Issues/Program Report 2nd Quarter 2020
July 1, 2020
Per the FCC, this is a list of the most frequently cited issues of concern to the people in the WBHM listening area during the last quarter. The list details the most significant programs addressing these issues. All of these programs were published at WBHM.ORG and broadcast on WBHM 90.3 FM between April 1, 2020 and June 31, 2020. The list includes the following issues:
Gov. Ivey extended a public health order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. It would have expired Friday.
U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions says the Birmingham Board of Education and Birmingham Housing Authority's decision to end agreements with the church is unconstitutional.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve the creation of the “Avondale Entertainment District."
Unlike some other governors, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has kept a very low profile during the coronavirus pandemic, only rarely acknowledging it. But what difference does that make?
Sparked by protests calling for racial justice, a growing number of cities across the country are taking down Confederate monuments. What's next for these structures and the communities who remove them?
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman maintains he is innocent despite a federal bribery conviction. In a new book he says changes are needed to how prosecutors operate.
Inmate transfers from county jails to the state prison system have been reduced because of the pandemic. Local officials say that needs to change or county jails will be in crisis.
Alabama is prepared for the July 14 primary runoffs, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says his office will conduct a comprehensive internal review of the city’s police department.
The Jefferson County Commission voted Tuesday not to extend the order establishing a county wide curfew.
The Alabama Department of Corrections faces a Friday deadline to outline a plan to meet court-ordered staffing goals. State Rep. Chris England says the prison system needs new leadership.
Protesters are asking the Birmingham City Council to defund the city's police department by reallocating $150,000 from the department's ammunition budget.
The Alabama Public Service Commission voted this week to approve most of Alabama Power’s $1.1 billion energy expansion plan. The state's largest utility will build a new natural gas plant and buy gas from existing plants.
Birmingham’s public safety curfew and state of emergency will expire Monday night.
Workers removed most of a Confederate monument that became the center of Birmingham protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
Birmingham city residents are under a new nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the order and declared a state of emergency Monday morning in response to violence that erupted Sunday evening.
Speakers at a rally in downtown Birmingham referenced the city's history of nonviolent protest as they responded to the death of George Floyd, who died after being arrested by police in Minneapolis Monday.
The Birmingham City Council has extended the city’s face covering ordinance for two more weeks.
The Birmingham City Council will vote Friday on whether to extend the city's face covering ordinance.
Criticisms of Alabama’s absentee ballot requirements are intensifying. Legal challenges to the law call for greater accessibility, especially to the state's most vulnerable populations -- black residents, the elderly and those with disabilities.
Birmingham will allow its face covering ordinance to expire Friday, May 29.
Polling places in Jefferson County could be in line to receive more money to host elections, according to a new report.
Alabama's safer-at-home order was extended Thursday until early July. This comes as the state's coronavirus cases continue to rise.
More than half of Alabama's nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases. But families and advocates say they don’t have a clear picture of what’s happening inside these places because state health officials don’t disclose information on individual facilities.
The Jefferson County Commission is considering a resolution that would seek up to $1.15 million in supplemental funds for the county’s revolving loan fund grant from the state’s Economic Development Administration.
The Birmingham City Council issued another extension to its face covering ordinance. It's now set to expire on May 29.
Hurricane season in the Deep South is nothing new. But hurricane season with a pandemic? That is different.
Alabama’s Public Service Commission is considering new rules that restrict recording formal hearings. Critics say the “Media Coverage Plan” goes too far and limits transparency of the agency.
Birmingham’s public safety curfew is no longer in effect, but the ordinance requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in public has been extended for another week.
Alabama’s dine-in restaurants, bars, salons and gyms will be allowed to reopen next week.
Alabama lawmakers passed the General Fund budget Thursday. It now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey.
The Jefferson County Commission received guidance this week on their legal use of federal stimulus money because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alabama has allowed many retailers to reopen at limited capacity, but businesses such as gyms, nail salons and barbershops remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some sheriffs said they won’t enforce the statewide order.
Birmingham has placed a May 15 deadline on its mask and public safety ordinances, bringing them in line with Gov. Kay Ivey’s safer-at-home order.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is defending two new city ordinances tightening restrictions around COVID-19. Beginning Friday, residents will be under a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and they must wear face coverings in public.
