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Daily News Digest – January 24, 2022

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, January 24.


1. Durant defends record after sister, father abuse story resurfaces

  • U.S. Senate candidate Mike Durant both defended himself and went on the offensive after news reports resurfaced that he publicly accused his sister of lying about being sexual abused by their father, despite his father’s previous admission of guilt.
  • Alabama Political Reporter published a story Wednesday that cites Associated Press stories from nearly 30 years ago. Durant’s sister, Mary Ryan, who went by Mary Durant then, said her father sexually abused her almost her entire childhood and almost daily when she was ages 14 to 19. She filed a federal civil lawsuit for $5 million in 1994 after she said her father broke an earlier agreement to seek treatment.
  • On Thursday, Durant, a Huntsville business owner who has been gaining in polls since entering the race in October, told radio host Dale Jackson that he didn’t see the “relevance” of his family’s situation on the Senate race and said it was a “hack job” by opponents, naming Congressman Mo Brooks and former Business Council of Alabama leader Katie Britt.
  • Ryan on Friday told Alabama Daily News that Durant took their father’s side, despite his admission to sexual abuse, which led to their estrangement decades ago.
  • Read the full story from Mary Sell and me HERE.



2. Taxpayers face overloaded IRS as filing season opens Monday

  • An IRS worker shortage, an enormous workload from administering pandemic-related programs and stalled legislation that would have given the agency billions of dollars for more expeditiously processing returns will combine to cause taxpayers pain this filing season.
  • Agency officials are already warning filers that “in many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs,” as IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig put it earlier in the month.
  • Delays in processing are to be expected — especially because the IRS says it still is working through 2020 tax returns.
  • Donald Williamson, an accounting and taxation professor at American University in Washington, said he expects “weeks and weeks” of IRS delays in 2022.
  • “You can blame Congress or the IRS. I imagine they’re trying to do the right thing but it just adds to further complexity,” he said. “My advice in 2022 is file early, get started tomorrow and try to put your taxes together with a qualified professional.”
  • Read more HERE.
  • One word of advice on taxes on the state level: if you are filing for a working family that took advantage of some of the pandemic tax benefits, including the expanded Child Tax Credit, you might want to wait to see if the Legislature un-taxes those credits. State Sen. Dan Roberts has a bill to do so, but it will be a few weeks at least until it can be considered.




A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

Municipalities are the foundation of Alabama’s economy. The Alabama League of Municipalities was formed in 1935 and currently represents more than 450 member municipalities.
Year after year, the League works to secure legislation enabling all cities and towns to perform their functions more efficiently and effectively; offers specialized training for both municipal officials and employees; and conducts continuing studies of the legislative, administrative and operational needs, problems and functions of Alabama’s municipal governments.
For more information, visit

3. Community colleges see enrollment increase

  • The Alabama Community College System reported a 6% systemwide enrollment increase in for-credit programs in fall 2021 compared to the previous year.
  • The system attributed the increase of 4,700 students to a continued focus on career planning and workforce development and an increase in safety measures at the 24 colleges. A  tuition freeze as well as additional funding offered by the ACCS during the pandemic were also factors.
  • Some programs with the greatest enrollment increases included welding, vehicle and auto body technologies and business.
  • Read more from ADN’s Heather Gann HERE.


4. Birmingham closing 100-year old downtown bridge

  • A more than 100-year-old bridge that links Birmingham’s northern and southern sides is being shut down to cars and trucks because of concerns over its safety.
  • Dedicated in 1919 to an Alabama regiment that fought in the “Rainbow Division” of World War I, the Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. Bridge spans railroad tracks that bisect the city. But it has a weight limit of 3 tons that’s sometimes ignored, and officials decided to close it to limit further damage from traffic.
  • Pedestrians, bicycles and scooters can continue using the bridge, the city said in an announcement, but cars and trucks had to use detours beginning Friday morning.
  • A contractor is designing a replacement for the bridge, and the city is looking at how to pay for the project, officials said.
  • Story link.


5. US draws down Ukraine embassy presence as war fears mount

  • The State Department on Sunday ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion.
  • The move came amid rising tensions about Russia’s military buildup on the Ukraine border that were not eased during talks Friday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.
  • Meanwhile, the British government accused Russia of seeking to replace Ukraine’s government with a pro-Moscow administration.
  • And today NATO says that it’s putting extra forces on standby and sending more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe, given tensions over whether President Vladimir Putin intends to attack Ukraine.
  • The U.S.-led military organization said that it is beefing up its “deterrence” presence in the Baltic Sea area. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 war planes to Lithuania; Spain will also send warships and could send fighter jets to Bulgaria; and France stands ready to send troops to Romania.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Durant defends record after sister, father abuse story resurfaces


