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Daily News Digest – October 21, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, October 21.


1. State sees rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

  • The coronavirus pandemic appears to be worsening again in Alabama after weeks of improvement as residents grow weary of preventive measures that slowed the spread of the disease after a summertime peak, health officials said.
  • Donald Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said he has noticed fewer people wearing masks and trying to stay away from each other in public over the last couple weeks, and such changes seem to be showing up in troublesome statistics.
  • “I think it’s clear that we all have COVID fatigue,” Williamson said in an interview Tuesday.
  • The virus has been spreading at a quickened pace since early October, figures show, and around 840 people a day have been hospitalized over the past week, compared to around 750 a day in late September.
  • Read more and see the latest charts HERE.



2. Time running out on virus relief bill, Shelby ‘not optimistic’



3. Justice Dept. files landmark antitrust case against Google

  • The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.
  • And it could just be an opening salvo. Other major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook are under investigation at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • “Google is the gateway to the internet and a search advertising behemoth,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told reporters. “It has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.”
  • Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising. The case filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleges that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers. That stifles competition and innovation from smaller upstart rivals to Google and harms consumers by reducing the quality of web searches and limiting privacy protections and alternative search options, the government alleges.
  • Google vowed to defend itself and responded immediately via tweet: “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Full story HERE.


4. Trump tends to his electoral map, Biden preps for debate

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Erie, Pa, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • President Donald Trump is hopping from one must-win stop on the electoral map to the next in the leadup to a final presidential debate that may be his last, best chance to alter the trajectory of the 2020 campaign.
  • Democrat Joe Biden has been taking the opposite approach, holing up for debate prep in advance of Thursday’s faceoff in Nashville, Tennessee. Trump, trailing in polls in most battleground states, stopped in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and was bound for North Carolina on Wednesday as he delivers what his campaign sees as his closing message.
  • “This is an election between a Trump super recovery and a Biden depression,” the president said in Erie, Pennsylvania. “You will have a depression the likes of which you have never seen.” He added: “If you want depression, doom and despair, vote for Sleepy Joe. And boredom.”
  • Beyond the polls, which could tighten toward Election Day, Trump’s biggest impediments to reelection are his campaign’s lackluster fundraising, which limits the amount of advertising it can run down the stretch, and the president’s tendency to veer off his message of energy and economic recovery to launch attacks and change the news narrative.
  • The latest FEC reports show the Trump campaign had just $63 million cash on hand compared to the Biden camp’s $177 million. Since 2017, Trump and the RNC have raised more than $1.5 billion to put toward reelection, but his campaign burned through it quickly.
  • So far this week, the president has lashed out against Dr. Anthony Fauci calling him a “disaster” whom people are tired of hearing from on the coronavirus and then criticized Leslie Stahl of “60 Minutes” after his sit down interview, calling the upcoming story “FAKE and BIASED.”
  • Still, such attacks are the hallmark of a president whose supporters adore his fighting spirit, and his ability to get those voter to the polls en masse in swing states may decide the election.
  • “If we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing,” Trump said in Erie.
  • Read more HERE.


5. News Briefs


Eula Battle, wife of Huntsville mayor, dies

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala (AP) — The wife of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Eula Battle, has died. She was 65.
  • The mayor’s office made the announcement on Tuesday but didn’t release a cause of death.
  • Eula Battle had a more than three-decade career as a schoolteacher, much of it with Madison County Schools. She also cofounded Free 2 Teach, a non-profit that supplies free school materials for local teachers.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey expressed her sympathy on social media, recalling that the mayor referred to his wife as his best friend. Rep. Mo Brooks, whose congressional district includes Huntsville, tweeted that Battle will be remembered for her kindness and charity.
  • Besides her husband, Battle is survived by their son and his family and her siblings.

