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Daily News Digest – July 7, 2020

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 7.



1. COVID-19 update

  • The number of COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals rose to a new high of 1,000 Monday as health officials continued to urge people to wear masks and take precautions amid an uptick in cases.
  • No new deaths have been reported the last two days, but numbers could be lagging from the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
  • “We set a record for highs over the holiday weekend, and of course, given the number of people who were out and about over the weekend celebrating, we are certainly concerned about what the next couple of weeks are going to look like as well,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.
  • Alabama is recently averaging about 1,000 new cases per day, according to the Department of Public Health. Since the pandemic began, more than 44,000 people in Alabama have tested positive for COVID-19, and 984 people have died after contracting the illness.
  • Harris and Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said hospitals are managing, but the trends are concerning.
  • Williamson said the state has about 300 intensive care unit beds — or 18 percent of the state inventory — available and 893 ventilators available.
  • “In terms of overall capacity, it looks OK, but I have to worry about the hospitalization trend,” Williamson said. “The question is what does it look like two weeks from now,” Williamson said.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler and see the updated chart HERE.



2. Sessions calls Tuberville ‘weak, ’ ‘not ready’ for Washington as runoff hits homestretch

  • Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday stepped up attacks against his Senate primary rival, accusing former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville of hiding and being unprepared for Washington.
  • Sessions, speaking in Montgomery at the start of a statewide swing ahead of next week’s runoff, accused Tuberville of hiding by refusing to debate despite initially promising he would do so. He also criticized Tuberville’s handling of the case of a football player accused of sexual assault and his involvement in a hedge fund where his partner pleaded guilty to fraud.
  • “Today, I’m challenging my opponent to come out of hiding,” Sessions said at a stop at Sweet Creek, a restaurant and produce market outside Montgomery.
  • “He says he’s tough. He says he’s strong, but he won’t answer basic questions the people of Alabama need to have answered. So, I would say he’s not strong. I say he’s weak. I say he is not ready to take on the powerful forces in Washington that I have had to battle for many, many years.”
  • Tuberville and Sessions face off in the July 14 Republican runoff for Sessions’ former Senate seat that he resigned to become President Donald Trump’s first attorney general. Tuberville narrowly led Sessions, who was wounded by Trump’s criticisms, in the spring primary, leaving the Sessions camp scrambling to make up ground before the runoff that was postponed until summer because of COVID-19.
  • Sessions referenced recent news articles about Tuberville, including his handling of a player who was initially charged in 1999 with the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl and Tuberville’s involvement in a hedge fund in which Tuberville’s partner, John David Stroud, pleaded guilty to fraud.
  • Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


3. Coleman out raises Moore in AL-2

  • Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman out raised GOP 2nd Congressional District runoff opponent, former State Rep. Barry Moore, in the last fundraising cycle of the campaign as the candidates enter the final week of the race.
  • For the April 1 through June 24 fundraising period, Coleman raised $328,502 while Moore raised $92,343.
  • Perhaps more notable than the top line fundraising numbers, however, is who gave this time around.
  • Coleman’s FEC report shows he got contributions from two key Republicans, one who’s name starts with an M and ends with artha Roby. Another starts with an R and ends with ichard Shelby.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


4. Senators, school nurses push for expanded COVID-19 safety plan

  • A bipartisan trio of state senators has for weeks been pushing a statewide COVID-19 school safety proposal that includes thermal scanning, rapid testing for the flu and COVID-19, 300 new school nurses and 500 square-foot nurses stations and isolation units outside each public school.
  • Conversations with Sens. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, Jim McClendon, R-Springville, and Jabo Waggoner, R-Birmingham,  in recent weeks have included the Alabama Department of Education and the Governor’s Office. But the plan, created by the Alabama Association of School Nurses, doesn’t seem to have gotten much traction, frustrating the legislators. Their proposal was not part of the recently released ALSDE Roadmap for Reopening Schools in August.
  • “Now, with 138 school systems that are all doing their own thing, I’m afraid for our students,” Singleton told Alabama Daily News on Monday. “I don’t know where the hell we’re going with this.”
  • Singleton said earlier this spring, he proposed hiring 300 additional school nurses to help schools monitor and try to slow the spread of COVID-19. He was then approached by GOP colleagues Waggoner and McClendon, to lend his support to the Safely Opening Schools 2020 plan, which has a total cost of about $150 million, much of which could be covered by federal coronavirus relief funds, advocates said.
  • Singleton, McClendon and Waggoner all sent requests for use of federal CARES Act money to Gov. Kay Ivey’s office.
  • Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, confirmed to Alabama Daily News that lawmakers supporting the project had recently met with staff in the Governor’s Office, but said the plan is still being assessed.
  • “As schools plan to reopen in the fall, the safety of students and faculty is the governor’s top priority,” Maiola said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



