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Daily News Digest – March 25, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, March 25.


1. More weather coming through

  • Forecasters say they expect severe flooding and a tornado outbreak across the South.
  • Parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee will be at high risk of strong tornadoes that can stay on the ground for miles, The national Storm Prediction Center warned Thursday.
  • Some of the metropolitan areas in the path of today’s storms include Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee; and Birmingham and Huntsville in Alabama.
  • The environment as the storms move in will be “very favorable for long-track strong tornadoes,” the Storm Prediction Center said in its latest briefing.
  • A flash flood watch Thursday covered northern parts of Alabama and Georgia and portions of Tennessee and western North Carolina.
  • Up to 4 inches of rain — with higher amounts possible — is expected in northern Alabama, according to the National Weather Service in Huntsville.
  • Read and watch more from James Spann HERE.


2. All you need to know about Mo

  • You may have heard that Mo Brooks is running Senate.
  • The north Alabama firebrand congressman is seeking the seat that will be vacated when U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby retires next year.
  • Brooks ran for Senate once before in 2017 when a special election was called to replace Jeff Sessions, who was appointed attorney general. Brooks came in third in that primary to the appointed incumbent, Luther Strange, and the eventual nominee, Roy Moore.
  • Since then, the state, and specifically the Republican Party, have only grown more devoted to Donald Trump. And Brooks has only grown into more of a firebrand on the right, and that’s saying something. He gained national notoriety for starting the congressional effort to challenge the 2020 election results and drew criticism for his “start taking down names and kicking ass” speech that preceded the Capitol riot.
  • Brooks has aligned himself with where the very conservative Republican electorate is right now, both in policy and rhetoric. That makes him a very formidable candidate in this GOP primary, and most, including myself, consider him the front runner in this race.
  • That means you’re going to be hearing and reading a lot about Mo Brooks over the next 18 months. But today we have a good place to start.
  • Read Kim Chandler’s story about Brooks’ Senate run HERE.
  • And if you’re in the mood for a deeper dive, read and listen to my lengthy interview with Brooks HERE.
  • The feedback I hear most from readers and listeners is that people like our how in-depth and informative stories and interviews. Folks like to learn things they weren’t aware of or hear politicians answer questions they’ve not been asked.
  • If that’s the measure of a good interview, you’re going to like this one. We talked about why he wants to be a senator, his lengthy career in public service, how that squares with his term limit position, his family background including his mom the economics teacher, his conversations with Donald Trump, the election objection process, his infamous take names and kick ass speech, Stephen Miller, redistricting, earmarks and what committees he wants to be on. In short, we really got in the weeds.



3. Alabama, other states sue to undo Biden pause on oil & gas lease sales

  • Alabama joined twelve other states in suing the Biden administration Wednesday to end a suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water and to reschedule canceled sales of leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska waters and western states.
  • The Republican-leaning states seek a court order ending the moratorium imposed after Democratic President Joe Biden signed executive orders on climate change on Jan. 27.
  • The suit specifically seeks an order that the government go ahead with a sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico that had been scheduled for March 17 until it was canceled; and a lease sale that had been planned for this year in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. And it calls for other suspended lease sales to go forward. Sales also have been postponed for federal lands in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada and New Mexico.
  • Biden and multiple federal agencies bypassed comment periods and other bureaucratic steps required before such delays can be undertaken, the states claim in the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in the federal court’s Western District of Louisiana.
  • The lawsuit notes that coastal states receive significant revenue from onshore and offshore oil and gas activity. Stopping leases, the lawsuit argues, would diminish revenue that pays for Louisiana efforts to restore coastal wetlands, raise energy costs and lead to major job losses in oil producing states.
  • Biden’s team has argued that companies still have plenty of undeveloped leases — almost 14 million acres in western states and more than 9 million acres offshore. Companies also have about 7,700 unused drilling permits — enough for years.
  • “This will not affect oil and gas production or jobs for years to come,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said when asked about the lawsuit’s claims at a Wednesday briefing.
  • Biden administration officials have declined to say how long the pause on lease sales will last.
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia are the other plaintiff states.
  • Full story HERE.



4. New study triples estimate of red snapper in Gulf

  • There are about three times as many red snapper as previously estimated in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a study released Wednesday about the popular game and table fish over which recreational anglers and federal regulators have fought for years.
  • The $12 million Great Red Snapper Count estimated that the Gulf holds about 110 million adult red snapper — those at least 2 years old. A 2018 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine fisheries’ estimate was about 36 million.
  • Clay Porch, director of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center Director in Miami, said peer reviewers will be going over the science for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, which is likely to consider revising quotas in April, Porch said Tuesday.
  • For various reasons, the quotas are unlikely to be tripled, he said.
  • The increased population estimate is almost entirely because federal scientists previously have relied on information from a fishery concentrated on natural and artificial reefs, while the new study also looks at the immense spaces in between, Porch said.
  • More than 60% of the red snapper were in areas that previously had not been checked, according to the study by 20 scientists from 14 universities and NOAA.
  • Full story HERE.



