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Daily News Digest – October 13, 2020

Good morning!

We are officially three weeks out from Election Day.

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, October 13.


1. Barrett vows fair approach, day of questioning begins

  • Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett presented her approach to the law as conservative and fair on Monday at the start of fast-tracked confirmation hearings, while angry Democrats, powerless to stop her, cast her as a threat to Americans’ health care coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • With her husband and six of their seven children behind her in a hearing room off-limits to the public and altered for COVID-19 risks, Barrett delivered views at odds with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat President Donald Trump nominated her to fill, likely before Election Day.
  • “Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” declared the 48-year-old federal appeals court judge, removing the protective mask she wore most of the day to read from a prepared statement.
  • Ginsburg’s legacy was felt throughout the hearing, with some Democrats wearing lapel pins with her likeness. Barrett also praised the liberal icon, saying she was “forever grateful” for Ginsburg’s trailblazing path as a woman on the court.
  • Yet Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, warned that Barrett’s nomination puts in jeopardy everything Ginsburg fought to protect.
  • Testifying from her office because of the pandemic, Harris said that the court is “often the last refuge for equal justice” and that not only health care but voting rights, workers’ rights, abortion rights and the very idea of justice are at stake.
  • Read more about what happened yesterday and watch the highlights HERE.
  • Today is where things will get interesting, as senators and Barrett mix it up in a question-answer exchange on the issues.
  • Looking forward, barring a dramatic development, Democrats lack the votes to keep Barrett’s nomination from moving to the Senate floor. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said Democrats might attempt to deny Republicans a quorum on the floor for a confirmation vote. However, only 51 senators are required to be in the chamber for a quorum and Republicans have a 53 seat majority.
  • Read more about today’s hearing and watch it live HERE.


2. Tuberville charity, hedge fund scrutinized

  • Throughout the GOP primary campaign and into the general, critics of Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville often pointed to a failed hedge fund he lent his name to, a deal that went sour, saw his partner convicted of fraud and left investors empty handed.
  • Tuberville insisted, and industry analysts concluded, that the former Auburn coach was a victim himself, losing millions in the raw deal and having to pay damages for his partner’s deception.
  • Still, his opponents, now principally Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, have said it showed a lack of judgement. And yet, the issue hasn’t seemed to damage Tuberville politically.
  • Now, Jones and others are turning to a charity run by Tuberville which was ostensibly created to help veterans but that gave a small percentage of its receipts away to beneficiaries. About one third, in fact.
  • Tuberville’s campaign and people involved with the nonprofit said the records didn’t reflect all the good the charity did because volunteer labor and donated materials were used to refurbish veterans’ homes.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Relatedly, Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman report in today’s Politico Playbook that, based on “very, very informed chatter” that Jones is Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s top pick for Attorney General of the United States.


3. Report shows lack of health care access in Black Belt

  • Alabama’s Black Belt counties have less physical access to health care options and the state overall is suffering poor health outcomes, according to a recent report released by the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center.
  • The EPC’s definition of the Black Belt includes 24 counties, and Monday’s report, “Health Care: A Key Challenge in Alabama’s Black Belt,” said 17 of them have fewer than the statewide average of 3.9 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
  • Four Black Belt counties, Lamar, Lowndes, Perry and Pickens, don’t have any hospitals.
  • “These data suggest that the Black Belt is largely underserved in terms of health care,” the report says. “Specifically, it indicates that Black Belt residents lack physical access to health care, i.e. the nearest hospital or clinic can be over an hour away.”
  • Seven rural county hospitals have closed in recent years.
  • EPC Director Stephen Katsinas was highly critical of former Gov. Robert Bentley’s decision not to pursue expanded Medicaid coverage in 2014 when the federal government was offering a 100% percent match on state funds put toward expansion.
  • Still, state leaders say Alabama budgets couldn’t afford it then and still can’t today.
  • Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who is in a battle for reelection, has proposed legislation that would restore the federal matching dollars for states like Alabama that did not initially expand Medicaid if they want to now opt in.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Austal-built USS Mobile completes Navy acceptance trials

