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WEEKLY

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LAGNIAPPE

JANUARY 5, 2017 - JANUARY 11, 2017 | www.lagniappemobile.com ASHLEY TRICE Co-publisher/Editor atrice@lagniappemobile.com

ROB HOLBERT Co-publisher/Managing Editor rholbert@lagniappemobile.com STEVE HALL Marketing/Sales Director shall@lagniappemobile.com GABRIEL TYNES Assistant Managing Editor gabe@lagniappemobile.com DALE LIESCH Reporter dale@lagniappemobile.com JASON JOHNSON Reporter jason@lagniappemobile.com JANE NICHOLES Reporter jane@lagniappemobile.com

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BAY BRIEFS

The Mobile City Council is debating the merits of permanent street closures.

COMMENTARY

Ashley’s daydreaming about the year that will be 2017 and good things we need.

BUSINESS

Toomey’s is opening a Daphne location in time for the 2017 Mardi Gras season.

CUISINE

KEVIN LEE Associate Editor/Arts Editor klee@lagniappemobile.com ANDY MACDONALD Cuisine Editor fatmansqueeze@comcast.net

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STEPHEN CENTANNI Music Editor scentanni@lagniappemobile.com J. MARK BRYANT Sports Writer sports@lagniappemobile.com STEPHANIE POE Copy Editor copy@lagniappemobile.com DANIEL ANDERSON Chief Photographer dan@danandersonphoto.com LAURA RASMUSSEN Art Director www.laurarasmussen.com

A New Year, a new you! Here are some of the places where you can find healthful salads to help you keep that important resolution.

COVER

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who launched his legal career in Mobile, is facing confirmation as the nation’s 84th attorney general.

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BROOKE O’DONNELL Advertising Sales Executive brooke@lagniappemobile.com BETH WILLIAMS Advertising Sales Executive bwilliams@lagniappemobile.com ASHLEY KILLIAN Advertising Sales Executive akillian@lagniappemobile.com MELISSA EDGE Editorial Assistant events@lagniappemobile.com ROSS PRITCHARD Distribution Manager delivery@lagniappemobile.com

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ARTS

Cellist Robert deMaine and pianist Orion Weiss will form the centerpiece of the Alma and Anthony Fisher Memorial Concert of Mobile Chamber Music’s current season.

MUSIC

JACKIE CRUTHIRDS Office Manager jackie@lagniappemobile.com CONTRIBUTORS: Brenda Bolton, Sharman Egan, Asia Frey, Lee Hedgepeth, Brian Holbert, Jeff Poor, Ron Sivak ON THE COVER: JEFF SESSIONS BY DANIEL ANDERSON LAGNIAPPE HD Periodicals Permit #17660 (Volume 2, Issue 15) Copyright 2015 is published weekly, 52 issues a year, by Something Extra Publishing, Inc., 1100B Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604 (P.O. Box 3003 Mobile, AL 36652). Business and Editorial Offices: 1100B Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604 Accounting and Circulation Offices: 1100B Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604. Call 251-450-4466 to subscribe. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to P.O. Box 3003 Mobile, AL 36652 Editorial, advertising and production offices are located at 1100B Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604. Mailing address is P.O. Box 3003 Mobile, AL 36652. Phone: 251-450-4466 Fax: 251-450-4498 Email: atrice@lagniappemobile.com LAGNIAPPE HD is printed at Walton Press. All rights reserved. Something Extra Publishing, Inc. Nothing may be reprinted. photocopied or in any way reproduced without the expressed permission of the publishers.

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Several local people in the music industry are working with organizers at The Grounds to tentatively bring a two-day music festival to the site in April 2018.

FILM

The Mobile Jewish Film Festival returns Jan. 8 for its 16th year, and features another quality lineup of cinematic works and cuisine.

MEDIA

Internet reporter John Caylor is on the run from Alabama and was also arrested in Florida.

SPORTS

The Servis 1st Bank First Light Marathon, which attracts thousands of runners, puts Mobile on a unique list of host cities.

STYLE

Boozie puts 2016 out to pasture.

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GOING POSTAL

2016: The rule of three Editor: In writing, the rule of three is a principle stating that things that come in threes are more effective than other numbers of things. After three years in office, this rule rings true for my experience too. Think of it as a race when the announcer orders you to “take your mark.” That was my first year in office. We had to assess our challenges and opportunities and set a course of action. We built upon responsible fiscal stewardship and looked toward the finish line: becoming the safest, most businessand family-friendly city in America. In my second year, it was time to “get set.” After establishing our vision in our first year, it was time to put things in place for the vision to become a reality. We finalized Map for Mobile — the first long-range plan Mobile has seen in decades — and established the city’s very first Capital Improvement Plan, allocating $63 million to fix our roads, sidewalks and parks. By the time my third year rolled around, it was “go” time. This was 2016. This year, Carnival made its triumphant return and is now making weekly excursions from Mobile. Airbus delivered its first plane made in Mobile to JetBlue and closed out 2016 by delivering its 17th plane, one more than their goal for the year. We announced the 15th aerospace supplier to locate at Brookley, and the U.S. Navy announced it will name the next Littoral Combat Ship the USS Mobile, a tribute to the superior workmanship of Mobilians. We continue to invest in transformational projects such as the Wal-Mart Distribution Center to create jobs and strengthen our economy. This year, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the city of Mobile a $14.5 million grant to rebuild aging infrastructure, connect citizens to jobs and revitalize historic neighborhoods. This project will provide efficient connectivity between residents and major economic employment centers

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like Brookley. It also will reconnect divided neighborhoods by creating bike and pedestrian lanes and landscaped medians. The Broad Street project feeds right into our plan to transform Water Street from the backyard of downtown into the gateway of Mobile. Designs are almost complete to create a safer, more walkable and bikeable Water Street that invites you to our waterfront and its attractions. Just last week, we opened the second dog park this year, at Public Safety Memorial Park, for citizens to have an offleash area for their dogs to play. These parks aren’t just for dogs, they’re for people. Mobilians are getting to know their neighbors because they already have something in common: their dogs. We transformed our justice system to ensure we are punishing crime, not penalizing poverty. The changes to Mobile Municipal Court have been hailed by federal officials as a model for the state and nation. Thanks to the city of Mobile’s first successful supplier diversity program, we have built our capacity to hire disadvantaged businesses as contractors for our capital improvement projects. The result? We’ve hired more minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses than at any comparable time in the history of Mobile. With leadership from our Innovation Team, Mobile achieved a 12 percent reduction of blight in 2016, resulting in safer neighborhoods and improved property values across the city. After years of grossly underpaying our first responders, our police officers and firefighters finally received pay raises for their service. Our officers will no longer drive ragged police cars with more than 100,000 miles on them. Our paramedics are driving emergency sprint trucks instead of big, old fire trucks. And our firefighters have safer, more modern gear plus five new fire trucks. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch visited Mobile in April, when she applauded our community for creating a safer and more united Mobile. She recognized the Mobile Police Department

for its “inspiring commitment” to working alongside residents to build stronger relationships between our citizens and law enforcement. Despite the success, this year has presented its fair share of challenges. My heart breaks every time we lose another Mobilian to violence. The rise in homicide is a national trend, but we want Mobile to be the trendsetter that finally puts an end to these tragedies. So this year, we launched YES (Youth Empowered for Success), our plan to reverse the effects of violence and secure a bright future for all of our children. The YES initiative will provide our most vulnerable youth access to available resources to assist in education, life and job skills training, employment opportunities, mentoring and safe, productive enrichment. When we are successful, we will lower, if not eliminate, youth violence in Mobile while empowering our youth to succeed in life. But in order to succeed in 2017, we need every man, woman and child of all races, ethnicities and religions living and working in Mobile. We need many voices united by one vision. We need you, the ambassador, the doer, the believer. Don’t just cheer us on. Run this race with us, because our very future depends on it. Mayor Sandy Stimpson Mobile

Thank you Editor: I’m writing on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care to thank the community for their generous support of the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Through this community support, we were able to collect more than 4,000 gifts and support 678 area seniors who may not otherwise have had a gift under the tree this Christmas or someone with whom to share the holiday. Mike Dunbar Home Instead Senior Care


BAYBRIEF | MOBILE

One way

MOBILE COUNCIL TO DISCUSS STREET CLOSURES AT UPCOMING MEETING BY DALE LIESCH

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fter two controversial and polarizing public debates over the merits of closing off public streets within neighborhoods to through traffic, the Mobile City Council will be tackling the issue head on. The council will be seeking public comment on a proposed ordinance on neighborhood security gates during a Jan. 17 meeting of its public safety committee. Committee member John Williams described the meeting as an opportunity for the council to listen to both sides of the debate. “The purpose of the meeting is to listen, maybe get an idea of the opposition and maybe clarify our position,” he said. A decision Williams made to temporarily close off Andover Boulevard in the Regency Oaks neighborhood for a traffic study angered residents in the Wildwood and Malibar Heights communities. Williams used Regency Oaks as an example of a case where closing a street could be justified moving forward. For instance, he said,

PEOPLE WHO WERE NERVOUS ABOUT [THE CLOSURE] TO BEGIN WITH ARE SITTING ON THE SIDELINE. THERE IS NO POLITICAL WHEREWITHAL TO GO AHEAD WITH PERMANENT CLOSURE. closing off a street could limit “dangerous” cut-through traffic. Although he said he feels closing streets could be beneficial to neighborhoods in some circumstances, Williams said he is open to hearing opposition. “We want to hear from both sides,” he said. “I represent people on both sides of the issue and I’m completely open to all opinions.” One opinion that differs from Williams’ belongs to his opponent in the District 4 City Council race. Robert Martin, who lives in the Wildwood subdivision and entered the race largely because of this issue, said an ordinance to allow the closure of public streets would do more harm than good. “Basically, they’re coming up with a way to create cul-de-sacs,” Martin said. “They’ll create gated communities.” In his neighborhood, which is the one most recently affected by the debate, Martin said accessing Andover is really the only way to get out with the “safety of a street light in one square mile.” “I’ve been pushing for street lights at University to make safety a priority,” Martin said. Martin spoke at the last City Council meeting of 2016 on Dec. 20, where he presented 135 signatures from residents along three streets near Andover. Among concerns over safety and convenience, residents in the two communities near Regency Oaks are also concerned that the closing of Andover would negatively impact their

property values. “John Williams got pressure from Regency Oaks,” Martin said. “It would raise property values [at Regency Oaks] and lower them at Wildwood.” Brent Barkin, president of the Regency Oaks Property Owners’ Association, said he’s working on getting unanimous consent from affected residents to allow for the permanent closure of Andover Boulevard to through traffic. “People who were nervous about [the closure] to begin with are sitting on the sideline,” he said. “There is no political wherewithal to go ahead with permanent closure.” The street was closed temporarily and then a traffic study was conducted by the Mobile Police Department. The issue, Barkin said, is that the study focused on speed rather than on the amount of traffic. He estimated that traffic through Regency Oaks decreased by 70 percent while the street was closed. “There are 144 residents and 600 cars traveling on the street,” Barkin said. “It’s easy to see most are not residents.” While the neighborhood wishes to close the street to vehicular traffic, Barkin said, shutting it off to pedestrians and cyclists is not the neighbors’ will. In fact, he said plans would allow for pedestrian and bike access to Andover from the other neighborhoods. “We don’t want a wall,” he said. “We want a more unique entrance that invites pedestrians and cyclists. I liken it to what college campuses do, where certain streets are blocked off for pedestrians and cyclists.” On the issue of street closures moving forward, Barkin said it should be left to the neighborhoods to decide. “For permanent closures, the primary focus should be the residents’ wishes,” Barkin said. On temporary closures, he said, the issue should be decided by a particular neighborhood’s council representative. Regency Oaks isn’t the first local neighborhood to request that a public street be closed off to through traffic. Almost two years ago neighbors filed a lawsuit over the City Council’s decision to allow residents of the Airmont Property Owners Association to place a gate along Montclair Drive for traffic and safety reasons. Airmont residents felt the closure would help prevent burglaries. Those opposed to the closure claimed, among other things, the move would deny access to Azalea Road to students who walk to school. Councilwoman Bess Rich, who did not return a call seeking comment for this story, has previously come out in support of security gates for communities. She has said they can be used as a planning tool in the future. Rich has said she doesn’t view gates as a permanent closure because they can be opened. Instead, she said, they can help alter the flow of traffic. At least one councilor is opposed to the closure of public streets for any reason. Councilman Fred Richardson has previously said he would only approve an ordinance pertaining to street closures if it was due to maintenance issues. He has said that crime and safety statistics should not be used as criteria because “that’s everywhere.”

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BAYBRIEF | MOBILE COUNTY

Redemption song PAPERWORK GUMS UP PROPERTY RECLAMATION PROCESS

Petitioner Ernest Lewis believes that might have already happened to him, and now he’s bringing a legal challenge over the tax sale of a property he inherited in North Mobile County.

Lewis v. Davis

Lewis lives in Georgia but inherited a property on Old Citronelle Highway in Chunchula after his mother passed away. However, after taxes due for that property became delinquent, the Revenue Commission sold it to the state in 2013. Georgia man is challenging Mobile County’s ous counties throughout the state, though the compleIn 2014, investor David James Davis purchased a $863 tax lien on the property redemption process over paperwork he tion of the form itself is not required by law because, as property, which listed a fair market value of $34,200 the same year. Land claims prevented him from paying his unpaid Coleman said, the “use of the affidavit is not contained records also indicate it was one of six tax liens Davis purchased in the same taxes and ultimately led to a house on his in [the] statute” governing property redemptions in area over a two-year period. property being demolished by an investor who refused to Alabama. According to the available court documents, Lewis received a letter from respond to his letters. “The affidavit was created by the department as a tool Hastie on Jan. 27, 2016, informing him the property would be deeded to DaThe issue revolves around tax sales that occur when a for the county tax official to have,” Coleman added. “[It] vis outright unless the delinquent taxes were paid and Davis was reimbursed property owner fails to pay his or her ad valorem taxes, is available for use in each Alabama county. We are not for his expenses by May 30, 2016. as counties are allowed to sell properties to satisfy any aware of a county redemption official who does not use Lewis claims he immediately began trying to comply with those requiredelinquent taxes the owners have failed to pay. the department’s affidavit or a similar document serving ments, but “the commissioner’s office refused to accept any money from him, When this happens, a private investor can purchase a the same purpose.” unless it was accompanied by the fully executed redemption affidavit.” tax lien on a delinquent property, giving them the right to However, in Mobile County the revenue commission According to his petition, Lewis spent the next four months unsuccessacquire the land outright following a three-year redempwill not issue a certificate of redemption unless both fully trying to contact Davis through the mail and over the phone. Copies of tion period allowing the owner to reclaim the property. parties have completed the affidavit. In some cases, that that correspondence, including receipts for certified mail he sent to Davis and Before 2002, paying the back isn’t a problem, and Prescott said money orders made out to the county totalling $1,767.43, were submitted in taxes at a 12 percent interest he’s signed affidavits for multhe court record as well. rate was the only requirement to tiple properties in a single day. All of those items were dated prior to the May 30, 2016, deadline menredeem a property in Alabama. However, others say requiring tioned in Hastie’s letter, but still Lewis was unable secure the property. “FearSince then, however, a change a completed affidavit allows an ing the imminent possibility of losing the property,” he took legal action six in state law has required that investor to simply ignore or redays before the deadline. redemptioners reimburse a tax fuse to sign the document, which THE ISSUE REVOLVES AROUND Lewis petitioned the probate court to intervene because of his “inability lienholder for any “reasonable can sideline a previous owner’s to contact Davis.” Hastie’s office was notified of Lewis’ legal challenge, but TAX SALES THAT OCCUR WHEN A attempt to regain a property. expenses” incurred, such as that didn’t stop the Revenue Commission from issuing a deed to Davis on premiums paid for an insurance Though Prescott said tax ofJuly 1, 2016. PROPERTY OWNER FAILS TO PAY policy or improvements securing ficials “usually step in if there’s According to court records, Davis wasn’t served a subpoena related to the value of the land. HIS OR HER AD VALOREM TAXES, any problem,” Erica Thomas, Lewis’ legal challenge until Sept. 27, 2016. Four days later, he “demolished While that may sound strange who oversees property redempthe residential structure that stood on the property.” AS COUNTIES ARE ALLOWED TO to those unfamiliar with the tions in Mobile County, said “the While Lewis’ legal challenge was initially aimed at finishing the property practice, property investor Tyler party wishing to redeem must redemption he tried to start last winter, the issuance of the deed and the deSELL PROPERTIES TO SATISFY Prescott told Lagniappe the law go through probate court for molition of the house prompted his attorney to amend the petition to include ANY DELINQUENT TAXES THE was added for good reason and a redemption hearing to settle Hastie in her official capacity. Now, Lewis is challenging the practice her protects investors like himself. the matter” when that situation office uses when processing all of its property redemptions. OWNERS HAVE FAILED TO PAY. “Before then, we’d get letters occurs. “The commissioner, who knew or should have known this action was essentially saying we’d go to jail However, for residents already pending, failed to ascertain whether or not the parties properly performed if we didn’t do things like cut struggling to pay back taxes and under the statute, and then issued a tax deed to Davis, in the midst of this the grass, which we could ultireimbursements lawfully due to action — despite the lack of any cognizable authority supporting her actions,” mately receive no compensation for,” Prescott said. “You an investor, those legal expenses may not be possible. the complaint reads. “The commissioner’s practices and procedures in uswouldn’t want to cut grass at a property for three years That’s why some counties don’t require the affidavit to be ing the redemption affidavit, as a means to further the redemption process, just to have to someone redeem it.” signed by both parties in certain circumstances. results in an unreasonable and unconstitutional denial of due process rights, The burden of ensuring any dispute over how much an Baldwin County Revenue Commissioner Teddy Faust as preserved by the statute, and in this case, it also led to the demolition of the investor is owed falls on the tax officials in each county, said it can create a situation where investors can be residential structure which stood on the property.” and by law those issues have to be resolved before the taken advantage of, which is why his department doesn’t Hastie did not respond to calls seeking comment for this story. Going redemption process can proceed. In Mobile County, Rev- require the completed affidavit if an investor fails to forward, though, Lewis’ challenge could potentially affect other property recenue Commissioner Kim Hastie’s office handles it. respond to or refuses to sign it — especially if there are lamations handled by her office, and Mobile County already processes a high Derrick Coleman, property tax director with the no disputed expenses. volume of tax sales and property redemptions. Alabama Department of Revenue, said the state tried to “To my knowledge, that document is not a mandate. In 2015 alone, there were 587 tax sales redeemed by the original owners in streamline the process by creating a joint-affidavit both It’s not required,” Faust said. “Typically, if an investor Mobile County, and that doesn’t include 696 that remain unredeemed. Includparties could sign to ensure everyone was on the same won’t sign the affidavit, we’ll let the property owner go ing Lewis’, there are at least 11 probate court hearings related to property repage about what was owed during a redemption. ahead and redeem anyway. If not, somebody could sit demptions the Revenue Commission is currently aware of, though it’s unclear Since 2013, those affidavits have been used by varithere and hold you hostage forever.” what the nature of those challenges is at this time. BY JASON JOHNSON

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BAYBRIEF | MOBILE

Greener pastures

MAYOR ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF CHIEF OF STAFF BY DALE LIESCH

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fter more than three years as Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s chief of staff, Colby Cooper has resigned. “I want to thank Colby for his dedication and service as chief of staff,” Stimpson said in a news release. “His passion and commitment helped us advance toward our goal of making Mobile the safest, most business- and family-friendly city in America. We wish him well in his future endeavors.” Cooper, who held the position since 2013, will resign effective March 31, 2017, to pursue new opportunities. In the meantime, he will serve in a purely advisory role to ensure a smooth transition. Stimpson said he is taking advantage of the opportunity to review the roles and responsibilities of the chief of staff’s office with an eye toward improving the performance of his administration. Stimpson named Paul Wesch as acting chief of staff to handle day-to-day responsibilities during the transition period. “We are always looking for ways to become more efficient in government and improve the level of service we provide to our citizens,” Stimpson said. “We are blessed with a deep and talented team, and each member of my administration is charged with serving the people of Mobile. Going forward, I have full confidence in our team to continue Mobile’s incredible momentum in 2017.” Cooper had been criticized recently following an incident where he ordered a tree to be cut down and removed from Public Safety Memorial Park to be used as a Christmas decoration during President-elect Donald Trump’s visit to Mobile on Dec. 17. He later apologized, but rumors quickly began to spread that he was in line for a job in Washington, D.C. Cooper responded to the rumors through a text

message last week. “I am focused on being the chief of staff to the city of Mobile and doing the best job I can for the city,” the message read. In his resignation letter to Stimpson dated Thursday, Dec. 29, Cooper gives no clues to what “opportunities” he might be pursuing. “I have given every ounce of energy, enthusiasm and passion I could to you and the city of Mobile, Alabama,” Cooper wrote. “I am humbled by the substantial progress the team has made and I salute each and every employee for his or her role in making Mobile a model American city.” When asked about his future opportunities, Cooper provided a copy of his resignation letter through an email and texted that he was “going to let that stand today” and “will talk about opportunities later.” Despite frequent run-ins with members of the City Council, including a now-infamous tweet mocking Councilman Fred Richardson with a “Fredit Card,” councilors interviewed for this story had only nice things to say about Cooper. In an email message, Council President Gina Gregory wrote that she wished Cooper the best as he “moves on to other opportunities.” She was also quick to praise his replacement. “I am happy to hear that Paul Wesch has been named interim chief of staff,” she wrote. “I have a very good working relationship with Paul and I have full faith and confidence in his ability to lead the day-to-day operations of the administration and work closely with the council.” Councilman Levon Manzie said he appreciated Cooper’s three years of service to the city. “Colby and I have worked together to better the lives of residents of District 2,” Manzie said. “I wish him the very best.”

