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Daily News Digest – September 8, 2021

Presented by the

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, September 8.

1. Big day for prison plan

  • If you’re an ADN Insider and read yesterday’s Inside Alabama Politics, you know the basics of the prison construction plan nearing its final stages of development and how it differed from an earlier draft.
  • Now, there are more details, including another draft bill that both GOP legislative caucuses are reviewing and will be discussing in meetings today. (Tip of the cap to Mike Cason for first reporting the bill draft).
  • There’s also a handy summary for those who don’t want to read a 29 page bill.
  • Also, Gov. Kay Ivey sent members of the Legislature a letter asking them to get behind the prison construction proposal and laying out the reasons why it is necessary. (Another hat tip to Brian Lyman for having that first).
  • Should it all come together, we could be looking at an announcement on a special session as soon as tomorrow.
  • Then again, this is the Alabama Legislature and things can spin out of control at any minute.
  • Read all of it – the bill, the summary and Ivey’s letter – in Mary Sell’s latest HERE.

2. Hassell wins in HD78

  • Kenyatte Hassell is the newest member of the Alabama Legislature.
  • The Montgomery Democrat won the House District 78 special general election Tuesday night, securing 80% of the vote.
  • Hassell beat Republican nominee Loretta Grant who received 19.8% of the vote, according to unofficial election results.
  • With a small turnout in the special election, that amounted to 1,028 votes for Hassell and 254 for Grant.
  • Hassell is a life-long Montgomery resident and father of four, according to his campaign website. He works for YoungLife, a Christian youth ministry, and manages a barber shop.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck and watch Hassell’s victory speech HERE.






A message from the 

Alabama Municipal Electric Authority

  • One million Alabamians depend on reliable, affordable, innovative public power.
  • Public utilities employ 93,000 people in local jobs across the U.S.Revenues from public power utilities go back into the community.
  • 2,000 communities large and small across the U.S. trust public power.
  • To learn more about AMEA and public power, visit





3. Counties ask for $10M reimbursement from state for county jail strains

  • The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is asking for a $10 million reimbursement from the state for the increased strain on county jails taking care of state inmates.
  • The association approved the resolution last week that requests Gov. Kay Ivey and the state Legislature to “retroactively reimburse county governments for their extended care of an increased number of State-responsible inmates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a consequence of the Alabama Department of Corrections’ decision to drastically reduce its intake activities in 2020 and 2021.”
  • The reimbursement amount is for the time from Jan. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021 and accounts for all counties, Abby Fitzpatrick, director of communication and engagement for the association, told Alabama Daily News.
  • The $10 million estimate is based on the reimbursement rate of $28 per inmate per day that the Alabama Department of Corrections used in paying counties in 2020 through state CARES Act funds, Fitzpatrick said.
  • County officials have been advocating for more resources to take care of state inmates for many years and the problem has only gotten worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.


4. COVID-19 boosters are coming but who will get them and when?

  • COVID-19 booster shots may be coming for at least some Americans but already the Biden administration is being forced to scale back expectations — illustrating just how much important science still has to be worked out.
  • The initial plan was to offer Pfizer or Moderna boosters starting Sept. 20, contingent on authorization from U.S. regulators. But now administration officials acknowledge Moderna boosters probably won’t be ready by then — the Food and Drug Administration needs more evidence to judge them. Adding to the complexity, Moderna wants its booster to be half the dose of the original shots.
  • As for Pfizer’s booster, who really needs another dose right away isn’t a simple decision either. What’s ultimately recommended for an 80-year-old vaccinated back in December may be different than for a 35-year-old immunized in the spring — who likely would get a stronger immunity boost by waiting longer for another shot.
  • FDA’s scientific advisers will publicly debate Pfizer’s evidence on Sept. 17, just three days before the administration’s target. If the FDA approves another dose, then advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will recommend who should get one.
  • That’s tricky because while real-world data shows the vaccines used in the U.S. remain strongly protective against severe disease and death, their ability to prevent milder infection is dropping. It’s not clear how much of that is due to immunity waning or the extra-contagious delta variant — or the fact that delta struck just as much of the country dropped masks and other precautions.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Evacuees plead for action: ‘We are in some kind of jail’

  • The Americans trying to evacuate hundreds of Afghans and American citizens — including one Afghan who worked as a U.S. military translator and says he is anticipating his beheading by the Taliban — pleaded for action from the Biden administration Tuesday to get the would-be evacuees aboard charter flights that are standing by to fly them from Afghanistan.
  • “Unfortunately we are left behind now,” the former translator said Tuesday. “No one heard our voice.”
  • The man, whose identity was withheld for his security, said he was running out of money to keep his family housed in a hotel in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, after waiting a week for Taliban permission for the chartered evacuation flights to leave the airport there.
  • U.S. Army veterans working to help the man, an interpreter for U.S. forces for 15 years, called the effort more grinding than their deployments in Afghanistan. They tried and failed to get their old interpreter on the earlier airlifts that ended with the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan Aug. 30.
  • “I hope we can help them out, and get them out of this mess,” said a retired Army colonel, Thomas McGrath, one of the veterans trying to help his former interpreter.
  • Hundreds of vulnerable Afghans are waiting for permission from Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to board prearranged charter flights standing by at the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif.
  • The group includes dozens of American citizens and green card holders and their families, the Afghans and their American advocates say.
  • Read more HERE.


