North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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February 5, 2013

NJN/am for Tuesday, February 5


Hello, Tuesday…

Weather: A bit damp. There’s a 30-percent chance of rain during the morning hours, with skies clearing in the afternoon. Highs today will reach the lower 60s, with nighttime lows in the lower 40s. There will be areas of fog after midnight. More showers will come into the area on Wednesday.

Young Ethan is safe as ordeal ends. The standoff in Midland City, Alabama finally came to an end Monday afternoon, as FBI agents and local law enforcement officials became more concerned about the stability of kidnapper Jimmy Lee Dykes as he remained holed up in his bunker. The agents moved in to remove Dykes’ 5-year-old hostage, apparently fooling Dykes into opening his bunker to accept a package and then swooping in. The youngster was taken safely, but Dykes died in the raid; whether he killed himself or was killed by law enforcement is not clear at the moment. The hostage situation began seven days prior, when police say Dykes stopped a school bus, demanded that he be allowed to take some children from it, and then murdered the driver of the bus. The boy, known only as Ethan and who suffers from autism, appears to be fine.

Time for a hike. The Warrior City Council approved a one-cent hike in the city’s sales tax, bringing the overall rate to 10 percent. It’s a move that the city considered years ago, but which met with considerable opposition from residents. Not so this time, however, as Mayor Johnny Ragland and council members said they had no negative reactions from constituents this time around. The hike was made necessary by increased health-insurance costs for city employees, and the prospect of the loss of a major source of sales tax revenue — Dewey Barber Chevrolet, which will move to Gardendale later this year. The rate will go up by one-half percent in the police-jurisdiction area outside Warrior as well. The rate hike takes effect in 30 days.

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