Wtermelon was sliced, barbecue was eaten and fireworks were popped or shot or sparkled — whatever. It was a glorious 4th of July on the Gulf Coast, despite a little interference from Mother Nature. But she didn’t throw very long of a fit and after a little soaking she cooperated for all of the area firework shows. And all of the other area happenings provided for some shows of a different type. So sit back, relax and enjoy this post-Independence Day version of the Boo-zay.

Murdered Oaks cause outrage
  As detailed on several pages in this paper and all over the rest of local media, residents were outraged when several oak trees were cut down across from Bienville Square to make room for a new Hilton Garden Inn. Tempers flared as passers-by screamed at the developer and tree service workers charged with taking them down.
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  One woman chained herself to one of the trees in protest, though it was one of the shortest protests in history. It went something like this: She chained herself to the tree, an officer arrived shortly thereafter, he told her she could remove herself and go OR he could get a bolt cutter and cut the chain and then arrest her for trespassing. She quickly said she would leave, that she had made her point, which I guess she had, but one witness said, “Wow, the ‘60s would have kicked her out for that kind of protesting.”

  By Saturday morning, someone had put a sheet on the barricades that simply read, “SHAME.” Others put flowers on it, as if it were a grave. Some blamed the city and Mayor Sandy Stimpson. Others blamed Hilton and the Birmingham developer. I even heard one person refer to it as “Paris-Hilton capitalism.” It was (and still is) awful to see.

  Note to any and all future developers: Mobilians are borderline Druids — leave our trees alone!

Farewell to a downtown friend
  Longtime downtown regular Kevin “KP” Painter passed away at his home on July 2 of natural causes. KP, who resembled Santa, was the cover model for one of our most beloved Lagniappe Christmas covers, where he played a jolly yet deranged St. Nick. He also made an appearance in a couple of our Nappie Awards videos over the years. He will be missed by all of his downtown friends and we extend our sincere condolences to his family. A memorial service will be held this Thursday, July 9, from 5-7 p.m. at the Riverview Plaza, 2nd floor, Mobile Bay Room.

Cotton gets a HAIRRY nod
  Well, she is nominated as one of Mobile’s sexiest news ladies in the 2015 Nappie Awards, and perhaps it is her gorgeous golden locks that helped her earn not only that distinction but another. WKRG’s Avery Cotton was recently named a runner-up for the state of Alabama in the HAIRRYs. The awards are put on by the style website getgoodhead.com and recognize the best hair among newswomen, state by state. In reaction to receiving this honor, she told the site, “I’d like to thank my parents for good hair genes. Thanks, dad, for the color and mom, for the volume! I’d also like to thank my hairdresser Kimberly Faulk for always working her magic. And I have to thank my husband who lets me spend way too much money on products and whatnot!”

  Congrats Avery! We will see if her award-winning locks will help her snag the top prize as “Mobile’s Sexiest Newswoman.”

A Raging Success
On June 28, folks headed to The Garage downtown for the Ben Walls Memorial Fundraiser in honor of the late Ben Walls, who was a beloved downtown supporter. Organizers said the event exceeded expectations, and many participants said it was one of the best silent auctions they have ever had a chance to bid on!

I guess so, as they were able to give Michael “Tike” Fitzgerald $9,000 to help battle his cancer and  $500 to Mitchell Cancer Institute and another $500 to Covenant Hospice. 

“This year’s fundraiser exceeded last year’s money goals. The bands were FANTASTIC as usual and we have already heard from other bands that have never participated that they want to participate at next year’s fundraiser. This has been a long term wish of (organizer) Wendy Ginn’s that this will become a wonderful music festival for Mobile each year. Sailor Cashion and the staff at Garage went above and beyond to help make this year’s event a success. Special thanks to Stoney Boatman for the wonderful crawfish and everything else that he did for this event,” said Noretta Walls, one of the event’s organizers.

Congrats on another great year, guys!

  Well kids, that’s all I have this week. Just remember, whether rain or shine, dramatic or scandalous or just some plain ol’ HAIRRY lovin’, I will be there. Ciao!