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Daily News Digest – January 25, 2021

Good morning!

Here’s your Daily News for Monday, January 25.

1. White House, Congress begin talks on COVID relief

  • Top aides to President Joe Biden have begun talks with a group of moderate Senate Republicans and Democrats on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package as Biden faces increasing headwinds in his effort to win bipartisan backing for the initial legislative effort of his presidency.
  • Lawmakers on the right question the wisdom of racking up bigger deficits while those on the left are urging Biden not to spend too much time on bipartisanship when the pandemic is killing thousands of Americans each day and costing more jobs amid tightening restrictions in many communities.
  • At least a dozen senators met for an hour and 15 minutes in a virtual call with White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese and other senior White House officials Sunday.
  • One key Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said afterward, “It seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope.”
  • Read more from Lisa Mascaro HERE.

2. Impeachment articles to be transmitted, GOP opposed

  • As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol.
  • House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol this evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again.
  • But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump’s presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defense, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year.
  • “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that “the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions.
  • Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump’s team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees.
  • Full story HERE.

3. Report: Improvements needed in state’s suicide prevention efforts

  • A recent review of the state’s suicide prevention efforts found a “fragmented” system in need of more focus and dedicated funding.
  • The suicide death rate of Alabamians increased an average of 34.6%, and as high as 85% for some groups, between 1999 and 2018, the state report said.
  • “No single organization is responsible for coordinating the state’s suicide prevention efforts, resulting in no fewer than four state agencies and multiple partners implementing a fragmented system,” said the September report from the Alabama Commission on Evaluation of Services.
  • The report is the first for the commission, referred to as ACES, created through legislation in 2019 “for the purpose of advising the Legislature and the governor regarding the evaluation of services, which may include evidence-based policymaking, within the state.”
  • Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, sponsored the legislation.
  • Read more from Mary Sell HERE.

4. State launches Alabama Family Central website

  • Parents, caregivers and teachers now have a one-stop online destination for an array of resources that can help build stronger families through the remainder of the pandemic and beyond.
  • Alabama Family Central offers education materials, child care listings, health information and services of state agencies and nonprofits.
  • The website is free, can be easily accessed by mobile phone and is meant to help those who care for children by streamlining sometimes disparate information and resources, Gov. Kay Ivey said.
  • “Great parents need strong partners. I thank the state agencies and other partners for this wonderful new resource,” Ivey said at a news conference announcing the site’s relaunch.
  • The effort came about as the result of discussions between State Sens. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, and Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, during last year’s education budget negotiations. Given how many parents had been suddenly forced to provide additional care and instruction to children, Figures wanted to find a way to get helpful resources into the hands of those who could use them. Utilizing an existing entity in Alabama Family Central and working with the A+ Education Partnership, a $500,000 line item was set in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
  • Information about the site will be communicated on agency partner websites, the Alabama Family Central Facebook page, online videos, radio, and billboards throughout the state.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Remembering Hammerin’ Hank

  • If anything, Hank Aaron was underappreciated for much of his unparalleled career.
  • Exiled far from the media spotlight — first in Milwaukee, then in Atlanta — the Hammer went about his business in baffling obscurity compared to the other stars of his era, such as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.
  • It was only late in his career, as Aaron set his sights on perhaps the most hallowed record in all of American sports, that much of the country finally seemed to recognize the greatness they’d been overlooking for the better part of two decades.
  • “In my day, sportswriters didn’t respect a baseball player unless you played in New York or Chicago,” Aaron once said. “If you didn’t come from a big city, it was hard to get noticed.”
  • That forever changed, and rightfully so, on a chilly April night in 1974 when Aaron drove a pitch from Al Downing over the left-field fence at long-gone Atlanta Stadium for his 715th homer, dethroning Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king.
  • Aaron’s death Friday at age 86 provided the impetus to look back on a career that was epic on so many levels.
  • Read more about the Mobile native’s life and career HERE.


