Entries from September 2008 ↓

Daphne’s New City Hall

Daphne’s New City Hall

From the outside, Daphne’s city hall is a big, bright landmark for the downtown area. “I’m hoping that this is the big push for the revitalization of downtown,” says Mayor Fred Small.

The mayor says he wants city hall to play host to not only city government but also public events. City hall comes with a $7,000,000 price tag. Daphne city hall’s grand opening won’t be for another three months, but when that does happen it’ll be the first time since 2004 that most of the city’s government is under one roof. Even with its tall ceilings, bright city council chambers, and spacious meeting areas, not everyone’s happy with it.

“The amount of money spent on that building prevents the maintenance of these streets right now and to me that’s the wrong priority,” says Brown.

WKRG.com Video

Orange Beach developer ordered to pay Wachovia $323,000

Orange Beach developer Ken Wall ordered to pay Wachovia $323,000 in foreclosure suit

A federal judge today ruled against Orange Beach developer Ken Wall, ordering him to pay Wachovia Bank more than $323,000 related to a foreclosed waterfront property.

Wall, who was convicted in 2006 of bribing former Mayor Steve Russo, sued the city last year in response to the foreclosure, alleging an error on a zoning map led him to overpay for the property. That case is still pending in Baldwin County Circuit Court and is scheduled to go to trial in November.

Fairhope officials: City in good standing with Home Depot

Fairhope officials: City in good standing with Home Depot

The city’s treasurer responded to a charge made last week by mayoral candidate Dean Mosher — during a debate against incumbent Tim Kant — that a city credit account with The Home Depot is not in good standing.

During the Thursday evening debate, Mosher claimed that a city credit card with the home improvement store’s Daphne location had been frozen for nonpayment. City Treasurer Nancy Wilson fired back with an official letter from Home Depot Credit Services saying the city’s account has a “satisfactory rating.”

Daphne candidates can’t debate without a forum

Mayoral rematch set in Daphne

In one week, current Mayor Fred Small and former three-term Mayor Harry Brown will face each other in a runoff. Meanwhile, no debates or forums have been held since the general election at the end of August, and none are planned.

Both candidates said they would be glad to debate one another, but no one had arranged a forum. A sparsely attended debate was held Aug. 5 at the Daphne Civic Center, prior to the general election including Small, Brown and political newcomer Ernie Berger.

We’d be happy to host an online debate right here. Send us your questions and we’ll try to get responses from the candidates.

Christ the King announces school board

Christ the King announces school board

Christ the King Catholic School announced the school board for the 2008-2009 school year.

This year’s board members are Sharon Dearing; Jan Finney, president; Angela Hickey, PTO representative; and Kerri Dye, secretary. Standing: Bill Robinson; Chuck Diard; Judson Beedy; John Nelson; Max Crain, CKCS principal; Jason Barbera, vice president; David Jellenc; and the Rev. Timothy Deasy; Christ the King Church pastor.

Spanish Fort sets plans for spending your money

$6.4M city budget talk continues

A new community center, bigger police department and road improvements are just a few things the growing city of Spanish Fort can possibly expect to see in the next year.

The city has an approximate $6.4 million to work with for the next year, Mayor Joe Bonner said during an Oct. 17 work session when the city council reviewed a proposed budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The budget is unofficial until the council votes in favor of it at a future meeting, Bonner said.

One topic discussed was the proposed $3 million community center, which
is planned to be located at the west corner of U.S. Highway 31 and
Blakeley Way, according to information city officials distributed
during the work session.

City officials have budgeted money to allow the Spanish Fort Police
Department to add five officers — bringing to squad to 18 — and an
investigator.

City officials also plan to do maintenance on roadways and drains throughout the city.

Daphne traffic conditions expected to worsen at 90 & 64

City planners talk U.S. 98, Baldwin County 64 traffic congestion

The Daphne Planning Commission Thursday debated possible avenues of relieving traffic congestion at the intersection of highways 98 and 64. A proposed plan to create 10 commercial rental properties has sparked talk of redesigning access points at the troubled area.

Councilwoman Cathy Barnette—who also sits on the commission—suggested that a traffic study be conducted. The plan for such a study will be brought to the City Council for a vote.

The talk of traffic congestion was raised by the discussion of the
subdivision of the five-acre Handy Lock Self Storage lot. The
subdivision calls for the displacement of an access point, which would
present a purportedly negative affect on the area’s already high
traffic flow. The preliminary plat review was killed in a 5-1 vote that
required unanimous agreement. The application can come back before the
commission in 30 days to seek approval.

Bay Minette man gets light sentence for sodomy conviction

BALDWIN COURT DIGEST – al.com

A Bay Minette man will serve 15 years in prison for sodomizing a 4-year-old girl in 2006.

