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Daily News Digest – July 15, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, July 15.


1. Ivey, advocates push for expanded summer learning programs

  • Gov. Kay Ivey and education leaders are stressing the importance of expanding summer learning throughout the state on Wednesday as educators seek to help students recover from learning loss sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ivey on Wednesday toured a program that is funded by the Summer Adventures in Learning, or SAIL, program which helps pair community organizations with schools to create high-quality summer learning programs.
  • The programs are designed to combine elements of traditional schooling and summer camps and blend them in a way so that students are having fun while learning important skills.
  • According to data collected by SAIL, students enrolled in their programs gained 2.6 months in reading and 1.7 months in math.
  • Investments in summer learning are about to increase dramatically in Alabama as a result of the $2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds coming into the state for K-12 schools.
  • Caroline Beck was on hand in Birmingham as Ivey and education leaders toured the Birmingham Summer Institute. Read her full story HERE.



2. Board debates banning race theory; Mackey says it’s not being taught

  • The Alabama Board of Education again this week debated banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the state’s schools.
  • Yet, State Superintendent Eric Mackey assured board members and the public that such concepts were “certainly not” being taught in Alabama.
  • “Critical race theory as it exists is a graduate level concept. But it is not taught anywhere in any of our courses of study,” Mackey told board members Tuesday.
  • One draft of the state school board resolution would say that the board believes the U.S. is not an inherently racist country, and the state of Alabama is not “inherently racist.”
  • Board member Tonya Chestnut said that goes too far.
  • “I can’t with a clear conscience say that that’s actually true,” Chestnut said Tuesday. “Theoretically I would like to say that Alabama is not a racist state but I’ve experienced it,” said Chestnut, who is Black.
  • Board member Stephanie Bell said it doesn’t go far enough.
  • “We need to deal with it in a way that actually does something instead of taking a stand so that it looks like we’ve done something,” Bell said.
  • Mackey said they’ll continue working on the resolution’s wording.
  • Meanwhile, the latest Nation’s Report Card showed Alabama ranked last in fourth and eighth-grade math, reading and science proficiency.
  • Read more HERE.


3. Fort Rucker tightens vaccine, mask policy

  • Fort Rucker has ordered troops to show proof of vaccination in order to go without face masks as the state sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases — a rise attributed to low vaccination rates.
  • The measure was put in place this week at Fort Rucker, the home of the Army’s aviation program. If a soldier is not wearing a mask, base leadership can ask soldiers to show their vaccination cards. In a video posted to Facebook, base officials said the measure is needed because of rising case numbers on the base and in surrounding counties.
  • Alabama, which has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. State Health Officer Scott Harris said that is likely driven both by the low vaccination rates and the spread of the contagious delta variant of the virus.
  • The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Alabama has risen over the past two weeks from 205.43 new cases per day on June 28 to 559.57 new cases per day on July 12. In Alabama only about 33% of the population is fully vaccinated compared to about 48% nationally, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • “We do have concern about the numbers,” Harris said.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.



4. Paschal: GOP is ‘open to everyone’

  • Kenneth Paschal made history this week becoming the first Black Republican elected to the Legislature since Reconstruction.
  • [First a note on that history: former Rep. Johnny Ford of Tuskegee was elected in 2002 as a Democrat and then switched to the Republican Party in 2003. He later rejoined the Democratic Party after leaving the House. Hence, the importance of the word elected in the lede. Thank you to all who reached out to remind me of that rather strange episode.]
  • In a swearing in ceremony Wednesday, Paschal said that his election to represent a heavily white suburban district shows that the GOP “is open to everyone.” He invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words about people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
  • “I truly believe that the Lord has called me to serve,” Paschal said, adding that “God and country” are his two guiding principles.
  • Paschal said that after leaving the military, he thought about where he fit politically and said that is with the Republican Party because he is conservative.
  • On the campaign trail, he said some people wrongly presumed he was a Democrat.
  • “We have put people in the box based on your skin color. … Hopefully, we can change that,” he said.
  • Read more from Jay Reeves and Kim Chandler HERE.



5. Service set for 8 killed in wreck of Alabama girls home van

  • A remembrance is set for eight young people killed when a van returning to an Alabama girls home after a week at the beach wrecked in a fiery crash during a tropical storm last month.
  • The victims of the 17-vehicle accident, which also killed two other people in a separate car, will be remembered in a public service planned for a church in Auburn on Thursday afternoon.
  • Michael Smith, chief executive of the Christian-based Alabama Youth Homes, said it was time to honor the youths who were killed when the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van became entangled in the massive pileup on June 19 at Tropical Storm Claudette blew through the Southeast.
  • “We’re calling it a celebration of life,” Smith said. “We’re going to celebrate what God gave us while they were with us.”
  • Read more HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gov. Ivey, advocates push for expanding summer learning


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Board debates banning Critical Race Theory; Mackey says it’s not being taught


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fort Rucker tightens mask, vaccine policy


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Paschal: GOP ‘open to everyone’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Service set for 8 killed in wreck of Alabama girls home van