5. News Briefs

Ex-boyfriend charged in killing of Alabama police officer

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The former boyfriend of an Alabama police officer is charged with capital murder in her shooting death just weeks after a court ordered him to stay away from the woman, authorities and court records said.
  • Brandon Deshawn Webster, 24, is accused of killing detective Tanisha Pughsley at her home early Monday. Authorities described the slaying as occurring during a domestic dispute.
  • WSFA-TV reported that court records show Pughsley was granted a restraining order against the man last month. Pughsley alleged Webster would unexpectedly come to her house, and he once hit her on the head when she was holding her godchild, causing her to drop the child.
  • Webster was charged with killing Pughsley in violation of a protective order. He also was charged with murder during a burglary and attempted murder.
  • Court records were not available to show whether Webster had a defense attorney who could speak on his behalf.
  • Pughsley had been with Montgomery police since 2016.

Ivey grants $49M in virus-related education aid

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that nearly $49 million in federal virus response aid will pay to boost internet access for students, offer digital textbooks and help with other education budget needs.
  • The dollars come from an education relief fund created by Congress that allows governors to determine the spending plans. Alabama’s Republican governor is sending her state’s allocation to the state education department.
  • Under the plans, $26 million will be targeted to programs aimed at closing student achievement gaps; $10 million will equip school buses with WiFi capabilities; $9 million will provide school tutoring resources; and $4 million will be used for digital textbook and library resources.
  • “Closing school during the pandemic disproportionately impacts students who are already struggling, and it is our obligation to provide as much stability and access possible in these uncertain times,” Ivey said in a statement.
  • A separate $50 million in federal aid, Ivey announced, will be spent to reimburse Alabama colleges and universities for coronavirus-related expenses.

Trump sideswipes NASCAR, Wallace over flag and noose

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — NASCAR’s layered relationship with President Donald Trump took a sharp turn Monday when Trump took a sideswipe at the racing organization for banning the Confederate flag and wrongly accused the sport’s only full-time Black driver of perpetrating “a hoax” when a crew member found a noose in the team garage stall.
  • Trump suggested Bubba Wallace should apologize after the sport rallied around him after the noose was found in his assigned stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Federal authorities ruled last month the noose had been hanging since October and was not a hate crime. NASCAR and the FBI have exclusively referred to the rope — which was used to pull the garage door closed — as a noose.
  • It was the only garage pull out of 1,684 stalls at 29 inspected NASCAR tracks to be fashioned as a noose.
  • NASCAR President Steve Phelps has bristled at suggestions the noose was a hoax. Wallace was shown a photograph of the noose, never personally saw it, and was told by NASCAR officials he was the victim of a hate crime.
  • “Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?” Trump tweeted. “That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
  • Full story HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 hospitalizations top 1,000 as doctors urge masks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sessions calls Tuberville ‘weak,’ ‘not ready’ for Washington as runoff hits homestretch


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coleman out raises Moore for final stretch, gets donations from Roby, Shelby


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senators, school nurses push for expanded COVID-19 safety plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump lashes out at NASCAR, Wallace over flag and noose


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – General Fund revenue dips in June; ETF awaiting income tax payments


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Governors stress ‘personal responsibility’ over virus orders


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Man charged in Alabama mall shooting that left boy, 8, dead


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Scaled-back fishing rodeo planned at Dauphin Island


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats look to accelerate Southern political shift


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s leadership is tested in time of fear, pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – Monday, July 6


AL.COM  – Alabama adds 925 coronavirus cases, 189 in Jefferson County; hospitalizations spike to 919


AL.COM   – Jefferson County becomes Alabama’s coronavirus epicenter as hospitalizations surge


AL.COM  – ‘His life matters too’: 8-year-old Royta Giles will not be forgotten, family vows


AL.COM  – Madison County under mandatory mask order starting Tuesday


AL.COM  – Nearly $100 million in federal aid heading to Alabama schools


AL.COM  – Coronavirus quarantine violation can lead to $500 fine, ADPH says


Montgomery Advertiser – Long-awaited renovations now underway in Cloverdale


Montgomery Advertiser – These young Black men’s mission: Feed their west side neighborhood, revitalize community garden


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man charged with murder in Gentilly Court homicide case


Tuscaloosa News – Sessions steps up attacks on Tuberville ahead of runoff


Tuscaloosa News – COVID-19 hospitalizations top 1,000 in Alabama as doctors urge masks


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama governor settles $49M in virus-related education aid


Decatur Daily – Council continues work on mask ordinance


Decatur Daily – 16-year-old who died in July Fourth shooting remembered


Decatur Daily – Health experts fear Morgan County virus spread after July Fourth gatherings


Times Daily – Project XYZ saves plant, 137 workers


Times Daily – Charlie Daniels recorded at Wishbone with Hank Williams Jr.