News Briefs

Birmingham VA expands vaccine program; more doses still key

  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Birmingham VA Health Care System is expanding its ability to vaccinate veterans against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, provided it can get enough doses of the vaccine.
  • A partnership with the United Way of Central Alabama will allow the agency to provide as many as 1,000 shots a day beginning today to veterans who are at least 65 years old, the VA said. That’s up from the current daily total of 300 people.
  • The change comes because the VA’s vaccine clinic is moving into a United Way building in downtown Birmingham. Chief executive Stacy Vasquez said the system will schedule as many veterans as it can for shots, but obtaining additional vaccine is key.
  • “Right now, I have enough vaccine to take care of 5,000 people next week. But then after that, unless I get another shipment, I don’t know,” Vasquez told WBRC-TV.
  • The VA’s vaccination program operates on a separate track than the one administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health, which is offering vaccines for people 75 and older. It, too, is in need of additional vaccine.

Father arrested in abduction of 2 kids from NY foster home

  • GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — The father of two children who were forcibly taken from their western New York foster home and later found in Alabama has been arrested in the kidnapping, police announced.
  • The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that Dimitri Cash Sr. was arrested Saturday on charges of second-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary, and second-degree robbery in the abduction Monday of his children, Dimitri Jr., 5, and Shekeria, 3, from their home in the Rochester suburb of Greece.
  • The brother and sister were taken from their foster home after two men wearing ski masks broke through a window and tied up a woman and two other children, Greece police said. The children were located Wednesday after authorities tracked a rental car to Montgomery, Alabama and found them on the floor of the back seat under a blanket.
  • Cash Sr., 29, is is being held in the Monroe County Jail on $100,00 cash bail or $300,000 bond. Police said Kimara Pluviose, 32, who was driving the car the children were found in, has also been arrested and is being held in Alabama. It’s not clear if Cash or Pluviose has an attorney who can speak for them.