Bobby Edward Dewrell, 34, was arrested in June 2007. On Aug. 19, a jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree sodomy, Class A felonies punishable by up to 99 years in prison for each crime.

Real estate briefs

  • Arlington Properties based in Birmingham paid $3 million for 25 acres behind the Eastern Shore Centre on Alabama 181 in Spanish Fort and has started construction on a 300-unit apartment complex
  • Taco Bell owners have paid $825,000 for a little more than cm HALF acre in front of the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort, according to Foshee of Foshee Realty, who represented the center owners. Ralph Neal of Watson Realty worked for the buyer. The 2,500-square-foot Taco Bell is under construction next to Chick-Fil-A and should open in November. Also set to open in November: a 14-screen Premiere Cinema at Eastern Shore Centre and a 12,700-square-foot Party City in the adjacent Eastern Shore Plaza.

Real estate briefs

Baldwin County to construct sidewalk for Fairhope students

Baldwin County to construct sidewalk for Fairhope students

Students walking to school and Founders Park in Fairhope will soon have a sidewalk thanks to a grant, and more federal funding is available for projects to encourage and protect pedestrian traffic near schools. The grant is part of the Safe Routes to Schools program, created by federal legislation in 2005.

Baldwin County is set to receive a $150,000 grant to install a sidewalk along Boothe Road.

Our tax dollars at work.

Developers ditch condos, ride commercial Waves

Developers ditch condos, ride commercial Waves

Three Gulf Shores businessmen dropped plans to develop 67 condominium units and are rebuilding their retail store bigger and better on 11th Street and W. Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores.

Waves shopping center is under construction on 1.6 acres and will open by the end of the year, according to owners Marty Hoffman, his brother Johnny Hoffman, and builder Greg Kennedy.

The group is one of nine developers whose approved condo proj ects
got building extensions from the city of Gulf Shores good until Oct.
10. The extensions were granted in late 2005, allowing developers to
build under old codes if they chose not to redesign projects to meet
new zoning rules that limit density and building height on the beach.

Wetlands’ development debated

Wetlands’ development debated

North Winding Brook residents before the issue was tabled aired views about the Daphne Utilities Board’s plans to develop part of 19 acres of savanna that border the east side of Village Drive.

Board President Robert Segalla said at the meeting Wednesday that the plan was to carve out four acres to build three home sites; the remaining 15 acres of wetlands would be preserved in a conservation trust. Originally, the plan was to sell the property to a developer; the proposed contract would stipulate that if the 15 acres were not protected, the property would revert to the board’s ownership.

Developing the property at all, however, isn’t an option, according to residents.A thriving ecosystem there is filled with wildlife such as barred owls,
woodpeckers and mallards. If the land is developed, the ecosystem would
be disrupted, according to one concern. Another concern raised was the impact on water levels.

Home owner recalls horrific night

Home owner recalls horrific night

Wayne Loudermilch thinks it was just before midnight when the fire alarm woke him up.

“When I jumped out of bed, I just assumed it was a false
alarm,” Loudermilch said Thursday. “I was headed to the
foyer to deactivate the alarm. When I got into the kitchen, flames were
licking from the walls. It was a solid wall of fire.”

Although he didn’t know it at the time, two Fairhope police
officers had arrived at the scene and were trying to break in the front
door, when they heard him screaming. He said he learned later that Sgt.
Curtis Sullivan and Officer James Nelson had to retreat from the front
door because it was too hot. He said he thought they probably concluded
no one was home, or that it was too late. But then they heard his
shouts for help.

City of Foley budget deliberations continue

City of Foley budget deliberations continue

The City of Foley’s 2008-2009 proposed budget expenditures for the next fiscal year look to be approximately $300,000 less than those budgeted in the current fiscal year, and City Administrator Perry Wilbourne said the reason why is “what we see out there.”

If no major changes take place in the draft, the 2008-2009 proposed
budget could be presented for approval at a council meeting that is
tentatively set for “late Monday afternoon” on Sept. 29 or
the day after, Wilbourne said.

Stabler’s problems continue, no alcohol involved this time

Digest: Attempted bribe is alleged – al.com

The estranged wife of former pro football player Kenny Stabler has refused to sign documents allowing the sale of her Ono Island home in order to satisfy her husband’s tax debts.

In documents filed in Mobile’s federal court last week, Kenny Stabler’s attorney, Robert Galloway, asked a judge to enforce a settlement that all of the parties — including Rose Burch Stabler — agreed to last month.

Rose Stabler said she never agreed to the terms presented to
her in writing. She said she reluctantly agreed to sell her
home and believed the only issue to be decided was whether
she would pay all or half of the auctioneer’s fee.

“The whole settlement agreement was a big farce,”
she said. “They can kiss my a—. I’ll fight them.
The law is on my side.”