Author: Rob Holbert

WPMI lands ‘Best Newscast’ Abby

Late last month when the Alabama Broadcasters Association handed out its annual “Best in Broadcasting Awards,” dedicated to honoring the year’s best in television and radio, our local TV news stations took home a few prestigious awards. As the battle for ratings supremacy rages on between Mobile’s three television stations, WPMI-TV — long considered the upstart to “legacy” stations WKRG-TV and WALA-TV — landed two impressive “Abbys,” as the awards are known. The biggest of those was “Best Newscast in Alabama,” the contest’s premier award. Local15 also took home another one of the biggest awards when reporter Christian Jennings’...

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Impeachment committee releases report damning Bentley

By: Lee Hedgepeth The committee considering the impeachment of Gov. Robert Bentley has issued a lengthy report outlining the two-term Republican’s alleged misdeeds in office. The report, which was released while the governor’s legal team argued in court to prevent its publication, pours fuel on the political and legal fire the state’s chief executive has found himself in since his extramarital relationship with former top aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason went public last year. The 131-page report was compiled by the House Judiciary Committee’s special counsel, Jack Sharman, and is the result of interviews, statements, and other evidence collected by the committee totalling thousands of pages. It gives weight to many of the claims made by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier, who Bentley fired after Collier cooperated with authorities conducting the criminal probe of then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Collier filed suit against Bentley, claiming he was fired not only because of his cooperation with law enforcement, but also because he refused to facilitate and cover up the governor’s affair with Mason. “Governor Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks intended to protect his reputation,” Sharman’s report concludes. Then, page after page, the report sets out a narrative of Gov. Bentley allegedly doing just that, particularly in...

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Is Alabama ready for Coach Governor?

The quadrennial speculation that a former Auburn sports figure will run for governor has reared its head again — only this time it’s not Charles Barkley talking about becoming the state’s top official. Believe it or not, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville has filed the paperwork to run for governor. It’s exciting to think of “The Riverboat Gambler” tossing his cap into the ring. Really, if any state should be run by a football coach shouldn’t it be Alabama? California has had a couple of actors helm the government, which flows naturally with the state’s Tinsel Town...

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Does commissioner’s DUI process expose a loophole?

Attorneys for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spoke last week about Baldwin County Commission President Chris Elliott’s legal agreeement with the agency, verifying his license suspension case was still pending until mid-February of this year and also explaining why the commissioner received a punishment of half the standard 90 days called for in state law. ALEA attorneys Casey Bates and Michael Robinson answered questions last week about the agency’s handling of Elliott’s May 14 DUI arrest just after midnight in downtown Fairhope. Elliott refused a Breathalyzer examination after police say he ran a red light and ultimately wound up with a 45-day license suspension after months of legal wrangling with ALEA. Elliott has maintained he had a “couple of beers” at the Fairhope Rotary Steak Cook-Off, which ended more than two hours earlier. Bates also confirmed Elliott’s legal case was indeed still pending when he told a group of Republican women and members of the media on Jan. 12 of this year that his legal problems had been settled “recently,” even though the matter wasn’t finalized until more than a month later. Elliott’s attorney, Rob Stankoski, sent a letter Feb. 23 demanding Lagniappe “retract” statements in its coverage of the event to the effect Elliott’s declaration had been false. Lagniappe stands by its reporting. “The case was still pending until the final order was signed by the judge,” Bates...

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On the night shift … insomnia

I got rid of that bright red LED clock a few years ago. Those red lights burned my eyes out as I stared at them all night, and every time I flipped or flopped there was a temptation to see how many hours I had left in bed. That annoying clock has been replaced by the trusty bedside iPhone, but the basic issues are still the same. I’m a light sleeper and a bit of an insomniac. It’s hard for me to get in bed before midnight and lots of nights I spend at least some amount of time...

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