North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

November 15, 2012

NJN/am for Thursday, November 15

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Hope you have a terrific Thursday…

The Mann for the job. His wife Denise wanted a little larger reception, perhaps back home in Gardendale. But Oscar Mann wanted it simple and short, and so it was when he was sworn in as the newest member of the Jefferson County Board of Education on Wednesday. Mann took the oath of office from Family Court Presiding Judge Brian Huff one of Mann's former students. Mann graduated from the old Warrior High and has served in jobs from bus driver to assistant principal in the JefCoEd system. Mann also served a term as a Gardendale city councilman, who ran for mayor and lost to Othell Phillips in 2008. Mann ran unopposed for the seat; he replaces Karen Smith Nix of Gardendale, who did not seek re-election. Ronald Rhodes of Corner will also start another term today when the new board meets for its first session.

Weather: A teensy bit warmer. We will be ever-so-slightly warmer than yesterday, with sunny skies and a high that may reach 60. Nighttime lows should still be in the upper 30s, maybe just 40. Friday will pretty much be the same, maybe a couple of degrees warmer, and ditto that for Saturday and Sunday.

Want a job? Don’t smoke. The UAB Health System has announced that they will no longer hire job applicants who smoke. Starting next July 1, job seekers will be tested for nicotine, as well as the other usual narcotics, in their pre-employment drug-screening program. In fact, the policy applies to any tobacco use, including non-smoking use.

Petraeus to testify after all. After his resignation Friday over an extramarital affair, it looked like former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus would not testify in a Senate hearing over the attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left an ambassador and three others dead. But now Petraeus has decided he will indeed testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday. Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed Petraeus’ appearance to CBS News on Wednesday. The hearing will be held behind closed doors.

Straight out of reality TV? Meanwhile, the scandal surrounding Petraeus’ affair with author Paula Broadwell continues to expand, and stranger details are emerging. Broadwell was accused of sending threatening email messages to another woman, Jill Kelley, warning her to stay away from the then-general and commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Now it turns out that Kelley, a Tampa socialite who served in various volunteer social capacities for MacDill Air Force Base and the U.S. Central Command, is in a boatload of financial trouble. Kelley and her husband, as well as her twin sister, are being sued for millions of dollars by various banks (including Birmingham-based Regions Bank) for debts they’ve accumulated as they moved in society circles at the base. Kelley even was an honorary consul for South Korea, and had diplomatic license plates on her car. Kelley may have romantic ties to Marine Gen. John Allen, who replaced Petraeus as commander in Afghanistan.

Sports: Missing Aggie. Police are searching for Thomas Johnson, a true freshman wide receiver for Texas A&M. Johnson hasn’t been seen since he left his residence in College Station on Monday evening. He’s played all 10 games this season, starting two… Baseball: New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young Award for the National League on Wednesday. Dickey was 20-6 this season with a 2.73 ERA and struck out 230 batters. On the AL side, David Price of Tampa Bay won the award; he was 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 205 K’s. Price narrowly beat out Detroit ace Justin Verlander.