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Weekend Digest – July 5, 2020

Good afternoon! I hope everyone had a safe and socially distanced Fourth of July.
Here’s your Daily News for Sunday, July 5.

1. Health officials fear virus surge after July 4 celebration

  • After a surge in coronavirus cases following Memorial Day, doctors and public health experts fear Alabama will see another spike after this weekend’s July Fourth holiday celebrations.
  • “Fourth of July is very worrisome,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said. “It is really important for people to do all the things that we’ve been trying to get them to do.”
  • “It’s hard to prove Memorial Day gatherings were the cause of what we just went through in June, but I believe they were. It certainly makes sense as far as the timetable,” Harris said.
  • Barbecues, parades and any large gathering have the potential to spread the virus. In the hopes of avoiding another surge, health officials pleaded with people to use caution by avoiding large crowds and wearing masks over their mouths and noses while in public spaces.
  • Alabama this week reached new records for the highest number of infections reported in a day with more than 1,700 cases.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. After all-night lines, new system for unemployment help

  • The Alabama Department of Labor has created an appointment system for people to get in-person help with employment claims after people were sleeping overnight in a parking lot in the hopes of seeing someone.
  • The department announced that beginning on July 6 it will take 300 appointments per day in Montgomery. The department said information about obtaining an appointment is available on its website. The department cautioned that an in-person meeting does not guarantee that the issue will be resolved.
  • The Labor Department had been seeing people on the campus of Alabama State University, but the first-come, first serve system meant people were lining up overnight in the hopes of seeing someone in the morning.
  • News outlets showed lines of hundreds of people waiting with blankets and stadium chairs. Volunteer groups began distributing water to those waiting in line overnight.
  • Read the full report HERE.


3. 8-year-old killed, 3 injured in shooting at Alabama mall

  • An 8-year-old boy was killed Friday in a shooting at an Alabama shopping mall that left three other people injured, police said.
  • Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said the child was killed in the afternoon shooting at the Riverchase Galleria. The police chief said a girl and two adults were also hospitalized after the shooting.
  • The Bessemer City School system identified the 8-year-old victim as Royta Giles Jr. (pronounced Roy-TAY Jyles), who would have been a third grader this fall at Jonesboro Elementary School. The school system described him as “a smart child, who was a jewel, with big dreams of someday entering the music industry.”
  • “He was bright, articulate, and very convincing. We even tried to convince him to become a lawyer,” former assistant principal Van James said in the school system statement.
  • Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said he visited with the boy’s parents Friday evening.
  • “This was just a very senseless tragedy and of course they are devastated by this,” Brocato said. He asked residents in the city to pray for the family.
  • Police did not give a motive for the shooting near the food court inside the mall. Derzis said police are working promising leads, but did not say if they had identified suspects.
  • Read more about the shooting HERE.


4. Move to rename ‘Bloody Sunday’ bridge has critics in Selma

  • Today, with thousands protesting nationwide against racial injustice, a years-old push is gaining steam to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in honor of Rep. John Lewis, who led the 1965 marchers on “Bloody Sunday.” But the idea is drawing opposition in Selma, including from some who marched with Lewis that day.
  • Pettus fought for the Confederacy and was a reputed KKK grand wizard who served in the U.S. Senate at a time when Jim Crow laws gave white people near-total control in Alabama. Yet his name has ironically come to also symbolize Black freedom and shouldn’t be painted over, some say.
  • Others oppose the move because Lewis was an outsider who followed in the footsteps of locals who had worked to end segregation for years before he arrived. Still others fear a change would hurt tourism in a poor town with little going for it other than its civil rights history.
  • Online petitions to rename the bridge have been around since at least 2015, the year then-President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush visited Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when state troopers beat voting rights marchers as they crossed the bridge on the way to Montgomery.
  • Lewis, a native of southeast Alabama, was at the front of the long column and was badly injured. Hospitalized briefly, he went on to a career in politics and has represented Atlanta in Congress since 1987.
  • Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Selma, opposed renaming the bridge as soon as five years ago, but recently said she changed her mind.
  • Any change would need to be approved by the Legislature.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.


