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Daily News Digest – November 23, 2020

Presented by the

Alabama Association of REALTORS®

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving / Iron Bowl week!

We are still saddened by the passing of longtime State Rep. Alvin Holmes Saturday night. Most everyone in Alabama politics has a story or two about Mr. Holmes, myself included. It has been interesting to watch folks share their stories on social media the last few days. I’d be interested to hear yours.

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, November 23.




1. AstraZeneca: vaccine shown to be ‘highly effective’

  • AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals.
  • The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca.
  • No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham also played a role in the development of this vaccine, including clinical trials which are still underway in the United States.
  • Pfizer and Moderna this month reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. But, unlike its rivals, the AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.
  • Full story HERE.



2. Poll: Voters value State House access, open to alternate locations

  • Today welcomes the third and final installment of our series on polling various issues surrounding the Legislature meeting.
  • In today’s results: the survey from Cygnal shows Alabama voters strongly favor and value in-person access to lawmakers when they meet in Montgomery and are open to alternate locations to allow for safer, more accessible meetings.
  • Inside Alabama Politics recently reported that discussions have taken place among state leaders about how to safely conduct a legislative session, whether that means a special later this year or the regular scheduled for February, with the threat of COVID-19 still very present.
  • When the Legislature reconvened in late May to finish its limited slate of must-pass bills, the public was restricted from entering the State House due to pandemic protocols. The State House itself presents unique challenges due to its low ceilings and cramped hallways.
  • Alternative locations, such as the Renaissance convention center in downtown Montgomery, have been discussed as possibilities to allow for more social distancing and better public access.
  • We wanted to test how the public felt about all these issues, and the results are interesting to say the least.
  • 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.





A message from the

Alabama Association of REALTORS®

  • Did you know homes for sale by owner typically sell for less?
  • In fact, agent-assisted listings sell for an average of over $24,000 more than non-agent assisted listings. Don’t leave money on the table!
  • A REALTOR® knows your local market best and has the training and skills to negotiate on your behalf. That’s why 89% of home sellers work with an agent to sell their home.
  • Find a REALTOR® today to get the most out of selling your home.




3. Proposed bridge construction in Mobile back on table

  • The idea of constructing a new bridge to span the Mobile River is back on the table on Alabama’s coast, where opposition to tolls killed the $2 billion project last year.
  • The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization has asked the state transportation agency for an update on plans.
  • Transportation officials spent about $60 million on the project, planning a bridge and purchasing land, before the state pulled the plug last year amid the organized opposition.
  • Proponents say the bridge is needed to ease congestion and improve safety on I-10 around Mobile, which currently flows under the Mobile River via the Wallace Tunnel.
  • Commissioner Joe Davis, a member of the organization, said the need for the bridge has never gone away, and it was time to talk options again.
  • Read more HERE.



4. Maxwell chosen for Grey Wolf; Redstone in top 6 for Space Command HQ

  • The U.S. Air Force selected Montgomery’s Maxwell Air Force Base to base a flight training unit of MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters, officials announced Friday.
  • Specifically, Maxwell’s 908th Airlift Wing was selected for the state-of-the-art units.
  • The Boeing-built MH-139 Grey Wolf will serve as an update to the Air Force’s UH-1N Huey.
  • The units will eventually replace the aging C-130 mission currently based at the 908th Airlift Wing and are expected to begin arriving in 2023.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby said the decision had been “long awaited” and that “(n)ot only does this support jobs for reservists and experts in the area, but it also enables economic development and future opportunities for Maxwell.”
  • Read more HERE.
  • Meanwhile, Redstone Arsenal is once again in contention to be the site of the permanent headquarters for the U.S. Space Command, which was established in 2018 to oversee military operations in space.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey announced late last week that the location was one of six finalists for the permanent headquarters.
  • President Donald Trump established the U.S. Space Command in December 2018. According to the organization’s website, it is designed to conduct “operations in, from, and to space to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and defend U.S. vital interests with allies and partners.”
  • The Redstone location was on a previous list for the space command headquarters and then the Pentagon earlier this year revised the search for the headquarters.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Auburn basketball self-imposes postseason ban

  • Auburn’s basketball team won’t participate in postseason play this season as a self-imposed penalty stemming from a bribery scheme involving former assistant coach Chuck Person.
  • The university announced the self-imposed postseason ban on Sunday over Person’s steering young athletes toward advisers and managers in exchange for money. Auburn said it has informed both the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA, which could opt to tack on more penalties.
  • “This was a difficult decision but the right decision,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement. “I hate it for our current players. They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again.
  • “It’s a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us.”
  • Full story HERE.