Picking up the tab

TAXPAYERS WILL PAY ROUGHLY $58K FOR TRUMP VISIT

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BY DALE LIESCH

ity taxpayers are on the hook for more than $58,000 from President-elect Donald Trump’s visit Dec. 17, according to a fact sheet released by Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office. The amount far outpaces what the city spent last year for Trump’s visit as a candidate and reflects a large law enforcement presence. “President-elect Trump’s historic visit to Mobile brought international exposure to our city and marked the beginning of our strong relationship with the new administration,” Stimpson said in a statement. “Public safety was of utmost importance during this visit for our guests and our citizens, as well as for the security of the President-elect and his team. The cost of public safety was consistent with other cities hosting similar events and was more than offset by the event’s positive economic impact.” The majority of the expenses came from overtime for Mobile police officers in the amount of $49,691.90. Mobile Fire-Rescue Department personnel overtime accounted for $8,726.58. The public safety total of $58,418.48 will be paid for by the city, according to the fact sheet. “It is always the city’s priority to ensure every event in Mobile is safe and successful, so all public safety costs will be absorbed by the Mobile Police and Fire Rescue Departments through their fiscal 2017 budgets,” the fact sheet reads. In addition, Stimpson will cover the $5,764 in

operational costs, which includes work by various city departments and others. Those expenses break down as follows: electrical, $829.95; architectural engineering, $277.50; public buildings, $3,528.16; mechanical, $528.57; and ABC Signs, $600. City spokeswoman Laura Byrne said Stimpson would be seeking private contributions to defray the operational costs associated with the “thank you” tour. If he’s successful in raising the funds, taxpayers would only be responsible for the public safety costs. Darlene Allen, a Zeigler Boulevard resident and president of the Prichard NAACP, complained to councilors during Tuesday’s meeting about spending that amount of money on Trump’s visit. Specifically, she argued the money could have been used to provide better transportation to county residents. The city’s bus service, WAVE Transportation, had to cut routes in Prichard and other areas of the county after the council cut more than $600,000 from a budget appropriation in 2015. The Trump campaign will pick up the costs for buses used as shuttles to and from the event at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The $14,352.50 total for the buses represents the rental of vehicles from four different companies, including: Faith Bus Service, $5,225; Kingdom Coach, $3,800; Gulf Coast Tours, $4,377.50; and Good Time Tours, $950. J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7 | L AG N I A P P E | 7


BAYBRIEF | COURTS

Order of the court

LOCAL FARMER WINS $75K FROM ROUSES

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BY JANE NICHOLES Craine protested that Rouses posted the photos before ever ordering any lettuce, and “inferior” lettuce from another farmer outside the area was placed beneath Craine’s photos in Mobile-area stores, damaging the farm’s reputation. The Craine photos were also used twice in Rouses’ in-store promotional magazine that is published every other month. But Rouses only placed four orders in total, after the Craine family altered its farming practices to ensure they could supply the grocery stores weekly, the

ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, ROUSES OPENED ITS FIRST ALABAMA STORE IN EARLY 2014 AND APPROACHED LOCAL FARMERS ABOUT BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS AND FEATURING THEIR PHOTOS IN THE NEW STORES. ”

Photo | Facebook

Mobile County Circuit Court jury has awarded $75,000 in damages to a Baldwin County farmer who said the Rouses grocery store chain used his photo in a “buy local” campaign while placing only four orders for his hydroponically grown specialty lettuce. Micah Craine of Craine Creek Farm in Baldwin County alleged that Rouses posted large photos of himself and his family’s farm in Mobile-area stores and left them up even after Craine asked that they be removed. The Louisiana-based chain emphasizes its stock of local foods from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi as part of its marketing strategy to shoppers. According to court documents, Rouses opened its first Alabama store in early 2014 and approached local farmers about buying their products and featuring their photos in the new stores. Craine was told Rouses would place weekly orders for the farm’s specialty lettuces. “Without ever having placed any orders with Craine, Rouses undertook to outfit each one of its new Mobile area stores with a giant publicity picture of Micah Craine in their produce departments emblazoned with the names of Micah Craine and Craine Creek Farm LLC,” the lawsuit alleged. “The picture also bore an endorsement from Craine which stated, ‘We’re a family-run farm in Baldwin County that’s proudly owned and operated by Steve, Anita and Micah Craine. We’re proud that our friends and neighbors can get our hydroponic greens at Rouses.’”

ROUSES HAS AGREEMENTS WITH LOCAL FARMERS FOR FRESH PRODUCE AT ITS STORES THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHEAST.

any other way. The parties went into court-sanctioned mediation but could not resolve all suit claimed. of their differences. The lawsuit then went to trial last month before Mobile Rouses contended it made a simple mistake in not County Circuit Judge Charles Graddick, and the jury awarded $75,000 to removing the photos immediately when Craine asked that Craine. they be taken down, but that Craine could not prove that Attorneys representing both parties did not return telephone calls from the farm or his family had been damaged monetarily or in Lagniappe seeking comment.

BAYBRIEF | MOBILE

Full court press

BASKETBALL FACILITY DISCUSSION TURNS TO CIP DEFENSE BY DALE LIESCH

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Photo/Courtesy Espalier Design

hat started as a discussion over the possibility of a new basketball court at Sage Park, quickly became a defense of the projects selected for the city’s multi-million dollar capital improvement plan. Timothy Hollis, a community activist and Seale Street resident, asked councilors to consider improving, or adding basketball facilities at other city parks in addition to the plans for a new court at Sage Park. He said he was in favor of the basketball court at Sage (Herndon) Park, but added it seems that the park gets all the improvements. He specifically mentioned new bathrooms and new soccer and football fields at the park at the intersection of Dauphin Street and Sage Avenue. For example, Hollis said Figures Park has a basketball

court with two hoops. While they recently got new nets, one has “the same old backboard” and a bent pole. The pole issue makes one hoop two inches shorter than the other, which makes regulation basketball tournaments impossible, Hollis said. Kidd Park in Africatown only has one hoop, he said. Councilman Fred Richardson, who represents District 1, said he’d been fighting for basketball courts in city parks since he was elected to council. He said Sage Park needed the new court because residents can “play everything but basketball” there. “There’s no way to construct a used basketball court,” Richardson said. “We have to construct a new one. The one at Figures Park was new. This one is new, but it won’t be once they play on it.”

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Richardson added that the court at Figures Park was indoor with an “auditorium” and therefore can be used year-round. The proposed court at Sage is outdoor. Councilman Joel Daves also defended the program. He said the city went years without making capital improvements and built up a $200,000 backlog. He asked for patience. “We’re spending more now than in the previous six years,” Daves said. “The problem is people see a basketball court being put in and want one in every park. We can’t do it all in one year.” A public hearing for the proposed basketball court is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m. in the Government Plaza auditorium. During his announcements, Richardson, like Daves, defended the choice of projects within the capital improvement program. He said the 1-cent sales tax increase that helped give the city the financial room to allow council to allocate funds for the CIP was put in place during the Sam Jones administration. Richardson said the money is allowing them to move forward on capital projects after years of delay. “Citizens will ask ‘why are doing this now in the district when you’ve been there 20 years?,” Richardson said. “I never had a dime. We had the penny for a while before this bold council carved out money for the CIP.” He said he asked residents where and for what he should spend the $9 million over three years. That’s why, he said, the CIP has spent $1 million for parks, $1 million for sidewalks in Crichton, $1 million for drainage repair in Midtown and other projects. “Citizens told me that’s what they wanted to do,” Richardson said. “We can’t do everything, but we’re going to start with what the people wanted and then move on to something else.” Councilman Levon Manzie also asked for patience, during his announcements. He added that District 2 had the greatest number of capital needs because the “community went years without adequate funding.” In other business, the council approved use of grant funds to allow Feeding the Gulf Coast to provide hot meals to children at the city’s recreation and community centers. Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Nutrition Programs Director Kim Proctor Lawkins said the organization plans to serve after-school and summer meals in 12 of the city’s centers. The council also approved a cooperation agreement with one of the Mobile Housing Board’s non-profit arms, Renaissance Properties, to allow for the conversion to the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. In addition to allow MHB to operate more like a private developer in attaining financing for future projects, RAD will also convert all of the organization’s low-income public housing to a Section 8 voucher program.


BAYBRIEF | CRIME

New year, old cases

MPD CARRYING 13 UNSOLVED MURDERS INTO 2017 BY JASON JOHNSON

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s the city moves into 2017, the Mobile Police Department is putting a particularly deadly year behind it — one marked by a high number of homicides and an unusual volume of shootings involving teenagers. In 2016, MPD investigated 43 homicides, and of those, 13 were still unsolved at the year’s end. Previously, MPD Chief James Barber told Lagniappe that Mobile’s “10-year average” for homicides is usually around 30. While last year’s figure is higher than average, the rate of murders is not unprecedented. Mobile recorded 42 murders as recently as 2008. There were also 51 homicides in 1996 as well as 53 in 1997 — the highest murder rate the city has documented in the past three decades. Also in 2016, officials grew increasingly concerned by the deaths of more than a dozen teenagers, many of whom were victims of gun violence or accidental shootings. The issue rose to the forefront following a rash of violence in October that led MPD to crack down on certain “hot spot” crime areas while increasing its focus on preventing teenagers from accessing firearms. “We as a community cannot allow the senseless and indiscriminate violent gun crimes to continue,” Barber said at the time. “The Mobile Police Department is committed to removing guns that are in the hands of our youth and from others that are forbidden by law from carrying firearms.” Through Operation City H.E.A.T. (Heightened Enforcement and Apprehension Tactics), MPD began conducting “directed patrol operations” in late October — using intelligence-led tactics like warrant service, safety checkpoints, curfew enforcement and periodic probation checks. In its first day, City H.E.A.T. led to 15 citations, 13 misdemeanor arrests, 12 felony arrests and the recovery of at least three illegal firearms. Officers have continued to conduct those types of operations throughout the past two months, though Barber was unavailable to provide an update on their status in time for this report. Police in Mobile have touted the use of cash as an incentive for providing information related to pending homicide investigations. The tactic recently led to a break in one of the year’s more troubling murders, the shooting of 25-year-old Delauna Anderson Powell, who was killed on Oct. 18 during an attempted carjacking. The MPD is still offering a $5,000 cash reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in any of the remaining unsolved cases from 2016. All rewards are paid without compromising a tipster’s anonymity, and information can be reported by calling the MPD at 251-208- 7211 or through Crimestoppers of Southwest Alabama at 251-208-7000 and via text at TIP573.

Mobile’s unsolved homicides from 2016:

Angelo Quinnie — Quinnie, 24, was found stabbed to death Jan. 8, near the 1400 block of Clover Leaf Circle in Mobile. No suspect has

been identified in this case. William Blevins — Blevins, 48, was found near the 1900 block of Canal Street on Jan. 21. According to police, Blevins was shot and his body was discovered in a witness’ front yard next to the open driver’s side door of an SUV. Corenzo Rogers — Rogers, 18, was shot and killed in the area of Butler Street at Warsaw Avenue on March 15. Officers responded to a call about a shooting in the same area around 7 p.m. that evening and upon their arrival found Rogers’ body in a vacant lot. Darius Mose — Officers discovered the body of Mose, 21, after he was shot and killed during an incident at the Warren Inn on Airport Boulevard that occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on March 23. Lonnie Rayford — On June 2, Rayford, 48, was found deceased in the back seat of a vehicle near the intersection of Jackson and Government streets in downtown Mobile. He was found suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Police said Rayford had been in “a verbal argument with a group of unknown females,” when one of them shot and killed Rayford. Kerry Muzzey — Muzzey, a 70-year-old resident of Midtown Mobile, was found beaten to death in his home on Mt. Island Drive West on July 2. The only information police have given are statements suggesting robbery was not a motive and that Muzzey likely knew his killer. Justin Sanders — On Oct. 10, the 33-yearold Sanders was found shot to death inside one of the dugouts at Baumhauer Park, which is located at 1909 Duval St. in Mobile. William Hall — Hall, 62, was found lying on the side of St. Stephens Road after suffering an apparent gunshot wound on Oct. 14. Hall was transported to a local hospital but ultimately died as a result of his injuries. Gary McCovery — McCovery, 35, was shot multiple times and had died by the time police found him lying near the roadway at the intersection of 8th Street and Lincoln Boulevard on Oct. 15. Keith Washington — Police believe Washington, 32, died from a single gunshot wound on Oct. 16. Washington’s body was found on the side of the road near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Interstate 65. Demetrius Clemons — Clemons, 24, was found shot to death inside a vehicle near the 2600 block of Farnell Drive at approximately 1 a.m. on Oct. 23. Clemons was deceased upon the MPD’s arrival. Michael Baker — Baker, 38, was found deceased in the 100 block of South Scott Street in the early hours of Nov. 3. Police responded to a call of “one down” inside the Church Street Cemetery. Upon arrival, police discovered Baker had died from gunshot wounds. Desmond Norwood — Norwood, 24, was Mobile’s final homicide victim of 2016. After receiving a call about a shooting on New Year’s’ Eve — Dec. 31, 2016 — police discovered Norwood lying in the driveway on Hartsfield Way South suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Norwood was transported to a local hospital but later died from his injuries.

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COMMENTARY | DAMN THE TORPEDOES

Dothan learns NYE ‘drops’ aren’t always easy ROB HOLBERT/MANAGING EDITOR/RHOLBERT@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

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Photo courtesy of Nick Trawick

Dothan’s first “Nut Drop” was overshadowed by a suspicious looking net full of balloons. Russellville, known for its annual Watermelon Festival, is most poised for success. I envision a huge, illuminated watermelon being slowly lowered into the open hands of a large statue of the Luv Guv himself, Robert Bentley. That would be something to see. Of course Elberta in Baldwin County is famed for its sausage festival. They could probably just borrow that net full of balloons from Dothan for the first year or two until they can afford their own weenie. And can’t you imagine how cool a huge, mechanical rattlesnake would look being lowered in Opp — home of the annual rattlesnake festival. Maybe it could bite Baby New Year. Cullman is known for its Sweet Tater Festival, just as Blount County is for its Covered Bridge Festival, and while neither of those are too sexy it would still be worth

driving downtown to watch a covered bridge or potato lowered towards the sidewalk. Wouldn’t it? Athens, Alabama could actually rip a page from Mobile’s playbook, as they are known for their annual Grease Festival. What’s one of the favorite treats at that fest? Fried Oreos. I’ve got to think a fried Oreo being lowered from a crane wouldn’t look much different than a MoonPie. But the best would be if Fred Richardson’s tiny hometown of Nymph would recognize his leadership in making Alabama a place where it’s OK to lower ridiculous things from the sky in celebration of the New Year. I can see a huge papier mache Fred Richardson head being lowered by crane into an open ditch filled with used airline tickets. It would be a beautiful start to any year.

THEGADFLY

very New Year’s it seems more and more cities are trying to find something unique to drop out of the sky to not only mark the birth of another year, but to also express that city’s particular “personality” to the rest of the world. But that quest for uniqueness can also come off a bit goofy at times. We know all about that here in Mobile, of course, as the famed MoonPie Drop each year brings both its share of joy and derision. City Councilman Fred Richardson will forever be linked with MoonPies for pushing the idea of dropping a large marshmallow cookie each year. Critics have always scoffed at the idea Mobile should be represented by a MoonPie — a Chattanooga MoonPie no less! — even though we are known for tossing lots of them at Mardi Gras. But it’s been hard to argue with the success of the MoonPie Drop, as it generally brings lots of folks downtown on New Year’s Eve. This year’s MoonPie was pretty soggy, as the skies opened up and poor .38 Special was left to jam “Hold On Loosely” to a smaller-than-usual crowd of classic rock/ mullet/sleeveless shirt devotees. But the event still did what it was supposed to do. I happened to talk to a guy the next morning at the Battle House Hotel who had come down from Jasper, Alabama for the night to see the drop and enjoy a fine meal at Dauphin’s restaurant at the top of the Trustmark/RSA building. He raved about the food and the fun, although he seemed a little wistful about not being able to get out and fully rage on .38 Special. There’s a great example of out-of-town money coming to Mobile to watch a Chattanooga MoonPie slide down the side of a building. All these various “drops” are, of course, a version of the famed crystal ball drop in New York City, but in Mobile we actually had our own special type of drop way before the MoonPie came to be. We call it the annual New Year’s Eve Lead Drop, and this year it was as big as ever. I happened to be in the tony Oakleigh Garden District when the clock struck midnight and the gunfire was pretty impressive as people ran out in the streets and unloaded firearms into the air with nary a thought as to where the bullets might fall. Perhaps .38 Special would have been more apropos for “rockin’ into the night” in Washington Square. I wonder how many out-of-town visitors we get for the Lead Drop. The city should probably work up those economic impact numbers. The MoonPie has been our shtick for quite a while now and other Alabama cities join the fun every year. Unfortunately — or maybe fortunately depending upon how you look at it — Dothan’s first drop made national news. Eager to showcase their goober greatness, “The Peanut Capital of the World” held its first “Nut Drop.” A large, lighted peanut was to be lowered from a crane in the city’s downtown. Unfortunately, a larger phallusshaped net full of balloons next to the nut got most of the attention and has become a web sensation. A photo originally posted to the city of Dothan’s Facebook page showed the floating phallus that has earned the city’s Nut Drop a level of notoriety I’m sure they didn’t expect. A Dothan man named Nick Trawick put a copy of the photo on his Facebook page before the city quickly deleted it. Maybe next year they can hire Nick to point out if anything related to the nut drop looks overtly penis-like. Still, there’s the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Certainly interest in the Nut Drop has been aroused. Given the wild success Mobile and Dothan have experienced dropping, it’s a no-brainer for other Alabama cities to get in on the fun. Just a quick web search reveals some towns ripe for joining the ranks of New Year’s Eve droppers.

Cartoon/Laura Rasmussen

THE CEDAR THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK?


COMMENTARY | THE HIDDEN AGENDA

Dream a little (or big) dream with me

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ASHLEY TRICE/EDITOR/ASHLEYTOLAND@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

anuary is the month for crazy ideas. I am going to be more organized. I am going to the gym every single day. I am going to save money. Ahhh, yes. Those first few weeks are so dreamy! As such, I’ve had a few dreams bouncing around my head for our fair burg. I will be the first to admit some are crazier than others. And I am quite sure there are some naysayers out there who will tell me exactly why we can’t do these things for a variety of very legitimate reasons. But I don’t want to hear those voices right now, so don’t rain on my parade just yet. (Cue the big band music …) ‘Cause I just wanna dream! And I want you to dream these little dreams with me! (Somebody, cut me off the caffeine pronto!)

Sell those Trump birdhouses!

Much like Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin came to a “mutual agreement” that Kiffin should move on to his new head coaching job at Florida Atlantic before Alabama plays in the National Championship game next week, Mayor Sandy Stimpson and his chief of staff, Colby Cooper, “mutually” decided he should move on to pursue other opportunities. Cooper submitted his letter of resignation just after Christmas. Though Cooper had rubbed council peeps, members of various city boards and other folks the wrong way for most of Stimpson’s tenure, it seems the final straw for the mayor was when Cooper directed city workers to cut down a 50-foot cedar tree out of a public park to use as a decoration for President-elect Donald Trump’s visit to Ladd Stadium in midDecember. Residents lost their minds over this and it garnered the city some pretty lousy national press. Before his resignation, Cooper vowed to plant trees to replace the “Trump tree” and promised the dead one would be repurposed. Local Boy Scout troops have volunteered to make birdhouses out of it to be used at local nursing homes and a Girl Scout troop has said they will repurpose them into scratching posts for cats. Meow! While I love the idea of repurposing the tree, why oh why are we not auctioning these creations off for local charities? We could raise a small fortune! Even people who don’t like Donald Trump would shell out some serious dough for this quirky piece of presidential memorabilia. Can’t you just see some middle-aged lady on “Antiques Roadshow” 50 or so years from now showing off her Trump birdhouse and/or scratching post that her Great Aunt Edna left her? She could bring in all of the articles about the incident. Maybe the scouts and the mayor could even issue certificates of authenticity for the Trump treehouses and scratching posts. (Note to scouts: They better be YUGE and have top-notch amenities for the birds inside!) This really could make tons of money for our local charities, and Keep Mobile Beautiful’s Living Legacy Tree Fund seems like it should be at the top of that list. Let’s start the bidding! Make GulfQuest the Buffett Family museum! It has always been the opinion of this newspaper that the city of Mobile has really missed the boat, so to speak, on celebrating one of its most famous native sons, Jimmy Buffett. A native son, who comes with a very dedicated fanbase, I might add. My colleague Rob Holbert has advocated naming the Causeway or other things after him several times over the years, but for whatever reason nothing has ever really gotten off the ground. But perhaps the unfortunate demise of GulfQuest has finally presented us with the right opportunity to honor the King of the Parrotheads. Call me crazy, but I think it should be transformed into the Buffett Family Museum. It could have exhibits dedicated to Buffett’s childhood and show museum-goers what his young adult years were like here on the Gulf Coast. Build exhibits with replicas of his childhood home, the bars he used to play, the car he drove, things like

that. And I mean, is there a better location in Mobile for a Margaritaville restaurant than right there on the river with easy access to the Interstate? His sister Lucy, or “LuLu,” has also been a huge part of the tapestry of our Gulf Coast life. Arguably more than even her brother. So, in addition to Margaritaville, I think “we” construct an exact replica of the original LuLu’s on Weeks Bay, which will serve the original menu, including those awesome Bloody Marys it was famous for. Don’t worry it’s going to be so busy there will be enough business for both restaurants. A museum with margaritas and Bloody Marys? Sign me up! The city is in a bit of a pickle when it comes to repurposing the building because GulfQuest has to retain the maritime component of the museum so the city won’t lose millions in federal grant money or put future grants in jeopardy. No worry here, though, because the Buffett Family Museum could have the James Delaney Buffett Maritime Museum component, honoring the Buffett’s late father, who worked in the maritime business and at the Alabama Dry Docks for 35 years! Could there be a more perfect fit? Of course all the cruise ship people would flock to this museum. I would bet the demographics of Parrotheads and cruise ship aficionados are quite similar. Hell, they could do Parrothead-themed cruises out of the port. And of course, they would buy all of LuLu’s cookbooks and Jimmy’s books and Margaritaville stuff at the mega Buffett Family Museum Gift Shop.   And this mythical museum’s foundation could host the most fabulous of charity balls each year, raising money for Mobile Baykeeper and other environmental charities dedicated to keeping our waterways clean and safe. I envision black tie but with fun tropical hats. I see this a no brainer. So somebody make this happen. OK, thanks.

Causeway Trailer Parks?

