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Anchored in Alabama: Stories of Hope – Week Nine

As API enters the ninth week publishing Anchored in Alabama, our team continues to be encouraged by the stories we hear from you and from local media. It is clear that our faith communities and businesses are stepping up to this challenge.

We continue to say ‘Thank You’ for your support of this publication. As always, we hope you find it uplifting.

Anchored in Alabama, Week Nine

1. Birmingham Zoo Reopens

After months of being closed to visitors and being reduced to online videos of their work with animals, the Birmingham Zoo is finally reopening. On Monday, June 8th, the zoo had a soft reopening for members, with a grand reopening coming on Thursday, June 11th. While there will be limited attendance and physical distancing required, the zoo is hoping to again help people “make memorable connections with wildlife.”

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2. Coronavirus Survivor Reunites with Family After 44 Days on Ventilator
61-year old Danny Dean, who spent almost two months in the hospital and 44-days on a ventilator, went home this week after recovering from COVID-19. Members of his family and friends, who had not seen him since April 7th, greeted him as he was discharged. His wife of 42 years credits his survival to a miracle from God.

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3. Anniston Farmers Market Reopens
In its first event since the pandemic, the Anniston Farmers Market hosted a grand reopening on Saturday with free music, cake, and a large variety of local vendors. According to the event’s Facebook page, Alabama Power sponsored the market and gave the event a new and better location. In pictures posted online, visitors can be seen wearing masks while shopping and enjoying the beginning of the Alabama summer.

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4. Alabama Nursing Homes Faring Better Than National Average on COVID Infections
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency tasked with overseeing federal health benefits, Alabama’s nursing homes have a lower rate of coronavirus-related death and infection than the national average. The President and CEO of the Alabama Nursing Home Association partially credits this lower level of infection to cooperation between government entities and the homes themselves.

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5. Southern Research Focuses on Testing Coronavirus Vaccine and Treatment
Southern Research, a scientific research organization in Birmingham, is advancing and accelerating its attempts to test coronavirus vaccines and drugs for treatment. One way the organization is doing so is by conducting “drug repurposing” studies where researchers test whether there are drugs–that are already FDA-approved–that may be helpful in easing the symptoms of the coronavirus. So far, Southern Research has tested 3,500 drugs and found 12 that are “highly active against the virus.”

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6. Church Buys Hot Meals For Families in Selma
Members of Northside Baptist Church in Selma last Wednesday bought one hundred hot meals from a local store and gave them out to community members. Jessica Marshall, one of the beneficiaries of the church’s generosity, called it “a blessing”. This is yet another way that everyday acts of kindness by our faith communities are making a difference.

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7. Wallet Returned to Reporter Mugged During Birmingham Riots
During the riots in downtown Birmingham on the last Sunday night in May, a reporter was mugged and his wallet was stolen. ABC33/40’s Stephen Quinn, along with other Birmingham reporters, was attacked and bloodied during the riots. A few days later, however, someone found the wallet in their neighborhood and returned it to Quinn. Quinn posted on Twitter that this was “proof that there is more that unites than divides us.”

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8. Tuscaloosa Bringing Events Back to the City
The Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission is working to bring back sporting events to the city. Tuscaloosa, with an economy that depends greatly on events at the University of Alabama, needs the boost, the commission says. So far, fifteen events have been planned for June-October and organizers hope they will springboard the economy into football season and next year.

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9. Alabama Football Star Hosts Drive-Thru Pantry
Former Alabama and professional football player Marcell Dareus hosted a drive-through food bank at Huffman High School in Birmingham on June 4th. Aimed at helping both the city he was born in and the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Dareus was among those helping load cars with groceries last Thursday.

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10. Birmingham Florists Decorate Rotary Trail
In the midst of rioting regarding the death of Michael Floyd and the continued pandemic, twenty-five florists in the Birmingham area gathered in the early morning hours of June 5th to decorate the Rotary Trail sign in downtown Birmingham. “It’s cool to have everyone in an industry come together,” one of the florists said. “We want to make people happy, and give them something to look at besides broken glass and boarded up windows.” For pictures, click the link below.

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Anchored in Alabama is a weekly publication and selected news aggregate of the Alabama Policy Institute that is updated every Wednesday at noon until the COVID-19 crisis is over. If you know of a story that could be highlighted in this publication and would like to submit it for review, please email [email protected].

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