By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
— Hello Friday, and happy Valetine's Day...
Weather: What a warm-up. One would be hard-pressed to tell that north Jefferson County got four or five inches of snow on Wednesday night, as nearly all of it melted away by Thursday afternoon thanks to abundant sunshine. Today we'll see cloudy shies with a 50 percent chance of afternoon showers, but with highs near 60 degrees. Showers will continue tonight, and with lows dropping to 30 degrees, icing on roadways may be a problem overnight. Skies will clear Saturday with highs near 50, then up to the lower 60s on Sunday.
Back to school, unless... your children attend Blount County Schools, in which case they have another day off because some rural roads still have ice problems. All other local systems resume regular schedules today, and Jefferson County Schools will still dismiss classes for President's Day on Monday.
Caregiver charged under new law. Vacena Mae Hall has been charged with 11 criminal counts of identity theft, theft of property, fraudulent use of a credit card and elder abuse by financial exploitation – the latter stemming from the new Protecting Elders Act passed last year. Gardendale Police had already arrested Hall on an outstanding warrant before they investigated three elderly residents she was hired to care for. Hall is held on $210,000 bond.
Sports: Wipeout. Gardendale found out quickly why Shades Valley is the third-ranked girls basketball team in Class 6A, as the Mounties ran away with a 76-20 victory in a sub-regional playoff game. The Rockets were on the short end of a 49-9 score at halftime. Mallorie Corbin led Gardendale with seven points. Tonight, the Rocket boys travel to Mountain Brook. In other girls sub-regionals, Hayden hosts Pleasant Grove, Fultondale welcomes Sulligent, and Corner goes to Calera. Locust Fork travels to J.O. Johnson near Huntsville for a girls-boys doubleheader, while the Pinson boys host Ramsay and Hayden's boys go to Wenonah... Olympics: Sweep! (No, not in curling.) The U.S. swept all three spots on the medals platform in slopestyle skiing. Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper won gold, silver and bronze, respectively. It's the fist medal sweep in an event for the U.S. at Sochi. Curling: Speaking of sweeping, U.S. skip took advantage of big mistakes by Germany, making easy draws for four points in two separate ends for an 8-5 win Thursday. The victory keeps the Americans in the hunt for a medal. On the women's side, the U.S. got its first win, defeating Japan 8-6. Ice hockey: The American men opened play with a 7-1 win over Slovakia, with Paul Statsny scoring two goals.