Bonus: AP Top 25

  • Georgia jumped three spots to No. 2 behind Alabama in The Associated Press Top 25 released Tuesday, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the country for the 30th time in the 85-year history of the college football poll.
  • It is the second time in the last three seasons and the third in the last five that the SEC is sitting 1-2 in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank. Alabama and LSU had a four-week run as Nos. 1 and 2 in the 2019 season before they played each other.
  • The Crimson Tide strengthened its hold on No. 1 after it throttled Miami in the first full week of the regular season. Alabama received 59 first-place votes, up from the 47 it had in the preseason poll.
  • No. 25 Auburn grabbed the final spot and has now been ranked for at least one week in nine straight seasons.
  • Read more and see the full poll HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers meeting today on new prison proposal; Ivey sends letter of support, encouragement
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Kenyatte Hassell wins HD 78 special general election
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Counties ask for $10M reimbursement from state for county jail strains
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – COVID-19 boosters are coming but who will get them and when?
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Evacuees plead for action: ‘We are in some kind of jail’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – AP Top 25: Georgia jumps to No. 2 behind Tide; Auburn moves in
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Moment of silence today for COVID-19 victims
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congressional committee questions Alabama’s ‘slow’ distribution of rental assistance
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Taliban stop planes of evacuees from leaving
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Column: The miracle of America in the Afghanistan debacle
AL.COM – Alabama has 181 more ICU patients than staffed beds; 52% of ICU patients have COVID
AL.COM – Jefferson County DA Danny Carr announces prosecution diversion program for young first-time offenders of low-level crimes
AL.COM – Here’s where you can find Alabama weekly school COVID cases.
AL.COM – New Alabama veterans department official will focus on suicide prevention
AL.COM – Taliban announces interim Afghanistan government, breaks up demonstration.
AL.COM – John Archibald: Experts say we’ll beat COVID if leaders lead.
AL.COM – Dana Hall McCain: Texas abortion law pros and cons
Montgomery Advertiser – Kenyatte Hassell wins House District 78 election
Montgomery Advertiser – New prison proposal set to be unveiled; Gov. Kay Ivey urges legislative action
Montgomery Advertiser – Order bricks by Sept. 17 to be added to Pike Road Veterans Memorial Walk of Honor
Decatur Daily – Local jails seen as models for following procedures to keep COVID cases down
Decatur Daily – Alabama universities try out vaccine incentives to boost shots
Decatur Daily – Congressional committee questions Alabama’s ‘slow’ distribution of rental assistance
Times Daily – Counties seek $10M reimbursement from state
Times Daily – Admission cut for scaled-back North Alabama State Fair
Times Daily – COVID Trend Continues Upward in Most Area Schools
Anniston Star – City Council hears plan for water, sewer line replacement on West 14th
Anniston Star – Weaver graduate hopes for oncological miracle
Anniston Star – Monday night shooting in Anniston leaves one injured
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – New developer firm has plans for Ensley
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Refuel Ministries serving hot meals in hurricane battered Louisiana
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Palmerdale firefighter injured in action
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa police arrest 13 during heightened patrol of the Strip
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa mayor names Carly Standridge, Jarrod Milligan as department heads to fill vacated roles
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa Police Department returns to headquarters after nearly $5 million renovation
YellowHammer News – AU student says he was denied SGA position over conservative views — ‘perfect example of cancel culture’
YellowHammer News – Statewide candidates look to bolster fundraising efforts nearing end of Q3
Gadsden Times – Noccalula Road to be partially closed on Wednesday for water repairs
Gadsden Times – Etowah COVID-19 cases numbers down slightly; hospital ICUs still at capacity
Gadsden Times – Commissioners approve several new hires, board reappointments
Dothan Eagle – Coast Guard calls off search for missing Florida diver
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Elders leader tells UN council to protect rights
Dothan Eagle – Merkel seeks to boost party before election, rebukes deputy
Opelika-Auburn News – Coast Guard calls off search for missing Florida diver
Opelika-Auburn News – Biden aims to get agenda back on track; remembering Michael K. Williams; US Open update
Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: Elders leader tells UN council to protect rights
WSFA Montgomery – Longtime Montgomery physician dies following ALS battle
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery City Council addresses apartments operating without licenses
WSFA Montgomery – Cusseta man dies in Bullock County crash
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville Police asking ALEA to investigate in-custody death
WAFF Huntsville – Athens-Limestone Hospital takes moment of silence for COVID victims
WAFF Huntsville – Activists helping family of 4-year-old Decatur boy killed
WKRG Mobile – NW Florida first responders help Hurricane Ida survivors in Louisiana
WKRG Mobile – More first responders are dying of COVID-19
WKRG Mobile – Trending September 7: What is the ‘Carolina Squat’ and why is it being outlawed?
WTVY Dothan – Chris Davis officially sworn in as fire chief
WTVY Dothan – Alabama sees uptick in COVID hospitalizations
WTVY Dothan – Vendors needed for Headland’s annual Harvest Festival celebration
WASHINGTON POST – Biden surveys Ida storm damage in New Jersey, New York — warns of ‘code red’ moment on climate change
WASHINGTON POST – Who leads Afghanistan’s new government? Here’s what we know about the Taliban’s top officials.
WASHINGTON POST – Powerful earthquake strikes Mexico, shaking buildings in capital
NEW YORK TIMES – Britney Spears’s Father Files to End Her Conservatorship
NEW YORK TIMES – Cameras, Drones and X-Ray Vans: How 9/11 Transformed the N.Y.P.D. Forever
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid Live Updates: New Restrictions Greet U.S. Travelers in Europe
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Mexico Hit by Powerful Earthquake
WALL STREET JOURNAL – For Chobani, Allbirds, Other Coming IPOs, Greed Is Out. Do-Gooding Is In.
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes’s Trial Set to Begin

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