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Daily News Digest – October 5, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, October 5.



1. Trump & COVID-19: The latest

  • President Donald Trump spent the weekend in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, a stunning development that injected a new layer of chaos into an already turbulent 2020 contest just one month before Election Day.
  • Trump briefly ventured out in a motorcade on Sunday to salute cheering supporters, a move that disregarded precautions meant to contain the deadly virus.
  • White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s trip outside the hospital “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.” He added that precautions were taken, including using personal protective equipment, to protect Trump as well as White House officials and Secret Service agents.
  • The public assessments of the president’s condition have been conflicting and confusing, starting with the strange way White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tried to anonymously tell reporters that Trump’s illness was more serious than the doctors just said it was. Politico’s Tim Alberta has a good write up on that.
  • The White House Sunday afternoon posted a video of the president looking well and talking about his “journey” with the virus in a different tone that could portend a change in rhetoric for the remainder of the campaign.
  • “I learned a lot about Covid. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s-read-the-books school. And I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it,” the president said.
  • As of this writing, Trump had fired off 19 tweets just this morning, seemingly eager to leave the hospital and resume a normal schedule.
  • Read more about what we know and what we don’t about the president’s condition HERE.



2. Ivey announces site near Tallassee for new Elmore County prison, despite local officials’ lobbying


  • Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that a new prison in Elmore County will be built on private property near Tallassee. The announcement came a month after several state lawmakers and officials representing the county urged Ivey to consider vacant state property at an existing prison complex in the western part of the county.
  • In her announcement Friday, Ivey said multiple sites had been under consideration by the Alabama Department of Corrections.
  • “I am pleased with the forward progression of this pivotal initiative and look forward to financial close, which is anticipated to occur in late 2020,” she said in a statement.
  • But in early September, Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka, Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Pike Road, Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, and Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, cosigned a letter to Ivey asking her to consider using available land near Draper and Staton prisons and Elmore Correctional Facility in west Elmore County. Other names on the letter included Elmore County Commission Chairman Troy Stubbs and Elmore County Economic Development Authority Chairman Art Faulkner.
  • “We’re in lockstep agreement that it makes the most common sense,” said Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka, told Alabama Daily News. “… While we are grateful to get a new prison site anywhere in Elmore County, it seems to make the most sense for the state’s fiscal health to do it where we already own the land, already own the infrastructure and have good reception in that community.”
  • Complicating the matter is the state’s Land Sales and Leasing Act, which would not allow the direct sale of the Elmore property to CoreCivic, but rather require the state to open up a bid process in which any other buyer could potentially upend the deal. Conversely, the privately-owned Tallassee land could be directly purchased by CoreCivic.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



3. Alabama National Guard unit tapped for rapid response to civil unrest

  • The National Guard has designated military police units in Alabama and Arizona to serve as rapid reaction forces so they can respond quickly to any potential civil unrest around the country, following violent protests that rocked the nation’s capital and several states this summer.
  • According to the Guard, about 600 troops — 300 in both Alabama and Arizona — will be ready to deploy within 24 hours if requested by a governor in another state. And Guard leaders have also bought more than $200,000 in new protective equipment, and have increased troop training on proper procedures in dealing with protests.
  • Military leaders don’t explicitly tie the changes to concerns about possible election-related violence, but the nation is bracing for unrest surrounding the tumultuous presidential campaign, particularly if voting results are not known for days or weeks because of the increase in mail-in ballots.
  • The Guard’s decision to formally designate troops in Alabama and Arizona as quick reaction forces will help because those units have aircraft that will allow them to rapidly deploy to another state within 24 hours of a governor’s request.
  • Guard officials said the forces in Alabama would respond in the eastern half of the country, and those in Arizona would respond in the west, and their deployment window at this point extends through the end of this year.
  • Full story HERE.


4. Cliff Sims returns to Trump admin for role with intelligence chief

  • Alabama native Cliff Sims has rejoined the Trump administration as senior advisor to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Politico reported Friday.
  • Sims previously worked on the Trump campaign in 2016 then in the White House press shop as director of message strategy, before leaving in 2018 and writing his tell-all book, “Team Of Vipers.”
  • Sims declined to comment to Alabama Daily News due to the sensitive nature of his new role at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A source familiar with the appointment told ADN Sims will oversee communications for Ratcliffe and serve as a liaison between ODNI and the White House.
  • Sims’ relationship with Ratcliffe goes back to early this year when he ran communications for Ratcliffe’s Senate confirmation process. The former Texas congressman faced an especially challenging confirmation and even withdrew his nomination in 2019 before agreeing to be renominated by Trump in February.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Supreme Court begins term that could see conservative shift

