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Daily News Digest – November 19, 2020

Presented by

the Boeing Company



Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, November 19.




1. Hospital official: Coronavirus out of control in Alabama

  • The new coronavirus is spreading so quickly through Alabama that there’s little hope of real improvement until weeks after the holidays, despite the hope presented by new vaccines, health officials said Wednesday.
  • “It’s out of control,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association and former director of the state health agency.
  • The rolling daily average of new cases over the last two weeks has increased by 684, a jump of about 50%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and one in every 342 people in Alabama tested positive in the past week. More than 3,300 people have died since the pandemic began, state statistics show.
  • The good news is we are apparently treating the virus more effectively.
  • While only 14% of the intensive care beds in state hospitals are empty and a few people are beginning to show up with the flu, fewer COVID-19 patients are requiring ICU space because of improvements in treatments, Williamson said. Of roughly 1,400 intensive care beds that were in use statewide Tuesday, only 368 were filled by COVID-19 patients.
  • With Thanksgiving next week and the Christmas season on its heels, officials fear large gatherings of families and friends will spread the virus even more and result in a wave of illness that won’t diminish until late January at the earliest, even though a relatively small number of people could begin receiving vaccines in December.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.



2. Ivey, lawmakers send additional $200M in CARES funds to small businesses, non-profits

  • Another $200 million in federal CARES Act money is being directed to Alabama small businesses, non-profit groups and faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday.
  • “Revive Plus” is a second wave of funding for organizations with 50 or fewer employees. They can receive grants of up to $20,000.
  • The CARES Act was approved by Congress in March and sent about $1.7 billion to Alabama. In late May, state lawmakers and Gov. Ivey eventually agreed on a distribution plan to various state agencies, organizations and in some cases, individuals.
  • The transfer of funds had to be approved by six legislative leaders, including House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and the two budget chairman from each chamber.
  • The first round of “Revive” grants, capped at $100 million, started in July and were successfully distributed by October. Ivey’s office said it worked with the Business Council of Alabama, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Alabama Restaurant Association to revisit the grant program given the continued financial stress businesses are facing.
  • Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.






A message from

the Boeing Company

  • Boeing’s Huntsville facility has partnered with NASA for more than five decades.
  • The Space Launch System (SLS) – the world’s most powerful rocket – is supported by hundreds of Alabama employees.
  • SLS’s path to the Moon and Deep Space will be a national achievement rooted in Alabama and the Gulf South.
A new generation of space exploration is here and it’s being made possible by the dedicated employees of Boeing Huntsville.

3. New polling on state’s handling of COVID-19

  • Alabama Daily News was in the field with a poll this week and we’ll be rolling out the results over the next few days.
  • Working with the survey research firm Cygnal, we tested attitudes among the Alabama electorate in three basic categories: the state’s handling of the coronavirus, how and when a legislative session should be conducted and the ways the public should be allowed to access the State House and engage lawmakers if and when they meet.
  • Today’s results are on the direction of the state and how voters think Gov. Kay Ivey has handled the pandemic.
  • Interesting results!
  • ADN Insiders can read the full story HERE.
  • Not an ADN Insider? It’s our premium paid subscription that allows members access to the latest scoops, rumors and rumblings and the ever popular Inside Alabama Politics postings.
  • New subscribers get a complimentary mug!
  • Check out rates HERE.


4. Trump targets vote certification in late bid to block Biden

  • Getting nowhere in the courts, President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory is shifting toward obscure election boards that certify the vote.
  • The battle is centered in the battleground states that sealed Biden’s win.
  • In Michigan, two Republican election officials in the state’s largest county initially refused to certify results despite no evidence of fraud, then backtracked and voted to certify. Then, on Wednesday they flipped again and said they “remain opposed to certification.” Some Republicans have called on the GOP statewide canvassers to do the same. In Arizona, officials are balking at signing off on vote tallies in a rural county.
  • Certifying results is a routine yet important step after local election officials have tallied votes, reviewed procedures, checked to ensure votes were counted correctly and investigated discrepancies. Typically, this certification is done by a local board of elections and then, later, the results are certified at the state level.
  • But as Trump has refused to concede to Biden and continues to spread false claims of victory, this mundane process is taking on new significance.
  • Full story HERE.


