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Daily News Digest – December 28, 2021

Presented by the

University of South Alabama Health System

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, December 28.


1. Alabama Legislature to unveil new website

  • Participants in and observers of Alabama’s legislative process will notice something new when the 2022 Regular Session convenes in January: a brand new website.
  • State House officials today announced that the Legislature’s new website will debut on Monday, Jan. 3, eight days before the session is scheduled to convene. Leaders are hosting a live preview and demonstration of the site on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 200 of the State House.
  • Senate Secretary Pat Harris told Alabama Daily News they are inviting lobbyists, governmental affairs professionals and others who frequently use the legislative website to attend the preview session and learn more about the new site. The demonstration can also be viewed online.
  • Read more from me HERE.



2. Alabama seeing COVID uptick

  • Alabama is seeing a significant rise in COVID-19 cases as the extremely contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to sweep the nation.
  • Fifty-two of the state’s 67 counties are now showing high levels of community transmission, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. During the last week, 18.2% of COVID-19 tests in the state have come back as positive.
  • The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Alabama has nearly tripled over the past two weeks.
  • There were 528 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals on Monday. That is up by nearly 200 over the last two weeks, but lower than during the previous two pandemic peaks, when there were as many as 3,000 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals, and the state was seeing more than 4,000 new cases reported each day.
  • Early research suggests omicron may cause milder illnesses than earlier versions of the coronavirus, especially in those who have been vaccinated. But given the variant’s extremely contagious nature, the sheer number of people becoming infected — and therefore having to isolate or quarantine — threatens to significantly disrupt the economy and health care infrastructure.
  • Read more HERE.
  • On a related note, health officials on Monday cut isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus from ten to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
  • Read more about the latest guidance HERE.






A message from the

University of South Alabama Health System

  • Here, we combine knowledge, skill and technology with a patient-centered, team-based approach to care.
  • We’re committed to providing each patient with a personalized treatment plan in a nurturing environment, conducive to healing.
  • In partnership with the USA College of Medicine, we combine the latest in cancer therapies with comprehensive support for the emotional, social and physical challenges that a cancer diagnosis can bring.





3. Judge orders Alabama prison system to boost staff by 2025

  • A federal judge who previously ruled mental health care in Alabama prisons was “horrendously inadequate” on Monday ordered the state to make multiple changes in inmate care and extended a deadline to 2025 for the state to boost the number of correctional officers.
  • U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a sometimes scathing 600-page opinion that often focused on the prison system’s lack of progress in meeting an earlier directive to boost staffing and also on the number of suicides that have occurred behind bars. The Monday order spelled out corrective measures and comes after Thompson in 2017 ruled that Alabama’s “horrendously inadequate” care of mentally ill inmates violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Thompson said staffing has barely increased in three years, and the system has filled less than half of the positions necessary to meet the requirement of 3,826 full-time-equivalent officers. The judge had previously directed the state to meet staffing targets by Feb. 20, 2022, but wrote Monday that it’s become clear that is “out of reach.”
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. Biden signs $768.2 billion defense bill into law

  • President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, authorizing $768.2 billion in military spending, including a 2.7% pay raise for service members, for 2022.
  • The NDAA authorizes a 5% increase in military spending, and is the product of intense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over issues ranging from reforms of the military justice system to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for soldiers.
  • The $768.2 billion price tag marks $25 billion more than Biden initially requested from Congress, a prior proposal that was rejected by members of both parties out of concerns it would undermine U.S. efforts to keep pace militarily with China and Russia.
  • The law also has a provision barring goods produced by forced Uyghur labor in China from entering the U.S., which is already having an effect with global companies.
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, where the NDAA originates. He said this year’s bill “was the culmination of months of bipartisan work to bolster our national security and support our troops.”
  • “Our work is not finished. As we approach the new year, our nation faces unprecedented aggression and threats from near-peer adversaries, namely China and Russia,” Rogers said. “Combating these threats will continue to be our number one priority as we look ahead to FY23.”
  • Read more HERE.


5. Auburn faces No. 21 Houston in Birmingham Bowl

  • Houston is trying to join the two other teams in program history to reach 12 wins in a season.
  • Auburn (6-6) is hoping to avoid a different kind of milestone in Tuesday’s Birmingham Bowl: ending a season with five straight losses for the first time in 71 years.
  • Auburn Coach Bryan Harsin is trying to finish his first season on a high note after firing offseason coordinator Mike Bobo following the final game. Harsin indicated he’d call plays but that the process remains a collaborative effort.
  • The Tigers will be without at least seven players, mostly because of opt-outs by NFL draft prospects or transfers.
  • The game also serves as a showcase for Birmingham’s Protective Stadium, which just opened in October.
  • Read more HERE.





