As we reported at the beginning of this year, Lagniappe is upping weekly circulation to 30,000 newspapers within the first quarter of the year, and we’ve almost hit that number.

We’ve increased weekly circulation over the first two months of this year from 25,000 weekly to 29,000 beginning last week. We will be at 30,000 weekly by the end of March.

The circulation increase is the first in five years and represents a 20 percent increase in the total number of newspapers being published. Along with the increase, we have added more than 150 new distribution locations and are putting out a number of new metal boxes throughout the community. Included in that are most area CVS drugstores as well as Publix grocery stores.

Lagniappe HD (Home Delivery) continues growing, offering a way to have the paper mailed to your home each week for just $1. Those interested can go to lagniappemobile.com and click on the Lagniappe HD tab.

Blogger files suit
The plot continues to thicken in the battle between ESho bloggers Paul Ripp and James Watkins.

Ripp, who publishes The Ripp Report and Baldwin County Legal Eagle, has taken offense to something Watkins wrote on his Fairhope Times blog Jan. 31. In that post Watkins wrote, “Ripp is a self-identified ‘former Marine sniper’ who was disabled by a head injury suffered in an explosion in Vietnam in the late 1960s.”

Several weeks ago Ripp threatened legal action against Watkins, and according to a complaint sent last week, he did just that Feb. 26. Ripp is now officially suing Watkins for $5,000, claiming Watkins libeled him. Ripp has said he never suffered head injuries in Vietnam, and rather is disabled because of a body concussion received during a mortar attack, as well as having contracted kidney cancer from exposure to Agent Orange.

“This diatribe was designed to discredit Mr. Ripp, describing him as a mentally deranged Vietnam veteran,” the suit reads. “His reputation has been damaged by this article, which is read by his neighbors and those interested in the project Mr. Ripp was commenting on at a public hearing of the Fairhope Planning Commission.”

In an earlier interview, Watkins said,” Ripp told me the story himself, years ago, about a concussion from an artillery shell in Viet Nam. Woke days later in the hospital … supposedly. Used to sign his letters to editors ‘disabled Marine sniper.’” At that time Ripp had not yet filed a libel suit.

I was unable to reach him prior to deadline for any comments since the suit was filed.