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Daily News Digest – July 22, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, July 22.


1. COVID-19 update



  • The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 1,364 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest daily number of new cases reported in more than 10 days.
  • A total of 170 new hospitalizations were reported Tuesday, but the confirmed number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped to 1,547 from 1,571, the first decrease in a week.
  • A caveat to the good news, at least on new cases, could be the total number of tests reported, which was 6,490, well below the 10-day average of 10,117 tests per day. Sometimes data from ADPH lags after a weekend, but it is unclear whether that played a role in fewer than average tests being reported. Today’s update from ADPH at 10:00 a.m. could be telling. Fingers crossed.
  • A total of 11 COVID-19 related deaths were reported across the state, bringing the overall death toll to 1,268.
  • Read more and see the latest charts HERE.


  • President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that the “nasty horrible’” coronavirus will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better. He also professed a newfound respect for the protective face masks he has seldom worn and admonished young people against crowding bars and spreading the disease.
  • “It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better,” Trump said from the White House. But he also touted a reduction in deaths and progress on vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
  • As early as next week, the first possible U.S. vaccine is set to begin final-stage testing in a study of 30,000 people to see if it really is safe and effective.
  • Health authorities warn there’s no guarantee — it’s not unusual for vaccines to fail during this critical testing step. But vaccine makers and health officials are hopeful that at least one vaccine could prove to work by year’s end. Companies already are taking the unusual step of brewing hundreds of millions of doses so that mass vaccinations could begin if the Food and Drug Administration signs off.
  • Read more about the president’s comments and the federal response HERE.


  • Meanwhile, a ray of hope from England.
  • Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.
  • In research published Monday in the journal Lancet, scientists said that they found their experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55 that lasted at least two months after they were immunized.
  • “We are seeing good immune response in almost everybody,” said Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. “What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms of the immune system,” he said.
  • Read more on that HERE.



2. Sen. Price now on ventilator

  • State Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, has been intubated on a ventilator in his fight against COVD-19, his wife said Tuesday.
  • In a Facebook post, Oline Price, who serves as Lee County Revenue Commissioner, updated friends, family and supporters of her husband’s condition and asked for continued prayers.
  • “Today, Randy was intubated to help him with his battle of Covid-19. This disease is one that I would not wish on anyone. I can not overstate the seriousness of this virus. It has tremendous negative effects on the human body. I encourage everyone to maintain social distancing, use hand sanitizer and continue to plead that everyone please wear a mask,” Oline Price wrote.
  • She herself had contracted COVID-19 earlier, The Opelika-Auburn News reported, but her symptoms were more mild.
  • Alabama Daily News first reported last week that Sen. Price had been admitted to East Alabama Medical Center and was in the intensive care unit.
  • Oline Price again pleaded with the public to take the virus seriously and not let politics influence behavior.
  • Read more HERE.


3. Alabama’s Voter ID law upheld

  • Federal appeals judges upheld a lower court Tuesday and rejected claims that an Alabama law which requires voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls is racially discriminatory.
  • The decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a 2018 ruling that dismissed a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and others, was a victory for Republicans who contend the law is needed to prevent voter fraud.
  • Rebuffing opponents who argued the law violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, the court ruled that “no reasonable factfinder could find that Alabama’s voter ID law is unconstitutionally discriminatory” based on the evidence.
  • Alabama has required voters to show government ID when they vote since 2014. State lawmakers approved the photo ID law in 2011 after the GOP took control of the Legislature. They argued the measure was needed to combat potential voter fraud.
  • The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries and minority voters had sued over the law in 2015, calling it discriminatory and an infringement on voting rights. They contended Alabama politicians knew when they enacted it that Black and Latino voters disproportionately lack photo ID.
  • Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill both applauded the ruling in statements declaring victory in the case.
  • Full story HERE.



4. State prepares final Census push

  • With the Census deadline looming in the fall, state leaders are preparing for a final push to encourage all residents to be participate and avoid the negative effects of an under count.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell and Marilyn Stephens of the U.S. Census Bureau led a media outreach video conference Tuesday in which they discussed ongoing Census efforts and unveiled some new messaging themes aimed at convincing residents to complete their Census forms.
  • Alabama actually leads the seven state southern region in response rate at 59.8%, but Ivey said that still “won’t cut the mustard” if Alabama intends to keep its current number of congressional seats and proportional federal funding.
  • Census workers will begin Aug. 11 canvassing neighborhoods and knocking on the doors of those who haven’t yet completed the survey online or mailed in the form, officials said. But people can “avoid the knock” by completing the Census before then, Stephens said.
  • Read more HERE.


