WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s push for bigger $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks has stalled out in the Republican-led Senate. With Republican senators deeply split over new spending, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked a swift vote proposed by Democrats. The GOP leader signaled an alternative approach that links Trump’s demand for aid with restrictions the president wants on tech companies and for a new commission to review the election results. McConnell says the Senate will “begin a process” to address the issues. But the next steps are highly uncertain, and it’s quite possible no bill passes. The Democratic-led House has already approved the larger checks.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s newest Republican member of the U.S. House, Luke Letlow, has died from complications related to COVID-19 only days before being he would have been sworn into office. He was 41. Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch confirmed the congressman-elect’s death Tuesday night. Bautsch said in a statement that the family is asking for privacy. The incoming congressman was elected in a December runoff and was set to take office in January. He was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus disease. He was later transferred to Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport and placed in intensive care.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the state’s top health official are urging vaccine providers not to hold any doses in reserve and to distribute them as quickly as possible. Texas is dealing with record-breaking numbers of virus patients in hospitals and new cases. State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said Tuesday providers need to move quickly to vaccinate healthcare workers, people over 65 and other with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of death. He said no vaccine doses should be held back.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is extending his coronavirus emergency declaration by another two months as the state reported a record one-day spike in deaths and a new high in hospitalizations from COVID-19. Hutchinson on Tuesday said he was extending the declaration another 60 days. The declaration was set to expire at the end of the month. Hutchinson has used the declaration to impose several restrictions intended to curb the virus’s growth, including a mask mandate. The state on Tuesday reported 66 new COVID-19 deaths, its biggest one day increase. The state has had 3,603 COVID deaths since the pandemic began.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres will have aces Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in their starting rotation next season. The Padres got Cubs ace Yu Darvish, catcher Victor Caratini and cash while sending right-hander Zach Davies and four young minor leaguers to Chicago. The deal was finalized hours after San Diego announced the acquisition of Snell from Tampa Bay.
Men’s College Basketball
WACO, Texas (AP) — MaCio Teague scored 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, preseason AP All-America guard Jared Butler had 17 points and No. 2 Baylor is still undefeated. The 7-0 Bears returned from their weeklong Christmas break with a 93-56 win over Central Arkansas. Baylor is the only Big 12 team without a loss. Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Matthew Mayer also scored 13 points while Adam Flagler had 10 after missing the previous two games. Davion Mitchell had 12 assists and six rebounds. DeAndre Jones led 1-7 Central Arkansas with 19 points, including six 3-pointers.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Cameron Thomas scored a career-high 32 points and Darius Days scored 18 with 10 rebounds, and LSU beat Texas A&M 77-54 in a Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The true freshman Thomas now has five, 20-plus point scoring efforts this season — the most in the nation at the Division I level. He entered as the nation’s 10th-leading scorer. Quenton Jackson led the Aggies with 17 points and Emanuel Miller 14. Trendon Watford’s layup with 12:41 before halftime put LSU up 13-12 and it never trailed again.
Arkansas opens their SEC season at Auburn tonight. The Hogs are favored by 3 points. Listen to the game live on Fox Sports Texarkana 97.1 FM and 1400 AM. Pregame at 5:30 p.m. and tipoff at 6 p.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Jordan Bohannon scored 24 points, CJ Fredrick added 19 and Luka Garza finished with 18 as No. 10 Iowa defeated No. 19 Northwestern 87-72. The Hawkeyes won their eighth consecutive home game against a ranked opponent. Pete Nance led Northwestern with a career-high 21 points, including 17 in the first half. Chase Audige had 14 points, Miller Kopp added 11, and Ryan Young 10.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jahvon Quinerly scored 24 points off the bench and John Petty Jr. scored 13, and Alabama beat Mississippi 82-64 in a Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The win marks Alabama’s 800th SEC victory. The Crimson Tide are only the second team in league history to achieve that mark. Kentucky has 1,012 conference wins. Alabama built an 8-0 lead and never trailed. Romello White scored 20 points with 11 rebounds for Ole Miss and KJ Buffen had 15 points.
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Kevin McCullar scored 11 points in his season debut coming off an ankle injury and No. 13 Texas Tech cruised in a tune-up before Big 12 play resumes, beating Incarnate Word 79-51. Marcus Santos-Silva also had 11 points as the Red Raiders returned from a brief holiday break after a two-point win at Oklahoma. Keaston Willis scored 13 points for Incarnate Word, but the Cardinals’ leading scorer was 2 of 9 from the field. The Cardinals were playing for the first time in 24 days because of COVID-19 issues.
