Top Headlines: Lowndes County hit hard, Rodney Scott talks barbecue

Virus spreads out to Alabama’s least populated areas
Sparsely populated Lowndes County, deep in Alabama’s old plantation country, has the sad distinction of having both the state’s highest rate of COVID-19 cases and its worst unemployment rate. Initially spared as the disease ravaged cities, the county and other rural areas in the state are now facing a “perfect storm:” a lack of access to medical care combined with poverty and the attendant health problems, including hypertension, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease and diabetes, that can worsen the outcomes for those who become sick with the coronavirus, said Dr. Ellen Eaton. – AP

Hyundai and Sony ink multi-movie promotional partnership
The next Alabama movie star may hail from Montgomery, have four wheels and a Smartstream engine. Hyundai Motor Co. and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a new multi-movie promotional partnership Wednesday that will see Hyundai cars and technology promoted in five upcoming feature films. The announced movies include “Uncharted,” based on the popular video game of the same name and due out July 2021 starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas. – AL NewsCenter

Rodney Scott talks barbecue, new Alabama restaurants
Those who ordered Rodney Scott’s barbecue at the Market at Pepper Place Memorial Day weekend may not have realized it was the James Beard Award-winning chef and Barbecue Hall of Fame semifinalist himself loading their cars with ribs and pulled pork. Scott would be more recognizable if not for the face mask – though it was well-branded with the Rodney Scott’s BBQ logo. Birmingham’s Pihakis Restaurant Group has partnered with Scott to build more restaurants. – AL NewsCenter

Buffet owner says he’s ‘watching it tank’
J.J. Nelson was banking on a surge of business last Sunday to help lift spirits of his employees and provide hope for the unknown future of the Barnyard Buffet. Before coronavirus, Sundays were the best days of the week for the Saraland eatery that proclaims itself as “home-cooking just like mom used to make.” Nelson worries the restaurant – despite making changes to the way customers get their food — might not survive beyond the summer when federal assistance he received from the CARES Act runs out. –

Books-A-Million closes Brookwood Village location
The Brookwood Village Books-A-Million location has closed, meaning the venerable shopping mall has lost an anchor store in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown. A sign on the outside entrance of the store reads, “Store Closed – Please shop with us online at” Boxed merchandise is also visible through the windows. The store no longer appears on the company’s website list of locations. –

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