5. ‘What the hell are we doing?’ GOP splits as virus aid package could swell past $1 trillion

  • The price tag for the next COVID-19 aid package could quickly swell above $1 trillion as White House officials negotiate with Congress over money to reopen schools, prop up small businesses, boost virus testing and keep cash flowing to Americans while the virus crisis deepens in the U.S.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday promised a new round of direct payments to earners below a certain income level, similar to the $1,200 checks sent in the spring. President Donald Trump insists on a payroll tax holiday for workers. And Democrats want billions to outfit schools and shore up local governments.
  • “Regretfully, this is not over,” McConnell said after a raucous private GOP lunch, urging Americans to learn to live with the new virus by wearing masks and practicing social distancing until a vaccine can be found.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting chief of staff Mark Meadows spent the day on Capitol Hill, meeting separately with McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others trying to broker a compromise between the GOP’s emerging $1 trillion proposal with the House’s more sweeping $3 trillion bill.
  • The lunch session grew heated as key Republican senators complained about big spending, vowing to stall the relief bill’s passage.
  • As a long line of senators rose to speak about aspects of the bill, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz asked his colleagues, “What in the hell are we doing?”
  • Cruz warned if the economy is still shut down come November, Joe Biden will win the White House, Democrats will control the Senate and “we’ll be meeting in a much smaller lunch room,” according to a person granted anonymity to discuss the closed-door session.
  • Full story from Lisa Masacaro HERE.


News Briefs

Baldwin County lands ALDI distribution center

  • Grocery retailer ALDI on Tuesday announced plans to construct a new regional headquarters and distribution center in the Baldwin County town of Loxley.
  • ALDI purchased 160 acres in Loxley’s industrial and warehousing district, north of I-10 exit 44. The planned 564,000-square-foot facility will bring approximately $100 million in capital investment and create 200 jobs for Loxley and Baldwin County. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2021.
  • Read more from the Alabama News Center HERE.

Trump’s new immigration fight: how to redraw House districts

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday that seeks to bar people in the U.S. illegally from being included in the headcount as congressional districts are redrawn, a move that drew immediate criticism and promises of court challenges on constitutional grounds.
  • Trump said including them in the count “would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government.” Seats in U.S. House of Representatives are redistributed every 10 years based on changes in population found in the census.
  • The Supreme Court blocked the administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census form, with a majority saying the administration’s rationale for the citizenship question — to help enforce voting rights — appeared to be contrived.
  • In Alabama, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Congressman Mo Brooks are suing the Census Bureau to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted when determining congressional seats for each state.
  • Read more HERE.

3 teens charged with capital murder in 17-year-old’s slaying

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Three 16-year-old girls are charged with capital murder in the death of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in an Alabama creek, police said Tuesday.
  • Montgomery police said the teenagers were being held without bond in the slaying of Lesley Luna Pantaleon, who was last seen alive in June, news outlets reported. Her body was found in water near the city’s airport on July 4, police said.
  • Ta’Niya Merriweather, Erin Taylor and Tyeshia Whisenant, all of Montgomery, were charged with murder during a robbery, court documents showed. News outlets reported that the three were charged as adults, and police said they were involved in a fight with Pantaleon.
  • Court records did not list defense attorneys for any of the three, who were due in court for an initial hearing Wednesday.
  • Pantaleon’s parents reported her missing on June 24, when she was last seen driving a vehicle in Montgomery.
  • Authorities have not said how Pantaleon died.

3 arrested in 2007 killing in south Alabama

  • DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Police have arrested three people in a deadly shooting that happened more than a decade ago in southeast Alabama.
  • Three Dothan residents are being charged in the killing of Perry Griffin, 37, the Dothan Eagle reported. The suspects’ names weren’t released immediately, and authorities held news conference for Tuesday to discuss the case.
  • Griffin was shot to death outside Panhandle Converter Recycling on June 26, 2007. Two gunmen wearing what appeared to be Halloween-style masks confronted Griffin during an early morning robbery, police said, and he was shot to death after getting out of a company truck to close a gate.
  • One of the suspects had worked at the same company as the victim and another is currently in prison on an unrelated charge, the newspaper reported.
  • Read more from the Dothan Eagle HERE.

Search for missing man in day 6 on Alabama lake

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The search for a missing Alabama man entered its sixth day on Smith Lake north of Birmingham on Tuesday, authorities said.
  • State police said teams were using sonar, diving equipment and aircraft to look for Dustin New, 26, of Fultondale. New was last seen on Thursday, when a boat capsized.
  • Water in the search area, which is located in Walker County, is as much as 140 feet deep in places with standing trees and fallen timber on the bottom. The conditions make the work that much tougher.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New cases, hospitalizations down in Alabama for the the first time in a week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State senator battling COVID-19 now on ventilator


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama voter ID law upheld by 11th Circuit


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State prepares for final Census push


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Bama in a Box’ brings Alabama-made products to your door


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ALDI plans regional HQ, distribution hub in Baldwin County, creating 200 jobs


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump says virus in US will get worse before it gets better


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s new immigration fight: how to redraw House districts


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Election officials use lessons from runoff to plan for November


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New resources, recommendations available as schools set to reopen


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 21, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama adds 1,364 new coronavirus cases; deaths rise by 11 to 1,268


