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Daily News Digest – March 29, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, March 29.

1. Welcome back

Talk about your Sunday Scaries.
It’s back to reality today for a lot of folks who have been enjoying spring break. That would include the Legislature, which returns Tuesday to tackle the second half of session.
Not much will have changed in the way of public access and social distancing protocols in the State House. The same COVID-19 precautions that have been in place since early February will stay for the foreseeable future, both the House Clerk and Secretary of the Senate tell ADN’s Caroline Beck. Read more from Caroline about what to expect this week HERE.
One could not be blamed for checking out from the news a bit while taking some time away from the daily grind. We have you covered.
Here are some story headlines from the last week in case you need to catch up.
  • ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature’s differences on election legislation reflect a national divide
  • ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – A truck-only toll may revive I-10 bridge plans, but truckers have questions



2. Biden to release details of plan

  • President Joe Biden will lay out the first part of his multitrillion-dollar economic recovery package this week, focusing on rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure, followed by a separate plan later in April addressing child and health care.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Sunday the administration’s plans to split the package into two legislative proposals, part of an effort to get support from congressional Republicans. But she adds that “we’ll work with the Senate and House to see how it should move forward.”
  • Biden will release details in a speech Wednesday in Pittsburgh about his proposal for federal investments in physical infrastructure, an issue that has drawn Republican support despite wariness over a pricey package so soon after passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.
  • Democrats, meanwhile, have been aiming for a broader package that could include policy changes on green energy, immigration and other issues — as well as make permanent some of the just-passed COVID-19 assistance such as child tax credits. Many are ready to bypass Republicans, if they have to.
  • Plans are still in flux, with the White House recently discussing a combined $3 trillion in spending to boost the economy and improve quality of life, according to a person familiar with the options who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.
  • Read more HERE.



3. Expelled from US at night, migrant families weigh next steps

  • In one of Mexico’s most notorious cities for organized crime, migrants are expelled from the United States throughout the night, exhausted from the journey, disillusioned about not getting a chance to seek asylum and at a crossroads about where to go next.
  • The decisions unfold amid what Border Patrol officials say is an extraordinarily high 30-day average of 5,000 daily encounters with migrants. Children traveling alone are allowed to remain in the U.S. to pursue asylum while nearly all single adults are expelled to Mexico under pandemic-era rules that deny them a chance to seek humanitarian protection.
  • More than 100 fathers, mothers and children who were expelled overnight waited in a plaza in Reynosa outside the Mexican border crossing at sunrise Saturday, many bitter about the experience and scared to venture into the city. Several said they left Central America in the past two months because they could finally afford it, but information about President Joe Biden’s more immigrant-friendly policies contributed to their decisions. Some reported paying smugglers as much as $10,000 a person to reach U.S. soil.
  • Families with children younger than 7 are being allowed to remain in the U.S. to pursue asylum, according to a Border Patrol official speaking to reporters Friday on condition of anonymity. Others in families — only 300 out of 2,200 on Thursday — are expelled.
  • Read more about the harrowing conditions at the southern border from Elliot Spagat HERE.


4. Bama comes up short in end to thrilling season

  • Alabama’s Alex Reese drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA into overtime, but in the end the No. 11 seed Bruins held on to beat the second-seeded Crimson Tide 88-78 Sunday night.
  • Alabama jumped out to an early lead, even after Herbert Jones picked up two offensive fouls in the first 41 seconds, as their brilliant backcourt set the tempo. Jahvon Quinerly kept breaking down the Bruins’ perimeter defense, and Ellis did his best imitation of Petty, the school’s career 3-point leader, by hitting step-back 3s.
  • With star guard Johnny Juzang fouled out, UCLA’s Jamie Jaquez and David Singleton took control in overtime. Jaquez curled in a jumper to make it 74-68, then drilled a 3-pointer to make it 77-70 moments later. Singleton’s free throws made it 79-70 with under a minute to go, and all UCLA (21-9) had to do was put the game away from the foul line.
  • The loss to UCLA ended an eight-game win streak and came down to missed free throws.
  • Alabama hit just 11 of 25 from the line against the Bruins, and the biggest misses happened with 6 seconds left in regulation. Herbert Jones went 0 for 2 from the line with Alabama down one point.
  • For Alabama, the loss marked an end to a memorable season in which second-year Coach Nate Oats led his team to SEC season and tournament championships as well as a second-seed NCAA tournament berth.
  • Read more HERE.


