North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 31, 2012

NJN/am for Monday, December 31

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Hello, New Year's Eve, let's all watch the big lighted ball fall over the fiscal cliff...

Weather: Dreary. Showers move into the area tonight, and linger through New Year's Day, which won't mean much if you're huddles in front of the television watching football bowl games. Highs today will reach the middle 50s, with lows tonight in the upper 40s. The rain clears out by midnight Tuesday, and temperatures drop into the upper 30s.

Cliffhanger. The talks over the so-called "fiscal cliff" continue in Washington today, as Congress and President Obama face down a deadline of midnight before mandatory tax hikes and spending cuts take effect. As the lunch hour passes, The Washington Post reports that negotiations between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seem to have finalized the annual income figure where tax hikes would kick in — $450,000 for couples, $400,000 for individuals — but the two sides are still far apart on spending cuts. Obama originally wanted that income figure to be $250,000 for couples, while GOP leaders in the House either wanted $1 million, or wanted the tax cuts President Bush pushed through to remain in place for all taxpayers regardless of income. Meanwhile, Congress has apparently averted the "dairy cliff," as they agree to extend a farm bill that would continue subsidies for milk producers. The one-year extension means that milk prices will not double, as was feared if the existing bill was allowed to expire.

Clinton hospitalized. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to New York Presbyterian Hospital to be treated for a blood clot, the latest in a series of medical setbacks that the former First Lady and New York Senator has had in recent weeks. The clot is believed to have occurred due to a concussion she suffered after all fall she took in a fainting incident, the later coming as a result of influenza. Clinton has announced plans to step down from her Cabinet post, with Se. John Kerry, D-Mass., chosen by the president as her replacement.

A change at the top — sort of. The general manager here at The North Jefferson News has changed, but in name only. Danielle Pelkey is now Danielle Cater, after she married fiancé Chuck Cater on Saturday.

Sports: Black Monday. That's what they call the first day after the end of the NFL regular season, as that is the day that a number of coaches are given pink slips. So far today, five coaches have been fired: Lovie Smith at Chicago, Andy Reid at Philadelphia, Chan Gailey in Buffalo, Romeo Crinnell at Kansas City and Pat Shurmur in Cleveland. Also rumored to be out by day's end is Norv Turner in San Diego. Some general managers also got their walking papers, including Mike Tannenbaum of the New York Jets, who opted to keep coach Rex Ryan; Tannenbaum was behind the signing of quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, neither of which has worked out well... High school football: Two local players are in the running for back of the year in their respective classes in the Alabama Sports Writers Association's year-end awards. One is a familiar name: ArDarius Stewart of Fultondale in Class 2A, who finished fourth in the Mr. Football balloting last year for the state's best overall player, and is a front-runner for that award this year. The other is senior linebacker Zach Cunningham of Pinson Valley in Class 5A. Each of them are one of three finalists for the award. The winners, along with linemen of the year in each class and Mr. Football, will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.

The North Jefferson News will be closed Tuesday for New Year's Day. Have a great holiday.