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Daily News Digest – May 18, 2020

Presented by

The Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for May 18.

1. Sine Die today

  • The Alabama Legislature meets today for the final day of a regular 2020 legislative session that was severely changed by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Today’s main action item will be a vote in both chambers on Gov. Kay Ivey’s amended proposal to spend about $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money.
  • There had been a dispute between Ivey’s office and some in the Legislature over who should control that spending, but several senators on Sunday told Alabama Daily News they plan to vote for Ivey’s proposal. The voting starts in the Senate this afternoon.
  • “There are several difficulties with this issue,” Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said. “In sum, the amendment, while not perfect—and I don’t know that anything could be in these circumstances— is an improvement over where we were several weeks ago and I intend to support it.”
  • Remember that the coronavirus relief money is being dealt with in a supplemental bill separate from the actual budgets.
  • Ivey has indicated she will sign the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, but I wouldn’t expect that until the Senate concurs with her executive amendment on the supplemental.
  • All the fun begins at 1:00 when the House and Senate reconvene.
  • Read a full preview on what to expect from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



2. New report analyzes structure of ALSDE, recommends overhaul of internal functions

  • The Alabama State Board of Education and Alabama Department of Education will spend the next two months creating a strategy plan to better organize the department and improve Alabama’s K-12 education system.
  • The plan is the result of a recently released 168-page report from Public Consulting Group that recommends a major overhaul and shift of operations within ALDSE.
  • The first of PCG’s five main recommendations is for the ALSDE to take full ownership and accountability for student progress in the state.
  • The other recommendations include creating the strategy-to-action plan, focus first on a few clear priorities, hold schools and districts accountable and to significantly reorganize the ALSDE internally.
  • “The belief is that the ALSDE really needs to own education reform,” d’Entremount said, “a full ownership of what educational improvement looks like for the state of Alabama.”
  • PCG has been contracted to continue work with state leaders and in the next two months will be helping board members in creating the implementation plan.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck and see the full report HERE.






A message from

 The Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the significant need and demand for the expansion of rural broadband all across Alabama.
  • Fast and reliable internet is something that all Alabamians should enjoy, not just those who are fortunate enough to live within the current coverage areas.
  • Our children, our economy and our livelihood depend on it.







3. Recovery may begin by summer, will likely be slow 

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism Sunday that the U.S. economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave. But he suggested that a full recovery won’t likely be possible before the arrival of a vaccine.
  • In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Powell noted that the economy was fundamentally healthy before the virus struck suddenly and forced widespread business shutdowns and tens of millions of layoffs. Once the outbreak has been contained, he said, the economy should be able to rebound “substantially.”
  • Powell offered an overall positive message while warning that it would take much longer for the economy to regain its health than it took for it to collapse with stunning speed.
  • “In the long run, and even in the medium run,” the chairman said, “you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy. This economy will recover. And that means people will go back to work. Unemployment will get back down. We’ll get through this.”
  • Full story and interview HERE.



4. 2016 repeat? Trump revives Clinton playbook to battle Biden

  • President Donald Trump and his allies are dusting off the playbook that helped defeat Hillary Clinton, reviving it in recent days as they try to frame 2020 as an election between a dishonest establishment politician and a political outsider being targeted for taking on the system. This time, however, the so-called outsider is the sitting president of the United States.
  • The strategy already centered on playing up allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, profited off the vice presidency. Trump recently added Biden’s ties to China, the country the White House now blames for the spread of COVID-19. And it kicked into overdrive last week when Trump seized upon revelations that Biden was informed of the investigation of ties between Russia and Michael Flynn, a senior Trump official, as evidence of a plot to undermine a presidency before it began.
  • Trump said, without evidence, that Barack Obama — and, by extension, his vice president — had perpetrated the “greatest political scam, hoax in the history of our country.”
  • “This was all Obama. This was all Biden. These people were corrupt — the whole thing was corrupt — and we caught them,” Trump said. “People should be going to jail for this stuff.”
  • Sound familiar?
  • Read the full story from Jonathan Lemire and Bill Barrow HERE.
  • Also read Barrow’s latest 2020 Watch series on the narratives, battle grounds and big questions developing HERE.


5. News Briefs

Red snapper season begins May 22

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala, (AP) — Red snapper fishing season begins this weekend on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
  • The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said red snapper season will begin Friday.
  • The season will consist of four-day weekends, Friday through Monday, from May 22 to July 19. Anglers fishing from federally permitted for-hire boats have their own season beginning June 1.
  • The daily bag limit will be two red snapper per person, per day with a minimum size limit of 16 inches (406 mm) total length. Harvested fish must be reported on Snapper Check. 
  • Additional information is available at the Alabama Department of Conservation.

