News Blitz: Jan. 8, 2021

Louisiana

Texas News

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas has reported its first known case of a person infected with the new variant of the coronavirus. State and local health officials said the patient is a Houston-area man between the age of 30 and 40 who has no known travel history. Harris County officials said the man was in stable condition and isolated. Texas joins a handful of states to report the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. State health officials say there is no evidence it causes more severe disease. And they say current vaccines are expected to be effective.

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has officially called a March 20 special election for Louisiana voters to select two new members of the U.S. House, with an April 24 runoff if needed. The Democratic governor used dates already planned for municipal elections. The 2nd District seat centered in New Orleans and running up the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge is open because Democrat Cedric Richmond is leaving the job to work for President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. The 5th District seat representing a largely rural area across northeast and central Louisiana is vacant because newly-elected Republican Luke Letlow died of complications from COVID-19 before he could even be sworn into Congress.

Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The number of coronavirus patients in Arkansas’ hospitals has risen to a new record high with 25 more people dying from the virus. The Department of Health on Thursday said the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by five to 1,326. The total number of people dead from COVID-19 since the pandemic began has increased to 3,926. The state’s coronavirus cases rose by 3,323 to 245,916. The Department says 4% of the state’s intensive care unit beds and nearly 22% of its hospital beds are available.

Paul Norton Lake Travis School

Sports

College football

UNDATED (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban acknowledged there were discussions about the possibility of moving the national championship game back because of COVID-19 issues. The Associated Press and others have reported that Ohio State had spoken with CFP officials about possible player availability problems that could force the game to be delayed from its scheduled Monday night story at Hard Rock Stadium in suburban Miami. Saban said Thursday, “There were discussions as to whether it was fair to continue or to move the game back and all that.” The game is currently scheduled to be played on Monday.

UNDATED (AP) — Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith of Alabama is winner of the Maxwell Award as the college football player of the year. Smith also won the Walter Camp player of the year and the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. Four other Alabama players won awards during the College Football Awards Show. Smith won the Maxwell over Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Maxwell since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Howard also won the Heisman that year.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn’s Bryan Harsin has hired former head coaches as his coordinators, bringing in Mike Bobo to run the offense Derek Mason to lead the defense. The hiring of Bobo was announced first on Thursday and then Mason was announced as the defensive coordinator later in the day. Bobo is a former head coach at Colorado State and Mountain West rival of Harsin, who coached at Bowie State before being hired by the Tigers. Mason was the head coach at Vanderbilt before he was fired late in the season.

NFL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints linebacker Demario Davis says his past experience with losing franchises taught him to cherish the postseason and his playoff experience with New Orleans has taught him to seize the moment. The Saints have had sudden and stunning ends to their playoff runs the past three seasons. Now the four-time NFC South champs open another postseason at home against Chicago on Sunday. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky says his team should play like it has “nothing to lose” after sneaking into the playoffs with three wins in its last four games.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have placed safety Rodney Harrison on the COVID-19 reserve list as they await permission from the NFL to practice for their first playoff game in 18 years. Harrison is the latest on the list for the Browns, who will be without coach Kevin Stefanski against the Pittsburgh Steelers after he tested positive with the virus. NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills says there has been “some spread” amongst the Browns players.

HOUSTON (AP) — Nick Caserio has been hired as the general manager of the Houston Texans. Caserio, a longtime executive with the New England Patriots, replaces Bill O’Brien, who was the team’s coach and general manager before he was fired after an 0-4 start. Caserio has spent the last 20 seasons with the Patriots and has been the director of player personnel in New England since 2008.

NBA

DENVER (AP) — Luka Doncic came within one rebound of his second straight triple-double, finishing with 38 points and 13 assists to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the Denver Nuggets 124-117 in overtime. Doncic sat out Sunday’s loss to Chicago and responded with his first triple-double of the season against Houston on Monday. He followed that up with a season high in points. Nikola Jokic scored 20 of his 38 points after halftime and grabbed 11 rebounds for Denver. Jamal Murray added 21 points and nine assists.

Men’s College basketball

DALLAS (AP) — Jeremiah Davenport had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Cincinnati players in double figures as the Bearcats defeated SMU 76-69. Tari Eason and Mika Adams-Woods added 14 points apiece for the Bearcats. Zach Harvey chipped in 13 points, and Keith Williams had 12. Kendric Davis led the Mustangs with 14 points and 14 assists.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — No. 25 Florida State’s visit to Pittsburgh scheduled for Saturday has been postponed due to COVID-19 testing issues within the Seminoles program. The postponement is the third this week for Florida State. Duke’s visit to Tallahassee, Florida, last Saturday was postponed, as well as a trip to Syracuse scheduled for Wednesday.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech freshman Nimari Burnett is leaving the program just 12 games into his college career. The program’s first McDonald’s All-American was a high school standout in Chicago and consensus top 30 recruit nationally. But Burnett never cracked the starting lineup in a crowded backcourt while averaging 5.3 points.

MLB

HOUSTON (AP) — Right-hander Ryne Stanek and the Houston Astros agreed Thursday to a $1.1 million, one-year contract. Stanek spent last season with the Marlins where he made $223,778 prorated from his $604,200 salary. He became a free agent he wasn’t offered a contract by Miami by the Dec. 2 deadline.  Stanek has made 152 appearances in the last four seasons with the Rays and Marlins. He has a career 4.00 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 173.1 innings. He made nine appearances last season with a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The New York Mets Mets have landed shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland for infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Lindor is a career .285 hitter and has averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons. Carrasco is one of the game’s best comeback stories, overcoming leukemia to reemerge as one of the AL’s steadiest starters.