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Brandon Rachal hit two free throws with a tenth of a second remaining and finished with 22 points as Tulsa topped unbeaten No. 5 Houston 65-64. The victory was Tulsa’s first over a top-5 team since winning at UCLA in 1996. Quentin Grimes led the Cougars with 19 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Sassar finished with 14 points and Caleb Mills 11 for Houston.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona men’s basketball program has self-imposed a one-year postseason ban related to its long-running NCAA rules infractions case. The NCAA issued a Notice of Allegations in October accusing the Wildcats of nine counts of misconduct, including five Level I violations. The violations include a lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by the university, and lack of head coach control by basketball coach Sean Miller.
MEMPHIS (AP) — Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja (jah) Morant will miss three to five weeks after spraining his left ankle in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 116-111 overtime win at Brooklyn on Monday. The Grizzlies said that further tests revealed Morant sustained a Grade 2 ankle sprain. Morant led Memphis averaging a team-high 17.8 points a game last season before scoring a career-high 44 points in the Grizzlies’ opener last week.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Casey Thompson came off the bench and passed for 170 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 20 Texas overcame an injury to senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger to beat Colorado 55-23 in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Freshman running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 183 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown for Texas. The Longhorns are undefeated in four bowl games under coach Tom Herman.
UNDATED (AP) — ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to call the College Football Playoff semifinal between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State from home. Herbstreit posted Tuesday night on Twitter that he was feeling good and his family was OK. He said he will still be part of “College GameDay” on the morning of Jan. 1 and on the call of the Sugar Bowl with play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler that night.
NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama’s DeVonta Smith is the AP college football player of the year. He is the first wide receiver to win the award since it was established in 1998. Smith received 26 first-place votes and 114 points to finish ahead of his teammate and quarterback, Mac Jones.
Here’s today’s College Bowl game schedule
Wake Forrest plays Wisconsin in the Dukes Mayo Bowl. Wisconsin is favored by 9 ½ points.
The Good Year Cotton Bowl features Oklahoma vs Florida at AT&T Stadium in Arlington at 7 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — There is no national title on the line when Oklahoma and Florida play this time. While outside the College Football Playoff, they meet in the Cotton Bowl on Wednesday night in the first of the New Year’s Six bowl games to be played in this pandemic-affected season. Big 12 champion Oklahoma is 8-2 with a seven-game winning streak. SEC runner-up Florida is 8-3. In their only other meeting, the Gators won 24-14 in the BCS National Championship game at the end of the 2008 season. Current Gators head coach Dan Mullen was their offensive coordinator then.
Our Airtime for the Cotton Bowl tonight at 6 p.m. on 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana. Oklahoma favored by 5 points.
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 30, the 365th day of 2020. There is one day left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 30, 1903, about 600 people died when fire broke out at the recently opened Iroquois Theater in Chicago.
On this date:
In 1813, British troops burned Buffalo, New York, during the War of 1812.
In 1853, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to buy some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.
In 1860, 10 days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the state militia seized the United States Arsenal in Charleston.
In 1865, author Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India.
In 1922, Vladimir Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which lasted nearly seven decades before dissolving in December 1991.
In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first “sit-down” strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Michigan. (The strike lasted until Feb. 11, 1937.)
In 1940, California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened by Gov. Culbert L. Olson.
In 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
In 1994, a gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees. (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he died in prison, an apparent suicide.)
In 2004, a fire broke out during a rock concert at a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 194 people. Bandleader and clarinetist Artie Shaw died in Thousand Oaks, California, at age 94.
In 2006, a state funeral service was held in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for former President Gerald R. Ford.
In 2009, seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer were killed by a suicide bomber at a U.S. base in Khost (hohst), Afghanistan.
Ten years ago: Republican Lisa Murkowski was officially named winner of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race following a period of legal fights and limbo that had lasted longer than the write-in campaign she waged to keep her job. Top-ranked Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak in women’s basketball ended when No. 9 Stanford outplayed the Huskies in a 71-59 victory at Maples Pavilion.
Five years ago: Bill Cosby was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004; it was the first criminal case brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as “America’s Dad.” (Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked; he was convicted on three charges at his retrial in April 2018 and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.)
One year ago: Chinese state media said a scientist who had set off an ethical debate with claims that he had made the world’s first genetically edited babies was sentenced to three years in prison because of the research. A fierce winter storm created blizzard conditions in parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas, shutting down interstates and leading to hundreds of vehicle crashes. The NFL’s New York Giants fired coach Pat Shurmur after a 4-and-12 season.
