November , 2014

The North Mobile Post

News and Commentary from Around the World

    A man searching for scrap metal at an illegal dump site made a ...
    Revelations that tens of thousands of veterans are waiting nationwide for health coverage ...
    Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth once again bore fruit, as "The Hobbit: ...
    The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is setting up ...
    A pair of explosions killed 34 people in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. ...
    The job numbers from the Labor Department are in, and they are sure ...
    Shocking new allegations have been made about George Zimmerman. An old family ...
    In a surprising turn of events on the world stage, the US is ...
    Gas prices peaked at around $3.80 earlier this year. The numbers had ...
    This weekend, the box office was dominated by the latest installment of the ...

Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Tax Increases Coming To Alabama?

Posted by David Merrell On November - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    Alabama is facing a budget problem. The state needs to come up with around $700 million to sure up its finances. According to the Associated Press, Governor Robert Bentley is now considering tax increases to help fix the budget.

    Governor Bentley has said in the past and continues to state that tax increases are a last resort to fix the budget. Other options are on the table, with even legalized gambling being looked at. The governor has said gambling was not his favorite revenue idea as it is an inexact form of revenue. Gambling is also unpopular with the Republican party’s social conservative base.

    If some form of tax increase is applied, it will likely come in the form of reduced deductions. Alabama is one of a few states in the country that allows tax payers to deduct their FICA taxes and federal income taxes from their state income taxes. While this approach would not amount to a rate increase, tax payers would see their tax bills go up.

    Governor Bentley is running into the same problem GOP governors across the country are facing when it comes to budgets. The promise of tax cuts balancing the budget has come up short in several states. The most notable example of this phenomenon has been Kansas, where Governor Sam Brownback’s extensive tax cuts have decimated the state’s budget.

    Tax cuts need to be paired with budget cuts in order to balance the budget. The stimulative effect of cutting taxes has proven inefficient to cover the lost revenue. We have seen this play out on the national level under President Reagan and George W. Bush. Both presidents cut taxes, but they also ran high deficits due to their failure to trim the budget enough.

    Governor Bentley generally receives favorable scores from conservatives on his spending policies. His tax policy has seen less praise, with the CATO Institute saying it was not inspiring in their 2014 report on the nation’s governors. CATO notes that Governor Bentley has opposed tax increases in the past, but has not pushed for major tax reform. That score is likely to sink further if the governor ends up cutting deductions.

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Mobile Christmas Tree Lighting Tonight

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

    Mobile will hold its annual lighting of the Christmas tree tonight in Bienville Square. The event begins at 5:00 PM, with the actual flipping of the switch to the Christmas tree lights occurring at around 6:10 PM.

    There will be other festivities besides just the lighting of the tree. Pictures with Santa will be offered, as well as a rolling zoo. Free coffee and hot chocolate will be given out by the Salvation Army. Christmas lights along Dauphin and Royal Street will also be lit.

    With Thanksgiving less than a week out, the holiday season has arrived. Christmas sales and decorations can already be found in most stores. Mobile’s Christmas tree lighting could be seen as the kicking off point for the big local celebrations. Christmas parades will be held in many of the outlying cities over the next few weeks.

    Christmas season has been arriving earlier and earlier every year, especially in the shopping department. While Black Friday has long been an American tradition, the sales have been creeping into Thanksgiving day over the past few years. Some stores will begin their sales Thanksgiving morning this year. While this has led to backlash from some consumers, millions are still likely to show up for the sales as they simply can’t afford to miss the deals.


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Cold Weather Returns

Posted by David Merrell On November - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    After a night of severe storms that caused damage in some parts of our area, cold weather returns tonight. Temperatures have been dropping throughout the day as a strong north wind brings in cold air. Lows are expected to dip into the lower 30s and upper 20s tonight.

    Though winter does not officially begin until midway through December, this is our second major cold snap this year. Typically, our coldest months of the year occur in January and February. It is not unheard of for the Gulf Coast to see major hurricanes in November, so the early cold snap comes as a bit of surprise.

    Weather experts were not surprised, as they predicted a colder than normal November in their winter forecast. Last year was one of the coldest winters on record for the upper Midwest. According to weather.com, the East coast and the Southeast are expected to take the hit this year. Whether or not we see record cold remains to be seen.

    As usual, proper precautions should be taken to guard against the cold. Pets and sensitive plants should be protected. Give yourself extra time to get ready in the morning in case of iced windows, and don’t forget to dress warmly if you have to work outside. A hard freeze is not expected, so you shouldn’t have to leave your faucet dripping.

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Meth Bust At Saraland Motel

Posted by David Merrell On November - 13 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    The Saraland Police Department arrested four people for possession of meth this past Tuesday. According to WKRG News 5, the arrest occurred at a local motel where the four individuals were caught with meth and drug paraphernalia. The investigation was carried out by the Saraland Police Department’s Special Operations and Narcotics Unit.

    The four individuals included Donovan Jason Sutton, Stephanie Frederick Mayers, Daniel Elton Reneau and Alisha Danielle Griffin. They were charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Despite intense law enforcement efforts to crack down on meth production and use, the drug remains a big societal problem. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, over 500 metric tons of amphetamine-type stimulants are produced each year. Roughly 24 million people abuse the drug worldwide.


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Cold Weather On The Way

Posted by David Merrell On November - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    The mild temperatures of the past few days are about to disappear. A cold front is moving through the area today, and the high is only expected to be around 64. Once the front moves through, temperatures will drop quickly, bottoming out around 47 tonight.

