Page 1

2 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6




D E C E M B E R 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 – D E C E M B E R 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | w w w. l a g n i a p p e m o b i l e . c o m ASHLEY TRICE Co-publisher/Editor

ROB HOLBERT Co-publisher/Managing Editor STEVE HALL Marketing/Sales Director GABRIEL TYNES Assistant Managing Editor DALE LIESCH Reporter JASON JOHNSON Reporter

5 12 16


Despite heavy usage, the Mobile County Recycling Center isn’t turning a profit as expected.


The state’s graduation numbers were too good to be true.


Construction on a new Veterans Affairs facility will begin soon in West Mobile.



The heat is in retreat, but the menu is still enjoyable at Bishop’s, a Southern tradition restaurant.

KEVIN LEE Associate Editor/Arts Editor ANDY MACDONALD Cuisine Editor




After the “deconstruction” of the historic Key Loan building on Dauphin Street, several other buildings downtown remain “in peril.”


BROOKE O’DONNELL Advertising Sales Executive BETH WILLIAMS Advertising Sales Executive ASHLEY KILLIAN Advertising Sales Executive MELISSA EDGE Editorial Assistant ROSS PRITCHARD Distribution Manager



Mobile Ballet Artistic Director Winthrop Corey exits after more than 30 years of service.


The Kris Lager Band’s brand of revivalist rock, heavy soul and boogie trance from the heartland.

JACKIE CRUTHIRDS Office Manager CONTRIBUTORS: Asia Frey, Lee Hedgepeth, Brian Holbert, Jeff Poor, Ken Robinson, Ron Sivak ON THE COVER: GAYFERS BUILDING BY DANIEL ANDERSON LAGNIAPPE HD Periodicals Permit #17660 (Volume 2, Issue 12) 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: LAGNIAPPE HD is printed at Signature Offset, 2610 Lakeview Rd. Hattiesburg, Mississippi. All rights reserved. Something Extra Publishing, Inc. Nothing may be reprinted. photocopied or in any way reproduced without the expressed permission of the publishers.

26 32 36 38 42 FILM

Our critic Asia Frey’s list of the nicest — and worst — films of 2016.


Is Ricky Mathews out at Advance?


After a long drought, St. Paul’s adds another girls’ cross-country state title to the trophy case.


Boozie sees Christmas magic and wedding wieners in Mobile Magnified.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 3


The magic of Christmas carols From shortly after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day, my phonograph constantly either croons or blares out Christmas carols. I march with the “Three Kings,” “Deck the Halls” with boughs of holly, ponder the awesome theological mystery of “What Child is This,” remind Jeannette and Isabella to bring a torch to the stable, and as far as my holiday bell is concerned, it tinkles merrily on high for days at a time. By some strange, inexplicable metamorphosis, my body is no longer bound to earth by gravity’s law but floats elsewhere in some rarefied limbo of perpetual carol singing. So, for at least a few frenzied weeks in December, I am always moved and haunted by the circumstances of a most remarkable birth and by the far-reaching consequences that birth has often had upon a believing world. For these age-old carols continue to spin their magical, never-ending story of Christmas hope and redemption, and sometimes in the mellow eloquence of strings and the stately pomp of brass and, above all, in the untouched innocence of children’s voices singing in a choir, one often perceives the grave inner reality of the always exhilarating celebration. Maybe it’s just Billy Graham’s well-known Gospel message of salvation, enriched and sanctified by the sheer magnificence of all this heavenly music, but the ancient symbolism of the eternal trinity of star, angel song and tiny babe in the lowly manger continue to be generally beneficial to mankind. It would be ironic, indeed, if what is left of humanity’s long and checkered history of misdirection and woe would finally be resolved by something as homely and innocuous as the rocking of the cradle in a faraway town in Judea known as Bethlehem. Joe Dacovich Mobile

Photo | Lagniappe


Read for more news daily.

Baldwin deputies find 84 pounds of pot Over the weekend, officers in Baldwin County found more than 80 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment inside of a truck’s diesel tank — leading to one arrest and thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs being seized. The driver, 34-year-old Noemi Casique, was charged with drug trafficking; a judge set her bond at $300,000.

Proposal video involving MPD officers goes viral

A local man’s unusual proposal video is continuing to spread across social media because officers with the Mobile Police Department helped set up the candid moment that initially appears to be an armed confrontation.

4 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

According to MPD officials, Daiwon Mcpherson approached the department about a week before he planned to propose to his girlfriend, Shawna Blackmon, on Friday, Dec. 9, at a gas station in Mobile. A bystander, in on the stunt, recorded it on a cellphone as a police cruiser pulled up to the scene and two MPD officers got out with stun guns drawn. Blackmon said yes.

First look: Old Shell Lofts

The Midtown Mobile Movement hosted a tour of the new Old Shell Lofts at 1706 Old Shell Road on Dec. 8. The former Old Shell Road School was originally built in 1915. When the project is complete, lofts ranging from 600-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom units to 1,365-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath units will be available, with rents ranging from $825 to $1,500, according to its website.


‘Giveth, taketh away’




Photo | Daniel Anderson / Lagniappe

hile the volume of materials being collected According to Hudson, the county remains hopeful the at the Mobile County Recycling Center has market for recyclables can improve, although “we don’t outpaced expectations, projected revenues know for sure that it will,” she said. Ironically, it may be from the two-year-old facility have not. Ofoil production that keeps the facility operational in the ficials recently used at least $50,000 from an existing meantime. conservation fund to cover those losses. The $50,000 the county voted to put into the recycling The county completed construction of the recycling center this week comes from oil revenues generated by facility on Hitt Road in 2014. The roughly $3 million the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). project was almost entirely paid for with grants from When asked about the decision to tap into those funds, the Coastal Impact Assistance Project and the Alabama Hudson said it was “a small price to pay.” Department of Environmental Management. “This is not general fund money. This is money that’s Though the county owns the building and the equipearmarked for conservation either way,” Hudson told ment at the center, the plan has always been for the facil- Lagniappe. “And with the volume of recyclables from ity’s operation, employees, long-term maintenance and people utilizing the center, it is well worth the investment repairs to be managed by Goodwill for citizens to be able to continue to Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast use this facility.” (GESGC). There is also some cushion in the Initially, the nonprofit organicounty’s GOMESA funding, as it’s zation also pledged to invest any expected to quadruple over the next revenue generated back into countyfew years. Those funds are generTHE COUNTY’S PROBLEM wide recycling programs. However, ated through a legislative formula on Monday, County Commissioner that — among other things — calIS NOT ISOLATED, THOUGH. Connie Hudson confirmed that dips culates the distance areas along the DOZENS OF RECYCLING in commodity prices for much of coast are from active oil leases in what the center accepts to resell the Gulf. FACILITIES HAVE CLOSED — glass, paper, plastic, aluminum Since 2008, Mobile County has — have led to losses over the past generated more than $1.2 million THEIR DOORS IN STATES two years. from 79 active leases, but in the SUCH AS CALIFORNIA, “In the first three years, [GESsecond phase of GOMESA, that GC] anticipated they would not number will jump to more than FLORIDA, MISSOURI, break even, but then over time they 3,000. Based on the county’s “lowwould,” Hudson said. “However, COLORADO AND ILLINOIS IN end” estimates, around $4 million commodity prices have dipped to could be coming to the area as early RECENT YEARS. the point where it’s been very difas March 2018. ficult for them, and they’ve been However, despite a likely influx losing money the past couple of of oil revenue, Commissioner Jerry years … at least more than they Carl seemed hesitant about using anticipated in their business model.” those funds to subsidize operations at the county’s recyAlthough the Hitt Road facility recorded more than cling center in the long term. Carl was the only member “121,000 car visits last year,” finding a profitable second- of the commission who voted against the $50,000 passary market for recycled materials has been tricky. The through to the recycling center this week, after he made it county’s problem is not isolated, though. Dozens of a point to ask if the payment would be recurring. recycling facilities have closed their doors in states such “My understanding is that this $50,000 is one-time as California, Florida, Missouri, Colorado and Illinois in money,” attorney Jay Ross replied. “There could be other recent years. funds in future years, but this is just a one-time basis.” Even the Mobile Metro Recycling Drop-Off Center in GESGC signed a 25-year lease with the county to opmidtown has had problems finding buyers, especially for erate the recycling center in October 2014, but it contains its plastic — a polymer cheaper to produce as the price of a provision allowing either party to terminate the agreeoil decreases. ment with 180 days’ notice “without cause and without

DUE TO FALLING COMMODITY PRICES, THE MOBILE COUNTY RECYCLING CENTER HAS BEEN UNPROFITABLE. prejudice to any other right or remedy.” Some have expressed concern that if the size of losses seen over the past two years become routine, GESGC may not be able to maintain the contract. However, Hudson said she’s not concerned about that “at this point.” “There are issues with some of the commodity prices and their business model that have surfaced, but I think we can work through that,” she added.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 5


A fighting chance




n another step to reform its municipal court, the city recently announced it is looking for contract attorneys to handle indigent defense. In the past, attorneys represented an entire docket of defendants who were unable to afford an attorney, but along with this announcement the city plans to trim the workload. Municipal Court Administrator Nathan Emmorey said the size of those dockets and the number of indigent defendants vary from day to day. “It depends,” he said. “It could be a couple … or 100.” Indigent defendants, or those who cannot afford to hire an attorney, make up the “vast majority” of cases in municipal court, Emmorey said. In addition to creating a workload issue, Emmorey said having attorneys represent an entire docket of indigent defendants causes conflicts. “If you’re assigned to defend a docket, you see a docket, not the person you’re defending,” he said. “You end up representing the judge and

THE 50 CITIES STATEWIDE THAT HAVE NOW ADOPTED THE PROGRAM REPRESENT 40 PERCENT OF THE STATE’S POPULATION. the court.” In other words, Emmorey said, attorneys who represent an entire docket might see a case differently from attorneys who represent someone as part of an individual case. Under the current system, an attorney might represent a defendant for an arraignment, but another attorney would be appointed at trial, Emmorey said, because attorneys represent dockets on individual days. “Now, at an arraignment, we’ll have attorneys who represent [indigent defendants] going forward,” Emmorey said. “We’re working to provide the best representation the city can afford to people who can’t afford representation.” In all, the city is looking to hire five contract attorneys. Four will work inside the courthouse on two-and-a-half day rotations, Emmorey said. The fifth attorney will work inside Mobile Metro Jail and attend jail hearings three days a week. Two attorneys will work inside municipal court each day. Each day’s docket will be split in half, with attorneys representing indigent clients based upon the first letter of their surnames, Emmorey said. For instance, defendants with last names starting with “A” through “L” will be assigned to one attorney, while names starting with “M” through “Z” would be assigned to another, Emmorey said. “The attorneys can look at the docket and know who they’ll represent,” he said. “The attorney will own the case from arraignment to disposition.” During the two-and-a-half day window those attorneys aren’t in court, they will have time to work on and build cases for the defendant they’re assigned. “The expectation is the attorney will meet

6 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

with [the defendant] outside court and build a case,” Emmorey said. “It will radically change the quality of representation for those who can’t afford it.” The new system is another step the city has taken to ensure it is punishing crime and not poverty, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement. “Everyone deserves fair representation,” he said. “I applaud the Municipal Court for their innovative reforms that will save costs and improve services. Every defendant will finally have the opportunity to develop a relationship with an attorney who truly has the defendant’s best interests at heart.” As for reforming indigent defense, Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Micah West said the idea of public defenders’ offices should spread statewide. Currently, there are only two. He said allowing the judge to appoint attorneys to indigent defense cases can make it seem like the attorney is working for the judge, or the court, rather than the defendant. While Mobile’s new program falls short of creating a new office, it does take the appointing authority out of the hands of the judge and helps to allow the attorney to work for a defendant rather than for the court. “I’m not familiar with the work, but any time a city is investing in indigent defense … it’s a good thing,” West said. “It ensures a defendant’s constitutional rights are better defended. It’s something we are pleased with.” Earlier this year, the court reformed its bail practice as well. Under new guidelines, municipal judges starting releasing defendants on recognizance bonds rather than cash bonds. This practice was changed to prevent defendants from being punished with jail time because they couldn’t afford those bonds. Micah West, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, called Mobile an early adopter of a set of procedures now employed by some 50 municipal courts statewide. “We came up with a set of model procedures and sent letters to courts across the state,” he said. “A lot of courts have now adopted these procedures and it’s had a really dramatic impact.” Mobile has been a model for the others, West said, as the Metro Jail population has dropped by 45 percent since the beginning of the program in January until last month. “The reason why is very few people in municipal court ever get sentenced to jail,” West said. “The only people in jail are the ones who couldn’t afford bond.” Before the program was enacted, defendants who couldn’t pay bond were spending up to 30 days in jail and were being sentenced to time served, West said. Now, the majority are going home immediately. The 50 cities statewide that have now adopted the program represent 40 percent of the state’s population. West said the goal is to have the program expand statewide. When defendants too poor to pay for bail sit in jail until their next court date, it “turns the idea of justice upside down.” “The innocent, who have not been proven guilty, are in jail before being proven guilty,” West said.


Deck the trees




ome of Fairhope’s lighted trees downtown look like they were decorated by small children who couldn’t reach the tops. As a result, the City Council Monday authorized the purchase of more lights in hopes of remedying the situation before Santa sees them. “I’ve been telling everyone around town that we’re going to have a second lighting and do the top,” said Councilman Kevin Boone. Fairhope’s pre-Thanksgiving tree-lighting ceremony signals the start of the holiday season. The lights stay up in the trees lining the sidewalks downtown through the Arts and Crafts Festival in March. But this year, especially along Section Street, lights festooned only the lower parts of the trees in what some described as a basket effect. While some like it, many don’t. On her Facebook page “Karin for Fairhope,” Mayor Karin Wilson said the electric department found the trees grew so quickly over the past year that there weren’t enough lights to go all the way to the top. The announcement set off a decorating debate in the comments section that included the merits of the basket look, whether the lights were wrapped too far down the trunks, the use of LED

lights, and so on. There seemed to be strong feelings against nets. City officials said a new Facebook page, entitled “Make Our Lights Great Again” would go up Tuesday. The page would invite President-elect Donald Trump to drive through Fairhope when he visits Mobile on Saturday. It had not yet been set up as Lagniappe went to press. Some 7,000 strings of mostly LED lights were used this year at a cost of $47,000. The additional lights will cost $23,452 plus labor — assuming the lights are still in stock. LED lights were reported to be more expensive, but the city expects to save money on electricity costs. According to the electric department, one tree can draw as much power as an average house. Upon learning the city would end up spending more than $70,000 to light up this year, not including the cost of electricity, several council members expressed reluctance to spend the money. But they said they saw no other choice. Because of time constraints, they authorized the purchase of the lights without a formal vote and said they would formally approve it at the next meeting on Dec. 22. Wilson promised that the city would look at other options for tree lighting during the next year.

