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In Ominous Parallel to Alabama’s April 2011 Horrific Tornadoes Strike Oklahoma

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama has had more tornado deaths than any state in the country since World War II. Oklahoma was struck by monstrously big tornadoes on Monday similar to the storms that struck Alabama in April 2011. Over 50 Oklahoman s were listed as dead on Monday, including many in an elementary school in Warren, Oklahoma. Many more are still trapped under rubble and search rescue efforts were underway.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley issued a written statement following the deadly tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday: “Dianne and I are offering prayers of support for everyone in Oklahoma. The people of Alabama can identify first-hand with those who have suffered such a devastating loss. We understand how painful it is to lose friends, neighbors and loved ones. We understand the challenges of a massive recovery and rebuilding effort. We will stand with the people of Oklahoma in the coming days, weeks, months and years.”

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn said, “Alabamians identify only too closely with the terrible devastation brought on by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Susan’s and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and communities affected by this horrible event. We experienced an outpouring of support from other states when tornadoes hit here at home and I know as a state we will do the same.”

Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery said on Facebook, “Unreal footage coming out of Oklahoma. These people need our prayers. Alabamians certainly know how devastating a tornado outbreak can be. Let’s offer prayers for comfort and words of support toward those in Oklahoma who are dealing with so… much right now. Also please consider donating what you can to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. I understand the Red Cross is already deployed and starting relief efforts.”

Rep. John Rogers (D) from Birmingham said on Facebook, “Please join me in praying for the people of Oklahoma.”

Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington (R) said on Facebook, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. I feel as empty right now as I did on April 27, 2011, my 169th day in office. On that night and the following days, I saw first-hand the worst of mother nature and the best of human nature.” Jefferson County was especially hard hit in April 2011.

Gov. Bentley said, “My office has been in direct contact with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s office, and we are offering whatever assistance Alabama can provide. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is prepared to coordinate any and all resources that may be requested by Oklahoma. Following the April 2011 tornadoes, people from other states showed tremendous compassion to Alabama. They helped us in our own rebuilding. They volunteered their time and their resources. They stood with us in prayer and support. Alabama stands ready to do the same for the people of Oklahoma.”

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Economy

Ainsworth unveils website for small businesses seeking information during pandemic

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth unveiled a new web page Monday designed to provide small business owners with a one-stop information hub during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and forced economic shutdown.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is already providing small business owners with unprecedented challenges and frustrations, so they should not have to struggle to find the information necessary to survive in the current economic climate,” Ainsworth said. “As new small business programs are announced and revised health orders go into effect, the website will be updated in order to provide the most timely and accurate information possible.”

The website was created by the Alabama Small Business Commission, which Ainsworth chairs. The site provides information related to Small Business Administration loans and assistance, unemployment claims, tax relief programs, and other timely initiatives.

The website is intended to help small businesses remain in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The website also provides links to every state, county, and municipal health order currently being enforced in Alabama.

The Legislature placed the Alabama Small Business Commission under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2019.

The 22-member commission is tasked with formulating “policies encouraging innovation of small businesses in the state” and advising the Department of Commerce in promoting small businesses within Alabama.

On March 12, the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, led President Donald J. Trump (R) to order a forced economic shutdown on March 12. Those original orders have subsequently been strengthened by Gov. Kay Ivey (R), culminating in a statewide shelter in place order on Friday.

Realizing that with most of their businesses shut down through at least April 30, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, which provides low interest loans to hundreds of thousands of struggling small businesses. If the businesses use the money to make payroll and to pay other business overhead costs the loans will be forgiven.

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Currently, there are 2,113 Alabamians with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 64 Alabamians have died and 271 are currently in the hospital. 20 Alabamians have recovered from their illness and been cleared by their doctors. The global pandemic has infected more than 1,441,589 people globally and killed 82,933, including 7,380 people just on Tuesday (1,970 of them were Americans). Gov. Ivey’s shelter in place order is in effect through April 30, but that is likely to be extended.

