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Daily News Digest – June 19, 2020

Good morning!

Today is Juneteenth, the day celebrated as the effective emancipation day of slaves in southern states after the Civil War. Read more about the history HERE .

Here’s your Daily News for Friday, June 19.

1. Unemployment drops in May

  • Alabama’s unemployment rate was 9.9% for the month of May, the Alabama Department of Labor announced this morning.
  • May’s rate represents an almost four point drop from April’s revised rate of 13.8%.
  • Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said more than 80,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by more than 128,000.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey marked the significance of the progress in a press release Friday.
  • “While we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, a monthly decrease of nearly four percentage points is certainly a positive,” she said. “Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, will be feeling the impacts brought on by this virus for months to come.”
  • Full story HERE.


2. Report shows women skipping prenatal care due to COVID-19

  • The coronavirus pandemic is altering pregnant women’s care and, according to a new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield, one in four women surveyed nationally skipped prenatal care appointments since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The report said 61% of women surveyed saw limited office hours for their doctors and 48% had their appointments done virtually instead of in person.
  • Most doctor’s offices in the nation were forced to close or move to emergency appointments only once state’s enacted stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Hospitals also changed their visitation policy and, in some cases, severely reduced the number of people in delivery rooms and the number of visitors allowed after giving birth.
  • The report says that 53% of women surveyed said they were not able to have a loved one in the delivery room with them, 28% delivered in a different hospital than originally planned and 15% shifted to doing a home birth.
  • Multiple midwives in April told Alabama Daily News they had seen an increase in interest in doing home births because of concerns over COVID-19.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



3. Court rules Trump improperly ended DACA

  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to preserve, at least temporarily, the program that protects immigrants who were brought to the country as children and allows them to work.
  • The court ruled that President Donald Trump didn’t properly end the program, which then-President Barack Obama created in 2012. Trump attempted to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017 shortly after being elected on a largely anti-immigrant platform.
  • In a 5-4 ruling with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s more liberal justices, the court ruled that the Trump administration could legally end the program, but did so without properly following the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets out rules for establishing government policy. That means the administration can try again if it chooses, as it did successfully when its 2017 travel ban was initially rejected in court.
  • DACA allows program participants to legally work and shields them from deportation. But it was limited to those who were between 15 and 30 years old, who were attending or graduated from high school and who didn’t have a felony criminal record. The fee to apply and renew is nearly $500.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision to keep DACA intact means the 650,000 people who are enrolled will keep their protections, which last two years. But the program hasn’t accepted any new applicants in a couple of years, and it’s unclear whether people who would have qualified for the program but couldn’t apply after Trump announced he was rescinding it will now be able to apply.
  • Read more HERE.

4. Study ties blood type to COVID-19 risk; O may help, A hurt

  • A genetic analysis of COVID-19 patients suggests that blood type might influence whether someone develops the disease.
  • Scientists who compared the genes of thousands of patients in Europe found that those who had Type A blood were more likely to have severe disease while those with Type O were less likely.
  • Wednesday’s report in the New England Journal of Medicine does not prove a blood type connection, but it does confirm a previous report from China of such a link.
  • “Most of us discounted it because it was a very crude study,” Dr. Parameswaran Hari, a blood specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said of the report from China. With the new work, “now I believe it,” he said. “It could be very important.”
  • The evidence of a role for blood type is “tentative … it isn’t enough of a signal to be sure,” said Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego.
  • During the SARS outbreak, which was caused by a genetic cousin of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, “it was noted that people with O blood type were less likely to get severe disease,” Hari said.
  • Full story HERE.


5. News Briefs

Birmingham drops charge against ‘Funnymaine’ for inciting riot

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Charges of inciting a riot have been dropped against an Alabama comedian who spoke at a rally following the police killing of George Floyd and was accused of helping spark unrest in Birmingham.
  • Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson was arrested on the misdemeanor charge and released after posting $500 bond, said his lawyer, Emory Anthony.
  • Johnson spoke at a peaceful rally in a downtown park on May 31 before a crowd went a few blocks away to Linn Park, where a Confederate monument was badly damaged. People later spread out through the area, smashing windows, setting fires and looting despite cautionary words in Johnson’s speech.
  • The damaged obelisk was removed.
  • On Wednesday, Johnson appeared in Birmingham Municipal Court before Presiding Judge Andra Sparks, reported. During the hearing, city officials dismissed the charge, the news site said.
  • “We believe these charges never should have been brought against Mr. Johnson,” Anthony said at a news conference after the appearance. “Mr. Johnson never incited a riot.”
  • Johnson thanked God and those who supported him following his arrest, including Eric Hall of Black Lives Matter.
  • “Thank you guys for fighting and standing up,” he said. “The citizens – y’all stepped up and showed out. You deserve better. You’re going to get it. Change is on the way. You should be proud. This isn’t about me. This is about y’all.”
  • The comedian is known for his videos about the University of Alabama football team.
  • Story link.

