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Weekend Digest – September 13, 2020

Good afternoon.
Here’s your Daily News for Sunday, September 13.

1. Alabama last in Census response as much of Deep South lags

  • Alabama ranks last in the country for the response to the 2020 U.S. Census — with Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia also in the bottom five— as officials warn a low response rate could lead to the loss of federal funds and even a congressional seat.
  • Alabama so far has the lowest percentage of households responding — through self-response or follow-up contact — of any state in the country. About 81.5% of Alabama households have been counted as of Sept. 10, according to numbers from the U.S. Census. That compares to a national percentage of 90.1
  • The 2020 Census will be used to determine how federal dollars are distributed and how many congressional seats each state will get. State officials are making public pleas for people to complete the Census, using public service announcements with celebrities and even a contest to try to boost participation.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey this week told people that it was “now or never” to complete the Census
  • “I’ve said it since our March kick-off, and I will say it again: Alabama stands to lose too much if we do not reach our goal of maximum participation,” Ivey said.
  • Read more about the state’s census efforts HERE.


2. Birx praises Alabama virus response, tells men to wear masks

  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Friday praised Alabama’s response to the pandemic, but expressed concern about the number of men she saw not wearing masks as she visited the state.
  • During a stop at the University of Alabama, the site of a recent outbreak, Birx praised the state leadership, university administrators, students and citizens for their response to the virus. But she noted a gender gap as she traveled the state in mask wearing, one of the tools to curb the spread of the virus. Birx said she purposely drives on visits so she can see what happens in gas stations, coffee shops and as people are “going around their everyday life.”
  • “What we saw is a lot of women wearing masks, but not all the men of Alabama wearing masks. So, if I could just remind the men of Alabama, you get this disease just as much as anyone else,” Birx said.
  • Birx noted that she travels frequently but has remained negative for the virus.
  • “It is possible to be out and about and protect yourself and protect others. … It comes down to not only governmental leadership but each of us doing our part and ensuring we are doing it every day,” she said.
  • Read more about Birx’s visit HERE.


A message from
Alabama’s Trucking Industry

  • Nearly every aspect of daily life is made possible because a truck driver delivered the goods and resources people need to feed, clothe, and care for their families.
  • This week marks National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It’s an important time for America to pay respect and thank professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in undertaking one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs. These 3.5 million professional men and women not only deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time, they also keep our highways safe.
  • For more information on the many contributions of Alabama’s professional truck drivers, click here to read an op-ed from Alabama Trucking Association President Mark Colson.

3. Paulette rolls toward Bermuda; Sally threatens Gulf Coast

  • Residents of Bermuda were urged to prepare to protect life and property ahead of Hurricane Paulette, while Tropical Storm Sally threatened to intensify into a hurricane as it approached the U.S. Gulf Coast.
  • Paulette gained hurricane status late Saturday and was expected to bring storm surge, coastal flooding and high winds to Bermuda, according to a U.S. National Hurricane Center advisory.
  • Paulette had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph as the system moved along a curved course toward Bermuda, forecasters said. The biggest threats were strong winds, storm surge, up to 6 inches of rain and life-threatening surf and rip currents.
  • The storm was 240 miles southeast of the territory Sunday and was moving northwest at 14 mph. It’s the strongest in terms of winds of six disturbances the center was tracking in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
  • New Orleans and surrounding areas, meanwhile, were in the crosshairs of Sally, which was expected to become a hurricane on Monday and reach shore by early Tuesday – bringing hurricane conditions to a region stretching from from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Tropical storm conditions were expected in the region by Monday.
  • Read more about the storms HERE.


4. Jones steps up attacks on Tuberville

  • Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama called Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville “Coach Clueless” on Friday, stepping up attacks on the former college football coach.
  • In a live-streamed campaign event, Jones criticized Tuberville’s reaction to tapes of President Donald Trump saying in February that he knew the severity of the coronavirus. Trump said he downplayed the threat to avoid public panic.
  • Tuberville, a former college football coach, told FOX10 said he didn’t see the report. But he later issued a statement saying the “fake news” would criticize Trump no matter what.
  • “My opponent, who I call Coach Clueless, indicated he doesn’t watch the news so he didn’t know anything about it, which I believe is just a way to avoid the media’s questions,” Jones said in stepping up political attacks on his rival.
  • Republicans are seeking with Tuberville to reclaim the Senate seat from Jones, who won a 2017 special election. A Deep South Democrat, Jones faces an uphill battle in his fight to hang onto the seat in the once-reliably red state.
  • The Tuberville campaign responded by saying it was it was highly inappropriate for Jones to hold “a negative attack news conference” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
  • “And Doug Jones should have recognized that simple fact,” Tuberville campaign manager Paul Shashy wrote in an email.
  • Read more from AP’s Kim Chandler HERE.


