Fairhope Public Library

Author: Jason Johnson

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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Thousands attend statewide pre-K conference in Mobile

More than 3,000 educators from across the state converged on Mobile last week for a professional development conference as part of Alabama’s First Class, the top state-funded prekindergarten program in the country for more than a decade. First Class is a voluntary program for 4-year-olds that meets a set of rigorous “high-quality standards” recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research. To be designated “First Class,” classrooms can’t exceed 18 students and must maintain a teacher-to-child ratio of 1 to 9. Teachers are also required to have a bachelor’s degree, and even assistants and substitutes must hold at...

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City of Mobile joins legal battle against opioid producers

Mobile has joined cities and counties around the country in filing federal lawsuits against the manufacturers and distributors of several prevalent opioid painkillers — claiming the companies “intentionally and unlawfully” created a deadly and ongoing nuisance for communities. While local governments have sued national drugmakers before, the growing opioid “crisis” added significant momentum to the trend in 2017. Today, more than 200 such federal lawsuits have been filed, which doesn’t include multiple other lawsuits brought in various state courts. Alabama has disproportionately suffered from prescription painkiller abuse, at an estimated rate of 142.9 prescriptions per 100 persons, and Mobile has...

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Rate of local homicides continues to creep upward

Mobile’s homicide rate is continuing an upward spike for the second year in a row, as a handful of killings in December pushed the number of recorded murders just past 2016 levels. In all, the Mobile Police Department recorded 46 homicides in 2017, at least 11 of which have not been solved or for which no suspect has been identified. According to crime statistics submitted annually to the FBI, that is three more murders than occurred in 2016 — a year marked by the highest homicide rate in the Port City since 1997. 2017 homicides reported by the Mobile...

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County declines support for Baptist event, cites state law

The Mobile County Commission agreed last week to make a small contribution to a local event hosted by a religious organization only to renege on that support at the advice of its legal team. That contribution — part of the Commission’s Dec. 28 regular agenda — was $2,500 intended to help underwrite the cost of the National Baptist Convention’s Mid-Winter Board Meeting, which will be held at the Mobile Convention Center later this month. As contribution was conditionally approved, though, Commissioner Connie Hudson tasked the county’s legal staff with reviewing the legality of giving public funds to a private religious...

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‘Persons of interest’ sought in Dauphin Square murder

Mobile police are looking for two persons of interest connected a deadly shooting off Dauphin Street that left an 89-year-old man dead. The shooting took place Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Dauphin Square Shopping Center, which is located on the Western side of Dauphin Street before the intersection of Interstate 65. Police responded to the shopping center around 12:50 p.m. on Dec. 27 after receiving reports of an elderly man being shot during a robbery. Police later identified the man as 89-year-old John Higby, who succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene....

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