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Daily News Digest – August 24, 2021

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Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, August 24.


1. ADN poll: GOP voters support prison infrastructure, education reform; want State House access

  • The second installment of our latest Alabama Daily News polling with Cygnal is out.
  • Today we focus on a series of legislative issues: those that have been passed and those that haven’t.
  • We tested the prison infrastructure issue, which is especially timely considering the possibility of a special session on that within a month.
  • We looked at public access to the State House and to what degree voters find that important given previous COVID restrictions.
  • On the education front, we asked about the Alabama Literacy Act and charter schools, both of which were big issues last session.
  • And on the transportation front we asked about the gas tax increase known as Rebuild Alabama and the idea of using tolls to pay for roads and bridges, including the Mobile Bay Way.
  • There were lots of intriguing results to say the least.
  • ADN Insiders can read the full polling results HERE.
  • Not an ADN Insider? It pays to subscribe! See the various rates HERE.
  • In case you missed it, yesterday’s story on Gov. Kay Ivey’s approval rating and a hypothetical ballot test is now free from the paywall HERE.
  • Stay tuned for subsequent poll questions and cross tabs to be released as the week goes on.


2. As COVID cases rise, emergency leave unavailable for teachers

  • Most Alabama school teachers temporarily sent home this school year because they contract COVID-19, are exposed to it or are caring for their own children in quarantine will have to use their personal leave time to do it.
  • A few weeks into the academic year, some schools have temporarily had to move students to virtual learning as COVID-19 cases prevent in-person learning.
  • Theron Stokes, AEA associate executive director, wrote an Aug. 20 letter to State Superintendent Eric Mackey asking him to encourage school systems to offer the leave.
  • Theron said some systems have done so, but most have not. Meanwhile, some educators are already out of leave.
  • Ryan Hollingsworth, executive director of the School Superintendents of Alabama, said his office is beginning to hear about more shortages of teachers and support staff mostly due to being identified as a close contact.
  • The Alabama State Department of Education doesn’t have a wholistic way to determine how many students or staff are out of school because of quarantines, spokesman Michael Sibley said last week. A COVID dashboard should be available after Labor Day and will provide some information, he said.
  • Separately, the state this year does not have a statewide virtual option for at-home education.
  • “Each system received adequate federal funding if they wanted to provide a virtual option for students,” Sibley said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.


3. Alabama ranks 4th in country for new virus cases

  • Alabama now ranks fourth in the country for the most new COVID-19 cases per capita, as medical officials hoped full federal approval of the Pfizer vaccine will persuade people to get vaccinated.
  • According to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Alabama ranked behind Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, for the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days.
  • The FDA gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots. Alabama has one of the lowest vaccinations rates in the country, ranking slightly below Mississippi in the percentage of people fully vaccinated.
  • Dr. Paul Goepfert, director of the Alabama vaccine research clinic, said it will be hard to predict the impact of the approval, but added it might improve the vaccination rates by a few percentage points.
  • “People can no longer say with a straight face that they won’t take it because of lack of FDA approval,” Goepfert said.
  • Meanwhile, 2,762 Alabamians are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • Read more HERE.


4. Moderates bring House to standstill in Biden budget clash

  • It was an interesting Monday on Capitol Hill. It might be an even more interesting Tuesday.
  • Confronting moderates, House Democratic leaders tried to muscle President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar budget blueprint over a key hurdle, working overnight to ease an intraparty showdown that risks upending their domestic infrastructure agenda.
  • Tensions flared and spilled into early Tuesday as a band of moderate lawmakers threatened to withhold their votes for the $3.5 trillion plan. They were demanding the House first approve a $1 trillion package of road, power grid, broadband and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate.
  • Despite hours of negotiations at the Capitol, the House chamber came to a standstill and plans were thrown into flux late Monday, as leaders and lawmakers huddled privately to broker an agreement. Shortly after midnight, leaders announced no further votes would be taken until today’s session.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implored Democrats during a private caucus not to bog down and miss this chance to deliver on the promises Biden and the party have made to Americans.
  • In the end, the moderates may have to settle for a moral victory: avoiding voting on the budget through the nebulous “deem and pass” rule process and securing a date certain on an infrastructure vote. We’ll learn more as things progress today.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Taliban takeover prompts fears of a resurgent al-Qaida

  • The lightning-fast changes in Afghanistan are forcing the Biden administration to confront the prospect of a resurgent al-Qaida, the group that attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001, at the same time the U.S. is trying to stanch violent extremism at home and cyberattacks from Russia and China.
  • With the rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces and rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, “I think al-Qaida has an opportunity, and they’re going to take advantage of that opportunity,” says Chris Costa, who was senior director for counterterrorism in the Trump administration.
  • “This is a galvanizing event for jihadists everywhere.”
  • Al-Qaida’s ranks have been significantly diminished by 20 years of war in Afghanistan, and it’s far from clear that the group has the capacity in the near future to carry out catastrophic attacks on America such as the 9/11 strikes, especially given how the U.S. has fortified itself in the past two decades with surveillance and other protective measures.
  • Read more HERE.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News poll: GOP voters support prison infrastructure, education reform; want State House access


