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Daily News Digest – June 14, 2021

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Here’s your Daily News for Monday, June 14.



1. ‘Retain Alabama’ effort looks to keep college grads home

  • Knowing that nearly half of Alabama’s public university bachelor’s degree earners are working in other states five years after they graduate, state leaders are funding more efforts to keep that talent pool at home.
  • In the 2022 state education budget, lawmakers allocated $800,000 for a new “Retain Alabama” initiative to introduce college students to opportunities for them in the Yellowhammer state.
  • The earmark was prompted by the 2020 Alabama Commission on Higher Education Employment Outcomes Report, the first statewide study of how Alabama graduates, from certificate holders to those with doctoral degrees, are faring in the workforce.
  • It showed that five years after they graduated in 2013, 51% of Alabama public university bachelor’s degree recipients were employed in the state.
  • “That was problematic,” ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell told Alabama Daily News. “Think about trying to build an economy based on half of your graduates.”
  • That retention rate is lower for STEM graduates, who are very important long-term for the state’s economy, Purcell said. He noted that retention for associate’s degree holders is higher, about 70%.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Border wall: Biden returns diverted defense money

  • Former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding as well as the fast-track status that enabled it to bypass environmental regulations under a Biden administration plan announced Friday.
  • President Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall upon taking office while his administration reviewed the project. That angered Republicans in Congress eager to see it go forward amid an increase in apprehensions of migrants along the southwest border.
  • The new plan does not cancel the wall project outright, but it’s still likely to face opposition in Congress, where many Republicans are eager to promote a project closely associated with the former president.
  • Biden plans to return more than $2 billion that the Trump administration diverted from the Pentagon to help pay for the wall and use other money appropriated by Congress to address “urgent life, safety, and environmental issues” created by the construction. It also asks lawmakers not to provide any additional funding for what the Biden team believes is an unnecessary effort.
  • Full story HERE.


3. SCOTUS could consider case on race in college admissions

  • With abortion and guns already on the agenda, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court is considering adding a third blockbuster issue — whether to ban consideration of race in college admissions.
  • The justices could say as soon as today whether they will hear an appeal claiming that Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants, in a case that could have nationwide repercussions. The case would not be argued until the fall or winter.
  • The group claims that Harvard imposes a “racial penalty” on Asian American applicants by systematically scoring them lower in some categories than other applicants and awarding “massive preferences” to Black and Hispanic applicants.
  • Harvard flatly denies that it discriminates against Asian American applicants and says its consideration of race is limited, pointing out that lower courts agreed with the university.
  • In November, the federal appeals court in Boston ruled that Harvard looked at race in a limited way in line with Supreme Court precedents.
  • Read more HERE.


4. What if? College Football Playoff matchups in 12-team format

  • Last week, we reported that the College Football Playoff is considering expanding to 12 teams to settle the national championship.
  • In the plan being discussed, six spots would be reserved for the highest-ranked conference champions and the other six going to at-large selections.
  • The playoff’s popularity seems to have waned as only a few teams have grabbed the majority of the spots since 2014. Alabama and Clemson have each made the playoff six times in seven years. Ohio State and Oklahoma have each been selected four times. That’s 71% of the playoff spots to just four of the 130 FBS teams.
  • So what would the last several seasons have been like given a 12-team field? There are some interesting results when you go back and look.
  • Check out the matchups HERE.



5. News Briefs


ABC 33/40 news anchor dead

  • HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — A veteran TV news anchor and former University of Alabama football player has died, police in Alabama and the station he worked for said.
  • Christopher Sign’s work “will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity,” said WBMA-TV Vice President and General Manager Eric Land.
  • The station said Sign had turned down a national network position to return to Hoover in 2017 after 13 years in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • He made the decision for his wife and their three sons, the station’s obituary said.
  • “That decision put him in a place where he could see his boys off to school in the mornings, watch them play baseball in the evenings, and take them fishing on the weekends,” it said.
  • Sign had started at the station, also called ABC 33/40, as a reporter in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Sign played football at Alabama in the 1990s under coach Gene Stallings.
  • Hoover police told that the death is being investigated as an apparent suicide. Sign was found dead at his home Saturday morning, Hoover police told