5. News briefs

Lee County sheriff seeks vandals who dug up grave from 1882

  • OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff is on the hunt for vandals who dug up the grave of a man buried in 1882.
  • At Flint Hill Cemetery, somebody removed the hefty slab and dug a deep hole at the grave of early Lee County settler Samuel Jones,  the Opelika-Auburn News reported.
  • Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said he can’t say for certain whether the culprits disturbed the settler’s remains.
  • But Edna Ward of the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission said investigators found no casket or body.
  • “Let me put it like this: Where Jones was laid to rest, there’s an empty hole,” Ward said. “There’s nothing left. They took it all.”
  • Authorities were alerted to the vandalized gravesite Monday. The found the slab that had covered Samuel Jones’ grave, which weighed several hundred pounds, damaged and moved to the side.
  • Read more HERE.

Alabama sausage festival sees crowd year after virus changes

  • ELBERTA, Ala. (AP) — Crowds returned to a popular food festival on Alabama’s Gulf Coast for a taste of sausage and a taste of normalcy a year after the coronavirus pandemic forced changes to the event.
  • The tiny city of Elberta welcomed visitors back to the Elberta German Sausage Festival over the weekend, WKRG-TV reported. Many people went without masks as they strolled between food tents and crafts vendors while cooking smoke and live music filled the air.
  • “Yes, people are tired of being cooped in and they just want a normal life,” said visitor Cathy Mizell of Satsuma.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t completely shut down the festival a year ago, but forced it to adopt a drive-thru format.
  • The sausage festival is sponsored by the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department, which relies on the event as a major fundraiser.
  • “We’re excited to be here,” said Nick Scheer of the Elberta Volunteer Fire Departent. “The park is crowded already. We have sausage selling. We’re happy.”

Auburn High student founds diversity council, wins national award

  • As a sophomore, Izzy Seidman faced a classmate’s ‘Jews are not allowed here’ statement in Advanced English. The lone Jewish student in Auburn High’s 630-student Class of 2021 left the experience impassioned to speak up when others stayed silent, picking up a national award along the way.
  • Emboldened after the teacher ‘blew it off as if it was nothing,’ Seidman, with support from her mother, reported the anti-Semitic incident, and assistant principal Beth Antoine helped resolve the issue, sparking a newfound passion of advocacy for Seidman.
  • “I got to speak with the kid, and I think he understood why his comment was wrong,” the now 18-year-old said. “I haven’t been the only person that it’s happened to, and I feel like a lot of incidents happen that haven’t been dealt with the way they should have, or they’ve just been brushed under the rug.”
  • Her leadership founding the Diversity Council, a 3-year-old club striving to create a safe, inclusive and equitable environment for all Auburn High students, recently won Seidman the 2021 Billy Michal Student Leadership Award by the National WWII Museum, given annually to one student from each state. The Diversity Council founder and co-president was nominated by Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher Blake Busbin.
  • Read more from Opelika-Auburn News reporter (and Alabama Daily News alum) Abby Driggers HERE.

Pence to Headline Benefit Dinner at Faulkner University

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Alabama in the fall as part of a benefit for Faulkner University.
  • Faulkner President Mike Williams said Pence will be the keynote speaker for the school’s annual benefit dinner scheduled to occur at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center on Oct. 7.
  • “Vice President Mike Pence has had a storied career as a public servant,” Williams said. “He is also a man of deep Christian faith. He’s been an ardent advocate for liberty and most expressly religious liberty, the guiding force of our founding fathers who forged this republic. It’s on this foundation of religious liberty that Faulkner stands today.”
  • Pence follows a long list of recognizable names to headline the Faulkner event over the last four decades. Those speakers have included a president, a first lady, a prime minister and a U.S. ambassador along with journalists, athletes, coaches, comedians and astronauts, WSFA-TV reported.
  • “The exciting feature of our dinner is our keynote speaker and each year Faulkner brings a renowned thought-leader to speak in Montgomery to address timely and relevant topics,” Williams said. “Faulkner strives to bring provocative speakers who would not ordinarily be introduced to our citizens here to talk about these topics.”
  • Tickets are on sale, with proceeds going to support the university and its student scholarships.
  • Faulkner is a private, Christian liberal arts university based in Montgomery.







A message from

Connect Alabama

  • It’s time to do something big for broadband & Connect Alabama for good.
  • Senate Bill 215 creates the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority which will develop and implement a statewide connectivity plan.
  • This effort is a long-term investment with direct impacts on education at all levels, healthcare, and economic development.








ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID safety measures still in place at State House


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden economic plan to focus 1st on infrastructure this week


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Expelled from US at night, migrant families weigh next steps


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Bama comes up short in end to thrilling season


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Sheriff seeks vandals who dug up grave from 1882


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ship ‘partially refloated,’ but still stuck in Suez Canal


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State study: 30% of adults hesitant about COVID-19 vaccine


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legislature’s differences on election bills reflect a national divide


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama, Georgia pick up the pieces after deadly tornadoes


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Balky sign-ups complicate virus vaccinations for blind, deaf


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Amazon workers seek union


AL.COM – Alabama environmental groups see opportunity in $4 billion state will get in stimulus


AL.COM – Stop blaming Tuskegee, critics say. It’s not an ‘excuse’ for current medical racism


AL.COM – Amazon goes on the attack through Twitter ahead of union count


AL.COM – Why Madison Co. Commission Chair Dale Strong wants to replace Mo Brooks in Congress


AL.COM – Court fights against voting overhauls in Georgia, other states, no sure thing


AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Does Alabama have a taste for civil discourse?