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Stacy Financial Group


  • Investment opportunities abound in today’s market, but finding the right financial partner can be a challenge.
  • Our job is to listen to our clients’ needs and goals, and to provide solutions that complement both risk tolerance and expectations.
  • Learn more from Chad Stacy and the Stacy Financial Group HERE.







ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama Legislature to unveil new website


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama seeing rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US officials recommend shorter COVID isolation, quarantine


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge orders Alabama prison system to boost staff by 2025


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden signs $768.2 billion defense bill into law


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn faces No. 21 Houston in Birmingham Bowl


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would ease spending rules on volunteer fire departments ‘restricted’ funds


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – EXPLAINER: What next as high court wades into COVID mandate?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – EXPLAINER: What COVID-19 therapies are available?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Space telescope launched on daring quest to behold 1st stars


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Inside Alabama Politics – December 22, 2021


AL.COM – Judge orders Alabama prison system to boost staff by 2025


AL.COM – Catholic clergy recruited from Africa ease shortage in Alabama, across US


AL.COM – Alabama paleontologist helps discover new 40 million-year-old shark species


AL.COM – Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Karen Landers: vaccines are a weapon against COVID-19


AL.COM – Flu activity increasing in Alabama; 4 deaths reported


Montgomery Advertiser – Autauga man facing child sex charges in reported rape of young girl


Montgomery Advertiser – People to Watch: Meet Angela Exford, creating pride of place for Seth Johnson neighborhood


Montgomery Advertiser – Judge extends time for Alabama prisons to staff up, orders changes to mental health care


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – $20,000 worth of RC cars stolen from popular Hoover hobby shop


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tractor trailer catches on fire on I-65, causes lane closures


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Bowl first sellout in Protective Stadium history


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama sees surge in COVID-19 cases; omicron variant cases on the rise


Tuscaloosa News – Bill Buchanan, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports official, dies at 67


Tuscaloosa News – Northport man dies after motorcycle crash in Tuscaloosa County, troopers say


YellowHammer News – Mobile Mayor Stimpson: ‘Running out of time’ on I-10 bridge decision


YellowHammer News – State Sen. Allen on constitutional carry push: ‘The permit issue is infringement on our rights to bear arms’


YellowHammer News – Mobile Co. Sheriff Cochran: Legislators are ‘put on notice’ on permitless carry — ‘They’re going to take a grave risk’ if police officer or citizen killed


Gadsden Times – Alabama sees surge in COVID-19 cases; omicron variant cases on the rise


Gadsden Times – Wellington man killed in motorcycle-vehicle crash on Christmas Event


Gadsden Times – Watch the weather: Storms possible Wednesday and Saturday


Dothan Eagle – Racial reckoning turns focus to roadside historical markers


Dothan Eagle – Elizabeth Holmes jury to begin second week of deliberations


Dothan Eagle – Evers promises to fight election constitutional amendment


Opelika-Auburn News – ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ director Jean-Marc Vallée dead at 58


Opelika-Auburn News – Myanmar court postpones verdicts in 2nd case against Suu Kyi


Opelika-Auburn News – Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021


WSFA Montgomery – Man critically injured in Monday Montgomery shooting


WSFA Montgomery – Judge orders Alabama prison

system to boost staff by 2025


WSFA Montgomery – Christmas tree recycling available in Pike Road


WAFF Huntsville – Many hospitals seeing steady increase in COVID-19 inpatients in Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – Pedestrian killed in Cullman County collision


WAFF Huntsville – 18-wheeler catches fire, two lanes shut down on I-459


WKRG Mobile – Fauci: US should consider vaccine mandate for US air travel


WKRG Mobile – Evangelicals a rising force inside Argentine prisons


WKRG Mobile – LA police video shows officer shooting that killed bystander


WTVY Dothan – Jackson County Sheriff investigating Christmas Day club shooting


WTVY Dothan – Student loan borrowers left wondering whether forgiveness is still possible


WTVY Dothan – Gunman report at Dothan hospital proves unfounded


WASHINGTON POST – CDC cuts isolation time recommended for people with asymptomatic coronavirus infections


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. hospitals brace for continuing surge in covid cases fueled by the omicron variant


WASHINGTON POST – With 1,200 more flight cancellations Monday, airlines struggle to regain footing


NEW YORK TIMES – As Omicron Surges, Officials Shorten Isolation Times for Many Americans


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid News: Omicron Hasn’t Swayed the Least Vaccinated U.S. Counties


NEW YORK TIMES – As Miners Chase Clean-Energy Minerals, Tribes Fear a Repeat of the Past


WALL STREET JOURNAL – CDC Shortens Isolation for Some Covid Infections


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Omicron Variant Is Expected to Dent Global Economy in Early 2022


WALL STREET JOURNAL – The $900 Billion Cash Pile Inflating Startup Valuations





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