State returning Montgomery public schools to local control

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state school board has unanimously agreed to end its oversight of Montgomery’s public school system after more than four years.
  • Members voted to accept a recommendation by State School Superintendent Eric Mackey that the Department of Education return control to local officials, news outlets reported.
  • The state intervention will end Dec. 1.
  • “We feel really good. Things are on track now that we’ll have a good opening to school in the summer,” Mackey said. “The thing I’m most excited for is what’s going on at summer school. Montgomery is doing the most progressive summer school that they’ve done in many decades, and they have a lot of students signed up for it.”
  • The state board intervened in the system in early 2017, when student scores and finances were lagging and some top administrative jobs were vacant. Student performance remains a concern, but the system now has a reserve fund and roles have been filled.
  • Clare Weil, president of the Montgomery school board, said the decision came at a time when Montgomery is on ”a really good trajectory” to become a good system.

Lakeside Alabama 4-H complex opens $8.4M addition

  • COLUMBIANA, Ala. (AP) — A lakeside 4-H complex south of Birmingham has opened an $8.4 million expansion that makes it one of the largest conference centers in Alabama.
  • Located on more than 260 acres on Lay Lake in Shelby County, the Alabama 4-H Center has added new kitchen space and dining areas, according to a news release. The Alabama 4-H Foundation and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System dedicated the expansion on Wednesday.
  • Aside from youth camping, science and outdoors programs, the center has a hotel and conference center that is used for weddings and large meetings. It first opened in 1980.
  • The 4-H Foundation began a campaign in 2018 to raise money for the work. The Alabama Farmers Federation, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Shelby County and multiple other donors helped pay for it, said the statement from the center.

Grants go to electric vehicle chargers in 7 Alabama counties

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Money from a legal settlement will be used to provide funding to add charging stations for electric vehicles at 18 sites in seven Alabama counties.
  • The governor’s office says grants totaling $4.1 million will help fund installing of chargers at fueling stations near interstates and other major highways.
  • The money will provide as much as 80% of the cost of installing stations at existing sites in Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Calhoun, Cullman, DeKalb, Greene and St. Clair counties. Many of the chargers will be along Interstate 20 from the Georgia line to Tuscaloosa.
  • The money is from a settlement involving Volkswagen and the Environmental Protection Agency over the automaker’s violation of the federal Clean Air Act.
  • In a statement, Gov. Kay Ivey said the grants will help the state move toward electric vehicles. Auto plants located in the state already have started the transition toward vehicles powered by electricity, she said.
  • “This program will have a range of positive impacts in Alabama from creating cleaner air to helping to sell more vehicles manufactured right here in Alabama,” said Kenneth Boswell, director the the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which will administer the grants.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Retain Alabama’ effort looks to keep college grads home


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Border wall: Biden to return diverted defense money


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Justices consider Harvard case on race in college admissions


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – What if? College Football Playoff matchups in 12-team format


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama won’t reach White House vaccination goal


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – G-7 leaders agree on vaccines, China and taxing corporations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Israel set to swear in government, end Netanyahu’s long rule


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Southern Baptists meet amid controversy over leaked letters


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-ed: The 21st Century Case for Alabama Criminal Justice Reform


POLITICO – ‘Full of s—‘: Candidates warned not to fake Trump endorsement


AL.COM – Katie Britt says close call with Tuscaloosa tornado taught her that every day is gift


AL.COM – Which Alabama metro areas are growing, shrinking?


AL.COM – US air travelers top 2 million for first time since pandemic began


AL.COM – Contributor Buddy Choat: Jeffco Mayors endorse agreement that is a minor miracle


AL.COM – What’s next in Huntsville’s push for access to police body cam footage


AL.COM – Tennessee, Iowa governors want hearing on unaccompanied migrant children in their states


BIRMINGHAM WATCH – Vaccinations Needed to Guard Against Possible Resurgence of COVID, UAB Professor Says


BIRMINGHAM WATCH – ‘Retain Alabama’ Effort Looks to Keep Bachelor’s Degree Recipients in State