While I am spending other people’s money — my favorite kind to spend — I have never understood why the Causeway hasn’t been more developed and why buildings have sat there abandoned for years, falling into disrepair. I have often wondered if the state was somehow preventing it or it was simply because developers have just not wanted to build anything on a spit of land that floods so often, especially during tropical events. I imagine the latter is definitely a consideration and certainly understandable, even if there are other reasons. But it seems like the perfect place to set up semipermanent “pop up” shops. Can’t you just picture the Causeway lined with Airstreams and other hipster trucks with (fairly) portable picnic tables and bars set up outside, offering a variety of different goods and services from mini boutique bars, selling nothing but Tiki Hut-type drinks to Kayak Rentals to a mobile Mobile live music bus to Cammie’s Ice Cream Airstream to The Bait Bus, which will sell actual live bait and also high-end sushi. The Duck boats could drop off folks to visit these various high-end “trailer parks” as part of their tours. It would be so cute. Can’t you just see the Causeway Trailer Trash T-shirts already? Anytime the threat of flooding or severe weather presents itself, no worries. Just break down the tables and outside furniture (a few hours of work) and move the trailers to higher ground until the storm has passed. I don’t know how this would be administered or even who owns the land. And I am sure it would meet some opposition from the existing businesses, but we don’t have to think about that right now because we are in the dreaming phase of the development process, which is probably where most developments begin and end anyway. But hey, it’s still fun to think about. J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7 | L AG N I A P P E | 11


COMMENTARY | THE BELTWAY BEAT

Dems keep overplaying their hand against Trump BY JEFF POOR/COLUMNIST/JEFFREYPOOR@GMAIL.COM

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ack in October, then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump decried what he described as a rigged system and warned he might not accept the results of the election. Trump drew a lot of criticism for his remarks. Back then — just three months ago — his acceptance of the election results was, at least according to critics, essential to the integrity of the electoral process. Even President Barack Obama warned of what effect Trump’s rhetoric might have. “I want everybody to pay attention here — this is dangerous,” Obama said at a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Oct. 20. “Because when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s mind about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy. Then you are doing the work of our adversaries for them.” Clinton and her allies in public office and in the media threw down the gauntlet. They argued that the country should not fall victim to Trump’s dangerous suggestions — that an expected Clinton victory would be the result of invalidating, electoral shenanigans. Then, as now, Democrats overplayed their hand. Three weeks after Obama warned about the dangers of questioning the legitimacy of presidential elections, the unthinkable happened and Trump won the election. For the people warning about the perils of Trump questioning the outcome, Trump’s victory just did not make sense. Surely the American public would not vote for a misogynist and deny the first woman nominated by a major political party her rightful place in the White House!   No, they decided something else was amiss here. For the next month and a half, critics offered every possible explanation for Trump’s victory — largely ignoring the obvious, that Clinton was a terrible candidate and Trump offered a fresh, winning message. Instead it was they who determined the election results were the result of some kind of chicanery. Those critics and Democrats soon identified what they determined to be the real boogeyman — and one more of a threat to our civil society than ISIS, global warming or genetically modified organisms in our food supply: the rise of something called the “alt-right.” Yes, it was this racist, sinister movement called the “alt-right” that appealed to the worst impulses of some voters and on Election Day pushed Trump across the finish line. All across the country in major U.S. cities, protesters took to the streets to protest Trump’s victory. It was not clear what these protesters intended to accomplish with the next significant national election two years away. But darn it, they were not going to allow some nebulous political movement called the “alt-right” to rise in America without expressing their disapproval. Then that storyline sort of went away. Turns out, calling nearly half the country that voted

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for Trump racist and bigoted under the moniker of the “alt-right” wasn’t good for business. So they decided something else must have cost Clinton her rightful presidency. Perhaps it was the whole Russia-WikiLeaks thing! Keep in mind, their theory is that if voters were not exposed to the cesspool of behindthe-scenes Democratic Party politics revealed by WikiLeaks through the alleged efforts of a foreign government, the election outcome might have been different. That the Russian government hacked the DNC to influence the election has artfully evolved to claims that the Russians hacked the election. Such headlines suggest that the Russian government managed to infiltrate our voting machines. That did not happen. Nevertheless, President Obama acted in retaliation to the — still alleged and unproven — Russian hacks by sanctioning a handful of Russian officials, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian compounds on U.S. soil. More important was the message he sent with that gesture: Trump’s victory is shrouded in doubt. For now, even the official position of the U.S. government is that the Russian government’s meddling at least influenced the outcome of the presidential election. That is in stark contrast to what Obama had said months earlier regarding the sanctity of the U.S. presidential election. As they did with the pre-election and early post-election claims, Democrats seem to be overplaying what otherwise would be a relatively a good hand with the hacking allegations. Democrats are sorely misguided if they think flooding the zone with a barrage of claims like this is a magic bullet that will stop Trump and Republican efforts to massively overhaul how things are done in Washington, D.C. Even if this issue is a sincere valid concern, you run the risk of marginalizing the issue by pointing the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately after losing the election. In the eyes of many, it is just post-election sour grapes. There were several factors that led to Trump’s victory, which include the natural cycle of U.S. politics going back and forth from party to party, an enthusiasm gap that likely led to low minority voter turnout and a pushback against current immigration and trade policies. Way down that list is Russian hacking. There may be some people who stayed home or switched their vote from Clinton to Trump because of the gossip in Clinton campaign operative John Podesta’s email. Swells of people were not, however, flocking to the polls over what amounts to a D.C. process story. If Democrats want to regain some power in the 2018 midterms, getting bogged down in pedantic theories about why the country voted as it did will not do them any favors. If you are a Republican, let Democrats waste time and resources going down these rabbit trails. It will be to their disadvantage.


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COMMENTARY | THE MONTGOMERY MINUTE

Now 52, he apparently doesn’t want to wait for the latter. ABC Board lawyer Bob Martin confirmed that Mac Gipson, the board’s administrator, gave Spicer a job after being asked by a mutual friend to give him a shot. “I think [Gipson] saw it as giving him a second chance,” Martin told the Cullman Times, confirming Spicer’s journey from the Legislature to the liquor store. Given his new job, which was also confirmed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Spicer will only need to work 16 months at ABC to receive his full state pension, for which he’d otherwise have had to wait more than seven years. On the surface, it seems a little sadistic to begrudge Spicer his liquor store penitentiary in Illinois. So today, years later, after doing his time behind bars job, stocking shelves and counting change for the more inebriated of those and being released in October, Terry Spicer must feel like he’d pretended to represent. Spicer may have accepted bribes — over and over again, granted — but he did serve his time, and a lot of it. he’s lost enough. Because now, the convicted felon and But look a little deeper. As a convicted felon, Spicer had to disclose that former Alabama House Representative has a new state status to ABC as his potential employer. How many other convicted felons is job: as a cashier at an east Dothan ABC store, bringing him one step closer to drawing the taxpayer-funded pen- the state hiring each year to work in ABC stores across Alabama? How many sion the Elba Democrat thought he’d have to wait nearly times has the head of the ABC Board personally reached a hand out to give a “second chance” to a felon because of a mutual friend? Terry Spicer already had his second chance — after he’d accepted the first bribe. But then he accepted the second, and the third and the fourth. Spicer ON THE SURFACE, IT SEEMS A deserved to be convicted. He deserved to go to prison. He may even deserve pension — but he shouldn’t get special treatment, so he doesn’t deserve LITTLE SADISTIC TO BEGRUDGE his that pension now. And he may not get it. Alabama House Rep. Jim Patterson, a Republican, SPICER HIS LIQUOR STORE JOB, STOCKmade his opinion of the situation known as soon as the news of Spicer’s new ING SHELVES AND COUNTING CHANGE job broke. “This must be stopped,” Patterson said of Spicer’s move. “This man FOR THE MORE INEBRIATED OF THOSE should not get a $50,000 pension. I am calling the governor on Monday and HE’D PRETENDED TO REPRESENT.” demanding an investigation. This is good-old-boy politics, and I am going to do my best to stop this!” Indeed, Montgomery has the power to do just that: stop Spicer’s pension. The Legislature, which can pass bills regulating the state’s retirement a decade to receive. He already lost his bribe money; he program, could easily ban those convicted of betraying the public trust — doesn’t plan on waiting for his pension. To begin drawing his state pension, Spicer, who aside through corruption, bribery or other malfeasance — from receiving state pensions, at the very least in future cases. And they should. from his time accepting bribes in the Legislature also Those who violate the public’s trust shouldn’t be able to trust the public, worked for the two-year college system and as Elba City Schools superintendent, must either work for the state of even when it comes to their retirement. If we can’t trust you, you can’t trust Alabama for a total of 25 years or wait until he turns 60. us — in the Legislature or the liquor store.

From the Legislature to the liquor store BY LEE HEDGEPETH/CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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n the election of 2010 — the year of the GOP takeover of the Alabama Legislature — State Rep. Terry Spicer, an Elba Democrat, lost his seat to Barry Moore, a Republican closely aligned with then-GOP chairman Mike Hubbard. Unfortunately for Spicer, though, his seat in the Alabama House wasn’t even close to the only thing he lost with his electoral defeat in 2010. Spicer, who eventually pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges, would later admit to having lost much more than his position in the 2010 election. According to the Department of Justice, when Spicer lost his seat in the Legislature in November 2010, the lobbyists and businessmen bribing him stopped paying him the thousands of dollars in cash and gifts he’d been receiving during his years in office. And the DOJ would know. In 2012, when Spicer was convicted on those bribery charges, the federal agency released a statement outlining exactly what Spicer had lost, and what he would lose next. When Spicer lost his seat, he also lost access to a continuous stream of cash payments from pro-gambling lobbyists, amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per month. He lost his ability to go on all-expensespaid trips, like the $10,000 ski trip he admitted having received. He lost access to the donors who had given $20,000 to his campaign, and he lost free concert tickets — more than $22,500 worth, according to the Justice Department. The bigger deal, though, would be what Spicer would lose next: 57 months of his life in a federal

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BUSINESS | THE REAL DEAL

Toomey’s opening Daphne location BY RON SIVAK/COLUMNIST/BUSINESS@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

A

ccording to owner Stephen Toomey, the locally owned, well-known Toomey’s Mardi Gras store recently leased a 10,000-square-foot retail space at 27900 N. Main St. in Daphne, a former Goodwill. The new seasonal Baldwin County location was slated to hold a grand opening Jan. 4. Store hours will be Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. through the end of the 2017 Mardi Gras season, which culminates this year on Feb. 28. Local investors have purchased a 3,300-square-foot office building at 6420 Hillcrest Park in Mobile for $310,000. Angie McArthur, broker associate with Stirling Properties, represented the seller; Pete Riehm with NAI Mobile worked for the buyer. Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates Inc. recently sold a 2.75-acre lot at 3923 Government Blvd. to a developer for $565,000. Plans are to break ground on an Advance Auto Parts retail automotive store facility later this year.   Metro PCS recently leased 1,200 square feet of retail space at Wildwood Place Shopping Center, 4055 Cottage Hill Road in Mobile. Nathan Handmacher, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, handled the transaction. The cell phone retailer plans to open during the summer of 2017. Taylor Manufacturing, a custom closet and storage solutions company, has leased 6,250 square feet of industrial space at 25251 Friendship Road, suite B, in Daphne, with plans to open in February. Nathan Handmacher with Stirling Properties handled both sides of the transaction. Fairhope-based SOHO Events and Rentals is expanding its operations to downtown Mobile, leasing a 1,100-square-foot freestanding building at 359 St. Francis

St. that will serve as a showroom and sales office. Allan Cameron and David Dexter of NAI Mobile brokered the transaction. According to Josh Kohn, SOHO’s director of operations, the company launched in 2014 as a party and event rental planning business, focusing on events in both Baldwin and Mobile counties. The company also boasts an inventory of tents, tables, china, flooring and linens, as well as one of the larger selections of chairs and event furniture on the Gulf Coast. “We are excited to be expanding to Mobile and look forward to working with all the great vendors, clients and businesses,” Kohn said. “The event industry is changing faster than ever and we are excited about being part of the change. The goal of this location is to give our Mobile clients a place to design their next great event.” Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates Inc. recently leased a 900-square-foot office space at 16-B Sage Ave. in the Midtown Mart Shopping Center to ABS Tax Service.  Cummings also represented Bayfour Properties in the purchase of a 5,000-square-foot office building at 6576 Airport Blvd, Suite B, which sold for $359,000. Robert Cook with Vallas Realty worked for the seller.

Wedding show at The Battle House

According to a news release, the Premier Wedding Show will be coming to the Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa in Mobile on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 1-5 p.m. The local show marks the 52nd bridal event in 14 years to be produced by Premier Publishing Inc. The company has been producing bridal/wedding magazines and shows for more than 15 years in Mississippi and launched the publica-

tion of Premier Wedding Mobile Bay magazine last fall. “We are excited to be coming to the Mobile area with a new and splendid show for Alabama brides,” said Lynda Jungkind, Premier Wedding Show producer and Premier Wedding Mobile Bay publisher. “For 2017, we will have 40 of the best wedding professionals of the greater Mobile Bay area —wedding professionals that brides know and trust. It will be an exciting and informative event for brides as they see the pages of Premier Wedding Mobile Bay magazine come to life.” In addition to 40 exhibitors from across the Gulf Coast, the event will include Gallery of Gowns, Gallery of Cakes, Gallery of Photography, Tablescapes and The Sip & See Lounge: VIP Bridal Experience. There will be informal modeling throughout the day featuring bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Other exhibitors include specialists in beauty, bridal registries, caterers, event designers, florists, hair and makeup, plus photographers and videographers. Brides are invited to sample cake and food, plus register for door prizes at the various booths. Per Jungkind, this is the only show produced in Mississippi and Alabama that is a member of the recognized Bridal Show Producers International, from which she has earned accolades as winner of an international Star Award for Best Fashion Show. Members of BSPI must meet the highest professional and ethical criteria and standards and maintain them to remain a member. The Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa is located at 26 N Royal St. in downtown Mobile. General admission prices are $20 at the door or $15 online. VIP tickets cost $50 at the door, $45 online.

Introducing Portside Advertising

Joseph Brown & Associates advertising agency recently changed its name to Portside Advertising, per a recent news release. Each with 20 years of marketing experience, Joe Brown and Edward Herndon united to assemble a larger team of marketers, and a rebranding was considered the next step in the strategic growth of the agency. “Portside Advertising represents a philosophical shift, becoming a more regional creative agency,” CEO Joe Brown said. “As we’ve grown over the years, it has become clear that a strategic move was in order. We fully embrace the creative execution of all work, from strategy on down to the production level.” “We’re positioned to leverage talent, knowledge and real-world experiences to address the changes in the agency role,” partner Edward Herndon added. “The era of consumers believing whatever advertisers tell them is over. Technology has changed the way consumers engage with brands. Success is dependent on constant innovation in an ever-changing landscape.” Portside Advertising’s new web address is www.portsideadvertising.com.

J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7 | L AG N I A P P E | 15


5319 Hwy 90 • 661-0071 1225 Satchel Page Dr.• 378-8768

FOOSACKLY’S ($)

$10/PERSON $$ 10-25/PERSON $$$ OVER 25/PERSON

COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE

ALL SPORTS BAR & GRILL ($) CLASSIC HOTDOGS, GYROS & MILKSHAKES. 3408 Pleasant Valley Rd • 345-9338

FAMOUS CHICKEN FINGERS. 310 S. University Blvd. • 343-0047 2250 Airport Blvd. • 479-2922 7641 Airport Blvd. • 607-7667 2558 Schillinger Rd. • 219-7761 3249 Dauphin St. • 479-2000

PITA PIT ($)

211 Dauphin St. • 690-7482

POLLMAN’S BAKERY ($)

BAKERY, SANDWICHES AND MORE 750 S. Broad St • 438-1511, 4464 Old Shell Road • 342-8546, 107 St. Francis St. Suite 102 • 438-2261

REGINA’S KITCHEN ($-$$)

THE GALLEY ($)

SANDWICHES, SUBS AND SOUPS. 2056 Gov’t St. • 476-2777

GULF COAST EXPLOREUM CAFE ($)

WRAPS & SALADS. 3220 Dauphin St. • 479-2480

OPEN FOR LUNCH, INSIDE GULFQUEST 155 S. Water St • 436-8901 HOMEMADE SOUPS & SANDWICHES 65 Government St • 208-6815

ROLY POLY ($)

ROSIE’S GRILL ($-$$)

SANDWICHES, SOUTHWEST FARE, 7 DAYS. 1203 Hwy 98 Ste. 3D, Daphne • 626-2440

SAUCY Q BARBQUE ($) AWARD-WINNING BARBQUE. 1111 Gov’t Blvd. • 433-7427

SMOKEY DEMBO SMOKE HOUSE ($)

3758 Dauphin Island Pkwy. • 473-1401

TILMO’S BBQ ($)

FAST BBQ W/ DRIVE-THRU 3249 Dauphin St. • 652-3508

FIREHOUSE WINE BAR & SHOP

RICE ASIAN GRILL & SUSHI BAR ($)

RED OR WHITE

ROCK N ROLL SUSHI ($$)

216 St Francis St. • 421-2022

323A De La Mare Ave, Fairhope • 990-0003 1104 Dauphin St.. • 478-9494

ROYAL STREET TAVERN

LIVE MUSIC, MARTINIS & DINNER MENU. 26 N. Royal St. • 338-2000

SOUTHERN NAPA

DROP DEAD GOURMET

BISTRO PLATES, CRAFT BEERS AND PANTRY. 2304 Main St. • 375-2800

A PREMIER CATERER & COOKING CLASSES. 1880-A Airport Blvd. • 450-9051

FALAFEL? TRY SOME HUMMUS

BAY GOURMET ($$)

3964 Gov’t Blvd. • 378-8083

273 S. McGregor Ave • 287-0555, 6345 Airport Blvd. • 287-0555, 940 Industrial Pkwy • 308-2158

TASTE OF THAI ($$)

9091 US-90 Irvington • 957-1414

TOKYO JAPANESE STEAK HOUSE ($$) UPSCALE SUSHI & HIBACHI. 364 Azalea Rd. • 343-6622

WASABI SUSHI ($$)

JAPANESE CUISINE. 3654 Airport Blvd. S. C • 725-6078

7 SPICE ($-$$)

PHO YEN ($)

CORNER 251 ($-$$)

ABBA’S MEDITERRANEAN CAFE ($-$$)

FROM THE DEPTHS

SATORI COFFEEHOUSE ($)

DAUPHIN’S ($$-$$$)

ISTANBUL GRILL ($)

AUTHENTIC SUB SANDWICHES 7449 Airport Blvd • 375-1820

SERDA’S COFFEEHOUSE ($)

DUMBWAITER ($$-$$$)

STEVIE’S KITCHEN ($)

FIVE ($$)

CAFE 219 ($)

SANDWICHES, CATERING & DELIVERY TOO. 6920 Airport Blvd. • 414-5444 9 Du Rhu Dr. • 340-8694 62 B Royal Street • 432-0360

THE SUNFLOWER CAFE ($)

KITCHEN ON GEORGE ($-$$)

CAMELLIA CAFÉ ($-$$$)

PIZZAS, SANDWICHES, COCKTAILS. 26 N. Royal St. • 338-2000

CAMMIE’S OLD DUTCH ($)

HOME COOKING. 4054 Government St. • 665-4557

CARPE DIEM ($)

PUB FOOD AND DRAFT BEERS 251 Dauphin St • 287-6871

CLARK’S KITCHEN ($-$$)

SLAP YOUR MAMA GOOD HOME COOKING. 220 Dauphin St. • 432-6262

CHAT-A-WAY CAFE ($)

GREAT SANDWICHES, COFFEE & MORE. 1087 Downtowner Blvd. • 643-1611

AL’S HOTDOGS ($)

CLASSIC HOTDOGS, GYROS & MILKSHAKES. 4701 Airport Blvd. • 342-3243

ATLANTA BREAD COMPANY ($-$$) SANDWICHES, SALADS & MORE. 3680 Dauphin St. • 380-0444

BAKE MY DAY ($)

OLD-FASHIONED SOUTHERN BAKE SHOP 156 N. McGregor Ave • 219-7261

THE BLIND MULE ($)

DAILY SPECIALS MADE FROM SCRATCH. 57 N. Claiborne St. • 694-6853.

