Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas! In the new issue of Lagniappe, meet area Santa Clauses who discuss the magic of the season, and the outfit, for outreach continuing beyond Christmas. We speak with Santa Ernest, a Daphne resident who founded the largest Santa service charity in the world. Since its start in 2003, Santa America now has over 200 Santas, many of whom spend the entire year keeping the magic alive. In Bay Briefs, the Mobile Housing Board is moving forward with a $750 million public-private developer partnership and the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System board passes a budget that includes a 5 percent rate hike for customers. In county news, the Mobile County Communications District, commonly known as the 911 Board, plans to cut employees’ annual merit raises in half. Looking for a good meal on the geaux? Check out this week’s cuisine review, where Andy catches up with Geaux Boy food truck for some slow cooked meats and delicious po-boys. Andy also shares some sweet holiday recipes! In Artifice, a pair of costumes in the Mobile Museum of Art’s Mardi Gras show prove the power of collaboration, and in entertainment, Port City native Rebecca Roubion is returning home to perform at the annual Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas concert this weekend. Last but not least, Boozie has the scoop on what really went down at the Lagniappe Christmas party in the Big Easy! Thanks for supporting your favorite newspaper for yet another week! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Lagniappe! LAGNIAPPE IS ONLINE AND ON STANDS NOW!
A former Spring Hill College employee pleaded guilty last week in federal court to wire fraud and embezzlement from the college. Court records show Tracie Lawrence, who served as the student accounts director, stole approximately $186,463.50 from the school’s vault and directed electronic transfers from the college’s bank account to her own personal bank account from about Jan. 13, 2010 until June 16, 2014.
The Mobile Planning Commission voted 8-1 Thursday afternoon to deny a rezoning request which would’ve allowed for a steel warehouse to be built in the Plateau community.
Bob Collins, owner of Bean Industries, said he wanted the change in zoning from residential to heavy industrial to move his expanding business to a 17-acre lot at the southwest corner of Papermill Road and McKinley Street.
A local group aimed at spurring growth and improving the quality of life in Mobile and Baldwin counties announced a big step forward Thursday morning.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, vice-chairman of the Coastal Alabama Partnership announced at the group’s annual meeting in Daphne that Goodwin, Mills and Cawood had been selected to help it develop a regional strategic plan.
“We’re now teed up to do something that has never been done,” he said.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson made good on a campaign promise Wednesday afternoon by doling out the first of a series of employee bonuses, as part of the administration’s “Pay it Forward” program. The first recipients of the bonus program were seven city garage employees, who saved the city about $6,000 by building a trailer for parade barricades, Stimpson said during a press conference at the garage on Gayle Street. “If we’re going to transform the city, it will be through the hard work and ingenuity of our employees,” Stimpson said. The money for the bonuses comes from $50,000 Stimpson said he’d take from his own salary each year to fund the program. This announcement marks the first for the program and Stimpson told media members to expect more than $50,000 to be available next year. Continue Reading →
The Mobile Housing Board, the city and three private firms aim to team up for a $750 million redevelopment project that will span three public housing communities, after the MHB voted last week to select the private partners and move the project forward to a master planning phase. The board selected Hollyhand Development, Columbia Residential and Pennrose Properties Global Development Group to redevelop the 330 acres where R.V. Taylor Plaza, Thomas James Place and the Frank W. Boykin tower currently sit. The redevelopment will be a mixed-use, mixed-income community consisting of 3,000 to 4,000 housing units and commercial retail facilities, program manager James Brooks, president of the Boulevard Group, said. Brooks said it would take three to six months to develop a master plan for the property and developers would be responsible for securing most of the financing needed for the project, which is expected to be constructed in phases over several years. The project would be the largest public housing redevelopment ever in the city and is considered significant on a national scale, Brooks told board members. Continue Reading →
In recent months, Mobile County employees have been talking about pay raises, but over the same time period employees of another governing body in the county have seen a steady stream of salary increases. The board of the Mobile County Communications District, commonly referred to as the 911 Board, had a lengthy discussion about merit raises during its regular meeting Dec. 11. Historically, the district has offered its employees a 5 percent annual salary increase. However, one board member proposed trimming those yearly merit increases down to 2.5 percent to address growing discrepancies between the salary of the 911 board’s employees and municipal employees who work alongside them. Continue Reading →
Standing in an empty lot on Texas Street Monday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced that Mobile will receive $1.6 million to help revitalize neighborhoods and promote economic development. The grant money from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “Innovation Teams” program will be used to hire three new full-time employees and three new part-time employees, who will be part of an “i-team” solely responsible for accomplishing mayoral priorities, starting with the eradication of blight. (more…) Continue Reading →
The wife of one Bayou la Batre employee recently took her son to see an urgent care doctor, but when she got her bill, she was shocked to learn her family didn’t have the health insurance she thought they did. Though the outage was only temporary, this employee’s family wasn’t alone after Bayou la Batre officials failed to make the city’s monthly insurance payment to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama — resulting in a near six-week lapse in coverage for all current and retired employees. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous to protect her husband, said she had no idea coverage had been canceled because the payroll deductions for health insurance continued throughout the three-check period coverage had been suspended. “They’re wanting to charge me $500 for the visit to urgent care, whenever I was told that we had insurance,” she said. “I called Blue Cross Blue Shield, and all they could tell me is that it had been canceled as of Nov. Continue Reading →
Family members of slain 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson were on both sides of the courtroom as two $250,000 cash bonds were set for the victim’s father, who was charged with felony murder and first degree sodomy in relation to his daughter’s death. Hiawatha Robinson Jr. was arrested and charged on Tuesday, but for unknown reasons was not charged with capital murder, which would have prevented him from receiving a bond. (more…) Continue Reading →