Auburn announces August commencement plans

  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Spring and summer graduates of Auburn University will be recognized in two ceremonies in August.
  • The university, in a news release Tuesday, said the ceremonies are planned for Saturday, Aug. 8, at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • “From the beginning, we have worked to balance three important goals when planning our graduation ceremonies,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “Beginning with measures to support the safety of our graduates and guests, we have also strived to uphold the tradition of our ceremonies while engaging input from our students.”
  • A sample of graduates were asked for feedback on various commencement plans and the option of holding ceremonies in the stadium was overwhelmingly chosen, officials said.
  • Full story HERE.

Ohio State-Alabama set first home-and-home football series

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama and Ohio State have scheduled a home-and-home football series for the 2027 and 2028 seasons.
  • The two powerhouse programs announced the matchups on Thursday.
  • The first game will take place in Columbus, Ohio on Sept. 18, 2027, with the Buckeyes coming to Tuscaloosa the following Sept. 9.
  • It is the first home-and-home meeting between Ohio State and Alabama. They have played four times, all in neutral site games. Ohio State won the last meeting 42-35 in the 2015 Sugar Bowl en route to the national title.
  • The Crimson Tide won the other three meetings.

Pilot dies in crash of crop duster plane in Alabama

  • ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — The crash of a small crop duster plane in Alabama has killed its pilot.
  • Eddie Gideon died when his crop duster plane went down into a private property near his home in Atmore Tuesday morning, WKRG-TV reported.
  • “He’s a very, very good man in the community,” Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson told the news outlet. “Escambia County lost a good man today.”
  • The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed to WALA-TV the damaged plane was located in a wooded area. Earlier in the day, Jackson told WKRG-TV deputies were having trouble getting to the scene of the crash because of its location.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s unemployment rate drops to 9.9%


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New report shows a majority of women skipping prenatal care due to COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court rules Trump improperly ended DACA


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Study ties blood type to COVID-19 risk; O may help, A hurt


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn announces August commencement plans


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Alabama law enforcement seized $4.8M in 2019; lawmaker wants more information


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mobile Harbor modernization project gets final agreement; construction to begin in the fall


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Policy Institute poll shows support for ‘RESTORE’ plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In new book, Bolton claims Trump asked China to help him get reelected


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham drops charge against ‘Funnymaine’ after Floyd rally


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 18, 2020


AL.COM  – Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed calls for reconciliation on Juneteenth


AL.COM  – As Huntsville’s police chief defends using tear gas, protesters call for apology


AL.COM  – Supreme Court ends ‘sleepless nights’ for thousands of Dreamers in Alabama


AL.COM  – Coronavirus cases in Alabama jump by 882; deaths now top 800


AL.COM  – Small Alabama police department quarantined after chief tests positive for COVID-19


AL.COM  – Alabama will lose $105 million in hotel tax revenue because of COVID-19, report says


AL.COM  – Auburn, Tuskegee universities open Alabama Center for Reparative Justice


AL.COM  – Dr. Anthony Fauci stresses football needs ‘bubble,’ similar to NBA, says season may not happen


AL.COM  – Alabama artists amplify truths and emotions surrounding George Floyd protests


Montgomery Advertiser – City to give out free masks at sites across Montgomery


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery reps call for expanded voting options ahead of November election


Montgomery Advertiser – Voting access during coronavirus press conference


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Miles College announces layoffs, furloughs because of COVID-19 pandemic


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Does Jefferson County have enough COVID-19 contact tracers?


