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Weekend Digest – December 6, 2020

Good afternoon and happy Sunday!
Here’s your Daily News for December 6.

1. State health leaders urge extension of Alabama mask mandate

  • With Alabama’s mask mandate set to expire next week even as COVID-19 cases explode statewide, filling hospitals and killing people daily, health leaders urged the state Friday to again extend the requirement, perhaps into 2021.
  • Dr. Sarah Nafziger, who teaches emergency medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told an online news briefing it was “critically important” for Gov. Kay Ivey to extend the mask requirement, which is opposed by some who consider it an infringement on personal rights or discount the threat of the coronavirus.
  • “A lot of people like to argue that masking is not helpful, that it’s a bunch of voodoo,” Nafziger said. “I’m here to tell you that the science shows that it works.”
  • The president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said the organization “absolutely” supports continuing the order as coronavirus trends worsen.
  • “We would support one probably through January. The situation is slipping rapidly in the wrong direction,” Williamson said.
  • The order, which expires Dec. 11, requires anyone older than 6 to wear a mask in public spaces indoors and outside if they can’t socially distance. First imposed in July, health officials credit the mandate with a sharp decline in cases until a recent spike began nationwide.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.


2. Despite promise, few in US adopting COVID-19 exposure apps

  • Six months ago, Apple and Google introduced a new smartphone tool designed to notify people who might have been exposed to the coronavirus, without disclosing any personal information. But for the most part, Americans haven’t been all that interested.
  • Fewer than half of U.S. states and territories — 18 in total — have made such technology widely available. And according to a data analysis by The Associated Press, the vast majority of Americans in such locations haven’t activated the tool.
  • Data from 16 states, Guam and the District of Columbia shows that 8.1 million people had utilized the technology as of late November. That’s about one in 14 of the 110 million residents in those regions.
  • In theory, such apps could bolster one of the most difficult tasks in pandemic control: Tracing the contacts of people infected with the coronavirus in order to test and isolate them if necessary. In practice, however, widespread COVID-19 misinformation, the complexity of the technology, overwhelmed health workers needed to quickly confirm a diagnosis, and a general lack of awareness have all presented obstacles, experts and users say.
  • Adoption is extremely low in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Michigan, Nevada and Alabama, with users representing only 1% to 3% of their state populations. Links to the apps and instructions for iPhone notification activation are typically available on state health-department websites.
  • Read more HERE.


3. Land deal to open public access to Mobile waterfront

  • Alabama’s port city has long lacked public access to much of its waterfront because of shipping wharves and industry along the Mobile River and Mobile Bay, but a new deal could open up more space for residents and tourists to get near the water.
  • Mobile officials and Gov. Kay Ivey last week announced a partnership between the city and the state to purchase bayfront property near downtown owned by the University of South Alabama Foundation.
  • Mayor Sandy Stimpson told a news conference the agreement will allow for the creation of public access along the Mobile Bay waterfront and preservations of wetlands. The city parks and recreation agency will manage the area, he said.
  • “This is a truly transformational purchase that will impact Mobilians for generations to come,” Stimpson said Tuesday.
  • The roughly 300-acre Brookley by the Bay property sits along the western shore of Mobile Bay east of Brookley Aeroplex, where Airbus makes jetliners. The land will cost $33 million, with a $9 million option to purchase more acreage within five years, WALA-TV reported.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Jefferson County prosecutors start conviction review units

  • Death row and life sentence inmates who were sentenced in Jefferson County could get a second look at their cases under a new initiative aimed at reviewing possible wrongful convictions.
  • reports that Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr and Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington are launching conviction review units to look at death penalty and life sentence cases where there may be evidence of innocence.
  • “It is often said that one innocent person behind bars is one too many, and there began a growing trend in the number of people identified as wrongfully convicted, but had already lost many years of their life in prison, separated from family and snatched of their dignity and hope,’’ Washington told the news organization.
  • “As prosecutors, we are ministers of justice. We seek justice and we must do justice at all time.’′
  • The Conviction Integrity Unit (Bessemer Division) and the Conviction Review Unit (Birmingham Division) are the first of their kind in Jefferson County and in Alabama, the news site reported. Both units are supported by the Innocence Project in New York, Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery and fellow CIUs in various states.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Weekend Football

