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Daily News Digest – January 20, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Wednesday, January 20.


1. Inauguration Day

  • At noon today, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
  • This Inauguration Day will look unlike anything the nation has seen before as the scars of COVID-19 and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol turn the West Front into a virtual ghost town compared to years past.
  • Instead of a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, there will be a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Instead of balls, there will be Zoom parties.
  • Instead of hundreds of thousands congregating on the Capitol grounds and on the National Mall, there will be thousands of National Guard members.
  • Tiny flags representing each state have been planted on the National Mall where onlookers usually gather.
  • Read more about what to watch for today HERE.


2. Trump says farewell, issues pardons

  • President Donald Trump trumpeted his administration’s accomplishments and wished his successor luck in a farewell video released Tuesday.
  • “This week we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” Trump said in the video. “We extend our best wishes. And we also want them to have luck — a very important word…
  • “As President, my top priority, my constant concern, has always been the best interests of American workers and American families,” he said. “I did not seek the easiest course; by far, it was actually the most difficult. I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do.”
  • Trump also made clear that he has no plans of going quietly into the night, telling his supporters that, as he prepares “to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning. There’s never been anything like it.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that Trump is considering starting his own political party called the “Patriot Party.”
  • Read more and watch the video HERE.
  • Trump also issued a flurry of pardons and sentence commutations, as is typical of a departing president.
  • Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Duke Cunningham and and Kwame Kilpatrick were some of the high-profile names on the list.
  • Also included: former Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, who pleaded guilty in a Medicaid fraud scheme two years ago. His pardon was supported by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
  • See the full list HERE.



3. Robbins wins in HD33

  • Republican Ben Robbins will be the newest member of the Alabama Legislature.
  • Robbins won a special general election against Democrat Fred Crum in House District 33, according to unofficial results from the Alabama Secretary of State.
  • Robbins, an attorney from Sylacauga, received 2,232 votes, 68%, Tuesday.
  • “Thank you to all the voters across Talladega, Coosa, and Clay Counties!” Robbins told supporters on Facebook. “I am excited to get to work for the great people of our district!”
  • The special election was needed to replace former Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, who died in July 2020. He’d served in the House since first elected in 1978 and was the longest-serving member.
  • Story link.



4. Lawmakers call on ADPH to fix ‘kink’ in vaccine recording

  • Thousands of people showed up at sites from the coast to the Tennessee Valley as Alabama began vaccinating senior citizens for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • People spent the night in cars waiting for shots in Baldwin County, where health workers began immunizing people early Tuesday. County health workers in Huntsville vaccinated 500 people on Monday although only 300 people had appointments. Other sites opened in cities ranging in size from Birmingham to Rainsville.
  • The state is offering vaccines to people 75 and older after limiting the initial doses to health workers.
  • Alabama Department of Public Health statistics show about 150,000 have received shots statewide, but the number does not include those who were immunized most recently. More than 600,000 people are currently eligible for vaccinations in Alabama, including 325,000 health care workers and 350,000 people who are 75 or older. The state has so far received 446,000 doses, according to state numbers.
  • Read more on that HERE.
  • Meanwhile, four Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday called on the Alabama Department of Public Health to improve its COVID-19 vaccine distribution pipeline and recording system.
  • State Sens. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, Greg Albritton, R-Range, Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and Randy Price, R-Opelika, said in a written statement that Alabama’s vaccine pipeline has a “kink” which could result in Alabama missing out on vaccines distributed from the federal government.
  • “The distribution of vaccines to Alabama will continue to be interrupted until Alabama plays by the rules,” the senators said. “The rule is simple: The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will not authorize shipments to Alabama until they know we are using what we have on hand. Our citizens are paying a deadly price.”
  • In response, ADPH said the state’s allotment of vaccines is based on population, not rate of distribution.
  • “While the department works with CDC to resolve data issues that have been encountered due to a response of this size, it does not in any way affect the number of doses that Alabama receives,” ADPH said.
  • Read more from Caroline Beck HERE.




