911 board approves changes to $40 million tech project

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 →

Oil committee: Not enough time for consensus

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 school tax initiative faces obstacles at the polls

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 →

Multiple robberies reported in Mobile

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 →

Jockisch challenges sex crime conviction

Freeman Jockisch

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 →

Planning Commission delays vote on cell tower

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 →