Alabama lawmakers return to Montgomery Monday after an extended break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans want to pass the budgets quickly. Democrats want to wait.
Jefferson County will reopen its courthouses and county facilities on Friday.
Gov. Kay Ivey says retailers and public beaches can reopen under certain conditions as she relaxes a stay-at-home order issued to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Birmingham residents will be legally required to wear face masks in public starting May 1.
Gov. Kay Ivey says the state needs an increase in COVID-19 testing before she reopens the state's economy.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin updated residents on the city's fight against COVID-19.
More than 285,000 Alabamians have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month as the coronavirus outbreak has forced layoffs and furloughs. Many applicants have yet to receive any money.
In an abnormally short, 13-minute meeting on Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council voted to allocate more funds to the city’s fight against COVID-19.
The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles will resume parole hearings May 18 after stopping them last month in response to COVID-19. Advocates say the state should expedite the parole process to protect inmates and alleviate prison overcrowding.
Alabama has seen a record number of unemployment claims because of the coronavirus. The state Department of Labor is trying to keep up.
Alabama residents who need to renew their driver’s license during the coronavirus shutdown will have to do it online.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home order Friday after mounting pressure by state and local leaders.
“People need to remember that people are dying, that this has the potential to continue to spread,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says. “If you can’t take this serious[ly] and police yourself, then we will gladly assist and help you.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says Alabama is an "unhealthy" state with a high-risk population. He says officials should implement strict measures to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The Jefferson County Commission used its second emergency meeting of the COVID-19 pandemic to extend the closure of county facilities until April 30 and set up a $1 million COVID-19 fund to handle needs as they arise.
Local advocacy groups say non-English speaking immigrants are an especially vulnerable group during this crisis, and not enough is being done to help them.
Pricing and processing delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made a direct hit on the Alabama cattle and poultry industries.
The crowds of the Market at Pepper Place have given way to a line of cars for safety's sake during the pandemic.
Alabama's retail industry opened its' doors once again after being closed for at least a month because of COVID-19.
UAB announced Monday that more than 300 university staff members will be temporarily furloughed in an effort to offset significant financial losses due to COVID-19.
Alabama bankers couldn’t access the federal Paycheck Protection Program application site on Monday so that small businesses hurt by the coronavirus could apply for the loans.
Gov. Kay Ivey will ease coronavirus restrictions starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. Under the new rules, businesses and all retailers can reopen. So will beaches and doctors offices. Nevertheless, many people plan to stay put.
Courtrooms are quieter because of the coronavirus. But divorce lawyers have found ways to keep working.
There's a tension between the social distancing measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the economic cost that's causing. The Harvard Club of Birmingham took up that issue in a formal debate this week.
Many businesses have laid off workers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but plenty of companies in Alabama are hiring. While some companies grapple with worker safety concerns, it hasn't stopped them from growing.
Late April will bring financial pain for state and local governments as businesses in Alabama begin submitting lower taxes because of the coronavirus.
Kelsey Jacks is a registered nurse in the medical Intensive care unit at UAB Hospital, where she takes care of the sickest COVID-19 patients. To help people understand the impact of the virus, she recorded an audio diary during a recent shift.
Beginning Monday, face masks will be required in indoor spaces open to the public throughout Jefferson County. Health officer Dr. Mark Wilson announced the new order Friday, citing concerns about the recent increase in spread of COVID-19.
Alabama saw the number of coronavirus cases double among 5 to 24-year-olds, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The state also recorded a new daily high of 1,129 cases between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday.
The 14-day moving average of COVID-19 cases has now surpassed the 700 mark.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose Wednesday by 954, one of the state’s largest daily increases since the pandemic began, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
As coronavirus hospitalizations increase, more hospitals are feeling squeezed. The president of the Alabama Hospital Association says the state is far from getting the pandemic under control. Limited hospital capacity will most affect patients seeking care for health issues other than coronavirus.
Moving averages of new COVID-19 cases have reached their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
Alabama continues to break records as cases of COVID-19 increase at the highest rate yet.