5. News Briefs


Space shuttle mockup to be restored

  • HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama announced plans Tuesday to restore the world’s only full-sized mockup of a space shuttle coupled with an external fuel tank and twin rocket boosters.
  • The shuttle test model, called Pathfinder, has been weathering outside the museum in Huntsville for more than three decades. The restoration work will be funded with a $500,000 federal grant and additional corporate donations, officials said.
  • The shuttle mockup was mated with a huge fuel tank and two prototype solid-rocket boosters for display at the state-owned museum in 1988. The multimillion refurbishment will take several years and involve removing the display, repairing it and returning it to its giant concrete stand.
  • Consisting of a shuttle-shaped metal frame covered with sheeting, Pathfinder was originally used to test ground handling, transportation and other procedures for the space shuttle. Once testing was completed and it wasn’t further needed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Pathfinder was outfitted with fiberglass, plywood panels and engines to more closely resemble an actual shuttle.

Doug Jones named as politics fellow at Georgetown

  • MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama has been named as a politics fellow this spring at Georgetown University.
  •  Jones will be one of six fellows at the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
  • The university said in a Tuesday news release that fellows will host virtual discussion groups. The fellows also host virtual office hours where students can ask questions and discuss the latest developments in domestic and foreign policy.
  • Jones wrote on Twitter that he’ll be discussing ‘Justice in America: Bridging the Divides.’
  • “We’ll examine the relation between our divides & injustice, & how bridging those divides can bring about lasting change,” Jones wrote on Twitter.

Inmate captured after fleeing community program in Mobile

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An inmate serving time on a drug conviction was captured after escaping from a community-based prison program in Mobile early Tuesday, the Department of Corrections said.
  • Michael Lee Jones, 53, was discovered missing from a work center in the port city at 2 a.m., the agency said. He was arrested almost nine hours later at Interstate 65 south, but details weren’t immediately available.
  • Jones was sentenced to 35 years in 1998 after being convicted of distributing drugs in Talladega County. He was considered a minimum-security inmate.

Sheriff: Armed suspect fatally shot by Alabama deputy

  • PELL CITY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff’s deputy fatally shot an armed man while responding to a domestic violence call, authorities said Tuesday.
  • The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office was called to a Pell City home after 10 p.m. Monday on a report of a physical domestic altercation, according to Sheriff Billy Murray.
  • When officers arrived, they encountered a man later identified as Kevin Darion Wells, 56, who was brandishing a handgun, the agency said.
  • Murray said deputies repeatedly ordered Wells to drop the weapon but he pointed his gun at a deputy. The deputy fired, striking Wells, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Wells had a previous misdemeanor domestic violence charge that was dismissed at the state’s request in August, according to court records obtained by
  • Murray said the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the shooting. He did not say whether the deputy was injured or whether they would be placed on leave during the review.




ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – An inauguration unlike any other amid a pandemic, unrest


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump wishes new administration luck in farewell video


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Thousands flocking to virus vaccination sites across Alabama


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers call on ADPH to fix ‘kink’ in vaccine recording


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Robbins wins special House District 33 election


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Space and Rocket Center to restore full-sized mockup of space shuttle


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations begin trending down


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 18, 2021


AL.COM  – 2,495 new COVID-19 cases added in Alabama


AL.COM – Alabama COVID vaccine sites draw thousands, many wait overnight for dose


AL.COM – 2,495 new COVID-19 cases added in Alabama


AL.COM – Ex-Alabama lawmaker Ed Henry among last-minute pardons granted by Trump


AL.COM – Republican Ben Robbins wins state House District 33 special election


AL.COM – Signs near Alabama Capitol reminders of state law banning firearms at demonstrations


AL.COM – Just engaged, political activist Hannah Ford dies in crash after visit to wedding venue


AL.COM – Sen. Tommy Tuberville will attend Joe Biden inauguration


Montgomery Advertiser – Police investigating 2 shootings, each with one injury


Montgomery Advertiser – 2021 MLK Student Perspectives: Madalyn Milladge


Montgomery Advertiser – 2021 MLK Student Perspectives: Serenity Griffin


Tuscaloosa News – COVID-19 cases hold steady in Tuscaloosa one week after title celebration