Fire danger issued for 15 southern Alabama counties

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Fifteen counties in south Alabama are under a fire danger advisory.
  • The Alabama Forestry Commission issued the advisory last week covering 15 counties including Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston in the state’s Wiregrass region, which encompasses parts of southeastern Alabama, southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.
  • The advisory also covers Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties.
  • “Dry conditions, combined with low humidity, high temperatures, and gusty winds, are creating dangerous wildfire behavior,” the commission said in a news release Thursday. “Although the state is not under any type of burn restriction, the commission urges everyone to delay outdoor burning until conditions improve.”
  • The extended weather forecast shows only a slight chance of rain, mainly isolated thunderstorms, through Memorial Day weekend, The Dothan Eagle reported.

Seaplane flips in Alabama lake; passengers unharmed

  • GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A seaplane crashed and flipped upside down in a northeast Alabama lake but no one was seriously hurt, authorities said Saturday.
  • The crash happened Friday night in Lake Guntersville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Huntsville.
  • “The pilot tried to land there … and as he’s coming in for a landing, something happened and the plane flipped in, end over end, as he touched down in the water,” said Jeff Reaves, senior trooper with the Marine Patrol Division of the Alabama State Troopers.
  • He said the seaplane’s two occupants were able to swim out from under the overturned aircraft, reported. The two were then helped out of the water by the Guntersville Rescue Squad, Reaves said.
  • “The pilot was more upset than anything at what had happened and concerned with his passenger,” said Reaves, who spoke to the man after the rescue.
  • Firefighter Justin Harper of the Guntersville Fire Department said the pilot and passenger had minor scrapes and bruises and did not seek medical aid.
  • Reaves said it is not unusual for planes to land on the lake.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. There was no immediate word on what caused the accident.

Little Richard to be buried at Alabama historically black college

  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard will be buried at Oakwood University, a historically black university in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Gerald Kibble, director of Oakwood Memorial Gardens, said the private funeral will be held Wednesday and will not be open to the public.
  • Little Richard’s close friend Pastor Bill Minson said the singer was an alumnus of the university. Little Richard died May 9 at the age of 87 in Tennessee due to bone cancer.
  • The cemetery is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist university.





A message from

the Alabama State Port Authority

  • Alabama’s public seaport terminals support our coal, automotive, aviation, chemicals, forest products, farmers and poultry producers, iron and steel and retail distribution industries.
  • With over $1.2 billion invested and another $700 million in ongoing and planned projects, the Port Authority continually seeks to provide Alabama businesses with cost efficient transportation infrastructure, while delivering $22.4 billion in economic value and 134,600 jobs across Alabama.
  • The PORT. A proven Investment.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sine Die: Lawmakers to vote on $1.8B coronavirus spending plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New report analyzes structure of ALSDE, recommends overhaul of internal functions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2016 repeat? Trump revives Clinton playbook to battle Biden


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2020 Watch: Battleground map taking shape for Biden, Trump


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Powell: Recovery may begin by summer, will likely be slow


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey administration inches forward on plan to lease prisons


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama coronavirus cases rise by nearly 300


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Group buys Alabama abortion clinic to keep it from closing


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – May 17, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama leaves decision to utilities: When to cut off power for late bills in pandemic


AL.COM – Donald Trump joins golf broadcast, mentions Alabama-LSU, won’t respond to Rory McIlroy criticism


AL.COM – Screening of every student key to reopening schools in Alabama, says biotech researcher


AL.COM – Uber rolls out new protocols as Alabama reopens


AL.COM – Alabama now has 11,699 cases of coronavirus; 9 counties show double-digit increases


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Remember when Alabama lawmakers said porn was a public health emergency? That was three months ago


AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: Coronavirus creates special hell for dementia caregivers


Montgomery Advertiser – After years of unfulfilled ventures, Mike Watson has another ‘big plan’ for Old Cloverdale


Montgomery Advertiser – MPD conducting death investigation


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘We aren’t in safe territory yet’: Montgomery coronavirus hospitalizations increase as state restrictions relax


YellowHammer News – More volunteers needed to grow oysters in Mobile Bay


YellowHammer News – Lawmakers stress need for rural broadband internet improvement amid pandemic — Coronavirus ‘put an exclamation point’ on it


YellowHammer News – Alabama businesses hope for a quick recovery after COVID-19 pandemic, survey finds


Tuscaloosa News – Black, POC business owners struggle to get emergency loan


Tuscaloosa News – Fire danger issued for 15 southern Alabama counties


Tuscaloosa News – 13 hurt, none killed in Louisiana memorial service shooting


Decatur Daily – Council members, citing DCS settlement, want action against 3M over Aquadome


Decatur Daily – Morgan County port’s new grant to help steel industry by building warehouse for alloys


Decatur Daily – Hemp interest increases: Applicants for state program quadruple


Times Daily – Tuscumbia schools named among best for music education


Times Daily – Ivey details her plan for $1.8B in coronavirus relief funds


Times Daily – Unemployment claims high but leveling off


Anniston Star – JSU freshman enrollment strong despite pandemic


Anniston Star – Look Back .. to a technical education agreement for county’s school systems.