BOB’S DINER ($)

GOOD OLD AMERICAN COOKING 263 St. Francis St • 405-1497 SALADS, SANDWICHES & POTATO SALAD. 219 Conti St. • 438-5234 CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN FARE. 61 Section St., Fairhope • 928-4321 MOBILE’S CLASSIC ICE CREAM SPOT. 2511 Old Shell Rd. • 471-1710

DELI FOODS, PASTRIES & SPECIALTY DRINKS. 4072 Old Shell Rd. • 304-0448 SANDWICHES, SOUTHERN CUISINE & CATERING 5817 Old Shell Rd. • 343-0200 QUICHES & SANDWICHES. 4366 Old Shell Rd. • 343-9889

CHICKEN SALAD CHICK ($) CHICKEN SALAD, SALAD & SOUP. 2370 S. Hillcrest Rd. Unit R • 660-0501 5753 Old Shell Road • 408-3236, 1802 US Hwy 98 Suite F• 625-1092

CHI-TOWN DAWGZ ($) CHICAGO STYLE EATERY 1222 Hillcrest Rd. • 461-6599

CREAM AND SUGAR ($)

COFFEE, BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DESSERT 351 George St #B • 405-0003

DAUPHIN ST. CAFE ($)

HOT LUNCH, DAILY MENU (INSIDE VIA) 1717 Dauphin St. • 470-5231

D’ MICHAEL’S ($)

PHILLY CHEESE STEAKS, GYROS & MORE. 7101-A Theodore Dawes Rd. • 653-2979

DELISH BAKERY AND EATERY ($) GREAT DESSERTS & HOT LUNCH. 23 Upham St. • 473-6115

DEW DROP INN ($)

CLASSIC BURGERS, HOTDOGS & SETTING. 1808 Old Shell Rd. • 473-7872

DUNKIN DONUTS ($)

DONUTS, COFFEE AND SANDWICHES 1976 Michigan Ave • 442-4846 3876 Airport Blvd • 219-7369 505 Schillinger Rd. S. • 442-4845 29160 US Hwy 98 • 621-2228

E WING HOUSE ($)

195 S University Suite H • 662-1829

FIREHOUSE SUBS ($)

HOT SUBS, COLD SALADS & CATERING. 6300 Grelot Rd. • 631-3730

GUMBO SHACK($-$$) SEAFOOD AND SANDWICHES 212 ½ Fairhope Ave • 928-4100

ROYAL KNIGHT ($)

SEAFOOD, SANDWICHES, SALADS & SOUPS. 4513 Old Shell Rd. • 408-9622

ROYAL STREET CAFE ($)

MIND-BLOWING ISLAND FOOD. 3700 Gov’t Blvd. Ste A • 602-1973

THE HOUSE ($-$$)

JAMAICAN VIBE ($) JERSEY MIKE’S ($) JIMMY JOHN’S ($)

JOE CAIN CAFÉ ($)

JUDY’S PLACE ($-$$)

LODA BIER GARTEN ($) MAMA’S ($)

MARS HILL CAFE ($)

MARY’S SOUTHERN COOKING ($) 3011 Springhill Ave. • 476-2232

HOMEMADE LUNCH & BREAKFAST. 104 N. Royal St. • 434-0011

HIGH QUALITY FOOD AND DRINKS 251 Government St • 460-3157

COFFEE, SMOOTHIES, LUNCH & BEERS. 5460 Old Shell Rd. • 344-4575

COFFEE, LUNCHES, LIVE MUSIC & GELATO. 3 Royal St. S. • 415-3000 SANDWICHES, SOUPS, SALADS & MORE. 41 West I-65 Service Rd. N Suite 150. INSIDE VIRGINIA’S HEALTH FOOD 3055 A Dauphin St • 479-3200

TIN ROOF ($-$$)

SOUTHERN CASUAL FAMILY DINING 10800 US hwy 31 • 621-4995

TP CROCKMIERS ($) AMERICAN RESTAURANT & BAR 250 Dauphin St. • 476-1890

THREE GEORGES CANDY SHOP ($)

HOTDOGS SANDWICHES & COOL TREATS 3371 Dauphin Island Pkwy • 300–4015

MOMMA GOLDBERG’S DELI ($) SANDWICHES & MOMMA’S LOVE. 3696 Airport Blvd. • 344-9500 5602 Old Shell Rd. • 287-6556

MONTEGO’S ($-$$)

FRESH CARIBBEAN-STYLE FOOD & CRAFT BEER. 6601 Airport Blvd. • 634-3445 225 Dauphin Street • 375-1576

MOSTLY MUFFINS ($) MUFFINS, COFFEE & WRAPS. 105 Dauphin St. • 433-9855

NEWK’S EXPRESS CAFE ($)

OVEN-BAKED SANDWICHES & MORE. 252 Azalea Rd. • 341-3533, 1335 Satchel Page Dr. Suite C. • 287-7356 7440 Airport Blvd. • 633-0096 30500 State Hwy 181 #132 • 625-6544

OLD SHELL GROWLERS($) GROWLER STATION AND BITES 1801 Old Shell Rd. • 345-4767

PANINI PETE’S ($)

WAREHOUSE BAKERY & DONUTS ($)

WILD WING STATION ($) 1500 Gov’t St. • 287-1526

YAK THE KATHMANDU KITCHEN ($-$$)

AUTHENTIC FOODS FROM HIMALAYAN REGION. 3210 Dauphin St. • 287-0115 400 Eastern Shore Center • 459-2862

‘CUE

BACKYARD CAFE & BBQ ($) HOME COOKIN’ LIKE MOMMA MADE. 2804 Springhill Ave. • 473-4739

BAR-B-QUING WITH MY HONEY ($$)

NOBLE SOUTH ($$) LOCAL INGREDIENTS 203 Dauphin St. • 690-6824

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT ($-$$)

BBQ AND MORE. Jubilee Sq.Ctr. Hwy 90, Daphne • 210-2151 McGowin Park Ctr. Satchel Paige Dr. • 471-1050 7721 Airport Blvd • 380-8957 RIBS, SANDWICHES & GREAT SIDES. 3314 Old Shell Rd. • 479-9898

MOE’S ORIGINAL BAR B QUE ($)

FRIED, GRILLED, STEAMED & ALWAYS FRESH. 3300 River Rd. • 973-9070

MOBILE’S OLDEST MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE. 5773 Airport Blvd. • 304-1155

BONEFISH GRILL ($$)

MEDITERRANEAN FOOD AND HOOKAH 326 Azalea Rd • 229-4206

BOUDREAUX’S CAJUN GRILL ($-$$)

JERUSALEM CAFE ($-$$) KAN ZAMAN ($-$$)

MEDITERRANEAN SANDWICH COMPANY ($) GREAT & QUICK. 274 Dauphin St. • 545-3161 2502 Schillinger Rd. Ste. 2 • 725-0126 6890 US-90 (DAPHNE) • 621-2271

MINT HOOKAH BISTRO ($) GREAT MEDITERRANEAN FOOD. 5951 Old Shell Rd. • 450-9191

OLLIE’S MEDITERRANEAN GRILL ($-$$)

BAMBOO BISTRO ($$) 3662 Airport Blvd. • 378-5466

BAMBOO FUSION ($$)

A HISTORIC SEAFOOD DIVE W/ LIVE MUSIC. 3775 Hwy. 98 • 625-1998 ECLECTIC DINING & SPACE. 6955 Airport Blvd. • 633-7196

QUALITY CAJUN & NEW ORLEANS CUISINE. 29249 US Highway 98 Daphne. • 621-1991

CRAVIN CAJUN/DIP SEAFOOD($) PO-BOYS, SALADS & SEAFOOD. 1870 Dauphin Island Pkwy • 287-1168

ED’S SEAFOOD SHED ($$)

FRIED SEAFOOD SERVED IN HEFTY PORTIONS. 3382 Hwy. 98 • 625-1947

FELIX’S FISH CAMP ($$) UPSCALE DINING WITH A VIEW. 1420 Hwy. 98 • 626-6710

FISHERMAN’S LEGACY ($) DELI, MARKET AND CATERING. 4380 Halls Mill Rd. • 665-2266

THE GRAND MARINER ($-$$) LOCAL SEAFOOD & PRODUCE. 6036 Rock Point Rd. • 443-5700

THE HARBOR ROOM ($-$$) UNIQUE SEAFOOD. 64 S. Water St. • 438-4000

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE ($$$)

2400 Airport Blvd. • 307-5535

SAGE RESTAURANT ($$)

Sushi Bar. 650 Cody Rd. S • 300-8383

LUCY B. GOODE ($$)

DELICIOUS, TRADITIONAL THAI CUISINE. 3821 Airport Blvd. • 344-9995

LULU’S ($$)

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE & TASTE. 271 Glenwood St. • 476-0516

BAMBOO STEAKHOUSE ($$)

INSIDE THE MOBILE MARRIOTT. 3101 Airport Blvd. • 476-6400

BANGKOK THAI ($-$$)

SAISHO ($-$$)

MODERN GASTROPUB INSPIRED BY JAPANESE KITCHEN 455 Dauphin St • 433-0376

VON’S BISTRO ($-$$)

SEAFOOD, ASIAN AND AMERICAN CUISINE 69 St. Michael St • 375-1113

TAMARA’S DOWNTOWN ($$) CASUAL FINE DINING. 104 N. Section St., Fairhope • 929-2219

ZEA’S ($$)

DOWNTOWN LUNCH 101 N. Conception St. • 545-4682

BAUDEAN’S ($$)

THE BLUEGILL ($-$$)

FAR EASTERN FARE

GUMBO, ANGUS BEEF & BAR. 72. S. Royal St. • 432-SCAM (7226)

AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE CUISINE. 763 Holcombe Ave. • 478-5814

AUTHENTIC TURKISH & MEDITERRANEAN 3702 Airport Blvd. • 461-6901

SUPREME EUROPEAN CUISINE. 2579 Halls Mill Rd. • 479-0006

A FAVORITE BARBECUE SPOT. 5456 Old Shell Rd. • 343-0001

COTTON STATE BBQ ($)

BEEF, LAMB & SEAFOOD. 4356 Old Shell Rd. • 340-6464

MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT AND HOOKAH 1248 Hillcrest St • 634-9820

THE TRELLIS ROOM ($$$)

BRICK PIT ($)

HEALTHY, DELICIOUS MEDITERRANEAN FOOD. 3762 Airport Blvd. • 725-1177

INVENTIVE & VERY FRESH CUISINE. 6 N. Jackson St. • 433-0377

BBQ, BURGERS, WINGS & SEAFOOD 19170 Hwy 43 Mt. Vernon. • 839-9927

BAR FOOD

16 | L AG N I A P P E | J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7

GREAT LUNCH & DINNER. 3607 Old Shell Rd. • 445-8700

ROYAL SCAM ($$)

BARBEQUE & MUSIC. Bayfront Park Dr., Daphne • 625-RIBS 701 Springhill Ave. • 410-7427 4672 Airport Blvd. • 300-8516

CHICKEN FINGERS, SALAD & SANDWICHES. 1165 University Blvd. • 202-0959

MAGHEE’S GRILL ON THE HILL ($-$$)

UNCLE JIMMY’S DELICIOUS HOTDOGS ($)

DREAMLAND BBQ ($)

PDQ ($)

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FOOD. 351A George & Savannah St. • 436-8890

OSMAN’S RESTAURANT ($$)

ORIGINAL SANDWICH AND BAKE SHOP. 42 ½ Section St., Fairhope • 929-0122 102 Dauphin St. • 405-0031

PAT’S DOWNTOWN GRILL ($)

GREAT FOOD AND COCKTAILS 609 Dauphin St. • 308-3105

GREAT SMOOTHIES, WRAPS & SANDWICHES. Du Rhu Dr. • 378-5648 570 Schillinger Road • 634-3454

TROPICAL SMOOTHIE ($)

MCSHARRY’S ($-$$)

MIKO’S ITALIAN ICE ($)

SERVING LOCAL SEAFOOD & PRODUCE 167 Dauphin St. • 458-9573

NOJA ($$-$$$)

COFFEE AND DONUTS 759 Nichols Avenue, Fairhope • 928-7223

AUTHENTIC IRISH PUB 101 N. Bancroft St • 990-5100

HIGH QUALITY FOOD WITH A VIEW 107 St. Francis St • 444-0200

LIGHT LUNCH WITH SOUTHERN FLAIR. 226 Dauphin St. • 433-6725

MICHELI’S CAFE ($)

FIVE GUYS BURGERS & FRIES ($) 271 Dauphin St • 438-9585 BURGERS, MILKSHAKES & FRIES 4401 Old Shell Rd. • 447-2394 4663 Airport Blvd. • 300-8425

LUNCH & DINNER. 3004 Gov’t Blvd • 287-1220

GRILLED STEAKS, CHICKEN & SEAFOOD. 720A Schillinger Rd. S. S2. • 607-7200 901 Montlimar Dr • 408-3133

2550 Dauphin Island Pkwy S. • 307-5328

6358 Cottage Hill Rd. • 725-6917

BRIQUETTES STEAKHOUSE ($-$$)

CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN CUISINE Battle House Hotel, Royal St. • 338-5493 GOURMET ROTISSERIE. PRIME RIB & SEAFOOD. 4671 Airport Blvd. • 344-7414

A LITTLE VINO DOMKE MARKET

WINE, BEER, GOURMET FOODS, & MORE. 720 Schillinger Rd. S. Unit 8 • 287-1851

FATHOMS LOUNGE

A TAPAS RESTAURANT & COCKTAILS 64 S. Water St. • 438-4000

FOOD PAK

FOOD, WINE AND MORE. 5150 Old Shell Rd. • 341-1497

POUR BABY

WINE BAR, CRAFT BEERS & BISTRO 6808 Airport Blvd. • 343-3555

BANZAI JAPANESE RESTAURANT ($$)

TRADITIONAL SUSHI & LUNCH. 312 Schillinger Rd. • 633-9077

HALF SHELL OYSTER HOUSE ($) 3654 Airport Blvd. • 338-9350

GULF COAST CUISINE, REINVENTED. 200 E. 25th Ave., Gulf Shores • 967-5858 LIVE MUSIC & GREAT SEAFOOD. 200 E. 25th Ave., Gulf Shores • 967-5858

MUDBUGS AT THE LOOP ($) CAJUN KITCHEN & SEAFOOD MARKET. 2005 Government St. • 478-9897

BENJAS ($)

RALPH & KACOO’S ($-$$)

CHARM ($-$$)

R&R SEAFOOD ($-$$)

CUISINE OF INDIA ($$)

RIVER SHACK ($-$$)

FUJI SAN ($)

TIN TOP RESTAURANT & OYSTER BAR ($$)

THAI & SUSHI 5369 D Hwy 90 W • 661-5100 THAI KITCHEN AND SUSHI BAR 960 Schillinger Rd. S • 660-4470 LUNCH BUFFET 3674 Airport Blvd. • 341-6171

THAI FARE AND SUSHI 2000 Airport Blvd. • 478-9888

GOLDEN BOWL ($)

HIBACHI GRILL & ASIAN CUISINE. 309 Bel Air Blvd • 470-8033

HIBACHI 1 ($-$$)

2370 Hillcrest Rd. Unit B • 380-6062

KAI JAPANESE RESTAURANT ($-$$)

THE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT! 1595 Battleship Pkwy • 626-0045

LAID-BACK EATERY AND FISH MARKET 1477 Battleship Pkwy. • 621-8366 SEAFOOD, BURGERS & STEAKS. 6120 Marina Dr., Dog River • 443-7318.

SEAFOOD, STEAKS, & EXTENSIVE WINE LIST. 6232 Bon Secour Hwy County Rd. 10. • 949-5086

WINTZELL’S OYSTER HOUSE ($-$$) FRESH SEAFOOD FOR OVER 75 YEARS 605 Dauphin St. • 432-4605 6700 Airport Blvd. • 341-1111 1208 Shelton Beach Rd., Saraland • 442-3335 805 S. Mobile St. • 929-2322

QUALITY FOOD, EXCELLENT SERVICE 5045 Cottage Hill Rd. • 607-6454

IS THE GAME ON?

AMAZING SUSHI & ASSORTMENT OF ROLLS. 661 Dauphin St. • 432-0109

PIZZAS, PASTAS, & CALZONES. 245-A Old Shell Rd. • 479-3278

LIQUID ($$)

ASHLAND MIDTOWN PUB ($-$$)


BAUMHOWER’S ($)

WINGS, BURGERS, PUB GRUB 6880 US-90 #14, Daphne • 625-4695

BISHOP’S ($)

A SOUTHERN GRILL & BAR. 3673 Airport Blvd. • 344-2131

BUFFALO WILD WINGS ($) BEST WINGS & SPORTING EVENTS. 6341 Airport Blvd. • 378-5955

BUTCH CASSIDY’S ($)

FAMOUS BURGERS, SANDWICHES & WINGS. 60 N. Florida St. • 450-0690

CALLAGHAN’S IRISH SOCIAL CLUB ($) BURGERS & BEER. 916 Charleston St. • 433-9374

HEROES SPORTS BAR & GRILLE ($) SANDWICHES & COLD BEER. 273 Dauphin St. • 433-4376 Hillcrest & Old Shell Rd. • 341-9464

HURRICANE GRILL & WINGS ($-$$) WINGS, SEAFOOD, BURGERS AND BEER 7721 Airport Blvd. Suite E-180 • 639-6832

MANCIS ($)

1715 Main St. • 375-0543

MCSHARRY’S IRISH PUB ($) BRILLIANT REUBENS & FISH-N-CHIPS. 101 N. Brancroft St. Fairhope • 990-5100

MUG SHOTS ($$)

BAR & GRILL. 6255 Airport Blvd. • 447-2514

OLD 27 GRILL ($)

BURGERS, DOGS & 27 BEERS & WINES. 19992 Hwy.181 Old County Rd. Fairhope • 281-2663

LUCKY’S IRISH PUB ($) IRISH PUB FARE & MORE. 3692 Airport Blvd • 414-3000

WEMOS ($)

WINGS, TENDERS, HOTDOGS & SANDWICHES. 312 Schillinger Rd. • 633-5877

PICKLEFISH ($$)

AZTECAS ($-$$)

WINGS, BEERS AND DRINKS 1850 Airport Blvd • 471-5520

PAPA’S PLACE ($$)

CAFÉ DEL RIO ($-$$)

ZANDER’Z ($-$$)

MAMA MIA!

BUCK’S PIZZA ($$) DELIVERY. 350 Dauphin St. • 431-9444

CORTLAND’S PIZZA PUB ($-$$) GREAT PIZZA. LUNCH & DINNER. 4356 Old Shell Road • 342-0024

GAMBINO BROTHERS ($) HOMEMADE PASTAS & SANDWICHES. 873 Hillcrest Ave. • 344-8115

GAMBINO’S ITALIAN GRILL ($) ITALIAN, STEAKS & SEAFOOD. 18 Laurel Ave. Fairhope • 990-0995

GUIDO’S ($$)

FRESH CUISINE NIGHTLY ON MENU. 1709 Main St., Daphne • 626-6082

LA ROSSO ($$)

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J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7 | L AG N I A P P E | 17


CUISINE THE REVIEW

Before and after: Salad bar hopping

BY ANDY MACDONALD/CUISINE EDITOR | FATMANSQUEEZE@COMCAST.NET

IT’S A SAD TIME FOR THE SALAD BAR. THINK OF THE COMPANIES THAT MAKE THE LADLES WITH WORDS LIKE ‘RANCH’ OR ‘HOUSE’ OR ‘RANCH HOUSE’ ON THE HANDLES.” food chain worth its sodium had a salad bar. Almost overnight, burger joints, roast beef vendors, taco huts and crappy steakhouses all jumped on the salad bar bandwagon. There were single trips and all-you-can-eat versions that took salad eating to a new level. There was always a discussion about town when a new salad bar hit the scene and how much better it was than the last sneeze guard you peered through. This one had baked potatoes! Don’t confuse the sour cream with the Cool Whip. Chickpeas became garbanzo beans, no person touched the beets and the bacon bits contained no bacon at all. Suddenly, after years of eating normal salads of lettuce, tomato, red onion and dressing, we were designing our own with mounds of pineapple and enough sunflower seeds to feed a Little League team for nine innings. It was a new frontier for the vegetable world, one that introduced many of us to excess. It didn’t matter how many trips you made because it was salad. “What did you have for dinner last night?” “Oh, just a salad.” And you would say that with a clear conscience because, truthfully, you’d eaten everything in salad form in a salad bowl from a salad bar. You failed to mention it was 1,600 calories. With power comes responsibility and it was hard to not indulge in multiple trips. Maybe that’s the reason the salad bar has become all but extinct. There are only a few left, but I still appreciate them and know that I must show them respect. Jason’s Deli has a fine example of a salad bar. They have

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Photo | Facebook

I

t’s time to hit the bar. That is, if you can find one. I’m talking about the salad bar. Yes, the holiday pounds have caught up with me just like they do every season, but this year I really promise to lose the new ones and get rid of the old ones. Of course, salad comes to mind as an effective dieting tool that can at least trick me into believing I’m making some sort of health progress. But have you noticed there really aren’t very many salad bars these days? I remember a long time ago when any fast-

The salad bar at Jason’s Deli (above) is filled with fresh veggies, meats and fruits to make your own. The Royal Scam doesn’t have a salad bar, but its menu includes the baby greens salad with grilled chicken (left). amazing sandwiches but are known for their veggies. The destination, but I’m saying it is. Their $10 version is topped Original Oyster House had a pretty rocking bar the last time I with bacon crumbles, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, toasted spiced visited. Ruby Tuesday also has one I wouldn’t turn my nose up pecans, red onions, cucumbers and a drizzle of Alabama white to. For a chain restaurant I will say they do the lettuce and such sauce. Of course it comes with your choice of pork, chicken, right, but the two nearest to me closed down a few years back. turkey, fried shrimp, catfish or chicken fingers and a slab of So aside from the occasional Pizza Hut there aren’t very many cornbread. Don’t take this one lightly. salad bars left. Across the street from Moe’s, the OK Bicycle Shop has a It’s a sad time for the salad bar. Think of the companies that house salad with amazing dressing, but I confess I cannot stick make the ladles with words like “Ranch” or “House” or “Ranch to just a salad in a place that serves tacos and sushi. House” on the handles. Those guys must be Moving out of downtown, we have Melsuffering. The Captain’s Wafer industry has low Mushroom. The Enlightened Spinach taken a nosedive in recent years. So has the Salad outshines their pizza in my book. production of beets. But the good news is With dried cherries, apples and homemade that there are several places in town that are candied pecans with feta cheese, you can serving up really good salads. see why. THERE WAS ALWAYS A Just about everyone has a decent salad. If it’s volume, options and quality you I’m only going to rattle off a few that I want, look no further than Newk’s. First DISCUSSION ABOUT TOWN enjoy. Don’t get upset if I didn’t include off, the salads are humongous. Secondly, your favorites. I can only handle so much they are very good. Third, there are so WHEN A NEW SALAD BAR romaine and spring mix. many options and dressings they are bound HIT THE SCENE AND HOW The Royal Scam has a baby greens salad to please everyone on the hunt. Newk’s with toasted almonds and apples with amazthe kind of place I go to when I want MUCH BETTER IT WAS THAN is ing orange basil dressing, but their Asian a salad but have no idea what I’m in the noodle salad is the way to go. Thinly sliced mood for. THE LAST SNEEZE GUARD cabbage is the salad part, but if you are PDQ is one to remember. I reviewed YOU PEERED THROUGH. allergic to peanuts stay away. The soy lime them a few weeks ago and all of their dressing really makes this. Scam’s sister salads are fine. Start with the crispy chicken restaurant Heroes has a spinach salad that to get an idea of what made them famous. can be purchased with a slab of tuna atop. I They have almost as many dressings as recommend you try that. they do dipping sauces. Check out the blueberry coleslaw. For Caesar salad, your best bet may be 219. That corner of That’s a salad in my book. Joachim and Conti has the best dressing I’ve found. A close For a taco salad, the first that comes to mind is Butch second is a couple of blocks away at Pizzeria Delfina. They Cassidy’s. It’s in the giant edible tortilla bowl and is exactly also have a fantastic chicken salad salad. what you want it to be. But I gravitate toward the grilled Wintzell’s has a spicy blackened shrimp salad with mixed shrimp salad. It has a lot of iceberg, loads of shrimp, boiled greens, grape tomatoes, red onions and homemade croutons. egg and tomato. I’m a blue cheese man, but this one begs for It’s a very “normal” salad that packs a punch. straight ranch. You probably don’t think of Moe’s Original BBQ as a salad I can feel the pounds melting off me. Happy 2017.


CUISINE | THE BEER PROFESSOR

Tampa beers for the big game BY TOM WARD/THE BEER PROFESSOR

Photo/Facebook

THE TAPROOM AT ST. PETERSBURG BREWING CO., 544 1ST AVE. N., IS ONE OF SEVERAL BREWPUBS ALABAMA FANS MAY WANT TO VISIT DURING THEIR TRIP TO THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

F

or those of you lucky enough to head to Florida for the College Football National Championship game, I’ve got good news: Tampa is an unexpectedly great beer town. I was recently in the TampaSt. Pete area and was pleasantly surprised to find a vibrant

WORD OF MOUTH

Downtown YMCA home to Nourish Café BY ANDY MACDONALD Everybody put your hands together and sing, “It’s fun to eat at the YMCA!” Especially if it’s the Moorer YMCA at 101 N. Water St. Through its doors you’ll find the Nourish Café, specializing in whole food, made-fromscratch sandwiches, daily soups, wraps, grain bowls and smoothies. Their whiteboard window pane menu is loaded with deliciousness such as stuffed sweet potatoes, plenty of proteins to add to salads, lots of rotating kale dishes and a few items I’m uncertain how to pronounce, so you know they must be healthy. The most impressive descriptions are of the daily soups. Curry-roasted cauliflower chickpea soup sounds really good, as does mushroom brie. Build-your-own smoothies

local beer scene. While I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the area’s local breweries (next time), I was impressed that every restaurant and bar I dropped in on during my short stay — even the hotel bar — featured local brews on tap, and they were all good.

take up a good portion of the menu with a massive list of options. It’s one more chance to eat healthy and start the New Year off right. Nourish has only been open since September but is followed by many upstanding members of the healthy-eating community. Open Monday through Friday, you can taste the goodness between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Get yourself clean, have a good meal and then do whatever you feel!

