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Daily News Digest – September 30, 2020

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, September 30.


1. Debate debacle

  • What can be said about last night’s presidential debate?
  • From the opening minute, the contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos as the two repeatedly interrupted each other with angry and personal jabs that sometimes overshadowed the sharply different visions each has for the nation.
  • Just like in a school yard fight, it might not matter who started it. Still, Trump was clearly the aggressor as he early and often interrupted Biden and wouldn’t let him finish his answers, a calculated strategy to throw the former vice president off his game.
  • It worked at times, as a frustrated Biden resorted to taunts of his own, telling the president “will you shut up, man” and saying “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”
  • On the issues, Trump’s strongest performances were on restoring law and order and putting Biden into a corner on the economic risks of the “Green New Deal.”
  • Biden’s strongest moments were putting Trump on the defensive on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and making direct appeals to voters about the effects of repealing Obamacare.
  • So who won? Well, not many minds were changed, but that’s not really the point.
  • In my opinion, given Biden’s current lead in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the biggest question was whether he would appear mentally or physically incapable of withstanding 90 minutes of debate. That didn’t happen, so it’s hard to see how he lost many votes last night.
  • At the same time, Trump, with his fighting style, probably succeeded in stirring up his base, which he needs to turn out big time to win the aforementioned states.
  • Two more to go. Heaven help us.
  • Read more and, if you must, watch the debate in full HERE.



2. State lifts restrictions on bars

  • Alabama alcohol regulators voted Tuesday to lift restrictions on operating hours for bars and restaurants that were imposed in the summer to stem the spread of coronavirus and adopted new rules written in conjunction with the businesses.
  • With cases of COVID-19 increasing at a slower rate after months of a statewide rule requiring masks in public, members of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted to eliminate an emergency rule that required businesses to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m. and close 30 minutes later.
  • Originally intended to keep down crowds and encourage social distancing, the rule also reduced revenues and limited tips for servers. The Tuscaloosa City Council approved a $400,000 program to aid bars hurt by the pandemic.
  • ABC Administrator Mac Gipson said the restriction on operating hours was a “business killer” for bars.
  • While allowing bars to stay open later, the board also approved a new order that Gipson said emphasizes health considerations including 50% occupancy rules, face coverings, social distancing, hand sanitizing and cleaning. The rules are similar to health orders, but the vote gave ABC officials enforcement power.
  • Read more HERE.


3. Alabama to receive 1M quick COVID-19 tests

  • The state of Alabama will receive more than 1 million quick COVID-19 tests from the federal government, the governor’s office said Tuesday.
  • This week, President Donald Trump and top federal health officials announced that millions of new Abbott Laboratories BinaxNow tests would be shipped to states in order to encourage schools to reopen.
  • The size of a credit card, the self-contained test is based on the same technology used to test for the flu, strep throat and other infections. It can produce results in less than 15 minutes, allowing parents and teachers to know quickly whether or not a student is positive for COVID-19.
  • Gov. Kay Ivey thanked the Trump administration for Alabama’s allotment of tests and said it will be used for “our students and vulnerable citizens.”
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


4. Health groups, officials encourage flu shots

  • With the start of the flu season upon us, some of the state’s leading medical and health organizations are calling on Alabamians to get a flu shot.
  • On Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama all issued statements stressing the importance of getting an influenza vaccination.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seasonal influenza is a year-round illness, but cases often increase in October and peak between December and February. But with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, staving off the flu becomes especially imperative, the groups said.
  • “One of the myths is that healthy people don’t need the flu vaccine,” said Medical Association of the State of Alabama President Dr. John Meigs. “While the highest risk is for those with underlying conditions, we’ve lost thousands of healthy adults and children each year to flu, so that’s a myth we need to address right away.”
  • Read more from ADN’s Will Whatley HERE.


5. Plans to build new state veterans home progress


  • Plans for a new state veterans home in Enterprise are progressing this week with a contract for $3.7 million under review at Thursday’s Legislative Contract Review Committee meeting.
  • The contract with Williams Blackstock Architects PC in Birmingham is for design and construction oversight of a 175-bed facility for veterans in the Wiregrass area.
  • The new facility and location were approved by the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs in January.
  • Read more from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


News Briefs

Former Alabama sheriff arrested on ethics charges

  • EUFAULA, Ala. (AP) — Former Barbour County Sheriff Leroy Upshaw was arrested on charges of taking more than $85,000 from office accounts, the attorney general’s office said Tuesday.
  • Upshaw, 49, was arrested on ethics charges of using his office for personal gain and for the gain of relatives, according to a news release from Attorney General Steve Marshall. It did not provide details about the allegations.
  • Upshaw, of Eufaula, was defeated for re-election and left office in January 2019, a few months after the Alabama Ethics Commission referred a complaint against him to prosecutors.
  • Court records weren’t immediately available to show whether Upshaw had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

University renaming buildings honoring white supremacists

  • MONTEVALLO, Ala. (AP) — The University of Montevallo, a state-run liberal arts school, will rename two buildings that honor former Alabama governors who supported white supremacy, trustees decided.
  • News outlets reported that the board voted Tuesday during a virtual meeting to strip the names of Braxton Bragg Comer and Bibb Graves off of academic buildings on campus, located about 35 miles south of Birmingham.
  • The school created a group to consider the names of campus buildings during nationwide demonstrations that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
  • Comer, who served four years beginning in 1907, was considered progressive but worked to maintain systems rooted in the state’s old plantation system, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. Also a progressive, Graves was a Ku Klux Klan leader who served two terms in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • The university said in a news release that both men “were staunch supporters of segregation and white supremacy.”
  • The school will consider new names for the buildings, the statement said.

