Presented by the
Alabama League of Municipalities
I’m looking forward to attending today’s Alabama Humanities Alliance Colloquium honoring Bryan Stevenson and the late John Lewis.
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, February 28.
1. Alabama COVID hospitalizations plummet
- The number of Alabamians hospitalized with COVID-19 stood at 703 Sunday, down more than 2,200 patients from the omicron peak of 2,961 on January 25.
- The moving positivity rate, which tracks the level of transmission, sits at 6.6%, down from 10.6% last week and more than 62% in January.
- Asked if the encouraging numbers meant the state has made it through the omicron wave, Dr. Scott Harris, the state’s public health officer, said he is optimistic that is the case.
- “I think we can probably say that. We’re still seeing 1,000 to 1,200 new cases every day, but the hospital numbers are definitely headed in the right direction and that’s what we’re most concerned about.”
- Harris said there is some concern about BA.2, a sub-variant of omicron that is believed to be even more contagious but, like its parent, has milder symptoms than earlier COVID variants. The mutation has been identified in Alabama in the past week.
- “If BA.2 is still circulating three or four or six months from now and we still haven’t done a better job of getting people vaccinated, there’s going to be a lot of concern that we could see another surge.”
- Read more and see Dr. Harris’ full comments HERE.
2. Ukraine slows Russian advance under shadow of nuclear threat
- Outgunned but determined Ukrainian troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital and other key cities — at least for now. In the face of stiff resistance and devastating sanctions, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces put on high alert, threatening to elevate the war to a terrifying new level.
- Explosions and gunfire that have disrupted life since the invasion began last week appeared to subside around Kyiv overnight, as Ukrainian and Russian delegations met Monday on Ukraine’s border with Belarus. It’s unclear what, if anything, those talks would yield.
- Terrified Ukrainian families huddled in shelters, basements or corridors, waiting to find out. Exact death tolls are unclear, but the U.N. human rights chief said 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded — warning that figure was likely a vast undercount — and Ukraine’s president said at least 16 children were among the dead. More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, another U.N. official said Monday — among the millions who have left their homes.
- Russia’s Central Bank scrambled to shore up the tanking ruble Monday and the U.S. and European countries upped weapons shipments to Ukraine. While they hope to curb Putin’s aggression after he unleashed Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, the measures also risked pushing an increasingly cornered Putin closer to the edge.
- Read more HERE.
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3. Bill creates state grants for free feminine hygiene products in Title 1 schools
- Free feminine hygiene products could be provided to students in some Title 1 schools under a bill awaiting a vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.
- House Bill 50 was approved in a House committee last week after being scaled back from Rep. Rolanda Hollis’ original proposal to require tampons and sanitary napkins be given to girls in grades 5-12 in all public schools.
- “(House Bill) 50 is a bill to address period poverty,” Hollis, D-Birmingham, said last week in the House education budget committee. “We have females who miss school because they cannot afford these products.”
- According to a fiscal note on the bill, there are about 91,000 female students in grades five through twelve at 417 Title I schools around the state. The U.S. Department of Education defines Title 1 schools as “schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.”
- Hollis’ original bill had a projected cost of nearly $6 million. Supplying period products to students in all Title I schools would cost about $2 million per year, but the bill calls for a state-funded grant program schools can apply to.
- Read more from ADN’s Maddison Booth HERE.
4. MoonPies and Merry Widows: Mardi Gras hits Mobile
- Alabama’s port city danced and squealed to the prime event of its Carnival season on Sunday, a quirky bash honoring the man credited with helping make the nation’s first Mardi Gras celebration what it is — a smaller, toned-down version of New Orleans’ mega-party.
- Joe Cain Day, named for a clerk who started Mobile’s modern Mardi Gras by dressing up and parading through town in the late 1860s after the Civil War, roared back to life after taking a year off because of the pandemic. Marchers tossed MoonPie treats, colorful beads, stuffed animals and plastic cups along a more than 2-mile route lined with huge oak trees.
- Mobile has elaborate, professionally produced parades, and balls where women wear long gowns and men dress in tuxedos. Members of social groups called krewes spend thousands on costumes and items to throw from floats.
- But some of the biggest crowds of the season in Mobile are for the Joe Cain Procession, a down-home mix of fun and local fable where anyone can join in a parade for free. The theme of the festivities supposedly comes from Cain himself: “Have a good time but don’t get bad.”
- Read more from Jay Reeves HERE.
5. Big Ten athletes to tour Alabama civil rights sites in July
- The Big Ten plans to take a group of athletes from member schools on a summer trip to civil rights sites in Alabama as part of a conference-wide program exploring race relations and social justice.
- The July 15-17 trip will be funded by the Big Ten and is the first event in the conference’s Big Life Series, a program designed to provide real-life educational experiences for athletes.
- Commissioner Kevin Warren said the idea came from the Big Ten Equality Coalition, established in June 2020 to address societal injustices and stimulate dialogue about race relations.
- A delegation of about 100 athletes and administrators will go on the trip to Selma and Montgomery. The travel party will include both members of the coalition and other Big Ten athletes.