Gumbo Academy coming

If you are the kind of person who seeks continuing education where it counts, then it’s high time you enroll in this year’s Gumbo Academy. Head professor Bettie Champion is always ready to explode some knowledge onto receptive Gulf Coast residents who want to learn more about their food heritage

Cigar City Brewery, founded in 2007, is the best known of Tampa Bay’s breweries, and perhaps the most respected in Florida. Food & Wine named its Jai Alai India Pale Ale the best IPA in the state, and I readily agree, as it was by far the best local beer I had during my visit. It was tasty and bold, but also, at 7.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), sneaky strong. Don’t drink too many of these if you want to make it to the fourth quarter. If you’re in town for a couple of days, the brewery is located at 3924 W. Spruce St. in Tampa, right off Interstate 275, and has a tasting room open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until 1 a.m.), offering more than 20 different styles on tap. If you’re so inclined, for $8 you can tour the brewery, including a souvenir glass and tastings. Tour dates and times are listed on calendar on the brewery’s website (cigarcitybrewing.com). Cigar City is not the only game in town, and I found a number of other really fine beers in the Tampa-St. Pete area. Tampa Bay Brewing Co.’s Reef Donkey American Pale Ale was exceptionally good. If you like IPAs but want something a little lighter, or if IPAs are too robust for you but you still want a beer with some flavor, APAs are a great choice. Another find was Big Storm Brewing Co.’s Wavemaker Amber Ale; it was a little too malty for my taste, but very flavorful. I don’t usually go for fruit in my beer, but who could pass up a citrus brew in Florida? St. Pete Brewing Company’s Orange Wheat was excellent. It had a darker color than most wheat beers, and even though it is a “fruity” beer, it had a lot of good beer flavor with only a hint of orange. We often think of fruit beers as summer offerings, but this would work any time of the year, although certainly great at the beach. St. Pete Brewing Co. (stpetebrewingcompany.com) and Big Storm Brewing Co. (www.bigstormbrewery.com) have taprooms where you can sample their beers, while Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (www.tampabaybrewingcompany.com) operates two restaurants that offer its brews. If you’re not fortunate enough to travel to the game, you can still soak in some of the Tampa experience while watching at home in Lower Alabama. Cigar City beers are the easiest to find in our area. In addition to the Jai Alai IPA, which is available in cans at Callaghan’s and a number of grocery and package stores, I also found Cigar City’s Invasion Pale Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian White Ale at my local Rouses. Both were very good; the Invasion Pale Ale was similar to the Jai Alai but not nearly as strong, and the Florida Cracker was a traditional Belgian white. If you like Blue Moon, you’d really enjoy the Florida Cracker. Enjoy the game!

and its most important dish. The Alabama Arts Council has awarded her a grant to help facilitate the two-part class. For the lecture portion of the class, you have a choice of days — Monday, Jan. 16, or Tuesday, Jan. 17 — at 5:30 p.m. in Government Street United Methodist Church (901 Government St., Mobile). This hour-long lecture includes gumbo history, preparation, instruction and informational handouts including the recipe, which has been tried and tested by many. After the initial lecture, students will be scheduled in pairs at their convenience for the lab section of the class. This is the hands-on cooking portion and can be scheduled morning, evening or afternoon. Experienced and novice cooks alike will learn to make a basic seafood gumbo complete with shrimp and crabmeat, beginning with roux preparation and ending with a finished gallon of gumbo.

All you need to bring is your stock pot. Ingredients are provided. Cost for the two classes and the gumbo to take home to your family is just $75. For more information email Bettie Champion at championbettie@hotmail.com or call 251458-1570.

Church’s celebrates 65

2017 is a big year for Church’s Chicken as it reaches the ripe old age of 65. To celebrate this milestone, Church’s is bringing back its most popular limited-time offer in history. Honey Butter Biscuit Tenders, which became available Jan. 1, are a mash-up of the brand’s two most famous menu items, chicken and biscuits. The hand-battered chicken is dipped in biscuit batter before being fried to the usual golden brown. This is paired with sweet honey-butter dipping sauce. Get them while they’re hot! And recycle!

J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7 | L AG N I A P P E | 19


COVER STORY

Sen. Jeff Sessions’ long rise to attorney general nominee BY GABRIEL TYNES, JANE NICHOLES AND JASON JOHNSON

I

t’s an attorney’s club more exclusive than serving on the United States Supreme Court. While the post may be less consequential, 112 lawyers have been confirmed Supreme Court justices, yet only 83 have ever held the position of U.S. Attorney General. Former U.S. Senator Hugo Black was the first Alabamian appointed to the Supreme Court, in 1937 after the Senate confirmed his nomination by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now, 80 years later, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions is likely to be the first Alabamian to lead the Justice Department. Nominated by President-elect Donald Trump after his surprise victory in November, Sessions’ Senate confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin Jan. 10. The hearings are familiar territory for Sessions, a University of Alabama School of Law graduate who entered politics as Alabama’s attorney general after 22 years in private practice and a long stint as U.S. attorney in Mobile. He was in Montgomery less than two years before beating a crowded Republican primary field to succeed the retiring Howell Heflin in the U.S. Senate, where he has represented the state since 1997. But in a different time he had other ambitions. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born Dec. 24, 1946, in Selma to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions Jr., a general store owner, and Abbie Powe. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Huntingdon College in 1969 and his Juris Doctor from Alabama four years later, according to a non-judicial nominee questionnaire filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. After a single year of teaching at a since-closed Montgomery elementary school, Sessions entered private practice in Russellville before joining federal service as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Mobile. He also completed basic training and joined the U.S. Army Reserve. From 1977-81, Sessions returned to private practice with attorneys Sam Stockman and Billy Bedsole, where he handled civil litigation, real estate matters and some criminal defense. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan tapped him to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in Mobile. It was there Sessions gained the bulk of his practical legal experience, prosecuting criminal cases, defending the government and leading several high-profile public corruption cases. One, which he has referred to as “the most significant public corruption case involving the criminal justice system in … perhaps the state of Alabama,” was the prosecution of Circuit Judge Elwood Hogan, District Judge James Sullivan and several area attorneys for “fixing” criminal court cases. Sessions served as lead counsel and, with the help of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Figures, he convinced a jury to return guilty verdicts against each of the defendants on all counts of corruption, fraud, extortion and racketeering. He also prosecuted former Mobile Mayor Gary Greenough, winning a conviction on 14 counts of fraud and corruption tied to Greenough’s siphoning of proceeds from the Mobile Municipal Auditorium. But Sessions’ time as U.S. attorney is also notably marked by the case his office brought against officials in Perry County at the request of the local district attorney. In 1982, Sessions had received a complaint about potential voter fraud in Perry County. Allegedly, Albert Turner,

a black write-in candidate for county commission, had received an unusually high number of absentee votes to win his campaign. A Perry County grand jury heard evidence that Turner had written his name on several ballots and cast ballots for voters without their permission, and called for a federal investigation. In the 1984 election, Sessions received a tip that Turner was again collecting a large number of absentee ballots and would be dropping them off at the post office the night before the election. Sessions got the FBI involved, whose agents observed Turner, his wife and a third defendant depositing 504 ballots. Once the votes were tabulated, Sessions subpoenaed the ballots, and the FBI determined 75 of 729 had “alterations or erasures,” according to the questionnaire. By interviewing individual voters, investigators found 25 people who said their ballots were altered after they had trusted them to Turner. A grand jury later returned a 29-count indictment against the three defendants. But with legal assistance from the NAACP, Turner was able to defend himself at trial. He explained he would often convince voters to change their vote in his presence, and that in one instance he changed the minds of a family of six. And the practice of collecting the absentee ballots was perfectly legal. A mostly African-American jury agreed, and acquitted all three defendants. When President Reagan tapped Sessions for a federal judicial seat in 1986, the case came back to haunt him. During a grueling Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the case was presented alongside allegations of racism to portray Sessions as an opponent of civil rights. Figures, his former right-hand man, led the charge, testifying that Sessions had spoken favorably of the KKK until he learned they smoked marijuana, and had also once offensively called him “boy.” Another former federal attorney testified that Sessions called the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” He also said Sessions once called a white attorney a “disgrace to his race.” Sessions denied or defended his previous remarks, but the damage was done. The Senate committee failed to recommend his nomination to the floor, and he became just one of two judicial nominees in the 20th century to not receive confirmation. Figures died in January 2015, but attorney Lani Guinier, who defended the Perry County case and is currently a professor of law at Harvard Law School, recalled Sessions’ investigation as equally if not more heavy handed on minorities than his prosecution of the defendants. “Federal agents began to harass voters — making repeated visits to shacks on dirt roads, asking how each voter voted, asking if they had assistance … asking if they could read or write, and why they voted for who they voted for,” Guinier recalled last week, reading passages from her book “Lift Every Voice.” Guinier, who always refers to Sessions by his full name, says “it was frightening” for the voters. Further, she noted all of the defendants faced a total of 180 years in prison if they were convicted on all charges. “After the case was finished being litigated, the jury went back and basically agreed with the defendants that this was an inappropriate prosecution,” she said. “All of the jurors, all of them were criticizing what Jefferson

SESSIONS IS WIDELY CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE OF THE CONSERVATIVES IN CONGRESS.

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Beauregard Sessions III was saying.” On his nomination as attorney general, Guinier said, “I would certainly not support him under any circumstances — there was nothing he did that was promising … I don’t want to be quoted on how terrible he is personally, but I certainly don’t feel like he was a very good lawyer.” But back in Alabama, Sessions’ reputation after the failed federal court nomination was still sound. He returned to work in the U.S. attorney’s office until 1995, leading such cases as reinforcing the federally ordered desegregation of Mobile County public schools and prosecuting KKK members who lynched Michael Donald at random in 1981, a case that effectively bankrupt the Klan in Alabama. In 1990, he included Figures, his former assistant, into an indictment involving the crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy that targeted Noble Beasley and others. Figures was never charged, and Sessions denied the investigation was politically motivated. He threw his hat into the political arena in 1995, running an unlikely campaign for attorney general against incumbent Democrat Jimmy Evans. He won with 57 percent of the vote. Armand DeKeyser, who met Sessions in the late 1970s and served with him in the Army Reserve and at the U.S. attorney’s office, joined Sessions’ staff in Montgomery as chief administrative officer. He recalls Sessions as taking control of a bloated government beauracracy and leaving the office in better shape than when he entered it. “When we came on board, the previous AG, Jimmy Evans, had hired a lot of employees on a contract basis. He was counting on those salaries being covered by settlements,” DeKeyser said. “From memory, we went from 206 [employees] down to 122 — about 75 people were let go when we decided to live within our means. We worked with the Legislature and and the governor’s office and there was sufficient funding. I personally had several attorneys tell me how they appreciated how we reduced the staff and got more work done. The previous AG was far more political and not as concerned with budget issues and doing things the right way.” But Sessions was also criticized for not pursuing an investigation into a wave of church burnings across the state. As attorney general, he entered a “friend of the court” brief supporting states rights after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Colorado law that negatively affected the LGBT community. In 1996 he unsuccessfully intervened to stop to stop a gay and lesbian conference from being hosted at the University of Alabama. And he also called for high school athletes to submit to regular drug tests to root out steroid use. Just months into Sessions’ first term as attorney general, Sen. Howell Heflin announced he would not seek re-election, and the race was on for his replacement. A large list of Republican candidates emerged, and Sessions was one of the last to announce his candidacy. Another hopeful was Republican Frank McRight, who recalls a tossup race before Sessions entered it. “Jeff was probably the best known of the group, he had been recently elected as AG … and gained a lot of very favorable publicity as a result,” he said. “It was always more of a question of whether he would decide to run for the Senate than if he ran, he would be elected.” Sessions won the Republican runoff against Sid McDonald and defeated Democrat Roger Bedford in the general election with 53 percent of the vote. McRight said for the past 20 years Sessions has built a respectable record. “He’s an honest person, hardworking, he’s raised a good family; I couldn’t think of anything negative to say about him at all,” McRight said. “We share the view that government works best when it’s close to the people, it works best when people have access to it and in Washington, it’s not close. It’s inaccessible to the average voter. I think Jeff has a bum rap even today with claims of racially insensitive comments, but I think he has been a solid representative.” Claire Austin, a lobbyist and political consultant who also worked for Sessions in the AG’s office and as his deputy campaign manager for his initial Senate race, concurred. “Jeff is a very principled man who always followed the rules of law on everything we did,” she said. “He’s very conservative and very much down to earth. He’s an Eagle Scout and he’s very much like the Boy Scout — always a very honest and truthful man and a pleasure to work with. Not only has he done a great job representing the state of Alabama, people all across the country know who Jeff is because of his stance and record in the Senate and I think it’s very exciting he’s going to be the next AG.”

U.S. Senate, 1997-present

If you go to Jeff Sessions’ Senate web page, the first thing you see is a rotation of recent statements and positions taken between Sept. 20 and Oct. 19. Three of the five are about immigration and refugee resettlement, one is a statement on the passing of former Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and the last is headlined, “Obama administration subordinates concerns of the American people to advance agenda of the United Nations.” Immigration and the Obama administration’s handling of it is perhaps Sessions’ hottest hot-button issue and one on which he is expected to have a significant impact if confirmed as President-elect Trump’s attorney general.


COVER STORY

Photo | Lagniappe

Sen. Jeff Sessions greets Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Mobile in 2015. Sessions was the first member of the Senate to throw He is highly critical of the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. and the number with criminal records. Sessions’ own immigration plan, dated January 2015, starts out this way: “‘Immigration reform’ may be the single most abused phrase in the English language. It has become a legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens.” Look for much of the questioning during his confirmation hearing to be about how he’ll deal with illegal immigration as attorney general. Sessions is widely considered one of the most conservative of the conservatives in Congress. Now in his fourth term, his vote can be counted on to cut spending and taxes, support military defense initiatives and support business and the domestic oil and gas industry. His ratings from special interest groups fall along conservative lines: multiple 100s from pro-life groups and zeroes from prochoice groups, zeroes or low marks from animal protection groups and mostly, but not always, high ratings from business and builder interests. Sessions’ power in Congress comes from his seniority and rank on dominant Senate committees. He is a senior member of the Judiciary and Budget committees, and sits on the Armed Services and the Environment and Public Works committees. Subcommittee chairmanships include Immigration and the National Interest, and Strategic Forces. In 2005, Sessions sponsored and pushed through the Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Services (HEROES) Act, with then-U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, as chief co-sponsor. The act substantially improved death benefits for members of the military and their families. In the 114th Congress, Sessions was the original sponsor of six bills. Only one passed, and wasn’t his version, but a House resolution that became law. It was civil rights related, awarding a Congres-

sional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday or the final Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965. “In terms of legislation it’s very little,” said Sam Fisher, associate professor of political science at the University of South Alabama. “He’s not very active at writing legislation, or even co-sponsoring legislation, compared to most of the senators.” Unlike Sen. Richard Shelby, who is known for bringing home the bacon in terms of money and projects for Alabama, Sessions has concerned himself more with issues of national security and the judiciary, Fisher said. Sessions favors minimal government, often opposes government spending and is highly partisan, he said. “There’s no room for cooperation. He had a reputation for being an obstructionist.” Although Sessions generally sticks to the party line, he has shown moments of bipartisanship. He voted to confirm U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying Holder brought more experience to the post than predecessors Albert Gonzales and Janet Reno. Sessions and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who opposed Sessions’ judicial nomination in 1986, worked together to pass the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. The act created a commission to study prison rape and make recommendations on how to reduce it. “[Kennedy’s] a liberal and I’m a conservative, but we both agree that punishment for a criminal defendant should be set by a judge and should not include sexual assault,” Sessions said at the time. And while Sessions the prosecutor was considered a tough soldier in the War on Drugs, Sessions the senator was instrumental in enacting reforms in sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. At the time, cases involving smaller amounts of crack could result in much harsher sentences under federal guidelines than did larger amounts of powder cocaine. Continued on page 22.

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COVER STORY CONTUNUED One of the most well-reported examples of unequal sentencing was the case of Stephanie Nodd of Mobile, who at age 23 was sentenced to 30 years in prison as a part of the Noble Beasley crack cocaine conspiracy. Nodd was a first-time offender who served 21 years before being released. At the time of her conviction, Sessions was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

Dissent

Finances

Meanwhile, from his humble beginnings in Selma, Sessions has since amassed personal wealth. According to financial disclosures, Sessions owns a total of 1,612 acres in Monroe, Wilcox and Choctaw counties. A few parcels are profitable, according to records from 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Sessions brought in $55,981 on 479 acres he owns in Wilcox County, $450,000 through timber sales and leasing royalties on 613 acres he owns in Choctaw County and $26,173 on another eight acres he owns in Choctaw County. Additionally, the financial disclosures indicate he owns hundreds of assets in stocks, mutual funds and other securities. Further, he pays a mortgage on both a local residence and a Washington, D.C., residence.

Host of hopefuls seek Senate seat BY LEE HEDGEPETH/CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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overnor Robert Bentley has now interviewed 20 Republicans on his path to selecting a replacement for U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who President-elect Donald Trump announced as his pick for Attorney General. Under Alabama law, Bentley has the right to appoint a temporary replacement if a U.S. Senate seat becomes vacant, although a special election must be held sometime before the next general election cycle in 2018. After Trump’s announcement, Gov. Bentley released a statement saying that he would seek to appoint someone to the seat who holds the same “conservative values” as Sessions. “I will choose an appointee who shares those values and will work to further the agenda of President-elect Trump, all while keeping Alabama first in his or her mind,” Bentley said in a statement released by his office. “This person must uphold the Constitution, value the rights of the Second Amendment, the rights of the states, support pro-life issues, implement a strong national security policy and support domestic job creation.” Bentley also said he’d reached out to some of the state’s top Republicans to hear their thoughts on who should replace Sessions. “I have already spoken today with ALGOP chairwoman Terry Lathan and told her that I will be asking members of the executive committee to submit names of those they feel are most qualified to serve as U.S. Senator,” Bentley said.

Although those particular recommendations weren’t made public, the list of those interested in the position is a long one. The number of those interviewed is nearing two dozen, and the governor’s office has yet to say the sitdowns with the state’s Senate hopefuls are over. Those already interviewed by Gov. Bentley for Sessions’ seat are: Alabama U.S. Representatives Martha Roby, Gary Palmer, Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt; state Senators Phil Williams, Greg Reed, Del Marsh, Arthur Orr, Bill Hightower, Trip Pittman and Cam Ward; state Representatives Bill Poole and Connie Rowe; Cabinet members Julie Magee and Jim Byard; Trump’s state campaign chairman, Perry Hooper; former gubernatorial candidate Tim James; Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Glenn Murdock; suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore; and state Attorney General Luther Strange. The first and only person to throw their hat into the electoral ring for the seat so far, though, has been Strange, who has said that, regardless of who Bentley chooses as Sessions’ successor, he will run to become Alabama’s junior senator when the special election rolls around. “The people of our state sent me to Montgomery to fight corruption and fight for them. I’ve worked hard to honor that trust,” Strange said in a statement announcing his eventual bid for the seat. “I plan on doing the same in Washington.” Aside from Strange, those most publicly interested in Sessions’ post have been members of Alabama’s U.S.

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Photo | Lagniappe

Though there’s been no shortage of civil rights groups urging the Senate to block Sessions’ appointment as attorney general, the NAACP turned up the heat of its rhetoric with joint press conferences held simultaneously in five of Alabama’s largest cities Jan. 3. In Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville, Birmingham and Dothan, speakers gathered to discuss a number of concerns the NAACP has with Sessions’ past voting record as well as now-notorious comments some deemed “too racist” that cost the Alabama native a federal judgeship in 1986. In Mobile, NAACP leaders on the state and national levels highlighted those concerns, and also addressed comments Sessions has made about their own organization — calling it as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center “un-American” and “Communist inspired.” However, in his remarks NAACP President and CEO Dr. Cornell William Brooks stayed primarily focused on voting rights, bringing up Alabama’s voter ID requirement and the Shelby County lawsuit that caused a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to be struck down. Brooks said by his support and praise of those decisions, Sessions had “struck mute” when confronted with “voter suppression in his own state.” “Sen. Sessions has been an unreliable supporter of the Voting Rights Act, at best, and more often and most likely a hostile enemy of the right to vote,” Brooks said. “He’s not qualified to enforce the Voting Rights Act if he can’t acknowledge the very voter suppression that makes the Voting Rights Act necessary.” Brooks also referenced Sessions’ hometown of Selma, suggesting that Sessions’ appointment would be a contradiction of the city’s significance in the quest for AfricanAmerican voting rights and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Brooks described America as being in a “perilous moment,” citing statistics on civilians killed by law enforce-

ment officers as well as the country’s growing number of incarcerated. In contrast, Sessions has echoed Trump’s calls for “law and order” when speaking on the unrest and protests seen around the country in response to officerinvolved shootings and use of force. In that respect, Brooks said Sessions could likely undo the progress toward police reform that’s been made under outgoing President Barack Obama’s two appointments for attorney general, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. “Our children are insisting with their minds, their hearts and their bodies that black lives matter because they understand that ‘black lives matter’ is the moral predicate to the ethical conclusion that all lives matter. Unless the first is true the second can never be,” Brooks said. “Now we have a president-elect who wants to lift someone to the highest law enforcement office in the land who does not recognize that black lives indeed matter.” As was the case at all of five press conferences Tuesday, Brooks urged the Senate to block Sessions’ appointment as attorney general. He also asked Trump to rescind the nomination and Sessions himself to withdraw his own name from consideration. “Alabamians gave their lives for the right to vote. We will vote and fight for that right, and that means we will oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions with everything within us until the last possible moment,” Brooks added. “We are qualified for this fight because of the sacrifices we’ve made. He is unqualified for the office he seeks because of the sacrifices he has not made on behalf of those who gave so much.”

