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Daily News Digest – September 29, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, September 29.


1. Debate night

  • The first of three presidential debates takes place tonight at 8:00 Central Time in Cleveland.
  • Make no mistake, tonight’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, is a big deal.
  • The situation is almost reversed from four years ago. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the known commodity, love her or hate her, and it was Trump that had to prove his mettle on stage. He did that and more, and rode momentum from the debates to victory.
  • Tonight, Trump’s own record is under the microscope, and it is Biden who must show he can go toe-to-toe with the president for 90 minutes.
  • Biden will step onto the Cleveland stage holding leads in the polls — significant in the national surveys, closer in the battleground states — but facing questions about his turn in the spotlight, particularly considering Trump’s withering attacks. And Trump, with only 35 days to change the course of the race, will have arguably his best chance to try to reframe the campaign as a choice election and not a referendum over his handling of a virus that has killed more people in America than any other nation.
  • While both sides anticipate a vicious debate between two men who do not like each other, the Biden campaign has downplayed the night’s importance, believing that the pandemic and the battered economy will outweigh any debate stage gaffe or zinger. Conversely, the Trump campaign has played up the magnitude of the duel, believing it will be a moment for the president to damage Biden and recast the race.
  • Read more analysis on tonight’s debate from Julie Pace HERE.



2. Ivey urged to extend mask order

  • Hospitals and doctors in Alabama are urging Gov. Kay Ivey to extend her public health order requiring face coverings in public places, which expires on Friday.
  • The number of new cases of COVID-19 confirmed daily has fallen since reaching a high in the summer, and the reduction in the spread of the new coronavirus is all but certainly tied to the masking rule, said Dr. Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.
  • “The one thing that seems to have changed in the course of the pandemic is when the mask order was implemented,” said Williamson. The association supports continuing the requirement through the end of the year and possibly longer, he said.
  • The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, with about 5,000 member doctors, also supports extending the rule, executive director Mark Jackson said.
  • “It has helped mitigate some of the positive tests. Sometimes it is a hassle to wear, but we think it is worth the hassle,” he said.
  • Ivey and state health officials are weighing their options and will announce a decision this week, the governor’s office said, but Ivey already has indicated she plans to keep the face mask order in place.
  • Read more HERE.


3. State launches website offering learning, health resources to parents

  • Gov. Kay Ivey announced the creation of Alabama Family Central, a new website that provides easy to access resources and programs for parents and caregivers with information concerning childcare, education, family services and health services.
  • Alabama Family Central was made through a collaboration of various state agencies and other partners to create an easy to use online portal for parents to use to assist in the health and well-being of their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Alabama Legislature approved a $500,000 line item in the 2021 Education Trust Fund Budget to create the website.
  • Back in may, I listed this line item as one of the “bright spots” in the budgets passed by the Legislature.
  • Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, worked with the Senate education budget committee during budget discussions in May about funding the website since it appeared that virtual learning would be what most Alabama students would have to undergo in the fall.
  • “When I learned that our students would be learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my heart immediately went out to the parents who would need assistance teaching their children at home,” Figures said in a press release.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Testing resources heading to schools

  • President Donald Trump announced Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • The move to vastly expand U.S. testing comes as confirmed new COVID-19 cases remain elevated at more than 40,000 per day and experts warn of a likely surge in infections during the colder months ahead. It also comes just five weeks before the November election, with Trump facing continued criticism for his handling of the crisis.
  • Officials said the administration is emphasizing testing in schools because it’s important to the physical, social and emotional development of students to be back in classrooms to the degree that’s possible. The Abbott Laboratories tests would allow parents to know whether their symptomatic child has COVID-19. In some cases, states could undertake some baseline surveillance, like testing a portion of students per week or per month to make sure that the incidence of COVID-19 is low.
  • Full story HERE.



5. Ed Castile: Honoring Alabama’s workforce innovators


  • Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of AIDT, writes today about honoring those who have kept the state’s workforce development efforts “humming” even amid a pandemic.
  • Castile recently joined Gov. Kay Ivey to formally honor several individuals who have gone above and beyond to make sure the state’s workers could connect to quality jobs, even as the economy took a hit over the last six months.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“As Gov. Ivey noted, the workforce challenges we face right now are far different that those we faced just six months ago. However, as always, our state has risen to those challenges even amid the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Individuals all across Alabama kept our ‘workforce superhighway’ flowing by developing innovative solutions that make it possible to connect people with fulfilling careers. It is important to recognize these leaders of innovation and to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the citizens, communities and industries of Alabama.”
  • Read Castile’s full op-ed HERE.