Today’s Celebrity Birthdays: Actor Russ Tamblyn is 86. Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is 85. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 83. TV director James Burrows is 80. Actor Fred Ward is 78. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 78. Actor Concetta Tomei (toh-MAY’) is 75. Singer Patti Smith is 74. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 73. TV personality Meredith Vieira is 67. Actor Sheryl Lee Ralph is 65. Actor Patricia Kalember is 64. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 64. Actor-comedian Tracey Ullman is 61. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 60. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 59. Sprinter Ben Johnson is 59. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is 57. Actor George Newbern is 57. Movie director Bennett Miller is 54. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 51. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 51. Actor Meredith Monroe is 51. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 49. Actor Maureen Flannigan is 48. Actor Jason Behr is 47. Golfer Tiger Woods is 45. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 43. Actor Lucy Punch is 43. Singer-actor Tyrese Gibson is 42. Actor Eliza Dushku is 40. Rock musician Tim Lopez (Plain White T’s) is 40. Actor Kristin Kreuk is 38. Folk-rock singer-musician Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) is 38. NBA player LeBron James is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Andra Day is 36. Actor Anna Wood is 35. Pop-rock singer Ellie Goulding (GOL’-ding) is 34. Actor Caity Lotz is 34. Actor Jeff Ward is 34. Country musician Eric Steedly is 30. Pop-rock musician Jamie Follesé (FAHL’-es-ay) (Hot Chelle (shel) Rae) is 29.
Crazy News Stories
HURRICANES, VIRUS CAN’T STOP LOUISIANA COUPLE’S WEDDING
GRAND LAKE La. (AP) — Most couples might have wondered whether the forces of nature were against them after moving their wedding three times because of the pandemic and two hurricanes. But Emily Kitfield and Taylor Pascale were even more determined than ever to tie the knot. The Louisiana couple first moved their wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic. Then another time from Hurricane Laura in August and yet another time from Hurricane Delta in October. Finally, in a small ceremony Dec. 5 surrounded by close friends and family, Emily got to wear her lace-covered wedding dress and marry Taylor.
LAID-OFF PRESCHOOL TEACHER BUYS $250,000 LOTTERY TICKET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A laid-off preschool teacher in North Carolina has won a $250,000 prize from a scratch-off lotto ticket. WBTV reported Sunday that Joe Camp had been a preschool teacher in Charlotte for 20 years before he was laid off in September. He was able to find a job at a car dealership. He also bought two Gold Rush scratch-off tickets at a gas station in Charlotte. Camp said he fell to his knees at the gas pump after seeing the winnings. After taxes, Camp claimed $176,876. Camp said he plans to use his winnings to save for his daughter’s future and buy a home.
NORTH CAROLINA WANTS HELP DECIPHERING OLD, HAND-WRITTEN DOCUMENTS
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) — The State Archives of North Carolina is looking for help in transcribing hundreds of old records with handwriting that one expert described as “colonial chicken scratch.” The Virginian-Pilot reported last week that some of the documents are 300 years old. The state has put the records on a website called Transcribe NC. Volunteers can take a stab at deciphering what they say. The documents are written in an outdated style with large swirls and long tails. The site offers a tutorial on how to decode the writings. Many of the documents are court records from before the Revolutionary War. There are also Slave trade documents as well as treaties with Native Americans.
NORTH CAROLINA PUTS RINGLING BROS. TRAIN CARS UP FOR AUCTION
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state of North Carolina is selling nine railroad cars that once belonged to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which they bought in hopes of refurbishing them for passenger service. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the N.C. Department of Transportation is also selling seven other old rail cars it says it no longer needs. The department paid $383,000 for the circus cars shortly after Ringling Bros. held its last performance in 2017. Since buying those cars, the state has received two federal grants which will allow the department to buy six new locomotives and 26 new passenger cars, meaning they won’t need the circus cars.
YOUNG SEA LION RECOVERS FROM SHARK BITE, RETURNS TO OCEAN
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A feisty young sea lion is back in the Northern California wild after five weeks of rehabilitation to treat a severe shark bite, domoic acid poisoning and malnutrition. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said Monday that it had successfully released Jenya last week at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. The male sea lion was rescued from San Francisco’s Aquatic Park by Fisherman’s Wharf in November after the center received reports of a lethargic sea lion with a large left shoulder wound. The Marine Mammal Center has cared for more than 440 seals and sea lions this yea