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS IN 2015 SPEAKING IN SUPPORT OF THE NAVY’S LCS PROGRAM AT ASUTAL USA IN MOBILE. Asked how Sessions may lead in the role of attorney general, Fisher said, “In the Justice Department, like any agency, you have limited resources and you have to decide where you’re going to put those resources. I expect there to be a shift in terms of emphasis in terms of what they want to prosecute, compared to what the previous administration did.” Fisher said he expects to see more emphasis placed on crime, illegal immigration and those issues of national security that involve the Justice Department. “In terms of civil rights, I expect those things to get dialed back — voting rights, things of that nature.” Sessions is likely to pursue more active prosecution of illegal immigration cases and to press other government agencies to tighten up as well, Fisher said. He said it would be interesting to see if the Justice Department under Sessions more actively prosecutes businesses that employ illegal immigrants. Dale Liesch contributed to this report.

House delegation. Rep. Aderholt said his time in Washington would help him represent the state if he were chosen. “Having spent 20 years here, I feel like I at least understand how the structure works up here and I would be someone who could hit the ground running,” Aderholt said in a statement Rep. Brooks has also expressed interest, saying he is the candidate for the spot with a record most like Sessions’. “I’m the candidate that has the proven track record with respect to the very same issues that Sen. Jeff Sessions has so ably highlighted during his term as a United States senator,” he said. Most of those interviewed by the governor, however, have either kept tightlipped about their interest or talked it down when asked. “There are a lot of good people seeking this appointment,” said state Sen. Orr, who many consider one of the top contenders for the position. “I would be honored to serve and represent the people of Alabama at that level.” When asked her view of the governor’s interviews, Nancy Worley, chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, told Lagniappe she believes the process may hurt Republicans — particularly Gov. Bentley — in the end. “The governor is using an interesting, but lengthy, process,” she said. “While politicos normally apply for these positions, I do not recall this kind of public invitation to apply. The more people he interviews, the more people ‘get their hopes up’ and the more people are angry when they don’t get the appointment.” Worley also said she’s not holding her breath when it comes to Bentley interviewing Democrats, but added that his appointment may be a surprise: himself. “Our [Democratic Party] Executive Board met on Dec. 10 and discussed this position and potential interest from Democrats, but I have not heard of Democrats who think they will get the appointment. He should interview at least one Democrat, just for comparison’s sake,” she told Lagniappe, adding “He could always appoint himself, which would make Kay Ivey the governor.” Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings for Attorney General are scheduled to begin Jan. 10-11. Bentley’s appointment of his successor could be made immediately following Sessions’ resignation from the Senate.


ART ARTIFICE

Chamber music duos make Mobile better BY KEVIN LEE/ARTS EDITOR/KLEE@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

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ommingling and collaboration are a key aspect of Mobile. Land meets water. History meets future. Tradition meets innovation. In a couple of weeks, a proven Azalea City cultural entity unites a pair of gifts for the community. That’s when cellist Robert deMaine and pianist Orion Weiss will form the centerpiece of the Alma and Anthony Fisher Memorial Concert of Mobile Chamber Music’s current season. “These two musicians perform together occasionally, yet getting them both here required working with two managements. It was a challenge,” Mobile Chamber Music programmer Dan Silver said. When they meet onstage at the University of South Alabama’s Laidlaw Performing Arts Center on Jan. 22 at 3 p.m., the program itself will be impressive. The duo’s talent exceeds it. The Brahms, Janacek and Ravel on the bill are superb as is. Additionally, the show leads with original compositions by deMaine. Robert DeMaine is principal cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a lofty accomplishment in itself. The rest of his resume reads like a wishlist for aspiring classical musicians. He studied at Juilliard, Eastman, Yale University and Germany’s Kronberg Academy. He was the first cellist

‘Seven Days of Opera’ continues this month

ever to win grand prize at San Francisco’s Irving M. Klein International Competition for Strings. As a soloist he has collaborated with some of the world’s most prestigious conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, Gustavo Dudamel and Esa-Pekka Salonen. DeMaine has appeared at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonie, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, the Seoul Arts Center and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall. He spent 10 years as principal cellist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He filled the same role for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic. DeMaine’s instrument? He performs on a cello made in 1684 by Antonio Stradivari. Though younger than his concert mate, Orion Weiss is no less extraordinary. A student of Emanuel Ax at the Juilliard School, he has several awards to his credit including an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a Gilmore Young Artist Award. He was the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010 and premiered with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. Weiss has played Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Ravinia Festival and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival among numerous other

Center during the LoDa Artwalk. Mobile Opera veteran and noted tenor Gran Wilson returns. He crafted the work from correspondence between Lanier and his wife along with Lanier’s poetry. Flutist Ben Harper will accompany. The reader’s theater features Wilson, Stacey Driskell, Patrick Jacobs and Scott and Sarah Wright. Admission is free. The finals of the Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Scholarship Competition will be held Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m. at the Larkins Center. The top 10 finalists for emerging stars from around the Southeast will sing for a judges’ panel, with audience opinions weighted into the selection process. Winners are announced on the spot and admission is free. On Sunday, Jan. 15, at 1:30 p.m. Mobile Opera hosts a “Sound of Music Sing-A-Long” in Bernheim Hall of the Ben May Public Library (701 Government St.). Attendees at this family-friendly gathering will join in musical numbers from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic tale. This event, hosted by Mobile Opera and the Mobile Public Library, is free.

JJP stages Simon’s midlife romantic comedy

When comedy writer Neil Simon’s wife of 20 years died, he fell into a new relationship not long after. His new flame’s recent divorce made for a bumpy road but ripe material for Simon’s new comedy stage play, “Chapter Two.” Written as a tribute to his new wife’s patience, the work marked Simon’s start in mining his own life for material. When it made it to the silver screen, actress Marsha Mason was cast as the female lead, since she was Simon’s second wife who inspired the tale. Joe Jefferson Players will stage this hilarious and touching classic Jan. 13-29 at their midtown playhouse (11 S. Carlen St.). Directed by Cathy Bouler, it stars David Peeler and Katie Anderson Jeansonne. Friday and Saturday curtain is at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. For ticket and information, call 251-471-1534 or go to joejeffersonplayers.com.

ARTSGALLERY

Mobile Opera continues its “Seven Days of Opera” celebration with a string of mid-January events for Azalea City music lovers. It’s designed to make the traditional storytelling genre more accessible. On Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. join a free open house at the Larkins Music Center (257 Dauphin St.) to see its facilities and enjoy liquid refreshments as you watch chorus rehearsal for an upcoming work. On Wednesday, Jan. 11, there will be opera trivia all day where you can win prizes, all from the privacy of your Facebook page. Thursday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. features a special guest at the Fairhope History Museum (24 N. Section St.), when Dr. Jeffrey Goodman explores the life and work of poet Dr. Sidney Lanier at a tea and discussion. Admission is free. Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. will feature the performance of “Orpheus’ Son: The Life of Sidney Lanier” at the Larkins

exalted venues. He made his 2005 European debut in a concert at Paris’ Musée du Louvre. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic among others. Weiss is known for his love of chamber music, including performances with his wife, pianist Anna Polonsky. “I think their concert will be memorable,” Silver said in wry understatement. Tickets are $20, $10 for students. Season tickets are available at mobilechambermusic.org. Some tickets will be available at the door. That Mobile Chamber Music has brought 56 years of these events to town is extraordinary. Its maintenance of such a stellar quality level is mind-boggling. Like many local arts organizations Mobile Chamber Music has a tiny budget; its proven success is due to volunteers willing to contribute time and resources for the betterment of Mobile culture. Diligence alone lands these high-quality musicians in the midst of established tour schedules in order to keep costs low. Silver would say there’s an amount of luck involved. It’s more like his very own characteristic combo meeting up for all our sakes. A longtime math and statistics professor at the University of South Alabama, Silver carries heady curriculum vitae. A Yale alum, he’s given lectures from Japan to Germany and across the globe in his areas of mathematical specialty: topology and dynamics. He’s been published in Scientific American and deserves intellectual respect. Silver is also artistic. He plays guitar and cello. He was a cartoonist for The Harbinger, an older Mobile alternative newspaper, where he pushed for a more open government and a healthier community through his drawings. He spent a decade as president of Mobile Chamber Music and has been vice president of programming for nearly 15 years since. It’s easy to see why he was awarded a 2013 Greater Mobile Art Award for Volunteer. He was characteristically low-key about the fuss. Silver’s wife and fellow professor Susan Williams has been neck deep in the activity every step of the way. She is also a driving force for Mobile Chamber Music and, in a far greater sense, for improving their town. Williams and Silver aren’t just another pair merely combining forces in Mobile. They’re elevating it for the rest of us.

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MUSIC

BY STEPHEN CENTANNI/MUSIC EDITOR/SCENTANNI@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

FEATURE

Rocking Horse Music Festival’s equine rescue dream

Photo/Facebook

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he beginning of the new year seems a good time to make plans, and a group of locals and reputable music industry figures are doing just that. Specifically, organizers hope to bring The Grounds back into Mobile’s music scene with what is being called the Rocking Horse Music Festival, a philanthropic two-day event they hope will bring a lineup of stellar entertainment and fill The Grounds with 25,000 people. The festival has tentatively been set for April 21-22 of 2018. The concept for Rocking Horse begins with local Brian Diemar. Over the years, Diemar has created commissioned remixes for bands such as Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Slayer and The Chemical Brothers. He has also engineered projects for bands such as Ministry and Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses). Recently, Diemar says, his “bread and butter” has been providing musical scores for the film, television and videogame industries.

After the couple settled in Mobile, Diemar’s wife, Ariana, established the Dream Acres Equine Sanctuary, which rescues “abused, neglected, unwanted and/or slaughter-bound horses.” Eventually, Diemar discussed Dream Acres with his friend Douglas Freel, a filmmaker who has directed music videos for such artists as Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Def Leppard, Rush, and Faith No More and documentaries for Metallica (“Cliff ‘Em All”) and Ministry (“Fix: The Ministry Movie”). The work of Dream Acres and other horse rescue organizations touched Freel’s heart at a time when he felt he needed to give back to the world. The conversation turned toward toward Rocking Horse as more of a pipe dream. “We were talking about the horse rescue here,” Diemar explained. “[Freel] was talking about having friends that do horse rescues too. People that he’s worked with in the industry that are big artists are also horse lovers. Jokingly, he said, ‘You know, to raise money to rescue horses, we should start a festival and call it Ponypalooza.’ We had all these friends who are horse lovers and all these artists too.” “In my life as a filmmaker right now, I’ve done enough stuff that’s been only for rock ‘n’ roll,” Freel added. “I’ve gotten to a time in my life that I want to use my powers for good. I really dig the horse rescue thing and all the people all over the country involved with horse rescues. Brian and I know so many rockers that also love horses that it seemed like a natural segue into the nonprofit world.” Diemar brought the concept to Grammy-winning producer/engineer Toby Wright, whose credits as engineer and/or producer feature a nearly endless list of legendary names, including Alice in Chains, Ozzy Osbourne, Primus, Slayer, 3 Doors Down, Trey Anastasio and Korn. Diemar and Wright are also partners in the Mobile-based label Burning City Frontiers and bandmates in Bells Into Machines, which also includes alt. rock legends Paul Barker (Puscifer, Pigface), Lee Popa (Ministry, Killing Joke) and Chris Connelly (Pigface, Ministry). Wright, the studio pro, was attracted to not only the philanthropy Rocking Horse will provide but also the chance to build upon something that’s been a centerpiece of his life for a very long time. “I think that it’s my love for music and bringing it to the public,” Wright said. “I think if there’s a way that I can help people’s enjoyment for music then I will, either by record or live. You just gotta get it out there.” As for their chosen venue, Diemar says The Grounds features a great layout that will cater

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to Rocking Horse’s needs, including its already established stage and extensive parking areas. The Grounds also provides a convenient setup for festival shuttles the organizers plan to have transport attendees from across the city to the venue’s main entrance. Rocking Horse organizers also plan to build a second large stage in the property’s “midway” area. Diemar says the stage setup and the festival’s choreographed daily schedule will allow those in attendance to experience all featured bands with little travel across the property. As a band finishes on one stage, the crowd can literally turn its focus to the other stage for the next scheduled band. Plans are to use The Grounds’ indoor facility for a “silent rave” and other space to feature various charities, including animal rescue groups, the Disabled American Veterans and a local children’s

two-day festival filled with names big enough to effortlessly pull festival-goers from across the Southeast and beyond. All three believe their respective music industry backgrounds and connections will make it easy to fulfill their wish list. Diemar says organizers also have visions of holding a “VIP pre-party” in downtown Mobile on April 20. In addition to the featured bands, they also plan to bring several special guests to perform unique live collaborations. “Everyone should understand the idea that it’s a benefit show, for one, but also we want to put together the strangest combinations that we can get away with,” Freel said. “It would be musicians that you wouldn’t expect that would come together.” Rocking Horse organizers expect a very busy 2017, Wright says, filled with troubleshooting,

The flavor of the festival is going to be very Mobilecentric. We want to showcase Mardi Gras and feature as many local food and beverage vendors as possible. charity to be selected in the future. “The people at The Grounds couldn’t be nicer,” Diemar said. “From what they’ve told me, they want to do festivals. This is something right up their alley as well. Partnering with them is a no-brainer.” According to Diemar, their concept will also focus a great deal of attention on local culture. Organizers hope to fill The Grounds’ concession areas with food from local restaurants and to create a beer garden that will feature regional craft beer and wine. With Mardi Gras being an integral part of local culture, Rocking Horse is also planning to have a Mardi Gras parade roll through the festival at some point. “This is my hometown, and I’m proud of it,” Diemar said. “There are a lot of good things here, and I want other people to see that too. The flavor of the festival is going to be very Mobile-centric. We want to showcase Mardi Gras and feature as many local food and beverage vendors as possible. We want to give the crowd a little taste of Mobile.” As far as the lineup, Diemar says no bands have been confirmed but organizers are aiming to make announcements by late summer. Diemar, Freel and Wright are working to create an eclectic lineup for a

phone calls and conversations. Freel hopes Rocking Horse will be not only successful but also unique. One thing Freel hopes will make the festival unique is its location. Organizers say subsequent festivals could be held anywhere from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Denver, Colorado. However, Diemar adds, they aren’t opposed to holding future installments in the Azalea City. Ultimately, Diemar, Wright and Freel hope this festival will provide the crowd with lots of of great music and local flavor. However, they are extremely dedicated to the charitable foundation upon which it is being built. They hope to have a positive charitable effect while showing the public a different side of the animal rescue world that will inspire people to get involved. “When people look at animal rescue, they’re either drawn into immediately, or they really aren’t,” Freel said. “They’re used to seeing it on late-night TV, with dogs shivering in the cold. They usually change the channel. We know people are coming to rock out. They might buy a hay bale for a horse, but there might not be a lot of focus on how bad these horses’ lives were to begin with. We want this to be a call to action.”


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Bell is a ‘Four Letter Word’ BY STEPHEN CENTANNI/MUSIC EDITOR/SCENTANNI@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

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s with many singer-songwriters, Brittany Bell has used personal experience to cultivate both her beautiful vocal style and heartfelt lyrical content. Growing up in Pace, Florida, Bell’s love for music began in church. As she sang before her congregation, Bell learned that her most powerful instrument was her voice. When she began composing original

Photo | Facebook | Brittany Bell

BAND: BRITTANY BELL DATE: FRIDAY, JAN. 6, AT 7 P.M. VENUE: MANCI’S ANTIQUE CLUB, 1715 MAIN ST. (DAPHNE), WWW.MANCISANTIQUECLUB.COM TICKETS: FREE

material, Bell found she had a talent for weaving her emotional life into poignant lyrical content. Since taking the stage, Bell has touched many with her music, including Jeffrey Zimmer from the local label Baldwin County Public Records. After signing Bell, Zimmer brought this promising artist to Anthony Crawford’s Admiral Bean Studio, where the artist laid down the tracks for her self-titled debut. Bell’s first effort has given the public an excellent

Honey Island’s ‘Demolition Day’ BY STEPHEN CENTANNI/MUSIC EDITOR/SCENTANNI@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

demonstration of both her flawless vocal and lyrical abilities. Listeners will be impressed by Bell’s ability to vocally harness the passion that flows throughout her songs, even in the sterile studio environment. Each track is a musical translation of life that is delivered through vocals from Bell’s heart. From the soulful “Move” to the ethereal “Unity” and “Four Letter Word,” Birttany Bell’s gift for transporting audiences into her world shines brightly throughout this album.

Deep down South

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BY STEPHEN CENTANNI/MUSIC EDITOR/SCENTANNI@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

Photo | Facebook | Honey Island Swamp Band

he Merry Widow is kicking off 2017 with an evening of new-school Southern rock. Pulling influence from the blues world, Atlanta’s Brother Hawk is bringing its dirt road rock ‘n’ roll to the Azalea City. This four-piece will be giving the local crowd a dose of its latest album “Big Medicine.” With a heavy guitar sound serving as a centerpiece, Brother Hawk’s well thought out arrangements create a well-balanced, versatile rock sound. Six years ago in Auburn, The Bama Gamblers began crafting a musical style “influenced by the forefathers of Southern rock ‘n’ roll and classic country.” Their efforts resulted in the 2014 debut album “Iron Mountain,” in which they balance their influences to create a modern Southern rock sound that would make their muses proud.

BAND: BROTHER HAWK, THE BAMA GAMBLERS DATE: SATURDAY, JAN. 7, AT 9 P.M. • VENUE: THE MERRY WIDOW, 51 S. CONCEPTION ST., WWW.THEMERRYWIDOW.NET TICKETS: $8, AVAILABLE AT VENUE AND ITS WEBSITE BAND: HONEY ISLAND SWAMP BAND • DATE: FRIDAY, JAN. 6, WITH DOORS AT 8 P.M. • VENUE: SOUL KITCHEN, 219 DAUPHIN ST., WWW.SOULKITCHENMOBILE.COM • TICKETS: $10 ADVANCE/$12 DAY OF SHOW, AVAILABLE AT VENUE, ITS WEBSITE OR BY CALLING 1-866-468-7630

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Photo | Bear Allison / Facebook | Brother Hawk

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urricane Katrina forced many New Orleans residents to relocate. After escaping to San Francisco, fate brought together the musicians who would become Honey Island Swamp Band. As the band waited to return to the Big Easy, they began to shape their “Bayou Americana” sound through weekly gigs at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room. When they returned home, Honey Island’s versatile Americana rock made the band a regional favorite with a dedicated fanbase. Now the band celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a new album, “Demolition Day.” Produced by Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars), “Demolition Day” marks a decade-long evolution in the band’s sound. The release expertly mixes classic blues, Americana, Big Easy funk and heavy roots rock. While it represents the band’s growth, the album still nods to the past with tracks such as “Katie” and “Say It Isn’t True.” The Honey Island Swamp Band’s Soul Kitchen show should be a jam-filled evening.


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AREAMUSIC LISTINGS | January 5 - January 11

THUR. JAN 5

Bluegill— Les Hall & Brandon Bailey Blues Tavern— Doobious, 8:30p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— David Chastang, 6p Callaghan’s— Phil Proctor Felix’s— Jeri Flora Bama— Grove Scrivenor, 1p// Dueling Pianos, 4:30p/// Mark Sherrill, John Joiner, Chris Newbury and Mel Knapp, 5p//// Kyle Wilson, 9:15p Listening Room— Post Pluto Manci’s— Ross Newell McSharry’s— Jimmy Lumpkin Wind Creek Casino— Rexton Lee, 8p

FRI. JAN 6

All Sports Bar & Billiards— DJ Markie Mark, 10p Bluegill— Lee Yankie, 12p// Cary Laine Duo, 6p Blues Tavern— Fortunate Few, 9p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Adam and Jill Holt, 6p Callaghan’s— Brittany Bell Felix’s— Blind Dog Mike Flora Bama— Johnny B Trio, 6p// Kyle Wilson Band, 10p/// Logan Spicer and Tony Ray Thompson, 10:15p Hard Rock (Center Bar) — Tomplay, 9p Listening Room— Mean Mary Lulu’s— Lefty Collins, 5p Main Street Cigar Lounge— Matt and Sherry Neese, 8p McSharry’s— DJ Carter, 10p Moe’s BBQ (Daphne) — Lee Yankie, 8p Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — James Burt, 6:30p 28 | L AG N I A P P E | J a n u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 7 - J a n u a r y 1 1 , 2 0 1 7

Soul Kitchen— Honey Island Swap Band, 9p Wind Creek Casino— Mojiles, 9p

SAT. JAN 7

Bluegill— Tim Kinsey, 12p// Fat Lincoln, 6p Blues Tavern— Halfway, 9p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Delta Smoke, 6p Callaghan’s— Jamell Richardson Cottage Hill Baptist Church— Jeff & Sheri Easter Felix’s— Bust Duo Flora Bama— Hal Bruni and Davis Nix, 2p// Tony Brook Band, 5:30p/// Laney Strickland and Albert Simpson, 6p//// Davis Nix Band, 10p//// Albert Simpson, 10:15p Hard Rock (Center Bar) — Tomplay, 9p Listening Room— Lisa P Mills Lulu’s— Light Travelers, 5p Manci’s— Grayson Capps and Corky Hughes McSharry’s— DJ Tiger The Merry Widow— Brother Hawk and The Bama Gamblers, 9p Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — Ryan Hutchens, 6:30p Wind Creek Casino— Mojiles, 9p

SUN. JAN 8

Bluegill— David Chastang, 12p// Josh Ewing & Ross Newell Blues Tavern— Dr. Bob, 6p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Tim Kinsey, 6p Callaghan’s— Johnny & The Loveseats Felix’s— Jimmy Lumpkin Flora Bama— Songs of Rusty, 12:30p// Perdido Brothers, 4p///

Albert Simpson, 8:30p Listening Room— Robby Amonett: Synthesis of the Soul ft. Della Memoria and Abe Partridge Lulu’s— Greg Brown, 12:45p Manci’s— Edward David Anderson McSharry’s— Trad Irish Music Session

MON. JAN 9

Blues Tavern— Blind Dog Mike, 6p The Diner— Brent Burns, 5p Felix’s— Lefty Collins Flora Bama— Cathy Pace, 3p// Petty and Pace, 7p

TUE. JAN 10

Blind Mule— Dr. Bob Bluegill— Brent Loper Blues Tavern— Jon Maddox, 6p Butch Cassidy’s— Chris Powell Felix’s— Quintin Berry Flora Bama— T. Bone Montgomery, 3p// Perdido Brothers, 7p The hot Spot Music and Grub— Brent Burns, 5p Listening Room— The Woodsmiths Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — Bob Erickson, 6p

WED. JAN 11

Bluegill— Ross Newell Blues Tavern— Chris & Dan, 8p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Ryan Balthrop, 6p Felix’s— Bobby Butchka Flora Bama— Don and Karen McNatt, 11a// Neil Dover, 3p/// Rhonda Hart and Jonathan Newton, 7p Listening Room— Dan Navarro, 8p Shipp’s Harbour— Brent Burns, 5p


