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Daily News Digest – October 16, 2020

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Here’s your Daily News for October 16.

1. State prepares for vaccine

  • State Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said there are still a lot of unknowns about who will get the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines and when they’ll arrive, but the Alabama Department of Public Health is preparing for distribution.
  • Some type of vaccine is expected to be ready by the end of this year, but Harris said there will not be enough for mass distribution in the state until spring of next year.
  • Harris said ensuring public confidence in a vaccine and making sure residents receive accurate information about it is the main concern for ADPH right now.
  • “We understand there is a political dimension to opposition to the vaccine amongst some people going on in America today, but there are simply just people who have legitimate questions and need to have those questions answered and hopefully answered by a trusted medical provider and a trusted information source,” Harris said. “So we have a lot of work to do with a vaccine program that is arriving this quickly amidst all the other turmoil that’s going on in the country.”
  • The ADPH this year is also getting about 10 to 15 times the amount of influenza vaccines it normally receives.
  • Harris said this is not only to make sure everyone gets their needed flu shot but also a way to test run how to do mass distribution for a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • “It’s a time for us to not only roll out flu vaccines because we need to do that, but it also serves as a good way to plan on how we might roll out a COVID vaccine, just in terms of logistics of managing that,” Harris said.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.

2. State unemployment rises

  • Alabama’s unemployment rate rose to 6.6% for the month of September, up from 5.6% in August, the Department of Labor announced this morning.
  • September’s rate represents 148,912 unemployed persons, compared to 125,855 in August and 61,495 in September 2019.
  • “As we continue to gauge the economic impacts of this pandemic, we expect to see fluctuations in our unemployment rate,” said Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “In September, we saw fewer people entering the labor force, fewer people working, and more who were counted as unemployed.  All of those factors will increase the unemployment rate.
  • “We did see an increase in the number of jobs the economy is supporting, with a gain of a little more than 9,000. We hope to see hiring pick up over the next couple of months as we approach the holiday season.”
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Saban still asymptomatic, but sidelined for Alabama-Georgia

  • Nick Saban won’t be allowed to coach No. 2 Alabama from home against third-ranked Georgia per NCAA guidelines, and also can’t be in the stadium while testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Saban said on his radio show Thursday night that he hasn’t had a fever or any symptoms and has still been able to perform all his normal work duties from home.
  • “I feel great, I don’t have any problems,” Saban said. “I’ve been able to do everything that I would do if I were working from (the office), whether it’s being in meetings, watching film with the coaches, watching practice film, have communication on the field that I can still correct players.”
  • He said offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, a former Southern California and Washington head coach, will handle the head coaching decisions on the sideline during the game.
  • Two games — LSU-Florida and Missouri-Vanderbilt — have been postponed to Dec. 12 because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Read more about the high stakes Bama-UGA game HERE.
  • Meanwhile, No. 15 Auburn travels to South Carolina to play Will Muchamp’s Gamecocks.
  • Auburn has won the past eight games against South Carolina, dating to 1933. Muschamp worked at Auburn in three separate occasions, including for current coach Gus Malzahn in 2015 the season before getting the Gamecocks’ job.
  • Read more about the matchup HERE.


4. McCartney: Perfect time to ‘upskill’ into a high-demand job

  • Tim McCartney, chair of the Alabama Workforce Council, contributes an op-ed in today’s Daily News.
  • A recent survey found that 60% of unemployed Alabamians are open to working in a different industry than the one that last employed them, McCartney writes. And now the state is offering opportunities for workers to develop new skills in high-demand industries.
  • This is thanks in part to a new $17.8 million CARES Act grant.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“If you lost your job and are looking for work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are certainly not alone. Here in Alabama, while our economy is recovering, nearly 800,000 Alabamians have filed an initial unemployment claim since March. The pandemic hurt the economy across the board, though workers in public-facing industries were hit especially hard.
“This time of uncertainty for the unemployed and underemployed is a desperate struggle, and our hearts and prayers go out to those affected. It can also be, however, a time of unexpected opportunity. Those who use this time to enroll in a free training program to learn the new skills needed to “upskill” or retrain for a more resilient position will immediately improve their employment prospects and put themselves on a long-term pathway toward success.”
  • Read McCartney’s full op-ed HERE.



