1. Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations rise by 400 in two weeks
- The coronavirus outbreak in Alabama is headed in a “bad direction,” the head of the Alabama Hospital Association said Wednesday, as the state reached a new high for people hospitalized with COVID-19 and a new low for available intensive care beds.
- “I’m worried,” said. Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the state hospital group. “I just think things are trending in a very, very bad direction.”
- On Wednesday, 1,110 people were hospitalized because of the coronavirus across the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. That is the highest number since the pandemic began. Doctors have expressed concern about the sharp rise in hospitalizations. The state had 683 hospitalized patients two weeks ago, on June 24.
- The state also hit a new low for available intensive care beds. Williamson said 88% of ICU beds are full, leaving 202 beds available statewide.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
2. Absentee voting up for GOP runoffs
- Turnout in next week’s primary runoff election is expected to be lower than the March 3 primary, but more Alabamians have already submitted absentee ballots for the Tuesday contests than did in March.
- As of Wednesday, 19,386 Alabamians had returned absentee ballots and a total of 38,285 people have applied for the ballots, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office.
- In the March 3 primary, a total of 18,729 absentee ballots were cast. By comparison, in the 2017 special GOP primary runoff for U.S. Senate, 5,601 people voted absentee, according to Merrill’s office.
- Originally scheduled for March 31, Gov. Kay Ivey delayed the runoff election until July 14 as a safety precaution as the state was beginning to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
- Four months later, Alabama continues to see a rise in infections and hospitalizations, and Merrill has encouraged those with concerns about going to the polls amid the virus outbreak to vote absentee.
- Full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
4. Community Colleges ask for $95 million in virus relief funds to tech improvements
- The Alabama Community College System is asking Gov. Kay Ivey for over $95 million in coronavirus relief funds to improve its distance learning and technology capabilities in light of growing challenges created by the pandemic.
- The ACCS is requesting around $95.8 million to improve remote instruction and learning, including developing the ACCSOnline Innovation Center with virtual and augmented reality studios for colleges to use for instructional purposes.
- Chancellor Jimmy Baker told board members on Wednesday that the system’s remote learning capabilities have been growing in the past few months but more needs to be done.
- “We’ve made good effort but we’re not where we need to be,” Baker said during the monthly board meeting. “This is a game changer, it affects every school and it would create a system that would probably be far more advanced, in my judgment, than any other system that’s in this surrounding area.”
- Full story from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
5. Trump to US schools: Reopen or you may lose federal funds
Montgomery schools to require masks for fall classes
- MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A public school district in Alabama will require students to wear masks for in-person classes when the school year kicks off in August.
- Montgomery Public Schools students will initially receive masks from the school district but families are expected to provide their own once the school’s supply runs out, the school district said in their plan for the academic year. Montgomery is among the many cities in Alabama that already has a local mask requirement.
- The district is providing an option for each student to receive online or in-person classes. Students who need devices for virtual courses will be provided one from the school district, according to the plan released last week.
- Since the pandemic began, more than 46,000 people in Alabama have tested positive for COVID-19 and about 1,000 have died as of Wednesday.
Torrential rains swamp Tuscaloosa, trap motel guests
- TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Heavy overnight rains quickly swamped the west Alabama city of Tuscaloosa, covering roads with water and leaving guests stranded in a motel.
- As much as 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain fell in a brief period late Tuesday, and the resulting flash flood filled cars with water and inundated a motel near Interstate 20/59.
- “I get a phone call … saying the guests were coming in saying that the rooms were flooded,” Angie Cook, general manager of Best Western University Inn, told The Tuscaloosa News. “Well, we didn’t know what that meant at that time.”
- Cook said she and another manager arrived to find all the ground floor rooms were flooded, disrupting the night for roughly 40 guests. No injuries were reported.
- More storms and heavy rains were possible across Alabama on Wednesday, but no severe weather is expected, the National Weather Service said.
Alabama judge charged with theft, ethics violation resigns
- ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama judge accused of misusing court funds and stealing money from clients has resigned from his post.
- Former Limestone County District Judge Doug Patterson announced he would be stepping down effective July 3, according to a letter to the Alabama Supreme Court filed Tuesday.
- “The unescapable reality is that I cannot financially, mentally, or emotionally continue to fight the full weight, power and resources of the State of Alabama in two different theaters,” Patterson wrote in the letter, saying the move should not be viewed as an admission of guilt.
- The former judge was suspended after being indicted on felony charges of use of official position for personal gain, financial exploitation of the elderly and theft of property in December 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to the counts, news outlets reported.
