Author: Jason Johnson

Consignment shop accused of selling jaguar coat

Federal prosecutors have charged a ladies consignment shop in the Spring Hill area with violating the Endangered Species Act by selling a coat made of jaguar fur to someone out of state. Hertha’s Second Edition, which has locations in Mobile and Fairhope, was named in the complaint filed by federal authorities Wednesday. While the information released on Wednesday was limited, court files indicate the coat was sold sometime in late January to an individual from Biloxi, Mississippi. Under the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal for anyone in the United States to “possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship”...

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Mobile Greyhound Park to end live races

Citing a declining demand in the local market and hurdles created by Alabama’s prohibitive gambling laws, the Mobile Greyhound Park in Tillman’s Corner has announced it will end live dog races by the end of August. Since 1973, Mobile Greyhound Park has offered both live dog races and simulcasted dog and horse races. In previous years, live greyhound races have generated millions of dollars from bets placed at the track, but those revenues have steadily declined over the past three decades. In 2009, PCI Gaming Authority — an enterprise of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians — purchased 65...

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Corporate tax cuts impacting school revenue

A number of area companies, including some already benefiting from lucrative tax incentives, took legal action to obtain lower property tax rates last year — a growing trend that has school officials concerned about the possible impact such reductions might have on local revenues. At the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, the Mobile County Public School System projected $117.9 million in local property tax revenue, but when all was said and done, those revenues ended up closer to $109 million. Last week, Superintendent Martha Peek said that $8 million gap in projected funding was directly attributable to businesses that received...

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Civil rights group calls MPD checkpoints ‘unconstitutional’

The Southern Poverty Law Center is urging the Mobile Police Department to change the way it implements roadblocks, claiming recent safety checkpoints have disproportionately targeted predominantly black neighborhoods and likely violated residents’ constitutional rights. A once common practice for MPD, roadblocks have been used sparingly since Mayor Sandy Stimpson took office in 2014. However, as a part of the recent Operation City H.E.A.T. — a multi-pronged initiative to stem violent crime — the practice returned last fall. Most recently, roadblocks or “safety checkpoints” were set up at Michigan Avenue at Duval Street, Azalea Road at Michael Boulevard and in other areas such...

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Council debates subdivision improvements

A proposal to use public funds to improve a private subdivision drew mixed reactions from the Mobile City Council last week. But while some saw a template for addressing problems in their own districts, others were concerned the improvements could open a costly can of worms for the city. The proposal in question pertains to the Summer Place subdivision. Located in Council President Gina Gregory’s district, Summer Place was built 34 years ago and — like many older subdivisions — some of its common areas have been neglected. On July 18, Gregory sought approval from her colleagues to use $50,000 from her district’s capital improvement funds to mitigate continued erosion of a detention pond that was formerly maintained by the Summer Place homeowners association. Gregory said the pond, which has filled with appliances, trash and debris over the years, is now encroaching on at least two homes in the subdivision. The trouble is, the land where the pond is located is owned by the property owner’s association, which has been inactive for years. Now, officials believe nothing is going to get done unless the city steps in. “Since I’ve been on this council, we have told these people, ‘it is not our responsibility, it is yours. You’re going to have to deal with it,’” Gregory said. “The problem is, some of the folks in these neighborhoods don’t have the money that...

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