Mobile

A deadly mosquito-borne virus has been detected in south Alabama.

AL.com reports mosquitoes in parts of Mobile County are carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a disease that Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II says has a human mortality rate between 50 to 75 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe EEE as "one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States", but it is also very rare, with only a few cases reported across the country each year.

collapsed training facility
WKRG-TV

A new football practice facility at the University of South Alabama has collapsed during construction, according to school officials.

South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann says there weren’t any injuries after the Jaguar Training Center collapsed Saturday afternoon. He says the facility was currently under construction.

School spokesman Bob Lowry released a statement saying the facility fell within the construction limits of the site and says no workers were present in the area at the time.

A new state law restores voting rights for many people with felony convictions, and two legal groups will be holding clinics this summer to make sure those people are registered to vote.

The ACLU of Alabama and Legal Services of Alabama both plan to hold a series of “restoration clinics” at churches in Birmingham, Mobile and Selma this summer.

Alabama Tourism Represents in New York City

Jun 16, 2017
Mardi Gras float
AL Tourism Dept

Alabama tourism is strutting its stuff in the Big Apple this week.

The state’s Tourism Commission is setting up a series of events and displays to promote Alabama in New York City. Today, the state will officially unveil an eight story tall billboard of Little River Canyon. The display will be located about half a block from Madison Square Garden.

Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell says the point is to get people talking about the state.

A law that would regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft failed to pass the Legislature this year. It’s unclear when or if those companies will begin service in certain Alabama communities.

Uber is blaming the cities involved. Al.com reports a spokesperson for Uber singled out Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson as being primarily responsible for the stalled legislation.

Residents of Sumter County with questions about a proposed charter school can voice their questions tonight.

The Alabama Department of Education is coordinating a public hearing on the proposed new school to be held in Livingston. The University of West Alabama is hoping to open a charter school catering to children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The proposed school would teach science, math, technology, and art.

A new proposal from the Mobile mayor's office would decriminalize several minor offenses, including the possession of marijuana for personal use.

Local news outlets report Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson's proposed ordinance will be introduced at today’s city council meeting. Under the code change, police would issue an Alabama Uniform Non-Traffic Citation and Complaint in the event of such an offense, which typically carries a $100 fine and court costs.

recycling
Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

Municipal officials can lose sleep over the volume of trash that residents produce, but those in Montgomery have the opposite problem. They say the city isn’t producing enough trash to sustain a citywide recycling program.

Montgomery has a similar population size to three other major Alabama cities, Huntsville , Birmingham and Mobile. But the Montgomery Advertiser reports that the capital city is the only one without a recycling program and the only one with any doubts about its ability to maintain one.

Sessions protest
NAACP

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will face a Senate confirmation vote to become the country’s next Attorney General later today, and protestors in Alabama are once again making their voices heard in opposition.

More than 100 people reportedly took part in a second sit-in at Senator Sessions’ office in Mobile. The office was closed, but demonstrators reportedly packed the building outside his office and in a second-floor lobby.

Some of the best athletes in college football are in Mobile this week, gearing up for the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.

The game is a chance for standout athletes to practice and play before a host of NFL scouts, before NFL teams draft their next class of players in April. A few of this year’s top prospects, including University of Alabama defenders Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster, have opted to sit out this year’s Senior Bowl. But the roster still includes four Crimson Tide players, two players from Auburn, and one athlete from the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Back Lot render
Core Hospitality Advisors

Developers constructing a new hotel in downtown Mobile area are also rolling out the red carpet for operators of food trucks.

Core Hospitality Advisors is building a Hilton Garden Inn across from Bienville Square in downtown Mobile. The developers say they wound up with some additional land upon beginning construction, and plan to add a food truck court to the property. The space will be called The Back Lot and will have parking and support for three food trucks at a time.

Adam Cowart of Core Hospitality Advisors explains the setup for the food trucks and the patrons.

Mobile sit-in
Benard Simelton via twitter

As Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions prepares for confirmation hearings next week to become the country’s next Attorney General, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is doing everything they can to prevent it.

Earlier this week, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and five others were arrested in Mobile while protesting Senator Sessions’ nomination.

Benard Simelton is the President of the Alabama State Chapter of the NAACP. He tells us about the events that took place around the state and in Mobile earlier this week.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks
NAACP

Several demonstrators including the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were arrested yesterday protesting the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

The NAACP members were staging a sit-in at Senator Sessions’ office in Mobile. Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP, said they would remain at Sessions' office until they were able to speak with the Senator or they were removed.

USS Gabrielle Giffords
Austal USA

Austal has delivered its latest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, to the Navy.

The Australian-based shipbuilder and defense contractor announced the new warship was handed over to the Navy last week. It’s the fifth vessel of its kind built by Austal; seven more are currently under construction in Mobile.

The commander of the Littoral Combat Ship squadron, Captain Jordy Harrison, says the ship will join other LCS ships in San Diego next year to undergo testing and training for eventual deployment.

More than $2 million dollars in federal funding is coming to Alabama and two other Southern states to restore and improve passenger rail service.

Yesterday, the Southern Rail Commission announced Federal Railroad Administration funding for eleven communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The communities will get money for station-area planning and construction projects to improve safety, access and convenience.