Carry on




moratorium on new residential construction in Fairhope could be voted on Dec. 22 after City Council members refused to consider Mayor Karin Wilson’s request for an immediate ban Monday. Wilson asked for a vote on the moratorium during the council’s work session before the regular meeting. The moratorium was not on the agenda, so the council would have had to vote unanimously to add the item. At least two council members, Kevin Boone and Jimmy Conyers, said they would not consent to do so because neither builders nor other members of the public had been notified. “I think to slide it in 10 minutes in advance [of the regular meeting], it’s going to be some backlash,” Conyers said. Boone said, “To push it through tonight would be to railroad it.” A moratorium had been discussed by Wilson and the new council at a recent work session but no action was taken, as council members agreed they needed to talk it over more and perhaps call a special meeting on the subject. Wilson said then she did not want to have development at a standstill for six months and wanted to first conduct a study of the capacity of the utility system. But on Monday, water and sewer superintendent Dan McCrory said parts of the city sewer system are already at capacity, and continued development in the planning jurisdiction adjacent to the city may make things worse. The study is needed, he said. “Right now I can’t sign off on any more development until this is done,” McCrory said. Single- and multi-family projects that have already been approved or applied for would not be affected by the moratorium. A subdivision that is already approved may not start construction or complete it for a year or more, so there is time to deal with the problem before sewer hookups are needed, McCrory said. In addition, Wilson said, the Planning and

Zoning Department has been “inundated” with applications since the previous discussion. Applications totaling 472 lots are already on the Planning Commission’s agenda and 1,200 more lots are pending. Wilson said the situation has become urgent, and that the proposed moratorium had been discussed already. “This is not last-minute,” she said. Citizens want to control growth, and the city doesn’t answer to developers, Wilson said. “As far as a sense of urgency, how long do you want us to take? We’ve been in office over a month,” she said. A 10-day moratorium was also discussed but rejected. After the regular meeting, Council President Jack Burrell said he would put the sixmonth moratorium on the agenda for Dec. 22. The council then complicated the situation by refusing to vote on Wilson’s proposed contract with Cowles, Murphy, Glover & Associates to study the city utilities system’s gas, water and sewer capacities. The engineering firm has offices in Mobile; LaGrange, Georgia; and Arlington, Tennessee, outside Memphis. Wilson said she wanted “fresh eyes” on the utilities system. The firm is one of the best in the Southeast, she said, and the contract would not exceed $20,000. But after Conyers moved to approve the contract, no one seconded the motion and the contract died for lack of a second. Council members said they could find no evidence that the firm had any experience with municipal utilities systems and preferred a consultant that is familiar with Fairhope’s system. Also during Monday’s work session, no action was taken on a request from the Dollar General Senior Bowl for a $35,000 donation in return for holding one of the college all-star game’s practices in Fairhope. The Senior Bowl made the same request last year for the first time and the previous council approved it. D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 7


A coach’s complaint




here have been a number of personnel shakeups at Chickasaw City Schools over the past two years, and now a federal lawsuit is alleging a criminal investigation of a former principal and the departure of popular football coach were connected. In 2014, former principal Brent Ward resigned just ahead of reports of a criminal investigation against him. Then, in May 2015, the decision not to renew former football coach Ronnie Cottrell’s contract raised questions among parents and the Chieftains’ young fanbase. Cottrell, a former assistant coach at the University of Alabama, was hired in April 2014 and took Chickasaw to the playoffs in the school’s first year of varsity football. Less than a year later, he was ousted by the board of education before taking a job at Mobile Christian School. In September of this year, Cottrell joined two other former employees in a lawsuit against Chickasaw City Schools, accusing the system of conspiring to prevent the reporting of an “assault” on a student and then retaliating against them for pursuing criminal charges before ultimately having them terminated. Cottrell is joined by former assistant coach James Rigdon, as well as Rigdon’s wife, Stacy, who was previously employed by the school system as a paraprofessional. The case revolves around the Rigdons’ son, Chandler — a former Chickasaw High School student. According to the complaint, Chandler Rigdon was standing in a hallway at the school when former Principal Brent Ward allegedly walked up and hit him at least three times — once on the back of his head, once on the top of his head and once on the side of his face. “The third hit was to the side of Chandler’s face,” the complaint continues. “Chandler’s face became red and swollen.” Cottrell is said to have witnessed Ward striking Chandler

Rigdon, and in the complaint his lawyers accuse former Assistant Principal Willie Lewis of telling Cottrell he “needed to calm [Rigdon’s father] down” — that “the Rigdons did not need to press charges.” James Rigdon claims he was also confronted by Lewis at football practice on the same day, where Lewis allegedly told him, “Word for the wise, if you want to stay, you need to let it go.” Rigdon, however, did not let it go. According to the complaint, he began requesting security footage taken from the hallway on the day his son was supposedly struck by Ward. After seeing it, Rigdon says he began pushing for the school system to take action. The complaint states that Ward’s actions were reported to Chickasaw City School Board President Robert McFall, then-Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and the Alabama State Department of Education — all of whom supposedly took no action to investigate. Ultimately, Chandler Rigdon and his parents filed a complaint against Ward with the Chickasaw City Police Department on Nov. 3 — the same day Ward was placed on administrative leave by school officials. While news reports about Ward being placed on administrative leave began circulating just as the Rigdons filed their criminal complaint, their current lawsuit suggests it wasn’t their son’s accusation that prompted the board’s decision. “The Board and Superintendent Kallhoff did not discipline Ward for hitting Chandler,” the complaint continues. “Instead, weeks after the incident with Chandler, Ward was accused of sexual harassment by a female employee. Rather than face discipline for that incident, Ward resigned from his position.” While still on administrative leave in November 2014, Ward did in fact tender his resignation, and did so while school officials were still investigating allegations that had

8 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

been “submitted by another employee.” However, at the time, Kallhoff didn’t go into more detail. Both the Rigdons and Cottrell cooperated with the Chickasaw Police Department’s investigation. Cottrell also went on to testify in Chickasaw Municipal Court and the Mobile County Circuit Court trials against Ward, though the charge was ultimately thrown out. All three plaintiffs said they were subjected to “harassment and disparate treatment” from other school employees — behavior they claim “escalated” once Chandler Rigdon filed charges against Ward. According to the complaint, that treatment included things like “random and unnecessary visits to their classrooms” and being “disciplined for seemingly minor events.” The Chickasaw City Board of Education opted not to renew Cottrell’s contract on May 21, 2015. According to the complaint, Kallhoff notified James and Stacey Rigdon earlier that month they would also be placed on administrative leave, without providing a reason, which is allowed for non-tenured employees. In June, the board non-renewed the Rigdons’ contracts, a decision the complaint says was made at the recommendation of Kallhoff — who left Chickasaw the following month to take a job as the superintendent of Demopolis City Schools. The lawsuit, which is seeking back pay and compensatory damages, suggests all three employees were terminated or had their contracts non-renewed because of their involvement in the case against Ward. In an unrelated incident this year, Ward was fired as the principal of Nichols Middle School in Canton, Mississippi, after allegedly putting a student there in a headlock. However, Ward denied any wrongdoing in reports from the time published in the Jackson Free Press. Lagniappe reached out to Chickasaw City Schools, but was told no employees could comment on pending litigation. However, the school system has denied almost all of the claims in Cottrell’s lawsuit in a response filed in U.S. District Court. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs similarly said they wouldn’t be able to comment on the lawsuit at this time. However, this is not the first time either coach has filed lawsuits against institutions they’ve worked for or with. In 2004, Rigdon received a $265,000 settlement from Savannah State University — a historically black college which he sued for racial discrimination after being terminated by the school’s athletic director. Cottrell famously sued former recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper and the NCAA in 2005 over comments about him that were made during an NCAA investigation into Alabama’s football program that resulted in stiff penalties for the Crimson Tide. A jury in Tuscaloosa County initially agreed with Cottrell, awarding him a $30 million verdict, though that figure was later overturned by a judge — a decision that was upheld by Alabama’s Supreme Court.


Trump’s ‘thank you’


Photo | Lagniappe

President-elect Donald Trump speaks at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Aug. 21, 2015. The president-elect will return Saturday.


resident-elect Donald Trump’s campaign, along with the U.S. Secret Service, will pay for the majority of the Republican’s return visit to Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday, according to a fact sheet given to members of the Mobile City Council and released to the media by Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office. The city will play host to Trump as one of the transition team’s stops on a nationwide “thank you” tour. It will be Trump’s second visit to Mobile since his campaign kicked off in 2015. The first visit, in August 2015, drew a crowd of several thousand to the stadium. The city spent more than $16,000 for that first visit and will be “responsible for costs associated with supporting the [Secret Service] and nominal costs to support the overall operation” this time, administration officials wrote. “All costs will be released as soon as possible after the event,” the statement reads. “This city is committed to be stewards of the public resources.” Nearly half of the money spent last year, or just over $8,000, went to the rental of 14 buses to transport attendees to the stadium from satellite parking locations. There has been no word yet on the parking situation this time. Chief of Staff Colby Cooper said the event is slated for 3 p.m. but gates will open at 11 a.m. At a pre-conference meeting, Cooper recommended visitors get there as early as possible. Overtime for Mobile Police officers last year equaled more than $7,000 and the department will lend a support role to the Secret Service for

this visit, according to the fact sheet. That cost will not be reimbursed by the federal government. “The USSS is a federal agency who has jurisdiction over the president-elect’s safety and security, including traffic movements and the venues he visits,” the sheet reads. “The Mobile Police Department willingly supports this operation based on the capacity and capability knowing that its participation will be only as robust as it can absorb the costs. If a law enforcement agency cannot absorb costs, or has manpower capability issues, the USSS will look for support from other law enforcement agencies.” The administration defended the benefits of such a visit, according to the fact sheet. “The visit is an opportunity to showcase Mobile’s spirited, soulful hospitality and rich diversity to our next commander-in-chief, his staff and accompanying media,” the sheet reads. “Mobile has an opportunity to showcase its manufacturing prowess, strategic location as a crossroads of commerce, a second-to-none delta ecosystem, as well as our need for infrastructure support from the federal government via the I-10 bridge.” Another cost associated with Trump’s first visit was $1,155 spent on 150 King Cakes in jars. The treats were given to out-of-town media members to show off the city’s hospitality, Cooper said at the time. For tickets to the event, log onto www. Look up the event on the schedule tab.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 9


Grading on a curve



he Mobile County Public School System was one of the school districts the federal government reviewed prior to last week’s revelation that calculation errors caused Alabama to misreport statewide graduation rates for the 2013-14 school year. The State Department of Education (ALSDE) acknowledged those findings in a release issued last week amid an ongoing review of graduation rates in Alabama, California and at least one other state being conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Over the past four years, Alabama has touted large improvements in its statewide graduation rate, even as students moved into a new, more rigorous curriculum as part of the state’s College and Career Ready Standards. In 2015, ALSDE announced an 89.3 percent graduation rate — continuing a steady upward climb from the 72 percent rate reported in 2012 and putting Alabama among the top three states in the country. However, with the recent announcement, ALSDE confirmed errors in the way those figures were calculated caused them to be “misstated to the people of Alabama — policymakers, educators, parents, students, all citizens” and the federal education officials conducting the current audit of those rates. “We are accountable to all people of this state and deeply regret the misstating of our graduation rate,” State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance said last week. “We are now undergoing a meticulous review to ensure that all monitoring and data collection is performed with fidelity.” ALSDE spokesperson Malissa Valdes-Hubert said the USDE review targeted the graduating class of 2013-14, though she couldn’t say whether other years were affected.

She also said state officials don’t have an accurate number for the current graduation rate or “any plans to do any recalculations at this time.” One problem identified by the USDE was the state’s lack of oversight regarding the graduation numbers reported by local school districts as well as the class credits those districts used to award diplomas. “In some cases, local school systems misstated student records and awarded class credit, resulting in diplomas that were not honestly earned. The ALSDE did not monitor local systems with the necessary scrutiny,” the release reads. “This was an internal, administrative oversight and the ALSDE is now in the process of addressing all related areas.” Valdes-Hubert said because the USDE was still conducting its review, the state does not yet know which local school systems might have “misstated” their own graduation rates or how many there could be altogether. Sentance issued a statement Monday clarifying previous reports that MCPSS has been targeted for review by the USDE early on in its review process. While he did confirm that federal officials had “visited and reviewed records” from MCPSS, he said the district “was not chosen for any particular cause.” “According to the USDE, it conducted the audit ‘to determine whether the ALSDE has implemented a system of internal control over calculating and reporting graduation rates that are sufficient to provide reasonable assurance that reported graduation rates are accurate and complete,’” Sentance added. So far, MCPSS — Alabama’s largest public school system — and Birmingham City Schools are the only districts state education officials have acknowledged were reviewed

10 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

by the USDE individually — which, if for no other reason, could be because of their large enrollments. Last week, MCPSS spokesperson Rena Philips said local school officials had “explicitly followed the guidelines set forth by the [ALSDE]” and had “submitted all documentation as required.” Philips went on to say ALSDE also “reviewed and verified the graduation records” that Mobile County schools presented. However, another key error in the state’s calculation of graduation rates involved students who received an Alabama Occupational Diploma — a specialized degree that allows students to get job training in school using a unique set of work requirements, curriculum and standards. The USDE review concluded that, currently, the Alabama Occupational Diploma is not anchored to the state standards required for graduation, adding that students that received it in the year’s reviewed shouldn’t have been counted when determining a four-year cohort graduation rate. While the Alabama Occupational Diploma program dates back to the early 2000s, the high school graduation requirements used today weren’t approved by the Alabama State Board of Education until January 2013. Those new requirements were updated to reflect the adoption of the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards but they also created “multiple pathways” for students to earn a diploma — including the Alabama Occupational Diploma. At the time, then-State Superintendent Tommy Bice clarified that students on an occupational diploma track, as well as special education graduates, could be counted as regular graduates beginning with the class of 2013. Last week, as reports of the misreported graduation numbers began circulating, Bice told that he still “stood by that decision.” At this point, though, it’s still unclear how yearly graduation rates might be affected when those types of alternative diplomas are no longer calculated. Like other districts, MCPSS has counted recipients of the Alabama Occupational Diploma among their “regular graduates.” However, the school system has yet to respond to inquiries about how many of those diplomas it has awarded since 2013. Both the ALSDE and local school officials have said more information would be available when the review by the USDE is complete and released to the public. In the meantime, Sentance said ALDE is already reviewing its internal protocols and will be increasing the training of its staff as well as “organizationally restructuring.” “We will be establishing an internal audit unit to ensure protocols and procedures are followed,” he continued. “We will also continue to work within the USDE.”

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 11


The state’s wild graduation improvements were never believable ROB HOLBERT/MANAGING EDITOR/RHOLBERT@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM

Department of Education reads. “This was an internal, administrative oversight and the ALSDE is now in the process of addressing all related areas.” But we’re just supposed to believe schools where roughly half the students didn’t graduate three years ago have suddenly begun pumping out qualified graduates at nearly double the rate? The issues right now are no different than they were a few years ago when test pumping was the rage. They are complex to say the least. In schools where parents aren’t generally terribly involved, it’s hard to get the kids to study or maybe even behave well. As a teacher, if you fail everyone who deserves to fail, you’ll probably get fired. And if you ever hope to move up into the big bucks of administration, there’s pressure to post good results. As the test scandal would suggest, some people are willing to do almost anything to move on up that school system ladder. In the meantime, remediation rates among Alabama’s recent graduates remain remarkably high, suggesting that regardless of what their diploma says, many students aren’t terribly well educated when they leave high school. So the bottom line is, what are we willing to accept from our county and our state? The one thing we absolutely can’t accept is dishonesty when it comes to reporting on these graduation rates.


12 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

In 2011, Rain had a 49 percent graduation rate, but that improved to 91 percent in 2015. Davidson saw its rate go from 55 percent to 90 percent in the same time frame. Those are some pretty eye-popping numbers to say the least. Not to say there haven’t been SOME legitimate improvements. When you look at the fact graduation requirements were lowered in 2013 and the high school graduation exam was also dumped that same year, it stands to reason those changes might also have had as much impact as better teaching methods and a focus on getting students ready for college or employment. While the Mobile County Public School System was one of three systems in the state visited by the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General concerning high school graduation rates, Sentance and his crew are nebulously claiming “no significant concerns” have been reported to the state about MCPSS. And I guess we’ll have to buy that for now, but it’s a hard sell. It also kind of flies in the face of logic and statements coming directly from the State Department of Education, which says local school districts were at least partially to blame for the bad numbers. “In some cases, local school systems misstated student records and awarded class credit, resulting in diplomas that were not honestly earned. The ALSDE did not monitor local systems with the necessary scrutiny,” a statement from the U.S.

