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Weekend Digest – August 16, 2020

Good afternoon and happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for August 16.

1. Health officials encourage by Alabama COVID-19 numbers

  • Alabama health officials are encouraged by a decline in COVID-19 cases about a month after a state mask order took effect but cautioned that people should not abandon precautions as the state heads to Labor Day gatherings and school openings.
  • “Things are encouraging, at the moment, in terms of the numbers of new cases per day, in terms of the percent positives and in terms of the track of hospitalizations. All those are better this week,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said.
  • As of Sunday, the seven-day average number of daily cases has dropped to 906, after being at 1,800 in mid-July. The number of hospitalized patients has dropped from about 1,600 to 1,259 and the percent of positive tests has dropped to 12.3%, down from 16.7%.
  • Harris urged people to continue taking precautions such as wearing a mask in public. “Just because numbers are getting better is not the time to suddenly put it all in jeopardy by being unsafe,” Harris said.
  • Since the pandemic began, more than 100,000 people in Alabama have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 1,800 people in the state have died of the virus.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Ivey chief of staff self-quarantines after wife tests positive

  • Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff self quarantined last week after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
  • “After attending a visitation with some friends in Mobile last Friday, Jo Bonner’s wife, Janee, was notified Monday morning that a number of the attendees had tested positive for COVID-19,” Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola told Alabama Daily News Friday.
  • “While asymptomatic and out of an abundance of caution, Janee was tested and received a positive result. Upon hearing this early Monday morning, Jo Bonner immediately self-quarantined and worked from home. He was not with the governor this week, and Janee has not been around the governor in several months.
  • “Jo is continuing to work from home and will not be back in the office until the normal CDC protocols for exposure have run.”
  • Jo Bonner was not tested for the virus, Maiola said.
  • Radio host Dale Jackson first reported Janee Bonner’s rumored positive test on Twitter Friday morning.
  • Read the full report HERE.


A message from
The Business Council of Alabama
The Business Council of Alabama is proud to present Engage Alabama, a virtual business conference open to all Alabamians.
It is available at no cost to attendees, thanks to our incredible sponsors.
This two-day summit, taking place August 26-27, will bring together more than 40 elected officials, industry leaders, and subject matter experts to provide invaluable resources on hot-button issues in our state.
Register at no charge, and the first 750 to do so will receive a complimentary conference t-shirt.

3. Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, dies at 71

  • President Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, a businessman known for an even keel that seemed almost incompatible with the family name, died Saturday night after being hospitalized in New York, the president said in a statement. He was 71.
  • The president visited his brother at a New York City hospital on Friday after White House officials said he had become seriously ill. Officials did not immediately release a cause of death.
  • “It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” Donald Trump said in a statement. “He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”
  • The youngest of the Trump siblings had remained close to the 74-year-old president and, as recently as June, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family that unsuccessfully sought to stop publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary.
  • Robert Trump had reportedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit for several days that same month.
  • Read more about it HERE.


4. Postal Service warns states about mail voting

  • The U.S. Postal Service is warning states coast to coast that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, even if mailed by state deadlines, raising the possibility that millions of voters could be disenfranchised.
  • Voters and lawmakers in several states are also complaining that some curbside mail collection boxes are being removed.
  • Even as President Donald Trump rails against wide-scale voting by mail, the post office is bracing for an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The warning letters sent to states raise the possibility that many Americans eligible for mail-in ballots this fall will not have them counted. But that is not the intent, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in his own letter to Democratic congressional leaders.
  • The post office is merely “asking elected officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works, and be mindful of our delivery standards, in order to provide voters ample time to cast ballots through the mail,” wrote DeJoy, a prominent Trump political donor who was recently appointed. The warning letters were first reported by The Washington Post.
  • The back-and-forth comes amid a vigorous campaign by Trump to sow doubts about mail-in voting as he faces a difficult fight for reelection against Democrat Joe Biden.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told Alabama Daily News last month that he believes the state will set a record for voter turnout in November, including among those mailing in absentee ballots.
  • “I wouldn’t be surprised to see 100,000 people voting absentee,” Merrill told Alabama Daily News in July. “People will be encouraged to vote absentee. We will do a multimedia campaign like we did before, and so I expect more people to vote absentee than ever before in the history of the state.”
  • Read more about the postal service HERE.


