September , 2014

The North Mobile Post

News and Commentary from Around the World

    The unemployment rate in Alabama dropped slightly in May. The rate for ...
    Today the Mobile County school board is set to pick three finalists for ...
    Alabama is opening as heavy favorites to once again win the SEC title. ...
    Tech blog SamMobile reports that Samsung is planning some big announcements for September ...
    Bowl season is upon us. As usual, there were controversies over some ...
    Starting today and running through the entire weekend, Alabama and Florida will be ...
    The final presidential debate of the 2012 campaign was almost a complete reversal ...
    Google may have bought Motorola primarily for its patents, but that doesn't mean ...
    A pair of bombs set up near the finish of the Boston Marathon ...
    In an interview on "Meet the Press", Mitt Romney said Republicans made a ...

Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

New I-10 Bridge To Have Toll?

Posted by David Merrell On September - 19 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    The I-10 bridge connecting Mobile and Baldwin County has long been a problem for travelers. Local officials recently traveled to the nation’s capital to make the case for a new bridge to alleviate congestion. However, officials came away from the meeting believing that even with federal help, the bridge may be too expensive. As such, some believe making it a toll bridge is the only way to fund the project.

    The new bridge is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Even with assistance from the federal government, the state would not be able to cover its end of the cost. A toll would help cover the cost of building and maintaining the bridge.

    Opinions on creating a toll bridge were generally negative on social media. Many thought a toll would only slow traffic down more and defeat the purpose of the new bridge. Others believe that we pay enough in taxes that we shouldn’t have to pay tolls on roads as well.

    Some did defend the idea, claiming toll roads in northern parts of the country are of a higher quality than the roads we drive on. Others defended the idea of those using the bridge paying for it directly via the toll.

    One thing most agree on is the fact that a new bridge is needed.

    The I-10 bridge issue is just a symptom of a larger problem facing the US. Our infrastructure has been neglected for decades. The country is in dire need of an infrastructure upgrade. The I-10 bridge is not even one of the bigger problems. Many of America’s bridges are structurally deficient, making them ticking time bombs.

    With Washington more divided than it has been in decades, the infrastructure problem has largely been ignored. Some Democrats have pushed for more infrastructure spending, mainly as a way to create jobs. Republicans have shot down many of those plans due to concerns over the country’s growing debt. While Washington argues, motorists suffer.

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Missing 8-Year-Old Hiawayi Robinson Found Dead

Posted by David Merrell On September - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    The case of missing 8 year old Hiawayi Robinson has ended in tragedy. A Prichard public works employee found the body of a child this afternoon believed to be Hiawayi. Local 15 News later confirmed with authorities that it was indeed Hiawayi. The body was found a mile from where the child went missing.

    According to WKRG News 5, public works employee Johnny Williams found Hiawayi’s body. She was found in a ditch off Rebel Road. Police say the body was covered up when Williams found her.

    Hiawayi had been missing since Tuesday. She was last seen at 4:30 PM at the St. Stephens Woods Apartment complex. She was going to visit her cousins, but never showed up and did not return home before dark.

    Police and volunteers had been searching for Hiawayi for two days.

    This is a developing story, and will be updated as new info comes in.


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Mobile Eyes Extension Of “Penny” Sales Tax

Posted by David Merrell On September - 16 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    Mobile’s city council is considering an extension of the so called “penny” sales tax. The 1% increase from 4% to 5% was approved back in November of 2012 and was set to expire in July of 2015. Mayor Sandy Stimpson wants the tax extended for two months so that it will expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, 2015. Some council members want the tax extended indefinitely.

    Mobile’s finances were a mess before the tax was implemented. Budget shortfalls were widespread across the nation following the recession that started in 2007-2008. Under these conditions, cities were faced with difficult choices: massive budget cuts, higher taxes, or some combination of the two.

    Budgets can only be cut so far before a city becomes unattractive to businesses. City services are vital to attracting new business.

    The penny sales tax has generated about $30 million in revenue each year. If the tax is allowed to expire, the city will have to either find another source of revenue, or implement budget cuts. While budget cuts are generally popular in Republican strongholds like Mobile County, they become less popular when people find out what will actually be cut.

    The council is set to discuss a two month extension of the tax at today’s meeting. Councilman Joel Daves told WKRG News 5 that a 3 year extension is also likely to be discussed. Councilman Fred Richardson would like an indefinite extension to be passed.

    According to a report from the Tax Foundation, Alabama has the 6th highest sales tax in the nation. The state sales tax of 4% is actually tied for second lowest in the nation among states that have a sales tax. However, local sales taxes are the second highest with an average around 4.51%.

**Update** A 3 year extension of the penny sales tax was passed at today’s council meeting by a 6-1 vote. Councilwoman Bess Rich was the lone no vote.

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Satsuma Police To Begin Wearing Body Cameras

Posted by David Merrell On September - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    The Satsuma Police Department will soon become the first department in the area to wear body cameras. According to Fox 10 News, Satsuma will be getting 10 cameras, enough for officers on patrol, detectives, and the school resource officer.

    Satsuma Police Chief Chris McLean said that one of the big reasons for adding cameras was that video evidence carried more weight in court than eyewitness testimony. He also cited a big drop in officer complaints in cities that have body cameras on their police.

    One such city is Rialto, California. During the first year of the program, Rialto saw a staggering 88% drop in complaints against police officers. The use of force by officers declined by 60%. Psychologists say that people tend to behave better when they are being monitored by a third party. The numbers in Rialto certainly back up the claim.

    After the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, there have been demands that officers across the country wear body cameras. Not everyone is on board with the program, as there are privacy concerns for both the officers and citizens involved. The cameras will only be an effective tool with proper guidelines in place to dictate their use.

