Author: Dale Liesch

Legislators to seek compromise on new online tax bill

Supporters of a bill aimed at keeping big online retailers such as Amazon enrolled in a program that pays the state sales tax admit it has an unintended consequence. Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) said SB 130 was never meant to allow stores that have brick-and-mortar locations, such as Wal-Mart or Target, to enroll in the Simplified Sellers Use Tax (SSUT) program if they have online platforms. Instead, Pittman said, the bill is supposed to allow Amazon to remain enrolled in the program even if it is determined the retailer has a nexus in the state. The bill would amend...

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Concerned citizens ask council to step in on Comic Cowboys

A group of concerned citizens is hoping to hear more from the Mobile City Council on a proposal that would limit what controversial parading society The Comic Cowboys could write on signs displayed during their parade on Mardi Gras day. The Cowboys took some heat last year when their signs — akin to political cartoons — were deemed racist and offensive by many parade attendees. The controversy caused Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Councilman Joel Daves to resign from the group. Resident David Smith spoke for a number of citizens at Tuesday’s meeting. He said the citizens wanted the city...

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Recovering addicts find help, feed homeless at downtown facility

Despite recent changes to programs downtown, one organization uses feeding of the area’s homeless as part of the road to recovery. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation center Wings of Life feeds the homeless once a week with meals prepared by program residents, minister-in-training Cameron Shaw said during a tour of the facility at 800 St. Louis St. Doors at the nondenominational Christian center open at 8 a.m. and open for the homeless at 12:30 p.m. The program can be used as a recruitment tool of sorts, said Director Chris Patrick, who is known as “Pastor Chris.” “They come for a...

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BayBears to play two more seasons at the Hank

The Mobile BayBears will play at Hank Aaron Stadium through 2019, while a potential move to north Alabama continues to gain momentum. In a statement released Tuesday morning, the BayBears announced the team would be in town for two more seasons. “After consultation with Ralph Nelson, CEO of BallCorps LLC the new ownership group of the BayBears, it was determined that it is in the best interest of the organization and the Southern League for the team to remain in Mobile through the end of the (2019) season,” the statement reads. “Everyone affiliated with the BayBears organization looks forward...

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Airbus partner Bombardier gets favorable ruling from trade commission

A company with a commitment to build aircraft in Mobile benefited from a decision today by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC ruled that Boeing was not injured by Bombardier’s importing of C Series jets from Canada. As a result of the decision, the U.S. Commerce Department will not collect a penalty from Bombardier. “Today’s decision is a victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law. It is also a victory for U.S. airlines and the U.S. traveling public,” according to a statement from Bombardier. “The C Series is the most innovative and efficient new aircraft in...

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Water board attorney supports bidding $1.5 million contract

A proposed deal for a Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board (PWWSB) contractor has again pitted members of the board against each other. In a recent meeting the board tentatively approved a $25,000-per-month contract for Nia Bradley to take over the day-to-day operations of the authority from former Executive Director Bill Swopes, who retired. After a review of the contract, though, attorney James Laura is set to recommend to the board that the contract be bid out, per state law. “The contract was awarded conditionally to address a need for leadership,” Laura said. “The board needed to have someone...

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Publix development faces delay over residents’ wall objections

Developers of the Publix shopping center in midtown have been forced to stop work on a wall along North Edington Drive because of neighbors’ concerns about the materials in use. Colleen Ausmus, an Edington Drive resident, argued developers promised the wall would be masonry, but the one currently in place at the shopping center is a composite material. “As we understood it, it was supposed to be a masonry wall,” she said. “We emailed [Councilman] Fred Richardson and he forwarded it to planning. Nothing we did or said stopped it.” Ausmus said she approves of the development and is...

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Mobile City Council approves plan for parks department

The Mobile City Council voted unanimously to approve a $244,000 contract with Lose & Associates for a comprehensive plan for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The vote ended weeks of debate over the contract, which would find efficiencies within the department and find ways to fund larger parks projects using capital money. Matt Capps, executive director of Parks and Recreation, said the proposed plan would improve the department as a whole. “It would look at ways to fix operations as well as identify how to improve our parks through capital funds,” he said. There were initially concerns among...

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