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Daily News Digest – October 8, 2020

Presented by the

Energy Institute of Alabama

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, October 8.

1. Pence, Harris mix it up in VP debate

  • There was a pretty good, normal, decent debate last night.
  • Anyone still cringing from the presidential debate a week ago was probably somewhat relieved to see Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris mix it up on the issues in a relatively civil and polite way last night, while also offering Americans a starkly different vision of where they see the country going over the next four years.
  • Harris’ best moments came early as she pounded Pence on the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to take away the Affordable Care Act.
  • Pence scored points on the economy, putting Harris in a corner on her previous support of the “Green New Deal” and later on Supreme Court packing.
  • There was also a fly on Pence’s head for like five minutes, which distracted me from hearing anything that was said during that time.
  • Read more and watch debate highlights HERE.


2. Merrill: Alabama results will be known election night

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Alabamians will know the state’s election results on Nov. 3, despite an expected large number of absentee ballots being counted on Election Day.
  • “You’ll know who carried every county, all boxes will be reporting on Election Day, absentee votes and every one of the 1,980 polling sites will have their boxes reported to their county and you’ll see that on our website, on Election Day,” Merrill said.
  • Merrill clarified during a virtual town hall hosted by the Alabama Democratic Party that official election returns won’t be confirmed until a few days or possibly a week after election day, as is typical with all elections.
  • Concerns about voting in person because of COVID-19 has made absentee voting more appealing to many voters in the state. Merrill said he expects the state to break previous records with more than 150,000 absentee ballots.
  • As of Tuesday, Merrill said more than 132,000 absentee applications had been received and more than 63,000 absentee ballots had been returned.
  • Absentee ballots have traditionally only been counted once polls closed at 7 p.m. on Election Day, but with Gov. Kay Ivey’s revised emergency order announced last week, absentee ballots can be opened starting 7 a.m. on Nov. 3.
  • Another way the Election Day process will be expedited is with the use of electronic poll books in all but four counties.
  • “We’re using resources available to us, not CARES money, but other resources we have to make sure every county in the state has electronic poll books which will expedite the check-in process, will make it safer, more convenient for people to come in and check-in,” Merrill said.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.

A message from the

Energy Institute of Alabama

  • Electric Vehicles (EVs) are quickly gaining traction across the country and within Alabama. On average, the state has experienced a greater than 40% year-over-year growth of registered EVs.
  • Over the last thirty years, Alabama has established itself as the No. 3 auto-exporter in the country and boasts over 40,000 jobs within the automotive sector. Increasing Alabama’s electric mobility and investing in EV infrastructure will continue to ensure Alabama remains a forward-leaning automotive leader.
  • Watch the Energy Institute of Alabama’s full video HERE to learn more about the growing EV sector, the benefits of EVs and their impact on the economy.









3. UAB clinical trials looking to reduce COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalizations

  • Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham are encouraging Alabamians to participate in various clinical trials to treat symptoms of the novel coronavirus and hopefully reduce needed hospitalizations.
  • The clinical trials are open to people experiencing a range of symptoms, people who have recovered from their infection of COVID-19 or who have not been infected and want to participate in the vaccine trials.
  • During a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Sonya Heath, a professor of medicine in UAB’s division of infectious diseases, said that by participating in these immune-based therapy clinical trials, Alabamians would be helping to find better ways of fighting side effects of the virus.
  • “Ultimately (these clinical trials are) to reduce the severity of illness, decrease the hospitalizations and decrease the long-term complications of COVID, which we know exist in a subset of patients, and definitely to decrease the number of people dying from COVID,” Heath said.
  • One of the trials will focus on convalescent plasma, or plasma that has been taken from someone who has recovered from the virus and using the built-up antibodies in that plasma to treat an infected person.
  • For the convalescent plasma trial, Heath said they are looking to test whether a high concentration of antibodies in the plasma can decrease the severity of symptoms in patients who are newly infected with COVID-19.
  • Heath said they would like to test the plasma on those showing symptoms within the first eight days of infection.
  • “When we’re trying to target the virus, the earlier we do that the better,” Heath said.
  • Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Orr proposes more teacher development days tied to pay increase

  • Alabama’s public school teachers would have five additional professional development days under a proposal from Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.
  • The additional required development days would come with a salary increase for educators, said Orr, the chairman of the Senate education budget committee.
  • The state currently has seven mandated professional development days per year for teachers. Orr said several states with higher achieving educational systems have more days for educator training.
  • “We need to increase the number of (professional development) days in our state,” Orr said. “And as a result, increase the pay of our educators along with that for the extra work they’ll be doing.”
  • Orr said he plans to bring legislation in the 2021 session, which begins Feb. 3.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



5. Judge won’t block Alabama face mask mandate

  • A federal judge has refused to temporarily block Alabama’s mask mandate and other state health orders issued during the pandemic.
  • U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Tuesday refused to grant the temporary restraining order requested by plaintiffs represented by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Watkins said there is no urgency because the health orders were first issued this spring and the mask order followed in July.
  • “So, at least, Plaintiffs delayed more than two months in filing their motion; at most, they delayed more than five months. Either way, plaintiffs waited an impermissible amount of time to seek the ‘extraordinary and drastic remedy’ of a temporary retraining order,” Watkins said.
  • The case will go forward. Watkins asked the two sides to file briefs on whether the case should be dismissed.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey last week extended the state mask order through Nov. 8. Ivey said the measure has proven effective at helping control the state’s coronavirus outbreak even if some people do not like it.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – VP Debate Takeaways: Pandemic looms over a more civil fight