  • The Supreme Court opens a new term with Republicans on the cusp of realizing a dream 50 years in the making, a solid conservative majority that could roll back abortion rights, expand gun rights and shrink the power of government.
  • Eight justices are getting back to work today at a most unusual, politically fraught moment in American history. They’re still mourning the death of their colleague Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing. They’re working in the midst of a pandemic that has forced the court to drastically change the way it conducts business. And the presidential election is less than a month away.
  • President Donald Trump’s nominee for Ginsburg’s seat, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could be on the bench in time for one of the term’s biggest cases, post-Election Day arguments in the latest Republican bid to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which provides more than 20 million people with health insurance.
  • Barrett’s confirmation would cement a 6-3 conservative majority and diminish Chief Justice John Roberts’ ability to moderate the court’s decisions. That’s because conservatives would have five votes even in cases where Roberts might side with the remaining three liberal justices.
  • The term is so far short on high-profile cases, but that could change quickly because of the prospect of court involvement in lawsuits related to the election.
  • Read more, including what cases are pending this fall, HERE.



News Briefs


Mayor and council runoffs set Tuesday in many Alabama cities

  • Voters in dozens of Alabama cities will go back to the polls Tuesday to settle races for mayor and city council posts.
  • The election is the runoff for posts in which no candidate won a majority during August’s municipal voting.
  • Among the more than a dozen cities that will be settling mayoral posts are Anniston, Daphne, Decatur, Enterprise, Florence, Prichard and Selma. All races are officially nonpartisan.
  • Read more HERE.

350 Alabama workers to be laid off in temporary mine closure

  • OAKMAN, Ala. (AP) — About 350 workers will be laid off when a mine in Alabama temporarily closes, according to the United Mine Workers Association.
  • The Shoal Creek Mine, which spans three counties, was set to close for six months, said Larry Spencer, the district vice president for the union representing the miners.
  • Operator Peabody Energy said it decided to halt production at the mine following revenue loss and weakening demand for coal, Spencer said.
  • It was not immediately clear whether the laid-off workers would be rehired upon the mine’s reopening.
  • Peabody acquired the mine from the previous owner the Drummond Company in 2018. The company announced in August it had begun lowering coal production and had reduced its workforce by about 24% over the course of a year and a half, news outlets said.

Judge sentences man to 600 years in prison in child sex case

  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A man accused of getting two children to engage in sexual contact for years so he could record them was sentenced to 600 years in prison Friday, federal prosecutors said.
  • U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler sentenced Matthew Tyler Miller, 32, of Cottondale to what amounted to a life term a year after he pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexually exploiting young children.
  • “The crimes for which Miller has admitted guilt are not only disturbing, they are sickening, and his actions robbed these children of their childhood,” FBI Special Agent Johnnie Sharp Jr. said in a statement.
  • Miller enticed children to have sexual contact between 2014 and February 2019, an indictment said. A statement from prosecutors said the two victims were as young as 4 when the incidents occurred.
  • An examination of electronic devices owned by Miller turned up 102 pornographic images that had been produced of the children, prosecutors said. Miller pleaded guilty in October 2019.
  • Miller still faces a state sodomy charge that accuses him of having sex with a child younger than 12 last year, records show.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What we know, and what we don’t, about Trump’s diagnosis


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey announces site near Tallassee for new Elmore County prison, despite local officials’ lobbying


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – National Guard taps units for rapid response to civil unrest


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Cliff Sims returns to Trump administration for role with intelligence chief


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supreme Court opens new term that could see conservative shift


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Mayor and council runoffs set Tuesday in many Alabama cities


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Doctors: Trump continues to improve during virus treatment


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Virus spreads on panel handling Supreme Court nomination


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bentley blames Ivey for possible close Supreme Court vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Recovery from Hurricane Sally incomplete on Alabama coast


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pandemic program to boost Alabama internet use mostly unused


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest – October 4, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama schools could lose $145 million in federal coronavirus aid if not spent by Dec. 30


AL.COM – UAB doctor who had COVID-19 would advise Trump to ‘go slow’


AL.COM – City runoff elections across Alabama set for Tuesday


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: The debate debacle was our fault


AL.COM – New ‘I voted’ stickers to honor Alabama veterans


AL.COM – Alabama still on long road to recovery from Hurricane Sally


AL.COM – Contributor L. Brunson White: Can we continue to allow Alabama to be known as a racist state?


