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Zac Blackerby

City of Auburn launches interest subsidy program to support struggling businesses

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AUBURN, Ala.- On Thursday, March 26, the Auburn City Council adopted a resolution creating an interest subsidy program to assist small businesses in weathering impacts from the COVID-19 world health crisis.

The Working Capital Loan Interest Subsidy Program aims to enable local businesses to remain viable in the current environment by providing an interest subsidy to applicants who have been approved for a loan with a participating lending institution. The program gives the City, in partnership with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and seven lending institutions, the potential to infuse up to $4 million of working capital into Auburn’s small businesses.

The City will provide subsidies supporting 160+ business with a maximum of $25,000 per loan through Amendment 772 to the Alabama Constitution. Business located within the corporate limits of Auburn seeking working capital loans are eligible for the program. Borrowers must certify that the loan is necessary for a business to remain open.

“We know that federal aid is coming to help support our struggling businesses, but we felt like we needed to do something to help now,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “We truly hope that, through this program our local businesses will find the support and relief they need in these hard times.”

Those interested in participating should contact one of the following participating lending institutions: Auburn Bank, BancorpSouth, BBVA, MAX Credit Union, Regions, River Bank & Trust and Southern States Bank. Each bank has committed $500,000 each to provide eligible business with working capital loans.

“It is the Auburn Chamber’s pleasure to be a part of the collaboration between the City of Auburn and these six banks,” said Auburn Chamber President Lolly Steiner. “All seven banks are active and supportive members of the Auburn Chamber and our community, and we thank them for their partnership. Our role as the chamber is to facilitate conversation and encouragement to our 1,000 plus members, and today we believe there is great news to share. We appreciate the joint efforts between the City of Auburn and these banks to provide an option to our members during this economic downturn.”

Find details on the program at Contact information for each of the participating institutions will be posted soon. Find more details about the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at

Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine shares ventilators and medical supplies to help treat EAMC’s COVID-19 patients

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AUBURN, Ala. — To effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it will, as the old proverb tells, “Take a village.” And Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to its part of the collective effort to ensure Alabama hospitals have what they need to treat the disease.

Only a few days have passed since news of the first COVID-19 positive test result in the state of Alabama. As the number of cases continues to grow, Auburn is assessing how campus resources can support local health care.

The College of Veterinary Medicine has shared a variety of medical supplies from the J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital and Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital with East Alabama Medical Center, or EAMC, in Opelika, Alabama, to help treat local COVID-19 patients. On Sunday, three ventilators and associated disposable supplies were transferred from the College of Veterinary Medicine to EAMC. These ventilators are critical in the treatment of COVID-19’s serious respiratory symptoms.

“Compassion and the commitment to doing what’s in the best interest of all forms of life is what drives veterinarians,” said Dr. Calvin Johnson, dean of the college. “Through the concept of One Health, we know that humans, animals and the world in which we live are interconnected. Doctors and technicians in both arms of Auburn’s veterinary teaching hospital continue to serve our animal patients during this extraordinary time. And we are proud to know that in sharing what we can with local health care providers, we help them to provide the best treatment possible for Alabama’s citizens while we continue to offer the highest standards of care for animals.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine is one of several Auburn units sharing resources in support of EAMC’s COVID-19 efforts. Other units across campus, including Auburn’s School of Nursing, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and College of Sciences and Mathematics, are also are readying essential supplies for transport.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA, is calling for veterinarians in private practices and hospitals across the country to join COVID-19 relief efforts by donating supplies to help meet health care’s growing demand.

Sharing both resources and information is integral in the treatment and prevention of diseases such as COVID-19. Through research, veterinarians play an essential role in not only animal health and welfare, but also in environmental and public health. Studying diseases that affect both animals and humans offers avenues to improved treatments, vaccines and even cures for viral and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

The idea of One Health emphasizes the importance of all areas of medicine working together to achieve optimal health for all living things. This is the foundation upon which Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine was built, and the mission by which all veterinarians practice.

(Written by Jayne Hart, Auburn University)

Industrial Development Board of the City of Auburn establishes Workforce Action Center

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AUBURN, Ala.- As the COVID-19 virus changes the definition of normal for industrial operations in the local community, the Industrial Development Board (IDB) of the City of Auburn is offering a plan of coordinated assistance and action for employees of Auburn’s local industries.

The IDB has collaborated with the City of Auburn’s Workforce Development Division to coordinate a Workforce Action Center. Unemployment claims can be made by calling 1-866-234-5382 or by visiting, and online filing is strongly encouraged. While the Workforce Action Center is available for those who need assistance or those without computer access, individuals do not have to come to the Workforce Action Center for service.

The Workforce Action Center will be set up at the Auburn Center for Developing Industries at 1500 Pumphrey Ave. Staff members from the City of Auburn’s Economic Development team will be available in a laptop lab setting to assist individuals in filing a claim for unemployment online. Individuals may also call the hotline set up at (334) 501-7308 to ask questions about workforce-related needs.

Staff at the Workforce Action Center will be a resource to answer questions such as:

  • How do I file a claim for unemployment?
  • When should I file for unemployment? Can I wait until after we get our paid leave?
  • Can I file an unemployment claim if I have vacation time?
  • What documents do I need to receive unemployment?
  • How long will it be before I receive a check from my unemployment claim?
  • Where can I go for other resources that I might need over the long term?

Individuals are advised to file unemployment as early as possible in order to avoid gaps in pay following the conclusion of company-paid leave options. Find more information at

Opelika City Schools: Free Student Meals begin Monday, March 23

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The Opelika City Schools are committed to ensuring that students are fed a nutritious meal while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Carver Primary School and Opelika High School will be serving meals Monday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. beginning Monday, March 23.  The meals will be provided for free to anyone 18 years old or younger regardless of which school they attend.  No paperwork is required.  Children must be present in order to receive the meal.

Please note that the schools will be set up for pick up service only.  No meals will be consumed on site.  Meals at Carver will be distributed in the back of the school and meals at OHS will be distributed under the front canopy.  Directional signs are posted at each location.