Jo Ann Flirt, who worked in a variety of local media over her 85 years, passed away early this month after a short illness.

Flirt was probably best known for her work as director of Historic Blakeley State Park for 40 years, holding the interim director’s position from 1977 through 2003, when she was finally named director. She retired late last year.

But Flirt’s background was in journalism and she both worked and taught in the field for several years. She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama and subsequently taught journalism and public relations there.

Flirt founded or co-founded a number of local institutions, including the now-defunct Press Club of Mobile, the Mississippi-Alabama chapter of the Public Relations Society of Alabama, Public Relations Counsel Inc. and The Mobile Record. The Record was published daily and distributed around the county courthouse and downtown area and contained legal/public notices along with real estate and business news. Public Relations Counsel Inc. was an advertising/public relations firm.

Her interest in journalism never waned and getting calls and letters from Flirt offering suggestions for improving the product was not an uncommon occurrence for those of us working in the business. But most of all she is credited with her untiring work to preserve and protect Blakeley State Park.

I’m sure Jo Ann will be missed by all who knew her.

Edible coming to L.A.

South Alabama is getting a new, food-based magazine this spring aimed at covering the cuisine scene from Mobile to Montgomery.

Edible will launch in mid-March, according to publisher Alyson Sheppard, and will distribute 15,000 publications across Southwest Alabama. Sheppard said it will be available in restaurants, bars and grocery stores.

“Edible Lower Alabama is a print magazine covering food and beverage culture from Montgomery to Mobile. It celebrates local culinary traditions and tells true stories about the way we eat and drink today, be it at farm-to-table restaurants, roadside barbecue joints, urban breweries or strip-mall taquerias,” Sheppard said. “We want Edible L.A. to help connect readers with everyone in this vibrant food economy: regional farmers, producers, chefs and bartenders from the Black Belt to the Redneck Riviera.”

Edible will be free on newsstands and is available for delivery by subscription. Sheppard said it will come out seasonally every three months.

A Foley native, Sheppard started her journalism career interning with Lagniappe and has gone on to edit and write for publications such as Popular Mechanics, Esquire and Playboy.

“Last year I was a finalist for a couple of big writing awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Tales of the Cocktail. I lost them both, so I decided to become a publisher and buy my own awards,” Sheppard said. “That’s a joke, but I did feel like I had reached a point in my career where I could produce something entertaining, educational and cool all on my own. Hopefully you will agree.”