Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, June 25.
1. State adds 954 COVID-19 cases
- Alabama on Wednesday reported its second-highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day as medical officials continued to express concern about a rise in the number of people with the respiratory illness.
- As of Wednesday, the state had reported more than 31,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and at least 879 deaths from the virus. More than a fourth of the cases came in the last two weeks. The state added 954 cases, the second-highest number since the outbreak began.
- A medical professor said the increase may be attributable to more people traveling and developing a weariness with strict social distancing rules.
- “I think there is a certain amount of COVID fatigue where people are hoping to go back to what was our previous normal,” said Dr. Molly Fleece, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- The state last week reached high-water marks for the percentage of positive tests, at 10.9% positive, and the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital, with more than 680 hospitalized statewide.
- “I’m just frustrated. There is nothing statewide that looks any better. It looks worse,” said Dr. Don Williamson, a former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
2. Despite historic challenge, state leaders see ‘up-skill’ opportunity amid outbreak
- At the start of 2020, Alabama’s economy was rolling.
- With a historic low 2.7% unemployment rate in February and tens of thousands of jobs added every month, the biggest problem for economic and workforce development leaders seemed to be having enough trained workers to fill available jobs.
- In fact, the state had recently launched an ambitious plan to credential an additional 500,000 workers to meet rising employment demands.
- Then, the coronavirus hit and much of Alabama’s economy came to a screeching halt. Unemployment reached 14.7% in April before rebounding slightly to 9.9% by May.
- Ironically, as many as 500,000 working Alabamians were displaced from jobs either directly or indirectly due to the outbreak.
- Instead of seeming ambitious, that workforce development goal is now considered a necessity for the state’s economic recovery and getting hundreds of thousands of Alabamians back to work. And state leaders are optimistic that the planning already in place will put Alabama ahead of the curve once the pandemic ends.
- I wrote a lot of words about this with Mary Sell.
- Read our full story HERE.
3. Police reform dies
- Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-led police reform bill from being considered in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.
- The measure, sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, fell four votes short of the threshold needed to advance.
- Scott, a Black Republican, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had attempted to invite Democrats to allow the bill by offering to consider and debate at least 20 amendments.
- The parties are now settled into their political zones, even if they are displeased with the actual outcome. Republicans are lined up squarely behind their effort, led by Scott, a uniquely credible voice with his personal experience of racism at the hands of police. Democrats, led by Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are standing with progressive and civil rights activists rejecting the Republican bill as insufficient and pushing for more.
- The House today could vote on its own more ambitious Justice in Policing Act, a bill that tries to match the moment of massive demonstrations filling city streets for weeks, but also has little chance of becoming law.
- Now, Congress appears to be leaving it to voters to decide in the fall election that will determine control of the presidency, the House and the Senate.
- “I’m frustrated,” said Scott after his bill was blocked by Democrats.
- “The issue is, do we matter?” he asked, echoing the words of the Black Lives Matter movement, during an impassioned Senate speech that drew applause from his colleagues. “We said no today.”
- Read more and watch Scott’s impassioned floor speech HERE.
4. Archives commits to better racial practices
- Alabama’s main state history agency, spurred by nationwide protests against racial injustice, is acknowledging that it helped perpetuate systemic racism for generations by promoting Confederate narratives while ignoring those of Black people.
- A “statement of recommitment” issued Tuesday by the Alabama Department of Archives and History says the state agency was founded in 1901, the year Alabama’s current Constitution was approved, to both preserve records and promote “lost cause” ideals favored by Southern whites.
- “For well over a half-century, the agency committed extensive resources to the acquisition of Confederate records and artifacts while declining to acquire and preserve materials documenting the lives and contributions of African Americans in Alabama,” said the statement signed by the agency’s director, Steve Murray, and approved by trustees.
- Housed in a state museum across the street from Alabama’s Capitol, where the Confederacy was formed in 1861, the the agency said it has taken steps to change in recent decades. But it is still staffed mainly by white people, especially in its leadership and archival and curatorial staffs, the statement acknowledged.
- The statement, said the agency is rededicating itself to telling a fuller story of the state.