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Economy

Businesses applying for aid can receive proof of existence from secretary of state’s office

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that federal resources have been made available to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to assist with tax relief, employee protection and benefits, loans and grants, and many other challenges that business owners may encounter during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Merrill’s office explained that in order to be eligible for this federal aid, some corporations and businesses may be required to prove their existence as part of their application. Certificates of Existence can be obtained through visiting the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.

Business owners can apply online to receive their Certificate of Existence electronically for immediate processing. The non-subscriber fee is $28 and will allow a user to download their copy for up to 15 days.

If you are completing the request for a Certificate of Existence by paper, you may access the application here.

The form must be typed and will not be accepted via email.

Once completed, mail the application, along with the $25 filing fee, to:

Secretary of State’s Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616,
Montgomery, Alabama 36103

Those who apply online will not receive a mailed copy. Rather, a copy can be downloaded online and then printed out.

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Certificates of Existence are only available for businesses who have previously filed for formation with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you have not yet filed, you are still able to do so through the Secretary of State’s website

This documentation may also be required to process loan applications by lending institutions, banks, credit unions, farm credit, or public accountants.

For questions or more information, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division at (334) 242-7221 or (334) 242-5324.

Thousands of Alabama businesses have been forced to close by orders from the state as well as local health departments. Many businessmen and women are having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to continue to make payroll. The aid under the CARES Act is a lifeline to businesses that the federal government is offering during this unprecedented period of economic crisis.

The forced economic shutdown was deemed necessary by state and federal government authorities in consultation with public health experts in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 global pandemic has already killed 12,857 Americans and 82,993 people globally. 1,050,077 people around the globe are still struggling through active cases of the illness, including 395,981 Americans.

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Alabama League of Municipalities forms task force for stimulus funding

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In response to Congress enacting the CARES Act, the Alabama League of Municipalities has created a 10-member Stimulus Task Force to determine the immediate economic impact of COVID-19 on Alabama’s cities and towns.

Under the CARES Act, the state of Alabama is slated to receive approximately $1.9 billion in direct funding for the state and local governments. Of that distribution, fifty-five percent will be allocated to the state. The remaining forty-five percent will also be allocated to the state for Governor Kay Ivey and her administration to determine the best use as it pertains to the needs of Alabama’s local governments.

League President Mayor Ronnie Marks of Athens stressed the importance of the League’s Stimulus Task Force. “Alabama is a state of mostly small and mid-size communities that rely on sales, use and lodgings taxes, as well as rental and motor fuel revenue streams, to provide critical quality of life services to our citizens,” he said. “The League represents all 463 incorporated cities and towns in our state, and by forming this Stimulus Task Force – with representation from throughout Alabama, we are making a concerted effort to identify immediate funding losses to provide a sound basis for Gov. Ivey to fairly distribute federal stimulus aid to our communities in an effort to keep them solvent during these challenging times.”

ALM’s Stimulus Task Force has been charged with reviewing the funding being allocated to the state and determining the best process for local governments to receive distributions should Governor Ivey provide those resources to cities and towns. Members of the task force are considering all streams of revenue where their communities are experiencing the greatest loss – particularly sales and use taxes, motor fuel taxes, lodgings taxes and rental taxes.

Serving on the 10-member task force are: Mayor Ronnie Marks, Athens and ALM President; Mayor Leigh Dollar, Guntersville and ALM Vice-President; Councilmember Adam Bourne, Chickasaw and Chair of ALM’s Committee on State and Federal Legislation; Mayor Gary Fuller, Opelika; Mayor Tony Haygood, Tuskegee; Mayor Walt Maddox, Tuscaloosa; Mayor Mark Saliba, Dothan; Mayor Robert Craft, Gulf Shores; Councilmember Bridgett Jordan-Smith, Vincent; Mayor Hollie Cost, Montevallo.

