By Robert Carter
— Friday is here, and let’s play some football…
Weather: You’ve heard this before. It will be partly sunny and warm today with a 20 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms today and a high near 90. Mostly clear tonight with a low near 70. More of the same is on store for Saturday and Sunday.
“When are we going to get some help?” The mother of a seventh-grade student at Fultondale High School took her case directly to the Jefferson County Board of Education on Thursday night. Melisha Smith, who was an educator herself when she lived in Arizona before moving to Alabama, asked the board and Superintendent Stephen Nowlin what their plans were to alleviate the problems caused by the school’s aging physical plant. Nowlin acknowledged that something will have to be done about a newer facility in the next two to three years, but that the board would have to wait to see what the city of Gardendale does about splitting off from the county system, as that would affect the size of any new school to be built. And speaking of the proposed Gardendale school system…
“We want Gardendale to stay.” Nowlin said that he hopes that the city will remain within the county schools, and expressed that to a delegation of city leaders recently. “I think the study [commissioned by the city] did a good job of identifying revenues, but it was incomplete on costs and expenditures,” he said. “I think they’re going to be surprised at how expensive this is going to be.” Nowlin said that JefCoEd has a large investment in Gardendale, and any pull-out should not end up costing the county system money as a result, such as costs relating to moving vocational education programs now at Gardendale High that students from other high schools also attend. We’ll have more about last night’s board meeting, and Nowlin’s comments afterward about the Gardendale situation, later today at njeffersonnews.com.
Sports: Jamboree time. AHSAA high school football gets its unofficial kickoff tonight, as teams play their pre-season jamboree games. A rivalry game of sorts leads things off locally, as Mortimer Jordan travels to Gardendale at 7 p.m. Elsewhere, Fultondale hosts Tarrant at 7, Pinson Valley goes to Hewitt-Trussville for a 5:30 start, Corner hosts Haleyville and Locust Fork makes the short trip to Hayden… College football: The top quarterback in the SEC, according to its coaches, is — Georgia’s Aaron Murray? Really? It’s true — the coaches picked Murray ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (he was put on the second team) and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron (third team). The Crimson Tide did have five players on the first team: C.J. Mosley, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, T.J. Yeldon, Amari Cooper and Cyrus Kouandjio… Baseball: The Braves fell to St. Louis 6-2 Thursday night, thanks in large part to three straight doubles by the Cardinals in the fifth inning. Paul Manholm got the loss. Meanwhile, the Birmingham Barons finished their five-game home series against the Tennessee Smokies with a 4-2 win, paced by a three-run homer by Dan Black. The Barons travel to Pensacola tonight to start their final road series of the season.
[Edited at 9:55 a.m. to correct the start time for Mortimer Jordan at Gardendale.]