- “If history is to serve the present, it must offer an honest assessment of the past,” it said.
- Full story HERE.
- Also, Brian Lyman had a good in depth story on this subject, which you can read HERE.
5. News Briefs
GOP attorneys general back police amid congressional debate
- AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eleven GOP attorneys general, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, weighed in this week on the congressional debate over policing amid the national push to stop racial bias in law enforcement.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the others sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to ensure police officer safety as Democrats demand changes in police tactics and accountability.
- In the letter, the group acknowledges the “tragic and preventable death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers” that has driven global protests over police killings of Black people.
- But the lawyers say a few bad officers don’t warrant calls to “defund the police.” The attorneys general also pointed to 2016 attacks that left officers dead in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as evidence of the dangers that police face.
- “Many law-enforcement agencies have instituted policies, re-examined training and protocols, and rightly worked with their local communities to build trust and encourage problem solving,” Paxton said in a statement Wednesday.
- Paxton joined attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
- The letter comes as a Republican policing bill stalled with lack of support from Senate Democrats. Polling shows the country overwhelmingly wants changes in policing.
Trump to travel to Mount Rushmore for July 4th
- SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s plans to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore are drawing sharp criticism from Native Americans who view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them and used to pay homage to leaders hostile to native people.
- Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit, part of Trump’s “comeback” campaign for a nation reeling from sickness, unemployment and, recently, social unrest. The event is slated to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the first fireworks display at the site since 2009.
- But it comes amid a national reckoning over racism and a reconsideration of the symbolism of monuments around the globe. Many Native Americans activists say the Rushmore memorial is as reprehensible as the many Confederate monuments being toppled around the nation.
- Full story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama adds 954 virus cases in one day as COVID-19 spreads
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Despite historic challenge, state leaders see ‘up-skill’ opportunity amid outbreak
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police overhaul reform effort dims as bill blocked by Democrats
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Dept. of Archives commits to better racial practices
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump plan to visit Mount Rushmore for July 4th
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No charges in Talladega noose incident, NASCAR says rope was a garage pull
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rope found hanging in Wallace’s garage was coincidence
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama starts cutting unemployment for those refusing work
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama report details graduates’ employment, shows workforce needs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Senate schedules July budget hearings
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – A side-by-side look at police reform bills in Congress
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Once reluctant, GOP’s only Black senator now leads on race
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – June 24, 2020
AL.COM – Attorneys ask judge to set new hiring benchmarks for Alabama prisons
AL.COM – Sessions visits high school where Church of the Highlands was kicked out
AL.COM – 3 of the top 10 American-made vehicles are from Alabama
AL.COM – Employer survey looks to help in training Alabama’s future workforce
AL.COM – Group that flew Confederate banner over Talladega: NASCAR flag ban a ‘slap in the face’
AL.COM – Rename Edmund Pettus Bridge? Activists, politicians split: ‘It does not help history’
AL.COM – Columnist John Hammontree: Dismantling America’s biggest lies
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: NASCAR and the GOP have the same problem. Only one is trying to do something about it
Montgomery Advertiser – Macon County, Alabama, cross burning: $1,000 reward offered for information on case
Montgomery Advertiser – Tennessee-based Sons of Confederate Veterans takes credit for ‘DEFUND NASCAR’ banner
Montgomery Advertiser – Washington man charged in connection to 2011 rape
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect charged with murder of Tuscaloosa man after Tuesday night shooting
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Most counties in Alabama reporting daily cases of COVID-19
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: Second child under age 5 has died from COVID-19
