Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

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July 8

The Times-News on communicating back-to-school plans with Alabama families:

Usually, this time of the year is filled with back-to-school plans and last-minute vacations as families get prepared for the end of summer vacation.

This year many of those vacations have been canceled and back to school seems to be filled with more question marks than answers. It’s important that our students are able to get back to learning in some capacity, whether that’s in-person or through some form of virtual learning, but to be honest, we’re not sure anyone knows exactly what that’s going to look like right now.

We’re sort of all holding our breath, hoping to wake up in a COVID-free world, but that’s not going to happen any me soon.

Our students and teachers are likely going to be heading into a classroom environment unlike any we’ve ever seen. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that students will be required to wear masks in the classroom.

Some parents might want to keep students at home, where they are safe, rather than send them to school where they might be exposed to the virus. How do they learn, and would those students fall behind those in the classroom?

A lot of people are working hard behind the scenes to figure out exactly how to make all of this work, both in Chambers County and Troup County.

Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said in late June that this will be the most difficult school year the state has faced. He’s right.

And honestly, it’s difficult for anyone to be able to sort through all of the information right now to figure out the key things they need to know.

With that in mind, we think it’s important that every local school system — both private and public — communicate clearly to parents and students what their options are. Over-communicating — especially at a time when people can’t easily congregate — is going to be extremely important as we all march forward into this unknown together.

Online: https://www.valleytimes-news.com

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July 8

The (Florence) Times Daily on how a local couple’s business venture saved community jobs:

Challenging times often produce unique opportunities, and that’s exactly what happened for a local manufacturing company.

Earlier this year, a Tokyo, Japan-based company, CBC Group, informed Shoals Economic Development Authority officials they were going to close its Americas Division, which includes four plants in the United States and one in Mexico. One of those plants is CBC INGS in Muscle Shoals.

Immediately, SEDA officials went to work to try to find someone to take over the local operation. One of the groups they contacted has a history of investing in local venture groups – Huntsville businessman and Tuscumbia native Larry Lewis and his wife, Kim.

Timing was fortuitous, albeit challenging since negotiations got hung up by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lewises, who have purchased several downtown Tuscumbia properties, including a theater they hope to renovate, were interested in getting into manufacturing. CBC INGS provides automotive interior and exterior injection molded plastic components for the automotive industry, so the company certainly fit that bill.

The chance to save 137 jobs was important to the Lewises as well.

“This place is home to us,” Larry Lewis said. “The employees are part of the XYZ family. We hope to keep this project running for the next 30 years.”

Lewis also tipped his hat to the CBC group for its willingness to keep the local plant operating until the deal could be completed.

“And we’re very appreciative for all SEDA did to make this happen,” he said.

For now, the Lewises will focus on working through the transition necessary to bring CBC INGS under the newly named PROJECT XYZ company. However, Larry Lewis was quick to note that he and his wife have bigger plans for the Muscle Shoals plant. They have visions of expanding into some defense system projects, and possibly aviation projects.

Hopefully, their visions become the next stage of growth for the plant built in 2014 in the Shoals Research Airpark.

Online: https://www.timesdaily.com

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July 1

Opelika-Auburn News on the importance of wearing a mask as coronavirus cases surge:

Reminder after reminder, warning after warning, plea after plea continues to be sounded regarding the importance of wearing masks.

The world is suffering through a historic pandemic, and nowhere seems to be worse in suffering it than right here in the South.

Why? Because too many of us are choosing to go to the beach in crowds, hang out close to others in bars and restaurants, and shake hands or hug or get into shouting matches as if there were no danger to it.

But there is.

Too many of us are claiming that the hub-bub about wearing face masks is nothing more than a political chess match.

It isn’t.

Too many of us simply are too stubborn to bother or too ignorant to care.

True.

The result is that more and more people are getting sick with COVID-19, and more and more among us are dying from it or suffering in a painful recovery.

How many more headlines in Alabama does it take to convince us all that this coronavirus is a deadly thing? That it spreads too easily and ends many lives so needlessly?

Alabama Medal of Honor recipient Bennie Adkins, a Vietnam War hero and seen multiple times on national television at big events ranging from the coin toss at the Super Bowl to ceremonies in the White House, died from COVID-19.

Former Auburn football coach Pat Dye, one of the most successful coaches in all of college football during his tenure and a disciple of the legendary Bear Bryant, died of liver complications after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Just last week, Opelika’s police chief, John McEachern, shared that he is battling COVID-19; and Phenix City’s assistant police chief, Gail Green, died from it.

More deaths, more headlines, more warnings. How many do we need before we believe we should take this coronavirus as serious as it is?

The guidelines are simple:

— Stay at home as much as possible.

— Wear a mask when you leave your house.

— Wash your hands frequently.

— Keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, avoiding crowds, including close contact at family gatherings.

COVID-19 is more than an inconvenience or a tired old headline.

It is a killer.

It is way past time more of us realize that this killer is on our streets, in our neighborhoods, walking among our friends and family — hunting for each of us.

Please: Do your share to stop COVID-19 from robbing from us any more than it already has.

Or be prepared for the worst yet to come, be it a canceled football season, a lost job, or the death of a loved one — if not you.

We can do better.

Online: https://www.oanow.com