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Orr proposes more teacher development days tied to pay increase


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Merrill says election results will be known by election night in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – UAB clinical trials looking to reduce worsening COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalizations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge won’t temporarily block Alabama face mask mandate


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones: Trump nominee is torpedo aimed at Affordable Care Act


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump vows not to participate in virtual debate with Biden


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Hurricane Sally, weary Alabama coast braces for Delta


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Blue Cross provides premium relief to customers amid ongoing pandemic




AL.COM – UAB begins clinical trial of COVID drug given to Trump


AL.COM – Man convicted in 1994 Cullman County murder found dead in prison bed


AL.COM – State prison inmate, 65, who tested positive for COVID-19 dies


AL.COM – Judge rules against Roy Moore’s clients in lawsuit challenging Ivey mask order


AL.COM – Alabama student pitching her business in nationwide competition


AL.COM – Alabama teen with Down syndrome is CEO of an ice cream truck


AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: Stonewall, other opportunity zone projects are transformative but true opportunity for residents still waits


AL.COM – Hospitals see new rise in COVID-19 patients in Auburn and Tuscaloosa


AL.COM – Supreme Court diving into Georgia-Florida water wars


Montgomery Advertiser – Two men charged with reckless murder after allegedly shooting one man while in confrontation with another


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘SNL’ uninvites Morgan Wallen after ‘shortsighted’ partying in Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – New set of wheels: Injured police officer, family receive 2020 Chrysler van


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Railroad Park celebrating 10th anniversary with a FREE virtual event


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Dr. Saag says steroid treatment for COVID-19 helpful


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Center Point’s new mayor lays out first steps he plans to take


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Schools extends staggered plan for in-person learning


Tuscaloosa News – Mayor: Most in compliance with COVID-19 regulations for first UA home football game


Tuscaloosa News – Herndon defeats Phillips for Northport mayor; Dykes takes District 4 council seat


Decatur Daily – Bowling wins second term as Decatur mayor


Decatur Daily – Interpretive panels added to site of historic fort, former school


Decatur Daily – Perry and Dean elected to Priceville Town Council


Times Daily – ‘Smoke on the Mountain’ performances rescheduled


Times Daily – Stanley Takes Sheffield Mayor’s Seat


Times Daily – Clark, Moore win seats on Muscle Shoals City Council


Anniston Star – COVID case counts curtailed in Calhoun County


Anniston Star – Wellington man charged with sexually abusing child


Anniston Star – Rural delights attract seasonal crowd to Bennett Farms


YellowHammer News – Gary Palmer urges USPS to date-stamp all mail-in ballots to ensure election integrity


YellowHammer News – Doug Jones claims ‘China’s actually doing a lot’ to combat climate change — ‘Not a China problem’


YellowHammer News – Troy University receiving $3.5M grant to study PPE recycling


Gadsden Times – Fire at Thirteenth Place in Gadsden


Gadsden Times – Gadsden City Schools report a smooth start, one week into on-campus classes


Gadsden Times – Recalling fire at Gadsden Warehousing; second largest in state; largest ever in Attalla


Dothan Eagle – 5-year-old found wandering down busy road after leaving Dothan school


Dothan Eagle – UPDATE: Dothan officer resigns after allegedly breaking into family’s apartment while they slept


Dothan Eagle – Hurricane Delta lashes Mexico’s Yucatan, then heads for US


Opelika-Auburn News – Nobel Prize for chemistry awarded to Charpentier and Doudna


Opelika-Auburn News – Updated: Here’s who in President Trump’s circle has tested positive for COVID-19


Opelika-Auburn News – EU presents plan to improve plight of its Roma minority


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery leaders discuss which employees may get hazard pay


WSFA Montgomery – Students and parents react to Opelika Middle School moving to remote learning


WSFA Montgomery – Ventress Correctional Facility inmate dies after contracting COVID-19


WAFF Huntsville – Lauderdale county plane crash results in 1 death


WAFF Huntsville – Hazardous chemical leak in Falkville


WAFF Huntsville – UPDATE: Limestone County Commissioner cleared after ethics violation accusations


WKRG Mobile – 3 Mile Bridge closure affecting businesses, causing headaches for drivers


WKRG Mobile – Mary Esther man faces multiple child pornography charges


WKRG Mobile – MPD: Mother stabs son to death at The Estates at Lafayette Square


WTVY Dothan – 1.8 million masks to be shipped to Alabama schools next week


WTVY Dothan – Use it or lose it: State working to spend $100M on student internet services


WTVY Dothan – $80M in BCBS premium discounts coming to customers


WASHINGTON POST – A night of head-shaking, lip-pursing and eyebrow-raising at the vice-presidential debate


WASHINGTON POST – ‘A Republican Party unraveling’: GOP plunged into crisis as Trump abruptly ends economic relief talks, dismisses virus


WASHINGTON POST – Pence and Harris clash under the shadow of a surging pandemic


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Calls His Illness ‘a Blessing From God’


NEW YORK TIMES – How a Virus Surge Among Orthodox Jews Became a Crisis for New York


NEW YORK TIMES – Under Pence, Politics Regularly Seeped Into the Coronavirus Task Force


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Unemployment Claims to Remain Historically High


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Jobless Claims Data


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Wells Fargo CEO Finds Himself on Defense After a Tough First Year




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