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Workshops Inc. helping job seekers during COVID-19


Tuscaloosa News – Ivey urges cooperation in restarting state economy


Tuscaloosa News – This is still ‘My City’: Five years later, song of unity by Tuscaloosa songwriter may have found its time


Tuscaloosa News – Juneteenth events going online


Decatur Daily – Decatur looks to increase employees’ share of health insurance premiums


Decatur Daily – Decatur lawmaker wants more data on $4.8M in law enforcement seizures


Decatur Daily – Sheriff: Athens man charged after 120 mph chase, assault on officer


Times Daily – Donnie Allen announces run for Muscle Shoals City Council


Times Daily – Court rejects Trump bid to end young immigrants’ protections


Times Daily – Decline in new US virus deaths may be temporary reprieve


Anniston Star – Calhoun County sees fourth COVID death, two more suspected


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: What a JSU student sees in Jacksonville’s square


Anniston Star – Amtrak to end daily service for Anniston station


Gadsden Times – Firm donates masks to HeadStart program


Gadsden Times – Probation officers fired upon in Bessemer


Gadsden Times – Southside puts 3-way stops in place


YellowHammer News – Incoming Univ. of Alabama freshman raises more than $165K for black-owned businesses damaged during rioting


YellowHammer News – Two Alabama law enforcement officers fired upon, escape uninjured


YellowHammer News – BCA backs ‘job creator’ Carl in AL-01 Republican primary runoff


Dothan Eagle – Ashford man’s body found Thursday in Chattahoochee search


Dothan Eagle – Museum sets online Juneteenth observance


Dothan Eagle – Coronavirus roundup: Masks vs. personal freedom debate persists; 1.5 million more Americans file jobless claims


Troy Messenger – Troy Police celebrate promotions


Troy Messenger – Parole board rules on Huk A Buk killer’s request


Troy Messenger – Pike County reports third death




Andalusia Star News – Local car dealers: ‘Despite COVID-19, now’s the time to buy a car’


Andalusia Star News – City improves financial position in FY 2019


Opelika-Auburn News – Face masks mandatory at Auburn University, starting Monday


Opelika-Auburn News – Local COVID-19 hospitalizations calm before the storm?


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 couple celebrates 65th wedding anniversary in hospital


Daily Mountain Eagle – Inmate flees, quickly recaptured


Daily Mountain Eagle – Neuendorf: WBMC planning capital improvements


Daily Mountain Eagle – County BOE to use $1.4 million in CARES Act funding for technology


Trussville Tribune – Pinson Council gives updates on openings of splash pad, storm shelter; passes resolution extending demolition deadline for property on Sweeney Hollow Circle


Trussville Tribune – Original Hot Dog Factory coming soon to Center Point


Trussville Tribune – Alabama Ethics Commission dismisses matter concerning Trussville Redevelopment Authority


Athens News Courier – Montgomery to mark Juneteenth with online celebration


Athens News Courier – Arrests made in car chase, drug bust


Athens News Courier – GROWING STRONG: Work goes on at Hampton Farms despite coronavirus pandemic


Sand Mountain Reporter – Crossville Health and Rehab reports 28 cases of COVID-19 | Only one symptomatic


WSFA Montgomery – Sen. Doug Jones, Montgomery doctor discuss surge in local COVID-19 cases


WSFA Montgomery – Mayor calls on Alabama to make Juneteenth a state holiday


WSFA Montgomery – Shelby signs on to federal Justice Act to curb police violence


WAFF Huntsville – Unclaimed Baggage launches new online store for 50th anniversary


WAFF Huntsville – SEC Commissioner: ‘It is past time for change to be made to the flag of… Mississippi’


WAFF Huntsville – Risk of spread of COVID-19 high in close community


WKRG Mobile – Family of teen killed after fleeing Saraland Police want answers


WKRG Mobile – Former Gov. Don Seigelman reunites with dog he saved while in prison


WKRG Mobile – SEC Commissioner says it’s ‘past time’ to change Mississippi flag


WTVY Dothan – Most police video is never made public


WTVY Dothan – Hospital safety during Coronavirus pandemic


WTVY Dothan – National Peanut Festival Fourth of July elements eliminated except fireworks


WASHINGTON POST  – Top State Department official resigns in protest of Trump’s response to racial tensions in the country


WASHINGTON POST  – Tulsa arena asks Trump campaign for detailed health plan as Oklahoma Supreme Court hears arguments about rally


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s former national security adviser calls him unfit to lead; Trump calls him a liar


WASHINGTON POST  – Trump claims the coronavirus pandemic is ending. Data and the experts disagree.


NEW YORK TIMES  – Analysis: Seizing the Presidency to Suit His Own Needs


NEW YORK TIMES  – Targeting Bolton, Justice Dept. Again in Alignment With Trump’s Desires


NEW YORK TIMES  – Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage


NEW YORK TIMES  – Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most

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