Good morning and Happy Friday!
All eyes on the Gordon Persons building today as we learn from State Superintendent Eric Mackey what the reopening plans will be for Alabama public schools. Caroline Beck will be there.
Here’s your Daily News for June 26.
1. Top doctors plead for change in behavior as state sees record COVID-19 cases
- A week before the end of Alabama’s current “Safer at Home” order, the least restrictive of the public health mandates first rolled out in March, the state on Thursday saw the most troubling numbers yet in its battle against the coronavirus.
- New cases topped 1,100 on Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported. That was a new one-day high.
- Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris attributes the increases — about 30% of the state’s total 32,753 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the last two weeks — to widespread community transmission, not particular events or locations.
- And while testing has increased, so has the percentage of positive tests being returned. That number hit a record this week as well at 10.9%.
- “We’re continuing to see large numbers of non [epidemiologically] linked cases, that is cases in people who don’t know why they would have had an exposure,” Harris told Alabama Daily News. “In other words they got exposed just sort of going through their normal, everyday activities and weren’t aware they are around someone who was sick.”
- Another record Thursday: 693 COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals, a number that’s been gradually increasing in recent weeks. There were 289 intensive care beds available statewide. That’s not the fewest that have been available, but close to it, Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told Alabama Daily News.
- “It was absolutely a bad day,” Williams, a former state health officer, said.
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
2. Court: Alabama can’t prohibit curbside voting
- An appellate court on Thursday refused to stay a judge’s order that allows local officials to offer curbside voting in the July runoff and loosens absentee ballot requirements in three of the state’s large counties.
- The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from Alabama stay the preliminary injunction issued earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by several voters who are older or have health risks.
- The ruling allows local election officials to offer curbside voting at in-person polling locations in the July 14 runoff. However, they are not required to do so.
- The ruling applies to the July 14 runoff election. The three counties are where plaintiffs in the lawsuit live.
- Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said that while the stay was denied, “the case is still under review and our appeal is still under consideration by the Eleventh Circuit.”
- Full story HERE.
3. Yeah, it was a noose
- Declaring “the noose was real,” NASCAR officials on Thursday released a photo of the rope found in the speedway garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace that prompted a federal investigation into whether he had been the target of a hate crime.
- The incident has put racism front and center for the stock car series that two weeks ago banned the Confederate flag from its venues and races at Wallace’s urging. It also prompted criticism from some fans that NASCAR had somehow overreacted — criticism NASCAR has bristled at and cited in releasing the photo from Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The image was taken by NASCAR security.
- “As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. “Based on the evidence we had, we thought our drivers — that one of our drivers had been threatened, a driver who had been extremely courageous in recent words and actions. It’s our responsibility to react and investigate, and that’s exactly what we did.”
- NASCAR asked officials at every track to check their garages this week. Out of 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, only 11 had a garage door pull-down rope tied in a knot, Phelps said, and the only one fashioned in a noose was the one discovered Sunday by a crew member in Wallace’s No. 43 stall.
- Read more HERE.
4. Alabama players, Saban appear in anti-racism video
- The University of Alabama football team released an emotional video on Thursday speaking out against racism and ending with the message that “all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.”
- Head Coach Nick Saban and many prominent players, both Black and white, appear in the video that was written by Alabama left tackle Alex Leatherwood.
- The video begins with the players saying, “We are a team, Black, white, brown. Together, we are a family. We are brothers who represent ourselves, our families, our hometowns, our university and our country.”
- The players and coach speak of the importance of listening to understand another person’s perspective.
- “In this moment in history, we can’t be silent. We must speak up for our brothers and sisters, for our sons and daughters,” Saban says in the video. “Until I listen with an open heart and mind, I can’t understand his experience and his pain.”
- The video ends with the message, “all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.”’
- Read more and see the video HERE.
5. Snapper season ends July 3
- You better go get on some fish while you can.
- Alabama said it will close its red snapper season for recreational anglers just before July 4 because people already have caught so many of the popular fish, a key driver of the Gulf Coast’s fishing industry.
- Lots of anglers have taken advantage of great weather, and Alabama had hit 76.5% of its 1.1 million-pound (499,000-kilogram) quota by Monday, according to a news release from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Biologists expect the full quota to be reached by 11:59 p.m. July 3, when the season will close.
- After a quiet early spring, the state’s coastal towns have experienced large surges in tourism since Alabama reopened it beaches and lifted many restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
- “When there are more people fishing we reach the quota sooner,” said Scott Bannon, director of the department’s Marine Resources Division.