5. High Schools limiting fan attendance for football

  • Alabama high schools are severely limiting attendance at football games this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, and at least one canceled sports after deciding it wasn’t worth the risk to play.
  • Opelika High School said it will cap attendance at about 30% of the stadium’s normal capacity of 8,000 so fans can maintain proper social distancing, and Gulf Shores said attendance at athletic events will be cut by 50%.
  • Other schools are also announcing attendance reductions or still working on plans. The first football games are scheduled for this week, although some schools have delayed contests after players or staff tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The moves follow an announcement by state health officials on Thursday that fans can attend games despite the pandemic. The agency asked schools to limit crowds and require anyone in attendance to wear face masks and keep away from other people to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Read more about Alabama’s football games HERE.


Week in Good News

‘$1 million worth of work for a hug and a smile’: Cubie Rae Hayes rarely stops and Montgomery is better for it
  • Along one wall within Lanier High’s cafeteria is the painted silhouette of Cubie RaeHayes, situated beneath a palm tree with a sun setting in the background.
  • Completed recently by a student, Hayes had collected donated paints from the community to give the formerly drab room a face-lift. When the artwork was unveiled, the student told Hayes she hopes she’ll get the chance to relax in such a way some day.
  • That isn’t bound to happen anytime soon, though.
  • “When my body shuts down, I’ll sit down,” Hayes said with a smile.
  • Aside from working as the parent liaison at Lanier — serving as the conduit between the needs of students and their families and those who can help meet them — Hayes is the caretaker for her husband and son, a nonprofit leader, an organizer and an avid member of her church.
  • Read more about Hayes and her service to the Montgomery community from the Montgomery Advertiser’s Krista Johnson.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama health officials encouraged by COVID-19 numbers
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Robert Trump, the president’s younger brother, dead at 71
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey chief of staff self quarantines after wife tests positive for COVID-19
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Postal Service warns states across US about mail voting
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama high schools limiting fan attendance for football
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – August 14, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama coronavirus cases falling as data issues rise: Week in review
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Post Office sabotage will hurt Alabama, too
AL.COM – 3 residents test positive for COVID-19 at state veterans home in Pell City
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: No more Alabama students can be left behind
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Please, Alex, don’t leave us anytime soon
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS  – Gaetz touts Tuberville U.S. Senate candidacy: ‘When he’s in the United States Senate, it’s not going to be the biggest pressure position he’s been in’
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – At Jones Valley Teaching Farm, food is the foundation for academic growth
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Honda supplier expands Alabama plant
TIMES DAILY – Campus abuzz as students return to UNA
TIMES DAILY – Grant will pay for mental health coordinators at schools
TIMES DAILY – Lawmakers: Stimulus funds won’t be taxed
TIMES DAILY – The Times Daily: New investment, decrease in infections are good news
DECATUR DAILY – New teachers face challenges as they begin teaching amid COVID-19 pandemic
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa man Tased by police dies at hospital
GADSDEN TIMES – How is Etowah County’s response as Census winds down?
WASHINGTON POST – Autauga students to get laptops
WASHINGTON POST – Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election’
WASHINGTON POST – South Dakota declines to boost unemployment payments under Trump’s order
NEW YORK TIMES – Kamala Harris, Daughter of Immigrants, Is the Face of America’s Demographic Shift
NEW YORK TIMES – Postal Crisis Ripples Across Nation as Election Looms
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: The 19th Amendment: An Important Milestone in an Unfinished Journey
NEW YORK TIMES – Robert S. Trump, the President’s Younger Brother, Dies at 71

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