Hello Friday, it's that weird weekend-within-a-holiday deal again…
Weather: Rainy. Showers will roll in this afternoon, with highs today in the middle 50s. Rain continues through the night and into Saturday morning, with lows tonight in the lower 40s and highs tomorrow not going much above that. Lows Saturday night will sink into the 20s, which means there may be icy spots on roadways.
Thanks, but that won’t be necessary. Gov. Robert Bentley has backed away from a plan to offer early retirement to certain state employees. According to the Associated Press, Bentley said that cost savings of more than $750 million has been achieved through “right-sizing the work force,” and that the incentives for retirees won’t be necessary. The plan would have offered $15,000 in cash payments or paid-up health insurance premiums for five years.
Persian Gulf War commander dies. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Sadaam Hussein, has died in Tampa. Nicknamed "Stormin' Norman" for his notoriously explosive temper, Schwarzkopf was commander of the U.S. Central Command, and formulated the plans for defending Kuwait from Iraqi invasion well before it actually happened; the major offensive was completed in just 100 hours. “Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises,” President George H.W. Bush said in a statement. “More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.” Schwarzkopf was 78. No cause of death was announced.
Speaking of Bush: The 41st president remains in the intensive care unit of Methodist Hospital in Houston with a persistent fever. Bush, 88, was hospitalized in November with a bronchitis-like condition which has since improved.
Sports: Wildcats, Indians win. Hayden recovered from a three-game pre-Christmas losing streak by routing Hewitt-Trussville 59-36 in the opening round of the Wildcats’ own Christmas Classic girls basketball tournament. Mortimer Jordan did not fare as well, losing to Homewood 35-30. Jordan will face Cordova in a consolation bracket semifinal today at 4, while Hayden takes on Hueytown in a winner’s bracket semifinal at 8:30. The tournament concludes Saturday. Meanwhile, in boys’ action, Pinson Valley overcame a sluggish start to defeat Randolph School 70-51 in the first round of the WQSB/Albertville Civitans Christmas Classic tourney. They’ll take on Boaz in a quarterfinal game this morning at 10:30.