  • Mobile shipbuilder Austal USA announced Monday that its third Littoral Combat Ship this year has completed its acceptance trials for the U.S. Navy.
  • LCS 26, the future USS Mobile, completed the series of comprehensive tests that demonstrate mission capability to the Navy late last month in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the last major step before delivering the ship to the Navy, the company said in a press release.
  • “I am proud of how the Austal team has come together again, in the middle of this pandemic, only a week after a Cat 2 hurricane made landfall in our backyard, completing another major milestone for one of our Navy ships – especially one so near and dear to us, named after our great city of Mobile, Alabama.” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Port sets new record for coal shipment

  • The Alabama State Port Authority announced Monday its McDuffie Coal Terminal has set a new record for tonnage loaded and exported from the Port of Mobile in one shipment.
  • The NSU Welfare, a massive Newcastle Max class bulk carrier was filled with 132,883.5 metric tons of metallurgical coal bound for Asian markets where it will be used to make steel and other products. That’s the most ever loaded into a single coal shipment, Port Authority officials said.
  • Metallurgical coal is one of the port’s top exports, as Alabama’s vast coal resources are in demand for their key use in forging steel. Port Authority officials also credited ongoing efforts to expand the shipping channel and improve the port for the increased capabilities for larger ships and shipments.
  • Read more HERE.


News Briefs


Rep. Paul Lee honored for service toward disabled individuals

  • State Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, was honored Tuesday as “Representative of the Year” by the Alabama ID 310 Association. ID stands for Individual Disabilities, as the group advocates for and works with disabled people across the state, serving as a single-point of entry to families and individuals seeking services.
  • Lee works as executive director of the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center, which trains and helps find work those who have difficulty maintaining employment, including the physically and mentally disabled.
  • Association president Arvy Dupuy III said Lee “has championed our effort to make sure that that change is one that will not impact people we serve negatively, but will do what we all want, which is enhance and improve their lives…”
  • Read more from the Dothan Eagle HERE.

Alabama Policy Institute announces Policy Warrior awards

  • The Alabama Policy Institute on Monday announced the recipients of its 2020 Policy Warrior awards.
  • The awards are intended to honor those in public service and private life that have “distinguished themselves by taking extraordinary steps to promote and uphold conservative principles of governance, free markets, and strong families.”
  • This year’s recipients are Tom Dekle, CEO of Milo’s Hamburgers, Attorney General Steve Marshall and State Rep. Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals.
  • The 2020 awardees will be honored at the Alabama Policy Institute’s Fall Dinner on Oct 29 at the Grand Bohemian in Mountain Brook.
  • Read more HERE.

Alabama man charged with murder in Tennessee disappearance

  • CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — An Alabama man has been charged with killing someone who disappeared in Tennessee four years ago, according to authorities.
  • William S. Whited, 38, of Bryant, Alabama, was arrested in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last week on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and aggravated robbery in the slaying of Wesley Ridge, prosecutors announced Friday.
  • Investigators said they think Whited was the last person to see Ridge, 39, alive before he vanished from Marion County, Tennessee, in March 2016, the Times Free Press reported.
  • Marion County sheriff’s officials met with prosecutors last month with new information in the case, and a grand jury later indicted Whited, Sheriff Ronnie Burnett said Friday.
  • Although the slaying was tied to Whited, formerly a person of interest in the case, Ridge’s body was never discovered, according to authorities.
  • The Times Free Press quoted 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor as saying that detectives “built a substantial and solid case,” though he said he could not discuss the evidence presented to the grand jury.
  • It was not immediately clear why authorities believed Ridge had been killed.
  • Marion County Circuit Court officials said Whited did not yet have an attorney on record as of Friday.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barrett vows fair approach as justice, Democrats skeptical


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Watch live: Barrett faces senators questions on health care, legal precedent


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tuberville charity, failed hedge fund scrutinized


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report shows lack of health care access in Black Belt


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Port sets new record for coal export


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Austal-built USS Mobile completes acceptance trials


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Policy Institute announces 2020 Policy Warrior awards


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Orr: Time to revisit licensing requirements on small, in-home child care providers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama allows early start to oyster harvest on Monday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Stacy Column: Fun with electoral math


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 12, 2020


AL.COM – An ugly secret in Alabama: Police dog attacks


AL.COM – Half of Alabama small businesses would apply for another federal loan, survey says


