center for the first-class care I have received during this time.”
  • On Thursday, Price was still in the intensive care unit of EAMC, the hospital confirmed.
  • The Opelika-Auburn News on Monday reported that both Randy and Oline Price, the Lee County Revenue Commissioner, had contracted COVID-19, along with several members of their family. Oline Price’s symptoms were more mild. Still, she missed three weeks of work recovering.
  • On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, sent an email to fellow senators about Sen. Price.
  • “I know each of you will join me in lifting Randy, Oline, and their family up in prayer and positive thoughts,” Reed said. “Randy is determined to get back to serving his constituents in Senate District 13 and also his colleagues in the Alabama Senate.”
  • Sen. Price, 63, was elected in 2018 in the district that includes portions of Lee County and all of Chambers, Clay and Cleburne counties. He is a business owner and farmer.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


4. Construction planned in Jasper, Trussville to provide better broadband

  • Broadband company C Spire will begin to install its ultra-fast fiber-based Gigabit speed internet and related service in Jasper and Trussville in the coming weeks as part of an initiative to improve the state’s rural broadband access.
  • In a virtual press conference on Thursday, C Spire executives and Alabama lawmakers said this is the first step in improving the state’s broadband reach and to ensure all Alabamians have fast internet connections.
  • “We’re excited about bringing high-capacity fiber broadband services, which rely on a transformational and truly revolutionary technology infrastructure that will boost home and business values, broaden entertainment opportunities, help expand local economies and improve the quality of life for Alabamians,” said Ben Moncrief, managing director in Alabama for C Spire.
  • Moncrief said that construction in Jasper will begin in about two weeks and then in Trussville shortly after. Moncrief explained that the two cities were the first to get this services because lawmakers representing them were the first to reach out to C Spire months ago.
  • Jasper Mayor David O’Mary said the town plans to leverage the infrastructure to help continue the city’s efforts to improve the quality of life for residents and the economic environment for businesses.
  • “C Spire Fiber will help us continue to transform our community into a 21st digital powerhouse,” he said.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


5. Will Whatley: Don’t let yourself get down

  • According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a third of all Americans have been experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Let’s face it: things are pretty tough right now. Thousands of Alabamians are facing job insecurity while also trying to navigate a global pandemic. Perhaps you have loved ones sick from COVID-19. Perhaps you’re worried about being in public and possibly contracting the coronavirus. Maybe you’re just tired of being cooped up at home so much. Whatever your situation, it’s imperative to remember that there are healthy ways in which you can manage all these stressors.
  • ADN’s Will Whatley talked with psychiatrist Dr. Amanda Williams of Gardenia Cove about what she’d suggest people do to help deal with these tough times.
  • Read their conversation with helpful suggestions HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s June unemployment rate drops to 7.5%


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama mask order takes effect as hospitalizations rise


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State senator hospitalized with COVID-19: Don’t get complacent


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Construction planned in Jasper, Trussville to provide better broadband


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Will Whatley: Don’t let yourself get down


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Senate race shapes up to be a contentious slugfest


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House COVID-19 task force coordinator meets with Ivey, other state leaders


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress eyes new virus aid as school, health crisis deepens


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump replaces campaign manager amid sinking poll numbers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 16, 2020


AL.COM  – 60,158 coronavirus cases in Alabama, up 1,933 overnight; Jefferson County adds 360 new cases


AL.COM  – Gadsden Black Lives Matter leader arrested; group calls it effort to slow movement


AL.COM   – Alabama’s sales tax holiday for school set for July 17-19; Here are sales, what you need to know


AL.COM  – Alabama restaurant bans Gov. Ivey, other officials over mask orders


AL.COM  – Ivey announces grants to bring broadband to 7 communities


AL.COM  – Huntsville declines to release records about tear gas at protests


AL.COM  – U.S. customs in Mobile seize $120,000 worth of illegal disinfectant wipes


AL.COM  – Columnist John Archibald: These are things the bastards won’t let you do.


AL.COM  – Club for Growth’s focus on Alabama GOP primary switches to general election.