Ex-cop avoids federal lockup, faces state charges in beating

  • MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge in Alabama has given five years probation to a white ex-policeman who admitted trying to obstruct investigators looking into charges that he beat a Black driver.
  • Former Selma police officer Matthew Blaine Till pleaded guilty in September to three counts of obstructing justice. Although prosecutors asked for prison time, U.S. District Judge Matthew Beaverstock put him on probation, a U.S. Justice Department news release said.
  • “As part of his plea agreement, Till will no longer be able to work in local, municipal, state or federal law enforcement, nor as a corrections officer or private security guard,” the statement said.
  • Till and former Dallas County sheriff’s deputy John Matthew Taccone face state charges of felony second-degree assault and misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment and obstructing governmental operations.
  • Their state trial is scheduled in September, reported.
  • News outlets reported in September that Till’s wife called him April 30 after a road rage dispute with a “black guy in a red Charger,” which the two officers chased down and pulled over.
  • A physical struggle started after Till tried to handcuff the man, reported at the time. While the man asked what he had done, the two on-duty officers hit his face and head, and Till pulled out his gun and threatened to kill him, Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said when the assault charges were announced.
  • The state charges were brought a week after Till pleaded guilty to the federal charges. As part of that plea, he admitted that he had “used force against a citizen while on duty,” then told another law-enforcement officer multiple times not to tell investigators about his wife’s call.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House sending Trump impeachment to Senate, GOP opposes trial
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – White House begins talks with lawmakers on COVID-19 relief
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State launches Alabama Family Central website
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Report: Improvements needed in state’s suicide prevention efforts
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Aaron Appreciation: Remembering the greatness of ‘Hammering Hank’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Supply issues hinder Alabama COVID-19 vaccination efforts
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Harris explains vaccine distribution gaps
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – 2 in 5 Americans live where COVID-19 strains hospital ICUs
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – For 1st Black Pentagon chief, racism challenge is personal
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 24, 2021
AL.COM – Alabama and the Air Force: With Space Command, Huntsville enters fray Mobile faced 10 years ago
AL.COM – What went wrong with the vaccine rollout in Alabama and what happens next
AL.COM – Meet the 2020 Women Who Shape the State honorees
AL.COM – Air Force says facts, not politics favored Alabama in Space Command HQ decision
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: How the IRS covers up political corruption
AL.COM – Columnist Dana Hall McCain: Conservatives: take the chemo and live
AL.COM – Contributor Cameron Smith: The Republican world as it is, not as we wish it to be
Montgomery Advertiser – Funeral of Rev. Joey Fine held at Autauga Academy
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – JeffCo Health officials say some callers are trying to skip the line for a COVID-19 vaccine
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – How AL makes sure people get a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Mayor Randall Woodfin to launch re-election bid at drive-in kickoff event
Tuscaloosa News – Vaccine doses will continue to be in short supply for the foreseeable future, state and local officials say
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa woman dies in traffic accident near Skyland Boulevard
Decatur Daily – Police: Girlfriend helped alleged shooter escape; transit policy ‘adjusted’
Decatur Daily – Morgan County Schools recognize teachers, staff member
Decatur Daily – Development opposition is common in Decatur
Times Daily – Artist wants his busts moved out of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Times Daily – Muscle Shoals Feb. 1 council work session begins at 5 p.m.
Times Daily – Colbert Water Department exploring more upgrades
Anniston Star – Inside the COVID unit: RMC nurses speak about fear, exhaustion, patients dying alone
YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep. Carl dismisses calls for Mo Brooks censure, removal from office — ‘Mo Brooks is entitled to his opinion’
YellowHammer News – Alabama’s auto industry primes for growth milestones in 2021
YellowHammer News – Auburn University researchers examine impact of feral swine in Alabama to decrease devastation
Gadsden Times – First-term mayor Dana Snyder makes plans for Southside
Gadsden Times – Gadsden Public Library pushes forward in midst of pandemic
Gadsden Times – Cherokee County church burned, warrants obtained for suspect
Dothan Eagle – German business confidence drops more than expected
Dothan Eagle – Protest erupts over police car driving through crowd
Dothan Eagle – Samsung scion Lee won’t appeal prison sentence for bribery
Opelika-Auburn News – Asia Today: Australia OKs Pfizer vaccine, to begin in Feb.
Opelika-Auburn News – Global shares gain on recovery hopes, earnings outlook
Opelika-Auburn News – The Latest: Virus rules make for long lines at German border
WSFA Montgomery – Montgomery restaurant owner talks COVID-19 vaccine for employees
WSFA Montgomery – Memorial service held for early civil rights supporter Jean Graetz
WSFA Montgomery – Longtime lawman Mike Gillis passes away
WAFF Huntsville – Congress Mo Brooks Holds “Free The Speech” rally in Priceville
WAFF Huntsville – Bill would allow Tier II educators to collect pension after 30 years
WAFF Huntsville – COVID-19 in Alabama: 1,444 new confirmed cases on Sunday
WKRG Mobile – Mexican president tests positive for COVID-19, symptoms mild
WKRG Mobile – Deputies say ‘random’ shooting leaves woman paralyzed in Walton County, $8000 reward being offered for leads
WKRG Mobile – Biden plans to sign order for govt to buy more US goods
WTVY Dothan – ADPH confirms 1,444 new coronavirus cases Sunday
WTVY Dothan – Alabama lawmakers to meet 3 days a week the first 2 weeks of 2021 Regular Session
WTVY Dothan – Jackson County Sheriffs Office warns of phone scam, someone pretending to be attorney
WASHINGTON POST – Democrats press ahead with second impeachment trial, as GOP is divided on how to defend Trump
WASHINGTON POST – Fight over the rules grinds the Senate to a halt, imperiling Biden’s legislative agenda
WASHINGTON POST – Biden to sign order aimed at pushing federal government to buy American-made products
NEW YORK TIMES – It’s 30 Degrees. Shall We Have Brunch Outdoors?
NEW YORK TIMES – Covid-19 Live Updates: Virus Variants Push Nations to Lock Down and Zip Up Borders
NEW YORK TIMES – How the 3 Diallo Sisters Were Finally Able to Connect to Their Classes
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Biden to Sign Buy American Order for Government Procurement
WALL STREET JOURNAL – China Overtakes U.S. as World’s Leading Destination for Foreign Direct Investment
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Stock Futures Rise on Renewed Tech Surge


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