News Briefs


Marshall Space Flight Center, Space Launch System support thousands of jobs, billions in economic impact in Alabama

  • A recent economic impact report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration found that Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center supports 24,400 jobs in the state of Alabama with an economic impact of $4.3 billion.
  • The report also noted that Marshall contributes $105 million in local and state taxes.
  • Much of that economic impact is currently coming from NASA’s Space Launch System, the rocket program that aims to eventually send astronauts to Mars.
  • Specifically, SLS has a $2.3 billion economic impact in the state, responsible for 14,000 jobs and $58 million in tax revenue.
  • Outside of employment numbers and tax dollars, Marshall is also contributing resources to further develop Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education starting in elementary school and continuing on through college. The center has provided $18.1 million in STEMp grants to schools and colleges and more than $5.5 to non profit institutions.
  • The study was conducted by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Read more HERE.

Schools reopening in beach town hit by Hurricane Sally

  • GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — Public schools were reopening Monday in an Alabama beach town for the first time since Hurricane Sally made landfall there nearly two weeks ago.
  • Gulf Shores city schools resumed classes two days ahead of schools in surrounding Baldwin County, located on the eastern side of Mobile Bay.
  • A social media message by Superintendent Matt Akin said most issues at the system’s schools had been repaired, but officials know some families are still coping with storm cleanup. Students can be excused because of hurricane-related absences, he said.
  • Sally caused extensive damage when it blew ashore at Gulf Shores as a Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 16. The coast received nearly 30 inches of rain, forecasters said, and winds toppled trees and knocked out power throughout the city.
  • Storm survivors in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia counties have been approved for more than $11 million in federal disaster aid from the storm, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Monday. About $9 million went for home repairs or temporary housing, according to a statement, and about $2 million went for child care, medical expenses, moving and storage.

Anniston removes Confederate monument following vote

  • ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama city has removed a 115-year-old Confederate monument following a vote by city leaders that was prompted by the national reckoning over racial injustice and the legacy of the Civil War.
  • Workers with the city of Anniston began removing the stone obelisk from the grassy median of a busy avenue late Sunday, city spokesman Jackson Hodges said Monday, and the work only took about 20 minutes.
  • The City Council voted 4-1 earlier this month to take down the monument to Confederate artillery officer John Pelham, who was from nearby Alexandria and died in battle in 1863.
  • The memorial, which was erected in 1905 while Southern heritage groups were promoting a version of Civil War history that cast the Southern cause as noble, will be taken to a Confederate history park. An inscription on the base referred to Pelham as “gallant” and beloved.
  • City spokesman Jackson Hodges said the obelisk was taken down late at night to prevent traffic problems on the main road through the city.
  • “It wasn’t to pull a fast one on the community,” he said.
  • Located about 65 miles (104 kilometers) east of Birmingham, the city of roughly 22,000 people is about 52% Black.
  • The removal came during a national reckoning of Confederate symbols that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Mayor Jack Draper said he put the removal on the council’s agenda in June after hearing from multiple residents on both sides.
  • “And I think, given where we are right now, with a heightened focus on racial and social injustice, now is the time to actually debate this issue,” Draper told WBRC-TV in June.
  • The Birmingham suburb of Pelham is named for Pelham, who also was the namesake of an artillery range at the Army’s Fort McClellan in Anniston.
  • Read more in the Anniston Star HERE.

Police: 1 dead, 2 wounded in parking space dispute

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An argument over parking spaces Sunday left one person dead and two others wounded, authorities said.
  • Birmingham police found 42-year-old Michael Alexander McGee lying on the side of the road suffering from a gunshot wound Sunday afternoon, news outlets reported.
  • McGee later died at the hospital.
  • Sgt. Rod Mauldin said two other people were shot but their conditions were unknown.
  • Mauldin said a preliminary investigation indicated that a dispute took place over parking spaces prior to the shooting. Additional information wasn’t immediate released. No arrests have been made.
  • Police said anyone with information on the shooting should call the department.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Hospitals, doctors urge governor to extend Alabama mask rule


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Analysis: In debate, a last chance for Trump to define Biden


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New website provides parents with learning, health resources


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Feds to ship millions of tests in bid to reopen K-12 schools


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ed Castile: Honoring the Innovators who Kept Alabama’s Workforce Humming


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Marshall Space Flight Center, Space Launch System show significant economic impact in Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – How budgeting changes put Alabama in ‘enviable’ situation during pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lapse in economic development incentives coming