Times Daily – 3 inmates in local cases up for parole


Anniston Star – Cleburne residents set to save on trash pickup


Anniston Star – Anniston citizens’ committee wants first crack at police complaints


Anniston Star – Anniston council to consider ordinance allowing sidewalk cafés


YellowHammer News – Sessions makes closing pitch, knocks Tuberville with eight days until election


YellowHammer News – Doug Jones to host Dr. Anthony Fauci for Tuesday press conference


YellowHammer News – Carl, Coleman lead pre-runoff fundraising in Alabama’s GOP congressional races


Gadsden Times – ECMSCA, youth soccer players talk about facility needs


Gadsden Times – Woman survives COVID-19, coma


Gadsden Times – Gov. Ivey settles $49M in virus-related education aid


Dothan Eagle – Coleman, Moore to appear in televised debate Tuesday night


Dothan Eagle – Dale County man pleads guilty to 30-year-old murder; receives 30 year sentence


Dothan Eagle – Dothan man faces theft charges


Troy Messenger – The July 15 filing deadline nears for taxpayers


Troy Messenger – Hospitalizations hit a record high


Troy Messenger – Oak Park residents raise traffic concerns


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn capital murder case heads to grand jury


Opelika-Auburn News – One injured in weekend Opelika shooting


Opelika-Auburn News – Police reports from July 6


Daily Mountain Eagle – Man charged in Riverchase Galleria shooting that left boy, 8, dead


Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama governor settles $49M in virus-related education aid


Daily Mountain Eagle – Sessions steps up attacks on Tuberville ahead of runoff


Trussville Tribune – TCS schools reopening registration form and frequently asked questions


Trussville Tribune – Car crashes into Dollar General in Clay


Trussville Tribune – 26-year-old man from Trussville killed in multi-vehicle crash


Athens News Courier – LCS programs delayed after positive COVID-19 test


Athens News Courier – LCSO: Naked Huntsville man crushed Limestone home


Athens News Courier – Sessions steps up attacks on Tuberville ahead of runoff


Sand Mountain Reporter – Victim in fatal wreck on US 431 identified


Sand Mountain Reporter – Ivey awards $48 million to Alabama Department of Education | Up to $50 Million for higher education


WSFA Montgomery – Ex-boyfriend charged with capital murder in death of MPD detective


WSFA Montgomery – Is contact tracing still a practical way to track new COVID-19 cases?


WSFA Montgomery – Wetumpka full of excitement after HGTV announcement


Fox 6 Birmingham – A snapshot of the community support for UAB during COVID-19


Fox 6 Birmingham – Georgia Governor issues State of Emergency citing holiday weekend violence


Fox 6 Birmingham – Bham charter school allows families to change learning preference throughout year


WAFF Huntsville – Hollywood Police Department partners with tech company to help keep kids safe online


WAFF Huntsville – 21 ADOC inmates test positive for COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – Domestic violence expert encourages victims to seek help before a situation escalates


WKRG Mobile – Pastor at Foley Parish tests positive for COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Spanish Fort priest tests positive for COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Saraland City Schools release 2020-21 academic plan


WTVY Dothan – Legal Talk Tuesday: Getting Affairs in Order During COVID-19


WTVY Dothan – Elba teen killed in wreck, man charged with DUI


WTVY Dothan – Certain EMS personnel allowed to carry firearms in high-risk situations


WASHINGTON POST  – Treasury, SBA data show small-business loans went to private-equity backed chains, members of Congress


WASHINGTON POST  – Major U.S. cities, gripped with crisis, now face spike in deadly shootings, including of children


WASHINGTON POST  – Pentagon considering a base-wide ban on Confederate flags


NEW YORK TIMES  – GOP Worries Trump’s Divisive June Imperils Senate Control


NEW YORK TIMES  – Demand for Testing Soars in U.S., Creating a New Crisis


NEW YORK TIMES  – U.S. Will Pay $1.6 Billion to Novavax for Coronavirus Vaccine


NEW YORK TIMES  – ‘It’s Got to Stop’: Atlanta’s Mayor Decries a Surge of Violence as a Girl Is Killed




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