Time to start the first weekend of the new year…
Weather: Brrrr. Friday will be another case of a sunny, cool day with highs around 50, and nighttime lows near the freezing mark. Saturday will see some clouds roll in with a slight chance of afternoon rain, but weekend highs and lows will otherwise stay the same.
Four local finalists for JefCoEd Teacher of Year. The county school system has announced the five K-6th grade and five 7th-12th grade nominees for its highest teachers’ award. Among the finalists for the elementary grades are Patricia Ausman, who teaches grades 3-5 at Mt. Olive Elementary; and Carol McArdle, 6th-grade math teacher at Bragg Middle School. In the upper grades, the finalists include Susan Dial, advanced placement and pre-advanced placement biology teacher at Gardendale High School; and John Recke, AP government/history/economics/psychology at Mortimer Jordan High. The top teacher from each division will then be the county’s nominee for the state Teacher of the Year award.
Flipped out. A carjacking in the Graysville area ended Thursday night when the stolen car struck a Jefferson County Sheriff deputy’s car and flipped over near Hillview School. The deputy was not hurt, but the two suspects were injured. Money and cocaine were found in the car.
Boehner is speaker again — barely. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, won back the gavel for the coming Congressional term, but not by much. After a threatened revolt by some conservative Republican members unhappy with his fiscal-cliff deal with President Obama, Boehner won the election by just six votes. Majority Leader Eric Cantor got votes from three breakaway members (Cantor himself voted for Boehner), and four votes went to people who aren’t even House members — it’s allowed by the Constitution, though no non-member has ever served as speaker. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was again elected minority leader.
Sports: Fourth time’s the charm. Clay-Chalkville has had Gardendale’s number in their three earlier meetings this season, winning each by mercy-rule margins. But not on Thursday night, as the Rockets got out to an early lead, stayed close as the Cougars regained the advantage later, then came back to win 60-58 on a Michael Sadler putback at the buzzer. The Cougars were setting up for the final shot of the game when Juan Jackson picked their pocket with a mid-court steal, drove to the basket and missed, but Sadler followed up. Jackson led all scorers with 25 points, including four 3-pointers in the second half. Elsewhere in boys’ hoops, Jirus Thornton scored 37 points for Shades Valley as they defeated Pinson Valley 72-68. Zach Jackson paced the Indians with 18. Pinson hosts Pleasant Grove tonight... College football: Fourth-ranked Oregon made it look somewhat easy in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday, defeating No. 5 Kansas State 35-17. Perhaps the most notable thing about the game was the occurrence of the rarest scoinrg play in all of American football: the one-point conversion safety. It happened with the Ducks' extra-point kick by Alejandro Maldonado's was blocked and recovered by Kansas State at about the 1-yard line, and then pitched back and downed in the end zone. The one-point offensive conversion safety has only happened one other time in the entire history of NCAA Division I football, and a game between Texas and Texas A&M in 2004.