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Daily News Digest – January 12, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 12.


1. Bama wins it all, again


  • The celebration was at once familiar and unique. The confetti cannons sent a crimson and white shower into the air and Alabama players ran to the sideline to grab their championship hats and T-shirts.
  • It’s a rite of passage if you have played for the Crimson Tide under coach Nick Saban.
  • This time, though, the band playing the fight song was a piped-in recording, and when “Sweet Home Alabama” blared, only a few thousand Tide fans were in the stadium to sing along.
  • The final game of a college football season in a pandemic, a season that was uncertain to be played in the summer and filled with disruptions in the fall, ended in the most predictable fashion: Alabama as national champion for the sixth time in the last 12 years under Saban.
  • DeVonta Smith was uncoverable, Najee Harris unstoppable and Mac Jones impeccable as the top-ranked Tide won the College Football Playoff national championship game 52-24 against No. 3 Ohio State on Monday night. They finished the year 13-0 — only the second Saban team to go undefeated.
  • “I think we’re the best team to ever play,” Jones said.
  • Full story and photos HERE.



2. House speeds toward impeachment, Senate may not meet until inauguration

  • Poised to impeach, the House sped ahead with plans to oust President Donald Trump from office, warning he is a threat to democracy and pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act even more quickly in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency.
  • Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday.
  • Pending impeachment, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Inauguration Day.
  • Democrats’ House resolution was blocked by Republicans. However, the full House is to hold a roll call vote on it today, and it is expected to pass. After that, Pelosi said, Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Next would be the impeachment proceedings.
  • Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on a course involving the 25th Amendment.
  • He and Trump met late Monday for the first time since the Capitol attack, a senior administration official said.
  • Trump and Pence had a “good conversation” in the Oval Office discussing the week ahead, and they pledged to continue working for the remainder of their terms.
  • The House will almost certainly impeach the president. The question is, with eight days remaining in Trump’s term, will the Senate even take it up in a trial?
  • At the moment the Senate has no plans to meet prior to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. Convening a trial after that would mean dominating the Senate’s business with impeachment rather than other priorities during President-elect Joe Biden’s first days and weeks in office.
  • Read more HERE.



3. State House security will include state troopers

  • The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
  • An internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
  • The Alabama State Capitol has been closed to visitors for months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is aware of the threats and told Alabama Daily News it will “in conjunction with local law enforcement continue to work together to provide overall safety and security to all state buildings within the Capitol complex.”
  • That’s good.
  • The 2021 legislative session starts twelve days after the inauguration, and State House officials say they are not currently concerned about residual threats.
  • However, the State House will be beefing up security this year with the addition of state troopers to guard entrances to the building.
  • The entrances to the State House on the 1st and 2nd floors are typically guarded by private security officers and visitors must pass through a metal detector and sign a ledger. Starting this session, they’ll be guarded by state troopers empowered to make arrests and provide an extra layer of security for the building, officials said.
  • Senate Secretary Pat Harris told Alabama Daily News on Monday an agreement with ALEA is in the works to replace the private security company that has been used at the State House for the last several years.
  • “We’re working with ALEA to replace the private contract with an agreement with ALEA, who will still be responsible to the House and Senate, but we will have uniformed troopers at the doors,” Harris said.
  • “The perception is that you’ve got a professional with a Smokey the Bear hat and then you’ve got, and I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, the appearance of a rent-a-cop,” Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, told ADN on Monday.
  • Full story from Caroline Beck HERE.


4. CARES funds redirected to shore up unemployment, avoid tax increase

  • State leaders reallocated some of Alabama’s original CARES Act funding away from local governments and higher education and toward the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, drawing criticism Monday from the state’s county association.
  • Association of County Commissions of Alabama Executive Director Sonny Brasfield told county leaders on Monday that he has asked the state to reverse the decision to transfer about $70 million away from $250 million originally earmarked for counties and cities in May.
  • The Alabama Department of Finance oversees the spending of more than $1.7 billion in CARES Act funds given to the state in early 2020. In a message to Alabama Daily News Monday night, the department said the reallocation also provides reimbursement for expenses already submitted by local governments and higher education while helping stabilize the employers tax rate for Alabama’s businesses.
  • Additional details about the transfer is expected from Finance today.
  • Spending legislation approved in May said that six lawmakers, the leaders in both chambers and the four budget chairman, had to unanimously approve any changes to the original allocation of federal money.
  • In September, Gov. Kay Ivey and lawmakers dedicated $300 million to unemployment benefit costs in an effort to avoid a significant increase in the tax paid by employers. But even with that infusion, businesses are expected to be taxed more to replenish the fund. The state’s unemployment insurance benefits trust fund is supported by a tax on employers.
  • Since then, Finance Director Kelly Butler and lawmakers indicated more money — as much as $287 million — could be dedicated to the trust fund to cover COVID-19-related unemployment costs.
  • Full story from Caroline Beck and Mary Sell HERE.



