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Weekend Digest- January 20, 2018

Here’s your Daily News for Sunday, January 20, 2019.

1. Wetumpka Hit By Tornado

  • The town of Wetumpka suffered sever damage after a tornado touchdown in the area on Saturday.
  • Mayor Jerry Willis says there is only one serious injury and no deaths so far.
  • Much of the damage occurred the west side town, across the Coosa River from downtown. First Presbyterian Church was destroyed and First Baptist Church received catastrophic damage as well.
  • This morning the congregation for First Baptist Church met at the Wetumpka Depot Players Theatre for church service.
  • State emergency management officials estimated 35 homes throughout Elmore County were damaged, according to WSFA-TV . That doesn’t include businesses, churches and other structures.
  • Alabama Power said about 2,000 customers were without service Saturday in Wetumpka, and crews were evaluating the damage.
  • You can check WSFA 12 coverage of the damage as well as read more about the aftermath of the storm HERE as well.

2.Update on Trump, Cohen BuzzFeed story

  • In a rare public statement, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller disputes the claim made by BuzzFeed News on Thursday about Trump directing his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about his role in negotiations to build a skyscraper in Moscow.
  • “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said the spokesman for Mueller, Peter Carr.
  • Most people who were calling serious attention to the report on Thursday have now backed off talking about grounds for impeachment.
  • Trump responded on Twitter late Friday, calling the special counsel’s statement “a very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!”
  • But BuzzFeed News and its editor Ben Smith still stand by their reporting and said on Twitter that “we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing.”
  • Rudy Giuliani then went on “Meet the Press” this morning and said he was “100 percent certain” that Trump did not direct Cohen to lie to congress and that “Now, I don’t know what to believe about him [Cohen].”
  • What’s interesting about the special counsel’s statement is that this is the first time he has publicly challenged the facts being reported by the news media that had generated significant attention for its revelations about the president.
  • You can read more updates on Mueller’s investigation and Cohen’s testimony from the NYT.

3. New Member Profile: Rep. Andrew Sorrell

  • There are lots of newly-elected members of the Alabama Legislature.
  • Over the next several weeks, Alabama Daily News will be running a series of profiles meant to help readers get to know the new Representatives and Senators a little better.
  • First up isRep. Andrew Sorrell from Muscle Shoals. I talked to Mr. Sorrell about his reason for running, some interesting facts people may not know about him, and upcoming legislation he’s excited about (he’s already co-sponsoring an outdoor animal shelter bill with fellow freshman Rep. Rex Reynolds).
  • Sorrell won the seat long held by retiring Democratic Rep. Marcel Black and now stands out as being one of the youngest members of the legislature this year
  • It doesn’t take long for Sorrell’s youthfulness and vigor to come through (he doesn’t drink coffee because he has enough energy naturally).
  • You can read more about Sorrell and the full interview HERE.

4. New Bill to Separate MLK and Robert E. Lee Holiday

  • Birmingham Rep. John Rogers plans on introducing legislation this session that would split the Alabama holiday that jointly honors Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
  • Mississippi and Alabama are the only two states that on Monday will jointly honor King and Lee with a single state holiday.
  • But Rogers is proposing that the state celebrate Lee on a separate day, like the Confederate Memorial Day holiday, which is held in April.
  • He said he hoped that the fact that it would not alter the number of state holidays, would increase lawmakers’ receptiveness to the idea.
  • “A lot of black folks feel like it diminishes Martin Luther King’s day to put it on the same day as Robert E. Lee,” Rogers said.
  • Gov. Ivey hasn’t official said that she would support the bill but her spokesman Daniel Sparkman wrote in an email saying that she “gives each piece of legislation full consideration.”
  • You can read more about the bill from Kim Chandler’s reporting HERE.

5. Week In Good News

A Perfect 10 Gymnastic Performance with a flare
  • Katelyn Ohashi of U.C.L.A. didn’t just deliver a brilliant technical performance last weekend — she also did it with an infectious smile and a sense of genuine fun.
  • A video of her routine attracted millions of viewers on YouTube.
  • The enthusiastic reaction of her teammates on the sidelines, some of them echoing her dance moves, is also worth watching.
  • “Performing is my favorite thing,” she said in a telephone interview. “What you see is how I feel.”
  • Read more about it HERE.
Female Ranchers are blazing a trail in the American West
  • These women have found the same independence and adventure that first lured their male antecedents, but they’re also leading the trend of sustainable ranching and raising grass-fed breeds of cattle in humane, ecological ways.
  • In 2012, 14 percent of the nation’s 2.1 million farms had a female proprietor, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • That ratio may rise, as over half the farms and ranches in the U.S. are expected to change hands over the next 20 years.
  • You can read more about the ranchers HERE.
Super Blood Wolf Moon To Appear Tonight
  • That may sound like a kind of bad omen out of a Game of Thrones novel, but it is an actual thing that is suppose to appear in the sky tonight!
  • People who live in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the central Pacific region will be able to see the moon about 14 percent closer to the earth making it appear larger (Super) as well as being a completely full moon (wolf) and because of the lunar eclipse, tinted red (blood).
  • The total lunar eclipse will begin at 11:41 p.m. EST and last until 12:44 a.m. on Monday, according to, which pinpoints the peak viewing at 12:16 a.m. EST.
  • You can read more about this special citing HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New Member Profile: HD 3 Andrew Sorrell
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State might lease prisons instead of building them
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama jobless rate dips to 3.9 percent
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS– Lawmaker seeks to separate MLK, Robert E. Lee holidays
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Tornado hits small Alabama city’s downtown
AL.COM – Huntsville cop requests immunity from prosecution in murder case.
AL.COM – ‘He lived and died for us’: Thousands honor slain Birmingham police officer Sgt. Wytasha Carter.
AL.COM – Sen. Doug Jones calls Trump proposal ‘hopeful sign’.
AL.COM – Alabama lawmaker wants to end joint MLK, Robert E. Lee holiday.
AL.COM – Midwives can legally deliver Alabama babies for first time in decades as state issues licenses..
ANNISTON STAR – Editorial: When it’s time to celebrate Anniston’s schools.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Tornado causes significant damage in downtown Wetumpka, Alabama.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Prison construction plan could bypass Alabama Legislature.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Bills could require drug testing of SNAP recipients.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Harbor’s outreach helps down-and-outers find a path to success.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Editorial: Partisanship has no place in the judiciary.
WASHINGTON POST – Trump offers 3-year extension of protection for ‘dreamers’ in exchange for $5.7 billion for wall; Democrats call it a ‘non-starter’.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘We’re left in the dark’: As many industries get shutdown relief, those without political clout feel left behind.
WASHINGTON POST – Editorial: Make a deal. Save the dreamers.
NEW YORK TIMES – BuzzFeed News Faces Scrutiny After Mueller Denies a Dramatic Report
NEW YORK TIMES – Study Links Drug Maker Gifts for Doctors to More Overdose Deaths

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