Cartoon/Laura Rasmussen


veryone who believes graduation rates across this state have skyrocketed over the past few years, resulting in better-educated people getting a diploma on graduation day, raise your hands. OK, put them down. This is a newspaper and I can’t see you. But I doubt it mattered because my guess is almost no one reading this would be gullible enough to believe our state — after decades of being an educational laughing stock — has suddenly become a national leader in education excellence. But that’s what we’ve been told since 2012. That’s the year our state’s education rate began its meteoric rise from an embarrassing 72 percent to a third-best-in-the-country 89 percent in 2015. That’s what the people in charge of public education in Alabama would have us believe, at least. Suddenly a U.S. Department of Education review has top educators backpedaling and admitting a calculation error in the reporting has produced inaccurate results. Um, Alabama State Department of Education, we’re going to need you to take math again this summer. “We are accountable to all people of this state and deeply regret the misstating of our graduation rate,” State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance said of the burgeoning scandal. “We are now undergoing a meticulous review to ensure that all monitoring and data collection is performed with fidelity.” Well, as long as it’s a meticulous review performed with fidelity, things should be right as rain in no time. Except this is simply a continuation of the flim-flam that’s been going on in Alabama education for at least the past several years. What people like Sentance and school system superintendents across the state are once again asking us to believe is that there are no coordinated efforts to put an undeserved shine on our education system. I say “once again” because it wasn’t so long ago we were all looking askance at the impressive testing numbers being turned in across the state. Mobile in particular was singled out as a place where test score inflation was rampant. Of course, Superintendent Martha Peek brushed aside such charges. We did several stories with teachers who reported seeing cheating firsthand, but those were dismissed as complaints of disgruntled employees or former employees. The school system and the city seemed far more interested in attacking the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for singling out Mobile County Public Schools as a place where aberrant scores indicated a strong likelihood of cheating than they were in really investigating the issue. As the test cheating scandal kicked into high gear, the state announced schools would be putting more emphasis on graduation rates and doing away with or downgrading testing when it came to judging success. And guess what, graduation rates started shooting through the roof. Just as in the test cheating scandal, no one is content just to have a modest improvement that won’t raise too many eyebrows. We swung for the fences and turned in results that place Alabama third in the country in terms of graduation rate. So in just three years we went from Sucksville to the Big Leagues when it comes to graduation rate. Truly amazing. Peek should take a big bow, because Mobile’s beleaguered school system went from a 64 percent graduation rate in 2011 to 86 percent last year!!! This improvement was paced by phenomenal turnarounds at schools like B.C. Rain and Davidson.





n this day and age, where just about everything in life is scripted and designed to be captured with an iPhone in hopes of “going viral,” marriage proposals must be much, much harder for this generation of prospective bridegrooms. And it starts long before they have to pop the “big question,” as they have to come up with some extravagant way to even ask their girls to the prom these days. If you are a Gen X-er, like myself, Google “promposal ideas” and you will be mystified. Mystified, first of all, by the fact that “promposal” is actually now a word and secondly, the elaborate measures pimply teenagers must go through to get a date for the prom. Back in my day, the good ol’ 1990s, you were just happy to find someone to show up with you and take photos for your mom, so you could then immediately leave and go stand in a parking lot somewhere — probably still wearing your formal with at least one puffy sleeve while definitely drinking cheap, warm beer (usually The Beast). Ah, memories! Now, I suppose these kids don’t just have to worry about getting a date (or who is getting The Beast) but getting a date who asked them to said occasion in the most spectacular of ways. Can’t you just hear this conversation playing out? Girl One: How did Jackson ask you to prom? Girl Two: He just asked me. Girl One: Oh, he just asked you … with like … words? That’s so sad. Elliot rode up to school dressed up as a prince on a real-life horse and held a sign that said, “Every princess needs a prince. Prom?” (That prince/horse thing actually happened, though the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the sappy.) Another guy pretended to play dead by putting up crime scene tape in his girl’s room and outlining his “dead body” with tape. There was sign nearby that read, “I’m dying to go to prom with you.” Awwwww, I guess. But also sigh and barf. I’m exhausted in advance for my kids. But perhaps it was in this vein that one local Romeo planned a very unusual proposal for his Juliet — a plan he executed last weekend, with the help of the Mobile Police Department. By now, I am sure you have all seen the video of Daiwon Mcpherson, who appears to have been pulled over and chased by two Mobile Police officers, who have their weapons drawn. (The weapons in question were Tasers, but when I first watched it I thought they were guns, as many others did.) The officers commanded Mcpherson to get on his knees on the ground at a very busy gas station on Water Street and then can be heard yelling, “Do you have a gun?” He seems to say yes to them, so the police ask his girlfriend (who looks absolutely terrified) if she will get the gun (which of course seems very strange). But then instead of her beau producing a weapon, he whips out an engagement ring and asks her to marry him. Then everyone hugs and laughs. And she says yes.   At press time, the video had received more than 17 million views and has garnered both

praise and criticism. I watched the video without knowing what it was at first and maybe that’s why it freaked me out so much. As the officers moved in and asked if he had a gun, knots started to form in my stomach and my chest started to tighten. We are all sadly accustomed to seeing these police videos by now, and they usually do not end well, to say the least. I was steeling myself to hear gunshots and see something horrible happen. So when the ring popped out and I realized it was an elaborate ruse and the cops were in on it, I was admittedly relieved. But my initial reaction was a giant WTF? I’m sure not everyone at the gas station was in on this. This could have really gone horribly wrong. And considering all that has happened here in the last year with our community and our police department, was this really the best idea? Apparently, the majority of people think it was. I would say most of the comments I have seen have been overwhelmingly positive — which is surprising since most people spend as much time being outraged about something as they do breathing these days. The groom has been interviewed by various local and national media outlets since this joyous occasion. He said he had been in trouble with the law but also has relatives who were in law enforcement, and he just wanted to show that cops could be good too, while also proving to his girl that he had changed and he would go all out for her. OK, I’m sorry, but this is just weird any way you look at it. It makes light of the very serious issue of police shootings, which has been at the center of public discourse for years now. But at the same time, it also seems a bit demeaning to the police officers to me. “Hey look, we aren’t so bad, we won’t shoot you ALL the time, we may even help you pull some really cool pranks.” But most of all, dude, Daiwon, you just scared your poor girlfriend half to death. I would have Tased my husband myself if he had done this to me. Is this where proposals are headed? Well then, Holy, um, matrimony, indeed! What’s next? The fire department helping stage proposals in “burning” buildings? I am literally burning for your love, Sue! Save me by saying I do! Maybe al-Qaida or ISIS could offer up some faux beheading or hostage situation engagement packages. The executioners can hold up a sign at the end that reads, “He can keep his head, if he can have your hand, infidel!” Then everyone can giggle and take photos. No beheading here, just love! I certainly don’t want to beat up on our police department. It is a thankless job, but geez, it seems like there might have been better ways to showcase their commitment to “community policing.” Maybe I’m just old fashioned in thinking proposals should never involve Tasers or law enforcement. (Save that for the honeymoon!) Either way, I wish our Romeo and Juliet all the best. And I am truly happy this didn’t end up as tragically as it did for those other starcrossed lovers.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 13




t’s not quite time for Christmas yet, but a little elf told me it’s best to get your wish list in early. That little elf must know Montgomery’s political wheels are slow to turn, and my wish list is long and detailed. Below is my wish list for this year, and it is truly that: wishful thinking. Montgomery rarely gets anything completely right, but there are lots of things they get very wrong. Here’s to wishing some of these things change after this Christmas season. 1. I wish the Alabama Legislature would pass budgets without having to call one or more special sessions. Each year, the Legislature is allowed by law to meet for 30 legislative days over a few months, during which time they’re supposed to pass both the state’s general and education budgets. To no one’s surprise, this often doesn’t happen, and legislators are forced to meet in what are called special sessions to pass one or both budgets. These special sessions have been held as many as four and five times a year, costing taxpayers up to $500,000 each time. It amounts to stopgap politics that result from a lack of compromise and leadership on behalf of lawmakers. I wish they’d just do their job and pass the budgets the first time. 2. I wish Montgomery’s political leadership would think before they act. Almost every year, the Statehouse passes legislation that winds up losing in court, all on the taxpayer’s dime. Whether it involves gay marriage, gambling or immigration, Alabama’s lawmakers don’t have a good batting average when it comes to controversial legislation standing up in court, and that’s cost us. Each of these examples has cost the state hundreds of thousands on different occasions, costs we should not have

to incur. All it takes is a little forethought. 3. I wish the impeachment proceedings against Gov. Robert Bentley were allowed to move forward. Recently the lawmaker heading the committee considering charges against Bentley suspended the proceedings at the request of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. There’s no reason legislative and criminal investigations can’t run concurrently. In fact, if there’s truly a criminal investigation of our governor, as Strange’s request suggests, then impeachment proceedings should be expedited, not slowed. Alabama deserves an honest and accountable leader, and the Statehouse should help make sure we have one. 4. I wish Montgomery would let local issues be solved locally. Only a few counties in Alabama have any amount of home rule, and the power of cities is also very limited. Conservative politicians say they hold local governance, not top-down rule, as a core value, but somewhere on Interstate 65 between here and Montgomery, they forget that particular principle. Mobile should spend its BP funds how it wants; at the same time, if Birmingham wants a minimum wage, that’s their solution. It doesn’t have to be ours, but let them choose. So this Christmas season, I’m hoping Goat Hill lets us do what we do best: govern ourselves. 5. I wish politicians wouldn’t lie to us. It seems every other week there’s a lying politician (or two or three) saying one thing, only to be contradicted by the stubborn truth just days later. The latest example is bigger and bolder than those before: this month we found out that the Alabama State Department of Education essentially lied about the state’s graduation rate, reporting it as the third-highest in




he earliest printed citation referring to a link between memory and the sight of something goes back as far as the 16th century. It’s recognized as the origin of an oft-cited phrase, “out of sight, out of mind.” We understand this phrase to mean that if you don’t see someone or something frequently, you will soon forget them. That particular thing or person will slowly become less of a priority, lose significance and importance will fade over time. It’s why societally we have dedicated certain times of the year to bring to the forefront of our collective awareness very pressing issues — Domestic Violence Month, Cancer Awareness Month, Go Red for Women Initiative (which focuses on heart disease and stroke among women) and the like. These are examples of public awareness campaigns highlighting certain problems, and attempting to eradicate or lessen their impact. It’s not that we humans are innately coldhearted. It’s just that if someone is not or has not in some way been personally affected by things, it’s easy to forget the pain and damage they cause. Out of sight, out of mind. There can be no truer axiom to describe HIV/AIDS today. Its numbers today is staggering, particularly in the Southern part of the United States. Great advancements have been made in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which at one point led to the deaths of 50,000 people in one year. Yet in certain areas of the country — notably the South — the number of reported new cases is disconcertingly high. It might be out of sight and out of mind, but it’s strik-

ing our region of the country with a vengeance. According to the latest statistics, southern states — from Texas to Louisiana and from Georgia to Florida — have some of the highest HIV new-infection rates in the country. Alabama is one of the top 10 states in the nation for number of diagnosed cases. Seven of the top 10 cities with the highest rates of HIV infection are in the South. The top four, in order, are: Mi-

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST STATISTICS, SOUTHERN STATES … HAVE SOME OF THE HIGHEST HIV NEW-INFECTION RATES IN THE COUNTRY. ALABAMA IS ONE OF THE TOP 10 STATES IN THE NATION FOR NUMBER OF DIAGNOSED CASES.” ami, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson, Mississippi. For agencies on the front line of this fight it’s a daunting task, made even more so because this scourge is so hidden. Being a deeply religious and conservative area of the country, the South’s epidemic is allowed to remain in the shadows despite its devastating impact and cost. Lanita Kharel is executive director of the local AIDS Alabama South agency. She has been at the helm of the

14 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

the country when our K-12 academics are more middle of the road at best. I say “essentially” because the agency said it was lied to itself about student’s records by local school officials. That doesn’t make me feel better, though; instead of just a few liars, we may have many, and we aren’t even being told who they are. I just wish we had the truth. 6. I wish Montgomery would end the practice of judicial overrides. Alabama is the only state in the country where if if a jury sentences a defendant to life in prison for a crime, a judge can override that decision and put that man or woman to death regardless of the opinion of his or her peers. The U.S. Supreme Court has said the practice is unconstitutional, and Alabama is still dragging its feet on the issue.

THERE’S NO REASON LEGISLATIVE AND CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS CAN’T RUN CONCURRENTLY. IN FACT, IF THERE’S TRULY A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF OUR GOVERNOR, AS STRANGE’S REQUEST SUGGESTS, THEN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS SHOULD BE EXPEDITED, NOT SLOWED.” Just last week, the state executed a man who a jury had sentenced to life without parole. That’s not justice. I wish the Alabama Legislature would do the right thing and repeal the state law allowing for these overrides. 7. I wish justice wasn’t for sale in Alabama. Our state is one of only a few where judges run for office in so-called partisan elections, where candidates are labeled outright as Republican or Democrat. Judges from across the political spectrum, including former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, have criticized the practice. Studies have shown that under a system like Alabama’s, judges are more likely to sentence harshly ahead of election day. Justice shouldn’t depend on the election calendar. Even further, Justice Cobb, for instance, has said that having to raise thousands in campaign donations from the very people who will then be before your court is truly problematic. Justice shouldn’t be up for sale. The Alabama Legislature, with a little help from the voters, can change the way our judges are selected. I wish they would. organization since 2013, a year after AIDS Alabama took over the work and mission of South Alabama Cares. With AIDS Alabama South being the only AIDS support service between New Orleans and Pensacola, serving a 12-county area, she said she feels this is the most important work she could possibly be engaged in. As the former director of education, and later executive director of Birmingham AIDS Outreach, she is acutely aware of the damage HIV/AIDS is wreaking across the South, throughout Alabama, and in our immediate area. Mobile has the second-highest HIV rate in the state, she noted, and AIDS Alabama South is seeing people test positive almost daily. “The age ranges are from 15 to 70. We have young people as well as senior citizens testing positive,” Kharel said. A sobering reality. “HIV follows the poverty line,” she noted. “If you have high rates of poverty you’re going to have high rates of HIV.” Couple that with lack of education, or the fact that like many Southern states Alabama has no comprehensive sex education program in schools, and it makes for an explosive mix, she said. With no effective and mandated method for teaching young people how to safely avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, other than sometimes an abstinence-based method, it’s little wonder Alabama has the highest STD rates among teens in the nation. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, someone who has an STD is five times more likely to contract HIV. Poverty, lack of education and the social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS make it difficult to blunt the growth of the virus in our area and the greater South, but these obstacles serve as fuel for Kharel and her small but dedicated staff to be relentless in combating HIV/AIDS. Though it begins with testing — something she says she can’t emphasize enough and which her agency offers free of charge daily to anyone — the real work is in the myriad services AIDS Alabama South provides to so many throughout a 12,545-square-mile region. From counseling, housing assistance, transportation to and from medical appointments, medical/treatment education and adherence guidance, support groups, a food pantry and even more services, it’s a vital front-line agency in a fight against a viral enemy whose prevalence and lethality are underestimated. As in other Southern states, despite the prevalence and impact of HIV/AIDS, state and local government funding is being reduced rather than expanded, let alone kept constant. With the elimination of its city funding, AIDS Alabama South has not been an exception to this trend. However, the seriousness of this epidemic is not going away. At this rate, it can only stay out of sight and out of mind for so long.


The mythology of ‘fake news’ and its influence BY JEFF POOR/COLUMNIST/JEFFREYPOOR@GMAIL.COM


he modern cliché “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” apparently should be slapped onto every computer as a warning label. According to the media and coastal elites: You, the public, are too stupid to tell fact from fiction on the internet. As many question how and why Americans could elect Donald Trump as president of the United States, one of the ways they are coping is by floating bizarre reasons, conveniently ignoring some of the real explanations for Trump’s win — like, to name a few, Hillary Clinton’s inherent flaws, a struggling working class, unrestrained immigration, declining manufacturing base, etc. Enter “fake news.” Fake news is the most recent effort to delegitimize Trump. To the people decrying “fake news,” Clinton’s defeat had to be the result of something nefarious. After the news media, Hollywood and even some in the Republican Party deemed Trump to be completely unfit for office,

trans fat or beach mouse extinction. Hillary Clinton, in one of her few public appearances since the election, came out last week to condemn the fake news phenomenon. She pointed to an incident involving a North Carolina man who for some reason decided to investigate one of these alleged fake news stories, which said an owner of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant was a front for a child sex operation. The man, who reportedly saw the fake story on the internet, showed up at the Comet Ping Pong restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest D.C. brandishing an assault rifle.  “Fake news” may or may not have motivated this man. But if an individual is willing to drive six hours with a loaded gun to “investigate” a story he saw in some dark corner of the internet, he has issues unrelated to “fake news” that likely need psychiatric attention — not breathless news coverage.  Some are also blaming “fake news” as the reason Clinton lost the presidential elecFAKE NEWS IS THE LABEL GIVEN TO THINGS tion. Lately, however, there DISGUISED AS NEWS REPORTS THAT ARE  is an effort to OFTEN TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. THESE STORIES ARE exploit that viewpoint for “CLICK BAIT,” INTENDED TO VALIDATE ONE’S further political CONFIRMATION BIAS. FAKE NEWS CATERS TO BOTH gain. Assume you THE LEFT AND RIGHT AND, APPARENTLY, HAS ITS do not like the REAL IMPACT ONCE PEOPLE BEGIN POSTING FAKE point of view of a particular STORIES ON SOCIAL MEDIA. media outlet. Step one: Wage and force-fed that view to the American public a campaign that it is “fake news.” Point to last — there was no way he should have won!  week’s incident in Washington, D.C., or antiAt first we were told Trump had somehow Obama birtherism as evidence it is a problem. co-opted the spirit of white nationalism to win, Step two: Pick a media outlet and in some meaning people who voted for Barack Obama way tie it to “fake news.” If it’s an effective in 2008 and 2012 suddenly decided to embrace campaign, meaning you can get airtime on their darker sensibilities. We have also heard left-leaning cable channels and newspapers, the the Russians are somehow to blame, and now campaign is validated.  that we are about a month removed from the The outlet, whether or not it is warranted, has election and emotions have calmed, people are the figurative “Scarlet Letter” and its credibility blaming “fake news.” is shot. No one wants to advertise and that point Fake news is the label given to things of view in effect is rendered “fake news.” disguised as news reports that are often too That has a chilling effect. It forces media good to be true. These stories are “click bait,” outlets to play it safe, or they will be called intended to validate one’s confirmation bias. “fake news” and lose advertisers. Or they Fake news caters to both the left and right and, won’t be taken seriously as a media outlet by apparently, has its real impact once people their colleagues in the news media and those begin posting fake stories on social media. about whom they are reporting.   For example, someone posts a story positing So what’s the solution to this scourge of that Obama paid taxes in Kenya in the 1980s, and fake news? since only Kenyan nationals pay taxes, he must It is self-reliance, and not defined by those be a Kenyan and not an American, and thus not who took “Plato’s Republic” a little too serieligible for the presidency. The website’s URL ously in college and think the plebes need the looks authentic. It has documentation! philosopher kings to determine what truth is Well, obviously, it turns out to be a hoax. and isn’t. But the person who posted the false informaIf you’re able to pay taxes (even if it is in the tion gets a million clicks and makes a lot of form of sales tax), fill out a voter registration money off of the ad revenue from those clicks.  card and show up to a polling precinct to vote, Yes, that’s a problem. However, we are you are competent enough to make a determinabeing led to believe it is a problem that rises to tion who you think should be president of the the level of things like ISIS, global warming, U.S. — regardless of your belief in “fake news.”

