Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

Daily News Digest – September 17, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama League of Municipalities


Good morning and Happy Friday!
If you’re like me, you were saddened this week by the passing of legendary comedian Norm Macdonald. He had a unique sense of humor and a fearlessness to his comedy that is all but lost today. Everybody has their favorite Norm sketch, but mine is his destruction of Courtney Thorne Smith on the Conan O’Brian show in 1997. RIP, Norm.
Here’s your Daily News for September 17.



1. Unemployment rate drops to 3.1%

  • Alabama’s unemployment rate continued to tick downward in August to 3.1%, down from 3.2% in July and 7.1% in August 2020.
  • The rate hit a pandemic high of 13.2% in April 2020. It was in the 2% range prior to the virus’ arrival in the state and subsequent slowdowns and shutdowns.
  • August’s rate represents 69,005 unemployed persons, compared to 71,678 in July and 156,709 in August 2020. This is an over-the-year drop of 87,704, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
  • Total private average weekly earnings rose to $993.35 in August, an increase from $980.56 in July and $942.57 in August of 2020.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.





2. States learning how many Afghan evacuees coming their way

  • The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states.
  • Alabama and Mississippi are each slated to welcome 10, U.S. officials said this week.
  • Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle anyone from the first group of evacuees who fled during the final days of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal last month.
  • The administration has requested funding from Congress to help resettle 65,000 Afghans in the United States by the end of this month and 95,000 by September 2022. President Joe Biden tapped the former governor of his home state of Delaware, Jack Markell, to temporarily serve as his point person on resettling Afghan evacuees in the United States.
  • States with a historically large number of Afghans who resettled in the U.S. over the last 20 years — including California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia — are again welcoming a disproportionate number of evacuees, according to the data. Many gravitate to northern Virginia, the Maryland suburbs of D.C. and northern California — some of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
  • Read more HERE.







A message from the

Alabama League of Municipalities

  • During the 2021 Regular Session, League bill SB-119 revised Alabama’s municipal elections by moving nearly all elections in Alabama’s cities and towns off the presidential election cycle where they have resided on the calendar since 1984.
  • ALM appreciates the support of Alabama’s lawmakers, especially bill sponsors Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) and Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville) and Governor Ivey for signing the bill into law.
  • Cities and towns affected by the new law will hold their next elections in August 2025 and will hold elections every four years thereafter.
  • To learn more about the Alabama League of Municipalities, visit







3. State opposes Hubbard’s early release

  • State prosecutors are urging a judge to deny former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s request for early release from prison, arguing his “belated apology” for his ethics conviction is not enough.
  • In a Wednesday court filing, the state attorney general’s office opposed Hubbard’s request for release from prison after serving a year of his 28-month sentence. In seeking early release, Hubbard wrote a letter to the judge apologizing for his conviction. Several community figures, including Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, wrote letters supporting his release.
  • The state wrote that Hubbard’s apology is a good thing, “but it is not a basis for early release.”
  • Several community figures wrote letters to the judge supporting Hubbard’s release, including Jackson and Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller. Hubbard worked on the 1985 Heisman campaign for Jackson and Jackson called Hubbard “one of my closest and most loyal friends.”
  • Read more HERE.



4. Milley defends calls to China

  • The top U.S. military officer is defending the phone calls he made to his Chinese counterpart in the turbulent final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying the conversations were intended to convey “reassurance” to the Chinese military and were in line with his responsibilities as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Some in Congress accused Gen. Mark Milley of having overstepped his authority and urged President Joe Biden to fire him, but Biden indicated Wednesday he stands behind Milley.
  • In his first public comments on the conversations, Gen. Mark Milley such said calls are “routine” and were done “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”
  • Milley has been at the center of a firestorm amid reports he made two calls to Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him that the United States was not going to suddenly go to war with or attack China.
  • Descriptions of the calls made last October and in January were first aired in excerpts from the forthcoming book “Peril” by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. The book says Milley told Li that he would warn Li in the event of an attack.
  • Milley on Friday offered only a brief defense of his calls, saying he plans a deeper discussion about the matter for Congress when he testifies at a hearing later in September.
  • “I think it’s best that I reserve my comments on the record until I do that in front of the lawmakers who have the lawful responsibility to oversee the U.S. military,” Milley said. “I’ll go into any level of detail Congress wants to go into in a couple of weeks.”
  • Milley and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are scheduled to testify Sept. 28 before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
  • Read more HERE.



5. Big football weekend

  • The two biggest matchups in college football this weekend involve our state’s teams traveling to hostile environments.
  • The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide puts its 16-game winning streak on the line Saturday against the No. 11 Florida Gators in the Swamp.
  • Florida is looking to avenge a 52-46 loss in the SEC title game last December and potentially shake up the College Football Playoff picture for the third straight week. Alabama is the first No. 1 team to visit the Swamp since Miami in 2002.
  • Florida Coach Dan Mullen is 0-10 as a head coach against the Tide, losing all nine meetings while at Mississippi State and reaching double digits last December with the Gators.
  • Read more HERE.
  • The No. 22 Auburn Tigers travel to Happy Valley to face the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions for the home team’s famous “white out” game. Both teams will look for early bragging rights in the first game of a home-and-home matchup that also could serve as a resume builder for both squads.
  • The Nittany Lions are playing for their seventh straight win while Auburn looks for its third straight in a rare visit to a Big Ten stadium.
  • The Tigers have a pair of backs who have carved up their first two opponents and could be the key to quieting a raucous crowd. Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have combined for 43 carries, 531 yards and four touchdowns. They’re running behind a physical offensive line anchored by four seniors.
  • Read more HERE.






ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment rate continues downward trend in August
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State opposes Hubbard request for early release from prison
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Milley defends calls to Chinese as effort to avoid conflict
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 11 Florida welcomes top-ranked Alabama to Swamp
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – No. 10 Penn State to draw on crowd against No. 22 Auburn
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – James stakes out ‘culture war’ issues in mulling another run for governor
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama has blocked more than $5 billion in unemployment fraud since start of pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Retain Alabama’ effort aims to sell students on homegrown opportunities
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Susan Dubose challenges Rep. Dickie Drake for HD45
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Patrice ‘Penni’ McClammy plans to run for her late father’s House seat
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House panel rejects drug pricing plan in setback to Biden
AL.COM – Alabama adds 3,972 new COVID cases, 72 deaths
AL.COM – Alabama health officer ‘can’t imagine’ hospitals could stay open if not for COVID vaccine
AL.COM – Alabama on track to end budget year with hefty balance in Education Trust Fund
AL.COM – Humminbird plans Eufaula plant expansion, to hire 77
AL.COM – This state now leads country for new COVID cases per capita
AL.COM – Austal USA’s new president: COVID has been tough, but opportunity abounds
Montgomery Advertiser – Kamden’s Cove offers space, convenience
Montgomery Advertiser – Autauga sheriff recovering from COVID-19
Montgomery Advertiser – Locals concerned about conditions at Sumter County Schools
Decatur Daily – Decatur councilman Hunter Pepper says he tested positive for COVID-19
Decatur Daily – Decatur, Hartselle seniors among 4 local National Merit Scholarship semifinalists
Decatur Daily – Pay hikes, 2% cost-of-living raise in approved Morgan County budget
Times Daily – Shoals Chamber program assists with start-up fees
Times Daily – Smith seeks Colbert district court judgeship
Times Daily – ALDOT preserving message board for future use
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – TikTok vandalism challenge makes its way to Alabama
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Urgent care wait times grow longer and it’s not just because of COVID
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham Police looking for strong-arm robbery suspects
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa County jury convicts McCalla man of murder in 2019 killing
Tuscaloosa News – Want to be on TV? Extras needed in Montgomery for filming of ABC’s ‘The Wonder Years’ reboot
Tuscaloosa News – REVIEW: ‘Always … Patsy Cline’ ropes you in, a sweet dream of music, heartache and love
YellowHammer News – State Rep. Debbie Wood announces reelection campaign
YellowHammer News – Alabama State Representative Rex Reynolds appointed to state transportation committee
YellowHammer News – AL-5 candidate Casey Wardynski attests to witnessing Gen. Milley, ‘deep state’ undermine former President Trump’s authority
Gadsden Times – Reddick says students are safe at GCHS, threat claims handled properly
Gadsden Times – Auditions for ages 6-17 are Saturday for Children’s Theatre Series play
Gadsden Times – EXTENSION CORNER: Focus on career preparation during Workforce Development Month
Dothan Eagle – Paris’ Arc de Triomphe is being wrapped in fabric
Dothan Eagle – Elton John postpones European shows after hip injury
Dothan Eagle – Ireland’s Ryanair aims to hire another 5,000 new staff
Opelika-Auburn News – The ultimate garage & estate sale guide for this weekend
WSFA Montgomery – Auburn students gather at Toomer’s Corner to protest recent sexual assaults
WSFA Montgomery – Pandemic brings supply, staffing issues to Montgomery restaurant
WSFA Montgomery – Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar opens in Montgomery
WAFF Huntsville – Students stealing school property at Madison City, Muscle Shoals City Schools for TikTok challenge
WAFF Huntsville – YKTA celebrates start of production for Mazda Toyota parts
WAFF Huntsville – Advocacy organization shares toxic report of Daikin America’s Decatur plant
WKRG Mobile – Japan governing party begins race to pick Suga successor
WKRG Mobile – Biden angers France, EU with new Australia, UK initiative
WKRG Mobile – EXPLAINER: Kim’s launches show push to boost nuke arsenal
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise Career & Technology preparing students for future in career prep class
WTVY Dothan – Family of patient transported from Enterprise to Nashville speaks
WTVY Dothan – One year since Hurricane Sally hit the Wiregrass
WASHINGTON POST – Biden’s submarine accord with Australia angers both France and China
WASHINGTON POST – Trump gave six months extra Secret Service protection to his kids, three officials. It cost taxpayers $1.7 million. 
WASHINGTON POST – At an economic inflection point, Biden leans into expansive, populist agenda
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: F.D.A. Panel Meets to Consider Booster Shots
NEW YORK TIMES – Thousands of Migrants Huddle in Squalid Conditions Under Texas Bridge
NEW YORK TIMES – As Russians Vote, Resignation, Anger and Fear of a Post-Putin Unknown
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Universal’s New Beijing Theme Park Will Ride on U.S.-China Ties
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Becoming a Starting Quarterback in College Is Sweet—While It Lasts
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S.-Australia Submarine Pact Targets China’s Undersea Weakness




Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)



Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia