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Daily News Digest – January 5, 2021

Presented by Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies


Good morning!

We are saddened by the passing of Dr. Bill Stewart, the long time political science professor at the University of Alabama. Anyone who worked in Alabama politics for the last 30 years knew Bill because he made sure you did. He was a state treasure who will be greatly missed.

Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, January 5.


1. All eyes on Georgia

  • Control of the United States Senate is on the ballot today in Georgia.
  • In something of a quirk, two runoff elections – one regularly scheduled and the other special to fill a vacancy – will determine which party holds sway in the Senate.
  • Democrats must win both of the state’s Senate elections to gain the Senate majority. In that scenario, the Senate would be equally divided 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaker for Democrats.
  • The two Republican incumbents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are running against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. While the races are technically separate, the pairs are running as teams and most experts expect very little ticket splitting.
  • History is on Republicans’ side. Georgia is a traditionally conservative state and the GOP has a good track record in runoff elections. Early polling in the race showed Loeffler and Purdue with growing leads on their opponents.
  • However, that polling has tightened of late and, in some cases, flipped.
  • One Republican super PAC poll showed Perdue and Loeffler at 45% with Ossoff and Warnock at 46%, respectively.
  • With such razor-thin margins, some Republicans are worried about voters sitting at home and not participating after being repeatedly told November’s election was rigged and their votes won’t matter.
  • President Donald Trump has been the chief sower of seeds of doubt about election integrity. At a rally in northwest Georgia last night, Trump again declared that the November elections were plagued by fraud that Republican officials, including his former attorney general and Georgia’s elections chief, say did not occur at near the level that would have affected the outcome.
  • The president called Georgia’s Republican secretary of state “crazy” and vowed to help defeat him in two years. He also vowed to campaign against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
  • At the same time, Trump encouraged his supporters to show up in force for Georgia’s Tuesday contests. “You’ve got to swarm it tomorrow,” Trump told thousands of cheering supporters, downplaying the threat of fraud.
  • Read more HERE.



2. Alabama virus hospitalizations pass 3,000

  • Alabama on Monday hit a new high for the number of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals.
  • I’ve been watching the hospitalization metric more closely than any other to gauge how serious COVID-19 is at any given time. The trend is unmistakably troubling.
  • There were a record 3,064 people in state hospitals Monday with COVID-19, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • The new peak comes as health officials feared a new surge of cases in the wake of the winter holidays.
  • Dr. Don Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said the surge is likely attributable to the continued fallout from Thanksgiving, the earliest Christmas parties, as well as increased community transmission.
  • He is concerned the caseloads will grow from people who got infected during Christmas gatherings but haven’t started exhibiting serious symptoms.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.




A message from Alabama’s Locally-Owned

Health Mart Community Pharmacies

  • Alabama’s community pharmacists are more than just the friendly faces that fill your prescriptions every month; they are an essential link in the healthcare chain.
  • In rural areas, community pharmacists are often the first – and sometimes the only – healthcare contact for residents in a community.
  • In addition to keeping Alabama communities healthy by filling prescriptions, most of the APCI network of community pharmacies provide vital healthcare services such as immunizations, clinical testing, and medication counseling.
  • We appreciate the pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy staff members – your friends and neighbors – in our locally-owned pharmacies who go above and beyond to safely meet the healthcare needs of Alabamians.
  • Find your locally-owned community Health Mart pharmacy HERE.









3. Melson bringing back medical marijuana bill

  • State Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, said he’ll file in the 2021 legislative session the same medical marijuana bill that passed the Senate in March.
  • “I’m not planning to change it,” Melson told Alabama Daily News recently. “I’m looking forward to getting it introduced and seeing what happens.”
  • His 2020 bill passed the Senate 22-to-11 in mid-March, before reaction to COVID-19 shortened the session and killed dozens of bills.
  • The “Compassion Act” creates a nine-member Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee regulations and licensing for medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries and requires a statewide seed-to-sale tracking system for all cannabis in the state.
  • More than a dozen qualifying medical conditions and symptoms are listed in the bill, including post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS-related nausea and cancer-related chronic pain and nausea. Patients must have the okay of approved doctors to qualify.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



4. Attorney: Congressional seat data not ready until February

  • A Trump administration attorney said Monday that the numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets won’t be ready until mid-February at the earliest, putting in jeopardy an effort by President Donald Trump to exclude people in the country illegally from those figures.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau has found new irregularities in the head count data that determines congressional seat allocations and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year, John Coghlan, a deputy assistant Attorney General, said during a court hearing.
  • Not having the apportionment numbers finished before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20 will jeopardize an effort by President Donald Trump to exclude people in the country illegally from the apportionment count since the numbers will be delivered under the supervision of a Biden administration.
  • “It’s a continuously moving target,” Cogland said.
  • Full story HERE.


5. Heisman watch: Is it DeVonta Smith’s to lose?

  • The 86th Heisman Trophy will be awarded tonight.
  • Two Alabama teammates, quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith, join Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask as the finalists for college football’s highest honor.
  • And don’t forget, Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris was fifth in the final Heisman voting.
  • Many pundits say the Smith is the favorite for the award after demonstrating exceptional talent throughout the season.
  • Is it his trophy to lose?
  • Read more about the finalists and their resumes HERE.





A message from the

Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition

  • High-speed broadband is a basic necessity in today’s society and brings benefits in education, telemedicine, economic development and agriculture.
  • For Alabama to thrive in a 21st century economy, every Alabamian should have access to a reliable internet connection.









ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Decision day in Georgia with Senate majority at stake


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama hits new high for virus hospitalizations


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Melson bringing back medical marijuana bill


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Attorney: Congressional seat data not ready until February


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Heisman Trophy Preview: Loads of offense in four finalists


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Birmingham mayor hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Wine, beer home delivery bills coming this session


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress opens new session; Tuberville, Carl and Moore take oath


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: Trump pressures Georgia officials to recalculate election in his favor


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Likely wasting disease found in 2 more Mississippi counties


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Mask Up’ video contest to show importance of wearing masks


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – January 4, 2021


AL.COM – Alabama doctor: Skipping COVID-19 vaccine like playing Russian roulette


AL.COM – Judson College raises $1.3 million, set to re-open this month


AL.COM – Trump nominates north Alabama business leader to TVA board


AL.COM – UA to begin administering 3,500 doses of COVID vaccine


AL.COM – Ivey to chair 4-state Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Authority this year


AL.COM – Rep. Mike Rogers latest Alabama congressman to challenge Electoral College results


AL.COM – Birmingham pastor says killings ‘out of control, unacceptable,’ calls for state of emergency


AL.COM – Alabama freshman congressmen, Barry Moore and Jerry Carl, back effort to overturn election results


AL.COM – Lynching marker to expose Alabama county’s brutal, racist history


AL.COM – More people are moving out of Mobile than any other county in Alabama


AL.COM – Inside Alabama hospitals, through the eyes of five nurses


AL.COM – Harold Franklin became Auburn University’s first Black student on this day in 1964


Montgomery Advertiser – Birthday parade for 101-year-old WWII veteran


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations break 3,000 for first time


Montgomery Advertiser – Neighbors stage birthday parade for 101-year-old WWII vet Helen Lattal


Decatur Daily – Decatur mayor after COVID diagnosis: ‘I made a mistake’


Decatur Daily – Short-term reservations at city campground off to ‘good’ start


Decatur Daily – Athens City Hall closed to walk-in traffic through Jan. 15


Times Daily – Wine, beer home-delivery bills coming in 2021


Times Daily – Bill would ‘modify’ teachers’ retirement benefits


Times Daily – Florence mayor tests positive for COVID-19


Anniston Star – COVID vaccination for medical workers resumes Tuesday; timetable for others remains unclear


Anniston Star – Melson bringing back medical marijuana bill


Anniston Star – Black bear videoed near Anniston Regional Airport


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Birmingham mayor hospitalized with COVID pneumonia


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Suspect dead after Shelby County Sheriff’s deputy hit by vehicle


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama hospitals stocked with PPE for now


Tuscaloosa News – Ex-Holt High School teacher, softball coach accused of raping a student in 1990s


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations break 3,000 for first time


Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa City Schools offer career, technology programs


YellowHammer News – Birmingham Mayor Woodfin hospitalized with ‘symptoms connected to COVID pneumonia’


YellowHammer News – Five Alabama state representatives thank congressional delegation members challenging Electoral College results


YellowHammer News – Ivey to chair Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority in 2021


Gadsden Times – Hightower recalled as ‘a cornerstone of hope in our community’


Gadsden Times – Drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic Thursday


Gadsden Times – Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations break 3,000 for first time


Dothan Eagle – Dothan man accused of slashing victim with scissors during argument


Dothan Eagle – After COVID-19 uptick, some Dothan City Schools starting second term virtually


Dothan Eagle – China state news agency urges end to long work hours in tech


Opelika-Auburn News – Phenix City weekend shootings leave two dead, two injured


Opelika-Auburn News – Arbor Springs residents, staff begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine


Opelika-Auburn News – Britain has inoculated the first patient in the world with the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine


WSFA Montgomery – Ala. remains in the dark over vaccine shipments, allocations


WSFA Montgomery – Birmingham mayor hospitalized with COVID pneumonia


WSFA Montgomery – FAA releases new guidance for flying drones


WAFF Huntsville – People waiting up to 2 hours for COVID test at Huntsville Fever & Flu Clinic

H&R Block customers experiencing stimulus payment delays


WAFF Huntsville – H&R Block customers experiencing stimulus payment delays


WAFF Huntsville – DeKalb County Lieutenant dies from COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Shelby Co. Deputy injured, female suspect shot, killed during domestic incident


WKRG Mobile – Train strikes vehicle at Government Street and Dauphin Island Parkway


WKRG Mobile – Santa Rosa Co. man accused of sexually abusing girl 30 years ago


WTVY Dothan – Proposal would allow home delivery of beer and wine


WTVY Dothan – Southeast Health breaks another COVID-19 daily patient record, currently caring for 113


WTVY Dothan – Fort Rucker releases General Order 8 after two-week holiday block leave


WASHINGTON POST – Trump sabotaging GOP on his way out of office with push to overturn election


WASHINGTON POST – Democrats, Republicans race to finish in Ga. as Trump casts shadow over Senate runoffs


WASHINGTON POST – What to expect when Congress meets to confirm Joe Biden’s win


NEW YORK TIMES – Trump, in Georgia Before Tuesday’s Election, Can’t Let Go of the Last One


NEW YORK TIMES – With Objection to Biden’s Win, Josh Hawley Puts His Party in a Bind


NEW YORK TIMES – An Insurgency From Inside the Oval Office


WALL STREET JOURNAL – NYSE Scraps Plans to Delist Chinese Telecom Stocks


WALL STREET JOURNAL – Georgia Girds for Senate Runoffs in Wake of Trump Call to Overturn Vote


WALL STREET JOURNAL – CEOs Urge Congress to Certify Biden’s Electoral College Win




Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)



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