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump vows quick court vote


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 28, 2020


AL.COM – Alabama changes the way it reports total coronavirus numbers


AL.COM – Alabama lawsuit over masks ordered to change venue, judge rules


AL.COM – Officials urge patience, common sense to avoid unscrupulous contractors following Hurricane Sally


AL.COM – ArcelorMittal sells most U.S. assets, keeps steel mill near Mobile


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: If you have time to read this, you have time to fill out the Census


AL.COM – Alabama school superintendent on leave after FBI searched his home receiving $15,500 monthly salary


AL.COM – U.S. 231 in Morgan County reopened after 7-month shutdown


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery big rig company opens Dothan training center


Montgomery Advertiser – Former standout high school athlete on bond in reckless murder case jailed again in car shootings


Montgomery Advertiser – Wetumpka High robotics team put their big brains to use to make a 2-year-old girl’s day


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Roy Moore suing Gov. Ivey, state health officer over COVID-19 restrictions


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Small business owner arms himself in front of Louisville shop


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Man arrested in Calhoun Co. on rape, kidnapping charges


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Hall suspends online water bill payments


Tuscaloosa News – VIDEO: Mayor Walt Maddox talks about what has been learned in the COVID-19 fight.


Tuscaloosa News – VIDEO: Mayor Walt Maddox talks about what has been learned in the COVID-19 fight.


Decatur Daily – AP Interview: US ambassador defends tough approach to China


Decatur Daily – New California law prompted by crash that killed Kobe Bryant


Decatur Daily – Pompeo visits naval base on Crete on day 2 of regional tour


Times Daily – Mayor to introduce ordinance regarding grass clippings


Times Daily – Hospitals, doctors urge governor to extend Alabama mask rule


Times Daily – Lapse in economic development incentives coming


Anniston Star – UPDATED: Anniston man apprehended, charged with multiple felonies after alleged kidnapping


Anniston Star – Health Department to offer drive-thru flu shots Oct. 7 in Anniston


Anniston Star – Lapse in economic development incentives coming


YellowHammer News – Toyota donates $200K to North Alabama school systems


YellowHammer News – USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue tours Alabama farm damage from Hurricane Sally, listens to local farmers


YellowHammer News – State’s lawsuits reinstated against Macon County, Lowndes County casinos


Gadsden Times – Salvation Army scheduling Christmas aid appointments


Gadsden Times – Council on Aging offers Medicare enrollment assistance


Gadsden Times – Gadsden firefighters, public works employees head to Alabama’s Gulf Coast to help after Hurricane Sally


Dothan Eagle – With only days left to respond to 2020 Census, officials underline goal of participation


Dothan Eagle – Answer Man: Can chickens lay eggs daily?


Dothan Eagle – Houston County man dies in one-vehicle accident


Opelika-Auburn News – Sheriff: 23-year-old man dies of apparent gunshot wounds


Opelika-Auburn News – Historic Jones Store in Smiths Station receives historic designation


Opelika-Auburn News – Bond set at $2M for local man facing additional child sex crime charges


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama launches website to help connect families with resources


WSFA Montgomery – Top U.S. agriculture leader tours Hurricane Sally damage in Alabama


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama Power offers new payment plans during pandemic


WAFF Huntsville – How to tell if you have COVID-19 or the Flu


WAFF Huntsville – A cold front brings big changes for the rest of the week


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur woman battles with leaky ceiling; says home is a safety hazard


WKRG Mobile – 1 million lives lost: World marks painful COVID-19 milestone


WKRG Mobile – Dying winds give crews hope in Northern California fires


WKRG Mobile – Ethics experts see national security concern in Trump’s debt


WTVY Dothan – Hospitals, doctors urge governor to extend Alabama mask rule


WTVY Dothan – House Democrats unveil new $2.2T proposal for virus aid


WTVY Dothan – Annual pumpkin patch opens at First United Methodist Church of Dothan


WASHINGTON POST – Pennsylvania Republicans ask Supreme Court to stop voting accommodations


WASHINGTON POST – Post-ABC poll: Biden leads Trump in battleground state of Pennsylvania


WASHINGTON POST – Courts view GOP fraud claims skeptically as Democrats score key legal victories over mail voting


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘We’re at War’: New York City Faces a Financial Abyss


NEW YORK TIMES – Virus Has Killed 1 Million Worldwide


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Deflects Questions About Taxes, but First Debate Has a New Issue


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Likely Exceeded Authority in TikTok Ban, Judge Says


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Gold’s Record High Gives New Life to Dollar Doomsayers


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Cities Experiment With Remedy for Poverty: Cash, No Strings Attached



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