Welcome to Friday, and are you ready for some football?…
Weather: A little something in the air. A code-orange air quality alert has been issued for Jefferson and Shelby counties for today. Ground-level ozone concentrations could reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny with a high near 92, with a nighttime low in the upper 60s. There’s a slim chance of an isolated thunderstorm on Saturday and Sunday, with highs near 90 and lows near 67. Rain chances inch upward to start the work week.
Presidential polls tighten. The race for the White House is neck and neck, as a Fox News poll of likely voters puts GOP nominee Mitt Romney ahead of President Barack Obama by one percentage point. The Real Clear Politics average of major national polls has Obama ahead by one point, down from three points two weeks ago. Both are within the margin of error, meaning that the two candidates are in a statistical tie.
Arrangements set for Hunter Alexander. The 9-year-old Smoke Rise youngster, who died Wednesday after a months-long battle with a rare form of brain cancer, will be buried Sunday. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday ay CrossRoads Baptist Church on Ala. 160 in Hayden. At 2 p.m., a funeral procession will leave CrossRoads and travel to Mt. Zion Baptist in Corner. The family asks that guests to wear Alabama attire or colors, except for Hayden High athletes who are to wear their own jerseys. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Pediatric Neuro Oncology for Brain Tumor Research at Children’s of Alabama.
Sports: Torches are hot. Tabernacle Christian has already punched its ticket for the season-ending playoffs in the Christian Football Association, eight days before the big schools play their first regular-season games. The Torches ran all over Flint Hill Christian 52-6 in eight-man action Thursday night at Bessemer. Justin Sims ran for three touchdowns, and Colin Sutton scored twice on kick returns, as well as intercepting two passes — the first run back for a touchdown, but called back because of a holding penalty…. For AHSAA teams, play begins tonight with jamboree exhibition games. Gardendale travels to Mortimer Jordan (the only time the rivals will play each other this season), Fultondale heads to Corner and Hayden goes to Locust Fork…. Cycling: Lance Armstrong has agreed not to fight charges that he is guilty of blood-doping and steroid use, and will be stripped of his record seven Tour De Seven titles, the Associated Press reports. According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong gave up his battle against the charges, which the agency considered an admission of guilt. The agency said he would also be banned for life, even though Armstrong officially retired last year. Armstrong could also be stripped of an Olympic bronze medal…. Crimson Tide: Alabama athletic director Mal Moore was released from a Tuscaloosa hospital Thursday after a two-day stay prompted by an irregular heartbeat. Moore’s personal physician said tests on Moore came back negative.