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Daily News Digest – July 2, 2020

Good morning!

One more day until Hamilton on Disney Plus. This month is already looking up.

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, July 2.



1. Statewide virtual school provider selected; Broadband ‘inequities’ remain

  • The Alabama State Department of Education has selected a company called Schools PLP to provide a statewide virtual learning option for K-12 students in the upcoming school year.
  • Details of the contract with Schools PLP weren’t available Wednesday, but a spokesman for ALSDE said an emergency contract was issued. The school year begins next month and school systems must have in-person and at-home education options as the state continues to see the number of cases of COVID-19 climb.
  • Arizona-based Schools PLP “is an online educational ecosystem where all aspects of eLearning are inter-connected,” according to its website.
  • In May, Alabama Daily News reported that ALSDE wanted a statewide virtual learning option for K-12 students whose parents may not want them to return to traditional classrooms. The online platform will also be an option should school systems have to close their physical doors again as they did in March.
  • The shift to online learning continues to highlight the digital divide in the state, as many rural residents don’t have access to high-speed internet.
  • Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told Alabama Daily News that expanding broadband will be the priority of the Senate when it returns to Montgomery, either in a special session or in the 2021 regular session.
  • “I think you have a real argument, if you’re in rural Alabama under this situation, on the inequities of education,” Marsh said about internet access. “So how do we address that? I can promise you that this will be the Senate issue that has to be resolved before anything else is because it it has so much effect on the state as a whole.”
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


2. Tuberville’s bus catches fire in DeKalb County

  • U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign bus went up in flames Wednesday night on the side of a north Alabama interstate.
  • The DeKalb County Sheriff’s office posted on social media that a lane of Interstate 59 was shut down after a recreational vehicle caught on fire. The photos showed the Tuberville campaign bus ablaze. The sheriff’s office said the driver escaped uninjured.
  • As the photos were circulating, I texted campaign manager Paul Shashy to see if everyone was okay and he assured me they were. Later he sent out a statement making light of the situation.
  • “Coach Tuberville’s candidacy has obviously caught fire with voters…and our bus has, too. We are thankful that no one was hurt in the incident and for the remarkable first responders who assisted immediately,” Shashy said.
  • As long as we’re making light of things here, does anyone know of former offensive coordinator Tony Franklin’s whereabouts last night?
  • Story HERE.


3. Mobile, Tuscaloosa join Alabama cities requiring face masks

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey asks citizens to continue wearing masks and use social distancing during a coronavirus update in the state capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday June 29, 2020. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
  • Mobile and Tuscaloosa have joined the list of Alabama cities requiring face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as cities look for ways to curb rising infections and hospitalizations.
  • The Mobile City Council voted 6-1 on Wednesday for an ordinance requiring facial coverings in public places for the next 30 days.
  • “At the end of the day what we want is to make sure our businesses stay open and our citizens stay healthy,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.
  • Birmingham and surrounding Jefferson County, Montgomery, and Selma already have mask ordinances because of the pandemic, which health officials say is worsening in Alabama as hospitalizations increase and the percentage of positive virus test results rises.
  • Several people spoke out against the Mobile ordinance during public comments and Stimpson said he knows some people may take offense at the step. But he said officials are seeking ways to stop the spread of the virus, adding police officers have been given masks to distribute if someone needs one.
  • “We would much rather have our officers handing out face masks instead of citations,” Stimpson said.
  • Full story HERE.


4. Officials: Students in Tuscaloosa threw COVID contest parties

  • Several college students in an Alabama city organized “COVID-19” parties as a contest to see who would get the virus first, officials said.
  • Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students hosted the parties to intentionally infect each other with the new coronavirus, news outlets reported.
  • McKinstry said party organizers purposely invited guests who tested positive for COVID-19. She said the students put money in a pot and whoever got COVID first would get the cash.
  • “It makes no sense,” McKinstry said. “They’re intentionally doing it.”
  • Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed the incidents to the City Council Tuesday.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Job growth surges

  • U.S. employers hired 4.8 million workers in June, reducing a Depression-level unemployment rate and beating expectations.
  • According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this morning, the national unemployment rate fell from 13.3% in May to 11.1% in June.
  • The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession. And with confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across the Sun Belt states, a range of evidence suggests that a job market recovery may be stalling. In those states and elsewhere, some restaurants, bars and other retailers that had re-opened are being forced to close again.California has re-closed bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state. Florida has also re-closed bars and beaches. Texas has reversed some of its efforts to reopen its economy. New York has paused its plans to allow indoor dining.
  • Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase show that consumers reduced their spending last week after having increased it steadily in late April and May. The reversal has occurred both in states that have reported surges in COVID-19 and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan.
  • Nationwide, card spending fell nearly 13% last week compared with a year ago. That’s worse than the previous week, when year-over-year card spending had fallen just under 10%.
  • Read more HERE.



INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Inside Alabama Politics – June 30, 2020


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1%


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Statewide virtual school provider selected; Broadband access ‘inequities’ remain


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tuberville’s campaign bus catches on fire in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mobile, Tuscaloosa join Alabama cities requiring face masks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Officials: Students in Alabama threw COVID contest parties


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC’s Sankey: Federal NIL law needed for fair competition


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No new restrictions as Ivey urges Alabamians to heed warnings, wear masks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In pandemic, taxes on online purchases up; trend concerns educators


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As health order extends, lawmakers want some authority


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – U.S. Chamber endorses Jerry Carl in AL-1


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci: US ‘going in wrong direction’ in coronavirus outbreak


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Summer may decide fate of leading shots in vaccine race


AL.COM  – 2 state prison inmates with COVID-19 die in 4-day span


AL.COM  – Mask up, Mobile: City requiring face coverings in public


AL.COM  – ‘Face masks are coming,’ says Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle


AL.COM  – Lawsuit challenges Ivey appointment of Jefferson County probate judge


AL.COM  – Auburn biomedical firm announces $163 million expansion, to hire 220


AL.COM  – Alabama city asks: Can mask ordinances be enforced?


