Author: Dale Liesch

Continental Motors announces new Mobile investment

Continental Motors Group announced it has chosen Mobile for the first step of a three-year global investment plan to take its manufacturing, customer service and engineering infrastructure to the next level. This first step will build a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and corporate office located at the Brookley aeroplex and will replace the company’s current 11 building footprint with a single facility designed for lean manufacturing and office systems. The Company has spent the past year working with manufacturing experts, conducting benchmarking visits and planning an investment program that renews its commitment to not just assembling aviation piston engines,...

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Planning Commission approves Old Shell townhomes

Despite concerns from nearby residents, the Mobile Planning Commission approved the plans and higher density rezoning to allow “high-end” townhomes on Old Shell Road near Ashland Place in Midtown. Bess Rich, the council’s representative on the Planning Commission, was the lone dissenting vote. Developer Sarah Stashak said the complex would consist of seven units in three buildings, separated by green space. She called the development “high-end” with units consisting of 10-foot ceilings and modern, open floor plans. Stashak added that most of the units would have three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, while others would have two bedrooms and two-and-half baths. “The units will be luxurious and beautiful,” she said. Diana Allen, owner of two houses adjacent to the proposed development, said she was concerned about the density of it. The rezoning request initially asked for a higher density, which could’ve allowed for more than 20 units. Commissioners voted to rezone the property to allow only a maximum of 10 units. Stashak told commissioners she was fine with that because her plans only called for seven units. The rezoning request now moves to the City Council for final approval. Another positive for commissioners was the amount of green space the project would leave. By law, developments of this nature have to designate at least 12 percent of the available property as green space. Stashak’s plans called for 9,000 square feet...

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Mobile market moves to Mardi Gras Park

The city’s farmers’ market is making its way farther downtown. Formerly known as Market in the Square, Market in the Park is moving from its original home in Cathedral Square to Mardi Gras Park, 101 S. Royal Street. The market will open every Saturday morning beginning April 29 through July 29, from 7:30 a.m. to noon. “The vision for Mardi Gras Park was to create a marketplace for Downtown Mobile,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “Moving the farmers’ market is the next step towards creating a permanent place for citizens and visitors to buy local goods, the one feature Downtown Mobile currently doesn’t offer.” This is an exciting move as it will provide access to more space and amenities for both vendors and shoppers. Vendors will be located along the sidewalks, as well as in the grassy areas, along with tent covered tables and chairs for folks to stay and enjoy the music, food, beverages and other entertainment. The Spring season kicks off with live music from Bayou Rhythm, so mark those calendars and make plans to come out to shop fresh and shop local. The afternoon Market In The Park, located in Lavretta Park on Old Shell Road will be open every Thursday between May 25 and July 27 from 3 p.m. to 6...

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State admits mercaptan odor impacts Eight Mile residents

Julia Lucy’s 5-year-old great-niece is being treated with chemotherapy, but she doesn’t have cancer. In fact, Lucy said her doctors aren’t sure what’s causing the strange blotches to appear on her great-niece’s skin. However, the girl attends school at Indian Springs Elementary School, near where tert-butyl mercaptan spilled in 2008 after lightning struck a Mobile Gas facility in Eight Mile. Lucy and her family are convinced the presence of the chemical used as an odorant in natural gas is the cause of her great-niece’s frequent trips to the hospital. In a statement, Dr. Mary McIntyre of the Alabama Department of Public Health acknowledged the odor is having an effect on residents in the community. “These odors may impact residents’ sense of well-being and quality of life,” she said in the statement. “Mercaptan causes irritation to mucous membranes and has been associated with some of the symptoms reported by the residents of Eight Mile.” McIntyre stopped short of saying the odor was making residents sick, adding a contributing factor to the smell could be nearby marshland, where “the breakdown of organic materials [plants and animals] … results in the release of sulfur and other gases.” “Unfortunately, health assessments alone do not address the question of association or causation,” she said in the statement. “Even though unpleasant odors can impact quality of life, not all odors are toxic. We continue to...

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Graddick working as special judge in county

Judge Charles Graddick wishes he had more to do. Although he technically “aged out” of his position as Mobile County Circuit Court presiding judge in January, Graddick was immediately named a special judge for the circuit and is still hearing cases from time to time. Graddick, though, laments the state budget issues that keep him from having a full docket each week. “I’m a workaholic and I didn’t realize the extent that I am,” he said. “I would prefer to be busier … I wish I had a full load.” Graddick is used sparingly because, while Mobile County is in need of three more judges, the state hasn’t agreed to pay for additional support staff, current Presiding Judge John Lockett said. As it is, Graddick gets no additional salary except his retirement, and he can only work cases when one of two roving court reporters is available. He doesn’t get one permanently assigned to his courtroom, like other judges do. As Graddick pointed out, support staff is not cheap. “The reason we haven’t created more positions is because there’s no money for it,” he said. “You’ve got to have a reporter, law clerk and judicial assistant and that costs,” Graddick said. As a special judge appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court, Graddick said he provides backup to all judges. He was also able to continue working on some of...

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About The Author

Dale Liesch

[email protected]
Dale Liesch has been a reporter at Lagniappe since February 2014. He covers all aspects of the city of Mobile, including the mayor, city council, the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico and others. He studied journalism at The University of Alabama and actually graduated in 2007. He came to Lagniappe, after several years in the newspaper industry. He achieved the position of news editor at The Alexander City Outlook before moving to Virginia and then subsequently moving back a few years later. He has a number of Alabama and Virginia Press association awards to his name. He grew up in the wilderness of Baldwin County, among several different varieties of animals including: dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, a horse and an angry goat. He now lives in Midtown Mobile with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Joan. The family currently has no goats, angry or otherwise, but is ruled by the whims of two very energetic dogs.

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