    Another problem with the cameras is cost. The cameras can cost up to $1,000 per unit. Satsuma has bypassed this problem by leasing their equipment for 3 years. It will now cost the city only $25 per month for each camera.

    It is doubtful that the cameras will make a huge difference in police-citizen interactions in Satsuma. The town is a small, close-knit community where complaints against police were not common in the first place. Many citizens know the police officers personally. As Chief McLean stated, the cameras are more likely to give the police an effective tool for cases they investigate. The decision could also inspire the bigger departments with more issues in our area to give the cameras a try as well.

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Shark Attack On Dauphin Island

Posted by David Merrell On September - 7 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    A local fisherman was attacked by a shark this weekend at Dauphin Island. According to Fox 10 News, 43 year old Jamie Robson was bit on the leg while fishing the far west end of the island. The incident occurred around 1:00 PM on Saturday.

    Robson says he was standing in the water fishing when the attack occurred. He was actually reeling in a fish right before the attack. Robson believes the shark was after his fish, and he simply got in the way.

    The shark latched onto his leg. Robson quickly bashed the shark in the head with his fishing rod, causing the animal to leg go. He then hopped on his jet ski and road back to the boat launch. Once there, he called the police and was taken to Springhill Medical Center.

    Robson’s injuries were not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery. Ironically, this is not his first dangerous incident with marine wildlife. Robson was previously stung in the same leg by a stingray.

    In light of this incident, police say it is always a good idea to bring someone along when you are fishing. That way, when accidents like this occur, there will be someone there to help you out if you get hurt. Jamie Robson was able to get himself to safety after the attack, but others may not be so lucky.

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Fatal Accident North Of Creola

Posted by David Merrell On August - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    A single car accident led to the death of a Mississippi man yesterday evening. State Troopers say 59 year old Fairen Webb Davis of Lucedale was killed when his 1998 Ford Explorer left the roadway. The accident occurred on Highway 43 near the 15 mile marker at around 5:45 PM.

    Troopers say that Davis was not wearing his seat belt when the accident occurred. The vehicle overturned during the accident. There is no word on what caused the accident to occur.

    With Labor Day weekend upon us, the roadways will be crowded and possibly dangerous. Thousands will be flocking to local beaches and visiting family for end of the summer cookouts. Exercise caution on the road, buckle up, and of course do not drink and drive.

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Saraland Police Looking For Man Who Exposed Himself

Posted by David Merrell On August - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    The Saraland Police Department is searching for a man who exposed himself to a convenience store clerk. According to Fox 10 News, 23-year-old Curtis Eugene Richardson, Jr. is accused of exposing himself to a female clerk at a convenience store in Saraland on August 26th. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

    Saraland PD has said that Richardson is aware that he is wanted. They believe he may be hiding in Kushla, or possibly in Florida. Richardson allegedly has family in Florida. Richardson was last seen leaving the convenience store in a bright green, older model pickup truck.

    Indecent exposure is a Class A misdemeanor in Alabama. The punishment for such crimes include up to a $6,000 fine and up to 1 year in prison.

    Anyone with information on Curtis Richardson Jr’s whereabouts should contact the Saraland Police Department at (251) 675-5331 .


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School Shooting Averted At Vigor High School

Posted by David Merrell On August - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    Disaster was averted at Vigor High School on Wednesday thanks to ROTC instructor Lt. Col. Walter Henry. A student pulled on a gun on another student and attempted to open fire. The shooter allegedly pulled the trigger twice to no effect before Col. Henry tackled him and ended the stand off.

    The shooter was a freshman, who has now been suspended and could face expulsion. He was taken by police to Strickland Youth Center. His identity was not revealed.

    According to police, the gun used in the attempted shooting was a .22 revolver. They are not sure why it did not go off when the shooter pulled the trigger.

    According to WKRG News 5, the principal spoke to the shooter while he was being detained waiting for the police to arrive. The student claims that he and the person he was shooting at had previously had words, so he brought a gun to defend himself.

    While most have been hailing Col. Henry as a hero, he believes he just did what needed to be done. The Colonel said he was just trying to diffuse the situation and didn’t think of his own personal safety. His selfless act possibly saved numerous lives.

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Heat Advisory Posted As Temperatures Soar

Posted by David Merrell On August - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    A large chunk of the Gulf Coast, including all of Alabama, will be facing a heat advisory today and tomorrow. The advisory could extend into Sunday as well. Temperatures will be in the high 90s, with humidity pushing the heat index as high as 110 degrees.

    If possible, avoid being outside at the hottest part of the day. Those that have to work outside should try and stay hydrated and take breaks frequently. Find shade whenever possible.

    Pet owners should bring their animals inside during the hottest part of the day, which generally runs between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM.

    The heat wave should end on Monday, as rain and thunderstorms return to the forecast. Temperatures will be more seasonal next week, with highs expected in the lower 90s. There will be a 30% chance of afternoon thunderstorms as well, as is typical for this time of year.

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Police Investigating Murder-Suicide Attempt In Gulf Shores

Posted by David Merrell On August - 21 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    A domestic dispute led to the shooting of a woman in Gulf Shores yesterday. The incident occurred at about 2:30 PM around the 600 block of Canal Road. The victim, who has not been identified by authorities, received non-life threatening injuries from the gunshot.

    The shooter fled the scene as authorities were on the way. He wound up at Lester’s, a closed restaurant in Orange Beach. It was there that the shooter committed suicide. His identity has not been revealed.

    The victim was taken to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center to be treated for her injuries. The identity of the shooter is expected to be released sometime this morning.

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