5. ABC temporarily closes 41 stores

  • The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is temporarily closing 41 stores around the state in response to increasing COVID-19 cases.
  • “Closing some of our stores will provide the greatest amount of employee/customer  protection, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency,” ABC Board  Administrator Mac Gipson said in a written statement Monday. “Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our  employees and patrons.”
  • In March, the board closed 78 retail locations and made operational and staffing changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Stores reopened as infection numbers  improved.
  • According to the press release, staffing the stores recently has been a challenge because of the virus.
  • The closures will start Saturday when stores end the business day. They’re expected to reopen in late February or early March. About 79 employees at the closed stores will be reassigned to others, the board said.
  • Read more from Mary Sell and see the list of closures HERE.



News Briefs


Records: Alabama man on bond arrested after Capitol riot

  • AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man out on bond on drug charges has been taken into custody after being accused of participating in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Court records show that a judge on Monday revoked the bond for 23-year-old William Watson after prosecutors said he was identified in photographs and video of the riot.
  • “Video surveillance from inside the Capitol Building recorded images of protestors inside the building, including images of the Defendant dressed in a yellow sweatshirt standing next to a man with a horned hat. The defendant was identified by local authorities,” prosecutors wrote in a motion.
  • The FBI released the image of the bearded man in the yellow sweatshirt among photos of rioters they were hoping to identify.
  • WRBL reported that Watson was arrested Monday afternoon in Auburn.
  • Authorities noted that they were also able to identify Watson by the distinctive tattoos on his hand, and that Watson himself appeared to describe his participation in a social media post.
  • “They wanna call me Antifa because I have a video game tattoo on my hand and I was pleading for peaceful discourse. Let em say what they will. The fake news won’t win against thousands of patriots who recorded today,” read a social media post that prosecutors attributed to Watson.
  • Story link.

US asking states to speed vaccine, not hold back 2nd dose

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people older than 65 and others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that “the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused.”
  • As a result, he said, the Trump administration is now asking states to vaccinate people aged 65 and over and those under 65 with underlying health conditions. He said the vaccine production is such that the second dose of the two-shot vaccine can be released without jeopardizing immunization for those who got the first shot.
  • “We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production, Azar told ABC’s Good Morning America. “So everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.”
  • The Trump administration also is pushing to expand the number of places where people can be vaccinated by adding community health centers and additional drug stores.
  • President-elect Joe Biden is expected to give a speech Thursday outlining his plan to speed vaccines to more people in the first part of his administration. His transition team has vowed to release as many vaccine doses as possible, rather than continuing the Trump administration policy of holding back millions of doses to ensure there would be enough supply to allow those getting the first shot to get a second one.
  • Story link.

Alabama bust charges 3 with making illegal moonshine

  • HURTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — State authorities have charged three men with operating an illegal moonshine still in Alabama.
  • Investigators with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency made the arrests after discovering a 48-barrel still in rural Russell County, reported.
  • Alabama Trooper Joel Hart said authorities seized about 325 gallons of illegal moonshine found hidden in various areas of the site Wednesday. Investigators also seized items they suspect were stolen including a horse trailer, flatbed trailers and a rifle.
  • They arrested 58-year-old Manuel Eugene Davis, 34-year-old Manuel Eugene Davis Jr. and 37-year-old Gabrius Immanuel Mitchell on charges including possession of a moonshine still and illegal manufacture or distribution of moonshine whiskey.
  • It was not immediately known if any of the men charged had attorneys.

Northport mayor hospitalized with coronavirus infection

  • NORTHPORT, Ala. (AP) — The mayor of an Alabama city said he was hospitalized over the weekend after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon said in a Facebook post that he was admitted to the hospital Sunday night, hours after learning he was infected with the coronavirus, The Tuscaloosa News reported.
  • “My breathing is good,” the 67-year-old mayor wrote. “My main problem is that I developed blood clots.”
  • He said he was scheduled to undergo tests and an ultrasound Monday.
  • The mayor’s wife, Key Herndon, was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. He announced Friday that she had come home.
  • Northport is a city of about 25,000 just outside Tuscaloosa. Herndon’s election in October marked his return to the office he previously held from 2008 to 2016.





ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Unstoppable Tide: Alabama routs Ohio State for national title


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House speeding to impeach Trump for Capitol ‘insurrection’


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State House security will include state troopers


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – CARES funds redirected to shore up unemployment, avoid tax increase


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ABC temporarily closing 41 stores


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Records: Alabama man on bond arrested after Capitol riot


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – US asking states to speed vaccine, not hold back 2nd dose


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Pelosi says House will impeach Trump


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmaker: Local school boards need say in extended school closures


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New multi-state agronomy venture based in Decatur


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 11, 2021


AL.COM – 2,100 new COVID-19 cases added in Alabama, recoveries top 210,000


AL.COM – COVID vaccine update: 41,778 vaccines given in last week in Alabama, online scheduling portal opens


AL.COM – ‘Heritage House’ approved: Africatown museum to tell story of slave ship and community


AL.COM – Limited public access, more live streaming planned for Alabama legislative session


AL.COM – Resource Fiber plans bamboo products plant in Sulligent, to create 111 jobs


AL.COM – Mo Brooks facing censure resolution in House of Representatives


AL.COM – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell: ‘We cannot be intimidated by such violence’


AL.COM – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declines to blame President Trump for violence at U.S. Capitol


AL.COM – Canceling $10,000 in student debt part of Biden plan


AL.COM – Contributors Amanda Peterson Beadle and Nick Beadle: Dear Alabama congressional representatives, we’d like to introduce ourselves.


Montgomery Advertiser – ‘All hell broke loose’: Montgomery man recounts the moments a rally turned to a riot


Montgomery Advertiser – As state capitols brace for more protests, Alabama not yet planning to ramp up security


Montgomery Advertiser – Steve Marshall: Dark money group working on review in wake of deadly Capitol riot


Tuscaloosa News – COVID-19 appointment hotline gets 1.1 million calls in first day


Tuscaloosa News – Moundville man charged after authorities led on a multi-county pursuit


Tuscaloosa News – Northport mayor diagnosed with COVID-19, hospitalized over weekend blood clots


Decatur Daily – Limestone County schools delayed 2 hours Monday; state preparing roads for wintry weather


Decatur Daily – Morgan County Schools on two-hour delay Monday


Decatur Daily – Title game legacy: Hatton family continues tradition of watching Alabama play for championships


Times Daily – Sheffield ABC store to close Saturday


Times Daily – USW approves agreement ending Constellium strike


Times Daily – Winter weather may create hazards


YellowHammer News – Jefferson County running independent COVID-19 vaccination process from rest of state, creates separate hotline to call


YellowHammer News – ‘Predatory’: Former allies of Joann Bashinsky file motions against her estate during the late philanthropist’s memorial service


YellowHammer News – Resource Fiber plans groundbreaking bamboo products plant in Alabama


Gadsden Times – Man shot, woman kidnapped; suspect arrested in Calhoun County


Gadsden Times – COVID-19 appointment hotline gets 1.1 million calls in first day


Gadsden Times – 4-H members celebrate with ‘night under the stars’


Dothan Eagle – Authorities: Body of slain teen found in Georgia cemetery


Dothan Eagle – Indonesia green-lights emergency use of Chinese vaccine


Dothan Eagle – Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had the virus?


Opelika-Auburn News – Two Opelika ABC Stores among 41 temporarily closing due to rising COVID-19 cases


Opelika-Auburn News – Teenager dies after car crash in Opelika


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 hospitalizations hit 90 at EAMC


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Cullman Regional Medical Center pre-registering hundreds for COVID-19 vaccine


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH: State working to improve COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – SBA announces PPP re-opening

WSFA Montgomery – Change expert offers tips to keep New Year’s resolutions


WSFA Montgomery – House speeding to impeach Trump for Capitol ‘insurrection’


WSFA Montgomery – Multiagency alliance to combat human trafficking in Alabama


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama defeats Ohio State 52-24 in CFP National Championship Game


WAFF Huntsville – Here’s how North Alabamians are working to end human trafficking


WAFF Huntsville – Two members of Congress file resolution to censure Congressmen Mo Brooks


WKRG Mobile – ‘It’s not fair:’ Death of new father leaves family upset there’s been no arrest


WKRG Mobile – Join community townhall at Blue Wahoos Stadium regarding bridge repairs


WKRG Mobile – Patriots Coach Bill Belichick will not accept Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom


WTVY Dothan – Alabama defeats Ohio State 52-24 in CFP National Championship Game


WTVY Dothan – Bama Fever-Tiger Pride preps for possible Alabama win


WTVY Dothan – Shop Local license plates to support small businesses


WASHINGTON POST – Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol


WASHINGTON POST – Several Capitol police officers suspended, more than a dozen under investigation over actions related to rally, riot


WASHINGTON POST – Inside the remarkable rift between Donald Trump and Mike Pence


NEW YORK TIMES – House Sets Impeachment Vote to Charge Trump With Incitement


NEW YORK TIMES – Troops Flood a Rattled Washington Ahead of the Biden Inauguration


NEW YORK TIMES – Justice Dept. Pursues at Least 150 Suspects in Capitol Riot


WALL STREET JOURNAL – House Plans Trump Impeachment Vote for Wednesday


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Covid-19 Pandemic Drives Municipal Borrowing to 10-Year High


WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Job Postings End 2020 Well Below Pre-Pandemic Levels



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