Troy V. South Alabama
  • The Battle of the Belt, the annual rivalry between the University of South Alabama and Troy University, was held for the first time in USA’s beautiful new Hancock Whitney Stadium.
  • Unfortunately for the host Jags, the men from Troy came to spoil the party.
  • Gunnar Watson threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns while wearing thick pads to protect fractured ribs and Troy blanked South Alabama 29-0 on Saturday to win the “Battle of the Belt” for an unprecedented third straight time.
  • Watson threw all three touchdowns in the second quarter — finding Khalil McClain from 15, Kaylon Geiger from 15 and Tray Eafford from 21. Evan Legassey added a 44-yard field goal eight seconds before the half to end the scoring for Troy (5-5, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference).
  • Neither team had won three straight “Battles for the Belt” since the challenge series began nine years ago.
  • Troy’s game-opening drive ended with an interception when Tez Johnson’s pass on a reverse was picked off by Dewayne Betts. The Trojan defense forced a three-and-out and Legassey put points on the board with a 22-yard field goal.
  • South Alabama (4-7, 3-5) was held to 239 yards of offense, 17 first downs and never got into the red zone. Desmond Trotter passed for 144 yards and the Jaguars gained just 57 on the ground.
  • Trotter threw an interception and lost a fumble after being sacked. Each led to a Troy touchdown.
  • Read full report HERE.
Alabama V. LSU
  • If Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith wind up as Heisman Trophy finalists, they can thank one another.
  • And the way they combined to spearhead a rout of LSU will be a prime example of why.
  • Jones and Smith connected eight times for 231 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring passes longer that 60 yards, and No. 1 Alabama rolled to a 55-17 victory over LSU on Saturday night to clinch the SEC West and lock in a date with No. 6 Florida in the conference title game.
  • “We did a fantastic job offensively, controlled the tempo of the game,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was back on the sideline after a bout with COVID-19 kept him home for last weekend’s Iron Bowl win over Auburn. “Mac played well. Smitty had a great game.”
  • Read full report HERE.


One Good Thing

  • An Alabama man who spent World War II repairing bomb-damaged trains in France recovered from a fight with COVID-19 in time to mark his 104th birthday on Thursday.
  • Major Wooten was physically drained and a little fuzzy mentally after battling the new coronavirus but appears to be on the mend, said granddaughter Holley Wooten McDonald.
  • “I’m just thankful that they were able to treat him so quickly and we were able to get him tested,” said McDonald, adding: “It’s amazing that a 104 year old survived COVID.”
  • Madison Hospital shared video of Wooten wearing a face mask and waving while workers sang “Happy birthday dear Pop Pop” as he was discharged in a wheelchair decorated with balloons on Tuesday, two days before his actual birthday.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State health leaders urge extension of Alabama mask mandate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Despite promise, few in US adopting COVID-19 exposure apps
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Land deal to open public access to Mobile waterfront
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Prosecutors start conviction review units
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Watson throws 3 TDs, Troy blanks South Alabama 29-0
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Jones bolsters Heisman case; No. 1 Alabama beats LSU 55-17
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – World War II vet beats COVID-19, marks 104th birthday
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest, December 4, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama adds more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases for 5th straight day.
AL.COM – Do you have the coronavirus? Here are symptoms to watch for.
AL.COM – Alabama company unveils world’s biggest drone & new space vision.
AL.COM – Alabama businessman recalls church meeting that launched Montgomery bus boycott 65 years ago.
AL.COM – Three Alabama jailers beat man until they broke bones in his face, says federal lawsuit.
AL.COM – Madison County may fight $25,000 fine for moving Confederate monument: ‘We did what was legal.’
AL.COM – Who’s first to get COVID vaccine in Alabama?
AL.COM – Mobile mayor to delay issuing Mardi Gras parade permits.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Time for the Clotilda to be respected and appreciated.
WSFA – Former Alabama state Sen. Larry Dixon dies at 78.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – ACCA’s Brasfield warns ‘big crisis right over the horizon’ for county jails as ADOC blocks inmate transfer to prisons.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – COVID-19 hospitalizations in Shoals hit 68 on Friday.
DECATUR DAILY – Athens State program aims to increase number of male Black, Hispanic teachers.
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan County’s COVID hospitalizations, new cases hit record highs.
ANNISTON STAR – Columnist Phillip Tutor: The meaning of Marsh’s decisions.
ANNISTON STAR – The Anniston Star: It’s time to stop the bleeding, division in wake of 2020 presidential election.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan ends November with another 7-figure surplus in its pocket.
WASHINGTON POST – Biden and Trump vie to project authority, making for a tense transition.
WASHINGTON POST – At Georgia rally, Trump spouts election falsehoods, amplifies old grievances.
WASHINGTON POST – Contributor David Weakliem: Yes, ‘elites’ support coronavirus restrictions. So do working-class Americans.
WASHINGTON POST – During the pandemic holidays, be aware of the limits of what the coronavirus tests can do.
WASHINGTON POST – Just 27 congressional Republicans acknowledge Biden’s win, Washington Post survey finds.
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘Existential Peril’: Mass Transit Faces Huge Service Cuts Across U.S.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Michelle Goldberg: The MAGA Revolution Devours Its Own
NEW YORK TIMES – The New York Times: The Decency Agenda
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial
NEW YORK TIMES – ‘They’re Playing With Our Lives’: What Happens Next for DACA’s ‘Dreamers’
THE HILL – Senate GOP brushes off long-shot attempt to fight Biden win.
THE HILL – Congress eyes 1-week stopgap, longer session to reach deal.

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