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As COVID cases rise, emergency leave unavailable for teachers 


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama ranks 4th in country for new virus cases


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Moderates bring House to standstill in Biden budget clash


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taliban takeover prompts fears of a resurgent al-Qaida


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News poll: Ivey remains popular, leads on early reelection ballot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kabul airlift is accelerating but still hampered by chaos


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama beaches see 3 drownings in past week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats aim to export Georgia’s success to Alabama, other southern states


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Budget clash pits moderate Democrats against Biden, Pelosi


AL.COM – Alabama family mourns pregnant nurse, unborn child dead of COVID: ‘We’re glad she’s not suffering’


AL.COM – COVID hospitalizations and infections on a slight decline in Mobile County


AL.COM – Trump booed over vaccines in Alabama: White House offers support, Alex Jones calls him ‘dumbass’


AL.COM – Biden administration fights Alabama landlords over eviction moratorium before Supreme Court


AL.COM – University of Alabama in Huntsville opens new cybersecurity lab for students


AL.COM – Contributor Rep. Neil Rafferty: Merrill op-ed nothing more than fear-mongering


AL.COM – Rampart medical device, developed in Alabama, inks international distribution deal


Montgomery Advertiser – Social Security: Top five fraud and scam prevention tools


Montgomery Advertiser – More than half of Alabama ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients


Montgomery Advertiser – Second man charged after quadruple shooting on Rosa Park Avenue in Montgomery


Decatur Daily – DDRA leadership to change when 2021 ends


Decatur Daily – Animal shelter waiving adoption fees this week


Decatur Daily – Chapman Hollow Road in LImestone closed until Thursday


Times Daily – Food distribution is Aug. 28 at Help Cener


Times Daily – New Cypress Lakes golf pro to start Sept. 20


Times Daily – CB&S Bank announces passing of chairman emeritus


Anniston Star – VIDEO: Funeral procession for Anniston firefighter Justin Roberts


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health officials hope people will get vaccinated after FDA approval


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Analyst: Certain companies requiring COVID-19 vaccine should proceed with caution


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Urgent care and emergency rooms filling up with children seeking COVID-19 care


Tuscaloosa News – University of Alabama demolishes east wing of historic Bryce Hospital building


Tuscaloosa News – More than half of Alabama ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients


Tuscaloosa News – Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine this week in Tuscaloosa


YellowHammer News – Committee tasked with amending Alabama’s constitution set to meet


YellowHammer News – Cullman County Sheriff commissions Trump as deputy sheriff, thanks former president for law enforcement support


Gadsden Times – Road repairs lead to closures this week on I-59 in Collinsville


Gadsden Times – More than half of Alabama ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients


Gadsden Times – Here’s how to let Airport Authority know where you stand on development proposals


Dothan Eagle – Greece wildfires: 2 new blazes break out amid strong winds


Dothan Eagle – Gunfire at Kabul airport kills 1 amid chaotic evacuations


Dothan Eagle -Vietnam tightens virus lockdown ahead of Harris visit


Opelika-Auburn News – Hochul, NY’s 1st female governor, inherits vast challenges


Opelika-Auburn News – Heat index values soar for over 36 million


Opelika-Auburn News – Hong Kong to amend law to step up film censorship


WSFA Montgomery – DA: Explosion causes major damage at Selma convention center


WSFA Montgomery – Nursing shortage means more opportunities for nursing students


WSFA Montgomery – Police: Gunfire damages Montgomery garbage truck, other vehicle


WAFF Huntsville – Crestwood Medical Center offering monoclonal antibody treatment


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Fire & Rescue shares warning after deadly house fire


WAFF Huntsville – Army Worms invade North Alabama lawns


WKRG Mobile – UN rights chief warns of abuses amid Taliban’s Afghan blitz


WKRG Mobile – Florida school mask mandate power struggle goes before judge


WKRG Mobile – COVID-19-related absences in local schools districts


WTVY Dothan – Wiregrass Area Food Bank in need of donations with schools back in session


WTVY Dothan – Mom whose son died in sweltering temps headed to prison


WTVY Dothan – Geneva County Jail deals with short staff while COVID continues to spread


WASHINGTON POST – CIA Director William Burns held secret meeting in Kabul with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar


WASHINGTON POST – Biden to decide on extending Afghan evacuation mission as soon as Tuesday


WASHINGTON POST – Tennessee floods show a pressing climate danger across America: ‘Walls of water’


NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: G7 Leaders to Meet as Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline Nears


NEW YORK TIMES – Kathy Hochul Is Sworn In as New York’s First Female Governor


NEW YORK TIMES – Many Older Americans Still Aren’t Vaccinated, Making the Delta Wave Deadlier


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Urban Outfitters to Take On Poshmark With Its Own Thrift Store App


WALL STREET JOURNAL – G-7 Allies to Press U.S. to Extend Afghanistan Presence


WALL STREET JOURNAL – A Mortgage Stock With Room to Grow



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