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FILMTHE REEL WORLD Mobile Jewish Film Festival returns for 16th year

T

BY ASIA FREY/FILM CRITIC/AFREY@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

AREA

THEATERS CARMIKE CINEMA’S Wynnsong 16 785 Schillinger Rd. S. (251) 639-7373 CRESCENT THEATER 208 Dauphin Street (251) 438-2005 HOLLYWOOD STADIUM 18 1250 Satchel Paige Dr. (251) 473-9655 RAVE MOTION PICTURE JUBILEE SQUARE 12 6898 U.S. 90 Daphne, (251) 626- 6266

he 16th year of the Mobile Jewish Film Festival features another quality lineup of films and cuisine. For the first time, live music will play an important role in this entertaining, enlightening and important cultural event. The festival runs Jan. 8-22 and will feature four weekend films. The documentary “On the Map” opens the festival Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. The film, which has been a hit at numerous Jewish film festivals this year, tells the against-allodds story of the Tel Aviv basketball team that wins the European Championship and inspires a nation. Former University of South Alabama athletic director Joe Gottfried and his brother, ESPN analyst Mike Gottfried, will be on hand for discussion. The Laidlaw Center for the Performing Arts at USA will be the site of the next three screenings. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m., an aging German Holocaust survivor attempts to come to terms with his heritage in “The Last Mensch.” It was named “Best Feature Film” at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival. “A Love to Hide” tells the story of a young Jewish girl who has lost her family to the Third Reich and is sheltered by her childhood friend Jean. He is also hiding a clandestine homosexual love affair and is forced into a Nazi labor camp. This

remarkable film will screen Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. The quirky, uplifting love story “Fever at Dawn” will be shown Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at USA and again on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at the USA Performance Center in Fairhope. You have two chances to see this story of a young Hungarian man who survives the concentration camps, only to be diagnosed with fatal lung disease while being treated in a hospital in Sweden. Refusing to give up on life, he sends letters to 117 fellow displaced Hungarians in Sweden, looking for a wife. Nineteen-year-old Lilli likes his letter and they strike up a correspondence. A very special Saturday, Jan. 14, screening at 6 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue will begin with a Shakshouka dinner from the Jerusalem Café before the appropriately delicious film “In Search of Israeli Cuisine.” The film profiles chefs, home cooks, vintners and cheesemakers drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today. On Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m., return to Ahavas Chesed Synagogue for “Rock in the Red Zone,” about unique music created in Sderot, a city of factory workers where art thrives in the bomb shelters. When documentary filmmaker Laura Bialis brings her camera to capture the unique Sderot sound, the course of her life is changed forever. A musician from the film,

Avi Vaknin, will speak after the screening. An incredible tale of bravery, strength and survival, “Fanny’s Journey” tells the story of 11 children who must fend for themselves and make their way from Italy to Switzerland when Nazis find the foster home for Jewish children where they were already living as refugees from France. Based on a true story, this beautifully shot film is showing Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at Bernheim Hall in the Ben May Main Branch of the Mobile Public Library. “The Dove Flyer,” screening Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue, has been shown at more than 50 festivals and pays tribute to the 130,000 Jews who were expelled from Iraq in the 1950s. Against this backdrop is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Kabi. The final film of the festival will be “The Lady in Number Six” on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Springhill Avenue Temple. When Alice Herz-Sommer died at the age of 110, she was the world’s oldest survivor of the Holocaust. A former concert pianist, she and her 6-year-old son survived the terror of the concentration camps through music. After this powerful 40-minute documentary, Dr. Jasmin Arakawa will perform the music featured in the film. To see trailers for these films and purchase tickets, visit www.mobilejewishfederation.org or call 251-343-7197.

CARMIKE CINEMAS 23151 Wharf Ln. Orange Beach (251) 981-4444 COBB THEATRES PINNACLE 14 3780 Gulf Shores Pkwy Gulf Shores (251) 968-7444 EASTERN SHORE PREMIERE CINEMA 14 30500 Alabama 181 #500 Spanish Fort, Al (251) 626-0352 Information accurate at press time; please call theaters for showtimes.

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Photos | Metropolitan Filmexport / Twentieth Century Fox

Fanny’s Journey,” one of several films showing at this year’s Mobile Jewish Film Festival, tells the story of 11 children who must fend for themselves when Nazis find their foster home. “Hidden Figures” is the true story of a team of African-American women who provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.

NEW IN THEATERS LA LA LAND

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart. Crescent Theater.

HIDDEN FIGURES

Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. Cobb Pinnacle 14

NOW PLAYING FENCES All listed multiplex theaters. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Carmike Wharf PASSENGERS All listed multiplex theaters. ASSASSIN’S CREED All listed multiplex theaters. SING All listed multiplex theaters. WHY HIM All listed multiplex theaters. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY All listed multiplex theaters. COLLATERAL BEAUTY All listed multiplex theaters.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY All listed multiplex theaters. INCARNATE All listed multiplex theaters. ALLIED Regal Mobile Stadium 18 BAD SANTA 2 All listed multiplex theaters. MOANA All listed multiplex theaters. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM All listed multiplex theaters. ARRIVAL All listed multiplex theaters. DR. STRANGE All listed multiplex theaters. TROLLS All listed multiplex theaters.


STYLE GARDENING

Mobile’s camellia heritage BY BRENDA BOLTON, MOBILE MASTER GARDENER

Photos/Courtesy of Mobile Botanical Gardens

Two varieties of camellia japonica, “Betty Sheffield Supreme” and “Irrational exuberance.” While camellias aren’t native to Mobile, they have been extensively adapted to the Gulf Coast.

Q: I always thought camellias were native to Alabama, but a friend tells me they were imported. What’s the story?

A:

Your friend is right. The camellia we so enjoy is not native to our soils, but achieved heirloom or heritage plant status for its enduring history in Mobile, a history it is thought dates to 1838 when the first camellia arrived via Liverpool, according to information published on the Mobile Botanical Gardens website by Bill Ray. The Asian camellia is a world traveler, exported from Japan to Europe over 300 years ago, and from there to America, where it found a home in the South’s climate and settled in coastal Southern cities from Charleston, South Carolina, to Mobile to New Orleans. “Heritage” and “heirloom” are unscientific terms, which mean these plants were so successfully transplanted to our area that they are now integral to our culture. The camellia was adopted as our Alabama State Flower, a fact causing some purists to occasionally harrumph. Camellia japonica may not be a native, but one has only to take a short drive over to Green Nurseries in Fairhope or out to the nurseries of Semmes to see how the camellia became an economic driver while offering us the incomparable beauty of its bloom in so many gardens across our state. Moreover, those blooms lift the gloom of winter when little else is blooming. While camellias are hardy here, it is said that the rootstock of C. sasanqua is tougher than that of C. japonica, so if you have not had success with the japonica, try a sasanqua camellia next time. The Mobile Botanical Gardens preserved the history of the camellia in Mobile. On its grounds you can enjoy its camellia collection in the K. Sawada Wintergarden, which was awarded the

International Camellia Society’s Garden of Excellence Award. On its website you will find beautiful photographs of camellias and a fine article by Mr. Ray that captures the story of Mobile’s heritage camellias. The MBG K. Sawada Wintergarden is named for the 20th century Mobile plantsman Kosaku Sawada, whose personal story enriches Mobile’s camellia heritage. Sawada’s story and that of the Mobile Botanical Gardens are recorded in the archives of the American Camellia Society and by local camellia enthusiast, International Camellia Society member and friend to the Botanical Gardens Forrest Latta in his publication “Asian Dream: K. Sawada Wintergarden.” Knowing the Sawada story is central to a full appreciation of Mobile’s camellia heritage. I grew up near his nursery and attended my mother’s Mimosa Garden Club meetings, where ladies spoke of Sawada’s nursery in tones of reverence. Sawada immigrated from Osaka, Japan, to the United States in 1906, first in a failed venture to grow rice in Texas, then buying land for his Overlook Nursery in Mobile in 1914. Over the coming decades, he nurtured thousands of seedlings in his meticulous propagation of many award-winning camellia varieties. During World War II, when federal officials came to his home to search, freeze his assets and seize his nursery, local nurserymen with whom he had worked came to his defense and subsequently no action was taken against him, despite his Japanese background. Both Sawada and his Overlook Nursery remained, bringing us decades of further horticultural contributions. Camellia varieties fall into two main groups: the large leaf C. japonica, which performs best in early morning or dappled sun, and the small leaf C. sasanqua, which needs shade only from the hottest afternoon sun and grows faster than the C. japonica.

Camellias do not like wet feet, so be sure to plant them so that a full inch of the root ball is above ground level and mulch up to the root ball with shredded pine bark. Do not bring the mulch up to the trunk. During the first year after planting in the yard, a regular watering schedule is helpful (an inch weekly if there is no rain, provided the soil drains well, a critical need). After that they do well in dry conditions with little extra irrigation except in drought. While they flourish in humus-rich, well-drained and loose, slightly acidic soil, they can tolerate heavy, acid clay. Spring and fall feeding encourages a healthy plant with abundant blooms. Camellias can develop scale and fungal leaf spot, but these are seldom fatal. Treat with horticultural oils by package directions. Each year when summer’s exuberant growth fades and the days shorten to steal our sunlight, I find consolation in the emerging camellia show outside. Few things are more beautiful on a gloomy winter day than a tray of camellia blooms brought in from the garden.

FREE UPCOMING GARDENING EVENTS: What: Mobile Master Gardeners Monthly Meeting When: Thursday, Jan. 12, 10-11:30 a.m. Where: Jon Archer Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile Topic: Winter Sowing and Milkweed, presented by Alice Marty What: Lunch and Learn When: Monday, Jan. 23, noon to 1 p.m. Where: Jon Archer Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile Topic: Ionix Detox & Herbs for Health, presented by Carol Wattier and A.D. Hale

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS JANUARY 5, 2017 - JANUARY 11, 2017

WEDDING OF A LIFETIME BRIDAL SHOW THE 20TH ANNUAL “WEDDING OF A LIFETIME” BRIDAL SHOW AND GIVEAWAY WILL BE HELD AT THE MOBILE CONVENTION CENTER (1 S. WATER ST.) SUNDAY, JAN. 8, NOON TO 5 P.M. ADMISSION IS $12 THE DAY OF THE SHOW. CALL 251-753-6922, 251-533-0773, OR EMAIL RSMITH0214@COMCAST.NET. Photo | Facebook.com/weddingsofalifetimeshow

GENERAL INTEREST Fairhope History Series Fairhope Public Library will host a lecture Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m. on “Fairhope Single Tax Archives: Preserving Our Past.” Call 251-928-7483 for more information. Cheap Chic Boutique Join Our Sisters’ Closet for its annual Cheap Chic Boutique Friday, Jan. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dumas Wesley Auditorium, 126 Mobile St., in Mobile. Bridal Show The 20th annual “Wedding of a Lifetime” bridal show and giveaway will be held at the Mobile Convention Center (1 S. Water St.) Sunday, Jan. 8, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 the day of the show. Call 251-753-6922, 251-533-0773, or email Rsmith0214@comcast.net. Winter Garden Walk at Bellingrath Winter Wednesday sessions are held each week through Feb. 22 in the Magnolia Room. The annual Winter Garden Walk is Wednesday, Jan. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Registration requested; call 251-973-2217, ext. 111, or email bellingrath@bellingrath.org. Riverside Ice Riverside Ice will be open at Mobile’s Cooper Riverside Park until Jan. 14. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children age 12 and under. Every Tuesday, each child accompanied by at least one adult will be admitted for free. For more information, visit www.RiversideIce.com. Distinguished Lecture Series The University of South Alabama Gulf Shores campus second annual Distinguished Lecture Series will be Thursday, Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m., at 19470 Oak Road W. in Gulf Shores. To register, call 251-460-7200 or visit www. usacontinuinged.com. Dauphin Island Boardwalk Talks Boardwalk Talks are held the first and third Wednesday of each month at 11:15 a.m. at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, 101 Bienville Blvd. For more information, call 251-8612141. Midtown Optimist Club Join Midtown Optimist Club every

Wednesday at noon for lunch at Azalea City Golf Course. For reservations and more information, please call 251-3483542. Toastmasters Do you want to learn how to deliver a speech like a pro or gain leadership skills to advance your career? Toastmasters International meets regularly at six locations in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Visit www.toastmasters.org for more information.

ARTS Mobile Jewish Film Festival The 2016 Mobile Jewish Film Festival will show 10 acclaimed Jewish films at venues around Mobile and Baldwin counties Jan 10-24. The festival celebrates 16 years of presenting films that reflect the Jewish experience in an attempt to promote dialogue between religions, cultures and generations. For more information, visit mobilejewishfederation.org. Art Talk: “Outside In” Come out to Mobile Museum of Art on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m. to meet MMoA curator Kurtis Thomas and find out how “OUTSIDE IN: 40 Years of Acquisitions Supported by the Art Patrons League” came together. For more information, call 251-208-5200. First Friday Art Walk The Eastern Shore Art Center returns with new art and music the first Friday of every month. Friday, Jan. 6, at 6 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Art Center, 401 Oak St., Fairhope. For more information, contact Adrienne at 251-928-2228, ext. 103.

MUSEUMS “Filming the Camps” The History Museum of Mobile will exhibit “Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg” through Jan. 16. The exhibit features the stories of three film directors as they documented Nazi atrocities during World War II. For more information, visit museumofmobile.com. Tea for Two Tuesday afternoons at 2 p.m. the Fairhope Museum of History hosts a tea with a lecture on Fairhope history. The Jan. 10

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speaker will be Chris “Champ” Napier. For more information, call 251-929-1471. Little Discoveries Outside the Box: This “Little Discovery” in the Exploreum’s Wharf of Wonder, aimed at children 6 and under, explores how innovation and creativity can lead to a world of possibilities starting with a simple cardboard box. Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Call 251-208-6893 or email jholland@ exploreum.com for more information. Thursdays at MMoA Every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Mobile Museum of Art offers free admission to all visitors. No reservations are necessary. MMoA is at 4850 Museum Drive. For more information, call 251-2085200.

Society hosts dances the first and third Monday of every month, 7-9:30 p.m., at Fitzpen Place, 11247 State Highway 31 in Spanish Fort. Email cassief13@aol.com.

WORKSHOPS CPR class Mobile Fire-Rescue will offer free community CPR classes at Murphy High School. All classes start at 5 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10, at MHS. Call 251-208-1659 or 251-234-9080 to register.

PUBLIC MEETINGS

Baldwin County Commission: First and third Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., 322 Courthouse Square, Bay Minette. Work sessions are the second and fourth Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. rotating between Bay Minette, the Foley Satellite Courthouse, the Fairhope Satellite SPORTING EVENTS/ACTIVITIES Courthouse and the Baldwin County Central Annex Building in Robertsdale. www. First Light Marathon baldwincountyal.gov The marathon benefiting L’Arche Mobile Baldwin County Planning Commission: will be Sunday, Jan. 8, with a starting time First Thursday at 6 p.m., 22251 Palmer St., of 7:30 a.m. at the corner of Government Robertsdale, www.baldwincountyal.gov. and Claiborne. The finish line is Bienville Bayou La Batre City Council: Second Square at Dauphin and Conception. For and fourth Thursday at 5:30 p.m., 13785 S. more information, visit firstlightmarathon. Wintzell Ave., www.cityofbayoulabatre.com. com. Chickasaw City Council: Second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m., 224 N. Craft Bridge lessons Highway, 251-452-6450. The Mobile Bridge Center offers free Citronelle City Council: Second and bridge lessons each Tuesday beginning fourth Thursday at 6:30 p.m., 19135 Main at 6 p.m. at 1510 University Blvd. Arrive a St., 251-866-7973. few minutes early to register. If you have Creola City Council: Second and fourth questions, call the Bridge Center at 251Thursday at 6 p.m., 190 Dead Lake Road, 666-2147, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. #A, 251-675-8142. Daphne City Council: First and third Monday at 6:30 p.m., 1705 Main St. Work Holy yoga sessions are the second Monday of each Tamara William leads a lunchtime holy month at 6:30 p.m., www.daphneal.com. yoga at The Steeple on St. Francis every Dauphin Island Town Council: First and Wednesday. The cost is $15. Participants third Tuesdays at 7 p.m., 1011 Bienville will connect with Christ in mind, body and Blvd., www.townofdauphinisland.org. spirit. For more information, call 251-656Fairhope City Council: Second and fourth 3269. Monday at 6 p.m., 161 N. Section St. Work sessions are held before each council Ballroom dance meeting at 4:30 p.m., www.cofairhope.com. Azalea Ballroom Dance Club hosts dances Fairhope Planning Commission: First with live music the second and fourth Monday at 5 p.m., 161 N. Section St. For Tuesday of every month; 7-9:30 p.m. at Via! more information visit www.cofairhope.com. Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center, 1717 Foley City Council: First and third Monday Dauphin St. Email cyoungblood9278@ at 5:30 p.m., 407 E. Laurel Ave. Work gmail.com, call 251-623-9183 or visit www. sessions begin at 4 p.m., www.cityoffoley. azaleaballroomdanceclub.com. org. Gulf Shores City Council: Second and fourth Mondays at 4 p.m., 1905 W. First Ballroom dance St., www.gulfshoresal.gov. The Moonlight Chasse Ballroom Dance


MEDIA MEDIA FRENZY

Internet reporter arrested

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BY ROB HOLBERT/MANAGING EDITOR/RHOLBERT@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE MARRIED COUPLES BY KEVIN G. DER / EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ ACROSS 1 Leave a permanent mark on 5 Stows, as a banner 10 Ice carving? 15 Frequently 18 Romance writer Roberts 19 Ultimately succeed 20 Coin portraying Queen Victoria, once 21 Quaint cry of disapproval 22 Play by heart? 25 Monastery title 26 Sphere 27 Personal problems 28 Relay segment 29 Roman emblem of power adopted by Mussolini 31 Big name in grills 33 Toward the back 34 Gymnastics event 36 Means of death for Judas Iscariot 37 A plus average? 41 Tight-lipped 42 Took first 43 2007 Peace Prize recipient 44 Rio greeting 45 Makes minor observations? 50 Gum that comes in Fire and Ice varieties 53 Begot 54 Letterhead? 55 “Star Trek: T.N.G.” counselor 57 Leeway 58 Life force in Eastern medicine 60 Handle with care? 64 Chart of the heavens 68 River more than 2,700 miles long that crosses the Equator twice 69 Two turtledoves, e.g. 70 Cry at a surprise party just before the honoree arrives 72 Get a groove on? 73 Drink Gatorade after a workout, say 75 Calm before the storm? 78 Blow it 79 Red-haired biblical twin 80 Marco Polo crossed it 81 “Gnarly!” 82 What a lead runner sets 85 Learns 88 Some Bavarian brews 91 Under the weather 92 “Pronto!” 93 Part of a film studio tour 95 Disney Channel’s “____ and Maddie” 96 Grab and go? 104 Land bordering Nepal 105 Errands, e.g. 106 A.T.M. expense

107 Provider of limited coverage? 109 Subject to a recall, maybe 111 Ginger ____ 112 “You betcha!” 114 Middle X or O 115 Milne young ’un 116 Stay ahead of the curve? 120 Dec. 31, e.g. 121 ____ Hawkins dance 122 Glossy fabric 123 Baja’s opposite 124 Setting for much of “Lord Jim” 125 Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse ____ 126 Stuck-up sort 127 Spot for brooding DOWN 1 Support, as a foundation 2 Dara who swam at five Olympics 3 Curmudgeonly 4 Common Christmas entree 5 Former Saudi king 6 Release from shackles 7 Way up a bunny slope 8 San ____ Obispo, Calif. 9 Thérèse, e.g.: Abbr. 10 Make available 11 Bars for swingers? 12 Go (for) 13 Coral bleaching locale 14 Drive mad 15 Salty or spicy

16 Event with steeply discounted prices 17 Interest piquer 19 Sports team tally: Abbr. 23 Boeing competitor 24 Dollar, in slang 30 Pittance 32 One of nine for Tina Fey 34 Swedish lake that’s the largest in the European Union 35 Suffix with beta or cyclo38 Drops 39 Metaphor for punishment 40 Standing 45 Luau locale 46 Cupronickel, e.g. 47 Like some uncertain dates 48 Poppycock 49 1998 N.L. M.V.P. 51 Night at the museo? 52 ____ the line (obeying) 53 Canoe builder’s bark source 56 “Quite true” 59 Padlock’s place 61 Find common ground 62 What spirits can do 63 Toward the back 64 Kept for later 65 “A Visit From St. Nicholas” writer 66 Very loud 67 Isn’t over yet

71 Maker of the fragrance Sauvage 74 Wreck, informally 76 Russian moolah 77 Triangular road sign 79 Big purveyor of sports talk 82 Imagines 83 Like a machine that prints, scans and faxes 84 Provider of the fizz in a gin fizz 86 Worm or fly 87 Blubber 89 Setting for some aerial maneuvers 90 “Well, Did You ____?” (Cole Porter tune) 92 “Hurry!” 94 Soy-based frozen- dessert brand 97 Flight attendant’s offering 98 Fisher of fashion 99 Design feature 100 Hawks’ hangouts 101 “John Wick” star 102 Mark with spots 103 Passes 108 Onetime alternative to Facebook Messenger 110 Website with a Watch list 112 Vigorously debate (with) 113 Man cave, maybe 117 Employee badges, e.g. 118 It’s a “gift” 119 Name whose Italian equivalent is Giovanni

ohn Caylor, an internet investigative reporter and blogger on the lam from Daphne officials for publishing a local attorney’s expunged court records, was released Tuesday after spending more than three weeks in jail in Bay County, Florida, for an outstanding warrant for probation violation. Caylor made news as the first, and so far only, person to be arrested under a 2014 Alabama law that criminalized publication of expunged criminal records. The law, which many regard as an unconstitutional prior restraint, made publication of such records a Class B misdemeanor. Caylor turned himself over to Daphne Police March 30, 2016, after Scott Smith III, a clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Ginny Granade, filed a complaint against him for violating the law. Caylor had published records pertaining to Smith’s arrest and pretrial diversion in Dothan 14 years ago for alleged possession of meth. Smith has also filed a civil suit against Caylor and unnamed defendants. The case was immediately sealed by Circuit Court Judge Joseph Norton, so Lagniappe has been unable to read the basis of Smith’s suit. Members of the Alabama Legislature have told this newspaper efforts will be made to remove the unconstitutional prior restraint parts of the expunged records law when this year’s session starts. The morning after a May 3 evening hearing where Daphne Judge Michael Hoyt ordered Caylor to remove Smith’s records, Smith filed another complaint against Caylor claiming the

records had not been removed. Though the records could not be found on the site, insidermagazine.com, after mid-morning, Hoyt issued another arrest warrant and Caylor fled to Florida. On the morning of Dec. 16, Caylor says he was arrested by Bay County sheriff’s deputies on a warrant regarding his failure to report for probation after being convicted on a misdemeanor in 2006. Caylor says that conviction was for disorderly conduct in the county courthouse when he was unable to obtain public records he’d requested regarding the death of Martin Lee Anderson at the county’s juvenile boot camp. Caylor says he spent time in the hospital and in the county jail while under arrest, and that in the meantime his website was ordered shut down and he was evicted from his apartment. He faces a Feb. 1 court date in Bay County.