Boeing gives $50,000 in STEM funding to Decatur City Schools

  • Boeing recently gave a $50,000 grant to expand science, technology, engineering and math education at Decatur City Schools.
  • The funds will be used to expand the Greenpower USA electric race car program into the fourth, fifth and sixth grades, buy a 3-D printer for grades seven and eight and create a composite lab at the system’s high school Engineering Academy.
  • “DCS is committed to improving STEM education with a focus on increasing the number of graduates with 21st Century skills ready for local engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs,” Superintendent Michael Douglas said in a written statement.
  • The Greenpower program allows students to build a drivable electric car. The build introduces children to basic mechanics, tools and engineering concepts. The build will also be integrated into the curriculum to highlight key areas such as friction, electricity, materials, math and design technology, according to a press release from the Decatur City Schools Foundation.
  • “At Boeing, we’re focused on inspiring and preparing the next generation to gain fundamental, 21st Century skills through hands-on, experiential learning opportunities,” said Tina Watts, community investor for Boeing Global Engagement. “We’re proud to partner with Decatur City Schools Foundation to expand these STEM opportunities for students in our community and prepare them for careers of the future.”
  • Full story HERE.

Alabama NAACP names 4 to new hall of honor

  • ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama NAACP is honoring four people as the initial members of the Alabama NAACP Hall of Honor including civil rights lawyer Fred Gray Sr., who once fought for the right of the organization to operate in the state.
  • Gray, of Tuskegee, assisted the organization for years after then-Gov. John Patterson attempted to have it barred from operating in the state in 1956 as the civil rights movement was gaining steam. Gray also represented the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.
  • Other honorees include Della M. Bryant, who led the Montgomery NAACP branch; Frank Travis, who advocated for education for Blacks in Limestone County; and Mary Walker, who served as the unofficial NAACP historian in Mobile.
  • The names of the new inductees will be inscribed on a wall at Talladega College, the site of the first NAACP branch in Alabama.

Coroner: Walker County woman killed in attack by pack of dogs

  • NAUVOO, Ala. (AP) — A pack of dogs attacked and killed a woman in rural Walker County northwest of Birmingham, authorities said.
  • Ruthie Mae Brown, 36, of Boldo was pronounced dead at the scene in Nauvoo on Monday afternoon, Coroner Joey Vick said.
  • It was unclear exactly what happened, but authorities indicated that at least five dogs were involved.
  • Sheriff Nick Smith said the owner of two of the animals claimed them, and both will be turned over to the Humane Society, the Daily Mountain Eagle reported. Officers were trying to capture at least three other dogs after the attack.
  • The district attorney’s office will determine whether there’s evidence to file any charges.
  • Story link.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After improvement, virus cases worsening in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Time running out on virus relief bill, Shelby ‘not optimistic’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justice Dept. files landmark antitrust case against Google


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Boeing gives $50,000 in STEM funding to Decatur City Schools


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Coroner: Walker County woman killed in attack by pack of dogs


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump ups pressure on Barr to probe Bidens as election nears


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Most of Black Belt region lacks sufficient internet access


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Dueling Jones, Tuberville polls show wide divergence


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey, Noem, Reynolds: An inspirational pick


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Group offers churches $6-a-ballot for early voting effort


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – October 20, 2020


AL.COM – Few dentists tested positive for coronavirus after reopening, Alabama study finds


AL.COM – Birmingham buys police software: opponents warn against facial recognition


AL.COM – Mobile County makes change due to surge in absentee voting


AL.COM – Alabama Confederate flag removal protester allegedly stabbed justice group’s inflatable screen


AL.COM – Alabama seeks input on coal ash plans


AL.COM – 17 attorneys general oppose Alabama curbside voting ban in Supreme Court


AL.COM – Black Belt port to get $1.7 million grant


AL.COM – Regions reports third quarter earnings of $501 million


AL.COM – What is the Doug ‘Jonesiest’ county in Alabama?


