North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 5, 2013

NJN/am for Friday, April 5

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— It’s Friday, and not a moment too soon…

Weather: Improving. The rain tapers off to drizzle this morning and moves out completely by lunchtime. Highs today will reach the middle 60s, with lows tonight in the lower 40s. If you’re headed over to the IndyCar race at Barber over the weekend, the weather will be terrific with sunny skies and highs in the middle 70s. It gets even better next week, with temps creeping into the 80s.

Say hello to “Big Al.” The Crimson Tide mascot will be in attendance as the Gardendale Miracle League, the baseball league for special needs children, begins its fifth spring season. Opening Night begins at 6 p.m. at Luman Harris Park, and Big Al will be there until 7:30.

Airport signs removed. The Birmingham Airport Authority has removed the remaining two free-standing flight information boards — the same kind which unexpectedly fell and killed a 10-year-old boy and injured his mother and brothers. Airport chief Al Denson announced the decision Thursday after conferring with contractors. The signs had additional supports put in place after the March 22 accident. The authority is still investigating the cause.

Sports: Trouble on the Plains. Auburn University is disputing two reports which claim wrongdoing by former football coach Gene Chizik’s staff. One story, by former Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts on her own website, charges that the university paid players to stay with the program rather than move on to the pros, changed players grades to maintain eligibility and committed NCAA recruiting violations. Mike McNeil, the former defensive back who goes on trial for armed robbery charges later this month, was the source of most of the allegations. The other story, by ESPN The Magazine and the cable network’s E:60 program, says that a dozen players — including running back Michael Dyer — failed drug tests for synthetic marijuana. Auburn issued statements of denial, as did Chizik and former Tiger assistant Will Muschamp, now the Florida head coach… Prep sports: Rain washed out all of Thursday’s baseball and softball games. Friday’s schedule includes an important Class 6A area baseball doubleheader with tenth-ranked Hewitt-Trussville travelling to Gardendale.