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Daily News Digest – May 13, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, May 13.


1. ‘Last-ditch’ effort to revive gambling, but time running out

  • Some state lawmakers are staging a last-ditch effort to revive a wide-ranging gambling plan for passage on the last day of the 2021 regular session, but time and the legislative process are not on their side.
  • A series of phone calls and meetings took place this week in which members of the House and Senate from both parties discussed possible changes to the legislation pending in the House that could earn enough votes to pass. Multiple lawmakers who confirmed the discussions to Alabama Daily News described them as productive.
  • Still, some believe the last day of session won’t allow enough time for such a high profile bill to pass. Last week, it took two days for the House to pass medical marijuana legislation due to an extended filibuster.
  • Caroline Beck, Mary Sell and I spoke to more than a dozen sources about where things stand with the gambling proposal and its prospects of being revived on the last day of session.
  • ADN Insiders can read our story in full HERE.
  • Not an ADN Insider? You’re missing out on the best scoops and stories from Inside Alabama Politics. Subscribe today HERE.



2. Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

  • The nation’s largest fuel pipeline restarted operations Wednesday, days after it was forced to shut down by a gang of hackers.
  • The disruption of Colonial Pipeline caused long lines at gas stations in the Southeast due to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations.
  • Colonial initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday, saying in a statement that “all lines, including those lateral lines that have been running manually, will return to normal operations.”
  • But it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal, the company said.
  • In the meantime, drivers have been finding gas stations with little or no gas in some Southeast states.
  • The national average price for a gallon of gasoline ticked above $3 for the first time since 2016 Wednesday, according to the AAA. Prices begin to rise around this time every year and the auto club said Wednesday that the average price hit $3.008 nationally.
  • For Alabama, AAA lists the average price of regular gasoline at $2.82 per gallon.
  • Read more HERE.



3. Inflation fears spread

  • Gas prices are rising. Auto prices are soaring. Consumer goods companies are charging more for household basics like toilet paper, peanut butter and soft drinks.
  • All of which is resurrecting fears of an economic threat that has all but disappeared over the past generation: Runaway inflation. It occurs when prices for most goods and services not only rise but accelerate, making the cost of living steadily more expensive and shrinking the purchasing power of Americans’ earnings and savings.
  • On Wednesday, the government reported that consumer prices for goods and services surged 0.8% in April — the largest monthly jump in more than a decade — and that year-over-year inflation reached its fastest rate since 2008.
  • Growing jitters about inflation have contributed to a sharp sell-off in stock prices this week. Any significant acceleration of inflation would exert a drag on the market and potentially imperil the economic recovery.
  • Few economists think the nation is on the verge of uncontrollably high inflation. But worries among businesses, consumers and investors about uncomfortably high inflation are growing.
  • Read more about the situation HERE.



4. Biden courts leaders, but no deal on infrastructure package

  • Despite sharing pleasantries at the White House, Republican congressional leaders signaled no willingness Wednesday to embrace President Joe Biden’s ideas for a massive infrastructure investment, insisting instead on a much smaller package and rejecting the idea of raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for it.
  • The gathering brought together Biden’s top Democratic allies — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York — as well as McConnell and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California. Vice President Kamala Harris sat next to Biden.
  • Biden hosted the top four congressional leaders for the first time and said in the Oval Office session that he was willing to compromise on his $4 trillion jobs and families proposals. After nearly two hours, both sides agreed on the need for public works spending, and they emerged pledging to work together — as much as they can.
  • But the stark resistance from Republicans to the size and scope of the package, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s “red line” against corporate and upper-income tax increases, leaves Democrats in the familiar position of embarking on potentially drawn-out negotiations that may, or may not, produce a bipartisan deal.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

  • Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. The Islamic militant group showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.
  • In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble — and even exceed — a devastating 50-day war in 2014.
  • Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout the day and into early Thursday. The attacks brought life to a standstill in southern communities near Gaza, but also reached as far north as the Tel Aviv area, about 45 miles to the north, for a second straight day.
  • Israel carried out an intense barrage of airstrikes just after sunrise, striking dozens of targets in several minutes that set off bone-rattling explosions across Gaza. Airstrikes continued throughout the day, filling the sky with pillars of smoke.
  • While United Nations and Egyptian officials have said that cease-fire efforts are underway, there were no signs of progress. Israeli television’s Channel 12 reported late Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet authorized a widening of the offensive.
  • President Joe Biden called Netanyahu to support Israel’s right to defend itself and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region to try to calm tensions.
  • Read more HERE.


