Author: Jason Johnson

County maintains strong credit rating

The world’s largest credit rating agency has affirmed one of its most stable ratings for Mobile County, noting the region’s ongoing economic development activity and consistently “strong budgetary performance.” The Mobile County Commission announced the affirmation after Standard and Poor’s, which rates entities’ ability to meet their long-term financial obligations, affirmed its “AA” rating for the county Thursday. The “AA” designation is given to entities that demonstrate a “very strong capacity” to meet their financial commitments and is second only to the S&P “AAA” rating. In a statement explaining the decision, S&P said the county’s “strong” financial management has...

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Can restoration funding save Alabama’s ailing oyster industry?

Despite Alabama’s ongoing efforts to revamp oyster production, divers saw “next to nothing” on Mobile Bay’s public reefs this year, but with millions of restoration dollars at their disposal, state officials believe they’re looking at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to save the once thriving industry. For the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), oyster productivity is measured in pounds of meat, and oyster landings from the past 37 years show local waters used to routinely produce more than a million pounds of oysters annually. Since 2008, however, production hasn’t cleared 300,000 pounds, and despite costly efforts to plant...

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Mobile police shoot, kill man during alleged domestic assault

Two officers are on administrative leave from the Mobile Police Department after shooting and killing a man they claim was attempting to harm a female passenger as they were suspended upside down in an overturned vehicle. On the evening of Dec. 10, officers responded to a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 near the exit to Dauphin Island Parkway. On the scene, police observed a red Isuzu Rodeo, which had had left the roadway and collided with a concrete barrier before overturning. Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said the officers were anticipating an accident with injuries and “had no idea...

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Democrat Doug Jones secures close victory in heated Senate race

A deeply red state has turned purple, as Alabama appears to be sending former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones to Washington as its first Democratic senator in nearly 25 years. Unofficial results from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office show Jones bested his Republican opponent Roy Moore by more than 20,000 votes statewide, thanks in part to a substantial number of write-in ballots cast. However, Moore has so far refused to concede the race, telling supporters at his election watch party in Montgomery that, “when the vote is this close, it’s not over.” The photo finish in Tuesday’s race...

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Moore accuser says she wrote part of yearbook inscription

The woman who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager has admitted she herself wrote part of the yearbook inscription used to support her initial allegations. In a press conference Nov. 13, Beverly Young Nelson said Moore tried to force himself on her in a dark car behind the restaurant where she worked as a waitress in high school. It was the most serious of the multiple sexual misconduct allegations that have been levied against Moore. Of the nine women who have stepped forward with claims about Moore’s past behavior, Nelson...

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Mt. Vernon mayor ensnared in Birmingham corruption probe

The mayor of Mt. Vernon was charged with felony ethics violations Wednesday in an ongoing corruption probe into the Birmingham Water Works Board that investigators claim has uncovered bribery and public officials using their office for personal gain. Terry Williams, 62, was not charged with any criminal activity related to his position as the mayor of Mt. Vernon, which is a northern Mobile County town with a population of roughly 1,500 people. According to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, it was Williams’ private career that led to the charges he currently faces in Jefferson County. Williams was the former...

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For one drained family, Salvation Army a ‘godsend’

Dawn Fail was in her 40s, with two children and a granddaughter, when everything she’d ever known was “ripped out from under” her. It was the scariest moment of her life. “I never thought for a minute that I wouldn’t at least have a home,” Fail said. “You grow up and you’re told family means everything, but you find out growing up it takes one death — just one, and it can tear a family apart.” Fail was raised by her grandmother, with whom she’d lived as a caregiver for years until her death in 2016. Fail said she...

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County mulls uses for increased oil revenues

Despite an attempt to redirect oil revenues from the Gulf Coast, federal legislators are confident they’ll be able to secure the tens of millions of dollars promised to local communities to help them mitigate the environmental risks of offshore drilling. Those revenues are generated from federal leases to oil and gas companies, and as outlined in the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA), they are shared by the Gulf states — excluding Florida — and their coastal counties and parishes. However, there has been some concern about whether the arrangement would continue under President Donald Trump, whose...

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