5. News Briefs


Alabama State University removes Bibb Graves’ name from residence hall

  • A historically black university in Alabama has renamed a dormitory that honored a one-time governor who also led a Ku Klux Klan chapter nearly a century ago.
  • Workers at Alabama State University removed the name “Bibb Graves” from a residence hall on Wednesday. The building had carried Graves’ name since 1928, when he served as the head of a state government that constitutionally mandated white supremacy.
  • At least two other state schools also have renamed campus buildings that honored Graves, who was known as a pro-education, progressive governor despite leading a KKK chapter in the capital city. Klan membership was so large at the time that politicians used connections in the racist terror group to win votes.
  • Alabama State President Quinton T. Ross Jr. said the idea of replacing the building’s name had been discussed at least as far back as when he was a student at the school, located a few miles from the Alabama Capitol.
  • “Many of our alumni have asked for this to happen,” he said in a statement.
  • Full story from Jay Reeves HERE.

School president apologizes to family of black teen for stop

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville has apologized to the family of a Black teen who was pulled over by campus police after the teen’s mother posted her concerns about the incident on social media.
  • The apology by school President Darren Dawson was issued Wednesday, two days after Chanda Crutcher wrote about the Oct. 3 traffic stop on Facebook.
  • Crutcher said her 17-year-old son was traveling home from work during the evening when he was stopped by the officers for what was said to be a cracked tail light. Crutcher, who said she watched body camera video of the traffic stop, wrote that her son’s vehicle was then searched.
  • Her post said one officer referred to her son as “brother” and asked him several times if he had drugs “or a dead prostitute” in his car.
  • She told WHNT-TV that she has been in contact with Dawson about the incident.
  • “We’ve got to do better,” she told the news outlet. “I truly believe we are better together, but that starts with holding each other accountable. UAH you are going to be held accountable.”
  • Dawson said in his statement Wednesday that the “words and actions” of campus police during the traffic stop “do not represent who we are as an institution.”
  • “I have spoken with the family of the young driver to offer my sincere apologies and address the family’s thoughts, ideas and concerns,” he said. “We will use this as a learning and training opportunity.”

No charges in fatal shooting of man during home break-in

  • DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Authorities haven’t filed any charges in the death of an armed man who police say was fatally wounded while breaking into a home in south Alabama.
  • Dantrail Mills, 34, of Ozark suffered multiple gunshot wounds in a confrontation that occurred early Sunday, the Houston County Sheriff’s Office told new outlets. He allegedly threw a bicycle at a window then kicked in a door and shot at the male homeowner, who returned fire.
  • Investigators are still reviewing what happened but the case could fall under a state “stand your ground” law that lets people use force to protect themselves.
  • Sheriff Donald Valenza said Mills knew the people inside the house, whose names haven’t been released, but the relationship is unclear.
  • Mills, who died at a hospital on Tuesday, had been arrested multiple times before and was released from custody through a federal program in March.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ADPH preparing for COVID-19 vaccine distribution; Harris stresses public trust


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Labor: Alabama unemployment rose 1% in September


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Saban still asymptomatic, but sidelined for Alabama-Georgia


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 15 Auburn seeks second straight win, vs. South Carolina


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tim McCartney: Now is the Perfect Time for “Upskilling” into a High-Demand Job


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Historically black school renames hall honoring KKK leader


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Barrett keeps Democrats, Trump at bay in Senate hearing


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nick Saban, Alabama AD Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Reed, local leaders urge voters to approve tax referendum for schools


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Community colleges buy laptops for remote learning; Murphy to Gadsden State


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 15, 2020


AL.COM – Disabled Iraqi War vet imprisoned for medical marijauna possession granted parole


AL.COM – Huntsville seeks to become ‘more just, equitable city,’ Mayor Tommy Battle says


AL.COM – Jones, Alabamians with preexisting conditions warn of consequences if Obamacare struck down


AL.COM – UAH refuses to say whether campus police officer was disciplined for traffic stop


AL.COM – 2.6 earthquake rattles Alabama-Mississippi border


AL.COM – Have Alabama’s city elections succumbed to liberal vs conservative politics?