AL.COM – Pecan farming: Future of growing Alabama’s state nut murky in Baldwin County after Hurricane Sally


AL.COM – Contributor Cameron Smith: In presidential debate, we wanted ‘Gladiator’ but got ‘Grumpy Old Men’


Montgomery Advertiser – Where Alabama U.S. Senate candidates Doug Jones, Tommy Tuberville stand on climate change


Montgomery Advertiser – How will elderly Montgomery poll workers be protected from COVID-19? Here’s the plan


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘It was at least a 200-pound bear’: Woman in hunting stand has scary encounter with bear


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Haunted Houses scaring people safely during pandemic


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – How you can get treated with experimental COVID-19 drug used to treat President Trump


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Empty chairs outside White House honor 200,000 Americans dead from COVID-19


Tuscaloosa News – Jury trials to resume Monday in Tuscaloosa County


Tuscaloosa News – A quiet welcome as football returns to Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Trump’s condition was ‘very concerning’ over past day, source says, as White House says president is doing ‘very well’


Decatur Daily – Tuesday’s runoff to decide who is Decatur’s next mayor


Decatur Daily – Housing Authority board to give internal candidates priority for director opening


Decatur Daily – Pandemic restrictions lead to disappointment among high school seniors


Times Daily – LaGrange Living History Society is offering haunted hayrides this month


Times Daily – White returned to prison after knives found in jail cell


Times Daily – COVID cases up in Shoals area, hospitalizations down


Anniston Star – Rustic ways celebrated with antique tractor and plow day


Anniston Star – Oxfordfest draws large crowd, despite pandemic


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: Transformational Tuesday in Anniston


YellowHammer News – Economic development projects to bring 510 new jobs to Huntsville area


YellowHammer News – BIO Alabama event to highlight economic development, cutting-edge research and capital access


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Whatley: ‘If you don’t want to wear a mask, then you shouldn’t have to’


Gadsden Times – Recovery from Hurricane Sally incomplete on Alabama coast


Gadsden Times – Jury trials resume Monday: Here’s what to expect


Gadsden Times – Innovative educators, exceptional students, community partners recognized for their contributions


Dothan Eagle – One dead; five hospitalized in Thursday night collision on Parramore Road


Dothan Eagle – Southeast Health announces modified visitation policy


Dothan Eagle – Harkness says goodbye after 12 years of Southeast Health leadership, successful medical career


Opelika-Auburn News – Trump leaves hospital in car to wave at supporters; the latest knowns and unknowns of his condition


Opelika-Auburn News – Victim advocacy group names Lee County DA prosecutor of the year


Opelika-Auburn News – Absentee voting already sets record in Lee County


WSFA Montgomery – Warming up and watching the Tropics


WSFA Montgomery – Trump greets supporters following new details of his illness


WSFA Montgomery – Tallassee Fire Department goes to work to restore playground


WAFF Huntsville – Albertville neighborhood comes together to honor law enforcement


WAFF Huntsville – COVID-19 in Alabama: State sees 719 new cases on Sunday


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville woman plans approach for safer trick-or-treating


WKRG Mobile – ‘Cops’ resumes production after cancellation in wake of George Floyd’s death


WKRG Mobile – Sunshine continues Monday, keeping a close eye on the tropics


WKRG Mobile – Tropical Depression 26 forms, Gamma’s track turns north


WTVY Dothan – How you can get treated with experimental COVID-19 drug used to treat President Trump


WTVY Dothan – One dead after single-car crash in Dale County Sunday morning


WTVY Dothan – Count down is on for Alabama STAR ID


WASHINGTON POST – Infectious Trump briefly leaves hospital to greet fans as confusion continues over his health


WASHINGTON POST – Prospect of Trump’s early hospital discharge mystifies doctors


WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s illness halts campaign just when it needs an October boost


NEW YORK TIMES – Tracking Viral Misinformation Ahead of the 2020 Election


NEW YORK TIMES – Instead of Reassurance, Trump’s Doctor Delivers Confusion, Experts Say


NEW YORK TIMES – After Biden’s Exposure to Trump, His Team Is Cagey on Health Questions


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Tick Higher on Muted Signs of Ebbing Political Risk


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Inside Trump’s Last Public Event Before Disclosing He Has Coronavirus


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden Scores 14-Point Lead Over Trump in Poll After Debate



NEW YORK TIMES – Outbreak at Secret Service Training Center Underlines Proximity of Virus to White House


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Drop After Trump Tests Positive for Coronavirus


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Job Growth Expected to Slow in September


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett Signed Antiabortion Ad in 2006



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