AL.COM – Contributor Cameron Smith: Voter suppression is for losers


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘Not sure why I’m here’: Ohatchee residents feared for their lives as Thursday storm devastated the community, state


Montgomery Advertiser – Charges escalate against suspect in October Eastdale Mall parking lot shooting


Montgomery Advertiser – People pay respects to late Montgomery Councilman Richard Bollinger


Decatur Daily – Browns Ferry Unit 2 undergoing massive construction project


Decatur Daily – Some school systems staying with masks after mandate lifted


Decatur Daily – Businesses ‘going gangbusters’ increase Lawrence sales tax collections


Times Daily – Partisan divide is deep on election legislation


Times Daily – Authority seeking funding for recycling program


Times Daily – WZZA radio earns marker on the Roots of American Music Trail


Anniston Star – ‘The love was real’ — Relatives remember family killed in Thursday tornado


Anniston Star – Thursday tornado half-mile wide, 135 mph winds


Anniston Star – Phillip Tutor: The tornadoes in our lives


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Appointments available at Birmingham Shuttlesworth Airport vaccination site


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Man killed in head on collision over the weekend


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – 2 teens killed in weekend car wrecks in Tuscaloosa


Tuscaloosa News – Vance man killed in head-on collision Sunday morning


Tuscaloosa News – Teen dies in early Sunday morning crash in Tuscaloosa County


Tuscaloosa News – Spring’s 17-year-cicada swarms may raise some noise, but they’re not a plague, UA entomologist says


YellowHammer News – UAH Nursing faculty take student groups to administer COVID-19 vaccines


YellowHammer News – Alabama Power installs new weather sensor, webcam in downtown Birmingham


YellowHammer News – Chart Industries plans Alabama growth project, creating 94 jobs


Gadsden Times – RSVP tax program closing two sites, will be appointment only after April 15


Gadsden Times – Alabama education leaders stress importance of participating in summer learning programs


Dothan Eagle – Overseas Tokyo ticket holders may get only partial refunds


Dothan Eagle – Ship ‘partially refloated,’ but still stuck in Suez Canal


Dothan Eagle – AP Interview: Japan urges EU to ensure stable vaccine export


Opelika-Auburn News – China pressures brands to reject reports of Xinjiang abuses


Opelika-Auburn News – Richest Czech man among 5 killed in Alaska helicopter crash


Opelika-Auburn News – Florida deputy is 7th in agency to die of coronavirus


WSFA Montgomery – Alabama woman among first African American females initiated into Air National Guard


WSFA Montgomery – Gov. Ivey to visit areas hardest hit by last week’s storms


WSFA Montgomery – ADPH: Current hospitalizations lowest since April 2020 as COVID-19 vaccination distribution continues to expand


WAFF Huntsville – Community comes together for rally in Athens against Anti-Asian hate, racism and terrorism


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong to announce run for U.S. Congress


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Police investigating cutting incident


WKRG Mobile – Madison Co. Commissioner to announce Congressional candidacy intentions


WKRG Mobile – BREAKING: Five people shot overnight, police block off Bel Air Boulevard and Cottage Hill Road


WKRG Mobile – Floyd family, leaders hold prayer service on eve of trial


WTVY Dothan – Ozark Police seeking suspect in afternoon altercation


WTVY Dothan – Enterprise boy battling cancer receives Disney trip surprise


WTVY Dothan – Bill would halt driver’s license suspensions


WASHINGTON POST – The Biden do-over: Democrats get a chance to try again on Obama defeats


WASHINGTON POST – ‘Vaccine passports’ are on the way, but developing them won’t be easy


WASHINGTON POST – Senators see possibility of bipartisan support for gun background checks in wake of mass shootings


NEW YORK TIMES – Suez Canal Live Updates: Aided by Moon and Tide, Giant Ship Is Partially Refloated


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Birx Lashes Trump’s Pandemic Response, Speaking of Many Needless Deaths


NEW YORK TIMES – Getting to Yes: A Nursing Home’s Mission to Vaccinate Its Hesitant Staff


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Credit Suisse, Nomura Warn of Losses After Fund’s Default


WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Helped Rev Up, and Then Slow Down, the Global Commodities Boom


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Myanmar Protesters Return After Security Forces Kill at Least 90 People



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