News Briefs


Board to certify Alabama election results today

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s results from the Nov. 3 election will become official today.
  • The state canvassing board is set to meet at the Capitol this morning to certify results from each of Alabama’s 67 counties. The board is in charge of reviewing the results of Alabama’s state and federal elections.
  • The move will make official President Donald Trump’s overwhelming victory in the state over President-elect Joe Biden. While Trump is challenging the results in some states, Alabama isn’t among them.
  • The board will also officially settle numerous other votes, including Republican Tommy Tuberville’s victory over incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.
  • The canvassing board is composed of Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill.
  • Story link.

Alabama coronavirus app part of growing multistate network

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An app that’s been used in Alabama to warn people that they might have been exposed to the coronavirus is joining a growing network in other states, giving an extra layer of protection especially ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday season, officials announced.
  • The GuideSafe Exposure Notification app was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Birmingham-based tech company MotionMobs, reported Thursday. According to the GuideSafe website it uses technology from a collaboration between Google and Apple.
  • The app uses Bluetooth signals to determine when two cell phones are within six feet of each other for longer than 15 minutes — considered to be close proximity. If one of those people later tests positive for the virus they can report it to the GuideSafe app and then the other people who have been in close proximity are notified.
  • So far Alabama’s version of the app has only worked with other people who’d downloaded the state’s version. But on Thursday the app was connected to a wider network called the Association of Public Health Laboratories National Key Server. That connects apps created by 13 states and the District of Columbia. More states are to be added in the future.
  • So far 150,000 users have downloaded Alabama’s notification app. Now, if one of those people comes into contact with someone who uses a different state’s app and tests positive, the Alabama users will be notified.
  • Dr. Karen Landers, from the Alabama Department of Public Health, said by connecting the state’s app to the wider network it gives another layer of protection especially at a time when people might be traveling for the holidays.
  • The app is designed to not collect personal identifying information or a user’s location data.

Husband guilty of manslaughter in online model wife’s death

  • COLUMBIANA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama jury found the husband of an online adult model guilty of manslaughter in her death.
  • The unanimous verdict came down late Friday in Columbiana for William Jeffrey West, 47, in the death of Kathleen Dawn West, 42, news outlets reported.
  • Jeff West faces two to 20 years in prison, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for January 2021.
  • Kat West was found dead along the street in front of the couple’s suburban home in Calera in January 2018. Prosecutors had said West killed the woman with a blow to the head from a liquor bottle. The defense had argued she died in an accidental fall.
  • The woman publicly posted lingerie photos online and charged viewers to see sexier images. The defense told jurors during opening statements that her adult pictures — posted under the name “Kitty Kat West” — did not cause discord between the couple and that Jeff West assisted her.





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 – AstraZeneca: COVID-19 vaccine shown to be ‘highly effective’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll: Voters want access to lawmakers, open to alternate locations (ADN Insider subscription)


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Redstone among top 6 candidates for Space Command HQ


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Alabama now unanimous No. 1


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn imposes postseason ban for former assistant’s scheme


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Board to certify Alabama election results on Monday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alvin Holmes dies at 81; had served decades in Alabama House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama attorney general sues over Confederate statue move


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama cities canceling Christmas parades as pandemic rages


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump’s legal team alleged vote fraud, but courts found none


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


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Poll: Voters favor legislative action on unfinished business (ADN Insider subscription)


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – November 22, 2020


AL.COM – In Facebook exchange, John Merrill tells man he should consider sex change


AL.COM – Sperm whale stranded in Mobile Bay struggles for life


AL.COM – Rick Bragg reckons with Southern nostalgia, clichés, hypocrisy and biscuits


AL.COM – Contributor Roger Newman: Alabama’s Klansman Supreme Court Justice


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Is America a democracy or a republic?


