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Daily News Digest – November 15, 2021

Presented by the
Alabama League of Municipalities

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, November 15.



1. In teacher shortage, advocates stress better benefits

  • Alabama was already experiencing a teacher shortage before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it’s even worse.
  • Alabama’s salaries and benefits for K-12 teachers are on par with what surrounding states offer and better in some instances, including out-of-pocket health care expenses, according to a recent report to lawmakers.
  • But educators and some lawmakers say the state must do better, particularly with retirement packages, to attract a shrinking pool of young teachers.
  • Alabama pays starting teachers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees more than neighboring states, but over time every state except Tennessee pays more than Alabama. In 2019-2020 the top salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Alabama was $52,609. In Florida, it was $60,401.
  • Under the state’s Tier II, which went into effect in 2013 to save the state money, new teachers can’t collect retirement until age 62. Tier I allowed retirement after 25 years, letting many teachers leave the classroom around age 50.
  • Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, told Alabama Daily News he will try again in the 2022 session to pass a bill allowing for retirement after 30 years for Tier II.
  • Alabama’s public colleges and universities graduated 1,817 education majors in 2020, a 25% drop since 2013, according to information given to ADN by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. There’s been a comparable drop in the output of educators with master’s degrees. And that doesn’t mean those graduates actually went into Alabama classrooms.
  • Across the state, school principals are puzzling together class schedules around vacant teaching positions.
  • Read the full feature story from Mary Sell HERE.



2. Ground broken for west Alabama corridor

  • Gov. Kay Ivey and other officials held a ceremony Friday to break ground on a project to construct a four-lane highway spanning rural western Alabama from north to south.
  • Expected to cost some $758 million over five years, the West Alabama Corridor project will provide an interstate-type highway that will eventually connect Mobile and Tuscaloosa.
  • A bypass at the Marengo County city of Linden is the first phase of the project.
  • Read more HERE.




A message from the
Alabama League of Municipalities


  • In 1994, the Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) established its Certified Municipal Official (CMO) training program, a voluntary educational service specifically designed for mayors and councilmembers that provides formal training in municipal government.
  • The program has three levels: Basic Certified Municipal Official (40 hours), Advanced (additional 40 hours) and Emeritus, which recognizes officials who have excelled beyond the Basic and Advanced requirements.
  • On November 3rd, ALM graduated 47 municipal officials with their CMO certification; 23 received their Advanced designation; and 11 received their Emeritus certification. Congratulations to these graduates!






3. Alabama man arrested in DC for guns, explosives admits guilt

  • A north Alabama man arrested after police found multiple guns and incendiary devices in his pickup truck near the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection has pleaded guilty to weapons charges.
  • Lonnie Coffman, 71, pleaded guilty on two federal charges of possession of unregistered firearms related to Molotov cocktails found in the vehicle and at his home near Falkville, located about 60 miles north of Birmingham, prosecutors said in a statement. Coffman also pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license in a District of Columbia court.
  • Coffman, who already was in custody, could receive as long as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the federal charges and five years and a $12,500 fine for the local offense, authorities said.
  • Coffman was one of hundreds of people arrested after rioters supporting then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to block certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
  • Police found Coffman’s truck loaded with 11 jars containing a flammable liquid; several loaded guns; a crossbow with bolts; several machetes; camouflage smoke devices and a stun gun, prosecutors said.
  • Read more HERE.




4. Congress returns with eye on Biden’s big budget bill

  • Congress returns to Washington today for a weeklong session that could stretch into next week’s planned Thanksgiving recess. That’s if Democrats can’t corral enough votes for President Joe Biden’s massive tax and spending package for House passage this week.
  • The White House is expressing confidence that the $1.85 trillion package will pass the House of Representatives this week, delivering a badly-needed win for the president.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ready for a vote, but a handful of moderates are holding out for an official score from the Congressional Budget Office. That’s what will officially say whether or not the bill’s spending provisions are truly “paid for” by tax increases as Biden claims.
  • That full report might not be available until later in the week. Read more about the CBO scoring process and what it means HERE.
  • The bill is expected to face changes in the Senate. With Republican opposition and an evenly split 50-50 Senate, Biden has no votes to spare.
  • Manchin in particular has been vocal about the risk of aggravating budget shortfalls and already has managed to bring the bill down from Biden’s original $3.5 trillion price tag. Last week, Manchin again sounded the alarm over “the threat posed by record inflation.”
  • Read the full story HERE.


5. Bo Nix to have season-ending ankle surgery

  • Auburn quarterback Bo Nix will miss the final two games of the regular season with an ankle injury.
  • Nix was injured in a 43-34 loss to Mississippi State Saturday that represented the program’s biggest collapse after leading 28-3. A team spokesman confirmed Sunday night that the Tigers quarterback is scheduled to have surgery on Monday.
  • Nix, a three-year starter, stayed in the game before getting replaced by LSU transfer T.J. Finley in the final minutes. Auburn visits South Carolina on Saturday and closes the regular season against No. 2 Alabama.
  • Nix posted on Twitter and Instagram about the injury
  • “Bones break and things change, but God is always the same,” Nix posted. “One of my favorite verses is John 13:7, ‘Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I’m doing, but later you will understand.’ The Lord’s timing is our schedule. The road to recovery begins tomorrow.”
  • Read more HERE.