- Full story HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As restrictions ease, COVID-19 cases increase, state’s top docs plead for change in behavior
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama breaks its one-day coronavirus case record
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court: Alabama can’t prohibit curbside voting
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘The noose was real’ – NASCAR releases photo from Talladega
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama players, Saban appear in anti-racism video
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s recreational red snapper season to end July 3
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump zeroes in on base to overcome reelection obstacles
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Thousands filing new jobless claims in Alabama over virus
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 – Daily News Digest – June 25, 2020
AL.COM – Hundreds wait outdoors for hours seeking Alabama unemployment benefits
AL.COM – Huntsville city council: Move Confederate monument to historic Maple Hill Cemetery
AL.COM – Alabama Department of Corrections reports 1st employee COVID-19 death
AL.COM – Calhoun Community College to forward concerns over school’s name to state chancellor
AL.COM – Ivey says fighting COVID-19 by calling some businesses ‘non-essential’ was ‘a mistake’
AL.COM – Contributor Randall Woodfin: Moving from conversation to action
Montgomery Advertiser – One changeover, 50 recommendations: Mayor Reed’s transition team releases report
Montgomery Advertiser – Ibraheem Yazeed, Aniah Blanchard murder suspect, charged in 2018 cold case homicide
Montgomery Advertiser – Autauga County Schools prep for reopening, expect several changes
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama report details graduates’ employment, shows workforce needs
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Despite historic unemployment, state leaders see ‘up-skill’ opportunity amid outbreak
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – CDC says weight, pregnancy could impact severity of COVID-19
Tuscaloosa News – Eight employers join virtual job fair
Tuscaloosa News – Surprise police parade brightens child’s day
Tuscaloosa News – UA to require masks at summer graduation
Decatur Daily – Despite historic challenge, state leaders see ‘up-skill’ opportunity amid outbreak
Decatur Daily – Athens State officials confirm first positive COVID-19 cases
Decatur Daily – Virus taking stronger hold in US, other populated countries
Times Daily – Oka Kapassa event cancelled for this year
Times Daily – AMHOF receives significant donation from Eddie Hinton estate
Times Daily – Report: 51% of graduates employed in state
Anniston Star – Passenger rail expansion in Alabama could bring at least $4.9 billion in economic impact, JSU study says
Anniston Star – Despite historic unemployment, state leaders see ‘up-skill’ opportunity amid outbreak
Anniston Star – Cases rising in Alabama, but local officials reluctant to mandate masks
Gadsden Times – Sheriff’s letter questions marches’ legality
Gadsden Times – Friends, colleagues remember longtime band director Rives
Gadsden Times – Etowah COVID death toll rises to 13
YellowHammer News – UAB doctor shares her experience treating coronavirus patients in New York
YellowHammer News – Alabama reports record-high one-day COVID-19 case number; Cities cancel more events
YellowHammer News – Red Cross performing free COVID-19 antibody test for Alabama blood donors
Dothan Eagle – Club Yesepoch makes donation to Wiregrass Area Food Bank
Dothan Eagle – Wiregrass area tops 2,000 COVID cases during pandemic
Dothan Eagle – 2 Wiregrass counties near 400 COVID-19 cases
Troy Messenger – Trojans gearing up for six-week practice session
Troy Messenger – Unity Prayer breakfast calls community to seek understanding and ‘to love each other’
Troy Messenger – Experts: More than 20M in U.S. infected: Alabama sets new one-day record
Andalusia Star News – New firework stand coming to Andalusia
Andalusia Star News – Proctor donates outfits to Crossover women
Andalusia Star News – Economic Blackout Rally scheduled for this weekend
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn University senior running for mayor of Camp Hill
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn High School sends its fifth cadet to West Point
Opelika-Auburn News – Coronavirus skyrockets in three most populous states
Daily Mountain Eagle – Court: Alabama can’t prohibit curbside voting
Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama breaks its one-day coronavirus case record
Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama’s recreational red snapper season to end July 3
Trussville Tribune – Palmer opposes bill he says would undermine law enforcement
Trussville Tribune – City of Center Point presents response to DOJ report; Metro Area Crime Center finds discrepancies
Trussville Tribune – Emergency food available in Jefferson County this Saturday
Athens News Courier – APD: Sex offender caught twice with stolen vehicles
Athens News Courier – State adds 954 virus cases in one day as COVID-19 spreads
Athens News Courier – MOVING FORWARD: Groundbreaking for Jimmy Gill Park rescheduled
Sand Mountain Reporter – Citizens organize community prayer for Marshall County law enforcement
Sand Mountain Reporter – SMPA to offer membership benefit to Albertville city employees
WSFA Montgomery – State health officers give coronavirus update
WSFA Montgomery – Thousands filing new jobless claims in Alabama over virus
WSFA Montgomery – Man charged with assault in June 13 stabbing
WAFF Huntsville – New calendar approved for Madison County Schools
WAFF Huntsville – COVID-19 in Alabama: State sees 1,129 new cases in 24 hours
WAFF Huntsville – Tutwiler employee dies after testing positive for COVID-19, ADOC reports
WKRG Mobile – Some Alabamians still awaiting first unemployment payments
WKRG Mobile – NWS determines 5 tornadoes touched down during Wednesday’s severe weather event
WKRG Mobile – Saharan Dust heightening allergies, but shouldn’t effect COVID-19 cases
WTVY Dothan – Coleman aide promises Congressional debate
WTVY Dothan – Denton Road Apartments tenant frustrated with mold problem
WTVY Dothan – High-profile felony suspect, Ibraheem Yazeed, charged with murder in 2018 Montgomery cold case
WASHINGTON POST – CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported
WASHINGTON POST – Trump lashes out at Black Lives Matter, accuses one member of ‘treason’
WASHINGTON POST – White House intensifies effort to install Pentagon personnel seen as loyal to Trump
WASHINGTON POST – Court in New York rejects effort to block book by President Trump’s niece
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Suffers Record Caseload for 2nd Straight Day
NEW YORK TIMES – As Virus Surges, Younger People Account for ‘Disturbing’ Number of Cases
NEW YORK TIMES – These Top Democrats Go Further Than Biden on Diverting Police Funds
Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)