AL.com reporter Ben Raines believes he may have made a significant historical discovery during the recent stretch of cold weather — the location of the Clotilda, the last ship to bring African slaves into the United States.

In a series of reports over the past few weeks, Raines explained to readers how he found what he believes could be the infamous ship in the mud in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The cold weather and steady wind had pushed water levels far below normal, allowing Raines to find a vessel’s submerged remains.

While nothing has been definitively determined at this time, Raines brought in experts to look at the wreckage and reported that they all found the ship and pieces of the wreckage consistent with the Clotilda and what is known of its destruction.

The ship brought 110 captives from Africa to the U.S. in 1860 as part of a bet by Mobile steamboat captain Timothy Mehear that he could illegally bring in slaves by sailing right past the federal soldiers manning Forts Gaines and Morgan. The slaves brought here ended up founding Africatown, just north of Mobile.

Raines is known for his outdoor and environmental reporting and over his career has often become an active participant in stories. According to his reports, it will require a both state and federal efforts to determine for certain if what he found is indeed the Clotilda.

Sheridan on betting the SB
Nationally known sports analyst and handicapper Danny Sheridan has some important advice for anyone who likes to wager on the big game, and it is part of this year’s 100-page USA Today special Super Bowl section.

Sheridan, who makes Mobile his home, has written an instructive article on how to bet on the Super Bowl, which is a must-read for anyone who likes to be a part of the biggest day of sports gambling each year. The Nevada sports books took in almost $140 million last year, which was a record. And that doesn’t even count all the betting with your friendly neighborhood illegal bookmaker.

Sheridan says he’s picked 15 of the last 16 Super Bowl point spread winners and 14 of the last 16 over/under totals. His article is full of fascinating betting-related facts that just might save you from losing the kids’ tuition money.

In the article he offers five rules for betting the game. Might be a good read before you give your bookie a call. The USA Today Super Bowl guides are available at area newsstands.