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa man dies, two others injured in a two-vehicle crash


Tuscaloosa News – Flawed arch removed at McFarland Boulevard overpass in Tuscaloosa


Decatur Daily – People enjoy day off celebrating King’s birthday


Decatur Daily – Limestone sheriff: Gambling arrest made, 63 machines seized


Decatur Daily – Denying bond, judge says Falkville man had ‘cache of firepower’ at Capitol riot


Times Daily – Apprentices fabricating 96-foot long steel bridge to place in Spring Park


Times Daily – Deputy assigned to western part of Lauderdale County


Times Daily – Area police, deputies keeping an “attentive” eye on things leading up to inauguration day


Anniston Star – Lawmakers call on ADPH to fix ‘kink’ in vaccine recording


Anniston Star – Cleburne County Hospital Board OKs one pay incentive, to consider others


Anniston Star – Anniston council tries to sort through the garbage problem


YellowHammer News – Lawmakers decry ‘kink’ in Alabama’s COVID vaccine distribution — ‘Our citizens are paying a deadly price’


YellowHammer News – Buc-ee’s opening Leeds location on Monday


YellowHammer News – Ivey joins other states, organizations in proclaiming Tuesday to be National Day of Racial Healing


Gadsden Times – Commission supports late fee on delinquent property tax; bill could bring $2 per day fine


Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 testing at Houston, Coffee health departments halted due to limited staffing


Dothan Eagle – Wiregrass COVID-19 related deaths mounting as seniors begin recieving vaccine


Dothan Eagle – Dothan School Board to announce new Superintendent Student Advisory Council


Opelika-Auburn News – New COVID-19 cases in east Alabama remain steady


Opelika-Auburn News – Local restaurateur brings slices of Italy to downtown Opelika


Opelika-Auburn News – Where you can get a COVID-19 test locally


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ADPH to launch an online COVID vaccine registration portal to help streamline process.


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Brookdale Nursing Home hosts second COVID-19 vaccine clinic


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa County Sheriff encouraging deputies to get coronavirus vaccination shots


WSFA Montgomery – MPD: Protests could close some downtown streets Wednesday


WSFA Montgomery – Tallassee breaks ground on new multimillion dollar high school


WSFA Montgomery – ADPH responds after 4 Alabama senators release letter on COVID-19 vaccine distribution issues


WAFF Huntsville – Family looking for answers after they say a 91-year-old cancer patient doesn’t get COVID-19 vaccine


WAFF Huntsville – Madison County Democrats hosting virtual Inauguration Day watch party


WAFF Huntsville – IRS spokesperson shares important message before filing


WKRG Mobile – Mobile native brings Elite AAU basketball team to the city


WKRG Mobile – How seniors can sign up for vaccines this week in NW Florida


WKRG Mobile – Alabama lawmakers write letter on COVID-19 distribution problems


WTVY Dothan – Phyllis Edwards demands over half million from Dothan School Board


WTVY Dothan – Limited nursing home access putting strain on families


WTVY Dothan – Dothan Police Department offers free women’s self defense course


WASHINGTON POST – Trump grants clemency to 143 people in late-night pardon blast


WASHINGTON POST – Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say


WASHINGTON POST – Biden to sign a blizzard of executive orders starting Wednesday that will reverse Trump’s policies


NEW YORK TIMES – With Hours Left in Office, Trump Grants Clemency to Bannon and Other Allies


NEW YORK TIMES – Deepening Schism, McConnell Says Trump ‘Provoked’ Capitol Mob


NEW YORK TIMES – The Financial Minefield Awaiting an Ex-President Trump


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Trump Issues 73 Pardons, Including to Ex-Aide Steve Bannon


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Big Earnings Day


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden’s First-Day Orders Will Include Mask Mandate, Blocking Keystone Pipeline




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