News Blitz: Dec. 21, 2020

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Texas News

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Texas continues to increase, as more doses of the vaccine are expected this week for front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Sunday that 9,856 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the state. This month Texas surpassed 9,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. State health officials said Friday that Texas will receive 620,000 more doses of COVID-19 vaccines over the next week. More than 224,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been delivered in Texas.

Louisiana News

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — City workers in northwest Louisiana will be getting a one-time payout, although the city says it doesn’t have enough money for a permanent pay raise. The Shreveport City Council on Friday voted 6-1 to approve a payment of $1,000 for every full-time employee and $500 for every part-time employee. Workers will get the money by Christmas. Shreveport City Council member James Flurry said the payment is hazard pay for workers during the coronavirus pandemic, not a bonus, taken from more than $2 million in excess of sales tax revenue.City Council member John Nickelson said he voted against the move because the state constitution bars the city from paying a bonus to city employees.

Arkansas News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas on Sunday reported 1,536 new cases of the coronavirus and 46 more deaths. The Arkansas Department of Health said that the state has reported 201,650 cases since the pandemic began. The state’s death toll is at 3,237. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday on Twitter that “the high number of Arkansans who have died is heartbreaking.” Noting that Christmas is just five days away, he asked Arkansans to protect each other. Health officials said that 1,057 people with COVID-19 are in Arkansas hospitals.

 

National News

UNDATED (AP) — Congressional leaders have hashed out a massive, year-end catchall bill that combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care. The huge, still-unreleased bill is slated for votes on Monday — with lawmakers having only a few hours to read it before casting their votes.

UNDATED (AP) — Global shares have retreated as worsening coronavirus outbreaks overshadow news that U.S. lawmakers finally set a deal on more support for American families and businesses. Benchmarks fell Monday in Paris, London and Tokyo but rose in Shanghai. The British pound slipped against the dollar. Passage by the Congress of a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package was expected later Monday. On Wall Street the S&P 500 shed 0.4% on Friday, a day after it and other major indexes logged fresh record highs. A resurgence of virus outbreaks around the globe has dented optimism that vaccines can bring a swift end to the pandemic.

Sports

NFL

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Pollard ran for two touchdowns with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined by an injury for the first time in the two-time rushing champion’s career, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 41-33. Four of the seven Dallas scores were set up by turnovers from the 49ers. San Francisco is guaranteed to be the second Super Bowl runner-up in the past 13 seasons to finish with a losing record the next year. The Cowboys kept faint playoff hopes alive in a game moved out of prime time with both teams starting the day in last place in their divisions.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns and the Kansas City Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine games with a 32-29 victory over the New Orleans Saints. The Kansas City defense did its part to spoil Drew Brees’ return from rib fractures and a punctured lung that had kept the record-setting passer out four games. Brees passed for 234 yards and three TDs. But he completed less than half of his passes and was intercepted for just the fourth time this season. Le’Veon Bell had a 12-yard touchdown run for the Chiefs.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees began his comeback from injury without a completion on his first six passes. One of those was intercepted. The 41-year-old Brees had moments where he looked like his record-setting self. But there were many others when he didn’t in a 32-29 loss to Kansas City.  Brees says he has “a little ways to go” but feels well enough to play. Brees finished with 234 yards and three touchdowns. But he completed fewer than half of his passes after completing 73.5% of his passes coming into the game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Philip Rivers found Zach Pascal for a tiebreaking TD pass with 1:47 left and the Colts defense recovered a fumble in the end zone with 19 seconds remaining to seal a 27-20 victory over Houston. It was almost the exact same scenario that played out when these teams met two weeks ago. Indy jumped on a bad snap to Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to win that one. Indy has now won three straight overall and remains atop the AFC South. Houston has lost three in a row.

UNDATED (AP) — The College Football Playoff is set. Top-ranked Alabama will play No. 4 Notre Dame at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 1 in a semifinal that was supposed to be played at the Rose Bowl. The game was moved because of the pandemic. No. 2 Clemson will play No. 3 Ohio State on the same day at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Left out was No. 5 Texas A&M, which argued it should get in with an 8-1 record. The national championship game is Jan. 11 in suburban Miami.

Tonight, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night Football. The Steelers are favored by 14 ½ points. You can listen to the game live on 94.1 FM ESPN, Texarkana, KPYN 900 AM and 103.9 FM in Atlanta, Texas, and on 1320 AM and 104.1 FM in Vivian, Louisiana.

College Football

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Top-ranked Alabama will face Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinal originally scheduled to serve as the 107th Rose Bowl. The semifinal game was moved from Pasadena to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night, ostensibly based on the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area, but also because of the ban on fans at spectator sports in California. It’s still unclear whether the game in the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium will be called the Rose Bowl, but the decision ended a streak of 78 straight years in Pasadena for a bowl game first played in 1902.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Texas A&M was hoping for a berth in the College Football Playoff. An Orange Bowl spot against North Carolina will be its consolation prize. The Aggies, who were one spot away from a spot in the national semifinals and finished fifth in the final CFP rankings, are heading to the Orange Bowl for the first time in 77 years. It will be North Carolina’s first time in the Orange Bowl, and the first meeting between the schools. The matchup is Jan. 2 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 10 Florida will play in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 30. The game at the home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys comes 12 seasons after the Gators beat the Sooners in the BCS national championship game. The Sooners are returning to the same stadium where they just won their sixth Big 12 championship in a row. Florida is the SEC runner-up after losing to No. 1 Alabama in their conference title game. It is the third Cotton Bowl for Oklahoma and the first for Florida.

Men’s College Basketball

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Justin Smith scored 22 points with a career-high 17 rebounds and Arkansas had a big second half to beat Oral Roberts 87-76. Despite the Razorbacks’ (7-0) 58-32 rebounding advantage, and 57-point second half, Oral Roberts proved difficult to put away. Leading 82-74 with 84 seconds left, Arkansas’ Desi Sills fouled Francis Lacis on his 3-point shot attempt to send him to the foul line. Lacis converted two of three shots making it a two-possession contest. Kevin Obanor scored 21 points with 10 rebounds for the Eagles.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Freshman Greg Brown scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, both season bests, and No. 11 Texas defeated Oklahoma State 77-74 Sunday in its Big 12 opener. Brown made four free throws during the final 37 seconds as Texas survived a late Oklahoma State rally that included two 3-point baskets by Bryce Williams in the final 11 seconds. Brown made a pair of 3-point baskets during a 17-0 Texas run in the second half. He also made three blocks in the game. Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 ranked recruit, scored 25 points, including 13 of 14 for the Cowboys as they tried to erase what was once a 13-point deficit.

In Men’s College Basketball today, the Texas A&M Aggies host Wofford. The Aggies are favored by 6 points. You can listen to the game live on 94.1 FM ESPN-Texarkana, and KPYN 900 AM and 103.9 FM in Atlanta, Texas. Pregame at 11;30 a.m. and kickoff at Noon.

NHL

UNDATED (AP) — The NHL and players completed a deal to hold a 56-game 2021 season from Jan. 13-May 8 with playoffs to last into July. The league’s Board of Governors voted Sunday to approve the agreement that was supported by the NHLPA executive board Friday night. Final details on where the seven Canadian teams will play are still pending agreements with health officials. Most of the league will open training camp Jan. 3. The seven teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season can start as soon as Dec. 31.

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Dec. 19, the 354th day of 2020. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 19, 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).

On this date:

In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

In 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

In 1915, legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf was born in Paris. German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the pathological condition of dementia, died in Breslau (now Wroclaw), Poland, at age 51.

In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

In 1960, fire broke out on the hangar deck of the nearly completed aircraft carrier USS Constellation at the New York Naval Shipyard; 50 civilian workers were killed.