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Consumer prices surged in past year the most since 2008


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Massive solar power project approved for Butler County


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate Democrats reach $3.5 trillion budget agreement


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 14, 2021


AL.COM – Gov. Ivey says no need for incentives to vaccinate


AL.COM – COVID-19 outbreak reported at St. Clair County Jail in Ashville; dozens of inmates test positive


AL.COM – Leadership change announced at Bishop State Community College


AL.COM – Southern Research wins $3.9 million in grants to study Parkinson’s, ALS


AL.COM – Alabama parole board sees advocates face-to-face again


AL.COM – South Alabama mega site gets $5.5 million for improvements


AL.COM – University of Alabama construction: What to know about the major projects in 2021


AL.COM – Auburn under construction: $309 million in projects underway this summer


Montgomery Advertiser – Economic coordinator talks about Prattville’s potential


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Bright days in our future’: Prattville’s new economic development director gets started


Montgomery Advertiser – Advance child tax credit payments start July 15. What to know about eligibility, opting out


Decatur Daily – Council poised to end residency requirement for most directors


Decatur Daily – New life for yoga studio: Alabama Center for the Arts finds practice space 3 blocks away


Decatur Daily – Many prospective jurors in felony case praise Blakely


Times Daily – Shoals will remain a metropolitan after OMB leaves threshold as is


Times Daily – Mobile Plaza fountain in Florence operating again


Times Daily – County moving forward with Cassie Davis flooding fix


Anniston Star – Gov. Ivey says no need for incentives to vaccinate


Anniston Star – Speakers continue opposition to roadside herbicide


Anniston Star – Marriott hotel to develop beside Oxford Commons


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Pedestrian hit in Bessemer Thursday morning


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Some antibody infusion treatments no longer effective against Delta strain


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Health officials say catching two COVID-19 variants at once is possible


Tuscaloosa News – Tropical Depression Claudette flooding repair contracts near $2 million for City Hall


Tuscaloosa News – Advance child tax credit payments start July 15. What to know about eligibility, opting out


Tuscaloosa News – Delta variant cases cause concern considering Alabama’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate


YellowHammer News – Employees of Alabama company eligible for $1 million vaccine sweepstakes


YellowHammer News – Southern Research neuroscience lab wins grant to advance Parkinson’s, ALS study


YellowHammer News – Shelby responds to Trump ‘RINO’ attack: ‘I was a Democrat at one time — A long time ago, we all were’


Gadsden Times – FACT SHEET: How can American Rescue Plan funds be spent?


Gadsden Times – City of Gadsden due $24 million in COVID relief funds, seeks input on how to spend it


Gadsden Times – Attalla woman, two others arrested in $9 million financial exploitation of elderly case


Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Melbourne to lockdown for 5 days from Thursday


Dothan Eagle – China says US measures on Xinjiang threaten global trade


Dothan Eagle – Cases surge to 6-month high in Tokyo a week before Olympics


Opelika-Auburn News – If you plant them, they will come: Farmer’s sunflower field attracts photographers and nature lovers


Opelika-Auburn News – China says US measures on Xinjiang threaten global trade


Opelika-Auburn News – Cases surge to 6-month high in Tokyo a week before Olympics


WSFA Montgomery – ‘Celebration of Life’ planned for Girls Ranch victims killed in I-65 crash


WSFA Montgomery – Man charged with kidnapping woman, 2 children in Prattville


WSFA Montgomery – Some Alabamians still waiting for remaining COVID-19 unemployment benefits


WAFF Huntsville – Limestone Co. woman accused of prescribing controlled substance without license says she’s innocent


WAFF Huntsville – Two arrested in Huntsville narcotics investigation


WAFF Huntsville – Day 3 of jury selection continues for Sheriff Mike Blakely’s criminal trial


WKRG Mobile – ADEM: Alabama Power can cap coal ash pond


WKRG Mobile – J&J recalling Aveeno, Neutrogena sunscreens due to benzene traces


WKRG Mobile – Semi-truck driver hit by SUV, critically injured after exiting his truck


WTVY Dothan – “Very serious” child virus surges


WTVY Dothan – Gov. Ivey has no plans for more health restrictions


WTVY Dothan – Wild Adventures welcomes baby lemur


WASHINGTON POST – Joint Chiefs chairman feared potential ‘Reichstag moment’ aimed at keeping Trump in power


WASHINGTON POST – Head of Haitian presidential guard in custody as hunt for masterminds behind assassination continues


WASHINGTON POST – Man who dangled from Senate balcony pleads guilty in Capitol riots, will cooperate against others


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Delta Variant Fuels Rising U.S. Caseload as Vaccinations Slow


NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Roll Out $3.5 Trillion Budget to Fulfill Biden’s Broad Agenda


NEW YORK TIMES – Suspects in Haitian President’s Killing Met to Plan a Future Without Him


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China to Walk a Fine Economic Line After Posting Second-Quarter Growth


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Tick Down Ahead of Claims Data, Powell Testimony


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Alibaba and Tencent Consider Opening Up Their ‘Walled Garden’



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