AL.COM – Family, activists demand answers after man died in Tuscaloosa police custody


AL.COM – Details released on Madison County inmate killed in fight


AL.COM – Religious, social justice leaders urge utility to continue water service


AL.COM – Judge rejects some of Mobile police officer’s immunity claims in 2016 shooting


AL.COM – Protests continue at Tuscaloosa VA Hospital, as civil rights group alleges discrimination


AL.COM – Voters could approve plan to take racist language from Alabama Constitution


Montgomery Advertiser – Leaders want your thoughts on Montgomery police review board


Montgomery Advertiser – Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration


Montgomery Advertiser – I am the 908th: A look at the people of Alabama’s Air Force Reserve Unit


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Gardendale police asking for help locating missing teen


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Nursing homes begin to allow in-person visits with protections in place


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – School nurse says new state COVID-19 toolkit helps when reporting cases


Tuscaloosa News – Mother, activists demand transparency in Kendrell Watkins case


Tuscaloosa News – Search underway for an auto theft suspect in the south Tuscaloosa area


Tuscaloosa News – Police continue to seek information in recent shootings


Decatur Daily – Moulton man charged in shooting death


Decatur Daily – Morgan County: COVID-19 cases and quarantines rise in 3 school systems


Decatur Daily – Loans available for Decatur small businesses


Times Daily – Shots hit Well’s Fargo building


Times Daily – Sorrell among API’s 2020 Policy Warrior award winners


Times Daily – Betterton is new Florence mayor


Anniston Star – Proclamations, authorizations mark Jacksonville council meeting


Anniston Star – Anniston seeking volunteers for Saturday cleanup, longer-term service projects


Anniston Star – Power bills, transparency at issue in election for Alabama’s Public Service Commission


YellowHammer News – Alabama’s total Census response rate now up to 99.9%


YellowHammer News – Officials estimate Hurricane Sally cost local governments $86M; FEMA providing assistance


YellowHammer News – Mo Brooks wants China out of Alabama universities after K-12 gives them the boot


Gadsden Times – Census worker tells police he was told to leave, pushed and followed from residence


Gadsden Times – Police Report for Oct. 13


Dothan Eagle – Millennial Money: Use a crisis to build helpful money habits


Dothan Eagle – UN: Climate change means more weather disasters every year


Dothan Eagle – China’s vehicle sales pick up in September as market revives


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University student wins mayoral election


Opelika-Auburn News – Fish will fly in re-scheduled Gulf Coast event


Opelika-Auburn News – Buston is ready to hand over Auburn city reins


WSFA Montgomery – Increase in ‘very high risk’ areas for COVID-19 on ADPH map


WSFA Montgomery – Around 300 MPS teachers to protest in-person learning as classes resume Tuesday


WSFA Montgomery – Butler County deputy recovering after being struck in hit-and-run


WAFF Huntsville – Man featured in ‘Tiger King’ series indicted on animal cruelty charges in Virginia


WAFF Huntsville – Healthcare law on line at court, but is it likely to fall?


WAFF Huntsville – Rally for Riley: Lincoln Co. shows support for girl in ICU after ATV accident


WKRG Mobile – FDOT seeks lost Garcon Point Bridge toll revenue from Skanska USA


WKRG Mobile – Minimum wage is on the ballot in Florida


WKRG Mobile – Mobile couple looking for help after damage from Hurricane Sally


WTVY Dothan – Angel Tree Program application appointments now available


WTVY Dothan – Farmer: “You have to hope for better next year”


WTVY Dothan – USDA extends free meals through end of year


WASHINGTON POST – In a state known for ‘law and order,’ Texas Republicans struggle to make the message stick


WASHINGTON POST – Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has seven kids. And don’t you dare forget it.


WASHINGTON POST – Barrett promises to be apolitical as Democrats warn of threat to health care


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Johnson & Johnson Halts Its Vaccine Trial


NEW YORK TIMES – Questioning Begins for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Here’s What to Watch For.


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Johnson & Johnson Halts Its Vaccine Trial


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Johnson & Johnson Pauses Covid-19 Vaccine Trials Due to Sick Subject


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Wobble as Earnings Season Begins


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Investors Prepare for Higher Treasury Yields as Election Looms



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