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 15




ccording to John Vallas with Vallas Realty, Rangeline Crossing, a mixed-use commercial site in Tillman’s Corner, has been selected for the new 65,000-square-foot Veterans Administration Rehabilitation Facility, sitting on a 10.9-acre portion of the property. U.S. Federal Properties, the developer, is purchasing 12 acres in total and will break ground in 2017. One goal for the new VA facility is to work with Southwest Alabama’s significant ex-military population of over 50,000 veterans. “Since being elected to Congress, I have repeatedly called on the VA to move forward with this project,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Republican, said in a press release last week. “It is a shame the process took as long as it did, but the new facility will be able to better serve those who have given so much to our country. I will continue to provide diligent oversight throughout the construction process to ensure the project remains on schedule.” The VA currently leases around 45,000 square feet of space on two floors at the University of South Alabama, costing the agency around $58,000 per month. That rent is set to increase incrementally, topping out at $222,000 per month by January 2017, according to a source with USA. The VA had originally planned to vacate the space before the rent was increased, but is now attempting to negotiate a new lease while the new facility is being built. “There are thousands of veterans living in Mobile who have served their country, and they deserve a world-class facility that serves them,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “To the veterans living in Mobile, my hope is that this new facility will give you the quality care you need and deserve.”

Mitchell Cancer Institute opening Fairhope clinic

The USA Mitchell Cancer Institute clinic currently under construction in Fairhope has been named for attorney and philanthropist Vincent F. Kilborn III. Members of the USA Board of Trustees approved a resolution in early December to name the new 11,000-squarefoot Eastern Shore cancer treatment center the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute Kilborn Clinic. Kilborn established the Vincent F. Kilborn III Endowment at MCI earlier this year, committing $1.5 million to support the new facility on Fairhope Avenue. The site is expected to open in summer 2017, according to a news release “The generosity of the Kilborn family is heartwarming and we are very excited about our partnership,” Michael A. Finan, M.D., director of MCI, said. “This generous commitment will provide funding for an endowment, which will support our cancer services in Baldwin County for many years to come.” Kilborn, whose father died of pancreatic cancer in 1971, said he has felt a personal calling to combat the disease. In 2006, he created a research scholarship fund at USA to train top physicians and researchers at MCI. Kilborn encouraged others to join the battle against cancer. “Cancer has affected my family like it has so many others. The community has provided me with the opportunity to give back to those who need and deserve the best cancer treatment that medical science has to offer. The establishment of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute Kilborn Clinic will be a great stride in that effort.” Kilborn said.

Commercial real estate moves

Vallas Realty recently facilitated closure of the sale of 1.8 acres in the Rangeline Crossing development, currently

16 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

pending, purchased by the owners of Foosackly’s. The locally owned eatery plans to develop a freestanding restaurant along with a separate 6,000-squarefoot retail project. “We are also negotiating on 10 acres with a retail developer for a new shopping center and on another 1.5 acres for a national quick-service restaurant. This will have a major impact in that area,” Vallas said. “We have already sold three acres in the northwest corner where Fleet Trucking will be located. This would leave about eight acres between the shopping center and the VA facility. There is also about 20 acres suitable for apartments and hotels.” According to Vallas, the owner of the land is in the process of installing new roads throughout the site. For more information about the West Mobile development, visit Vallas Realty’s website. Shades Inc., a regional sunglass and apparel store, has opened two new locations in both Mobile and Baldwin counties. The retailer leased a 6,000-square-foot retail space inside the former Shoe Station outlet at the Eastern Shore Shopping Center in Spanish Fort. In Mobile it opened a 5,799-square-foot store in The Shoppes at Bel Air. Direct Furniture Outlet recently signed a lease for a 15,253-square-foot space at Spanish Fort Town Center in the former Books-A-Million space, according to Buff Teague with JLL, who represented the tenant. Angie McArthur with Stirling Properties worked for the landlord. Sprint wireless has leased 1,404 square feet of retail space in Gateway Center, 900 Industrial Park in Saraland. John Vallas of Vallas Realty represented the landlord and David Dexter of NAI Mobile worked for the tenant.  Flowers by the Shore recently leased 2,852 square feet of retail space at The Wharf, 4851 Wharf Parkway, Space D-128, in Orange Beach. The floral company is relocating from its current location in Gulf Shores and plans to open in January. Jeff Barnes with Stirling Properties represented the property owner. Ken Montgomery with Charter Landing Real Estate worked for the tenant. Beach Jerky leased a 2,065-square-foot space at the Gulf View Shopping Center in Orange Beach. The artisanal jerky retailer will feature deer, shark, tuna and other assorted jerky products. Plans are in place for the retailer to open in early 2017. Amber Dedeaux with Vallas Realty Inc. handled the transaction. Fresh Health Café has leased 1,700 square feet of restaurant space at 10184 Eastern Shore Blvd., Suite C, in Spanish Fort. Christy Chason and Buff Teague with JLL worked for the tenant. Barnes with Stirling Properties Broker represented the property owner. The restaurant plans to open next May. Nature Conservancy recently leased 330 square feet of office space at 118 N. Royal St. in Mobile. Steve McMahon with Inge & Associates Inc. handled the transaction. Moxie fitness studio and Cabinet King have opened at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Barnes with Stirling Properties represented the property owner in both transactions. 




Hilbun is a true class act, somewhat of a rarity among my close friends. He was a year behind me at Mississippi College, and of all those I knew, I credit him with being the guy who held it all together and kept everyone in contact through social media. He’s from the coast, Gulfport to be exact, a Braves fan and holds a law degree from Ole Miss. Despite all of this adversity, he turned out great. You’d be hard pressed to find a soul who speaks ill of this man. His seminar was on the Beltline, and with rainy-day traffic I told him I’d rearrange my schedule and pick him up for something close by. That led us just around the corner to Bishop’s Grill and Bar. In the former Baumhower’s Wings, Bishop’s is on the frontage road on the south side of Airport near Interstate 65. Hilbun and I were meeting one of my students, Mark Saunders (whose schedule I’d interrupted to make room for lunch), and found him at the hostess’ table. The place is very similar to Baumhower’s. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much change. There were plenty of televisions and the wait staff was friendly, so we took our seats and ordered a couple of iced teas (two for $5.18) and a

Photo | Daniel Anderson / Lagniappe


e were coming off a dry spell like I’d never seen in all of my time as a Port City resident. Yet today the bottom fell out. It was raining cats and dogs the way Mobile knows better than most, similar to a summer storm, but in the early days of December wreaking havoc on holiday transportation. I’m not sure it dampened the spirits of those doing their Christmas shopping, but it certainly increased the degree of difficulty for doing so. I was content to work from home that day. Avoid the nastiness. Let the others deal with it. But I got the call from old college pal Jonathan Hilbun mentioning he was locally attending a seminar and would have an hour lunch break.


Bishop’s, a Southern tradition restaurant, features hot chicken (right) and cheeseburgers on the menu. roast smothered in beef stock gravy. Green beans were the side free water. of the day and although they were good, they paled in compariThe first thing on the menu that caught my eye were fried son to the hand-mashed potatoes. Mark’s only complaint was Wickles ($6.99). Wickles are by far my favorite pickle, delightthe saltiness of the roast. fully sweet with a little bit of heat. To get them fried was a I knew we needed to have some sort of sampling of wings treat. Served with a side of their house-made ranch dressing, so I ordered Golden Barbecue ($12 for 10 wings). This is I was drawn to these more than my dining companions. Like a deal where you order your heat followed by your sauce. I them or not, this was a good attempt at shaking up fried dills. asked for mine hot, which apparently is a problem here. What Bishop’s was heavily promoting their Nashville Hot I received were some pretty good wings Chicken, so we all agreed the group should that tasted exactly like the “Eli Gold” flavor sample. Rather than sliders, a sandwich or from Baumhower’s. Yeah, they were fine, a platter, we thought the Hot Chicken TenI guess, but not hot. If there is a next time I der plate ($11.99) would give us a cross should go for “X-Hot” or the cutesy “Damn section of the heat Bishop’s was serving. I’m a novice enthusiast who has made PRETTY SOON THE MON- Hot,” which are actually menu choices. I’m not saying this place is a bad spot my own hot chicken, but Hilbun has eaten STER BURGER BECAME A for lunch. The normal, everyday menu his way through the real deal in Nashville. items seem fine. They fancy themselves a The three of us concur that although this DECONSTRUCTED MEAL Southern traditional restaurant (the website was very good chicken, the heat was absent. Nothing. It was not hot at all. Nobody ON A PLATE TO BE EATEN is and seem to execute that pretty well, but the grabbed the french fries. Nobody reached WITH A FORK. I’LL GIVE problem we had was generally the heat. for the ranch. There were no refills on our Nashville Hot Chicken is a thing right drinks. This is certainly not the “eat at your HIM THIS, HE DID FINISH now. When you put it on your menu it own risk” dish we’re used to. opens you up for some harsh criticism. I’m Hilbun, who is maybe a buck fifty soakTHE MEAT. not even one to enjoy the super intense heat ing wet, surprised Mark and myself when he of the stuff I’ve made but I’d sure rather ordered the Mac + Cheese Burger ($10.49). have something to talk about besides darker I knew there was no way my old pal would fried chicken tenders. plow through this half-pound burger with a slab of homemade It’s kind of like when someone says “New Orleans style.” macaroni taking up residence where the lettuce and tomato usuSay those words and you’d better be coming up with something ally hang out. I was right. It proved to be a little much, but he at worthy of being served in the Crescent City. Nashville Hot has least offered that the burger itself was really good. become a comparable phrase. Pretty soon the monster burger became a deconstructed meal All in all I enjoyed my meal, with a few criticisms, and on a plate to be eaten with a fork. I’ll give him this, he did finloved my time with my two friends. It’s great introducing ish the meat. someone from your past to someone from your present. If rainy Saunders, an engineer by trade, had studied the menu and days and Mondays bring you down, that’ll cheer you up. with his keen eye discovered the Pot Roast Platter ($9.50). Bishop’s could tweak a couple of things and cheer me up, too. This was a nod to a Southern classic of falling-apart chuck D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 17

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


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


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





211 Dauphin St. • 690-7482


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


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

HOMEMADE SOUPS & SANDWICHES 65 Government St • 208-6815


SEAFOOD AND SANDWICHES 212 ½ Fairhope Ave • 928-4100


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


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

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


3758 Dauphin Island Pkwy. • 473-1401


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





216 St Francis St. • 421-2022

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


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




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



3964 Gov’t Blvd. • 378-8083

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


9091 US-90 Irvington • 957-1414



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

7 SPICE ($-$$)


CORNER 251 ($-$$)




DAUPHIN’S ($$-$$$)


AUTHENTIC SUB SANDWICHES 7449 Airport Blvd • 375-1820




FIVE ($$)

CAFE 219 ($)

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




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


HOME COOKING. 4054 Government St. • 665-4557


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


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


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


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

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




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


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


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


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


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



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


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








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

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

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

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


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


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




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


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


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


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


BBQ AND MORE. Jubilee Sq.Ctr. Hwy 90, Daphne • 210-2151 McGowin Park Ctr. Satchel Paige Dr. • 471-1050 7721 Airport Blvd • 380-8957


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

RIBS, SANDWICHES & GREAT SIDES. 3314 Old Shell Rd. • 479-9898


18 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

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


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







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



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


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


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


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



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


2400 Airport Blvd. • 307-5535


Sushi Bar. 650 Cody Rd. S • 300-8383


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

LULU’S ($$)

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


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


SAISHO ($-$$)




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

ZEA’S ($$)



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

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


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

PDQ ($)

LOCAL INGREDIENTS 203 Dauphin St. • 690-6824


BAR FOOD 271 Dauphin St • 438-9585

BURGERS, MILKSHAKES & FRIES 4401 Old Shell Rd. • 447-2394 4663 Airport Blvd. • 300-8425


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



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



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



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

195 S University Suite H • 662-1829

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


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

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

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

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




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

NOJA ($$-$$$)

MICHELI’S CAFE ($) 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

2550 Dauphin Island Pkwy S. • 307-5328

6358 Cottage Hill Rd. • 725-6917


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


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


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


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


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


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


RALPH & KACOO’S ($-$$)

CHARM ($-$$)

R&R SEAFOOD ($-$$)





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


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

HIBACHI 1 ($-$$)

2370 Hillcrest Rd. Unit B • 380-6062


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


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

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




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


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

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


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


1715 Main St. • 375-0543

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


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


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


AZTECAS ($-$$)

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



ZANDER’Z ($-$$)


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

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


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


PIZZA, SANDWICHES & SALADS. 5955 Old Shell Rd.• 344-9899 A TASTE OF ITALY . BYOB. 28691 U.S. Highway 98 • 626-1999

PINZONE’S ITALIAN DOWNTOWN ($$) ITALIAN, CATERING, TO-GO. 312 Fairhope Ave, Fairhope • 990-5535


JIA ($-$$)




MOUTH WATERING MEXICAN FOOD 1175 Battleship Pkwy • 625-2722


CINCO DE MAYO ($) MEXICAN CUISINE 260 Azalea Rd. • 375-1095



FUEGO ($-$$)


PIZZA, PASTA, SALAD & MORE 102 N. Section St. • 929-2525

PIZZERIA DELFINA ($) PIZZA & PASTA 107 Dauphin St. • 375-1644

ROMA CAFE ($-$$)

PASTA, SALAD AND SANDWICHES. 7143 Airport Blvd. • 341-7217


Springdale Mall 3250 Airport Blvd. • 450-4556


SMALL PLATES, PIZZAS, PASTAS AND WINE 3250 Airport Blvd. • 450-4556 PIES & AWESOME BEER SELECTION. 2032 Airport Blvd. • 471-4700 5660 Old Shell Rd. • 380-1500 29698 Frederick Blvd, Daphne • 621-3911

HOMEMADE PIZZA & GOURMET SALADS 7765 Airport Blvd. • 639-5010

PIZZA, SUBS & PASTA. 1368 ½ Navco Rd.• 479-0066



AUTHENTIC ITALIAN DISHES 312 Fairhope Ave, Fairhope • 990-5535

ITALIAN FOOD & PIZZAS. 11311 US HIghway 31 Spanish Fort• 375-0076





WINGS, PO-BOYS, BURGERS. 210 Eastern Shore Center, Hwy. 98 • 929-0002


BR PRIME ($$-$$$)


COMFORT FOOD. 1716 Main St. Ste. C, Daphne • 281-2982


TASTE OF MEXICO 5452 Hwy 90 W • 661-5509



HOMEMADE PASTAS & PIZZAS MADE DAILY. 5901 Old Shell Rd. • 342-3677


ENCHILADAS, TACOS, & AUTHENTIC FARE. 661 Dauphin St. • 432-2453


OUTSTANDING MEXICAN CUISINE. 2066 Old Shell Rd. • 378-8621

777 Beach Blvd.Biloxi • 877-877-6256

HACIENDA SAN MIGUEL ($-$$) TASTE OF MEXICO 880 Schillinger Rd. S. • 633-6122 5805 US 90 • 653-9163




QUAINT MEXICAN RESTAURANT. 5556 Old Shell Rd. • 345-7484



AUTHENTIC MEXICAN CUISINE. 4633 Airport Blvd. • 342-5553




MEXICAN CUISINE. 3977 Gov’t Blvd. • 660-4970

TAQUERIA MEXICO ($-$$) AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FLAVOR. 3733 Airport Blvd. • 414-4496


280 Beach Blvd. Biloxi • 288-436-2946 FINE DINING, SEAFOOD AND STEAKS



850 BAYVIEW AVE. BILOXI-- • 888-946-2847




TIEN ($-$$)


875 Beach Blvd. Biloxi • 888-952-2582




158 Howard Ave. Biloxi • 800-725-2239



3300 W. Beach Blvd. Biloxi • 877-774-8439







1980 Beach Blvd. Biloxi • 800-747-2839

THE DEN ($-$$)


CQ ($$-$$$)


BLU ($)



303 Poarch Rd. Atmore • 866-946-3360

FIRE ($$-$$$)





D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 19


Serda’s Coffee Daphne location opens, brewery is next BY ANDY MACDONALD/CUISINE EDITOR


King Cake smoothies return to Smoothie King

There’s more to look forward to in 2017 than you thought. For the second year in a row Smoothie King will be celebrating

the Carnival season with King Cake smoothies. All Smoothie Kings along the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines will offer the popular item from Jan. 6 (King’s Day) through Feb. 28 (Mardi Gras Day). The feast of a drink is a “better for you” option, with frozen yogurt, almond milk and natural flavors that capture the essence of our annual sweet. “Headquartered in New Orleans, Smoothie King is no stranger to Carnival season — the parades, the parties and the extra calories many people consume,” said Joey Schultz, regional director of marketing for Smoothie King. “That’s why we wanted to offer our guests a better-for-you King Cake option, while still honoring the flavors of the season.”