Alabama hit record highs this past week in the number of new coronavirus cases. Health officials are taking a wait-and-see approach.
There are more Alabamians hospitalized for the coronavirus than at any point during the pandemic. UAB's Dr. Rachael Lee explains why.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris reminds Alabamians that COVID-19 is not over. Instead, they say the number of confirmed cases in the state continues to rise.
The number of new coronavirus cases is rising in Alabama. Meanwhile, Jefferson County’s Health Department says some asymptomatic people should get checked.
Entertainment venues across Alabama reopened Friday, but not in the state’s most populous county.
The Memorial Day weekend is here, but the coronavirus hasn't gone away. What to consider when thinking about the summer ahead.
As Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey allows more businesses to reopen next week, UAB infectious disease expert Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo is worried about the state's recent increase in average cases and deaths related to COVID-19.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s “safer-at-home” order allows doctors to resume elective medical and dental procedures. For some patients, that’s good news.
Remdesivir, a drug developed through a federal grant to UAB, may be the first effective therapy for treating severely ill COVID-19 patients, early analysis of a large federally sponsored study found this week.
UAB will deploy a new COVID-19 mobile testing unit this week to communities across Jefferson County.
Data shows Alabama lags behind most of its Southeast neighbors in COVID-19 testing.
UAB Hospital is taking a financial hit from COVID-19. Officials announced Friday a projected loss of $70 million per month due to fewer clinical visits, elective surgeries and hospital stays.
Alabama corrections officials recently reported the first inmate death related to COVID-19. With several prisoners and staff members testing positive for the virus, those inside Alabama prisons worry this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association says closing rural hospitals is his greatest concern. That's because these hospitals located across the Deep South were struggling to stay open before COVID-19.
After falling ill with COVID-19, Bill Chambers was admitted to intensive care and placed on a ventilator. He spent 22 days in the hospital and was recently released, becoming the first COVID patient discharged from UAB Hospital's ICU.
COVID-19 is expected to peak Monday. Here's how UAB has been preparing for this and the months that follow.
Hospital chaplains usually show comfort to patients or their families, but at UAB that has changed. During the coronavirus pandemic, the pastoral care team spends a lot of time counseling health care workers who are on the front lines.
UAB officials are starting to look toward the day when the number of COVID-19 cases starts to decline in Alabama, but there are no easy answers to what could come next.
A new service to transport low-income COVID-19 patients to health care facilities is expected to launch in Birmingham this week.
Gov. Kay Ivey is creating a new executive committee that’ll field recommendations on when to reopen the state’s economy.
COVID-19 is not the first pandemic to strike around the world. In 1918, the Spanish Influenza had a dramatic impact on daily life everywhere, including Alabama.
Health professionals warn that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't hit its peak in Alabama yet. Some say that when it does it could be a major disaster for the state’s health care infrastructure.
More than 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Alabama have been in African Americans even though about a fourth of the state’s population is black, data released by state health officials showed Tuesday.
Due to COVID-19, hospitals are limiting the number of people who can be present during labor and delivery. That's one reason some pregnant women are considering giving birth at home.
Birmingham is under a shelter-in-place order and hospitals are being inundated with a wave of COVID-19 patients. We talk with a local cardiologist who is now ill with the disease about the pandemic's toll on the health care system.
The Alabama Nursing Home Association opposes a decision by Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson to place patients who are recovering from COVID-19 in nursing homes.
The coronavirus pandemic in Alabama is not as bad as hot spots elsewhere in the country, but public health officials expect that to change.
Alabama public schools will reopen in August despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but parents will be given the option of continuing distance learning.
Hoover City Schools announced it will move forward with in-person graduation ceremonies this week, and they’re not alone. Parents are divided on the issue.
The cancellation and delay of sporting events due to the coronavirus is creating uncertainty for student athletes. College coaches have fewer opportunities to scout new players and they face mounting financial pressure that's led some schools to cut athletic programs.
Most spring graduations are canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. But a few groups and institutions are organizing virtual ceremonies for the class of 2020
BirminghamWatch spoke with the dean of UAB's Medical School about COVID-19's impact on clinical trials.