Montgomery Advertiser – A look inside historic Garden District home


Montgomery Advertiser – A voter’s guide to the constitutional amendments on Alabama’s 2020 ballot


Montgomery Advertiser – With crews gone during pandemic, couple restores WWI-era Montgomery house on their own


Montgomery Advertiser – City Council votes on package store ordinance


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Don’t wait! How to make sure your absentee ballot is counted in presidential election


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Unemployment up in Alabama, BBJ has optimistic outlook for Birmingham


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham City Schools moving to blended schedule starting in November


Tuscaloosa News – Local efforts continue to slow spread of COVID-19, mayor says


Tuscaloosa News – Woman sought as a person of interest in Tuesday homicide


Tuscaloosa News – Investigation underway after body found in Tuscaloosa


Decatur Daily – Wiley appointment creates final conflict for outgoing council


Decatur Daily – Company gets extension of tax abatements after unexpected construction expenses


Decatur Daily – Decatur police investigate crash in which vehicle left scene


Times Daily – Cities, counties seeking Rebuild Alabama grant funds


Times Daily – Shoals unemployment rises to 5.8%


Times Daily – Clothesline Project: Speaking out to bring awareness


Anniston Star – Motorcyclist killed in Monday crash


Anniston Star – Jeff Ryan named JSU’s program operations chief


Anniston Star – Most of Black Belt region lacks sufficient internet access


YellowHammer News – Boeing donates $50K to Decatur City Schools for STEM education


YellowHammer News – Economists: Democrat-proposed $15 per hour minimum wage would cost Alabama over 53,000 jobs


YellowHammer News – Trump administration investing $1.7 million in Sumter County inland port


Gadsden Times – Firefighters battle blaze at Pine Ridge Apartments


Gadsden Times – Gadsden City Council approves $6.4 million bid for Gadsden Sports Park construction


Gadsden Times – ‘Have the hard conversations’: CEO talks to city’s Human Relations Advisory Committee


Dothan Eagle – Troy-Dothan nursing program’s pediatric simulator will stimulate new learning opportunities


Dothan Eagle – Another 645 students leave Dothan schools, superintendent reports


Dothan Eagle – After improvement, Alabama COVID virus cases worsening


Opelika-Auburn News – Thai Cabinet approves Parliament session to debate protests


Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: UK to infect healthy volunteers to speed vaccine


Opelika-Auburn News – Polish court ruling to determine fate of human rights office


WSFA Montgomery – Ala. shattering absentee ballot records; people line up to vote at courthouse


WSFA Montgomery – 59th annual Covington County Fair gets underway


WSFA Montgomery – Sunday alcohol sales on the ballot in Bullock County


WAFF Huntsville – Two hotels possibly coming to Huntsville leaves neighborhood residents outraged


WAFF Huntsville – A youth mega-center is coming to Sheffield


WAFF Huntsville – Eula Battle leaves behind strong education legacy with Free 2 Teach


WKRG Mobile – Destin massage therapist accused of inappropriately touching two women


WKRG Mobile – Man escapes police car, chased down on Airport Blvd.


WKRG Mobile – MPD involved accident on Azalea and Cottage Hill


WTVY Dothan – Beacon of Hope planning special needs trunk-or-treat


WTVY Dothan – Shute Pecan Company hoping to start buying pecans next week


WTVY Dothan – Dothan bomber pleads guilty, could testify against co-defendant


WASHINGTON POST – McConnell warns White House against making stimulus deal as Pelosi and Mnuchin inch closer


WASHINGTON POST – Trump and Biden gird for the final debate of a bitter campaign


WASHINGTON POST – Trump, unhappy with questions from ‘60 Minutes’ host Lesley Stahl, threatens to release interview himself


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Records Shed New Light on Chinese Business Pursuits


NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Accuses Google of Illegally Protecting Monopoly


NEW YORK TIMES – College Students Are Missing From Campus. Will Their Missing Votes Make a Difference?


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Coronavirus Stimulus Talks Make Progress Despite Resistance


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Uber Weighs California Overhaul if Ballot Measure on Workers Fails


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Apollo Board Panel to Review Leon Black’s Ties With Jeffrey Epstein



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