AL.COM – Alabama allowing more online driver license renewals


AL.COM – Federal appeals court upholds Alabama’s photo voter ID law


AL.COM – Here’s how Birmingham is using CARES Act money


AL.COM – Activist Carlos Chaverst arrested on warrants in Hoover, Homewood and Birmingham


AL.COM – Alabama AG applauds Trump move to exclude people in country illegally from census


AL.COM – Birmingham takes steps on 2 big economic projects, 600 jobs projected


AL.COM – New Theodore plant to bring 74 jobs to Mobile area


AL.COM – Kay Ivey says Alabama’s 60% census response rate won’t ‘cut the mustard’


Montgomery Advertiser – Affidavit: Teen girls beat, stabbed Lesley Luna Pantaleon the day her family reported her missing


Montgomery Advertiser – Three teenage girls charged with capital murder in the disappearance, death of Lesley Luna Pantaleon


Montgomery Advertiser – Short-staffed Montgomery County sheriff and jail face more cuts during COVID-19 pandemic


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Appeals court allows Alabama voter ID law to go forward


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa city leaders discuss student-based housing plan


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Jefferson County preparing to ramp up COVID-19 testing availability


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Schools to begin year online


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa advances new rules, restrictions on student-based housing


Tuscaloosa News – 3 teens charged in 17-year-old’s slaying


Decatur Daily – Local health officials: More and faster COVID testing needed as hospitalizations rise


Decatur Daily – ABC backtracks on parking-space dining during pandemic


Decatur Daily – Decatur City Schools may begin virtually if ‘very high risk’ category does not drop


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals superintendent tests positive for COVID-19


Times Daily – Shoals unemployment is sinking, but so is work force


Times Daily – Ivey offers $5K reward in 2017 Colbert homicide


Anniston Star – USDA Farmers to Families food box handout in Ranburne


Anniston Star – Vote to refinance will save city through lower interest rates


Anniston Star – JSU presents fall plans for instructional delivery, safety precautions


YellowHammer News – ‘Major victory’: Federal appeals court upholds Alabama’s photo voter ID law


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Dismukes questions lack of Ivey mask mandate guidelines — ‘No point’ in mandate if it’s just a signal to the rest of the country


YellowHammer News – Marshall, Brooks praise Trump effort to prevent illegal immigrants from being counted in post-Census redistricting


Gadsden Times – Standoff ends with self-inflicted gunshot wound


Gadsden Times – Found: Amber Alert canceled for Etowah County child


Gadsden Times – Attalla schools plan for return to school on campus, online


Dothan Eagle – Alabama risks losing funding, House seat with low census response


Dothan Eagle – Former Marine recruiter who lived on Fort Rucker sentenced for child porn


Dothan Eagle – Tips, interviews aid in breakthrough of 2007 cold case murder


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika City School’s First Class Pre-K ready for first day of school


Opelika-Auburn News – Morning headlines: Portland protests find new momentum; MLB players take social justice stand; Alex Trebek turns 80


Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika council approves over $11 million for new library, $10K allocated to EAMC Foundation


WSFA Montgomery – New York teen loses both parents to COVID-19 within a month


WSFA Montgomery – Tuscaloosa PD: Suspect charged after video shows dogs thrown against a wall


WSFA Montgomery – Construction worker dies after train collides with heavy equipment


WAFF Huntsville – Madison Co. health dept: Many complaints of restaurant employees wearing masks wrong


WAFF Huntsville – Albertville restaurant asks customers to be kind and wear masks


WAFF Huntsville – New York teen loses both parents to COVID-19 within a month


WKRG Mobile – Fauci ‘not even thinking about’ resigning from White House coronavirus task force


WKRG Mobile – Breakthrough sleep apnea surgery now offered in Baldwin County


WKRG Mobile – Powerful 7.8 quake hits Alaska isles; tsunami threat over


WTVY Dothan – Ala. teachers group wants schools to stay virtual until virus numbers decrease


WTVY Dothan – Alabama Community College System announces reopening plans


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise man accused of shooting into vehicle with 3 children


WASHINGTON POST – Pandemic likely to ‘get worse before it gets better,’ Trump says in somber return to coronavirus briefing


WASHINGTON POST – As Trump deploys federal agents to Chicago, his toxic history with the city has officials, residents on edge


WASHINGTON POST – Facing unrest on American streets, Trump turns Homeland Security powers inward


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump, in a Departure, Says Virus Will Get Worse


NEW YORK TIMES – End of $600 Unemployment Bonus Could Push Millions Past the Brink


NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Orders China to Close Its Houston Consulate in 72 Hours


WALL STREET JOURNAL – White House Works to Sell GOP Senators on Payroll-Tax Cut


WALL STREET JOURNAL – House Passes Defense Bill After Trump Issues Formal Veto Threat


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Federal Agents Deploy to Chicago as Big-City Mayors Decry Involvement



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