Trump tree
Evan Vucci / AP

The chief of staff to Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is apologizing for his role in having a cedar tree cut down at a public park and used as a prop for President-elect Donald Trump’s rally last weekend.

Colby Cooper, who has served as Stimpson’s chief of staff since 2013, says he became “overzealous” in making sure every detail was covered for the weekend’s rally.

Ivan Lopez
Mobile Police Department

A police officer in south Alabama has been fired after authorities say he improperly followed a suspect into a neighboring jurisdiction and fired his gun into a moving car without justification.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber announced yesterday that new officer Ivan Lopez was terminated for policy violations committed last weekend.

Barber says Lopez was on a DUI patrol when he followed a driver seen swerving across the center line into the city of Prichard — outside Mobile police's jurisdiction.

Craft beer breweries planned in Mobile

Dec 11, 2016

The port city of Mobile is getting into the craft beer boom.

WKRG-TV reports that two new breweries are scheduled to open next year in Mobile.

The former Crystal Ice Co. warehouse is being renovated to house Haint Blue Brewing. A few streets away, an old Goodyear Tire Center will transform into Serda Brewing Co.

Keith Sherill says he hopes to get Haint Blue Brewing open in early 2017, and the other company is expected to open in the summer.

The city's board of adjustment recently approved changes to get both breweries off the ground.

Alabama AG Strange seeks to replace Sessions in Senate

Dec 6, 2016

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he will seek the U.S. Senate seat left open if incumbent Jeff Sessions is confirmed to be attorney general under president-elect Donald Trump.

Gov. Robert Bentley would appoint Sessions' interim replacement until there's an election to fill the rest of the term. That election would be held next year or in 2018.

Strange issued a statement Tuesday saying he will be a candidate for the position and already has filed the necessary paperwork with federal election officials.

Starting next year, visitors to Fort Conde in Mobile will have to pay to get in.

The tourist attraction, operated by Activation Management, will continue to be free until sometime next year.

Manager Scott Tindle tells WKRG-TV it's an exciting opportunity for the fort, which will begin to be changed quarterly to reflect its diverse heritage. He says admission charges will begin once some new changes to Fort Conde are implemented. Tindle says the new additions to the museum will include technology and live action characters appropriate for the fort.

Mobile adults have highest rate of diabetes

Dec 1, 2016

The City of Mobile has the highest rate of diabetes within the last year.  That’s according to a new study that surveyed nearly 200 communities across the country last year.

A Gallup-Healthways report released yesterday says 17.7 percent of adults in Mobile in 2015 had diabetes.

The report found the overall incidence of diabetes in U.S. adults has grown from 10.6 percent in 2008 to 11.5 percent.

Airbus A321 will flyover Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa

Nov 22, 2016

The University of Alabama will welcome an Airbus A321 commercial airliner for a pregame flyover prior to the start of the Iron Bowl on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

This aircraft is the first A321 that is being produced for Delta Air Lines in the Airbus Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Ala. It will be the 15th Airbus A321 delivered from the facility, which opened in September of 2015.

The University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College, both in Mobile, have announced a new partnership allowing students to take courses between the two schools.

The new setup, called cross-registration, will take effect next January for the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester. Full-time undergraduate students at both universities will be allowed to enroll for full-credit courses at either university. The students will pay all tuition for those courses at their home school.

Alabama’s first charter school has been cleared to open in Mobile.

The state’s Public Charter School Commission voted yesterday to allow the Accel Day and Evening Academy to begin operating. The school plans to serve students at least 16 years of age who have either dropped out of school or fallen behind academically. The Mobile Area Education Foundation plans to open the school starting next August.

Alabama Senators managed to find a compromise on how to spend an incoming BP settlement package from the 2010 oil spill, splitting it between state debts, Medicaid and coastal road projects.

WKRG-TV reports lawmakers in south Alabama say there isn’t enough money to fund all the projects that need completing, but the legislators have a plan.

The federal government will take comments at a public meeting tomorrow in Mobile regarding the environmental impacts of two oil-lease sales scheduled for 2018.  APR Student Reporter Parker Branton has more…

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced back in August that it would hold what are known as scoping meetings. The gatherings will establish of criteria and possible alternatives to the two oil leases in question.

The oldest public school building in Alabama may be getting a facelift soon, thanks to a grant received by the foundation that cares for the school.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

A lottery bill is heading to a critical vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Today’s vote could determine whether a proposed state lottery goes before Alabama voters later this year or if the bill dies in the special session.

House members will debate Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery. Bentley is seeking the first statewide referendum on the establishment of a lottery since voters rejected the idea in 1999.

Residents of a southwest Alabama town where five people were slain are trying to raise money to help the victims' families pay funeral expenses.

Authorities say 27-year-old Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Mississippi killed five people at a house where his estranged girlfriend has sought refuge from him.  The bodies were found Saturday.

The Alabama Senate has begun debate on a revamped lottery bill that would allow electronic gambling machines in more locations.  Senators expect to vote sometime this evening.

The bill was altered to allow electronic lottery terminals, which can resemble slot machines and video poker games, in Lowndes and Houston counties, in addition to four state dog tracks.

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