Time for Thursday…
Weather: The warming trend begins. Sunny skies continue, but today we see temperatures finally creep back upward. Highs today will edge into the lower 60s, with lows tonight near 40. It gets even better tomorrow, as temperatures hit the lower 70s.
An historic new pope is selected. Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, to be known hereafter as Pope Francis, is the first ever pontiff to hail from the Americas. The 76-year-old is known as a simple, humble man who eschewed the perks of being a cardinal back home in Buenos Aires. He is also the first pope ever to be a member of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. Francis was elected on the fifth ballot by the conclave of cardinals at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
All clear for accountability bill. The Alabama Supreme Court threw out a restraining order from a lower court that barred Gov. Robert Bentley from signing the Alabama Accountability Act, which would provide tax credits to offset private-school tuition costs for parents of students in failing schools. The order was part of a lawsuit that was a last-ditch effort by the Alabama Education Association to halt the bill’s enactment.
Sports: Back to back. Gardendale has won two Jefferson County Schools Baseball Tournament championships in a row, thanks to a 2-0 victory over Pinson Valley last night at Birmingham-Southern College. Carter Burns struck out six in 6-1/3 innings and allowed just three hits, two of them right before he was pulled for reliever Chris Walton… State rankings: The new Alabama Sports Writers Association baseball and softball weekly top-10 rankings were released this morning, and Pinson Valley has moved up a spot to eighth in the Class 5A baseball poll. In softball, Mortimer Jordan stays at number four in 5A, while Hayden drops out after being ranked 10th… Boys soccer: Josh Almandarez capitalized on a misplayed block by the Homewood goalkeeper, taking a rebound off the crossbar and scoring the only goal in Pinson’s 1-0 win over Homewood. The match feature the seventh- and eighth-ranked teams in Class 5A, as ranked by the state soccer coaches association.