5. Report: Bald eagle populations soar in lower 48 states

  • The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said in a report Wednesday.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said bald eagles, the national symbol that once teetered on the brink of extinction, have flourished in recent years, growing to more than 71,400 nesting pairs and an estimated 316,700 individual birds.
  • Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in her first public appearance since being sworn in last week, hailed the eagle’s recovery and noted that the majestic, white-headed bird has always been considered sacred to Native American tribes and the United States generally.
  • “The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together,” said Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
  • Bald eagles reached an all-time low of 417 known nesting pairs in 1963 in the lower 48 states. But after decades of protection, including banning the pesticide DDT and placement of the eagle on the endangered species list in more than 40 states, the bald eagle population has continued to grow. The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened or endangered species in 2007.
  • No joke, several months ago at Lake Martin I witnessed a bald eagle drop out of the sky to hook a fish with its talons and fly off. You could almost hear Lee Greenwood in the background.
  • Read more HERE.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In Senate race, combative Brooks leans into Trump ties


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Mo Brooks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – James Spann: Dangerous severe weather setup for Alabama today


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – States sue to undo Biden pause on US oil & gas lease sales


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New study triples estimate of red snapper in Gulf of Mexico


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US report: Bald eagle populations soar in lower 48 states


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senator looking for fix on tax-filing interest issue


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bills would limit cities’ gas tax spending


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers frustrated over delay in Census redistricting data


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Slower mail, fewer office hours part of Postal Service plans


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AstraZeneca accused of cherry-picking vaccine study data


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 24, 2021


AL.COM – Sen. Tommy Tuberville heads to U.S.-Mexico border, calls Biden policy ‘atrocious.’


AL.COM – US appeals court rules states may restrict people from openly carrying guns in public


AL.COM – Most Alabama students are back in-person, but racial disparities appear


AL.COM – CNN’s ‘The People vs. The Klan’ examines 1981 Mobile lynching case


AL.COM – Bernie Sanders, Danny Glover, Killer Mike to visit Bessemer Amazon union effort


AL.COM – Mo Brooks says he has discussed Senate run with Trump many times


AL.COM – Mike Rogers: No concrete evidence of violent extremism in military


AL.COM – Sen. Richard Shelby not endorsing in U.S. Senate race


AL.COM – Rep. Terri Sewell won’t run for Alabama Senate seat, aims to stay in U.S. House


AL.COM – What’s changed for Mo Brooks since 2017 US Senate run?


Montgomery Advertiser – Holy Week plans announced for Frazer and Aldersgate UMC


Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville’s Hearthstone is family-friendly and unique


Montgomery Advertiser – Local entrepreneur turns penchant for productivity into virtual enterprise


Decatur Daily – I-65 northbound to detour onto Huntsville-Brownsferry ramps


Decatur Daily – Orr seeking fix on tax-filing interest issue


Decatur Daily – Bills would limit cities’ gas tax spending


Times Daily – Colbert EMA holding drawing for 90 weather radios


Times Daily – Bids for Lauderdale County Ag Center work delayed


Times Daily – Bills would limit cities’ gas tax spending


Anniston Star – Senator looking for fix on tax-filing interest issue


Anniston Star – Gambling bill: what happened and what’s next


Anniston Star – Bills would limit cities’ gas tax spending


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – People with disabilities eligible, but still struggling to get vaccines


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Legion Field now a non-appointment vaccine site


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Officer injured in high speed chase in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Are you strong enough? The Arc brings back its “Fire Truck Challenge” this weekend


Tuscaloosa News – PHOTOS: High Speed Chase Ends In Multi-Vehicle Crash On McFarland Blvd.


Tuscaloosa News – Two killed, two injured in Aliceville shooting


YellowHammer News – Study: Gulf contains around three times as many red snapper as previously estimated


YellowHammer News – Tuberville-backed bill expanding coronavirus vaccine access for veterans signed into law


YellowHammer News – Honda donating portable generators to support Alabama’s vaccination efforts


Gadsden Times – Local school systems cancel classes for Thursday because of stormy forecast


Gadsden Times – Former Etowah jailer faces sexual misconduct, contraband charges


Gadsden Times – Three face drug charges following Cherokee County arrests


Dothan Eagle – Greek Independence Day events culminate in military parade


Dothan Eagle – Penny dreadful: Georgia man receives final paycheck in coins


Dothan Eagle – Florida man charged with COVID relief fraud


Opelika-Auburn News – Greek Independence Day events culminate in military parade


Opelika-Auburn News – Florida man charged with COVID relief fraud


Opelika-Auburn News – Stuck ship in Egypt’s Suez Canal imperils shipping worldwide


WSFA Montgomery – Disaster relief organization helps storm cleanup in Dallas County


WSFA Montgomery – In Senate race, combative Brooks leans into Trump ties


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama legislature takes up bill to identify and designate safer places during severe weather


WAFF Huntsville – Controversy sparks over bill that could change the voting system


WAFF Huntsville – Crime Stoppers: Thief in a tight spot


WAFF Huntsville – Organization tests kids for COVID-19 for free in Madison


WKRG Mobile – Special Report: “Liquid Gold” saving COVID-19 patients


WKRG Mobile – Austal steel facility groundbreaking Friday


WKRG Mobile – City purchases former middle school as possible location for affordable housing


WTVY Dothan – Dothan sorority chapter collecting items for the House of Ruth


WTVY Dothan – Geneva gears up for the fourth annual Stop & Shop


WTVY Dothan – Geneva coffee shop thriving amidst pandemic


WASHINGTON POST – Biden faces a flurry of new challenges ahead of first White House news conference


WASHINGTON POST – Andrew Cuomo’s family members were given special access to covid testing, according to people familiar with the arrangement


WASHINGTON POST – AstraZeneca says its vaccine is 76 percent effective in an updated company analysis released after earlier challenges of its data


NEW YORK TIMES – Cuomo’s Family Is Said to Have Received Special Access to Virus Tests


NEW YORK TIMES – Democrats Begin Push for Biggest Expansion of Voting Since 1960s


NEW YORK TIMES – Boulder’s Pain Is Deepened by a Lost Fight for Gun Control


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Olympic Torch Relay Kicks Off Tokyo Summer Games


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Edge Higher Ahead of Jobless Claims Data


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Hot U.S. Economy, Fresh Supply Disruptions Pressure World’s Factories



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