North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 18, 2013

NJN/am for Friday, January 18

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Hello, Friday, and it’s a good time for a weekend…

Weather: Here comes the sun. Thursday’s snow came, and then went almost as quickly. Accumulations of up to six inches were reported in central Alabama, but one to two inches was the norm. Some places around Gardendale recorded 2½ inches. But the sun came out late in the day and melted much of the white stuff — which has unfortunately frozen again overnight, leaving many roads icy and treacherous. The ice will melt as afternoon highs reach 50 degrees. Tonight’s low will dip to 30. Weekend highs will be in the middle 50s, with lows in the lower 30s.

School delays: Jefferson and Blount county schools are on a two-hour delay today. Tabernacle Christian School and Gardendale Christian Academy open at 10 a.m.

Chillin’ in a big traffic jam. Thursday’s snowstorm had its greatest effect on Interstate 65 at Lacon Mountain, better known as that big long hill motorists descend north of Cullman at the Morgan County line. That stretch of highway saw greater accumulations as well as ice, causing vehicles to slip and slide all over the long hill. Southbound drivers simply couldn’t make it all the way up, and traffic jams extended for miles in both directions. ALDOT crews were still dealing with the situation well into the evening, and the Red Cross set up a shelter in Cullman for stranded motorists.

Advice icon passes. She went by the pseudonym “Abigail van Buren,” but two millions she was known as “Dear Abby,” the title of the advice column she wrote for most of the latter half of the 20th Century. Pauline Friedman Phillips died Thursday at age 94, after battling Alzheimer’s disease. Phillips was known for her pithy, snappy and occasionally salty (for their time) answers to questions from people of all walks of life. At its peak, her column attracted as many as 10,000 letters a week; her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, took the column over in 2002, and it is still syndicated to more than 1,400 newspapers. Her primary competition came from a columnist with the pen name “Ann Landers” — in real life, it was Pauline’s identical twin sister, Esther “Eppie” Lederer, who died in 2002.

Sports: A confession, and a puzzlement. Lance Armstrong has confessed. The seven-time winner of cycling’s Tour de France — titles which have been stripped by regulatory agencies — admitted to Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast Thursday that he had taken various performance-enhancing drugs and done blood doping during all of those races. The confessions ended years of strenuous denials that he had never used any such substances during his career. “There will be people who hear this and never forgive me,” Armstrong said. “I understand that.” The second part of the interview airs tonight on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel, which is not carried on most local cable systems… Meanwhile, the strange saga of Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti T’eo and the supposed hoax involving a girlfriend who supposedly died last fall gets stranger. The scheme, at least at this point, appears to involve some form of “catfishing” — a term taken from a cable-TV show three years ago that documented how some people create fake online profiles in order to find romance. The website Deadspin, which broke the T’eo story, blames the hoax on a 22-year-old from California. Notre Dame is standing behind T’eo, saying he was duped… Prep sports: There was none last night, thanks to the snow which caused school systems to cancel Thursday’s schedule. Assuming roads clear, a slate of basketball games is on tap for Friday night, including Oak Grove at Fultondale, Gardendale at Hewitt-Trussville and Carbon Hill at Corner.