In 1972, Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on.

In 1975, John Paul Stevens was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2001, the fires that had burned beneath the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City for the previous three months were declared extinguished except for a few scattered hot spots.

In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Iraq in “material breach” of a U.N. disarmament resolution.

In 2003, design plans were unveiled for the signature skyscraper — a 1,776-foot glass tower — at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

In 2008, citing imminent danger to the national economy, President George W. Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

Ten years ago: The body of an American tourist, Kristine Luken, 44, was found near a road outside Jerusalem. (A Palestinian man was later sentenced by an Israeli court to life in prison for stabbing Luken.) Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election. In a game that came to be known as the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands,” Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the Eagles’ 38-31 comeback win over the New York Giants.

Five years ago: Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they engaged in a pointed but polite discussion of national security, Americans’ heightened terrorism fears and the economy. Conductor Kurt Masur, 88, died in Greenwich, Connecticut. Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named the winner of the Miss World 2015 competition in a Chinese island resort, an event dogged by controversy over China’s refusal to allow Canada’s entrant to attend.

One year ago: Congress headed home for the holidays without a plan or timeline in place for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate; Republicans resisted Democratic demands for new witness testimony. The evangelical Christian magazine Christianity Today said in an editorial that President Donald Trump should be removed from office; the editorial urged believers not to “continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.” The House gave Trump an overwhelming bipartisan victory on trade, approving a bill putting in place the terms of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Karl Fontenot, who spent 35 years in prison in a murder case featured in the book and TV series “The Innocent Man,” was released from an Oklahoma prison; a federal judge had written that newly discovered evidence provided “solid proof” of his “probable innocence.”

Today’s Celebrity Birthdays: Actor Elaine Joyce is 77. Actor Tim Reid is 76. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 76. Musician John McEuen is 75. Singer Janie Fricke is 73. Jazz musician Lenny White is 71. Actor Mike Lookinland is 60. Actor Scott Cohen is 59. Actor Jennifer Beals is 57. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 54. Magician Criss Angel is 53. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 53. Actor Ken Marino is 52. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 52. Actor Derek Webster is 52. Actor Kristy Swanson is 51. Model Tyson Beckford is 50. Actor Amy Locane is 49. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 48. Actor Rosa Blasi is 48. Actor Alyssa Milano is 48. Actor Tara Summers is 41. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 40. Actor Marla Sokoloff is 40. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 35. Journalist Ronan Farrow is 33. Actor Nik Dodani is 27.

Crazy News Stories

MICH. JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF MAN WHO SUED PARENTS FOR DITCHING PORN COLLECTION

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A man who sued his parents for ditching his porn stash is getting some love from a court ruling in Michigan. A federal judge has ruled in favor of David Werking, who claimed that his parents were out of line for chucking his collection, which he says was worth about $29,000. Werking had moved into his parent’s home in Grand Haven for 10 months after a divorce. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney noted the parents had “repeatedly admitted” they tossed the porn and that it was his property, not theirs. For their part, the parents said they had the right to act as their son’s landlord. Meanwhile the judge is asking both sides to provide estimates on the value of the discarded pornography.

ILLEGAL WINERY AT ALABAMA SEWAGE PLANT SHUT DOWN

RAINSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A rich, full-bodied wine with a finish of sewage? Not quite, but sheriff’s officials in DeKalb County in northern Alabama say they have broken up an illegal winery that was operating out of a municipal sewage plant. The sheriff’s office says it got an anonymous tip about alcohol being brewed at a municipal building in the town of Rainsville. An investigation turned up what investigators call a large, illegal winery tucked away at the town’s waste water treatment plant. Photos from the probe show glass containers, buckets, a fermenting rack and other equipment used by people who make wine at home. Authorities have seized the illegal alcohol and arrested a city employee. Allen Maurice Stiefel faces a felony charge of use of official position for personal gain — and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of an illegally manufactured alcoholic beverage.