AL.COM – Feds say nearly all Alabama households counted as Census enters last day


Montgomery Advertiser – Doug Jones outraises, outspends Tommy Tuberville in third quarter


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery man shot to death Wednesday night


Montgomery Advertiser – Suspect faces capital murder charge after Montgomery toddler dies


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine candidate showing more promising signs


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – After confusion, Saturday in-person absentee voting could happen in Jefferson County after all


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH preparing for COVID-19 vaccine distribution; Harris stresses public trust


Tuscaloosa News – Sen. Doug Jones touts his record during campaign stop in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Absentee interest on ‘record’ pace in Tuscaloosa County, election officials say


Tuscaloosa News – North Carolina man dies after motorcycle crashes into guardrail north of Tuscaloosa


Decatur Daily – Roads, budget and ethics complaint issues in Limestone District 4


Decatur Daily – Absentee voting requests set records locally


Decatur Daily – Restaurant to open in former golf course building


Times Daily – Supreme Court allows president to end census count early


Times Daily – New EDA program to help small businesses


Times Daily – Colbert County Animal Shelter closing for 2 weeks


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: The AHS Bulldog headed for Anniston’s council


Anniston Star – Local COVID hospitalizations spike during weekend


Anniston Star – Sheriff: Oxford man crashes party, points handgun at attendees


YellowHammer News – Alabama’s top investment banking firm Frazer Lanier adds to its ranks


YellowHammer News – Sessions to Tuberville: ‘I support you 100%’


YellowHammer News – State Health Officer Harris: Alabama can expect first COVID-19 vaccine doses by end of year


Gadsden Times – Man in custody in Tuesday morning arson; second arson arrest in a week in Gadsden


Gadsden Times – Gadsden Christmas Parade canceled over COVID-19 concerns


Gadsden Times – Mental Health America of Etowah County holds therapy painting classes


Dothan Eagle – Kyrgyzstan’s president says he’s quitting to avoid bloodshed


Dothan Eagle – Alabama officials trying to combat virus vaccine resistance


Dothan Eagle – Dueling town halls for Trump, Biden after debate plan nixed


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn council to move forward with Crouch


Opelika-Auburn News – Jones: Tuberville charity filings raise questions


Opelika-Auburn News – UK chides EU but says gaps to Brexit trade deal are narrow


WSFA Montgomery – State getting more flu vaccines this year, anticipating eventual COVID-19 vaccine


WSFA Montgomery – State health officer expects COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020


WSFA Montgomery – Virologist: Milan surge spreading to at-risk populations


WAFF Huntsville – UPDATE: Four arrested in Lawrence County death investigation


WAFF Huntsville – I Vote Madison; New group making sure every voice is heard this election season


WAFF Huntsville – WARNING: Accused scammer using legitimate business name to rip off Valley customers


WKRG Mobile – Sunken boats removed from Pensacola Bay four weeks after Sally


WKRG Mobile – Walmart to spread out deals to avoid Black Friday crowds


WKRG Mobile – Polling locations change last-minute due to CDC guidelines for COVID-19


WTVY Dothan – Pea River Historical Society uncovers newest piece of history


WTVY Dothan – State health officer expects COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020


WTVY Dothan – Voters encouraged to check their voting location ahead of election day


WASHINGTON POST – President Trump and Joe Biden clash in distant, dueling town halls


WASHINGTON POST – Fact-checking the dueling town halls of Trump and Biden


WASHINGTON POST – Rather than condemn the QAnon conspiracy theory, Trump elevates its dangerous central assertion


NEW YORK TIMES – NBC’s Savannah Guthrie Grills Trump Opposite ABC’s Sober Biden Talk


NEW YORK TIMES – Slamming Trump, G.O.P. Senator Warns of a ‘Republican Blood Bath’


NEW YORK TIMES – Christie Says He Was ‘Wrong’ Not to Wear Masks at White House


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Battle to Intensify as Winter Sets In


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Signal Muted End to Choppy Week on Wall Street


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Individual-Investing Boom Fuels Trading in Low-Price Stocks


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