Author: Jason Johnson

Financial ‘irregularities’ prompt firing of Prichard official

Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner announced the termination of his administrative executive assistant after “irregularities” were found during an ongoing audit of the city’s finances. According to Gardner, James A. Blackmon worked for the city of Prichard for a little more than a year before he was suspended without pay on Wednesday, Jan. 10. He said Blackmon was ultimately terminated the following day via a letter from Prichard Police Chief Walter Knight. Though he kept many details under wraps, Gardner did say his office already turned over documentation of the financial “irregularities” that prompted Blackmon’s termination to Mobile County District...

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Alabama moving toward Medicaid work requirement

Alabama appears to be following other states in considering a work requirement for some adult Medicaid recipients, according to state Medicaid officials and Gov. Kay Ivey. President Donald Trump’s administration released guidance last week for states wanting to test “a work requirement” for adult Medicaid recipients. It would be the first requirement in the history of the program, though states have historically sought federal waivers to test new ideas. On Jan. 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] asked states to begin testing programs that weigh factors like jobs, skills training, job-searching or education when determining who...

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Two Metro Jail inmates injured in ‘stabbing’ incident

Two inmates housed in the Mobile County Metro jail were stabbed during an altercation Thursday morning, apparently with a knife one of the suspects had hidden as he was being processed. The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department responded to the jail after receiving reports of multiple stabbings shortly after 9 a.m. No officers were involved or injured, and no deaths have been reported, but two inmates were wounded when one produced a knife during an altercation. According to Warden Trey Oliver, neither of the inmates’ injuries are believed to be life-threatening at this time, though one suffered multiple lacerations and stab...

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MCPSS shifts plans for historic Murphy High School

A lack of support on the school board appears to have derailed a proposal to convert Murphy High School into an “open zone” school before a detailed plan could even be conceived. In October, the Mobile County Public School System was weighing the idea of creating an “open enrollment” school zone for MHS. Though details were few, it considered opening the school up to students throughout the county while limiting the overall enrollment with stringent academic and conduct standards. The idea garnered support among some parents of current and future students as well as the Murphy High School Alumni...

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Lawsuit seeks transparency in sheriffs’ food funds

Human rights advocates are suing dozens of Alabama sheriffs, seeking greater transparency into a funding stream many believe creates an incentive to skimp on food purchased for prison inmates and allows sheriffs to pocket any savings personally. Under Alabama law, sheriffs are required to turn over money they collect in an official capacity to their respective county commission, except funding “received for feeding prisoners.” In many counties, the sheriffs also have full discretion over how any leftover money is spent. Current law provides for sheriffs to receive $1.75 per day to feed each state inmate and up to $3 per day to feed each federal inmate in their custody. With a growing prison population and loose transparency laws, many believe the practice incentivizes unethical behavior — a belief not without precedent. For the past six months, the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice have been trying to obtain a financial accounting of how sheriffs across the state use that funding to see if any are profiting from it personally. Some sheriffs provided the requested information. Others, such as Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, no longer receive “a food fund” because the money is deposited straight into the county government’s general fund. However, at least 49 — including Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack — have not complied with what Alabama Appleseed Executive Director...

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Three arrested in Mobile for Florida murder, gun heist

Three men from Mobile have been charged with murdering a man in Florida and stealing an extensive gun collection after one of the suspects met the victim doing work for FEMA. On Jan. 3, William Reiss, 68, and his roommate, Kenneth Maier, were shot multiple times inside a residence in Polk City, Florida. Reiss died at the scene, but Maier was able to flag down a ride to the hospital. A week later, he is still said to be in “extremely critical” condition. What happened after the shooting, according to police, was a calculated robbery conducted by three men...

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Cops find ‘pounds’ of meth in I-10 traffic stop

A quick search on the side of Interstate 10 led Baldwin County sheriff’s deputies to 28 pounds of methamphetamine during an otherwise routine traffic stop. It was a white Kia Optima with Georgia license plates that caught the attention of police near the 53-mile marker on I-10 East Tuesday night. According to deputies, the occupants — neither of which was the vehicle’s owner — said they were traveling from Houston to the Tampa Bay area. The driver, Kevin Silva Tavares, told police they were both traveling “to work for approximately two months.” The passenger, Jose Luis Arias Castillo, then...

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Man caught sexually molesting horse, arrested

An Irvington man accused of sexually molesting a horse on several occasions was caught by the horse’s owner and held at gunpoint until police apprehended him last week. According to a report filed with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, 18-year-old Daniel Bennett was discovered in a horse barn owned by Francine Janes Jan. 4. Janes said it was her dogs that alerted her and her husband to something in the barn that Thursday evening. The report indicates Janes and her husband held Bennett at gunpoint until MCSO deputies could arrive on the scene. According to police, Bennett admitted to...

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