- The tour will be highlighted by a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and a talk by Sheyann Webb. She was among 600 people who marched across the bridge on March 7, 1965, in a voting rights demonstration that became known as Bloody Sunday.
- The delegation will also visit the Montgomery Interpretive Center and the Legacy Museum.
- Read more HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama COVID hospitalizations plummet
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ukraine slows Russian advance under shadow of nuclear threat
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill creates state grants for free feminine hygiene products in Title 1 schools
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – MoonPies and Merry Widows: Mardi Gras hits Mobile
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Big Ten athletes to tour Alabama civil rights sites in July
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Albritton: Gambling bills could drop soon
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden’s Russia sanctions may let Moscow profit from oil, gas
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Several alcohol bills advancing in Legislature
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Art created by current, former inmates on display
AL.COM – By supporting ‘constitutional carry,’ are Alabama Republicans ‘defunding the police’?
AL.COM – Condoleezza Rice: Putin may have miscalculated in Ukraine, is ‘delusional’
AL.COM – Trump reasserts GOP dominance, interest in third run for presidency as others focus on midterms
AL.COM – Half of Biden’s 500M free COVID tests are unclaimed. How to get one
Montgomery Advertiser – Department of Human Resources gave bonuses to over 10,000 child care workers
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Police say man died after shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – Millbrook Police ID victim in Thursday fatal shooting
Decatur Daily – Remediation, proposed legislation address growing EL population in Decatur schools
DECATUR DAILY – Record revenues used to pay down obligations, pad reserves
Decatur Daily – Councilman Pepper to pay $2,340 in Municipal Court fees for traffic citations
TIMES DAILY – Record revenues used to pay down state debts
TIMES DAILY – House approves kindergarten requirement bill
Times Daily – Officials: Lower COVID numbers don’t mean it’s gone
Anniston Star – Anniston Changers takes its labors to Blue Mountain
Anniston Star – State House District 40: Borrelli has educational, military, financial experience
Anniston Star – JHS to add Career Tech to its dual enrollment program
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Senate GOP leadership outlines ‘successful’ first half of session, says ‘work is far from finished’
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – State Sen. Whatley drops 30-second spot touting fiscal responsibility
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Brooks’ campaign co-chair Stan Mcdonald: Mike Durant candidacy ‘designed for the low-information voter’
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Gas prices continue to rise due to on-going crisis in Ukraine
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Amazon workers, community hold solidarity rally during union vote
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UPDATE: Amber Alert canceled, child found safe
Tuscaloosa News – Department of Human Resources gave bonuses to over 10,000 child care workers
Tuscaloosa News – Alexander City man charged with assault after Tuscaloosa mall shooting
Tuscaloosa News – Memorial service set for longtime University of Alabama trustee
Gadsden Times – Department of Human Resources gave bonuses to over 10,000 child care workers
Gadsden Times – City leaders, fire department officials eye changes to ‘spider web’ pay structure
Dothan Eagle – Live updates: UN: More than half a million have fled Ukraine
Dothan Eagle – Russia’s ruble plummets, central bank hikes key rate from 8.5% to 20%
Dothan Eagle – Ukraine slows Russian advance under shadow of nuclear threat
Opelika-Auburn News – Historical homes you can own in the Opelika area
Opelika-Auburn News – Russians hold anti-war rallies amid ominous threats by Putin
Opelika-Auburn News – EU shuts airspace to Russian airlines, will buy Ukraine arms
WSFA Montgomery – Alabama Humanities Alliance to honor Bryan Stevenson, late John Lewis
WSFA Montgomery – Woman found safe after disappearing from Bossier casino
WSFA Montgomery – Community raises $10K for family of slain Alabama 3-year-old
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Ukrainian-American group host demonstration at courthouse square
WAFF Huntsville – FINANCIAL FRIDAY: Why Do I Need Renters Insurance?
WAFF Huntsville – Five charged in Limestone County illegal gambling bust
WKRG Mobile – UN: 500,000+ people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded
WKRG Mobile – Live updates: Russia: Nuclear deterrent forces on high alert
WKRG Mobile – Families lead the search for Mexico’s missing
WTVY Dothan – H.O.P.E. works to empower the community for Black History Month
WTVY Dothan – Community raises $10K for family of slain Alabama 3-year-old
WTVY Dothan – Krewe of Kolosse Mardi Gras parade makes first return since COVID
WASHINGTON POST – Invasion meets fierce resistance; high-stakes talks on Belarus border begin
WASHINGTON POST – Putin puts Russian nuclear forces on alert as Ukrainian civilian deaths mount
WASHINGTON POST – With Russian nuclear forces on alert, Ukraine crisis enters more dangerous phase
NEW YORK TIMES – Live Updates: Ukraine and Russia Talk, but Fighting Continues
NEW YORK TIMES – Putin Declares a Nuclear Alert, and Biden Seeks De-escalation
NEW YORK TIMES – Climate Change Is Harming the Planet Faster Than We Can Adapt, U.N. Warns
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Car Parts, Chips, Sunflower Oil: War in Ukraine Threatens New Shortages
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Behind the Sweeping Russia Sanctions: Zelensky’s Plea and a Mounting Crisis
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Populist Embrace of Putin Cools After Ukraine Invasion
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