5. In the Weeds on Workforce development

  • In the latest episode of In the Weeds, Todd talks about Alabama’s workforce development efforts and how the pandemic has slowed that progress.
  • We at Alabama Daily News have been closely following and covering the topic because of its key role in the economic development of the state.
  • Alabama is not a fast growing state, and to attract industry we have to demonstrate that our existing workforce is capable of making companies successful if they locate here.
  • Much time and effort has gone into Alabama’s workforce development model over the decades, and in the last few years it has really hit its peak in terms of efficiency.
  • But like everything else these days, the pandemic has impacted the state’s plans.
  • Todd spoke with Tim McCartney, who chairs the Alabama Workforce Council, about their work in helping with Alabama’s workforce development.
  • Read more and listen to the whole episode HERE.
  • You can also listen via Apple podcasts HERE or on Spotify HERE.


Week in Good News

Man runs 218 miles to virus-stricken ‘Nana’s’ nursing home
  • Endurance athlete Corey Cappelloni once ran six days through the Sahara Desert in what’s considered the most grueling foot race on Earth.
  • But a 218-mile run to grandma after she was sickened with COVID-19 turned out to be the longest, toughest and most rewarding of his life.
  • Cappelloni spent seven days covering the distance from his home in Washington, D.C., to the nursing home where 98-year-old Ruth Andres, lives in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, arriving June 19 to cheers, flags and purple balloons, her favorite color.
  • Read more about this incredible journey HERE.



INSIDE ALABAMA POLITICS – Inside Alabama Politics – June 30, 2020
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials fear virus surge after July 4 celebrations
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After all-night lines, new system for unemployment help
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 8-year-old killed, 3 injured in shooting at Alabama mall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Grant to help foster farm conservation practices in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds on Workforce Development
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 3, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama creates new system for unemployment help after all-night lines
AL.COM – Suspending the rules: coronavirus prompted state to cut back on regulations
AL.COM – Background checks, a metric for gun sales, hit all-time high
AL.COM – Mississippi could drop Jim Crow-era statewide voting process
AL.COM – 997 new coronavirus cases in Alabama; Latest county-by-county numbers
AL.COM – Maskless patrons pack Birmingham bars as COVID-19 cases rise in Jefferson County
AL.COM – ‘Walking a tight rope’: Alabama’s beaches manage surge of visitors, spike in coronavirus
AL.COM – Columnist Roy Johnson: White people, here’s your racial re-education reading list
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: On America’s birthday, there’s no need to fear the future
AL.COM – Contributor Robert Wilkerson: We have lost our ‘We.’ The “We” found in the Constitution
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Contributor Parker Snider: Alabama needs to limit uncertainty for healthcare providers in the pandemic
TIMES DAILY – General Fund revenue dips 4.15% in June
TIMES DAILY – Statewide virtual school provider selected
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Mask ordinance means persuasion has failed
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Governors stress ‘personal responsibility’ over virus orders
ANNISTON STAR – Light show, fireworks bring out holiday crowds despite virus surge
ANNISTON STAR – Light show, fireworks bring out holiday crowds despite virus surge
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – It takes a toll: Montgomery’s homicide unit wants justice as much as a victims’ families
DOTHAN EAGLE – COVID-19 concerns lead to closings
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Our prescient founders
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him
WASHINGTON POST – Trump says U.S. has ‘made a lot of progress’ controlling the pandemic as the country logs 26th straight day of record average case totals
WASHINGTON POST – Medical assistants, cooks and cleaners also face risks on the front lines of the covid-19 crisis, but with low pay and little recognition
NEW YORK TIMES – In Troubled Times: Independence Day in a Land of Confusion

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