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Filed 11/28/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Two killed in area holiday accidents
  • Supreme Court hearing landmark case
  • New Tenant takes over Cock Diesel location in Jacksonville


Two killed in area holiday accidents 

Troopers from the Jacksonville post report that an Anniston teenager was killed early Sunday morning in a one car accident near the Calhoun/ Cleburne county line on county road 55.  According to troopers the 1999 Pontiac Grand Am left the roadway and struck trees near 1 am Sunday morning.  17 year old Caitlin Victoria Graeff was killed in the accident.  The accident occurred some four miles east of the Calhoun County Line in Cleburne county on county road 55.  A 57 year old Etowah County woman was killed Friday afternoon when her bicycle was struck by a pickup truck.  According to troopers, 57 year old Jackie Battles  and her 60 year old husband Archie Battles were riding bicycles on the sand valley road some five miles north of Attalla when their bikes were struck by a 2000 Chevy pickup driven by Jason Hallmark of Attalla.  Troopers reported that Jackie Battles was killed in the accident and her husband Archie was taken to Gadsden Regional Medical Center.   The driver of the truck was not inured and troopers say that the cause of the accident remains under investigation.


Supreme Court hearing landmark case 

A former employee at Gadsden’s Goodyear plant is asking the Supreme Court to uphold a jury verdict in her pay discrimination lawsuit in a case that employers and civil rights groups are watching closely.  Justices were to consider today how to apply a 180-day deadline for complaining about discriminatory pay decisions under Title the federal Civil Rights Act.  After 19 years at the Gadsden Goodyear. plant , Lilly Ledbetter was making $6,000 a year less than the lowest-paid man in the same job.  She filed a pay discrimination lawsuit in 1999, arguing the disparity existed for years and was primarily a result of her gender. A federal jury agreed and awarded Ledbetter more than $3.8 million. A judge reduced the award to $360,000.

Goodyear appealed and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the verdict. The appeals court said Ledbetter mainly was complaining about decisions made by her supervisors long ago, well after the deadline for raising allegations of discrimination.  In Ledbetter's appeal to the Supreme Court, her lawyers said each paycheck represented a violation of civil rights law by Goodyear, even if the lower pay resulted from discriminatory decisions made years earlier.  Supporting Ledbetter, the NAACP, AARP and other rights groups said employers would not suffer any consequences for recurring discrimination if they could rebuff allegations merely by arguing the deadline for complaining about the first episode passed.

Goodyear denied discriminating against Ledbetter. The company said that She received periodic raises despite being ranked near the bottom of her group of workers.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business said that if the court rules for the worker in this case, employers would be subject to damages for innocent decisions made years ago that would be difficult to defend because of the passage of time.


New Tenant takes over Cock Diesel location in Jacksonville 

Recent actions by the Jacksonville City Council dashed the hopes for the re-opening of the cock diesel night club just off the square in Jacksonville.  But the building will not remain vacant as  Steven Ray, owner of Jacksonville Tae Kwan Do Academy, is renovating the building for a planned December opening.   Ray said he signed a two-year lease on the building and plans to host junior classes for six-year-olds and adult classes for students 13 and older. The Cock Diesel was a concern for both the city and JSU officials after an athlete was seriously injured in an incident at the club. 



Alabama coach Mike Shula was fired Sunday night following a 6-6 season that ended with three straight losses, including a defeat by state rival Auburn.  University of Alabama Athletic director Mal Moore said today that defensive coordinator Joe Kines would serve as interim head coach and a national search would begin for "a proven head coach with a proven record of achievement."  Alabama is bowl-eligible but it has not been determined if the Tide will receive an invitation to a post-season game.

Shula, who is a former Alabama quarterback, had no head coaching experience when he was hired in 2003.  Shula was winless in four tries against Auburn, his team's biggest rival. Moore praised Shula for providing "stability for our program through four years of NCAA probation" that ends Feb. 1, 2007.  Moore said "However, we did not make progress on the field this season and have not been able to maintain the positive momentum necessary to return Alabama football to a place among college football's elite programs,".  The firing of Shula means Alabama is looking for a head coach for the fourth time since 2000. The Tide has had seven coaches in the 24 years since legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's last season in 1982. Bryant had directed the Alabama program for 25 years.

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