By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
— Welcome to Friday and a soggy weekend...
Weather: Rainy night in Georgia (and Alabama). Today will be partly cloudy with highs in the lower 50s. Rain moves in tonight with lows in the middle 40s. The rain continues through Saturday morning, then tapers off through the afternoon with highs in the middle 50s. We'll see gradual clearing on Sunday with highs in the lower 40s.
Gardendale man charged. An investigation that began in the middle of 2012 has led to the arrest of Jason Scott Whitehead on charges of sodomy and sexually abusing a child younger than 12. Whitehead, 40, was arrested after an indictment was handed down by a grand jury in November. He's currently held in the Jefferson County Jail.
Budget deal passes House. A controversial budget bill, aimed at preventing another series of sequester cutbacks that would kick in on January 15, was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday by a 332-94 vote. Members on both sides of the aisle cast no votes. The prospects for the compromise, brokered by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, are far bleaker, though. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) told The Hill newspaper that his party plans a “procedural filibuster” to stop the bill, which would require 60 votes to break. Currently, no GOP senator has come out in favor of the deal, and some Democrats are wavering as well.
Sports: A sign of things to come? Alabama quarterback A.J. McCaron won the Maxwell Award as the nation's most outstanding college football player during The Home Depot Football Awards on Thursday night. That award could be a harbinger of how voting goes for the better-known Heisman Trophy,to be awarded in a few days. McCarron beat out quarterbacks Jameis Winston Florida State and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M; both are also finalists for the Heisman, where Winston has been pegged as the front-runner. Winston won a similar award, though as the Walter Camp Player of the Year, which is voted on by a separate group. Also during Thursday's awards, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was named national Coach of the Year, and the Tigers' Chris Davis and his famous 109-yard return of a missed field goal to win the Iron Bowl was selected as the Play of the Year... Mack Brown Watch: The embattled Texas head coach said in a press conference Thursday that his status has not changed and he is staying on, though Brown is scheduled to meet with the school president and new athletic director today for discussions about his future. Elsewhere, McCarron – interviewed before the awards ceremony last night – said Nick Saban told him he would not be leaving Alabama for the Longhorn job.