5. SEC adapting to figure out league championship amid COVID-19

  • Commissioner Greg Sankey and the Southeastern Conference have their finish line in sight: The league championship game is set for Dec. 19 in Atlanta.
  • The division champs might not be the only SEC teams playing that day.
  • The SEC came into this season with a contingency plan to deal with coronavirus-related issues. While those plans have been severely tested as the pandemic has wreaked havoc, SEC officials continue adapting to navigate setbacks in pursuit of a league title and possible national championship.
  • Eight SEC games have been postponed already with only Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina not affected — yet. LSU, Missouri and No. 5 Texas A&M each have had two games postponed, including the Aggies game Saturday against Ole Miss being delayed Monday.
  • Full story HERE.
  • In other sports news, the state had a good showing in the NBA Draft last night.
  • Auburn’s Issac Okoro was chosen fifth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was widely considered the top defensive swingman available and joins a frontcourt that features two former All-Stars in center Andre Drummond and power forward Kevin Love. Okoro will earn $6.4 million as a rookie as part of a four-year contract worth up to $28.6 million.
  • And Alabama’s Kira Lewis, Jr. was chosen 13th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans. Lewis averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore last season, highlighted by his career-high 37 points against Georgia.




News Briefs


Evidence shows unemotional husband after wife’s death

  • COLUMBIANA, Ala. (AP) — A man on trial for murder in the death of his wife, an online exhibitionist whose partially clothed body was found outside their suburban home, showed little emotion after finding out she was dead, according to evidence shown Wednesday.
  • Luigi Ragazzoni, who was working as an officer with the Calera Police Department at the time Kathleen Dawn West died in January 2018, told jurors he was at the scene documenting the first responders and witnesses who were present when William Jeffrey West approached him.
  • “That’s my wife,” West said, according Ragazzoni.
  • reported that the officer, now a sheriff’s deputy in Shelby County, informed West that the woman was dead before the two walked inside the couple’s home. West showed little emotion in a 30-minute video recorded by Ragazzoni’s body camera as the two made small talk while waiting on an investigator.
  • Read more HERE.

Morgan County man convicted of killing ex-wife after divorce

  • DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama man was convicted Wednesday of killing his ex-wife shortly after their divorce became final in 2015.
  • News outlets reported that a Morgan County jury convicted Roger Dale Stevens, 68, of capital murder in the fatal shooting of Kay Stevens.
  • Stevens was shot at the bakery she operated five years ago, and authorities said he also beat her head against the curb. She was killed soon after their divorce, and Stevens was arrested the same day after a standoff with police at his home.
  • Court documents show the woman had previously filed a protection order against Stevens, whose trial was postponed earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sorority nixes 600-person party over virus worries

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A University of Alabama sorority canceled plans for a city-approved party for as many as 600 people following complaints that the huge outdoor bash could spread the new coronavirus as the pandemic worsens nationwide.
  • The Kappa Delta sorority called off its “Farm Party” on Tuesday, hours before the six-hour event was scheduled to begin at a 14-acre site with buses ferrying students to the gathering. The cancellation came soon after The Daily Beast published a story about the gathering.
  • Lizzie Bonhaus, the president of Kappa Delta at Alabama, announced the cancellation after days of complaints, The Tuscaloosa News reported.
  • “While we followed all local guidelines and protocols in getting the event approved by the University of Alabama Office of Student Involvement and the City Council,” Bonhaus said, “we made the decision to cancel it to protect the health and safety of our campus community, guests and our members.”
  • More than 2,000 new cases of the coronavirus have been added daily over the last week across Alabama as hospitals treat more and more people suffering from COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
  • Read more HERE.




A message from

the Business Council of Alabama

  • The Business Council of Alabama has launched Keep Alabama Open, working to unite hardworking Alabamians in the earnest pursuit of protecting jobs and safeguarding self governance.
  • Businesses, while following state health orders to keep customers and themselves safe, should be able to continue to earn a living and support their families.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hospital official: Coronavirus out of control in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey, lawmakers send additional $200M in CARES funds to small businesses, non-profits


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New poll shows voters approve of state’s pandemic response (ADN Insider subscription)


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump targets vote certification in late bid to block Biden


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC adapting to help league crown champion during pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Evidence shows unemotional husband after wife’s death

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama sorority nixes 600-person party over virus worries


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Republican Russell Bedsole wins HD49 race


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Governor appoints Cam Ward to lead Alabama parole board


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Business Council of Alabama launches ‘Keep Alabama Open’ initiative


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fed nominee stalls in Senate test vote


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


AL.COM – Shelby: ‘Not a lot of room for error’ on $1.4 trillion spending bill


AL.COM – North Alabama hospitalizations for COVID-19 reach highest level in 4 months


AL.COM – COVID vaccine is on the way, but experts call for vigilance at holidays. ‘It ain’t here yet.’