AL.COM – Despite rising COVID cases, few Alabama schools switch to virtual between holidays


Montgomery Advertiser – Alvin Holmes, longtime outspoken Alabama legislator who fought for equality, dies


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 3 killed; 2 injured in Cullman Co. crash


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Organizers partnering with local churches to pass out food after Gadsden CommUnity Thanksgiving canceled


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Family tradition: Mother and son both graduate from ASU on same weekend


Tuscaloosa News – Three adults, one juvenile in custody after pursuit ends with crash


Tuscaloosa News – Chuck’s Fish to offer free Thanksgiving meal to-go


Tuscaloosa News – PARA cancels West Alabama Christmas Parade for first time in history


Decatur Daily – Mayor, council disagree on whether to fill director of development spot


Decatur Daily – Overpass bid awarded, opposition tries to kill project


Decatur Daily – Juvenile male tried to defend grandmother in Morgan home invasion, authorities say


Times Daily – Muscle Shoals Christmas decorating contest soon underway


Times Daily – COVID-19 Cases Alarmingly HIgh in Shoals


Times Daily – Remains of body sent to forensics lab


Anniston Star – Volunteers give away Thanksgiving turkeys in Anniston


Anniston Star – Retailers may dodge COVID bullet this holiday season


Anniston Star – Anniston Changers takes on Norwood Park


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Elliott: Opposition to special, regular sessions due to COVID-19 threat a ‘double standard’


YellowHammer News – Flight Works Alabama launches We Build It Better learning program


YellowHammer News – UAB Medicine listed among ‘Most Wired’ hospitals for 2020


Gadsden Times – You can’t see it, but much work has been done at Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site


Gadsden Times – Calhoun County deputy fatally shoots woman who tried to shoot him, sheriff says


Gadsden Times – Gadsden man, woman facing drug, chemical endangerment charges


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: What is the inscription on the east face of the Washington Monument?


Dothan Eagle – Plenty of details to work out before COVID-19 vaccinations


Dothan Eagle – Holidays look a little different in a COVID-19 world


Opelika-Auburn News – Watch now: Auburn-made vials to carry Moderna coronavirus vaccine to world


Opelika-Auburn News – Project Linus comforts those in need


Opelika-Auburn News – AU trustees OK renaming policy; football center set for summer 2022


WSFA Montgomery – Mosses Police Department hosts turkey giveaway


WSFA Montgomery – Holiday Pop-Up Shoppe returning to The Shoppes at EastChase


WSFA Montgomery – Auburn renames student center after Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton


WAFF Huntsville – Crisis Services of North Alabama holding virtual turkey trot


WAFF Huntsville – Three people killed in two-vehicle crash, wreck under investigation


WAFF Huntsville – Two dogs killed in house fire in Monte Sano Sunday afternoon


WKRG Mobile – Caught on Camera: Florida man saves dog from gator


WKRG Mobile – 1 adult, 2 juveniles arrested after pursuit in Tuscaloosa ends in crash


WKRG Mobile – Faith Time: Finding thankfulness in Thanksgiving 2020


WTVY Dothan – Board to certify Alabama election results on Monday


WTVY Dothan – Lynn Haven woman to decorate the White House for Christmas


WTVY Dothan – Vigil held for late Lowndes County Sheriff John “Big John” Williams


WASHINGTON POST – Biden picks Antony Blinken as secretary of state, emphasizing experience and the foreign policy establishment


WASHINGTON POST – Chris Christie calls the conduct of Trump’s legal team a ‘national embarrassment’


WASHINGTON POST – Giuliani keeps peddling debunked falsehoods on behalf of Trump


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Chooses Antony Blinken, Defender of Global Alliances, as Secretary of State


NEW YORK TIMES – Republicans Rewrite an Old Playbook on Disenfranchising Black Americans


NEW YORK TIMES – More Republicans Tiptoe Toward Acknowledging Biden’s Victory


WALL STREET JOURNAL – AstraZeneca, Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Up to 90% Effective in Late-Stage Trials


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Coronavirus Spurred Companies to Hoard Cash. Now They Are Starting to Dole It Out.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Joe Biden Picks Antony Blinken for Secretary of State



Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)








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