Author: Gabriel Tynes

Mobile Baykeeper intends to sue Daphne Utilities over ‘fraudulent’ spill reporting

Mobile Baykeeper notified Daphne Utilities of its intent to sue yesterday in response to alleged “fraudulent reporting activity [that] has continued for many months or years with management’s knowledge and direction.” The nonprofit environmental organization took action after an August sewage spill reportedly discharged 1 million gallons of untreated wastewater into D’Olive Creek but was reported as “zero” gallons by the utility. Baykeeper also notes at least four other issues that may form the basis of a lawsuit. The Clean Water Act requires a 60-day notification period before filing a citizen’s suit against a utility in federal district court....

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Man pleads not guilty in offshore stabbing incident

According to court records, Christopher Shane Dreiling, a 42-year-old from Oxford, Alabama, pleaded not guilty in federal court this morning to an offshore stabbing incident that left two of his fellow fishermen bobbing and bleeding in the Gulf of Mexico last month before they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. In a criminal complaint filed Aug. 21, a special agent with the Coast Guard Investigative Service claimed Dreiling (pictured above) was serving as a deckhand on the boat Billy B out of Bon Secour on Aug. 20, alongside captain Noah Gibson and crew Anthony (AJ) Love. The boat...

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Eastern Shore tug-of-war

Temperatures are reaching a boiling point in Fairhope, where Mayor Karin Wilson remains at odds with the city attorney and a majority of the City Council after three former employees and now an outspoken citizen have filed notices of claim against the city — precursors to potential lawsuits. Meanwhile, text messages between Wilson and an IT contractor were subpoenaed by the City Council last month, and their subsequent release is causing a stir, putting the mayor on the defensive. In a conversation last week, Wilson said the “leak” of the texts was the latest attempt by the City Council,...

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Stimpson gained support in most precincts despite lower turnout

According to an unofficial summary report published the day after last week’s mayoral election, 8,021 fewer votes were cast in the 2017 referendum compared to 2013, reflecting a total turnout of 36.5 percent of the city’s 136,474 registered voters. As in 2013, Mayor Sandy Stimpson won 20 of the 38 precincts — and no precinct completely flipped for either candidate this year. But in spite of the fact overall voting was down for both candidates, the deciding factor appears to be that Sam Jones actually lost support in all but three precincts in 2017, while Stimpson gained support in...

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Gov. Kay Ivey announces $4M hospital grant, little else, during Mobile tour

The University of South Alabama Medical Center will receive $4 million from an economic development bond issue to renovate and expand its Level 1 trauma center — the only one of its kind in the region. According to hospital administrator Sam Dean, the expansion will take the current facility from 11,000 square feet to about 27,000 square feet, adding an additional 20 beds to the existing 22 beds, and incorporating critical services not currently housed in the emergency room. The project will also add four new large trauma bays — each twice the size of the existing two —...

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Fairhope ends contract with Senate candidate’s company

The Fairhope City Council voted July 24 to award its conditional disaster debris removal and disposal contract to the lowest responsive and responsible vendor — D&J Enterprises Inc. of Auburn — effectively ending an arrangement the city had since 2012 with State Sen. Trip Pittman, who chose not to seek another term in the Legislature this year in favor of a bid for the U.S. Senate. The annual contract must be rebid every three years, but extensions can be granted to existing contractors within the three-year time frame. Pittman said unlike last year, he was never approached about exercising an extension on his existing contract, which was approved in 2015. Rather, he received new bid documents in January. “That was our notification that [the city] was going to seek new bids,” he said. “We just made the decision to — with what was going on with the state budget and possibly running for [the U.S. Senate] seat — just decided not to rebid.” At the City Council meeting July 24, Council President Jack Burrell lamented Mayor Karin Wilson’s decision to rebid, noting D&J’s low bid of just under $1.8 million is still $115,000 more than it would cost to extend Pittman Tractor Co.’s contract for an additional year. “Every nickel we save is a nickel earned in this city,” Burrell said, before Wilson defended her decision by stating the...

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Fairhope ends contract with Senate candidate’s company

The Fairhope City Council Monday voted to award its conditional disaster debris removal and disposal contract to the lowest responsive and responsible vendor — D&J Enterprises Inc., of Auburn — effectively ending an arrangement the city had since 2012 with State Sen. Trip Pittman, who chose not to seek another term in the Legislature this year in favor of a bid for the U.S. Senate. The annual contract must be rebid every three years, but extensions can be granted to existing contractors within the three-year time frame. Pittman said unlike last year, he was never approached about exercising an...

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Leading candidates emerge in Senate race

In a primary election scheduled for Aug. 15, Alabamians will have the opportunity to choose a new United States senator on their own, or retain one the former governor chose for them. While the general election is not until Dec. 12, it is largely expected that whichever Republican candidate advances past the primary will likely defeat any Democratic candidate in a statewide general election. First, a brief recap. After former Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed by his colleagues to become U.S. Attorney General in February, Luther Strange accepted an appointment to fill the seat from then-Gov. Robert Bentley. Initially,...

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