North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

February 5, 2013

NJN/am for Tuesday, February 5

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

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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.

Sports: Indians come back for win. Pinson Valley boys basketball coach Clint Argo said his team played well against Gardendale on Monday night — but only in the last three minutes of each half. That was enough to do the job, though, as the Indians came back from being down by seven points to win 68-60 in the regular-season finale for both teams. In the girls’ game, the Rockets prevailed by a 50-44 score. At Hayden, the Wildcat boys and girls both won over Hanceville in an afternoon game played before the student body. Hayden closes out its regular season tonight, as they host Corner… Football: Linebacker Reuben Foster, the highly-sought recruit from Auburn High, finally made up his mind last night. On a Fox Sports South television show, Foster announced he would commit to Alabama. Wednesday is National Signing Day, with four local schools lining up signees. Pinson Valley linebacker Zach Cunningham is the only one who will announce his decision when he signs, with Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Auburn and Oregon the front-runners. Teammate Earnest Robinson will sign with Auburn, while Fultondale standout ArDarius Stewart inks his scholarship with the Crimson Tide,