AL.COM – Nearly 70% of Alabama’s maternal deaths could have been prevented


AL.COM – Ivey allocates $200 million to help businesses with COVID-19 costs


AL.COM – Racist history of research could hinder COVID-19 vaccines, but an Alabama university wants to help


AL.COM – New tool shows COVID-19 risk for gatherings in each Alabama county


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: When the germs are gone


Montgomery Advertiser – Parole denied for two men in deadly 1991 drive-by shootings in Montgomery, Elmore counties


Montgomery Advertiser – UAB launches new program to address lingering COVID-19 symptoms


Montgomery Advertiser – Getting together on Thanksgiving? Here are some ways to play it safe


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Mouthwash kills COVID-19 but only in your mouth


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Local doctor reacts to new at-home COVID-19 testing kit


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Here’s how to ship baked goods in for Thanksgiving safely


Tuscaloosa News – UAB launches new program to address lingering COVID-19 symptoms


Tuscaloosa News – Sorority farm party canceled after community complains of COVID-19 threat


Decatur Daily – General Fund, Education Trust Fund revenue up in October with COVID ‘backstory’



Decatur Daily – COVID forces DCS school closures; no changes in other local systems


Decatur Daily – State sends additional $200 million in CARES funds to small businesses, non-profits


Times Daily – Trax 4 Max 5K Turkey Trot Set for Thanksgiving Morning


Times Daily – ‘Keep Alabama Open’ initiative launched



Times Daily – Council awards Emergency Solutions Grants


Anniston Star – School officials to city: Help us, but ask what we need


Anniston Star – JSU waives test scores for admissions


Anniston Star – Business Council of Alabama launches ‘Keep Alabama Open’ initiative


Anniston Star – Ivey, lawmakers send additional $200M in CARES funds to small businesses, non-profits


YellowHammer News – Auburn, Alabama players become NBA draft lottery picks


YellowHammer News – Carnival cancels all cruises out of Mobile until March 2021


YellowHammer News – Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association launches ninth annual Big Buck Photo Contest


Gadsden Times – Who wins the Place 1 race for Rainbow City Council? An answer may come Thursday


Gadsden Times – UAB launches new program to address lingering COVID-19 symptoms


Gadsden Times – Southside artist Milwee releases poetry collection book


Dothan Eagle – City commits $4 million to purchasing rights-of-way for Honeysuckle Corridor improvements


Dothan Eagle – Amid pandemic, Belgrade street kids find comfort at refuge


Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: What’s with the confusion over masks?


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 hospitalizations remain steady, local virus cases rise


WSFA Montgomery – UAB launches program to help patients with lingering COVID-19 symptoms


WSFA Montgomery – Doctor: At least 80% of COVID-19 cases transmitted by those unaware they’re sick


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery churches, synagogue take part in national debt relief charity


WAFF Huntsville – Historic Alabama sites included in new online map


WAFF Huntsville – Many colleges and universities not returning to class after Thanksgiving


WAFF Huntsville – Health officials recommend having Thanksgiving outside; outdoor heaters selling out


WKRG Mobile – Jubilee Renaissance Faire Kicks off in Robertsdale Soon


WKRG Mobile – Biloxi Police looking for counterfeit suspect


WKRG Mobile – Archdiocese of Mobile schools to go virtual week after Christmas break


WTVY Dothan – Vet warns pet parents to be cautious of holiday plants, decorations and foods


WTVY Dothan – Dothan Fire Department raises $3,500 for Children’s of Alabama


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County Health Department offers drive-through COVID-19 testing Nov. 19


WASHINGTON POST – Long lines and delayed results again plague coronavirus tests as Thanksgiving approaches


WASHINGTON POST – As defeats pile up, Trump tries to delay vote count in last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on Biden victory


WASHINGTON POST – NFL toughens its coronavirus protocols as several Raiders players are placed in quarantine


NEW YORK TIMES – New York City to Close Public Schools Again as Virus Cases Rise


NEW YORK TIMES – For California Governor the Coronavirus Message Is Do as I Say, Not as I Dine


NEW YORK TIMES – How Iowa’s Governor Went From Dismissing Mask Mandates to Ordering One Herself


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Pfizer Says Covid-19 Vaccine Is 95% Effective in Final Data, Will Seek Authorization


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Borrows at Negative Rates for the First Time


WALL STREET JOURNAL – In Minnesota and Beyond, ‘Defund the Police’ Weighed on Democrats



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