Papers dumped in Baldwin

Baldwin County Commissioners are apparently looking into an incident in which several dozen full bundles of Press-Register newspapers were found dumped roadside last week. According to a report in The Baldwin Times, county officials are trying to get to the bottom of who dumped dozens of bundles of papers were dumped on the right-of-way along Old Brady Road. The story says some of the bundles were still wrapped in the plastic generally used by printers to secure newspapers after they come off the presses. Commissioner Tucker Dorsey told the Times the county’s solid waste department had opened an investigation into the illegal dumping.

ANSWERS ON PAGE 37

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SPORTS UPON FURTHER REVIEW

PhotoS Courtesy of Marty O’Malley

First Light Marathon puts Mobile on unique list of host cities BY J. MARK BRYANT/SPORTS WRITER/SPORTS@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM/TWITTER @GOULAGUY

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f all the Olympic sports, perhaps none is purer than the marathon. Even its fabled beginnings are shrouded by the mist of Greek mythology. According to legend, in 490 B.C. a runner named Pheidippides (or Philippides) left the battlefield near the town of Marathon with news of a tremendous win over the Persians. He covered the 25 miles as quickly as possible to inform the citizens of Athens. As the story goes, he used his final breath to yell “victory” before he collapsed and died. The heroic tale was not forgotten when the modern Olympic Games were resumed in 1896. A “marathon” race was the final event of those games. The world famous Boston Marathon followed the next year. Because of the tremendous demands long-distance running places on the human body, there are approximately only 500 such races in the world today. Fortunately for us, the city of Mobile in on that select list. The Servis 1st Bank First Light Marathon will start this Sunday morning in downtown Mobile. The thousands of competitors will battle the terrain and themselves to reach the Spring Hill neighborhood before returning for the finish line at Bienville Square.

Humble start

In 2001, the First Night Mobile event was a non-alcoholic arts festival used to ring in New Year’s Eve. Joining them in hopes of raising funds that year was L’Arche Mobile, a Christian community that shares the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in a permanent family-like environment. Marty O’Malley, executive director of the Mobile chapter since 1980, said the idea of sponsoring a marathon was not well received at first by the local running community. “We were given a checklist of items we needed to complete before we got the support we needed,” O’Malley said. “Once we did them all, we got the green light. “We ended up called it the First Light Marathon, as a play on words for the First Night event. Even though First Night is no longer around, we have managed to keep the marathon going.” Among the original goals were to have a certified 26.2-mile course, to be able to showcase Mobile and to raise awareness for L’Arche. Along with its Football Preview dinner in May, the marathon has provided vital funding for L’Arche Mobile residents. To show their appreciation, L’Arche members make special wooden medallions for all participants in the full marathon, 13.1-mile half marathon, relay race and Fun Run. This year 3,000 medallions have been created. “They start the process in June,” O’Malley said. “It is a 3-inch circle of wood that they sand and apply the race sticker to. Each

one is hand painted and then sealed in polyurethane.” In addition there are approximately 1,200 special awards that are painted canvases. On the back is a biography of the resident involved in its creation. The residents give out the mementos at the completion of the race. “Many of the runners will write the residents back and thank them,” O’Malley said. “That is what sets us apart. These are not the typical awards.” O’Malley said another key is the 800 volunteers who give their time to the race. They help with data entry, registration, staff packages and race numbers. The volunteers also operate the 20-plus water stops. Leading the medical staff again this year is Dr. Ron Lee of Foley.

THE HEROIC TALE WAS NOT FORGOTTEN WHEN THE MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES WERE RESUMED IN 1896. A ‘MARATHON’ RACE WAS THE FINAL EVENT OF THOSE GAMES. THE WORLD FAMOUS BOSTON MARATHON FOLLOWED THE NEXT YEAR.” “This is a runner-friendly race,” O’Malley said. “We have the lowest entry fee in the South. Then we get the local restaurants and hotels to provide them with discounts. It really is a team effort.”

Economic engine

FLM is one of Alabama’s biggest sporting events each year. According to a report from the Mobile Sports Authority, it was the third largest money maker ($1,121,600) of the 35 events the MSA worked with during the most recent fiscal year. “The First Light Marathon has always been a great destination event for Mobile and we look forward each year to welcoming the runners and their families,” said Stacy Hamilton, vice president of marketing and communications with Visit Mobile. “Their impact on our area businesses — hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions — is felt throughout the entire weekend.” Local merchants also feel the trickle-down effects. Joe Sims, who has operated the running store at McCoy Outdoors for 17

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years, supplies many of the competitors with shoes and clothing. “A lot of people plan during the whole year for this one race,” said Sims, who has volunteered at many First Light Marathons and now works as the announcer at the finish line. “It takes at least 18 weeks to prepare for a race like this.” For those training for a marathon, Sims said the most important item is the shoes. During practice, a runner can cover 40 to 50 miles per week. Most shoes will last about six to eight weeks. An average price for a pair of running shoes is $120 while the cost can exceed $175. Next on the list is clothing. Gone are the days of cotton T-shirts and gym shorts. Sims said the key is to have clothing that wicks away moisture. “Every garment I sell will handle the moisture,” he said. “Whether it is cold or warm weather, the clothing will really make a difference.” Other additional pieces of equipment are a water carrier and a “fuel” belt to carry carbohydrate-based energy gels. “Runners will use all their carbs after an hour and 15 minutes,” said Sims, who has run four marathons in his lifetime. “You squirt them in your mouth and wash them down with water. They contain the sodium, potassium and electrolytes your body is screaming for.” Sims has been preparing runners for all kinds of races for 34 years. “We are a specialty running store,” he said of McCoy. “It is important to get fitted properly for such competitive races. I get a lot of pleasure in helping a person train and be able to finish a race.”

National attention

One of the things that makes the Mobile event unique is that it is a qualifying race featuring a USA Track and Field-certified 26.2mile course. This has helped attract runners from all 50 states and 12 different countries. For 2016, O’Malley is preparing for almost 3,000 participants in all the races. In the full marathon, the organizers are expecting 600 to 700 runners. “The fact that it is a Boston qualifier draws a lot of people,” said John Brigham, a cross-country coach at St. Paul’s Episcopal School and the FLM men’s champion in 2009 and 2012. “For a city the size of Mobile to attract people from 49 states in one year will be hard to match.” Brigham first got interested in running in junior high when the marathon ran past his home in west Mobile. “I wondered what it would be like to finish one,” he said. None other than Sims at McCoy fit Brigham for his first pair of running shoes. After running track in college at Mississippi State and Belmont, he returned to coach the Saints. “Marathons are getting more common,” he said. “They are


The Servis 1st Bank First Light Marathon has become an international event with thousands of runners at the starting line every year. The marathon benefits L’Arche Mobile, whose residents create medallions and paintings for participants. growing throughout the country. The interest in half marathons has driven this.” His FLM win in 2009 was actually the first time he competed in a marathon. “I thought I had a chance to win, but it was still a humbling experience,” he said. “I struggled the last few miles. I had to learn how to take in fluids and calories on the run. I did not do it properly the first time.” Brigham ran the Boston Marathon in 2012 (finishing 72nd) and in 2016 (finishing 66th). Making those results even more incredible is that Boston’s race has about 30,000 finishers. “By the time I got to run in Boston, I had more experience,” he said. “I knew what I was doing.” Brigham won the New Orleans Marathon in 2015 and was the runner-up this year. However, he injured his hamstring and is still

working with a physical therapist. “I am not doing a full marathon until I get this injury behind me,” he said. “I had signed up for the Houston race on Jan. 14, but it looks like I can only do the half marathon — if my leg will let me.” Another unique feature for only the most daring competitors is the Back-to-Back Challenge. This is a special partnership with the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson the day before. Up to 500 runners can join both races and receive special recognition and awards. O’Malley said there are usually two to three charter buses bringing the runners down from Jackson. “Mobile’s course is pretty tough,” Brigham said. “From the 10mile mark to the 20-mile mark you are running up and down hills near USA and Municipal Park. People think it is a flat, fast course.

You may not run your best times here. They need to understand that before running into trouble by starting the race too fast.”

Race details

Walk-in registration will take place Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. in Government Plaza’s atrium. An expo is planned at the same time, with booths offering runners advice and equipment. The marathon, half marathon and five-person relay will get underway on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. The 1.2-mile Fun Run and the LifeSouth Kid’s Marathon will follow at 2 p.m. After the races, the award ceremonies, live music and food will be in Bienville Square. To learn more about the race and L’Arche, please visit www. FirstLightMobile.com or call 251-438-2094.

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MOBILITY

Water, water everywhere but ... BY SHARMAN EGAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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here’s ample water near downtown Mobile, but how do we get to it? I’m talking about the city’s downtown waterfront, a two-mile stretch of Water Street along the Mobile River. Want to walk or run along the river? Your only choice is a .2 mile walk in Cooper Riverside Park, barely enough to register on your FitBit. There are no riverfront restaurants, no shops and no place to live on the water. But now that’s beginning to change. It’s ironic that the biggest barrier to downtown Mobile’s waterfront is Water Street. With six lanes of traffic and limited crosswalks, it’s hardly inviting. Then you have to contend with the railroad tracks. The city has plans to transform Water Street, from the GM&O Building to Claiborne Street, into a pedestrianand bike-friendly area that will ease access to the waterfront. The full plan may take decades to become a reality but the first phase is underway and should be completed well within the Mobility timeframe of 2020. It includes narrowing the street from six to four lanes to slow traffic and allow room for bike and pedestrian paths, new signals to improve traffic flow, larger crosswalks and landscaping. The engineering plan is scheduled for completion this year with construction to begin shortly thereafter. City officials believe the redesign will also be a catalyst for development. Water Street has already seen major improvements in the last two years with more coming. There are more ways to enjoy the waterfront, and within a couple of years you’ll be able to live on the river.

The cruise terminal is finally busy again after five years of dry dock. Aussies took over downtown when the Azamara Quest visited in October. It will return for a oneday stop in March. And of course, the Carnival Fantasy is regularly cruising out of Mobile in an 13-month deal after a multi-million dollar facelift to the terminal. As of this writing, the next three cruises are sold out. When Carnival announced its return in September 2015, it was reported as a contract through November 2017. But I found sites online where you can book through April 2018, for prices starting at just $254 for a five-day cruise. Kevin and I took the same cruise on the Holiday (a smaller and older ship) in 2007. It was a fantastic vacation for under $1,000 total. You can’t beat that. With the closing to the public of the GulfQuest Museum in November, the waterfront lost one of its major attractions and its only restaurant. Kevin and I were lucky enough to visit just a couple of weeks before it closed. With all due respect to the mayor, I thought it was a lot of fun, and TripAdvisor users rated it as the #4 attraction in Mobile. But it was mostly empty the day we visited and there’s no question it was a big drain on the city. I’m dying to know how the city plans to repurpose it. Could this be an opportunity to finally have restaurants and shops along the waterfront? The wildly popular Riverside Ice is back for a second year at Cooper Riverside Park, offering ice skating for overheated Mobilians. But you better go quickly; it will close for the season in mid January. The city also sponsored Holiday Movie Nights in December with free films

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in the amphitheater at Cooper Riverside Park on Tuesday and Friday nights. Gulf Coast Ducks Triple Splash launched last May, offering the Gulf Coast’s only land and water tour. You pick up the tour at the USS Alabama, splash in and out of the Mobile River and Mobile Bay, and ride through downtown for 70 minutes. It gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook, and the boats I’ve seen around town have been packed with happy quackers. They are also booking their last tours of the 2016 season. Did you know you can now walk, run, bike or skate under the river through the Bankhead Tunnel? This past summer the Alabama Department of Transportation began closing the tunnel most Saturday mornings. Hours vary, so check ALDOT’s Twitter feed for updates. Looking for something to eat along Water Street? Try Nourish Café, which opened in September in the Moorer YMCA (free parking!). It offers one of the only “whole food” menus downtown. The food is so delicious you won’t notice the missing calories. What about living on the river? Come late 2017, developers hope you’ll be

IT’S IRONIC THAT THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO DOWNTOWN MOBILE’S WATERFRONT IS WATER STREET. WITH SIX LANES OF TRAFFIC AND LIMITED CROSSWALKS, IT’S HARDLY INVITING. THEN YOU HAVE TO CONTEND WITH THE RAILROAD TRACKS.” able to move into Meridian at the Port at 300 N. Water St. The $46.5 million development will offer 264 high-end apartments, doubling the number of apartments downtown. It will also include at least one retail space inside a ship container. The Water Street redesign is key to the project; the developers would not have undertaken the project without it. Demolition is underway. Between the Water Street redesign and Meridian at the Port, the word “transformative” has been tossed around a lot. It’s not hard to see how these two projects could spark the transformation of Mobile’s waterfront, especially in combination with numerous other developments within blocks of the river. In the next Mobility, we’ll take a look at some of those developments.


STYLE HOROSCOPES PISCES IS SOMEWHERE IN THE VASELINE CAPRICORN (12/23-1/19) — In a statement about how bad marathons are for your body, you’ll protest by walking the entire First Light Marathon.When you cross the finish line 97 days from now, you’ll be confused with a really slow Forrest Gump. AQUARIUS (1/20-2/18) — Now that you’ve abandoned your New Year’s fitness goals barely one week in, you’ll relax on the patio with a few high-gravity beers. You’ll jeer at the joggers passing by your house. PISCES (2/19-3/20) — After months of flying under the radar on a competitive video game designed for players under age 14, your cover will be blown. While curse words and adult themes won’t seem out of place among today’s youth, Stone Temple Pilots references will. ARIES (3/21-4/19) — The continuing barrage of flash floods will have you using the new scuba gear you got for Christmas when you’re forced to swim to work for a few days. Oddly enough, even beneath 10 feet of water, you’ll still see blonde women jogging through midtown. TAURUS (4/20-5/20) — Rewatching Mariah Carey’s abysmal performance from New Year’s Eve, you’ll realize your celebration could have been worse. Though in fairness, Mariah would probably get a good laugh from the dash cam footage of your arrest at Chuck E. Cheese’s as well. GEMINI (5/21-6/21) — In your efforts to avoid the endless chatter about Alabama’s most recent National Championship appearance, you’ll develop a reverse V-Chip that automatically censors any mention of phases like “tide,” “crimson,” “dynasty,” “Keystone Light” and “we’re all cousins tonight.” CANCER (6/22-7/22) — They’ll call you the Nick Saban of beer pong after you win your fifth straight match while attending the afterparty for your 20-year high school reunion. Unlike Saban, your “process” includes no focus at all, but you will urinate on yourself. LEO (7/23-8/23) — After putting on the secret agent decoder ring you found in a box of Frosted Flakes, the black helicopters will swarm your midtown home and you’ll be taken to D.C. Turns out you’ll be the country’s next top CIA agent. Congratulations. VIRGO (8/24-9/22) — After devastating New Year’s weekend rains make city streets almost impassable, Mayor Sandy Stimpson will enlist you for a solution. You’ll tap Gulf Coast Ducks to take over the city’s bus routes. Problem solved, until the next drought. LIBRA (9/23-10/22) — You’ll get arrested for road rage after the fourth consecutive vehicle in front of you comes to a complete stop on a blinking yellow light at a Dauphin Street intersection. You’ll get out of your car and berate other drivers. It’ll escalate quickly. SCORPIO (10/23-11/21) — You’ll burst into song after watching “La La Land” at the Crescent Theater. In keeping with the repetitive theme of this horoscope, that song will be “Doo Doo Brown.” Then you’ll go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. SAGITTARIUS (11/22-12/22) — You’ll write a letter of appreciation to the organizers of Dothan’s first annual dildo drop. While it’s not exactly family-friendly, the visionaries behind that massive length of meat in the sky should be commended for drawing hoards of perverted tourists.

ANSWERS FROM PAGE 33

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STYLE BOOZIE

Shelving a suboptimal year BY BOOZIE BEER NUES/SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

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nother year older, another year wiser? Well definitely, the first thing. Not so sure about the second one. Let’s just say my 2017 wasn’t off to the best start. The struggle was real. One of the first things I did New Year’s Day was throw up in my friend’s yard. As if I wasn’t already living in hangover hell on Sunday (but probably not as bad as Mariah Carey), I decided I should keep up with one of my New Year’s resolutions — getting organized — by assembling a shelving system that came in a box. Sober or hungover, that is hard ... so many parts, so many directions. I am really hoping there are supposed to be extra screws, because once I got that thing put together I had about six left over. But no worries, I didn’t screw up this week’s gossip, so get to reading. Hopefully it will hold up better than my shelves.

Happy New Year

It was a MoonPie weekend! First the Chattanooga Bakery General Store opened on Friday and handed out birthday MoonPies. Still no word on whether the peanut butter and chocolate MoonPies will return. A girl can dream! Anyway, then we had the MoonPie drop Saturday night in the rain. The downpour definitely affected the turnout, but there were still plenty of brave souls who ventured out. Let’s just say it wasn’t the biggest crowd, but it was a dedicated crowd. Most folks came prepared for the rain, with raincoats, umbrellas and rain boots, but my spy reported a few people without any rain gear. Perhaps they were looking

for a New Year’s baptism of sorts. My spy also reported .38 Special did a good job with their performance and had the soggy crowd rocking. Sure, while a MoonPie may be a bit wacky, let’s just be thankful we didn’t end up with a nationwide embarrassment like our friends over in Dothan did, with their “Nut Drop.” Guys, guys, guys, seriously? No one saw the most

LET’S JUST SAY MY 2017 WASN’T OFF TO THE BEST START. THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL. ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I DID NEW YEAR’S DAY WAS THROW UP IN MY FRIEND’S YARD.” phallic-looking New Year’s Eve display in the history of New Year’s Eve displays? I’m sure these folks were more embarrassed than Mariah Carey.

Fun dip

Some people’s New Year’s Day was better than Boozie’s, especially those who made it to Flora-Bama’s annual Polar Bear Dip! Luckily for participants it wasn’t much of a polar-bear weather day. The water was a little chilly but not as bad as in years past, according to my spy. Boozie’s favorite part of the dip is how creative and/ or crazy people get with costumes. Of course there were

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people dressed as polar bears and snowmen, but my spy also spotted emojis, Elvis, chickens — and she even found Dory! That’s not all, there were mermaids, bikers (real or fake, she wasn’t sure), unicorns and people from various decades. My spy’s favorites besides the bushwackers was a family with piñata numbers for 2017 and a guy with some type of IV system stocked with Seagram’s 7 and Sprite Zero. All I really know is I could have used that and where can I get one? The worst part is something my spy says she can’t unsee. Sure, she’s seen men in weeny bikinis and even G-strings but she said she has never seen anything thing like this before. So proceed with caution. Think old man with a belly in a G-string that almost isn’t covering the only thing it’s suppose to cover, and not because it’s big but more like because it is saggy… Umm gross, hopefully parents covered their kids’ eyes.

Excuse me?

My Bama spy at the Peach Bowl said she was highly offended by an obnoxious Washington fan who was sitting next to her. Not only did the Husky woman say nasty things about Alabama’s dance team, she also had the nerve to ask my spy how she was able to afford the tickets to the game, since, you know, she was from Alabama. #rude My spy somehow restrained herself from punching her in the face, as any Southern woman would. And I think all that really needed to be said to this horribly rude woman was done so on the field. Bless her heart. And their sad little football team’s too.

Gone but not forgotten

In 2016 we lost some good people, some well-known folks you already know about and some you might have missed. One really hit home with Boozie. Alton Adams, aka Al or Sketch. His name might not ring a bell but Al was an integral part of the LoDa scene for decades. If you ever went out downtown, you most likely, at some point, had your picture drawn by Al. Not only did he provide lovely sketches of downtown denizens and guests, but he was a class act and an all-around great human being. He will be greatly missed. Well, kids, that’s all I’ve got this week. Just remember, whether rain or shine, dramatic or scandalous or just some plain ol’ Moonpie lovin’, I will be there. Ciao!


LAGNIAPPE LEGALS | 251.450-4466 | legals@lagniappemobile.com

STATE OF ALABAMA COUNTY OF MOBILE Notice is hereby given that a bill as described in the synopsis below will be introduced in the 2017 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama and application for its passage and enactment will be made: A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT SYNOPSIS: Relating to Mobile County; to amend Act 99-651, 1999 Second Special Session, (Acts 1999 Second Special Session, p. 105), as amended by Act 2010-268 (Acts 2010, p. 488) authorizing government officials to accept credit card payments for amounts due; to clarify that the costs of the office related to the acceptance of credit cards shall include information technology, equipment, and employees, and processing or transactional fees imposed on the transaction by the credit card company or banking institution; and to provide for retroactive effect. LAGNIAPPE HD Dec.15, 22, 29, 2016. Jan. 5, 2017.

STATE OF ALABAMA COUNTY OF MOBILE Notice is hereby given that a bill as described in the synopsis below will be introduced in the 2017 Regular Session of the Legislature of Alabama and application for its passage and enactment will be made: A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT SYNOPSIS: Relating to Class 2 municipalities; to amend Section 28-3A17.1, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to entertainment districts; to further define the licensed premises of a holder of a retail liquor license. LAGNIAPPE HD Dec.15, 22, 29, 2016. Jan. 5, 2017.

PROBATE Notice of Court Proceedings December 9, 2016 CASE NO. 2014-0994-1 In the Probate Court of Mobile County, Alabama Estate of John Thomas Wagner, Deceased On to-wit the 30th day of January, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 1, Third Floor, Mobile County Government Center Annex, 151 Government Street the court will proceed to consider the Petition for Final Settlement filed by Lauren E. Pederson.  Notice is hereby given to all parties in interest who may appear and contest same or file a proper responsive pleading thereto if they then think proper.     Don Davis, Judge of Probate LAGNIAPPE HD Dec. 22, 29, 2016. Jan. 5, 12, 2017.

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Lagniappe: January 5 - January 11, 2017  
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