Food truck court to open behind new Hilton Garden Inn

Get ready for a food truck court in our downtown area. By late January we should see The Back Lot open, a new space on Joachim behind the new Hilton Garden Inn between Dauphin and St Francis. The Back Lot will have space for three trucks, picnic tables, fans, a pergola and lighting. Expect spaces for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m certain there will be a catfight for late-night spaces as well. We will have more details as this develops.

KFC’s fried chicken-scented candle

People say I am hard to shop for. Hogwash. Fire up that Prime account and ship me a fried chicken-scented candle from KFC. Shopping done. Recycle!

20 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Photo | Facebook

obile has enjoyed Serda’s Coffee being part of our downtown scene for years. It’s very generous of John Serda and company to share that joy with the Eastern Shore. Serda’s Coffee of Daphne recently opened at 1539 Highway 90 in Daphne, creating an extra buzz in the area. Known for their incredible coffee, the new location sports a pretty hefty menu featuring a breakfast section that looks amazing. Smoothies, bowls with quinoa, meats and veggies, pancakes, omelets that are to die for, breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal — those getting ready for their morning commute will have plenty to choose from. This new restaurant opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., so they can catch you coming and going. Of course they also serve the adult beverages, gelato and sandwiches we’ve come to enjoy on Royal Street. You’re welcome, Baldwin County. But things aren’t stagnant in Mobile, either. Not only is our coffee shop bustling through the holidays and readying itself for an upcoming Mardi Gras, John Serda is getting ready to open Serda Brewing! The powers that be have greenlighted this project, which will locate in the former Goodyear on Government Street. Serda looks for it to open sometime next summer, which should be just a few months after Haint Blue Brewing Co. opens in the Crystal Ice facility on Monroe Street. More beer for everyone! Let the good times roll!


D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 21


Preservationists, developers discuss historic buildings DALE LIESCH/REPORTER


he bulldozers were in place the night before and the street was cordoned off with parade barricades and hazard tape. Everything was ready for an emergency demolition. Then, at around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, the westward wall of 522 Dauphin St. came tumbling down. For many local preservationists, the demolition of the historic Key Loan building highlighted the importance of following the strict rules set out for renovation and redevelopment in the city’s Downtown Development District (DDD) and historic districts. Rules, they say, were not followed in this case. Others, meanwhile, point to the structure’s integrity and the public safety hazard it presented along a busy street, in the heart of the city’s entertainment district. Despite a more heavy-handed approach to the demolition last month than many expected, the owners plan to “reconstruct” the 1850s-era building, project designer Andrew Dooley said. “Reconstruction is still in the plans,” he said, despite skepticism from many preservationists who witnessed the demolition’s aftermath. “Everything has been documented. We will be restoring it to its original integrity and will use all of the old materials.” David Newell, president of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society, said by the looks of it, what happened at 522 Dauphin was a “demolition” not a “deconstruction.” “Demolition is a wrecking ball,” he said. “Reconstruction is where you’re less intrusive, and where taking pieces apart takes more time. All photographic evidence shows demolition.” Dooley said the building will be reconstructed with the original bricks and a stucco facade, to the exact dimensions of the old building. He said developers took care to lay pieces of the roofing on top of the more important materials before driving bulldozers over the wreckage to pull down the building’s gable. “I love old buildings,” Dooley said. “I’m a tree hugger ….” Tree hugger or not, many question the timing of the building’s partial collapse, which all agree was a possibility when concerns for the building arose in early summer. Attorney and preservationist Palmer Hamilton called the wall’s collapse “suspicious,” and even Downtown Mobile Alliance CEO Elizabeth Stevens said she’d heard rumors people were in the building early in the morning and could have contributed to the wall’s collapse.

“I am very suspicious that wall just spontaneously came down,” Hamilton said. “Something’s fishy.” Hamilton, the president of the Oakleigh Venture Revolving Fund, said he’s preserved more than 100 buildings and 522 Dauphin St. was in better shape than many of them. “Clearly, when the entire wall was removed, the building was standing and fine,” he said. “ … that wall could’ve been rebuilt.” Dooley said he understands the confusion surrounding the falling wall, as bystanders could be seen amid the rubble after the fact, but he added there was no one inside the building that night. “The building coming down was in nobody’s best financial interest,” he said. “We hated to see it happen.” Although developers found out about the deficiency shortly after purchasing the Key Loan building and several adjacent buildings on Dauphin, it wasn’t until October that plans for reconstruction began to form, Dooley said. The wall began buckling shortly afterward, Dooley said, which prompted the call for an emergency meeting of the city’s Architectural Review Board last month. As a result, the board granted the demolition request. “The compromise had become a much bigger deal,” he said. Newell argued if the owners and developers of 522 Dauphin had been more proactive and dealt with the problem in June, the building would still be standing. “It lingered for a while and the failure got worse and worse,” he said. “It was roughly six months and it continued to worsen.” Based on the typical nature of the city’s demolition requests, Stevens said, it was a breakdown of communication and a breakdown of the process. “Why all these things took place, I can’t answer that,” she said. “I don’t know why. It would be good to figure out.” She said judging by the volume of phone calls and emails her office received, people “were certainly upset” about the building’s demolition. “A building like that wouldn’t normally have been demolished,” she said. Developers have publicly said the plan would be to redevelop the entire block of buildings into an artists’ village. With a recording studio nearby, developers have said they want to reconstruct 522 Dauphin into a place visiting musicians can stay before a performance or a recording. The space would include a practice spot.

Future action

22 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Stevens said both the DDD and historic development codes have sections regulating demolition permits. So it’s not impossible to tear down a building. Typically, an applicant must go before the city and the public to provide details. To that end, Stevens said not every building should be saved, but buildings like the Key Loan should not be torn down. “It’s not that every building has to be kept,” Stevens said. “We ought to draw a line in the sand that 19th century buildings ought to be kept.” Given Mobile’s history, she said, it only makes sense that these older buildings must be saved when they can be. They add to the quality of life downtown. “If we’re going to promote that we’re a 300-year-old city, people expect to see old stuff,” she said. If a building is demolished, Stevens said, there should be a “plan behind it,” which is why the demolition requirements were adopted. “Otherwise there’s a blank space,” she said. “What are the redevelopment plans? The new plans might be better than the current ones.” Demolitions about 30 years ago left much empty space downtown, which

THE BULLDOZERS WERE IN PLACE THE NIGHT BEFORE AND THE STREET WAS CORDONED OFF WITH PARADE BARRICADES AND HAZARD TAPE. EVERYTHING WAS READY FOR AN EMERGENCY DEMOLITION. THEN, AT AROUND 1:30 A.M. SATURDAY, NOV. 18, THE WESTWARD WALL OF 522 DAUPHIN ST. CAME TUMBLING DOWN.” has presented a problem. Despite the popularity of redeveloping some of the more historic spaces, the alliance must also promote new construction in order to give the area more of an urban feel. “The vast majority is not built upon,” Stevens said. “We’ve lost that fabric.” Stevens said it’s important to have the regulations in place and to follow them, given a large portion of downtown development occurs in existing structures. The DDD and form-based code is in place to allow new construction to knit together more tightly with existing buildings. Saving the older structures downtown will remain important because even though the future is in new construction, she said, both are required for a vibrant environment.

‘In peril’

Two buildings downtown make the HMPS’ list of “Places in Peril,” although there are already plans to redevelop one. The Kennedy House, circa 1857, was built by Joshua Kennedy and remained in the family until the early 1900s, Mobile Historic Development Commission Director Cart Blackwell said. Most recently, it was used as a meeting place for the local American Legion chapter and had been for more than a generation, he said. More recently, a local Mardi Gras society purchased the building and plans to make it a meeting hall, Blackwell said. “They will do credit to the building and they will also do credit to the American Legion, allowing them to continue to have meetings there

COVER STORY monthly and throughout the year on building. Blackwell said his office currently special occasions,” he said. “They’re going has a conservation easement on the façade to restore the building.” of the building, dating back to its previous In all, it’s a two-part structure, Blackwell owners. The office no longer seeks those said. There’s the house and an adjoining types of easements, he said. structure, which the American Legion used “You had a building that was impacted as a meeting hall. by fire,” he said. “The shell has remained, “They’re going to keep that later buildwhich is a good thing. That gives you the ing — it’s a cinderblock structure— but jazz intimation of infill. That’s much better than it up … make it fit more in the landscape,” a gaping hole in the center of the block, and Blackwell said. “So, that’s a happy resoluthat wall was able to be preserved and a tion to that property, one that honors the building can go behind it.” previous use with the patriotic organization. But you can’t get much more Mobile than a Codes and regulations Mardi Gras association.” All structures — historic or not — within The other “place in peril” is the Chighizothe Henry Aaron Loop or downtown are subla House at 6 S. Franklin St. The structure is ject to regulations through the DDD. Further, currently owned by the Hoffman family and buildings within the area’s three historic used as a warehouse for their furniture store. districts are subject to greater regulation There are currently no plans for the building, to ensure the historic nature of structures but the family is always looking for the opremain intact, Blackwell said. portunity to rent it out. “There’s Lower The home, which Dauphin commercial, dates back as far as which includes Dauphin the 1840s, represents Street, a little bit of one of the city’s “finest Conti and St. Francis; remaining side hall DeTonti Square, like houses,” Blackwell DEVELOPERS HAVE around the Richards said. Side hall houses DAR House; and then were given their name PUBLICLY SAID THE PLAN Church Street East, because there was a which has most of our hallway on one side and WOULD BE TO REDEVELwell-known houses of rooms on the other. worship, Christ Church, “Would we all want OP THE ENTIRE BLOCK AME Zion, Governsomeone living there? ment Street [PresbyteYes, but they have — OF BUILDINGS INTO AN rian],” he said. “With everything apparently those you have historic meets code,” he said. ARTISTS’ VILLAGE. district guidelines.” “It’s a wonderful buildThe regulations, or ing and the Hoffmans guidelines, stipulate provide a wonderful everything — from service — an American what materials can be used in the redevelopsuccess story. It’ll be interesting to see what ment of a structure to how far from the curb they decide to do with it.” it can be, Blackwell said, and are intended to help preserve the structures. The regulations Other buildings include several “ingredients,” Blackwell There are other structures downtown that said. One is a building’s location. are either not considered historic anymore or “You kind of want the porches to line up, not on the “places in peril” list. One of those you don’t want something pushed back with structures is the old Gayfers building, which a parking lot up front,” he said. is a three-part building, Blackwell said. Another is massing. The original Gayfers building at the “Get it where you’ve got ceiling heights corner of Dauphin and Conception streets about 10 feet and stuff like that,” Blackwell burned down and was relocated to the old said. “We embrace new materials: Hardie Peerless Laundry building, which is over board, insulated glass windows, the whole 100 years old, Blackwell said. “Later, Gayfers, like Kress, bought other bag of tricks.” frontages,” he said. They bought another The idea, he said, is to make it easier for building on Dauphin in the middle of the a developer to build new, but for that strucblock -— the one that’s got the mural on it.” ture to retain its historic feel. Most approval They later bought another building is done at the staff level, but on occasion — downtown before moving out to the malls on like with demolitions — the Architectural Airport, Blackwell said. Review Board will have to weigh in, he said. The building with murals at 165 Dauphin The issues that come before the ARB are: St. has been purchased by the Gulf Coast “reconstructions, new construction and maHousing Partnership. The group initially had jor additions you can see,” Blackwell said. applied for tax credits to turn the structure “That’s a good experience because there into mixed-use, low-income senior apartare a lot of architects on there and they can ments. According to the Alabama Housing give cost-saving tips, or say, you’ve got this; Finance Authority, the GCHP was denied the this meets the guidelines, but you might want credits this year. to consider this just because the rainwater is GCHP project analyst Michael Hellier just going to run off, or I’ve used this product wrote in an email message that the group before,” he said. “Some of them have been would still like to redevelop the property, but on there quite a long while and they have the was unable to release any details. experience of other projects, saying ‘we’ve A shell building sits at 108 Dauphin St., tried this before, I can see why you’re going across from The Haberdasher, after it was down this road, but you might consider ...’ destroyed by fire. A representative for the They’re looking at does it impair, does it not owners, the Naman family, said they did not impair. That’s the big thing.” wish to comment on the future plans for the

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 23


After three decades, Winthrop Corey leaves Mobile Ballet BY KEVIN LEE/ARTS EDITOR/KLEE@LAGNIAPPEMOBILE.COM


s the curtain fell on the Dec. 11 matinee of Mobile Ballet’s annual “Nutcracker” performance, it signaled the end of a monumental era in Mobile arts. After 30 years precisely, Mobile Ballet Artistic Director Winthrop Corey has stepped down. According to a Dec. 6 report on WALA-TV’s website, Corey sent an email to dancers on Dec. 5 announcing his departure. It cited differences with the board of directors as the cause. Artifice contacted Corey on Dec. 6 and, to his credit, he downplayed any potential controversy. It’s unclear whether negotiations for financial terms are still in play. “The only thing I can say about it is that there are a lot of opportunities out there for me and I’m looking to pursue them. I felt that this is probably the best time to look ahead and see what the future is for me out there. It’s very positive. No scandal at all,” Corey said. Corey said he’s spoken with colleagues across the nation and will travel for upcoming work. Mobile will remain his home base, a place he said always made him feel welcome and supported. Artifice eventually acquired a copy of the email, in which Corey graciously credits generations of dancers as inspiration and thanks them. He describes the relay of events as “heartbreaking” and attributes his decision to “a change in leadership and vision by many of those on the present board of directors.” According to the email, Corey’s plans are to remain in “the ballet world” and “continue to train young dancers and set ballets for companies throughout the U.S. and abroad.” Artifice contacted Mobile Ballet for a response. The

Mobile Ballet Board of Directors issued a statement on Dec. 9. “[Corey’s] artistic direction, talent, teaching ability, contacts and passion have been primary contributors to Mobile Ballet’s growth and success since 1987. We are grateful for his many years of service and his long-term substantial contributions to our mission of providing superior dance education, presenting quality performances and promoting the ballet to the community as an expression of the human spirit,” the statement read.

COREY COBBLED TOGETHER MOBILE BALLET FROM THE REMNANTS OF TWO PREDECESSOR COMPANIES TO FORGE ONE OF THE CITY’S HALLMARK CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS.” The release said guest artistic directors are to be utilized for future performances and a national search will be conducted for Corey’s successor. Board President Sandra Parker, M.D., signed the statement. Corey cobbled together Mobile Ballet from the remnants of two predecessor companies to forge one of the city’s hallmark cultural institutions. It’s hardly surprising given his impressive background. According to his bio on Mobile Ballet’s website, Corey

was a principal dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. He danced opposite Rudolf Nureyev and was five-time coach for the New York International Ballet Competition. He was a teacher at the internationally acclaimed Joffrey Ballet when he first came to Mobile, and his terms with Mobile Ballet allowed him summers teaching at Joffrey for more than two decades. He has taught in the U.S., Canada and Portugal. Corey has been a whirlwind, tackling choreography, blocking and stage direction in addition to overseeing sets, lighting and numerous other aspects. Their superb production qualities and high standards were startling and refreshing. Corey also made costumes in his own shop. Those who saw his 2014 production of “Dracula” and the ornate attire in its wedding scene can attest to his accomplishment. His costume expertise alone earned him accolades throughout the ballet world. He conducted classes and seminars and even rented out his creations to companies in larger markets. Corey was awarded a dance fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His original productions, including “Dracula” and “Streetcar Named Desire,” spread to companies throughout the continent. The reaction to his departure has been noteworthy. When Artifice contacted board members, dancers and educators, they all spoke of Corey in glowing yet wistful terms. One who danced in two larger cities with stellar cultural reputations said he “treated dancers better than I saw in other places. I was spoiled by him.” Online missives haven’t been as benign. As people do, unwelcome news generates aspersions through social media. “I shudder at the thought of anyone thinking this was the right way to handle things. I am so very sorry that you don’t view this man as the treasure he is. Next time you decide to make such a drastic decision, I beg you to consider the lives you are crushing,” Riley Johnson posted on Facebook. “Show me the resume that allows you to judge this man and what he has brought to our city relative to ballet and the betterment of arts for all in Mobile … To dismiss the brilliance of Winthrop Corey with no replacement in mind. Idiocy,” Larry Wooley wrote. “This is a huge loss for not only Mobile Ballet but for the entire city. Mobile is losing the greatest artistic vision this city ... has ever seen. The world is a more beautiful place because of him,” Carley Smith penned. Roughly 30 of Corey’s young charges went on to professional careers from these humble beginnings. That alone is testimony. Mobile Ballet’s next show is “Sleeping Beauty,” scheduled for March 11 and 12.