Tuscaloosa News – Woman sentenced in shooting
Tuscaloosa News – Murder charges filed in west Tuscaloosa slaying
Tuscaloosa News – Smoking near oxygen caused fire death
Decatur Daily – Riverfest canceled over COVID-19 concerns
Decatur Daily – As local COVID-19 deaths increase, council considers mask ordinance
Decatur Daily – Report shows many of state’s college grads leave Alabama
Times Daily – Report: 51% of graduates employed in state
Times Daily – Help Center offers food pantry shopping once a month
Times Daily – COVID measures take UNA Flag Corps to McFarland
Gadsden Times – Etowah considered ‘high’ in COVID-19 case rates
Gadsden Times – Appeals court orders dismissal of Michael Flynn prosecution
Gadsden Times – Marshall virus numbers scare officials
Anniston Star – In Ohatchee, pandemic is both ever-present and far away
Anniston Star – Oxford council votes to expand pension benefits for city employees
Anniston Star – Alabama report details graduates’ employment, shows workforce needs
YellowHammer News – Dothan mayor among string of endorsements for Jeff Coleman’s campaign for Congress
YellowHammer News – AL-01 candidates allege Club for Growth asked them to oppose bills benefitting their district
YellowHammer News – Aderholt applauds NASA renaming headquarters after ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary Jackson
Dothan Eagle – 2 Wiregrass counties near 400 COVID-19 cases
Dothan Eagle – BBB Scam Alert: COVID contact tracing work inspires copycat scams
Dothan Eagle – Eye Center South welcomes accomplished ophthalmologist Dr. Paul R. Mitchell
Troy Messenger – Meredith joins museum staff
Troy Messenger – Troy based subscription service highlights local, state products on national level
Troy Messenger – State sees second-highest one-day rise in cases
Andalusia Star News – County approves bid for Arrow Disposal Services
Andalusia Star News – SARA board approves lease with Davis Aviation
Andalusia Star News – COUNTY: ‘GROUP DIDN’T MEET AGENDA DEADLINE’
Opelika-Auburn News – Anders takes aim at city’s race relations
Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC reports more COVID-19 infections, but serious cases steady
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika Ward 2 rep Gibson-Pitts announces mayoral campaign
Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama history agency admits perpetuating systemic racism
Daily Mountain Eagle – Blend Coffee House brew up ways to help students
Daily Mountain Eagle – Issues, mistakes on unemployment compensation noted
Trussville Tribune – Modernized Taco Bell opens in Trussville just up the road from original location
Trussville Tribune – Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reports 6 from department test positive for COVID-19
Trussville Tribune – Alabama Department of Archives and History admits perpetuating systemic racism
Athens News Courier – Arrest reports for 6/24/20
Athens News Courier – READY FOR LEARNING: Tanner greenhouse complete for next school year
Athens News Courier – Family honors son who graduated med school
Sand Mountain Reporter – TVA green lights local power company electric generation
Sand Mountain Reporter – Taylor Jones inducted in Phi Kappa Phi
Sand Mountain Reporter – Father, 2 sons taken to jail following chases
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery mayor orders budget cuts to offset growing revenue shortfall
WSFA Montgomery – State agencies have shipped 15 million PPE items since March
WSFA Montgomery – All veterans home residents negative for COVID-19, department says
WAFF Huntsville – Extra $600 unemployment bonus set to end in July
WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Sheriff’s Office clerk under ethics investigation
WAFF Huntsville – 3 Athens State University employees test positive for COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – Inmate serving time for Mobile County rape dies after contracting COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – DeSantis announces pay raise for Florida teachers
WKRG Mobile – Mobile County sees spike in positive COVID-19 cases in people ages 18-29
WTVY Dothan – Eufaula boy who nearly drowned in Panama City Beach released from hospital
WTVY Dothan – Holmes County Sheriff’s deputies search for suspicious vehicle
WTVY Dothan – County commissioner under fire for alleged racist remarks on social media
WASHINGTON POST – Coronavirus deaths lag behind surging infections but may catch up soon
WASHINGTON POST – How the split over face masks sums up America’s chaotic coronavirus response
WASHINGTON POST – NASA to rename headquarters for Mary W. Jackson, agency’s first female African American engineer
WASHINGTON POST – U.S. marshals told to prepare to help protect monuments nationwide as Trump targets people who vandalize structures during protests
NEW YORK TIMES – What if the Toppled Statue Is of Your Great-Great-Great-Grandfather?
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s False Attacks on Voting by Mail Stir Broad Concern
NEW YORK TIMES – Showing Strength With White Voters, Biden Builds Lead in Battleground States
NEW YORK TIMES – Bail Funds, Flush With Cash, Learn to ‘Grind Through This Horrible Process’
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