Carol Hunter, director of communications at the Downtown Mobile Alliance, recently released a statement from Elizabeth Stevens, the nonprofit organization’s president and CEO, about conditions in downtown Mobile’s Entertainment District, spotlighting a recent LoDa event as an example.

In the release, Stevens commended the number of positive events sprouting up around the Dauphin Street Entertainment District. At the same time, however, she urged caution against a seemingly accelerating preponderance of random violence and disarray that — either directly or indirectly — follows many of these events into the later hours of the night and early morning during weekends.

“I spent Saturday evening, July 16, 2016, downtown. The Dauphin Street Vault brought young athletes, their trainers and families to downtown for more than 12 hours. The International Corvette Club also brought their fine machines to Bienville Square for a wonderful show,” Stevens said.

Around midnight after the Dauphin Street Vault event had ended, she said, the scene changed.

“I spent the next two hours walking all around downtown observing the late-night scene. There were three mounted unit officers and two to four MPD patrolmen in key areas. That is in addition to the off-duty officers and bouncers at the various bars. About one hour after I left, fights began breaking out and eventually shots were fired in the exact spot where I had been standing at 2 a.m.,” Stevens said.

She went on to say Mobile has many tools to manage its burgeoning entertainment scene in the form of ordinances put on the books by the City Council over the past decade.

“Let’s ask for vigorous enforcement of the rules governing public consumption, noise and underage visitation. The MPD needs to know that the downtown community supports their efforts to immediately restore late-night order in downtown Mobile,” she said.

Recommendations for action offered by Stevens included:

• Enforce the rules of the Entertainment District Ordinance as adopted by the Mobile City Council, including the exclusive use of approved-size and logo-emblazoned cups during the designated times of 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. inside the two designated entertainment districts.

“About 90 percent of those walking around the designated Entertainment (portable alcohol) District were drinking out of illegal cups or containers. The law is very clear as to what is allowed: a 16-ounce or smaller paper or plastic cup emblazoned with the LoDa logo or the licensee’s logo,” Stevens said.

• Strengthen the teen curfew ordinance in downtown for minors. Unaccompanied minors (under 18 years of age) shouldn’t be downtown any day between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., Stevens said.

“There were a few young people roaming with the crowds well after midnight. These children cannot go in any of the establishments that are open and should observe the law governing minors and downtown,” she said.

• Prohibit minors from being in or on licensed premises. “For the purposes of this ordinance a minor is defined as any person under 21. People under 21 may only be in a licensee that has a full kitchen and receives at least 50 percent of its revenue from food sales. The allowance by some bars of people under 21 is a source of much criticism,” Stevens said.

Other directives covered in the statement include the enforcement of downtown noise ordinances and instatement of new regulations such as security guards from dusk until dawn in commercial parking lots; aimless cruising of cars on Dauphin Street by individuals having no intent of patronizing establishments downtown; and eliminating parking lot “party zones” as places of disruption and disorder. “If lighting and security cannot be provided, the lot should be inaccessible to cars and gathering groups,” Stevens said.

More information about the mission and goals of the DMA can be found on its website.

Local Rotary Club gives grant to autistic children
According to a news release, The Rotary Club of Mobile-Sunrise has given a $4,000 Rotary District 6880 Foundation Grant to Woody’s Song School in Mobile. Woody’s Song School is a program of the Learning Tree Inc. and a year-round nontraditional school for children with autism spectrum disorders serving children from Mobile and Baldwin Counties as well as Jackson County, Mississippi.

The Rotary Club Grant will provide financial assistance to support the highly specialized services and therapies for Woody’s Song students, many of whom have not benefited from traditional special education programs.

“This grant will assist the staff at Woody’s Song School in continuing to provide the highly specialized services and therapies needed by these special children,” Guy O’Connor, Rotary Club president, said.

Woody’s Song provides intensive applied behavioral analysis needed to help students learn and manage their behaviors, increasing their language skills, socialization and cognition while decreasing the negative behaviors that interfere with learning.

“The Rotary Club of Mobile-Sunrise has been a strong supporter of Woody’s Song School since the beginning. We have seen tremendous progress with the children we serve in the seven years that we have been in operation. Our children and families are deeply grateful to the club for their continued support.” school director Julia Starr said.

Fairhope-based investment fund exceeds expectations
Aptus Capital Advisors, a registered investment firm based in Fairhope, recently released news about its Aptus Behavioral Momentum ETF fund named “BEMO” — the only index fund currently traded on the NASDAQ from Alabama.

Per a news release, the fund posted an average annual total return of 4.74 percent based on net asset value since its inception effective June 9, 2016. BEMO outperformed the Solactive US Large Cap Index’s return of -0.78 percent over the same period by 5.52 percent. 

“Our investors are pleased with our strong performance out of the gate. We are excited that our focus on investor behavior and the ability to adapt have shown themselves to be valuable in an uncertain environment. We continue to believe the ability to manage risk and adapt to the environment are needed attributes and are excited to have BEMO out there for all investors to see,” fund creator J.D. Gardner said.