24 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Holocaust memories in focus at USA museum

When locals consider the Holocaust, they think of foreign shores and days long past. Yet it’s closer than assumed, in both proximity and time. Photographer Becky Seitel and artist Mitzi J. Levin immersed themselves in the tales of 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors to create “Darkness Into Life,” on display at the University of South Alabama’s Archaeology Museum (6052 USA Drive S.). The exhibit features photos of the survivors and illustrations of their memories of life before occupation through imprisonment and on to their later days in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and Opelika. Survivor biographies and maps provide an additional historical dimension. The exhibit will be on display through May 31. For more information, call 251-460-6106 or email


Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) is getting back to an old-fashioned midwinter holiday in truest form. On Monday, Dec. 19, at It’s your last chance to catch Chickasaw Civic Theatre’s 6:30 p.m., MOJO will hold their Winter Solstice Holiday family-friendly holiday play “The 24 Days Before Christmas” Jam at Gulf City Lodge (601 State St.) and all things Yule — as the final three performances take place at Lola Phillips Playhouse (801 Iroquois St.) Dec. 16-18. Friday and Saturday mistletoe, logs, twinkling lights, wassail — are welcome to curtain is at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday’s matinee at 2 p.m. celebrate community and the return of longer days. Based on author Madeleine L’Engle’s 1984 work of the same Atlanta songstress Myrna Clayton is the night’s featured name, the original tale follows 7-year-old Vicky Austin as her talent. A dynamic performer who thrilled last year’s gatherfamily eagerly awaits snow, Christmas, a new baby and Vicky’s ing with standards and jazzy holiday tunes, she was an easy first major role in the holiday pageant. As you can imagine, not choice to repeat her magic. everyone prioritizes those events in the same order. Entrance is $12, $10 for students and military, $8 for Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, military and students. Cash MOJO members. The entrance includes a light jambalaya dinand local checks only are accepted. For more information call ner and a cash bar is available. In lieu of snow, Cammie’s Old 251-457-8887 or go to Dutch will supply frozen delights in the form of ice cream. For more info, go to, call 251-459-2298 or Guest vocalist for jazzy holiday jam email Break out the white attire because the Mystic Order of the

Closing weekend for CCT holiday show

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 25



Photo | Red Bearded Rambler Photography


Swagadocious Kris Lager Band


The Kris Lager Band has been hard at work for over a decade spreading and honing their revivalist rock, heavy soul and boogie trance music across the country.


s part of “America’s Breadbasket,” Nebraska is a large sprawl of agrarian lands. Travelers may run across a few cities, such as Omaha or Lincoln, but even these metropolises are overshadowed by the state’s farming landscape. Nebraska may seem the last place that would give birth to a band specializing in electrified blues, funk and soul, but the Kris Lager Band is making its mark. For the past decade, the band has kept listeners perpetually grooving with its eclectic concoction. Without knowing the band’s background, many would think Lager and his crew maintain deep Southern roots, but Lager is proud to say his Nebraskan upbringing helped shape his sound. Lager’s music lessons began with his late father. Throughout his youth, Lager’s dad introduced him to a variety of blues and

classic rock artists. When he began to experiment with his own music, Lager focused on the blues. He accented his blues education with regular visits to Lincoln’s premiere blues venue, the Zoo Bar. Not only did the young Lager enhance his love for the blues, but also felt the glorious power and emotion of soul. “I fell in love with soul music and got big into Otis Redding and Ray Charles and Van Morrison and Wilson Pickett,” Lager explained. “So those guys are big influences on me.” Eventually Lager collected a group of talented musicians and began forming what would become a musical style that he calls “heavy soul and boogie trance.” Lager attributes his music’s heavy soul sound to the big guitar sound echoing through his music. He credits Sophistafunk keyboardist Adam Gold with tagging this musical aspect as “heavy soul” after sharing the bill at a Michigan show. Lager says his relationship with his audience drives the “boogie trance” facet of the band’s sound. “With the boogie element, I like to get the crowd dancing and moving,” Lager said. “I’m also huge into boogie artists like John Lee Hooker and Magic Sam. They’ve both been huge influences on my guitar playing. I kinda tip my hat to those old boogie guys that know how to play a good swanky guitar.” Lager will be making his Azalea City debut with a set filled with songs from his latest album, “Rise & Shine,” the band’s first experience with in-house recording and production. After recording their debut “Swagadocious” at Lincoln’s Sadson Studios with Luke Kellison, Kris Lager Band traveled to Whiskey Bayou Studio in Houma, Louisiana, to record their sophomore effort, “Platte River Runaway.” While there, they received production guidance from iconic swamp-pop superstar Tab Benoit. When it was time to record their third album, “Heavy Trance & Boogie Soul,” Kris Lager Band chose Monophonic’s Kelly Finnigan and Ian McDonald to oversee recording and production. For “Rise & Shine,” Lager decided to take all the knowledge that band picked up working with these

26 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

studio veterans and apply it in their personal studio — Studio Blue — with the band’s keyboardist, Jeremiah Weir, acting as producer and engineer. Not only did the band enjoy the financial benefits of DIY, but Lager says the album also benefits from the freedom that comes with recording in-house. “With a lot of our previous records, we went in over the course of a week and laid it down,” Lager said. “For the Tab record, we were in Louisiana for a week, and that was it. With “Heavy Soul & Boogie Trance” with the Monophonics, we were in San Rafael [California] for a week. With this record, we got to take our time. If we didn’t like something, we redid it.”

the swamp pop masterpiece “Standing Right in Your Lovelight.” Lager says this song took shape while he was playing guitar bedside for his father in the last days of battle with cancer. “He liked happy songs, a good beat and a good riff,” Lager said. “He loved Cajun music. One of his last requests was ‘Jambalaya’ by Hank Williams. It seemed appropriate I actually got to play that song for him before he passed away. I thought that if I’m going to sing this song about my old man, I want it to make me happy.” Lager says the public can expect another selfproduced album from Kris Lager Band in the very near future. Tentatively titled “Love Songs &

The band thrives on the symbiotic relationship that can exist between band and audience, and takes the stage with the aim of providing a charismatic and memorable live show.

“Rise & Shine” is a culmination of the band’s past both on the stage and in the studio. This album fuses the blues of “Swagadocious” with the swamp pop-inspired sounds of “Platte River Runaway” and the fuzzy garage identity of “Heavy Soul & Boogie Trance.” This mixture has given Kris Lager Band its own unique identity in the current music world. “Rise & Shine” thrives from its limitless philosophy. It rolls smoothly across a musical landscape of rock and blues, with “Ain’t Got No Worries” providing a musical diversion with its reggae goodness. However, a common thread of soul runs throughout the album. Lager even showcases his love for his late father and the sounds of South Louisiana with

Lifelines,” the album should live up to its name. Lager says the upcoming release is comprised entirely of love songs inspired by his love for his wife, children, father and music. He describes it as a “documentary/album.” Kris Lager Band’s set at The Listening Room will be quite a diversion from the typically earnest listening room environment. While the band’s music is quite powerful on its own, its live interpretation completes the group’s musical formula. The band thrives on the symbiotic relationship that can exist between band and audience, and takes the stage with the aim of providing a charismatic and memorable live show.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 27




quarter of a century ago, the concept of the Lower Dauphin Entertainment District had yet to be pondered, but a handful of local restaurants and watering holes were laying the foundation. It was then that multi-Nappie Award winner Hayley’s Bar opened its doors. Since pouring its first shot, this LoDa dive’s socially relaxed atmosphere has pulled in a multitude of patrons, many of them

now seasoned regulars. To celebrate 25 years of business, Hayley’s is hosting what could be the city’s most legendary block party. Even though it’s not a music venue, Hayley’s late-night hours have made it the regular post-gig haunt for many local musicians. With this in mind, this downtown establishment will be accenting its celebration with three of the Azalea City’s most beloved musical acts. Singer-songwriter Gregg Fells, a versatile singer-writer who

Merry Christmas


has filled his catalog with everything from soulful acoustic ballads to fiery blues rock anthems, will kick off the celebration. During Hayley’s early days, it served as the veritable clubhouse of Azalea City punk legends The Vomit Spots, making their inclusion in the day’s lineup almost obligatory. Mob Towne Revival will reunite to serve as the block party’s headliner. This musical collective’s mix of eclectic jams and hiphop vocal work should provide the perfect coda to the ultimate Sunday Funday in downtown Mobile.

Sirens’ songs


Band: The Krickets Date: Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. Venue: Manci’s Antique Club, 1715 Main St., Tickets: $10 at the door

Photo | MCE Photography / Facebook



hile Christmas is a time of rich traditions, Mobilians are traditionally untraditional, preferring a fresh approach to the seasoned concept. Thus, the “Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas” has become one of the Azalea City’s most sacred holiday traditions. Local musicians Chris Spies, Chris Severin and John Milham — also known as the Joe Cool Trio — have spent the past eight years bringing this Yuletide event to the Saenger stage. As the animated classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” fills the backdrop, Spies, Severin and Milham provide their improvisational take on Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy soundtrack. Next, the crowd will receive jazzy season’s greetings from the Crescent City’s Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown. Clarence Brown will also be on hand with his smooth work on the saxophone. Both guests boast experience with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. A portion of the proceeds from “Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas” will be donated to the Jake Peavy Foundation. VIP ticket holders will have the chance to meet Peavy as well as take home a poster signed by Peavy as well as the evening’s performers.

28 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

2016 has been the year of The Krickets. When Lagniappe readers first learned of this all-female group, The Krickets were using Kickstarter to finance their debut album. After the campaign’s success, this quartet of veteran Gulf Coast artists entered the studio with Muscle Shoals producer Ben Tanner, also known for his keyboard work with Alabama Shakes. Before long, the public was enjoying the sweet sounds of The Krickets’ debut album, “Spanish Moss Sirens.” Aptly titled, the release features The Krickets’ beautiful, ethereal harmonies and memorable arrangements. Subsequently, The Krickets quickly made quite an impression with audiences on the Gulf Coast and beyond. Critics and the public alike have warmly embraced the foursome. The Krickets recently traveled to New York City to attend the Independent Music Awards, where they were named “Folk Artist of the Year” for “Spanish Moss Sirens.” The Krickets are definite crowd pleasers, as well as a great excuse to spend Sunday evening in Olde Towne Daphne.

Vivaldi’s Gloria


Band: St. Paul’s Singers present Vivaldi’s Gloria Date: Sunday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m. Venue: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 4051 Old Shell Road, Tickets: Free St. Paul’s Episcopal Church invites the public to celebrate Christmas with some of the best voices in Mobile — the St. Paul’s Singers. For this performance, the singers will take on Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, joined by an orchestra. The melange of equally poignant vocal and instrumental work should be a highlight of this year’s holiday season. The vocal group also will cover pieces by Mendelssohn, Rutter and Stroope. Mobile’s Singing Children will also be on hand to complete this holiday musical experience. Afterward, St. Paul’s will host a “Boar’s Head Reception” in the Parish Hall. While this is a free event, a freewill offering will be collected to cover the cost of the event and generate funds for the St. Francis Fund. This fund dedicates its money to helping Mobile’s needy.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 29

AREAMUSIC LISTINGS | December 15 - December 21


Bluegill— Jeff Johnson Duo Blues Tavern— Al McNab & Friends, 8:30p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— David Chastang, 6p Callaghan’s— Flow Tribe Cockeyed Charlie’s— JJ Fairhope Brewing— Bluegrass Jam Felix’s— Soulshine Flora Bama— Gove Scrivenor, 1p// Mark Sherrill, John Joiner, Chris Newbury, 5p/// Jay Williams Duo, 9:15p Listening Room— Lisa Mills Lulu’s— Adam Holt, 5p Manci’s— Ross Newll McSharry’s— The Lite Traveler’s, 7:30p Saenger— Holiday Movie: Scrooged Veets— The Family Jewels, 8p Wind Creek Casino— Rexton Lee, 8p


All Sports Bar & Billiards— DJ Markie Mark, 10p Big Beach Brewing— Southern Fried Voodoo, 6p Bluegill— Ryan Balthrop, 12p// Soulshine Trio, 6p Blues Tavern— Mark Welborn Band, 9p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Delta Smoke, 6p Cockeyed Charlie’s— 3HG, 10p Felix’s— Blind Dog Mike Fin’s— The Captain Jerry Smith Band Flora Bama— Jay Hawkins Duo, 2p// Brian Hill Band, 5:30p/// Johnny B Trio, 6:30p//// Kyle Wilson Band, 10p//// Logan Spicer and Tony Ray Thompson, 10:15p Hard Rock (Center Bar) — Supercharger, 9p Hard Rock (Live) — IP Casino— A Wynonna & The Big Noise Christmas, 8p Listening Room— The Kris Lager Band Lulu’s— Lefty Collins, 5p Main Street Cigar Lounge— Dale Drinkard, 8p Manci’s— Rondale and the Kit Katz McSharry’s— DJ Chi, 10p The Merry Widow— Camellia Bay Burlesque, 9p

30 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Moe’s BBQ (Daphne) — The Tree-Oh Moe’s BBQ (Foley) — Mel Knapp Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — Ayers Brother Duo, 6:30p O’Daly’s— Gene Murrell, Tony Edwards and David White, 10p Saenger— Black Jacket Symphony: Prince “Purple Rain” Soul Kitchen— CBDB, Infant Richard and the Delta Stones, 10:30p Veets— The Family Jewels, 9p Wind Creek Casino— Lacee, 9p


Bluegill— Tim Kinsey, 12p// Al & Cathy, 6p Blues Tavern— Halfway Show & Band, 9p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Adam and Jill Holt, 6p Callaghan’s— Rebecca Barry Cockeyed Charlie’s— Jordan Bramblett Felix’s— Matt Fin’s— Ryan Balthrop Flora Bama— Brian Hill Band, 10a// Jay Hawkins Trio, 1p/// Lea Anne Creswell Duo, 2p//// Jack Robertson Show, 5:30p//// Shawna P Duo, 6p//// Kyle Wilson Band, 10p//// Albert Simpson, 10:15p Hard Rock (Center Bar) — Supercharger, 9p Listening Room— Edward David Anderson Lulu’s— Three Bean Soup, 5p Manci’s— Brittany Grimes, 7p McSharry’s— DJ Carter, 10p The Merry Widow— The Invisible Teardrops, Hibachi Stranglers, 9p Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — Joshua Stephen Ward, 6:30p Saenger— Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas Soul Kitchen— Riley Green, Tyler Reeve, 10p Top of the Bay— Rhythm Intervention Veets— The Family Jewels, 9p Wind Creek Casino— Lacee, 9p


Bluegill— Matt Bush, 12p// Ben Leininger & Friends, 6p

Blues Tavern— Dr. Bob, 6p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Tim Kinsey, 6p Callaghan’s— Andrew Duhon Felix’s— Jimmy Lumpkin Flora Bama— Songs of Rusty, 12p// Perdido Brothers, 4p/// Albert Simpson, 8:30p Lulu’s— Greg Brown, 5p Manci’s— Lee Yankie, 11a// The Krickets, 7p McSharry’s— Trad. Irish Session, 6:30p Saenger— Holiday Movie: White Christmas Veets— The Family Jewels, 8p


Felix’s— Matt Bush Flora Bama— Cathy Pace, 4p// Cathy and Donnie, 8p Listening Room— Hundred Dollar Car Lulu’s— Brent Burns, 6p


Bluegill— David Chastang, Ryan Balthrop, 6p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Jon Maddox, 6p Butch Cassidy’s— Jerry Powell Cockeyed Charlie’s— Jordan Bramblett Felix’s— Bryant Gilley Flora Bama— T-Bone Montgomery, 4p// Perdido Brothers, 8p The Merry Widow— Rock Doc Tuesday: A Poem is a Naked Person, 9p Moe’s BBQ (Mobile) — Tim Kinsey, 7p


Beau Rivage— Christmas Wonderland Bluegill— Ross Newell Blues Tavern— Dr. Bob, 8p Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill— Ryan Balthrop, 6p Callaghan’s— Phil and Foster Felix’s— Matt Bush Duo Flora Bama— Neil Dover, 4p// Rhonda Hart and Jonathon Newton, 8p Listening Room— Gregg Fells Lulu’s— Justin Yawn, 5p The Merry Widow— The Merry Market, 6p

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 31

Our critic’s naughty or nice film list




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

othing puts me on the spot more than the question I always get: “What’s a good movie you’ve seen lately that I should see?” Despite watching and writing about them, I’m often unable to come up with a single title, and wish I had a list in front of me so I could remember to tell you what’s good and what to skip. So I made one: a list of what I reviewed in 2016, and whether they’re worth your time to check out. “A Walk in the Woods” — Robert Redford ruins great book. Skip. “Mr. Holmes” — Ian McKellen as old Sherlock Holmes. Recommended for fans of the actor or the detective. “Irrational Man” — Joaquin Phoenix does Woody Allen. Misanthropes’ delight. “Digging for Fire” — Watchable dramedy with the guy from “New Girl.” “Dope” — Hilarious coming of age comedy about some wannabe gangster kids. Highly recommended. “Hail, Caesar!” — Another impeccably genius Coen Brothers film. It bombed because it was too good for this world. “The Overnight” — Decent but uncomfortable. DO NOT watch with parents/kids. Full-frontal nudity throughout! “Trumbo” — This would actually be a good one to watch with your parents. Bryan Cranston is great in a story based on the Hollywood blacklist. “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” — Least disappointing “reboot” ever. Watch!