Alabama company earns $2.5M bonus for replacing road early

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A Birmingham-based company earned a $2.5 million bonus for completing work early on a bridge to replace a damaged roadway in north Alabama.
  • A section of U.S. 231 that closed earlier this year because of an underground landslide south of Huntsville reopened Monday with traffic traveling on two bridges that were constructed to replace the northbound and southbound sides.
  • News outlets report that the contractor, Brasfield & Gorrie, will received about $2.5 million extra for finishing the work more than two months early.
  • The nearly $15 million project will eliminate detours near Laceys Springs that forced drivers to take long detours around the cracked road. The state says about 15,000 vehicles use the road daily.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rapid COVID-19 tests coming to state


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Medical, health groups encourage Alabamians to get flu shots


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State lifts pandemic restriction on bar hours


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Plans to build new state veterans home progress


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Joshua Pendergrass: Critics say Trump has no coronavirus plan. Actually, he does–it’s called federalism


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


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


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


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 29, 2020


AL.COM – First presidential debate: Constant interruptions, insults as Trump, Biden face off in Cleveland


AL.COM – University of Montevallo votes to rename 2 buildings named after pro-segregation Alabama governors


AL.COM – ‘This project is entirely different’: Support emerges for new toll project in Baldwin County


AL.COM – Alabama lawmaker Allen Treadaway retiring after 31 years with Birmingham police


AL.COM – Ex-Gov. Robert Bentley: Moving Alabama Senate election could cost Trump SCOTUS pick


AL.COM – UAB disease expert leads secret panel evaluating coronavirus vaccine possibilities


AL.COM – Second stimulus check: Democrats’ $2.2 trillion bill includes $1,200 payments, $600 in unemployment


AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Here we go again: Public information access ranking puts Alabama dead last


Montgomery Advertiser – Texas duo’s ‘Momma Casanova’ song from ’90s gets new sound, release through Pink For President


Montgomery Advertiser – Police launch death investigation after 45-year-old Montgomery man dies


Montgomery Advertiser – Bluesman Bobby Rush ready to get raw Sunday at Capitol Oyster Bar


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – AP FACT CHECK: False claims flood Trump-Biden debate


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Safety precautions in place for upcoming runoff elections


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Business owner shares concerns over Homewood street project


Tuscaloosa News – Mayor plans strict occupancy enforcement at bars this weekend


Tuscaloosa News – Pugh announces re-election bid for Tuscaloosa’s District 6


Tuscaloosa News – Live stream the first 2020 presidential debate between Joe Biden, Donald Trump


Decatur Daily – Decatur Morgan Hospital sees weekend COVID-19 spike, adding COVID unit to Parkway


Decatur Daily – ‘Stronger together’: New Austin Middle principal focuses on building relationships


Decatur Daily – Mayor quizzed about Decatur Housing Authority investigation


Times Daily – Old Brick Presbyterian celebrates 200th on Sunday


Times Daily – Crash kills 1 in Underwood-Petersville


Times Daily – Drano incident at Walmart hospitalizes woman


Anniston Star – Jacksonville man charged with domestic violence by strangulation


Anniston Star – Anniston fire chief Collins to retire


Anniston Star – Anniston city candidate forum Thursday


YellowHammer News – Sherrie Lemier-Potts is a 2020 Woman of Impact


YellowHammer News – South Alabama, Troy postpone this weekend’s game due to COVID-19


YellowHammer News – Alabama receiving grant of over $17.8M to retrain workers displaced by pandemic


Gadsden Times – Gadsden man charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography


Gadsden Times – Secretary of State reveals new ‘I voted’ stickers in honor of Alabama’s veterans


Gadsden Times – Presidential debate 2020: Time, TV and streaming info for Trump and Biden Tuesday night


Dothan Eagle – Southeast Health names new chief medical officer


Dothan Eagle – Former Barbour County Sheriff Upshaw arrested for allegedly taking over $85K from multiple accounts


Dothan Eagle – Donations sought to help homeless in Dothan


Opelika-Auburn News – Suspect indicted in 2019 case involving Auburn officers shot


Opelika-Auburn News – Ebb and flow for COVID-19 hospitalizations, reported new and probable cases


Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University reports lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since students returned


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery investigating death of 46-year-old man


WSFA Montgomery – Crenshaw Community Hospital looks to voters for financial boost


WSFA Montgomery – State gas tax to increase by 2 cents Thursday


WAFF Huntsville – Candidates in Decatur mayor runoff ask for your vote


WAFF Huntsville – City leaders work to boost census response in low self-reporting areas


WAFF Huntsville – A cool and dry week for the Valley


WKRG Mobile – Residents at Forest Creek Apartments forced out after Hurricane Sally


WKRG Mobile – Fact check: A look at claims from Trump and Biden’s first debate


WKRG Mobile – Baldwin County Public Schools: Bus routes safe for Wednesday’s return-to-school


WTVY Dothan – Former Barbour County Sheriff arrested for violation of state’s ethics law


WTVY Dothan – Bitter debate taunts overpower Trump’s, Biden’s visions


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise mother arrested for taking child from court-appointed guardian


WASHINGTON POST – Trump incessantly interrupts and insults Biden as they spar in acrimonious first debate


WASHINGTON POST – Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and militia members in presidential debate marked by disputes over race


WASHINGTON POST – Interruptions, accusations, chaos: Trump trolled the debate stage


NEW YORK TIMES – With Cross Talk, Lies and Mockery, Trump Tramples Decorum in Debate With Biden




NEW YORK TIMES – Nearly 100,000 Defective Absentee Ballots Sent to N.Y.C. Voters


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Employees as Disneyland’s Reopening Unclear


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Three Dead in California Fires, Tens of Thousands Evacuated


WALL STREET JOURNAL – NextEra Energy Made Takeover Approach to Duke Energy



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