“I’m honored to be a part of the League’s Stimulus Task Force,” said ALM Vice-President Mayor Leigh Dollar of Guntersville. “I appreciate the League being on the forefront of this issue that is so important to every city and town in Alabama. All cities and towns will be affected by the current economic situation. The task force is working on a fair and equitable way to recommend distribution of federal funding to help restore some of the economic loss throughout the state. It’s vital that we work together for the betterment of Alabama.”

For more information or if you have questions, please email Kayla Bass, ALM Public Affairs Associate, at[email protected].

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Health

Public Easter week services are canceled

Brandon Moseley

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Most Churches in Alabama will not hold public Easter week services in compliance with the guidance from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Easter week is the holiest week in the Christian Church’s calendar and is usually marked with overflow crowds at Easter services in Churches across the state. The COVID-19 global pandemic, which has killed 83,090 people as of press time however has halted most gatherings of over ten, including most public worship services.

Bishop Robert J. Baker, S.T.D., the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama, has extended the suspension of public worship till Saturday, April 18, 2020.

“It is with sadness that I write to you today to say that after consulting with our priests, public authorities, and health experts, I judge it necessary to extend the suspension of public worship, that I first issued on March 17,2020,” Bishop Baker wrote. “The suspension will now continue through the day before Divine Mercy Sunday – April 18, 2020.”

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of the Mobile Archdiocese issued similar orders on March 30.

“The suspension of public worship services and most church activities in the Catholic churches of the Archdiocese of Mobile is extended through April 18, 2020,” Rodi wrote. “The original suspension was announced on March 17.”

“This means that public Easter services will not be celebrated in our Catholic churches,” Archbishop Rodi explained. “This is a most painful decision. Not only is Easter a time of celebration, even more importantly, the Resurrection of Our Lord is at the core of our Christian faith. However, this action is taken in the interest of the common good of our communities and is in accord with the advice of civil authorities.”

The Archdiocese of Mobile consists of the Catholic churches and ministries in the 28 counties of the southern half of Alabama. The Diocese of Birmingham consists of the of the Catholic Churches and ministries in the northern 39 counties.

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Many Churches are still streaming services to their congregations. The Alabama based Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) will be streaming services online.

The Archdiocese of Mobile will also be streaming services from the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Those services are closed to the public.

http://mobarch.org/

Roman Catholics, as well as many other Christian Churches, celebrate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with a service on the Thursday night before Easter. On the Friday before Easter there is a Good Friday service. On the Saturday nightery before Easter there is an Easter vigil service. On Sunday there is the traditional Easter Services that normally attract both the regular Churchgoers as well as many people who attend just a couple of services a year.

According to Christian scripture, Jesus of Nazareth was arrested by local Jewish authorities on a Thursday in 30 to 33 A.D. He was put on trial that night by the Jewish Sanhedrin, who turned him over to the Roman authorities who were then occupying Judea. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus executed the next day. Crucifixion was the execution method of choice for the Romans. Jesus died on the cross, likely from heart failure after an ordeal that included beatings and having to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem to the hill overlooking the city. According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus was buried in a tomb; but rose from the dead the following Sunday. He then met with his remaining disciples for gatherings a few weeks before ascending to heaven. Those devoted followers began preaching Jesus’s message and founding Churches the world over. Subsequent Christian scholars later determined that Jesus was both man and God made flesh. Muslims reject the divinity of Jesus; but acknowledge that he was a prophet. Both Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus will come again.

Most Churches, regardless of denomination, have similarly moved their Easter week services online.

Governor Kay Ivey’s statewide stay at home order did exempt worship services and some Churches have made the decision to meet for public worship services in spite of the growing COVID-19 risk.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has infected 1,444,821 persons around the world and killed 83,103. 47,980 people are in critical or serious condition in hospitals around the world. In the United States, 12,850 people have died from COVID-19 as of press time.

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