North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 13, 2013

NJN/am for Thursday, June 13

Good Thursday morning to you…

Weather: Stormy. The National Weather Service has placed nearly all of Alabama under a slight risk for severe weather today. A cold front will move from north to south during the afternoon, and as the colder air moves southward, it will run into a warm, humid air mass that will trigger scattered storms. The main threat comes from strong straight-line winds and damaging hail; there is little chance of tornadoes. Highs will reach the middle 90s before the front arrives in the late afternoon; rain continues through the night, though the rough stuff will move out not long after it moves in, with nighttime lows in the middle 60s.

Arson trial goes to jury. Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning in the trial of Curtis Thornton, the Warrior man who’s charged with setting fire to homes in the Dana Road neighborhood where he lives, as well as to houses in Ensley while serving as a Birmingham Police officer. Thornton took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, denying testimony by his former fiancée and his former BPD colleagues who said that they thought Thornton set the fires. He also disputed forensic testimony that asserted his patrol car was near a house in Ensley just before a fire was reported there. The jury will begin deliberations after closing arguments.

Alabama native steps down as surgeon general. Regina Benjamin, who hails from Mobile, told her staff Wednesday that she would leave her post. Benjamin was appointed by President Obama in 2009; reports in south Alabama have mentioned Benjamin as a possible Democratic candidate for the Congressional special election to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Jo Bronner (R-Mobile).

Sports: At the stroke of midnight. The fifth longest game in NHL Stanley Cup Finals history finally ended exactly at midnight Central Time, as Andrew Shaw scored off a defection of a Michal Rozsival drive that was first deflected by Dave Bolland, giving the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 triple overtime victory over Boston in the first game of the best-of-seven series. Chicago had been down 3-1 in the third period before scoring two late goals to send the game into overtime… Golf: First round play begins this morning in the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Masters champ Adam Scott will play in a threesome for the first two rounds. Merion, known for its unusual wicker-basket hole markers (instead of flags), last hosted the Open in 1981… NASCAR: Jason Leffler, who raced mainly on the Nationwide circuit but was in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Pocono, was killed in a crash at a dirt-car track in New Jersey. Leffler, who also drove on the IndyCar series, was 37.

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