News Briefs


Alabama man sentenced on federal drug trafficking charges

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking case in which authorities say 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of cocaine were brought into the state in a tractor-trailer.
  • Muta Bolden, 36, of Dothan, was ordered to serve nearly 11 years in prison on the federal drug trafficking charges, according to acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration and Dothan police began investigating in February 2019 when the agencies received a tip that a shipment of cocaine was being brought into Houston County, according to a statement Wednesday from the U.S. Justice Department.
  • Authorities in Ashford, Alabama, said they later witnessed Bolden meet up with codefendants Alberto Diaz, 44, of Rio Grande, Texas, and Kenneth Nicholas De La Cerda, 27, also of Rio Grande, before traveling to a truck stop in Dothan.
  • There, a third codefendant, Jesus Pina, Jr., 40, of San Juan, Texas, was accused of driving an 18-wheeler to another location in Dothan, where Bolden, Diaz and De La Cerda retrieved a shipment of drugs from the truck.
  • Agents intercepted the men and arrested them, officials said. Diaz was previously sentenced to nearly 11 years imprisonment, Pina received nine years and De La Cerda was ordered to complete 5 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Father arrested in death of missing baby

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The father of a missing infant in Alabama was arrested on manslaughter charges Wednesday just hours after making a public plea for the baby’s safe return.
  • News outlets report that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said investigators on Wednesday night found the body of 5-week-old Caleb Whisnand, Jr., who had been reported missing earlier. Sheriff’s deputies arrested the infant’s father, Caleb Whisnand, Sr. soon after he participated in a news conference about the disappearance.
  • Whisnand, Sr. said during the news conference that he didn’t remember much, and asked the public for information, including where he had been before the disappearance.
  • “I don’t remember a lot. But I did remember I was breaking up with the cops. If anybody’s got anything, any place I could have gone,” he said.
  • It was not immediately clear if Whisnand has a lawyer.
  • The baby’s mother, Angela Gardner, said the baby was with Whisnand and he told her that he realized the infant was missing when he went to go pay at a gas station.
  • “Please, find him, please,” Gardner told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
  • Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Trent Beasley said authorities were alerted to the situation after they received a 911 call Monday night from a convenience store about the missing child. However, a missing child alert from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the baby was last seen Saturday night.

Ex-band teacher pleads guilty to sex crime involving student

  • CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama high school band director accused of having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge Tuesday.
  • Ashlee Elizabeth Steinman, 29, a former Chilton County High School worker entered her plea to a reduced charge of distributing obscene matter to a student, according to court records.
  • Under her plea agreement, Steinman received a one-year suspended sentence, with two years of probation and was ordered not to have contact with the victim. She was initially charged with engaging in a sex act with a student as a school employee and using her position to access the student and begin the relationship, both felonies, news outlets reported.
  • Steinman was also required to sign termination papers with the Chilton County school system and surrender her teaching certificate, among other punishments, reported.
  • Steinman was arrested in February after Clanton police received a report of an alleged relationship between the school worker and the teenage student, according to CJ Robinson, chief deputy district attorney of the 19th Judicial Circuit.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Last-ditch’ effort to revive gambling in the House, but time running out


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Op-Ed: Electric Vehicles Important for Alabama’s Automotive Industry


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – EXPLAINER: Why are fears of high inflation getting worse?


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden courts Hill leaders, but no deal on infrastructure


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Gas stations report panic-fueled shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Spending oversight bill clears Legislature, but not in time to avoid possible veto


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US job openings soar to highest level on record


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Migrant children held in mass shelters with little oversight


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest– May 12, 2021


AL.COM – Dwindling Alabama legislative clock could doom bill restricting transgender medical rights


AL.COM – State blames coal mine after creeks turned black near Tuscaloosa


AL.COM – What’s happened, what’s next in Alabama’s plan for new prisons?