BIRMINGHAM WATCH – To Curb Gun Violence in Gulf States, Activists Are Taking a Closer Look at Policing Alternatives


Montgomery Advertiser – Parts shortage forces Hyundai to shut down Montgomery plant for a week


Montgomery Advertiser – Home with much space available in Wetumpka’s River Chase


Montgomery Advertiser – With Prattville set to renew one-cent sales tax, questions arise on where it will go


Decatur Daily – Ivey, lawmakers talk next steps on prison plan


Decatur Daily – Alabama policymakers seek to keep critical race theory out of classrooms


Decatur Daily – Power restored as residents clean up, prepare for repairs and express thanks for no injuries


Times Daily – State of the State House: Officials ponder future of building in disrepair


Times Daily – Colbert County, cities, cover trucks to reduce litter


Times Daily – Tuition, fees remain same at UNA


Anniston Star – Ivey, lawmakers talk next steps on prison plan


Anniston Star – Miss Jefferson County wins Miss Alabama 2021 crown


Anniston Star – West 15th district faces the challenge of reinvention


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa man charged with multiple child pornography charges


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Residents displaced after fire at Hoover apartment complex


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Lauren Bradford crowned Miss Alabama 2021


Tuscaloosa News – Woman charged with capital murder in Willow Lane shooting; additional arrests expected


Tuscaloosa News – Jon Pardi concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater canceled; tickets will be refunded


Tuscaloosa News – Parts shortage forces Hyundai to shut down Montgomery plant for a week


YellowHammer News – Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’


YellowHammer News – State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’


YellowHammer News – Tuberville opposes renaming Fort Rucker — ‘We’re going to fight that’


Gadsden Times – PET OF THE WEEK: ‘Laid back’ Sandy seeks a forever home


Gadsden Times – Talladega County crash kills 4, including 2 children


Gadsden Times – Parts shortage forces Hyundai to shut down Montgomery plant for a week


Dothan Eagle – 8 hurt as vehicle crashes guard rail at Texas race track


Dothan Eagle – Opposition wins Finland local elections, PM’s party loses


Dothan Eagle – Large study finds Novavax COVID-19 shot about 90% effective


Opelika-Auburn News – 8 hurt as vehicle crashes guard rail at Texas race track


Opelika-Auburn News – Police: Car plows into protesters in Minnesota, killing 1


Opelika-Auburn News – Opposition wins Finland local elections, PM’s party loses


WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery wins ‘Smart City’ award for road analysis technology


WSFA Montgomery – First Black-owned coffee shop opens in Montgomery


WSFA Montgomery – 4 charged in connection to fatal shooting in Tuskegee overnight


WAFF Huntsville – Decatur leadership could declare State of Emergency on Monday


WAFF Huntsville – Jury selection begins for man accused of murdering his wife, family


WAFF Huntsville – Lauren Bradford crowned Miss Alabama 2021


WKRG Mobile – Florida zoo announces birth of southern white rhino


WKRG Mobile – NATO nations ready to jointly respond to attacks in space


WKRG Mobile – ‘She didn’t deserve this:’ Vigil held for Mobile woman shot by husband in Orlando


WTVY Dothan – Doctors worry low vaccination rates could cause Covid outbreaks in the fall


WTVY Dothan – New businesses continue to come to Troy


WTVY Dothan – Community holds public baptism in middle of neighborhood


WASHINGTON POST – Ransomware’s suspected Russian roots point to a long detente between the Kremlin and hackers


WASHINGTON POST – As Israel’s longest-serving leader, Netanyahu transformed his country — and left it more divided than ever


WASHINGTON POST – Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine is 90 percent effective, study finds


NEW YORK TIMES – Novavax Offers U.S. a Fourth Strong Covid-19 Vaccine


NEW YORK TIMES – NATO Live Updates: Biden Calls Collective Defense a ‘Sacred Obligation’


NEW YORK TIMES – As Battle Against Virus Wanes, Mayors Confront a New Challenge: Crime


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Oil Price Hits Pandemic High as Investors Bet on Green Energy


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden Tries to Rally G-7 Leaders to Challenge China


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden to Emphasize U.S. Commitment to NATO at Summit



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