North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 24, 2013

NJN/am for Thursday, January 24

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Good Thursday morning to one and all…

Weather: Slightly damp. Skies will be cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain today, with a high in the upper 40s. The rain chances increase to 40 percent tonight with lows in the middle 30s. There is an outside chance of freezing rain on Friday afternoon, but for now it looks like icy conditions will come no closer to the metro area than Oneonta. That’s subject to change, though, so we’ll keey a close eye on the forecast.

Anyone missing an emu? Gardendale Police had an unusual chase on their hands Wednesday, but not a fugitive criminal. Instead, it was an emu — a large bird resembling an ostrich — which was on the loose in the city Wednesday. The police caught the bird after a short pursuit and took it into custody. Photos of the wild bird chase are on the department’s Facebook page.

Women on the front lines. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is leaving his post in the Obama Administration shortly, will make history on his way out the door. Fox News reports that Panetta will change a centuries-long policy of not allowing women in small front-line ground combat units. Women had been historically prohibited from such roles, and formally banned in 1994, though they have played combat roles in the air and in numerous support positions. The change comes at the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also slated to leave her post soon, was at times vocal in her long-awaited Congressional testimony about her responsibility in the attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which an ambassador and three others were killed. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?” Clinton loudly replied in a testy exchange with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

Sports: Another (number) one bites the dust. Duke became the latest top-ranked college basketball team to be toppled from their perch atop the polls, thanks to a 90-63 thumping by No. 25 Miami. It was the third-largest margin of loss ever by a team ranked first in the Associated Press poll. The Blue Devils loss follows then-No. 1 Louisville suffering two straight losses, and falling to the fifth slot in the polls… Prep basketball: The Jefferson County Schools Girls Basketball Tournament continued Wednesday with large-school consolation bracket play at Shades Valley. Gardendale knocked off Pinson Valley, while Mortimer Jordan dug itself a big hole early that it couldn’t quite get out of in a loss to Hueytown. The Devils and Indians will play today at 4:30 p.m., while the Rockets and Golden Gophers square off immediately afterward.