Author: Virginia Martin

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List of Fireworks Displays and Celebrations (ABC 33/40)
State Supreme Court: Greenetrack Owes $76 Million in Taxes (Associated Press)
‘Lawyer for All Humankind’: Fred Gray to Be Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom (Montgomery Advertiser)
Business Community Hoping for Long-Lasting Impact From World Games (Birmingham Business Journal)
Whatley Concedes in SD27 Race; GOP Says ‘Several Areas of Concern’ in Election Process (Alabama Daily News)
No Monkeypox in Alabama, but Officials Ready If It Comes (WHNT)
COVID-19 Omicron Subvariants Sparking Gradual Rise in Cases in Alabama (Montgomery Advertiser)

Emotions of Abortion Debate Put Newswriters in a Language Jungle

I don’t know how journalists writing about the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs abortion decision manage to meet their deadlines. They have to stop practically every other sentence to think and avoid words and phrases that are loaded like landmines.

I can’t think of any other issue in which the language has become so politicized. Journalists writing news stories seek truthful characterizations while steering clear of perceived partisanship. This may be impossible here. Read more.

Birmingham Council Passes Woodfin’s Budget Untouched; Police, Public Works, Youth Programs Biggest Winners

The Birmingham City Council has approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year. The vote, which happened during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, was surprisingly low-key; the budget was approved with a slate of other routine items as part of the council’s consent agenda, with no changes from the budget Woodfin proposed last month.

That lack of controversy has become routine for the once-fraught budgeting process because of 2016 changes in the state’s Mayor-Council Act that prevent the council from altering the proposed budget without the mayor’s approval. While Woodfin had made mild compromises with the council over budgets at the beginning of his first term, his last two budgets were passed without any changes from his proposals.

At $517 million, the budget is the city’s largest ever, marking a $61.5 million increase from last year, thanks to a significant increase in business tax and licensing revenues. Read more.

Birmingham Area at High Risk of COVID Transmission

Every county in the Birmingham metropolitan area except Blount has been moved into the high-risk category for COVID-19 transmission.

Jefferson County’s positivity rate has been rising and now stands at 25%, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the county has had an average of 291 new cases a day for the past seven days. Hospital admissions in the county are up somewhat, with 10 more patients over last week, for a 2% increase.

The swath of counties with high transmission risks means residents need to exercise more care, including making sure their vaccinations are up to date and wearing masks if they are at a high risk from the virus, said Dr. Wesley Willeford, Jefferson County Health Department’s medical director of disease control. He said health officials see no need now to issue mandates as they did in 2020. Read more.