In the new issue of Lagniappe, we visit Mobile’s St. Mary’s Home, a local organization that offers the comforts of home for abused and neglected children as they wait to find their “forever families.” Founded in 1838, St. Mary’s Home serves as the first and oldest residential program for foster children in Alabama and the only Catholic residential program in the state. It is often a “last resort” for children who have been removed from or abandoned by their families, and the home’s vision is to see that all children live free from violence, neglect and fear. In Bay Briefs, we take a look at the $4 million in legal fees and settlements the city of Mobile has paid out over the past two years and the 911 board’s approval of changes to a $40 million tech project. We also have a story about the city’s plans for a New Orleans-style open-air market at a new downtown park. In commentary, Rob writes about a Thanksgiving meal to remember, and Ashley tells why she is thankful for all the things, good and bad, that make Mobile special. In Cuisine, Andy has some last-minute turkey talk and a procrastinator’s guide to Thanksgiving necessities. Artifice highlights local artist Yevette Ward, whose name you’ll see over and over again throughout December, and in our music feature, we speak with the Muscle Shoals band Belle Adair, who are fresh off a recording session, before their post-Thanksgiving performance at Callaghan’s. Happy Thanksgiving, Lagniappers! We are thankful for your continued support! LAGNIAPPE IS ONLINE AND ON STANDS NOW!
In the wake of Monday night’s grand jury decision not to indict white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown, a local Mobile group this afternoon carried out a rally march from Lyons Park to the federal courthouse building downtown.
The band behind such hits as “YMCA” and “Macho Man” will make a stop in Mobile to help celebrate New Year’s Eve.
The Village People will be headlining the MoonPie Over Mobile this year. Evelyn “Champagne” King will join in the festivities as an opener, Austal Vice-President of Business Development and External Affairs Terry O’Brien announced today. The Sons of Funk will perform at the Bienville Square stage, Events Mobile Executive Director Carol Hunter said.
Mobile has spent more than $2.4 million in legal fees and in excess of $1.5 million on settlements over the last two years, according to city records. In addition, the eight lawyers on the city staff make just over $1 million combined in salaries. The pay ranges from $61,505 to $119,828.
The Mobile County Communications District has already begun work on a $40 million communications system improvement project, but minutes before a ceremonial groundbreaking Nov. 17, a requested change order related to the project raised questions from one of the seven commissioners. The project, awarded to Harris Communications in 2013, seeks to enhance the emergency communications system throughout the county using Harris’ “Project 25 (P25)” 700 MHz radio system. It was partially funded with a $34.9 million revenue bond issued last year authorized by the Mobile County Commission. To support new equipment, the project will also include the construction of five new communications towers at sites on Salco Road, in Citronelle, Wilmer, Bayou la Batre and on Bay Road. Continue Reading →
Many members of the citizens’ ad hoc committee on above-ground oil storage tanks complained last week to a Mobile Planning Commission subcommittee about not having enough time to reach a consensus on a report completed in March. The Planning Commission subcommittee, tasked with reviewing the zoning ordinance related to above-ground oil and petroleum storage tanks, met last week with members of the ad-hoc committee in hopes of getting feedback from the group on how to move forward on the issue. The ad-hoc committee was formed, with appointments from the City Council and Mayor Sandy Stimpson, to make recommendations as to whether the construction of the tanks should be limited within an “enhanced scrutiny area” near downtown and along the waterfront. Until March 2015, any new application for construction of above-ground storage tanks will first come to the City Council, before going to the Planning Commission. Planning Commission Chairman James Watkins asked ad-hoc committee members for their impressions of the report filed in March. Continue Reading →
Baldwin County residents appear to be divided on a $350 million long-term capital building plan for public schools, which calls for an 8-mill increase in ad valorem tax. Prior to announcing the plan Nov. 13, the Baldwin County Board of Education passed a resolution to propose a referendum, and it will likely be seen on ballots countywide in March. According to a telephone poll sponsored by WKRG, 50.5 percent of Baldwin County residents oppose the plan while 49.5 said they would vote “yes” for the tax increase. Further, the poll indicated residents with children or grandchildren in the public school system favor the plan 53 to 47 percent, but the numbers flipped for the opposition for people without children in the system. Continue Reading →
The Mobile Police Department reported six robberies during the week of Nov. 17-23, including a holdup of a convenience store and several robberies of individuals at gunpoint. On Nov. 17, MPD officers responded to two robberies — the first at the 7000 block of Gloster Court around 4:35 p.m. There, a juvenile male reported an unknown black male armed with a handgun demanded his bookbag and tennis shoes. The second robbery occurred at the 1100 block of Springhill Avenue. Continue Reading →
Former Mobile County Commissioner and convicted sex offender Freeman Jockisch is challenging his conviction on child enticement, arguing that prosecutors overreached their statutory authority. In April, Jockisch was found guilty of attempting to meet someone he presumed to be an underaged girl for sex. In reality, he had been corresponding with law enforcement officers who had posted unassuming personal ads on Craigslist. (more…) Continue Reading →
Plans for a cell tower operated by Cellular South, or C-Spire, was met with opposition Thursday, during a Mobile Planning Commission meeting. The commission voted to delay until January a vote on the new tower, which would be built onLadd-Pebbles Stadium property — owned by the city — but not before hearing complaints, during a public hearing. Resident Jerryln Rushing London said she was concerned about the number of towers already near Williamson High School and asked commissioners to consider the health of children there before approving the application. According to the plans, the proposed tower would be across the street from the school and within 150 feet of residential property. Mary Ann Campbell, from Robertsdale, asked commissioners if a study had been done regarding how a tower would affect property values in the area. Continue Reading →