AL.COM  – Coronavirus outbreak at Alabama’s largest food bank: “This is a major hit”


Montgomery Advertiser – Memorial for Peace and Justice to begin night tours


Montgomery Advertiser – Charges pending against protesters who spray painted ‘Black Lives Matter, expand Medicaid’ at Alabama Capitol


Montgomery Advertiser – $1,000 reward announced for information in death of 17-year-old Lesley Luna Pantaleon


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – State to give $1 million to help preserve Clotilda


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Police: Warrants secured after ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted in front of Alabama Capitol


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Retired federal judge speaks on legality of statewide face mask order


Tuscaloosa News – Three teens charged after shots fired into two homes


Tuscaloosa News – Legal thriller earns prize from UA law school


Tuscaloosa News – Shelton State joins workforce development program


Decatur Daily – Board member worries about safety of Lawrence students opting for traditional classes


Decatur Daily – Retired officer: Have a plan, be prepared for active shooters


Decatur Daily – Wednesday school closures, mask requirement part of Morgan system’s reopening plan


Times Daily – Virus cases rise in U.S. states amid new world restrictions


Times Daily – Keller changes caregiver policy after COVID-19 cases rise


Times Daily – Sheffield officers’ quick response saves councilwoman


Anniston Star – Police investigating apparent murder-suicide in Saks


Anniston Star – Pleasant Valley Elementary awarded for literacy program


Anniston Star – Police investigating apparent murder-suicide in Saks


YellowHammer News – Dale Jackson: Wearing a mask is smart and constitutional — not doing so is dumb and self-defeating


YellowHammer News – Bronze Valley and gener8tor bringing accelerator to Alabama


YellowHammer News – Prim Escalona to serve as interim U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Alabama


Gadsden Times – Many questions remain as schools plan for return


Gadsden Times – Woman charged with taking $1 million-plus from elderly person


Gadsden Times – Voters turn out for Cherokee County Republican runoff


Dothan Eagle – Wiregrass food bank receives donation of 10,800 eggs


Dothan Eagle – Health officials: SE Health, Flowers near COVID saturation level, time to consider alternative patient sites


Dothan Eagle – UPDATE: Water World closing for rest of season due to COVID


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University to test all students on campus for COVID-19 this fall


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika businesses prep for tax-free weekend


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn man sentenced to 90 years for 2017 Opelika double-murder


WSFA Montgomery – Police: Warrants secured after ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted in front of Alabama Capitol


WSFA Montgomery – Valley man dies in vehicle crash on Lee Rd. 158 near Smiths Station


WSFA Montgomery – Columbus father speaks out about COVID-19 after losing daughter to the virus


WAFF Huntsville – One killed in overnight wreck on Old Monrovia Road


WAFF Huntsville – Candlelight vigil held in Ardmore one year after woman’s murder


WAFF Huntsville – CRAFT federal team works to help stop coronavirus spread in Madison County


WKRG Mobile – Law enforcement focusing on encouraging mask compliance over policing it


WKRG Mobile – Crews search for missing person on Tombigbee River in Jackson


WKRG Mobile – Mt. Vernon Mayor Terry Williams pleads guilty to federal fraud charge


WTVY Dothan – Stores preparing for Alabama’s 15th annual tax-free weekend


WTVY Dothan – Rep. Kelly Armstrong discusses Trump administration’s changes to environmental law


WTVY Dothan – 2,000 machines going to nursing homes to rapidly test for COVID-19


WASHINGTON POST – Live updates: U.S. blows past coronavirus record with more than 70,000 new cases in one day


WASHINGTON POST – Trump faces rising disapproval and widespread distrust on coronavirus, Post-ABC poll finds


WASHINGTON POST – Disappearance of covid-19 data from CDC website spurs outcry


NEW YORK TIMES – Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Shatters Single-Day Caseload


NEW YORK TIMES – Mask Rules Expand Across U.S. as Clashes Over the Mandates Intensify


NEW YORK TIMES – Chief Vaccine Scientist Will Not Be Forced to Disclose Pharmaceutical Stocks


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Wirecard Woe Spreads as Banks Struggle to Exit Loans


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Administration Turns Up Pressure on China on Several Fronts


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Senate GOP Aims to Funnel Covid Liability Cases to Federal Courts



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