By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
— It's Thursday, and back to the grind we go...
Weather: A blustery day. We start off the day with rain, most of which moves out this morning, followed by falling temperatures and a windy afternoon. Highs today start in the upper 40s, falling to near freezing by late afternoon. Tonight will be cold and windy with a low near 20, with wind chills in the single digits. Friday will be sunny, but we'll struggle to get past freezing.
Small plane down. Miraculously, the pilot walked away when his airplane came down in a backyard in the Thompson Plantation subdivision in Alabaster on Wednesday afternoon. The plane just missed several houses. The pilot was able to get out on his own, but was taken to a hospital to get checked out. No word on a cause for the crash.
Famed photographer dies at bowl game. If there's a photo of your favorite coach getting doused in Gatorade at the end of a big victory, there's a good chance Dave “Mullet” Martin shot it. In fact, he had just taken such a photo of Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin at the end of Tuesday's Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta when Martin collapsed of an apparent heart attack. He died early Wednesday morning at an Atlanta hospital. Martin was a photographer for Associated Press out of Montgomery for many years, where his wife worked on Gov. Robert Bentley's staff. Martin was a fixture at Alabama and Auburn football games, among many other sports and news events; he was 59.
Sports: A spoonful of sugar. It's not where Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide wanted to finish the football season, but nonetheless they will take on Oklahoma tonight in the Sugar Bowl at New Orleans. Bama is favored by 15 points by the Las Vegas bettors. Elsewhere in New Year's Day games, Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20 in the 100th Rose Bowl Game, Central Florida upset Baylor 52-42 in the Fiesta Bowl, Nebraska tripped up Georgia 24-19 in the Gator Bowl, and LSU beat Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl... Hockey: A crowd of more than 105,000 braved the cold and steady snow at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. to see the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a tiebreaker shootout at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic. It's the largest crowd to ever see a single hockey game in person.