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taxpayers face overloaded IRS as filing season opens Monday


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Community college system sees enrollment increase


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham closing more than century-old bridge for safety


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – NATO sends ships, jets east as Ireland rejects Russia drills


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bill would end cities’ occupational taxes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama high court raises maximum bond for murder defendants


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Alabama lab named for Williamson


AL.COM – Huntsville, Madison County students shift to virtual as other schools return in-person


AL.COM – IRS expects backlogs and delays: Here’s when to file taxes


AL.COM – Alabama trial delayed for New Orleans man in monument theft


AL.COM – Roy Moore, Leigh Corfman defamation lawsuit goes to trial Monday


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery police arrest suspect, launch homicide investigation after Saturday shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Police announce death investigation after Friday’s shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed announced he tested positive for COVID-19


Decatur Daily – Decatur eyes spending COVID relief funds to spur growth in Limestone


Decatur Daily – Fire at DU building destroyed sewer trucks with $804k replacement cost


Decatur Daily – ARPA funds could lessen businesses’ unemployment tax


Times Daily – Photograph nature at Joe Wheeler State Park


Times Daily – ARPA funds could lessen businesses’ unemployment tax


Times Daily – Colbert EMA seeking FEMA funds for generators


Anniston Star – Anniston man dies in traffic accident Saturday


Anniston Star – Bill would untax families’ ARPA credits


Anniston Star – Bill offers more family leave to adoptive parents


YellowHammer News – State Rep. McClammy pledges effort to eliminate state sales tax on groceries


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Adamsville teen seriously injured in overnight fire


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hanceville Police Lieutenant dies after suffering stroke


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Crews investigating house fire in West End


Tuscaloosa News – Utility changes bring costs increases for west Tuscaloosa road project


Tuscaloosa News – Street renaming ceremony to honor fallen Tuscaloosa police officer Dornell Cousette


Tuscaloosa News – Progress Bank to replace former tire store in downtown Tuscaloosa


YellowHammer News – Freedom Celebration honoring Patriot Award recipient Senator Tommy Tuberville


YellowHammer News – Publication names Landing HQ recruitment its Startup ‘Deal of the Year’


Gadsden Times – Alabama streamlines special-education certification in bid to remedy teacher shortages


Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: Sweet, gentle Richard, 6, seeks his ‘furever’ home


Gadsden Times – After a weekend search on Lookout Mountain, dog with jug stuck on his head is now safe


Dothan Eagle – Australian prime minister loses control of WeChat account


Dothan Eagle – Italy begins voting for next president with unclear slate


Dothan Eagle – UK to probe lawmaker’s claim she was fired over Muslim faith


Opelika-Auburn News – A stowaway was found alive in a plane wheel in Amsterdam after flying more than 11 hours


Opelika-Auburn News – US draws down Ukraine embassy presence as war fears mount


Opelika-Auburn News – Hanif Abdurraqib, Tom Lin receive Carnegie literary awards


WSFA Montgomery – Federal trucking program to allow teens to drive tractor-trailers state to state


WSFA Montgomery – Sports Anchor/Reporter Hailey Sutton leaving WSFA 12 News


WSFA Montgomery – Victim identified in Friday Montgomery shooting death


WAFF Huntsville – Police searching for alleged robbery suspect


WAFF Huntsville – Sheriff’s office search for alleged church vandalism suspects


WAFF Huntsville – UPDATE: Woman and her father found dead in Helena


WKRG Mobile – UK to probe lawmaker’s claim she was fired over Muslim faith


WKRG Mobile – Trial to begin for cops accused of violating Floyd’s rights


WKRG Mobile – Chiefs rally past Buffalo 42-36 in OT in wild playoff game


WTVY Dothan – Jim Zeigler won’t run for Alabama governor


WTVY Dothan – How well do you know Reginald Jones?


WTVY Dothan – Alabama sees increase in adoptions, decrease in foster children


WASHINGTON POST – U.S. threatens use of novel export control to damage Russia’s strategic industries if Moscow invades Ukraine


WASHINGTON POST – State Department orders diplomats’ families to leave U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, citing ‘threat of Russian military action’


WASHINGTON POST – Prices are rising all over the world, and leaders see no quick fix


NEW YORK TIMES – Biden Weighs Deploying Thousands of Troops to Eastern Europe and Baltics


NEW YORK TIMES – NATO Steps Up Readiness in Eastern Europe


NEW YORK TIMES – Virus Live Updates: Omicron’s Spread Could End ‘Emergency Phase’ of Pandemic, W.H.O. Says


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Slip, Signaling More Market Volatility


WALL STREET JOURNAL – State Department Tells Families of U.S. Diplomats in Ukraine to Leave


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Dispute Between Apollo Co-Founders Black, Harris Boils Over



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