AL.COM – Colonial Pipeline restarting operations after cyberattack shutdown


AL.COM – Shelby asks why DOJ pursues Capitol rioters more than protesters who ‘terrorized cities’


AL.COM – Alabama hotels struggle to find workers as tourism rebounds from COVID pandemic


Montgomery Advertiser – Nine must-see things to (safely) tour in Alabama


Montgomery Advertiser – Parents of missing infant beg for public’s help in finding their baby boy


Montgomery Advertiser – One-month-old discovered dead, father charged with manslaughter hours after public plea for help


Decatur Daily – Experts: Better training, hiring practices, pay needed for law enforcement


Decatur Daily – Spending oversight bill clears Legislature, but not in time to avoid possible veto


Decatur Daily – Retiring longtime Decatur school employees represent more than 300 years of service


Times Daily – Ivey has final say on oversight spending bill


Times Daily – Refinancing existing debt will save Muscle Shoals $1.2M


Times Daily – Lawmakers want another shot at state-owned prison plan


Anniston Star – Instructive element adds value to Freedom Rider sites


Anniston Star – Anniston officials say they will follow up on this latest comprehensive plan


Anniston Star – Gov. Ivey speaks to gas shortage, medical marijuana


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Beware cancelation policies before planning post-pandemic travel


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Hoover mom grateful to get kids vaccine to mitigate risk


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – YMCA of Greater Birmingham not requiring vaccines for summer camp, still enforcing other safety measures


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa area COVID-19 vaccine tracker: 22% of area residents fully vaccinated


Tuscaloosa News – When, where Tuscaloosa high schools will hold graduations


Tuscaloosa News – Druid City Arts Festival returns with two-day format for 2021


YellowHammer News – Dorothy Davidson, pillar of Huntsville community, passes away


YellowHammer News – Senator Shelby: ‘The rule of law must be restored for the good of this country’


YellowHammer News – Tuberville introduces bill to better empower state, local law enforcement to enforce immigration law


Gadsden Times – Gadsden-area COVID-19 vaccine tracker: 20% of area residents fully vaccinated


Gadsden Times – Motorcycle crash south of Powell kills DeKalb County man


Gadsden Times – Etowah County Detention Center inmates, detainees receive COVID-19 vaccine


Dothan Eagle – Justices consider hearing a case on ‘most offensive word’


Dothan Eagle – Weary Gaza marks Muslim feast as violence spreads in Israel


Dothan Eagle – 5 things to know for May 13: Pipeline hack, Congress, Covid, police, Mideast violence


Opelika-Auburn News – Weary Gaza marks Muslim feast as violence spreads in Israel


Opelika-Auburn News – Global stock markets sink as inflation worries mount


WSFA Montgomery – Missing Montgomery baby found dead; father arrested


WSFA Montgomery – COVID-19 vaccines available to ages 12-15 at Alabama CVS locations


WSFA Montgomery – ‘Fuel is coming,’ expert says as people panic buy gas


WAFF Huntsville – Thursday morning fire causes substantial damage to KFC on Highway 72 East


WAFF Huntsville – Training Academies ensure a pipeline of employees for businesses


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville taxi driver relieved pipeline is back up


WKRG Mobile – Escambia County sheriff’s deputy involved in crash on Pensacola Highway


WKRG Mobile – ECSO honors fallen deputies with FB Live tributes


WKRG Mobile – Clark-Shaw students go to remote learning Thursday after pipe bursts at school


WTVY Dothan – Last of four sentenced in smuggling case


WTVY Dothan – Nurses week: Flowers Hospital nurses share their journey


WTVY Dothan – Wallace Community College holds 2021 spring graduation


WASHINGTON POST – Israel-Hamas fighting poses test for Biden and exposes rifts among Democrats


WASHINGTON POST – Hamas launches more rockets, Israeli jets strike Gaza as casualties mount


WASHINGTON POST – ‘Normal tourist visit’: Republicans recast deadly Jan. 6 attack by pro-Trump mob


NEW YORK TIMES – As Gaza War Escalates, New Front Opens in Israeli Cities


NEW YORK TIMES – ‘A Perpetual Motion Machine’: How Disinformation Drives Voting Laws


NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: Drive to Vaccinate Children Gathers Speed in U.S.


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Dow and S&P 500 Poised to Extend Selloff


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Israel Steps Up Airstrikes Against Hamas in Gaza, Tries to Contain Violence at Home


WALL STREET JOURNAL – JPMorgan, Others Plan to Issue Credit Cards to People With No Credit Scores




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