AL.COM  – ‘We do this for each other’: Doug Jones puts on COVID-19 mask in latest campaign ad


AL.COM  – Gov. Kay Ivey names new leader for early childhood education


AL.COM  – Alabama adds 906 coronavirus cases, COVID hospitalizations reach new high of 776


AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Alabamafication unmasked


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery teen charged with capital murder in fatal shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama church leaders plead with Gov. Kay Ivey to expand Medicaid


Montgomery Advertiser – No fireworks in Montgomery, but here are 2 days of July 4 celebrations, fireworks in the region


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – As health order extends, lawmakers want some authority


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: 947 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 38K test positive & 22K recover


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Cullman Regional spokesperson says she’s ‘not surprised’ by Cullman County COVID-19 Risk Indicator data


Tuscaloosa News – SEC Media Days dates, format remain uncertain


Tuscaloosa News – Teen charged in Broadmoore Gardens shooting


Tuscaloosa News – Chief: Infected students attended parties in Tuscaloosa County


Decatur Daily – Limestone schools to use federal relief money for iPads, Chromebooks


Decatur Daily – No curbside voting in runoff election to be available locally


Decatur Daily – As health order extends, lawmakers want some authority


Times Daily – Tuscumbia man arrested on heroin trafficking charge


Times Daily – Taxes on online purchases are up; trend concerns educators


Times Daily – Lawmakers want to review emergency orders


Anniston Star – Ford closes up career at Berman Museum


Anniston Star – At least four lined up for Anniston mayoral run as qualifying approaches


Anniston Star – Anniston man charged with dealing cocaine


Gadsden Times – Tuberville campaign vehicle burns on Interstate 59


Gadsden Times – ADPH: Etowah, Marshall among ‘very high risk’ counties


Gadsden Times – Council members ask for details on mask ordinances


YellowHammer News – Tuberville campaign bus catches fire; No one injured


YellowHammer News – Army secretary visits Dynetics facility in Huntsville — ‘What you do protects our way of life’


YellowHammer News – Birmingham’s Lee Styslinger praises Trump’s USMCA taking effect — ‘Historic chapter for North American trade’


Dothan Eagle – Mobile, Tuscaloosa join Alabama cities requiring face masks


Dothan Eagle – VOTE: Should there be a mandate for wearing masks in Alabama?


Dothan Eagle – Houston County man burglarizes multiple storage units; arrested Troy Messenger – TB&T, FNB complete merger


Troy Messenger – Fireworks safety takes new twist with COVID-19


Troy Messenger – FIREWORKS SHOW IS A GO: City continues annual Fourth of July tradition with COVID precautions


Andalusia Star News – Tombstones allegedly vandalized


Andalusia Star News – State NAACP: ‘Opp branch is not in compliance’


Andalusia Star News – Local superintendents discuss back-to-school


Opelika-Auburn News – Online or in class? Local students have options for 2020-21


Opelika-Auburn News – Army recruiting push runs through Friday


Opelika-Auburn News – VOTE: Should there be a mask mandate in Alabama?


Daily Mountain Eagle – Tuscaloosa joins Alabama cities requiring face masks


Daily Mountain Eagle – Traders and Farmers give to food bank


Daily Mountain Eagle – Council votes 4-2 to put Spears on Utility Board


Trussville Tribune – Trussville PD arrest man in connection to ambulance stolen from nursing home


Trussville Tribune – College students in Tuscaloosa hosting ‘COVID’ parties to see who gets infected first


Trussville Tribune – The beat goes on: Springville man’s family saves his life


Athens News Courier – ALEA to up DUI enforcement over holiday weekend


Athens News Courier – Feeding the hungry: Athens Rotary aids Full Tummy Project


Athens News Courier – Arrest reports for 7/1/20


WSFA Montgomery – Tuberville campaign vehicle catches fire in DeKalb County


WSFA Montgomery – Nursing home resident describes life during COVID-19 pandemic


WSFA Montgomery – 19-year-old charged in June homicide of Montgomery man


WAFF Huntsville – More younger people testing positive for COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – ALEA Marine Troopers warn of boat safety ahead of holiday weekend


WAFF Huntsville – EarlyWorks Children’s Museum reopening with new safety procedures


WKRG Mobile – Five children being treated for COVID-19 within Huntsville Hospital system


WKRG Mobile – Fairhope church delivers food to local health care providers


WKRG Mobile – Contact tracing to take place in Alabama schools in the fall


WTVY Dothan – AAA predicts fewer people traveling for 4th of July weekend


WTVY Dothan – Montgomery Biscuits issue statement after 2020 MiLB season canceled


WTVY Dothan – 4-year-old says YouTube is the reason he is so advanced


WASHINGTON POST  – Coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50 percent last month, led by states that reopened first


WASHINGTON POST  – Voters in deep-red Oklahoma approve Medicaid expansion


WASHINGTON POST  – Money actually can buy happiness, study finds


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump appears to back another round of stimulus checks, though jumbled remarks make plan unclear


NEW YORK TIMES  – Hollowed Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus


NEW YORK TIMES  – Special Report: Thousands of U.S. Judges Who Broke Laws, Oaths Remained on the Bench


NEW YORK TIMES  – In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both


NEW YORK TIMES  – The Fed Sets Out Many Reasons to Worry About the Economy


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