The Sunrise News Sampler
- As clouds moved across the state yesterday, many holiday festivities were put to ease as local residents remained on weather alert because of a possible Christmas Day disaster. Luckily, the worst of the storms remained south of us, which wasn't so great for residents in the Mobile area. A tornado hit there, damaging a school, a church and several homes in downtown Mobile. However, no injuries were immediately reported there, although about 26,000 Alabama Power customers were left without service. The storm is now making its way toward the Northeast, and more than 325 flights have been canceled.
- President Obama and members of Congress will return to business tomorrow to work on a package designed to avert higher taxes and automatic budget cuts in January.
- The Miami Heat have grabbed a half-game lead over New York in the NBA's Eastern Conference standings with yesterday's 103-97 win over Oklahoma and the Knicks 100-94 loss to the Lakers.
- According to our daily, although HUD has yet to announce Tuscaloosa's actual appropriation, a City Council committee has recommended the allocation of more than $500,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant money to 16 agencies and groups operating within the Tuscaloosa area. A vote of the full city Council is needed before the money can be disbursed.
- In state news, Alabama's public school students are taking part in a new physical fitness assessment this year, which is required for all students in grades 2 through 12. The tests replace the old President's Challenge Fitness Test.
- Russia's parliament is set to vote on a measure to ban Americans from adopting Russian children, which President Putin referred to as a legitimate response to recent US human rights legislation concerning Russia.
- In sports news, yesterday, Gus Malzahn announced that Auburn has hired longtime Southeastern Conference assistant Melvin Smith as cornerbacks coach. Smith spent the past seven seasons coaching cornerbacks and the secondary at Mississippi State.