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Weekend Digest – June 21, 2020

Good Afternoon and Happy Father’s Day! Special shout out to my own dad who I love and miss very much. Love you, Dad!
Here’s your Daily News for Sunday, June 21.

1. Rise in coronavirus cases brings new concerns in Alabama

  • Will Boyd was at the funeral Saturday morning for a relative who had died after contracting the new coronavirus when he got the call with the news. His brother had also passed away from COVID-19.
  • “The virus is real. It’s real. If they don’t know it’s real, they can come and walk with me to the cemetery,” Boyd said of the skeptics.
  • Alabama and much of the Deep South are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases as some have stopped heeding warnings of the virus, alarming public health officials and people who have lost loved ones because of COVID-19. Over the past two weeks, Alabama had the second highest number of new cases per capita in the nation. South Carolina was fourth. Louisiana and Mississippi were also in the top 10.
  • “We are extremely concerned about these numbers. We know if they continue, we will see more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said.
  • As of Saturday, Alabama had more than 29,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than a quarter of the cases reported in the last two weeks.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. State creates color-coded chart of COVID spread

  • Alabama health officials are beginning to issue color-coded rankings on the spread of COVID-19 in counties, and on Saturday, much of the state was listed as high or moderately high.
  • State Health Officer Scott Harris said in a telephone interview this week that the display is meant to give people and local officials information in a form that is “easy to see.” The rankings on the state dashboard grade the counties by the infection rate per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.
  • The color-coded rankings come as health officials have expressed alarm over the state’s continuing upward trend in cases.
  • “It’s meant to just inform the public. So at least everyone can agree, we’re a red county, or an orange county or a green county,” Harris said.
  • He said the department will eventually offer guidance based on the rankings, but the state will not issue mandated closures based on it.
  • Read more about the new chart HERE.


3. ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted at site of former slave market

  • In downtown Montgomery, at a city fountain where a slave market was believed to have once stood, a new painting proclaiming “Black Lives Matter,” has been added.
  • Michelle Browder and a group of artists painted the message around the fountain at Court Square in downtown Montgomery, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
  • The painting was completed on Friday for Juneteenth, which references June 19, 1865 — the day that marks when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free.
  • The fountain is down the street from the Alabama Capitol and near the building where the telegram was sent at the start of the Civil War ordering Confederate troops to begin bombing Fort Sumter off the South Carolina coast.
  • “This is where slaves were bought, sold, and traded. This is where the Confederacy happened. This is where the bank that funded the Civil War. This is where our people and those black lives really mattered because it built this city. So why not have it right here for the world to see it,” Browder told WSFA.
  • Read the full report about the mural HERE.


4. Trump relaunches campaign in ‘comeback’ rally

  • President Donald Trump launched his comeback rally Saturday by defining the upcoming election as a stark choice between national heritage and left-wing radicalism. But his intended show of political force amid a pandemic featured thousands of empty seats and new coronavirus cases on his own campaign staff.
  • Trump ignored health warnings to hold his first rally in 110 days — one of the largest indoor gatherings in the world during a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 120,000 Americans and put 40 million out of work.
  • The rally was meant to restart his reelection effort less than five months before the president faces voters again.
  • “The choice in 2020 is very simple,” Trump said. “Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob, or do you want to stand up tall and proud as Americans?”
  • Trump unleashed months of pent-up grievances about the coronavirus, which he dubbed the “Kung flu” for originating in China. He also tried to defend his handling of the pandemic, even as cases continue to surge in many states, including Oklahoma.
  • Read more about the rally and see the video HERE.


5. Birmingham sets up ‘leave bank’ for its employees

  • Starting next month, employees in one Alabama city who need extra time off for catastrophic life events will be able to do so using a so-called “leave” bank.
  • The City of Birmingham, which has about 4,200 employees, is creating two different banks, one for sick leave and one for vacations. Participation in either bank is voluntary and employees must donate time to be able to draw time. Once an employee donates hours, that employee is eligible to borrow up to 240 hours or 6 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period for personal and family medical emergencies.
  • Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the banks during a city council meeting earlier this month, reported.
  • “This is something I’ve been working on for some time because I know how important it is for employees to feel secure when they are faced with a significant illness or fighting a life-threatening disease,” Woodfin said.
  • Read the full report HERE.


Week In Good News

‘One beautiful life’: Dad’s love for daughter leads to wheelchair innovation for disabled people
  • In light of today being Father’s day, here is a story about a father’s love for his daughter that led to a long overdue innovation for the disability community.
  • Grammy nominated songwriter Barry Dean was concerned about the lack of safety features in powered wheelchairs after a friend’s mother tipped her chair over a ramp, cut her face and broke her bones.
  • When he heard that, all he could think about was his 19-year-old daughter Katherine who has cerebral palsy and been in a wheelchair all her life.
  • “My daughter had her spine fused which means she has two and a half dozen screws,” he said. “I’m worried that if she falls, the trauma could be horrible.”
  • His concern led him and a team of engineers to create LUCI, a high-tech hardware and software platform that mounts to a power wheelchair to provide stability, security and connectivity.
  • You can read the whole story HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rise in coronavirus cases brings new concerns in Alabama
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State creates color-coded chart of COVID spread
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted at site of former slave market
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump comeback rally features empty seats, staff infections
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama city sets up ‘leave bank’ for its employees
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 19, 2020
AL.COM – Montgomery lifts coronavirus curfew after mandating masks.
AL.COM – Alabama Democrats call on GOP lawmaker to resign over Confederate support.
AL.COM – Alabama coronavirus case count grows by 543 to 29,126.
AL.COM – Top spots to watch in Alabama as coronavirus cases surge in June.
AL.COM – Contributors Thomas Wilder, Tim Kallam, Selwyn Vickers, Tracy Hipps: A 2020 response to Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
AL.COM – Columnist Frances Coleman: Removing statues isn’t about ‘erasing history’.
AL.COM – Contributor Callie Greer: The poor are facing a slow death.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Club for Growth reports spending over $850K on Alabama political races in past week.
DECATUR DAILY – Lawrence agrees to accept solid waste from 3 states.
GADSDEN TIMES – Group rallies in favor of Emma Sansom monument.
ANNISTON STAR – Columnist Phillip Tutor: The symbolism that Anniston should shed.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Three more police, two correctional officers positive with COVID-19.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed: The “time is right” to lift citywide curfew.
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – Kids need to be clued into Juneteenth, BLM, say marchers.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Coleman, Moore campaigns trade ‘swamp tactics’ attacks as runoff nears.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump ousts Manhattan U.S. attorney who investigated president’s associates.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump gives grievance-filled speech to unfilled arena as protests stay mostly peaceful.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump’s rally looked like his vision of America. Limited and pitiless.
WASHINGTON POST – Wrapped up in the Confederate flag: In a Southern bastion of racing, NASCAR’s ban means grandstanding for some, realizations for others.
WASHINGTON POST – Judge declines to block release of Bolton book.
WASHINGTON POST – Cruise industry stretches suspension of sailing from U.S. ports to at least Sept. 15
NEW YORK TIMES – Fact-Checking Trump’s Tulsa Rally: Covid-19, Protesters and Biden

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