Anniston Star – COVID patient, 25, leaves hospital after 31 days on ventilator


Gadsden Times – More than 200 COVID-19 cases in Etowah County


Gadsden Times – Wreath laid in memory of fallen officers


Gadsden Times – Shooting investigation continues, one person in custody


Dothan Eagle – Pinckard’s new tanker should help improve fire ratings


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Who enforces payment of restitution to victims?


Dothan Eagle – Dothan businesses make adjustments as they reopen


Troy Messenger – Churches prepare to welcome the faithful with social distancing, safety measures


Troy Messenger – Covenant students, teachers say ‘so long’ to school year with parade


Troy Messenger – Testing still increasing


Andalusia Star News – Rotary Club cancels July’s annual domino tournament


Andalusia Star News – Woman facing 5 counts of rape second


Andalusia Star News – HALF WAY THERE


Opelika-Auburn News – Focus turns to 2020 Census as state reopens


Opelika-Auburn News – Watch now: Oak Park residents see families for first time since quarantine


Opelika-Auburn News – Local reps support Ivey’s plan for federal COVID-19 help


Daily Mountain Eagle – Partitions up as commission looks at reopening offices


Daily Mountain Eagle – BSCC offering career tech scholarship for women


Daily Mountain Eagle – Reed announces $200,000 for Brown’s Bridge water line


Trussville Tribune – Morning Update: Alabama COVID-19 cases move to 11,699 with 485 deaths


Trussville Tribune – Argo Municipal Court to reopen with guidelines to combat spread of coronavirus


Trussville Tribune – Alabama Gov. Ivey urges residents to remain smart and vigilant over threat of COVID-19


Athens News Courier – Alabama coronavirus cases rise by nearly 300


Athens News Courier – COVID-19: NAACP, ALH to offer free testing for anyone Thursday


Athens News Courier – City coffers showing signs of shutdown


Sand Mountain Reporter – ADPH reports 3,699 COVID-19 cases no longer symptomatic


Sand Mountain Reporter – Aggie wins Whole Backstage Theatre Dot Moore Memorial Scholarship


Sand Mountain Reporter – COVID-19 effects on businesses continue as many reopen


WSFA Montgomery – Group buys Alabama abortion clinic to keep it from closing


WSFA Montgomery – Man killed in Montgomery shooting Sunday morning


WSFA Montgomery – One person dead after single-car crash near Tuskegee


Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: 488 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 as more than 11K test positive


Fox 6 Birmingham – AUTHORITIES: 16-year-old killed in crash with 18-wheeler after father led Jefferson Co. deputies on a chase


Fox 6 Birmingham – Two people found shot in Birmingham


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama COVID-19 cases rise to 11,771; ADPH confirms 488 deaths


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Probate Court to begin in-person proceedings on Monday


WAFF Huntsville – Gates of Graceland to reopen this week under new health and safety protocols


WKRG Mobile – Body of man found last seen near water behind Flora-Bama


WKRG Mobile – Fraud Fighters: Scams targeting the military during the pandemic


WKRG Mobile – ECSO reports missing runaway teenager


WTVY Dothan – FDA approves coronavirus at-home sample collection kit


WTVY Dothan – Churches resume in person worship services


WTVY Dothan – Fear of the future: Class of 2020 enters a world in crisis


WASHINGTON POST – White House tensions with CDC spill into public view as top Trump adviser criticizes agency response


WASHINGTON POST – Columnist Fareed Zakaria: Experts have jobs. They need to understand those who don’t


WASHINGTON POST – A preview from Georgia about how America might reemerge from the coronavirus: Eating, drinking, touching and throwing caution to the wind


NEW YORK TIMES – Where Chronic Health Conditions and Coronavirus Could Collide


NEW YORK TIMES – Without Fans, Some College Football Games Won’t Make Financial Sense


NEW YORK TIMES – U.S.-China Tensions Threaten to Dominate W.H.O. Meeting




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