    The cold arrives in full force tomorrow, as the high will only reach 56. Lows will drop to the low 30s Thursday and Friday night before jumping back into the 40s on Saturday night. The high Friday will be around 54.

    There is the possibility of rain today, but most should remain dry. The cooler weather is due to a dip in the jet stream, bringing an arctic blast down from Canada. The cold snap will affect most of the eastern US.

    With temperatures at or near freezing Thursday and Friday night, precautions should be taken. Pets need to be kept indoors if possible, and any sensitive plants should be taken care of as well. Give yourself extra time in the morning to get ready for work in case there is ice on your car windows.

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Two Killed In Lott Road Collision

Posted by David Merrell On November - 11 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

    Two men were killed Monday in a head on collision on Lott Road. The accident occurred around the 1.4 mile marker in Prichard. The victims were 55-year-old Earnest James Robinson and 73-year-old Cecil Autry.

    According to Al.com, Robinson was driving a 1999 Chevy Silverado when he collided head on with Autry’s 2010 Toyota Tundra. Authorities pronounced Autry dead on the scene. Robinson was taken to the hospital where he later died of his injuries.

    Head on collisions are rare, often accounting for less than 5% of traffic accidents in a given year. However, these types of collisions account for up to 10% of all fatal crashes. Common causes of these types of accidents include misjudging another driver’s speed, and not paying attention to the lines in the road.


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Body Found On I-65

Posted by David Merrell On November - 10 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    A body was found on I-65 northbound early this morning by police. According to WKRG News 5, the victim was found just north of the Dauphin Street overpass. The body was reported around 1:00 AM.

    Thus far, no further information about the victim has been released. Anyone with knowledge of this incident is encouraged to contact the Mobile Police Department.

    The interstate area was also the location for a separate, unrelated incident when a dump truck overturned yesterday evening. This incident occurred on I-165. The driver was headed east, attempting to get on the interstate when the accident occurred. The vehicle overturned, knocking over a fence in the process.

    Police were called to the scene just before 7:00 PM. Thankfully, no one was hurt in this accident, including the driver of the dump truck.

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Christmas Parade Cancelled In Mobile

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


    The Mobile Christmas parade has been cancelled for 2014. According to WKRG News 5, the parade has been called off due to a lack of funds. Organizers say they will instead direct the funds they have towards other holiday events, such as the lighting of the Christmas tree in Bienville Square.

    Mobile’s Christmas parade is organized by the non-profit organization Special Events Mobile. George Talbot told News 5 that the parade did not pick up enough sponsors this year.

    Christmas events in north Mobile County are expected to continue as usual. Satsuma will have its parade and Arts & Crafts festival on December 6th. According to Satsuma’s website, upwards of 3,000 people typically attend the city’s Christmas celebration. Saraland will hold their Christmas festivities, including a parade, the following weekend on December 13th.

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F-16 Aircraft Missing In Gulf Of Mexico

Posted by David Merrell On November - 6 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


**Update 11-7-2014** The remains of the missing pilot have been recovered. The airman’s name has not been released.

    The US Coast Guard is looking for a missing pilot in the Gulf of Mexico. An F-16 assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group flying out of Tyndall AFB has apparently crashed in the gulf. The base lost contact with the jet around 9:15 AM during a routine training exercise.

    The jet went missing approximately 57 miles south of Panama City. The Coast Guard has several assets in the area conducting the search, with the rescue of the jet’s pilot being the top priority.

    A 2007 report from the Associated Press indicated that F-16 crashes were on the increase in the past decade. That report blamed pilot error and fatigue from the Iraq war for the bump in accidents. However, the report also indicated that engine failure was the leading cause in F-16 crashes. The F-16 is called a “lawn dart” in Air Force circles.

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Local Election Results

Posted by David Merrell On November - 5 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


    While yesterday’s elections had huge national significance, several important local elections were held as well. Alabamians went to the polls to determine the next Governor, Lieutenant Governor, state Attorney General, Congressional Representatives, and state Representatives. Like elections across the country, Republicans dominated the ballot box in Alabama.

    Governor Robert Bentley cruised to reelection Tuesday night, defeating Democratic challenger Parker Griffith 64% to 36%. Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey won reelection by a similar margin 63% to 37% over Democrat James Fields. Attorney General Luther Strange defeated his Democratic challenger Joe Hubbard by a slightly smaller but still impressive 59%-41% count. All three candidates were heavy favorites and expected to easily win reelection.

    Alabama’s Congressional delegation was swept by Republicans. Bradley Byrne won Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 68% of the vote, Martha Roby won Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District with 66% of the vote, Mike Rogers won the 3rd Congressional District with 65% of the vote, Mo Brooks won the 5th Congressional with 75% of the vote, and Gary Palmer won the 6th Congressional District with 76% of the vote.

    Democrats did win a pair of local elections to the state legislature. Barbara Drummond won Alabama House District 103 over Republican Ralph Carmichael by a count of 73% to 27%. Incumbent Napoleon Bracy, Jr was reelected in Alabama House District 98 over Saraland Councilman Wayne Biggs 59% to 31%. Independent Darren Flott gathered 10% of the vote in that election.

    House District 98 was particularly interesting because the district lines were redrawn and thought to be more friendly to Republicans. The district proved to be still heavily Democratic this time around, but will be one to watch going forward.

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