5. Hubbard reports to begin prison sentence

  • Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard reported to jail Friday to begin his prison sentence.
  • Hubbard reported to the Lee County Detention Center in Opelika, according to jail records, to begin his four-year sentence. The Auburn Republican was for years one of the state’s most powerful politicians until the ethics conviction in a corruption case ended his political career.
  • Prosecutors accused Hubbard of leveraging his powerful public office to obtain clients and investments for his businesses. His defense lawyers maintained the transactions were all aboveboard.
  • “Mike Hubbard is a strong Christian man and has accepted the current situation but firmly believes in his innocence and looks forward to exploring other options to clear his name,” attorney Lance Bell said.
  • A jury in 2016 convicted Hubbard of 12 counts of violating the state ethics law, but six were overturned on appeal. The Alabama Supreme Court last month refused to reconsider the case.
  • The Alabama attorney general’s office said Hubbard had until Saturday to report to the jail to be processed and turned over to the Department of Corrections.
  • Read more from AP’s Kim Chandler HERE.


Week in Good News

Alabama chef flying to future bride in Italy after eight months of separation due to virus
  • If he could step back in time, Lee “Chef” Evans would never have flown back to Alabama in January. He’d never have left his beloved “Lupa” in Agugliaro, Italy.
  • “I’ve been losing my mind,” said Evans, an international chef born in Tallassee and raised in Eclectic, who for now lives in a Montgomery hotel.
  • “I just want to go home,” he said.
  • Soon he will. Travel-restriction relief came unexpectedly Wednesday, thanks to a new rule approved Monday in Italy. It allows coronavirus travel ban exemptions for international couples. Evans is flying home to fiancee Katia Chieregato on Oct. 3.
  • Read the whole story from the Montgomery Advertiser’s Shannon Heupel.



A message from
  • This Thursday, AlabamaWorks! is hosting the Virtual Workforce Conference.
  • It will feature experts from industry and education to identify challenges and focus on solutions to develop a more dynamic workforce.
  • Hear new and innovative approaches to workforce practices, education initiatives to grow the workforce pipeline, and strategies to increase collaboration.
  • See the lineup and register HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Paulette rolls toward Bermuda; Sally threatens Gulf Coast
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama last in Census response as much of Deep South lags
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birx praises Alabama virus response, tells men to wear masks
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Ex-House speaker reports to begin prison sentence
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sen Jones of Alabama calls rival Tuberville ‘Coach Clueless’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – September 11, 2020
AL.COM – Alabama tops 1 million coronavirus tests, adds 726 new confirmed cases.
AL.COM –  Tropical Storm Sally forms and could become hurricane in Gulf; hurricane watch for Alabama.
AL.COM – New coronavirus research shows how kids spread virus from day care, camps to family members
AL.COM – Grammy-winning rapper Lecrae takes restoration message to St. Clair prison
AL.COM – Another Alabama utility sues 3M over water pollution
AL.COM – At Alabama’s beaches, a price paid for sizzling summer tourism: Rude visitors
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Contributor Jeremy Taylor: Completing the Census, voting part of every Alabamian’s civic duty
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Austal USA expands physical footprint in Mobile
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – University of Alabama sees 65% drop in new COVID cases week-over-week
DECATUR DAILY – The Decatur Daily: Prompt action could help ensure your vote counts
DECATUR DAILY – Morgan County still pursuing auto suppliers
TIMES DAILY – Vouchers reducing internet costs for many families
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Apprenticeship program kicks off in Tuscaloosa
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery’s rebuilt downtown struggles to survive COVID-19 pandemic
OPELIKA AUBURN NEWS – COVID-19 case up in Lee County; hospitalizations double in last week
DOTHAN EAGLE – Dothan businessman elected chairman of Alabama Commission on Higher Education
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: We’re dead last
WASHINGTON POST – They voted for him and now regret it. Why White women are turning away from Trump
WASHINGTON POST – The advantages of incumbency are crumbling away for Trump
WASHINGTON POST – Trump officials seek greater control over CDC reports on coronavirus
NEW YORK TIMES – Will This Be a Lost Year for America’s Children?
NEW YORK TIMES – A Big Florida Poll, Nevada Tightens, Trump on Defense: This Week in the 2020 Race

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