911 ‘restructuring’ continues with new director

(Gabriel Tynes/Lagniappe) County Engineer Joe Ruffer presides over a press conference discussing details of a $40 million radio project approved by the Mobile County Communications District.

After combing through a list of candidates from around the country, Mobile County Communication District board members found a new leader already sitting at the table — voting last week to promote Acting Director Charlie McNichol to the job full time beginning July 1. Seventeen applications were received and reviewed by a personnel committee chaired by board member Trey Oliver, who “put together a process” that ultimately whittled the list down to three who were presented to the full board. (more…) Continue Reading →

Request for expungement records comes up short

Alabama's Law Library in Montgomery. (judicial.alabama.gov)

The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts responded to a records request seeking data related to expunged court records statewide by saying its court record data system does not track information related to those records, despite a 2014 state law requiring it to do so. On April 1, Lagniappe submitted a public records request to the Administrative Office of Courts seeking the expungement data it is required by state law to provide to the Legislature, data the law says the office is supposed to keep. (more…) Continue Reading →

Tax districts could mean millions for island, Eastern Shore schools

Gulf Shores Middle School. (bcbe.org)

The movement toward increased funding for schools within the Baldwin County Public School System is marching forward as officials in both Fairhope and Gulf Shores weigh new special tax districts they hope would mean millions in additional dollars for schools in their feeder patterns. As leaders eye the potential loss of the countywide penny tax in 2018 and see the school system’s loss of 1 mill of property tax funding on the ballot in March, those at the municipal and county levels see a great opportunity in special tax districts. (more…) Continue Reading →

Alabama becomes 5th state to ban kratom

This map shows a state-by-state breakdown of Kratom's legal status in the U.S. (speciosa.org)

Though the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has considered kratom a “drug of concern” for some time, state governments have led the charge in criminalizing the East Asian herb. In 2015, DEA press officer Barbara Carreno called kratom “novel” when she told Lagniappe the drug wasn’t regulated on the federal level. For the the possession or sale of a drug to be illegal on the federal level, Congress has to vote for its inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. “You don’t want the government just willy-nilly saying, ‘you can’t have this,’” Carreno said. (more…) Continue Reading →

Ownership of soccer complex properties dates back to ‘60s

(Photo | Courtesy of the Mobile County Commission) Preliminary plans for a $40 million soccer and aquatic complex off Halls Mill Road near the intersection of interstates 65 and 10. Awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the county plans to purchase the property in May.

Records dating back to the 1960s detail how some of the area’s most prominent families came to acquire parcels of land near Interstate 65 slated to house Mobile County’s $40 million soccer and aquatic complex. Last week, in response to questions about why a purchasing agreement the county approved in 2014 included several individuals and companies with ties to White-Spunner Realty Inc., the broker of the land transaction, a Mobile County spokesperson said the individual sellers and history of the properties was not something the county was concerned with. (more…) Continue Reading →