Stimpson accepts challenge to end veteran homelessness

Mayor Sandy Stimpson has officially accepted the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, a nationwide initiative to end veteran homelessness in 2015. Stimpson joins a coalition of 355 mayors, 7 governors, and 112 city and county officials, who are committed to ending veteran homelessness in the United States. Mobile has successfully ended chronic veteran homelessness, but 47 veterans still remain without a home. With the support of Housing First, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing homelessness, Mobile is poised to eradicate veteran homelessness within the next six months. “There are thousands of veterans who live right here in Mobile, and we owe them a debt of gratitude because of their service to our country,” Stimpson said. Continue Reading →

2015 Nappie Award nominations begin April 30!

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It’s Nappie Time, and this year, we are mixing things up a bit! We will have two phases of voting. During the Nomination Period (April 30 – May 27) readers can vote for ANY business or individual in the corresponding category. Once that period ends, we will take a couple of weeks to tabulate the finalists in each category. Then during The Finals (June 18 – July 13), we will list up to the Top Six finalists in each category and readers will then have a chance to vote again for all their favorite finalists. Continue Reading →

Changes coming to Urban Development Department

Fielding several complaints from business owners across the city, Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office has pledged to begin the process of making the Urban Development Department more friendly to help streamline permitting and clarify regulations. Stimpson’s Chief of Staff Colby Cooper said the administration would conduct a “comprehensive internal review” of the department, with an emphasis on a “newly defined customer service and business development function.” (more…) Continue Reading →

Plea deal frees Ziegler from death row

It was scheduled to be a routine status update, another standard courtroom proceeding in a years-long appeal of William Ziegler’s 2000 conviction on a capital murder charge, but even as witnesses who were subpoenaed to appear waited in the wings of Circuit Court Judge Sarah Stewart’s courtroom April 16, prosecutors decided to offer a plea deal. Ziegler, who spent more than 13 years on Alabama’s death row before being awarded a new trial in 2013, could walk free that day if he pled guilty to a reduced murder charge, admitting on the record that he aided and abetted in the death of Allen Baker, who was stabbed more than 100 times and nearly decapitated after a party at Ziegler’s apartment. Ziegler’s attorneys, who themselves had spent more than seven years reviewing his conviction and were preparing for his retrial later this summer, helped him weigh his options. He could accept the conviction and walk free, or he could go to trial and risk another five or more years behind bars. At the time, the state was still pursuing the death penalty, so despite being nearly a year removed from the confines of Holman Prison and introducing a compelling alternate theory that could have exonerated him altogether, there was a risk a jury in a new trial could have put Ziegler right back where he started. Continue Reading →

Council again delays vote on handbills ordinance

The Mobile City Council on Tuesday again delayed until next week a vote on an ordinance that would regulate the distribution of circulars and other handbills, one that would be aimed in large part at changing the way the Press-Register delivers thousands of unsolicited advertising circulars across the city. Councilman Joel Daves asked for the holdover on the ordinance vote to allow more time to work with attorneys for Advance Publications, the Press-Register’s parent company, to find a balance that would prevent litigation. (more…) Continue Reading →

Byrne takes action on Mobile VA clinic issue

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) has formally asked Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to look into the issue of cost increases at the department’s outpatient clinic, following a story reported last week by Lagniappe. In a letter to McDonald dated Monday, April 20, Byrne references the story, which noted the clinic was facing a holdover penalty Jan. 1 of 2016 that could cost taxpayers almost four times the clinic’s current rent at a University of South Alabama facility at Springhill Avenue and Catherine Street. The school has been planning to tear down the building, since the VA communicated it would be moving the clinic several years ago, which Byrne addressed in the letter. “USA made plans to relocate its operations to a newer facility and, as a result, the cost of keeping the current location open have multiplied, he wrote. Continue Reading →