“Anomalisa” — Charlie Kaufman. Puppet coitus. It’s not for everybody. “Steve Jobs” — TOO LONG. Skippable. “Zootopia” — Definitely a high point in the animated movie year. “Grandma” — Wonderful Lily Tomlin movie. Must see. “Spotlight” — The rare Oscar winner that actually deserved it. The depiction of the importance of real journalism is now officially heartbreaking to watch. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” — One of the highlights of the year! “The Family Fang” — Worth watching but not as good as the novel. “Last Cab to Darwin” — Very moving and unusual. “Love and Friendship” — Wonderful Whit Stillman movie of a Jane Austen book. “Crimson Peak” — Gorgeous, blood-drenched Guillermo Del Toro story. Fun flick. “Victor Frankenstein” — Crap, essentially. “Don Verdean” — HORRIBLE. “Legend” — Tom Hardy plays two roles but it’s still not great. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” — Any resemblance to “Alice in Wonderland” is purely coincidental. “Maggie’s Plan” — Definitely recommended drama with Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore and Greta Gerwig. “Don’t Think Twice” — Favorite Movie of the Year. “Captain Fantastic. — Viggo Mortensen is a (hot) offthe-grid dad. Sad but good.

“The Lobster” — You must experience this movie, even though the experience is actually painful. “Knight of Cups” — I doze off at the mere mention of this Terrence Malick excursion. Skip! “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” — I think one of the year’s biggest box office bombs was unfairly maligned. “Everybody Wants Some!!” — Richard Linklater college movie. Watch! “Moonwalkers” — There’s no reason to bother with this movie about a fake Stanley Kubrick fake moon landing. “A Hologram for the King” — A perfect example of a really good movie that I totally forgot about. Definitely watch. “Hell or High Water” — Second Favorite Movie of the Year. “The Meddler” — Solid Susan Sarandon chick flick. “Swiss Army Man” — Bring a strong stomach and an open mind if you dare. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” — Everything a fantasy should be. “A Bigger Splash” — Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes are swoonworthy in performance, and costumes. Watch! Now you’re ready to spend your holiday on the couch. Of all the movies I reviewed this year, I would put “Don’t Think Twice,” about a comedy troupe torn apart by fame, at the top of the list. It’s a hilarious and touching, wellwritten and memorable performance by a terrific comedic ensemble cast.

RAVE MOTION PICTURE JUBILEE SQUARE 12 6898 U.S. 90 Daphne, (251) 626- 6266 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.

Photos | Universal Pictures / Paramount Pictures / Walt Disney Studios

From left: Mike Birbiglia’s film about struggling comedians, “Don’t Think Twice,” earned our reviewer’s top marks in 2016. Bill Murray’s classic Christmas movie “Scrooged” will be featured at the Saenger Theatre Dec. 15. The new Star Wars spinoff “Rogue One” hits theaters everywhere Dec. 16. NEW IN THEATERS ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Han Solo isn’t in this one, but Darth Vader is. All listed multiplex theaters.


The wonderful Kenneth Lonergan wrote and directed this story of a single man (Casey Affleck) who is shocked to be named the guardian of his teenaged nephew after the death of

his older brother. He must return to the town where he grew up and the problems he tried to leave behind. Crescent Theater

fore the movie begins. Tickets are general admission; $6 per adult and $3 per 12-andunder child or 60+ senior.


I must draw the line at any depiction by an actor of a concept, and this one features Helen Mirren as “Death,” Keira Knightley as “Love” and Jacob Latimore as “Time.” This could easily be the cheesiest movie ever made. All listed multiplex theaters.

The Mobile Saenger Theatre will showcase two Christmas classic movies on the big screen. On Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., enjoy the comedy “Scrooged.” Then on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m., see the classic “White Christmas.” Doors open 30 minutes be-

32 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6


NOW PLAYING MISS SLOANE Carmike Wynnsong 16, Carmike Wharf, Cobb Pinnacle 14 NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Carmike Wharf THE BOUNCE BACK Carmike Wynnsong 16, Regal Mobile Stadium 18, Carmike Wharf OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY All listed multiplex theaters. INCARNATE All listed multiplex theaters.

ALLIED All listed multiplex theaters. 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. ALMOST CHRISTMAS All listed multiplex theaters. DR. STRANGE All listed multiplex theaters. TROLLS

All listed multiplex theaters. HACKSAW RIDGE All listed multiplex theaters. INFERNO All listed multiplex theaters. BOO: A MADEA HALLOWEEN All listed multiplex theaters. JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK Eastern Shore Premiere Cinema, Regal Mobile Stadium 18 THE ACCOUNTANT Regal Mobile Stadium 18 OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL Regal Mobile Stadium 18

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 33



GENERAL INTEREST Christmas classic movies Mobile’s Saenger Theatre will screen “Scrooged,” Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., and “White Christmas,” Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before. $6 for adults, $3 under 12. For more information, call 251208-2452. Snow & Movie Night The city of Daphne hosts Snow & Movie Night at Lott Park, 2039 Main St., Dec. 16, 4-7 p.m. Snow at 4 p.m., movies begin at 6 p.m. Santa photos from 5-7 p.m. Bring your chairs or blankets. Bottle Creek Indian Mound trip Blakeley State Park will host a tour of the Bottle Creek Mounds site Saturday, Dec. 17, at 9:30 a.m. Adventurers will board the Delta Explorer from the Lower Bryant Landing. For more information, go to www. Winter Wonderland The city of Mobile’s Winter Wonderland will feature snow, photos with Santa Claus and last-minute Christmas gifts in Cathedral Square. The Polar Express will deliver visitors

to Bienville Square for kids’ activities. Saturday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. President-elect Donald Trump President-elect Donald Trump is coming to Mobile as a part of his ongoing “thank you” tour. The rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, at LaddPeebles Stadium. More info at SantaCon 2016 A free pub crawl for Santas starting at O’Daly’s at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17. Crawls to Pat’s, Brickyard and B-Bob’s. Bring a toy and receive drink specials and raffle ticket. Hayley’s 25th anniversary Block Party Hayley’s is partnering with Feeding the Gulf Coast for the biggest block party Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. adjacent to the bar. Bring five or more non-perishable items to receive a ticket for 10 percent off your bar tab. Live music and more. The Merry Market Ladies’ Night & The Merry Market is a monthly event hosted at The Merry Widow, featuring arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing,

34 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

desserts, bath products and more. Wednesday, Dec. 21, 6-10 p.m. For more information, contact “It’s a Wonderful Life” The Crescent Theater, 208 Dauphin St., is showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” Dec. 21-22 at 11 a.m. For more information or tickets call 251-438-2005. Socks for Seniors Connie Hudson Senior Center is accepting donations of socks for its senior citizen members. All donations must be dropped off by Monday, Dec. 19, at 3201 Hillcrest Road. For more information, call 251-602-4963. Magic Christmas in Lights Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s 21st season of Magic Christmas in Lights will run 5-9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. For details or to order tickets, visit www. Riverside Ice Riverside Ice will be open at Cooper Riverside Park in Mobile until Jan. 14. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under. Every Tuesday, each child accompanied by at least one adult will be admitted for free.

For more information, visit www. 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 251-861-2141. 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.

FUNDRAISERS Tree of Lights This holiday season, a special tree will once again be displayed in the Thomas Hospital lobby to recognize and remember the special people in our lives during

the holiday season. For an order form or more information, please call 251-279-1686.

ARTS Tuba Christmas Come to Cooper Riverside Park Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. for a tuba-euphonium choir. With questions or to register to join, contact dsingleterry@uamobile. edu or Christmas concert & birthday party St. Mark United Methodist Church presents “Celebrate the Gift” Christmas concert Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. Afterward, children will host a Birthday Party for Jesus, with a live nativity, caroling and gifts. Free and open to the public, 439 Azalea Road, Mobile. For more information, visit Tidings of Love Gloria Dei Chorale and Chamber Orchestra will present “Tidings of Love,” on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m. at St. Dominic Catholic Church, 4156 Burma Road, Mobile. For more information, contact Marian at 251-533-9810.

Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas The Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas concert features Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack to the animated “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” TSaturday, Dec. 17; doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit mobilesaenger. com.

MUSEUMS Live at the Museum Molly Thomas will perform original music Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at Mobile Museum of Art, 4850 Museum Drive. $10 admission, wine and beer by donation. For more information, call 251-208-5200.

Holy yoga Tamara William leads a lunchtime holy yoga at the Steeple on St. Francis every Wednesday. The cost is $15. Participants will connect with Christ in mind, body and spirit. For more information, call 251-6563269. Ballroom dance Azalea Ballroom Dance Club hosts dances with live music the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, 7-9:30 p.m. at Via! Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center, 1717 Dauphin St. Email cyoungblood9278@gmail. com, call 251-623-9183 or visit www.

“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

Ballroom dance The Moonlight Chasse Ballroom Dance 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

Holiday Extravaganza The History Museum of Mobile’s Holiday Extravaganza is Saturday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. For more information, please contact Gavin at 251-301-0273.

Understanding Credit and Credit Reports Workshop designed to help you understand creditworthiness and all aspects of your personal credit report. Monday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. Register at Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling office, 705 Oak Circle Drive E., Mobile. Call 251-602-0011.

Tea for Two Tuesday afternoons at 2 p.m. the Fairhope Museum of History hosts a tea with a lecture on Fairhope history. The Dec. 20 speaker will be Charles Scovill. 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. Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Call 251-208-6893 or email jholland@ for more information. “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World” Through Jan. 1, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center features a hands-on gallery and more than 60 guitars on display. There is also a rock photography exhibit by Janet Macoska. For information, call 251-208-6893 or visit 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.

SPORTING EVENTS/ACTIVITIES Exercise classes Palmer Pillans Middle School hosts a wide variety of exercise classes, including ballroom dance, boxing and more. For more information, call 251-463-7980. Bridge lessons The Mobile Bridge Center offers free bridge lessons each Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. at 1510 University Blvd. Arrive a few minutes early to register. If you have questions, call the Bridge Center at 251666-2147, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


PUBLIC MEETINGS Baldwin County Commission: First and third Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., 322 Courthouse Square, Bay Minette. Work sessions the second and fourth Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. rotating between Bay Minette, the Foley Satellite Courthouse, the Fairhope Satellite Courthouse and the Baldwin County Central Annex Building in Robertsdale. Baldwin County Planning Commission: First Thursday at 6 p.m., 22251 Palmer St., Robertsdale, Bayou La Batre City Council: Second and fourth Thursday at 5:30 p.m., 13785 S. Wintzell Ave., Chickasaw City Council: Second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m., 224 N. Craft Highway, 251-452-6450. Citronelle City Council: Second and fourth Thursday at 6:30 p.m., 19135 Main St., 251-866-7973. Creola City Council: Second and fourth Thursday at 6 p.m., 190 Dead Lake Road, #A, 251-675-8142. Daphne City Council: First and third Monday at 6:30 p.m., 1705 Main St. Work sessions are the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m., Dauphin Island Town Council: First and third Tuesdays at 7 p.m., 1011 Bienville Blvd., Fairhope City Council: Second and fourth Monday at 6 p.m., 161 N. Section St. Work sessions are held before each council meeting at 4:30 p.m., www. Fairhope Planning Commission: First Monday at 5 p.m., 161 N. Section St. For more information visit www.cofairhope. com. Foley City Council: First and third Monday at 5:30 p.m., 407 E. Laurel Ave. Work sessions begin at 4 p.m., www. Gulf Shores City Council: Second and fourth Mondays at 4 p.m., 1905 W. First St.,

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 35


Is Mathews out at Advance?



THE NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE ACTION STARS BY BRUCE HAIGHT / EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ ACROSS 1 Kind of marker 8 Auto-sharing company 14 Solid 20 Attack 21 Harshly bright 22 Earning a Purple Heart, say 23 ____ into a major film star 25 7Up, in old ads, with “the” 26 Vale 27 Salacious look 28 Sibling of Helios and Selene, in myth 30 Something to shoot with, briefly 31 “Phooey!” 34 ____ for just the right film role 39 Many a suit has one, for short 42 New employee 43 “You think I won’t!” 44 Bio word 45 Radius, for one 47 ____ Doggie of old cartoons 48 Psychedelic experience 52 ____ several filmmaking awards 54 Maker of business jets 55 Spellbound 56 Hybrid citrus fruits 57 “The Lion King” villain 59 Stick close to 60 Went after 64 Something that turns up when you snap your fingers? 65 Pay dirt 66 ____ a new film adaptation 69 ____ two film studios against each other 71 ____ nova (musical style of the late Middle Ages) 72 Like businesses on Yelp 73 Land near a wharf 74 Org. with the magazine America’s 1st Freedom 75 Spellbound 76 Leader who was Time’s 2007 Person of the Year 77 Italy’s Isola d’____ 81 “Ha! I was right!” 83 ____ for meatier film roles 87 Brisk tempo 89 Cads 90 Like food 91 “Despicable Me” supervillain 92 Evidence of a brawl 94 Baylor’s home 95 Salon offering 96 ____ the film deal 99 Giggled 101 Honey ____ Clusters

19 Modern greeting 24 ____ noire 29 Student taking Contracts, maybe 32 Villagers the Grinch stole from in Dr. Seuss 33 Surround 34 Hogwarts groundskeeper 35 Native New Yorkers 36 Eco-friendly building certification, for short 37 Runner-up’s amount in an auction 38 New York team 39 Goya subject DOWN 40 Speak for oneself? 1 Lash 41 Some rounds 2 Lady’s man 43 Settled a score old-style 3 Country singer Lovett 46 Got going 4 First African-American Disney 47 Aslant princess 49 Seafood order 5 Spike TV’s former name 50 Temper 6 “____ be my honor” 51 Summoned, in a way 7 Sunbathing locale 53 In bankruptcy 8 Jewelry chain 57 Michael ____, Brett 9 Borodin’s prince Halliday detective 10 1993 accord grp. 58 Things to chew on 11 Surveillance device 61 Aid for a big painting 12 Middle word in a mall map project phrase 62 Naval conflict 13 Cash in 63 Put up 14 “Quiet down!” 64 Straggles 15 Half a score 66 December temp 16 Story ____ 67 Morris who directed “The 17 Immunity enhancer Fog of War” 18 French city near the 68 Like you wouldn’t believe Belgian border 69 Gable part (breakfast cereal) 102 Milne character 103 Java neighbor 104 Church recess 108 Too much, in music 111 ____ himself as a big-screen film star 117 “If you say so” 118 Strive 119 Actions of environmental extremists 120 Stacking game 121 Pines 122 Confronts

70 Singer Marie 73 In line 76 Buzz, so to speak 78 Pride-parade letters 79 Actor Lugosi 80 Yemen seaport 82 Laura of “Blue Velvet” 83 Hindu honorifics 84 “A likely story!” 85 Tie (up) 86 Western tribe 88 1993 accord city 93 “Yippee!” 94 “I’m waiting …?” 96 “Roger that” 97 Vast 98 Betray 99 “The Twilight Zone” episodes, e.g. 100 Poet who wrote, “In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost” 103 Capital NW of Jungfrau 105 Some info holders 106 ____ lily 107 Depiction in Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” 109 ____ se 110 Tire measure: Abbr. 112 Benefit 113 Unwinding spot 114 Word before and after “yes,” in the Army 115 Home-appliance giant 116 Swell