A message from

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ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In teacher shortage, advocates stress better benefits
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Groundbreaking held for nearly $760M west Alabama highway
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama man arrested in DC for guns, explosives admits guilt
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress returns with eye on Biden’s big budget bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – With Dems’ prized bill at stake, a numbers game looms ahead
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Auburn QB Bo Nix to have season-ending ankle surgery
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS -Last in math: Alabama politicians look for ways to close gap
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Rogers, Mississippi State rally past No. 16 Auburn 43-34
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Carnival Cruises to resume Alabama operations March 5
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New site honors first Black student at Auburn University
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nations compromise on coal to strike UN climate agreement
AL.COM – US Catholic bishops unlikely to criticize Biden over abortion
AL.COM – Mayor Randall Woodfin to attend Biden infrastructure bill signing at the White House
AL.COM – Alabama school board association seeks to leave national group after terrorism memo
AL.COM – Thousands of military families struggle with food insecurity
Montgomery Advertiser – Autauga County Schools to unveil plan for new schools before Tuesday vote on increased property taxes
Montgomery Advertiser – Amazon’s $100M Montgomery project: Three things you need to know
Montgomery Advertiser – All is Bright! EastChase bringing on Christmas with Santa, fireworks and music on Nov. 20
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham needs volunteers for busy holiday season
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Officer shot in foot at Birmingham nightclub
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to attend Infrastructure Bill signing in Washington D.C.
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa police headquarters renovation features training upgrades
Tuscaloosa News – The intersection of environmental justice and civil rights: How DOJ investigation could play out
Tuscaloosa News – Eutaw man dies in head-on collision in Sumter County, troopers say
Decatur Daily – $7 million attorney fee in 3M settlement approved retroactively
Decatur Daily – Officials: Campground changes worked and revenues increased
Decatur Daily – Lawrence County Commission studies district lines
Times Daily – Keller rolls out policy for employee vaccinations
Times Daily – Advocates suggest housing assistance for those leaving prison
Times Daily – Ag center board wants more information on escalator
Anniston Star – Fellowship group hands out food, warm clothing
YellowHammer News – State Sen. Smitherman: Ivey call to delay Literacy Act third-grade reading requirement ‘disappointing’ — ‘Just trying to get past’ election year
Gadsden Times – Craig Ford announces his bid for Gadsden mayor, cites experience and passion
Gadsden Times – Humane Society agreement reached; prep work for electric trains gets OK
Gadsden Times – Gadsden’s First United Methodist marks 175th anniversary
Dothan Eagle – Shell wants to move headquarters amid cleaner energy shift
Dothan Eagle – India opens to vaccinated foreign tourists after 18 months
Dothan Eagle – Japan-US launch talks to resolve dispute over tariffs
Opelika-Auburn News – Cambodia reopens 2 weeks early, buoyed by high vaccine rates
Opelika-Auburn News – US, Japan launch talks to settle dispute over tariffs on steel, aluminum, firm up economic partnership
Opelika-Auburn News – World shares higher ahead of talks between Biden, China’s Xi
WSFA Montgomery – 1 killed, 5 injured in overnight Troy shooting, police say
WSFA Montgomery – Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in Macon County
WSFA Montgomery – Last in math: Alabama politicians look for ways to close gap
WAFF Huntsville – Hearing to determine if Seeley needs mental evaluation
WAFF Huntsville – Juvenile shot in Montgomery Saturday night
WAFF Huntsville – We are the ‘Young Thundering Herd’
WKRG Mobile – US journalist freed from Myanmar jail with ex-diplomat’s aid
WKRG Mobile – UK police: Blast outside hospital was terrorist incident
WKRG Mobile – China stock exchange for entrepreneurs launches in Beijing
WTVY Dothan – Pastor Kenneth Glasgow bolsters team to defend him in cocaine case
WTVY Dothan – 3 men shot in Montgomery Sunday afternoon
WTVY Dothan – State fire marshal warns of house fires ahead of first cold snap
WASHINGTON POST – Republicans seek a U.S. Senate takeover in 2022 but struggle over candidates
WASHINGTON POST – In wake of Bannon indictment, Republicans warn of payback
WASHINGTON POST – Once more unto the breach: Pelosi strives to deliver an agenda that has divided her caucus, testing her power
NEW YORK TIMES – Republicans Gain Heavy House Edge in 2022 as Gerrymandered Maps Emerge
NEW YORK TIMES – Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm
NEW YORK TIMES – U.S. Journalist Danny Fenster Is Freed From Myanmar Prison
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden, Xi Teams Set Modest Hopes for Monday Talks
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Inflation Surge Pushes Gold to Five-Month High
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Democrats Fear Steep Losses in 2022 Midterm House Races

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