- The Alabama attorney general’s office accused Patterson of using $47,000 intended for juvenile court programs on personal expenses. The former judge also was accused of improperly withdrawing about $47,800 from the account of a nursing home resident for whom he had served as a conservator, as well as between $499 and $1,500 from the estate of another client.
- The case was scheduled for trial in June but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, news outlets reported. Jury trials in Alabama remained paused until September. Patterson was set to face a separate trial at the Alabama Court of the Judiciary on the ethics charge this week, but that trial was also postponed.
- Story link.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations rise by 400 over 2 weeks
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Absentee voting up for GOP runoffs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Revive Alabama’ grants available to small businesses
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Community Colleges ask for $95 million in COVID-19 relief funds for tech improvements
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump to US schools: Reopen or you may lose federal funds
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci: Alabama has window to get COVID-19 under control
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Marsh sends internet spending request to Ivey
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 3 charged in killing of boy inside Alabama shopping mall
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ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – Tuesday, July 8
AL.COM – State launches ‘Revive Alabama’ program granting $100M to small biz suffering amid pandemic
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AL.COM – New AHSAA program could allow more HS teams to stream games, limit revenue losses
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AL.COM – Bubba Wallace asked how he feels to have Donald Trump ‘come after you’
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AL.COM – 2.5 million face masks ordered for Alabama schools but no statewide mandate for classrooms
AL.COM – Alabama monuments committee review meeting canceled; move of Madison County statue on hold
AL.COM – Black Alabamians hit disproportionately as coronavirus deaths pass 1,000
Montgomery Advertiser – Caravan carries slain Montgomery police detective Tanisha Pughsley to funeral home
Montgomery Advertiser – Jeff Davis band to make TV debut on ‘America’s Got Talent’
Montgomery Advertiser – Available Alabama ICU beds at all-time low as COVID-19 hospitalizations spike
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – AL Sec. of State says increase in absentee votes will not delay election results
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Tuscaloosa News – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations rise by 400 over 2 weeks
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Tuscaloosa News – 3 charged in killing of boy inside Alabama shopping mall
Decatur Daily – Decatur mask ordinance passes, but mayor to delay signing or vetoing it
Decatur Daily – Cost to Decatur of Alabama 20 overpass land may jump by $1.9M
Decatur Daily – Athens mayor calls council meeting to address COVID-19 spike
Times Daily – Arrests made in Muscle Shoals burglaries
Times Daily – Masks required in Florence-owned buildings
Times Daily – Waterline break leaves hundreds without water
Anniston Star – COVID tests draw 220 in Weaver; Wellborn tests Friday
Anniston Star – Pandemic plan: Calhoun County Schools announces return strategy for students
Anniston Star – Oxford woman, Anniston man charged with drug offenses
YellowHammer News – Innovation Fund joins Auburn to support development of OraSecure saliva collection device for COVID testing
YellowHammer News – World Games 2022 Birmingham names Charles Barkley as honorary co-chair — ‘Chance to show the world what this community and its people are all about’
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Gadsden Times – COVID-19 numbers jump in Etowah County
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Gadsden Times – NAACP, county officials meet
Dothan Eagle – Dothan considers amending noise order to regulate loud music downtown
Dothan Eagle – Southeast Health hopes PPE stockpile provides buffer if national shortage worsens
Dothan Eagle – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations rise by 400 over 2 weeks
Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 test product to be developed in Auburn
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Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika mayor emphasizes importance of masks
WSFA Montgomery – Tuskegee police investigating death of 60-year-old resident
WSFA Montgomery – Covington County sheriff tests positive for coronavirus
WSFA Montgomery – Lee Co. woman sentenced to 18 years for causing baby’s death from meth use
WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County couple raise money for Project Lifesaver Program
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WAFF Huntsville – Marshall County Courthouse sees delays in court system
WKRG Mobile – Florida State Troopers respond to fatal crash in Brent
WKRG Mobile – Woman dies trying to cross the street in Pensacola
WKRG Mobile – Pensacola city council to vote next week on removal of Confederate monument
WTVY Dothan – Dothan City Schools prepares for any shutdown or outbreak with reopening plan
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WTVY Dothan – Officers raid Dothan pharmacy suspected of illegally selling drugs
WASHINGTON POST – Liberals want more from Biden than an anti-Trump message
WASHINGTON POST – America is running short on masks, gowns and gloves. Again.
WASHINGTON POST – With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast.
NEW YORK TIMES – Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Daily Cases Surpass 59,000
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Weighs Early Vaccine Access for Minorities and Others at Risk
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