Birmingham school Superintendent Lisa Herring is leaving to become superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.
Since schools have been out statewide, some districts have struggled to continue to provide meals. After a bumpy start, Birmingham and Jefferson County schools have opted to outsource their meal programs.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people apart, it has also created a common ground for millions — by making many work from home. But many parents are now learning to manage their job and teach their kids at the same time.
Parenting is hard enough as it is, much less during the coronavirus crisis. A parental hotline offers help for those stressing out over their kids.
Closed through the end of the academic year, Alabama K-12 schools will being distance learning Monday. Jefferson County Schools released information Friday about their plan.
Science and Technology
Alabama is one of a few states getting ready to deploy a bluetooth-based contact tracing app created by tech giants Apple and Google.
The internet is helping a lot of people get through the COVID-19 crisis. But many people in rural areas like the Black Belt have no internet access at all.
UAB has created a new symptom checker to track the spread of COVID-19. The website hopes to give public health officials insight on virus hotspots, especially in underserved communities.
Arts and Culture
Alabama Rally Against Injustice has held several demonstrations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. One of the group's representatives says leading rallies week after week is emotionally draining, but necessary. The group plans to continue holding rallies until policing policies change.
The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama will consecrate Rev. Glenda Curry as a new bishop on Saturday. She's the first woman to hold the position.
A day after a noose was placed in the garage of NASCAR's only full-time Black driver, fans at Talladega Superspeedway condemned the incident, but were mixed on NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag.
Cities across the state are celebrating Juneteenth, the end of slavery. In Birmingham, hundreds gathered at Kelly Ingram Park to commemorate the holiday.
A petition calling on Gov. Kay Ivey to rename Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge has more than 120,000 signatures. We spoke with the Democratic strategist who started the online campaign.
Murals can be found on plywood throughout downtown Birmingham.
COVID-19 put an abrupt end to the 99th season of the ASO and that meant no public send-off for those who are retiring. Roger James reflects on learning to play the violin, how to keep the passion when playing familiar songs, and when to make an exit.
The police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has triggered many protesters in the Birmingham area who are still seeking justice for Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, a black man killed by Hoover police in 2018. We spoke with Eric Hall, a founding member of the Birmingham chapter of Black Lives Matter.
A Confederate monument has been removed from downtown Birmingham. The city also suffered damage to downtown buildings after protests turned violent. Rev. Thomas Wilder, who leads the church once led by Birmingham civil rights figure Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, shares his perspective on these events and moving forward.
Clean up is underway in downtown Birmingham after demonstrations turned violent and protestors damaged several businesses including the historic Alabama and Lyric theatres.
A protest in Homewood remained peaceful. It was one of several planned in Birmingham's mostly-white suburbs.
We checked back in with a Birmingham brewery owner who wasn’t sure in mid-March whether his business would survive the pandemic.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s updated “safer-at-home” order puts most of the hospitality industry back to work. Some business owners were quick to open their doors, but others are sticking with curbside service only.
On the first day many businesses were allowed to reopen since the pandemic, not all opted to jump back in.
Lucy’s Coffee & Tea has been a Birmingham staple for more than 25 years. Earlier this week, owner Lucy Bonds announced she’s closing her cafe for good.
With entertainment venues closed because of COVID-19, local standup comedians and improv performers are having to find other ways to connect to their audiences. Some have even turned to social media to practice their craft.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of nonessential businesses, including hair salons and barbershops. That has led some people to get creative about how to keep their hair looking good during the crisis.
There's so much news about the coronavirus it can be overwhelming. So here are three bright moments in the midst of the pandemic.
Spring usually kicks off the busy season for the Birmingham Zoo, but not this year. Like many attractions across the nation, the zoo is closed until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Alabama Public Service Commission voted this week to approve most of Alabama Power’s $1.1 billion energy expansion plan. The state's largest utility will build a new natural gas plant and buy gas from existing plants.
The Trump EPA announced this week that it will not lower the current limit on particulate air pollution, an action that disappointed but didn’t surprise public health scientists and clean-air advocates.
Crime isn’t taking a coronavirus holiday, but law enforcement statistics show it headed in a positive direction as more people shelter from the pandemic.