NHL

MONTREAL (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens will be able to play home games despite the Quebec government’s imposition of a curfew aimed at curbing COVID-19 in the province. Quebec’s premier says the new measures will take effect Saturday and remain in place until at least Feb. 8. There will be no fans at games. Alberta and British Columbia also have given the green light for their NHL teams to play home games during the pandemic.

Today in History

By The Associated Press undefined

Today in History

Today is Friday, Jan. 8, the eighth day of 2021. There are 357 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 8, 1998, Ramzi Yousef (RAHM’-zee YOO’-sef), the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sentenced in New York to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On this date:

In 1815, the last major engagement of the War of 1812 came to an end as U.S. forces defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans, not having gotten word of the signing of a peace treaty.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson outlined his Fourteen Points for lasting peace after World War I. Mississippi became the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which established Prohibition.

In 1935, rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.”

In 1968, the Otis Redding single “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was released on the Volt label almost a month after the singer’s death in a plane crash.

In 1973, the Paris peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed.

In 1982, American Telephone and Telegraph settled the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against it by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System companies.

In 1994, Tonya Harding won the ladies’ U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Detroit, a day after Nancy Kerrigan dropped out because of the clubbing attack that had injured her right knee. (The U.S. Figure Skating Association later stripped Harding of the title.)

In 1997, the state of Arkansas put three men to death in the second triple execution since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. (The first also occurred in Arkansas, in 1994.)

In 2004, A U.S. Black Hawk medivac helicopter crashed near Fallujah, Iraq, killing all nine soldiers aboard.

In 2006, the first funerals were held in West Virginia for the 12 miners who’d died in the Sago (SAY’-goh) Mine disaster six days earlier.

In 2008, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton powered to victory in New Hampshire’s 2008 Democratic primary in a startling upset, defeating Sen. Barack Obama and resurrecting her bid for the White House; Sen. John McCain defeated his Republican rivals to move back into contention for the GOP nomination.

Ten years ago: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and critically wounded when a gunman opened fire as the congresswoman met with constituents in Tucson; six people were killed, 12 others also injured. (Gunman Jared Lee Loughner (LAWF’-nur) was sentenced in Nov. 2012 to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years.)

Five years ago: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the world’s most-wanted drug lord, was captured for a third time in a daring raid by Mexican marines, six months after walking through a tunnel to freedom from a maximum security prison in a made-for-Hollywood escape that deeply embarrassed the government and strained ties with the United States.

One year ago: Iran struck back at the United States for killing Iran’s top military commander, firing missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing American troops; more than 100 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the attack. As Iran braced for a counterattack, the country’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a Ukrainian jetliner after apparently mistaking it for a missile; all 176 people on board were killed, including 82 Iranians and more than 50 Canadians. South Korea said it had put a Chinese woman under isolated treatment amid concerns that she had brought back the virus that had sickened dozens in mainland China and Hong Kong. Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, said they planned to “step back” as senior members of the royal family while balancing their time between the U.K. and North America. Screenwriter and actor Buck Henry, who co-wrote and appeared in “The Graduate,” died in Los Angeles at the age of 89.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Larry Storch is 98. Former CBS newsman Charles Osgood is 88. Singer Shirley Bassey is 84. Game show host Bob Eubanks is 83. Country-gospel singer Cristy Lane is 81. Rhythm-and-blues singer Anthony Gourdine (Little Anthony and the Imperials) is 80. Actor Yvette Mimieux is 79. Singer Juanita Cowart Motley (The Marvelettes) is 77. Actor Kathleen Noone is 76. Rock musician Robby Krieger (The Doors) is 75. Movie director John McTiernan is 70. Actor Harriet Sansom Harris is 66. Actor Ron Cephas Jones is 64. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is 63. Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is 57. Actor Michelle Forbes is 56. Actor Maria Pitillo (pih-TIHL’-loh) is 55. Singer R. Kelly is 54. Rock musician Jeff Abercrombie (Fuel) is 52. Actor Ami Dolenz is 52. Reggae singer Sean Paul is 48. Actor Donnell Turner is 48. Country singer Tift Merritt is 46. Actor-rock singer Jenny Lewis is 45. Actor Amber Benson is 44. Actor Scott Whyte is 43. Singer-songwriter Erin McCarley is 42. Actor Sarah Polley is 42. Actor Rachel Nichols is 41. Actor Gaby Hoffman is 39. Rock musician Disashi Lumumbo-Kasongo (dih-SAH’-shee LUHM’-uhm-boh kuh-SAHN’-goh) (Gym Class Heroes) is 38. Actor Cynthia Erivo is 34. Actor Freddie Stroma is 34.

AM Prep-Kickers

By Oscar Wells Gabriel II Associated Press

MOTHER AND SON SERVING AS PENNSYLVANIA LAWMAKERS

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — For a mother and son in Pennsylvania, politics is definitely a family affair. Ryan Mackenzie has been serving for six terms in the state legislature in Harrisburg. And the other day, when new members were sworn in, he was joined on the lawmaking body by his mom. Milou Mackenzie was elected to her first term in November. The family ties will likely endure when it comes to political interests. The districts that mom and son represent share a border for a couple of miles.

IDENTICAL TWINS AREN’T CLONES: STUDY

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s new scientific research that may cause people to stop referring to identical twins as, well, identical. Scientists in Iceland have turned up evidence that identical twins are not exactly the same genetically. The study looked at DNA sequences from 387 pairs of identical twins — that is, those produced by a single fertilized egg. The study shows the average set of identical twins have 5.2 early genetic differences. But about 15% of identical twin pairs have more genetic differences, in some cases as many as 100. Before now, the prevailing wisdom was that physical differences between identical twins are based on things like nutrition or lifestyle.