Author: Jason Johnson

AEA seeks to maintain presence in local schools

A day before students returned in the Mobile County Public School System Aug. 8, Superintendent Martha Peek found herself under oath, defending recent changes to the access third-party groups will have to local schools this year. Three representatives of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) brought the legal challenge against Peek and other administrators after it was revealed that “vendors” — including AEA — wouldn’t be allowed to attend MCPSS’s new-teacher orientation last week. Because it exists in a “right-to-work state,” AEA isn’t a union in the typical sense, even though many of its functions are the same. It offers liability insurance...

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Suspects sought in violent crime wave

Police have made one arrest following an evening of multiple, unrelated shootings throughout the city of Mobile that left two men dead and three injured — one with life threatening injuries. Five shootings were being investigated by the Mobile Police Department Friday, all of which occurred within a 24-hour period between Aug. 3-4. The first to be reported was a suspected home invasion on Pleasant Valley Road. According to the MPD, officers received reports of a deceased older man found inside of house in the area around 4:40 p.m. Thursday. While MPD hasn’t officially released the name of the...

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Attorney: Feds ‘baited’ shop into selling jaguar coat

Reports of a local consignment shop violating the Endangered Species Act by selling a jaguar fur coat drew swift criticism from many in the Mobile area — not of the shop or its owners, but of the tactics federal agents used to bring the case against them. As Lagniappe reported on Wednesday, Hertha’s Second Edition was named in a complaint filed by federal prosecutors this week accusing the store of selling a coat partially made with Jaguar fur to an individual from Biloxi, Miss. sometime in late January. Federal law prohibits the sale of pelts, furs and other byproducts...

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Police report 19 incidents at DHR home for teens

It’s been nearly a month since Ragen “River” Freil walked out of a group home in south Mobile County, but while the investigation launched to find him is still active, the 17-year-old is said to be communicating with the caseworkers who originally placed him there. Before Freil left, he was one of several residents at a “transitional age home” on Three Notch Road in Theodore. The 10-bedroom facility currently houses eight young men ages 17 to 20, all of whom are in the custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). The home is staffed and monitored by employees...

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County splits engineering, public works functions

After a year of discussion, the Mobile County Commission agreed to restructure one of its largest and most expensive departments to redistribute a swath of responsibility and control that for decades fell to a single employee. The public works department’s original mission was the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, but over time its role expanded to include building maintenance, electronics, environmental services, parks and recreation, and a number of other functions. In 2016, around 30 percent of the county’s $176 million budget fell under the purview of public works — a department supervised by former county engineer Joe...

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