36 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

ormer Advance Media employees and insiders are circulating a long message they say is from former Press-Register and Times-Picayune publisher Ricky Mathews’ Facebook page claiming he has retired from the Newhouse-owned company. Unfortunately this reporter is not a Facebook “friend” of Mathews and therefore was unable to see the message firsthand, but others with access to the page vouched for its authenticity, although all did so under condition of anonymity. They also provided a copy of the message. Mathews’ latest position was as president of Advance Southeast Media, an umbrella organization overseeing all of its newspapers and websites in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. In the message, Mathews says he has made a decision to retire at 59, one year earlier than his personal goal. Mathews says a health scare last year is what got him thinking about slowing down his career. “It was a wake-up call. And as I put myself on a path of recovery, I began planning life changes that would ensure I’d continue to enjoy the blessings of the good health I have now and quality time with friends and family in the next phase of my life. I’m wrapping up the loose ends of that transition now and expect to be retired as of January 1,” Mathews wrote. “Looking back, I’m not sure how I came out of the last 15 years alive. It’s no secret that those years were among the most tumultuous in the last century of newspaper publishing in general and in our region in particular. I took on increasing levels of executive oversight and strategic planning responsibilities at precisely the same time our industry began a battle to reimagine media in a marketplace flooded with new competitors, new technology and new risks.” Mathews has faced rigorous public criticism in both Mobile and New Orleans as he oversaw cutbacks that saw hundreds laid off and left newspapers in both cities shells of their former selves that

publish just three days a week. He was particularly reviled in New Orleans, where the changes were much more abrupt and left subscribers to one of the nation’s best-read and most-admired newspapers wondering what had happened. Still, Mathews has achieved numerous accolades in his career, including a Pulitzer Prize while he was publisher of the Biloxi Sun-Herald during the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. He was part of a statewide board there that helped plan post-hurricane rebuilding, and also served on a similar board in Alabama following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. While Mathews mentioned no immediate plans, he said he would likely be joining some corporate boards where “my talents as a leader and change agent can be put to use.” Mathews did not respond to an email about this matter prior to deadline. WKRG expanding broadcasts Last week marked some changes with WKRGTV’s broadcast schedule, as the CBS affiliate expanded both in the wee hours of the morning and in the evening. On Dec. 5, “News 5 This Morning” began offering a weekday newscast at 4:30 a.m., joining the other stations in the market that have moved to an earlier start. “This Morning” will run from 4:30-7:00 a.m. The other big change takes place in the evenings, when New 5 has started running a 6:30 p.m. show. The new half hour of news gives WKRG the only newscast on at that time. WKRG General Manager Mark Bunting said the new evening broadcast will offer differences such as anchors standing and news that didn’t appear on the earlier broadcast. Bunting also wanted to let viewers know “The Andy Griffith Show,” which was displaced by the 6:30 newscast, can now be seen at 9:30 p.m. on WKRG’s sister station CW 55.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 37




to make the all-state roster. Top teams were McGill-Toolen (6th), Fairhope (8th) and Baker (9th). Class 7A boys: Earning all-state honors were Jay Day (10th) and Nathan Whitton (11th), both of Baker. Top teams were Baker (4th), Fairhope (11th) and McGillToolen (12th). Class 6A girls: Named all-state were Mandaline Thomas of Daphne (6th) and Brook Duplantier of Spanish Fort (15th). Top teams were Spanish Fort (5th), Daphne (6th) and Saraland (15th). Class 6A boys: Tyler Priest of Baldwin County was the highest local runner (18th) to place. Top teams were Spanish Fort (7th), Baldwin County (8th) and Daphne (13th). Class 5A boys: The top local finisher was Myles Stoots of Faith Academy (9th). St. Paul’s team finished 7th. Faith did not have the required five runners to earn team points. Class 4A girls: Brenda Ellis of UMS-Wright was the highest local finisher (22nd). The Lady Bulldogs were 4th overall. Class 4A boys: The highest local finisher was Evan Webster of UMS-Wright (33rd). The Bulldogs did not have enough runners to place as a team. Class 3A girls: Bayside Academy had two runners capture all-state honors, Abigail Warner (4th) and Lauren West (15th). Grace Thompson of Mobile Christian was 14th. Bayside was 4th in the team rankings, while Mobile Christian did not have enough runners to place as a team. Class 3A boys: Ernest Ladd of Bayside Academy just missed winning the state title, as the freshman finished less than two seconds behind Taylor Ray of American Christian (16:34.68). Alan Munyon of Cottage Hill Christian Academy was in 14th place. Bayside was 3rd in the team standings, while no other schools had enough runners to place. Class 2A-1A girls: Kaelyn Horn of St. Luke’s Episcopal claimed all-state honors (10th). No local schools placed in the team standings. Class 2A-1A boys: The highest local finisher was Andy Sykes of St. Luke’s (105th). No local schools placed in the team standings.

Let’s go Bowling

• Thanks to a dramatic 35-28 win over New Mexico State, the University of South Alabama Jaguars finished with a 6-6 record. USA has accepted a bid to play the Air Force Academy in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Friday, Dec. 30. The game in Tucson will kick off at 4:30 p.m. central time. Air Force capped an impressive 9-3 record by knocking off 19th-ranked Boise State in their last outing, 27-20.

38 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Photo | Chad Riley / St. Paul’s

ixteen has been both a sweet and sour number for the girls’ cross-country runners at St. Paul’s Episcopal High School. From 1983 to 1998, the Mobile squad set a national high school record by winning the Alabama state title 16 straight times. But after claiming the crown in 2000, the Saints had to wait 16 years before having the opportunity to hoist another state trophy. The skid finally ended during the recent championships at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Moulton. It is not like St. Paul’s fell off the face of the earth. They finished as the runner-up to Scottsboro High School a remarkable 10 times. That hurdle was finally cleared with the Lady Saints’ 54 points — just enough to surpass Scottsboro’s total of 57. Two-time defending champion Lawrence County finished a close third with 60 points. “The girls’ goal for this season was ‘to bring crosscountry back’ to St. Paul’s and we did exactly that,” veteran head coach Jim Tate said. “This win was our school’s 20th state team championship in girl’s cross-country, and the 105th track or cross-country [combined] state team title in school history.” With the win, St. Paul’s recorded a rare “calendar year” sweep. In February, the girls’ program won the Class 5A indoor track title. In May, they added the state outdoor track crown. “This year’s team — with our top eight runners all being either 8th- or 9th- graders — earned a hard-fought and well-contested 5A girls state team title where a mere six points separated the top three teams,” Tate said. “The meet was so close that if just one of our top four finishers had finished 7 seconds slower than what she ran, we would have finished second.” Leading the way was freshman sensation Isabel Valenzuela, who captured her third consecutive individual trophy, covering the 5K course in 18 minutes and 21 seconds. This was 47 seconds faster than the runner-up, and among the top five times among all classifications. All runners finishing among the top 15 in their class earn all-state recognition. Joining Valenzuela were teammates Mary Howard Singleton (8th), Sydney Jane Hendryx (10th) and Palmer Waechter (14th). Faith Academy finished in sixth place. Earning all-state honors were Olivia Andrews (7th) and Bailey Lansdown (9th). Results for other local teams and all-state performers follow. For a complete list of competitors and their finishing times, visit Class 7A girls: Grace Jenson of McGill-Toolen finished second overall (18:18.06). She was the only local runner

ST. PAUL’S FRESHMAN ISABEL VALENZUELA CAPTURED HER THIRD CONSECUTIVE INDIVIDUAL TROPHY, COVERING THE 5K COURSE IN 18 MINUTES AND 21 SECONDS. They were 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference. “A lot of positive things happened this season,” USA coach Joey Jones said. “We beat an SEC team in Mississippi State — which is huge for our program — and a Top 25 team in San Diego State, the Mountain West Conference champions. We lost some close conference games, but we’ve pretty much been in every game.” Ticket prices range from $25 to $65. For more information call 251-4611USA (1872). • USA junior running back Xavier Johnson was named the SBC Offensive Player of the Week after the win. He had a career-best 154 years on 21 carries, while tying a single-game school record with three touchdowns. The previous week, Jalen Thompson was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-high 10 unassisted tackles in a loss to Idaho. The sophomore cornerback from Mobile also intercepted two passes. • The Dollar General Bowl has selected Ohio University (8-5) from the MidAmerican Conference and Troy University (9-3) from the Sun Belt to meet in Mobile’s 18th annual postseason game. The contest is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Teams are set to arrive in Mobile next Monday. The Mayor’s Luncheon at noon on Thursday, Dec. 22, will feature Steve Spurrier. The always-popular Mardi Gras-style parade will begin at 6:30 that night, followed by a pep rally in Bienville Square. Tickets for the game are $45 for sidelines and $15 for general admission. They can be purchased online at or by calling 251-635-0011.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 39



40 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

SAGITTARIUS (11/22-12/22) — You’ll be double-dog dared to lick a flagpole when the temperature falls below freezing. Your tongue won’t get stuck, but you will notice the subtle taste of coal dust and urine. CAPRICORN (12/23-1/19) — Always the procrastinator, you’ll do some last-minute Christmas shopping at the corner drugstore. You’ll walk out merrily like a bobo Santa, with a sack full of cheap perfume, bargain DVDs and giant, plain sweatshirts for everyone. AQUARIUS (1/20-2/18) — You’ll pay homage to Hayley’s hellish bathroom during its 25th anniversary block party this weekend. You’ll run into your parents there, who are remembering the day 25 years ago when you were conceived in the cleanest bar bathroom in town. PISCES (2/19-3/20) — Now that the new norm is to deny things in spite of empirical evidence, you’ll refuse to pay a traffic ticket. When confronted with evidence of your guilt in court, you’ll repeatedly yell, “WRONG” until the charge is thrown out. ARIES (3/21-4/19) — You’ll recover from injuries sustained after being robbed outside a local theater. Though the premiere of “Rogue One” will leave you feeling like a Jedi, your mind tricks will prove ineffective on the convicted felon who strongarms your wallet. TAURUS (4/20-5/20) — Only 45 minutes into a localized power outage, you’ll make the rookie mistake of looting way too early. After screaming, “this is the end” and taking a crate of beer from a darkened Rite Aid, you’ll find a fully powered Texaco right down the street. GEMINI (5/21-6/21) — After your significant other begins a crash diet, you’ll be forced to hide most of your favorite foods. While the approach works well for candy at home, explaining the half-eaten burrito your boss finds in the toilet tank at work will prove tricky. CANCER (6/22-7/22) — Given the perceived influence fake news had on the presidential election, you’ll start your very own false media company. Unlike other organizations, you’ll avoid a political slant by only recreating the famous kangaroo punch video in various spots around Mobile. LEO (7/23-8/23) — You’ll turn the old Gayfers building into an indoor water park, helping to make a county commissioner’s vision come true. Despite skepticism, the park will be the city’s most popular attraction until the slides begin to malfunction and cause massive injuries. VIRGO (8/24-9/22) — After not getting anything you wanted for Christmas despite a very lengthy list, you’ll swear off your family forever. That threat will only last until your mother pulls the goose from the oven. You always did enjoy crispy skin on a moist bird. LIBRA (9/23-10/22) — You’ll destroy a child’s dream when they tell you every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. “No, little Zuzu,” you’ll say. “That just means it’s 3 o’clock.” SCORPIO (10/23-11/21) — Inspired by the city of Fairhope, you’ll only light your Christmas tree halfway up. But after you’re mocked on social media, you’ll spend $23,000 converting it to a Mardi Gras tree that’s only lit halfway down.

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 41




hristmas is coming and it’s coming quick! We’re somehow almost down to single digits! Boozie’s calendar is packed with holiday parties and family get-togethers. And so are yours, which makes for the most wonderful time of the year (for gossip). As such, the spies were able to gather up enough gossip to fill a Santa-size bag (though most of it was not clean enough to print)! But I have wrapped up what I could for you and placed it under the gossip tree. Feel free to tear into these treats at any time. Early Christmas presents are the best!

O Christmas tree, how lovely to be Mobile’s biggest tree! On Thursday, Dec. 8, Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Sandy Bear lit the tallest tree in Mobile’s history! The tree is so big it had to be put in place by a crane. Watch out, New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Mobile is moving on up! The tree is located in Cooper Riverside Park, and from what I’ve heard it is big! I personally haven’t seen it but hope I can catch a glimpse sometime soon. The tree arrived just in time for the Tacky Christmas party, which started right after the lighting of the tree. Keep up the fun and “tacky” activities, Mobile!

Melting more than ice

While on the topic of Cooper Riverside Park and Riverside Ice, last week I found out about a couple melting more than ice. One of my spies reported a couple got engaged at the park! That’s the first engagement I’ve heard of hap-


Mobile once again went for the Guinness World Record for the most elves in one place this past Friday night. Unfortunately, not enough Elves braved the cold weather. Boozie thinks Southern elves just aren’t cut out for the cold. I was told that Bienville Square was packed with elves, but not enough of them to break the world record held by a group from Bangkok, Thailand. The world record is 1,762 elves gathered in one spot. Mobile was once again so close but no cigar. Papa Elf Sandy was in attendance as well as Sandy Bear. I’m not going to point fingers, but Sandy Bear wasn’t dressed as an elf, just sayin’. There’s always next year!

XYZ to the extreme

As if Christmas wasn’t a busy enough time of year, one of my spies had a wedding to attend as well. She said the wedding was cold, but the evening started heating up when the DJ pulled out some old songs from middle school and high school days. She said everyone hit the dance floor, with the same great dance moves from middle school. While my spy was taking a break from the dance floor, she fueled up for the next song at the only place to refuel, the bar. While she was in line, something caught her eye — and I mean really caught her eye. Starting to wonder if she was really seeing what she thought she was seeing, she asked her date if he saw it too. Sure enough, he confirmed they were seeing a guy who needed to be told XYZ, ASAP.


42 | L AG N I A P P E | D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6

Photo | Facebook

O Christmas tree

pening there! The hearts of everyone who witnessed the engagement must have melted a little. Congrats!

MAYOR SANDY STIMPSON, HIS WIFE JEAN AND SANDY BEAR IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT. Embarrassed to tell the guy XYZ, my spy told another girl who worked up the courage to tell the poor guy that not only was his zipper undone, but his blue boxers and his, umm, wiener were hanging out. He quickly fixed the problem, saying his pants must have come unzipped while he was dancing. Guess there’s a first time for everything! Don’t think I’d want to dance with that guy, but hey, at least we know he has those boogie shoes, now he just needs break dancing pants! Well, kids, that’s all I’ve got this week. Just remember, whether rain or shine, dramatic or scandalous or just some plain ol’ elf lovin’, I will be there. Ciao!

LAGNIAPPE LEGALS | 251.450-4466 |

ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS Notice is hereby given that the University of South Alabama (Owner) will accept sealed Bids for the following Work: MITCHELL CENTER GUTTER AND DOWNSPOUT MODIFICATIONS for The University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama USA Project No. 16-01 USA BID NO. 6120201 Bids will be received and clocked in at 02:00 p.m. local time January 12, 2017, in Room AD245 of the USA Administration Building, on the Main Campus of the University of South Alabama. Bids will not be accepted after the time indicated herein and will be returned unopened. A cashier’s check or bid bond payable to the University of South Alabama in an amount not less than five (5) percent of the amount of the bid, but in no event more than $10,000 must accompany the bidder’s proposal. Bid Documents shall be available only through the USA Purchasing Office. Contact: University of South Alabama Purchasing Department 307 University Blvd. N, AD 245 (Administration Building) Mobile, AL 36688 PH# (251) 460-6151 FX# (251) 414-8291 ( Bids must be submitted on Proposal Forms furnished in the Bid Documents or copies thereof. The preceding is an abbreviated advertisement. The complete advertisement may be obtained from the location listed above. A Pre-Bid Conference will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 15, 2016, in Room AD023 of the Administration Building. Those in attendance will include the Owner, Engineer, and Consultants. Contract bidders, subcontractors and suppliers are encouraged to attend. A tour of the Project site is scheduled immediately after the conference. All questions concerning the Project should be submitted in writing to the Project Architect at the address listed below. Goodwyn Mills and Cawood, Architects Jim Walker, AIA 11 North Water Street, Suite 15250 Mobile, AL 36602 PH# (251) 460-4006 FX# (251) 460-4423 ( LAGNIAPPE HD December 8, 15, 22, 2016.

INVITATION FOR BIDS Sealed Bids for Architectural Services will be received by Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 451 Government St., Mobile AL 36602, until 2:00 PM January 20, 2017. The project consists of architectural services for rehabilitation and construction of the Innovation PortAL building at 358 St. Louis St., Mobile AL. To request a PDF of the detailed RFP, email, or the RFP may be obtained at Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, 451 Government St., Mobile AL.
Lagniappe HD Dec. 15, 22, 29, Jan. 12, 2016

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.

Deadline for legal advertising in Lagniappe HD is every Monday at 3 p.m. Lagniappe HD is distributed each Thursday. Lagniappe HD offices are located at 1100B Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604. For more information or to place your ad call Jackie at 251-450-4466. Or email at

D e c e m b e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 6 - D e c e m b e r 2 1 , 2 0 1 6 | L AG N I A P P E | 43

Profile for Lagniappe

Lagniappe: December 15 - December 21, 2016  

Lagniappe: December 15 - December 21, 2016