Four state parks and 10 cities across the state have received funds for improvements, totaling $700,000.
The federal Land and Water Conservation fund announced the grants, most of which are worth $50,000 each, and range in purpose from a special needs playground to a canoe and boat launch.
The state parks that received grants are:
via Four state parks, 10 cities in Alabama receive grants for improvements | AL.com.
GULF SHORES, AL – The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project announced today that it has applied to team with Hilton Worldwide for a planned lodge that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan and is part of a broader effort at the park to be an international model of economic and environmental sustainability in the wake of the damaging 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
via Gulf State Park Lodge project applies for Hilton Worldwide partnership – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Alabama officials are hoping to get a little help from a hospitality giant as they look to build a new Gulf State Park Lodge and meeting space on one of the state’s most breathtaking beachfront properties.
Organizers of the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project announced Friday they have applied for a partnership with Hilton Worldwide to develop a replacement for the old Gulf State Park Lodge, destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The new lodge would be owned and operated by the state, but Hilton would provide the franchise support system and help with reservations and sustainability initiatives.
via A Hilton at Gulf State Park? Project team applies for partnership with hotel chain | AL.com.
A brainstorming session involving the Alabama Marine Resources Division, Alabama Wildlife Federation AWF and the Alabama Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association CCA resulted in significant implications for those who love to fish in Alabama’s saltwater environment.
The three entities concluded that their combined efforts could best be used to develop a long-term plan for Alabama’s world-renowned artificial reef program.
via Long-Term Reef Plan to Benefit Alabama Marine Environment | Outdoor Alabama.
In the last five years landing a fish from the Gulf of Mexico has come with a catch.
“People still ask, is seafood safe?” says Larissa Graham with the Sea Grant Programs of the Gulf of Mexico.
A room full of scientists and researchers were tasked with finding out the answer to that question. According to Graham, “seafood’s safe and it’s delicious.”
via Gulf of Mexico Seafood – Is it Safe?.
BAY MINETTE, AL- Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack agrees with Governor Robert Bentley’s decision to refuse to allow refugees to relocate in Alabama.
Bentley is one of a growing list of governors not allowing refugees in their states following the Paris attacks.
via Local Sheriff Agrees With Governor’s No Refugees Order.
Where are those Yankees? Not at Alabama’s sugar-white sand beaches.
Of the top 18 states who send tourists to coastal Alabama each summer, none are in New England. Only Pennsylvania is listed among the states that had a measurable number of visitors coming to Alabama, according to a 2014 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism report.
“When I talk to them about Alabama they look at me funny, ‘Alabama? What’s in Alabama?’” said Kathy Hadley, an upstate New York resident who, along with her husband Pat, spend six months each year in Gulf Shores. “That’s the response I get from my New York friends who have been traveling down to Florida for years.”
via Why Alabama is not in a New York state of mind when it comes to tourism | AL.com.
According to state and coastal Alabama tourism figures, Baldwin County’s tourism industry is expected to reach a fifth year of record breaking returns since the oil spill kept tourists away. The county, with the beach cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as the main attractions, experienced a 4.7 increase in visitors from 5.5 million in 2013 to 5.8 million in 2014.
via Why record-setting beach tourism is elating and frustrating coastal Alabama | AL.com.
On the last Friday in October, eleven guys–a few friends, a few acquaintances, a few total strangers–loaded onto the sailing vessel Libra for an adventure they’ll never forget.
Sailing Vessel Libra had circumnavigated the globe at least twice before retiring to Orange Beach, Alabama a decade or so ago. Captain Ryan Rayfield bought Libra a few years ago with the hopes of fixing up the custom 1969 Bill Tripp design and turning her into a blue water sailing school.
What better shake down cruise than the inaugural “Pensacola a la Habana Race”?
via First Inaugural “Pensacola a la Habana Race” success! | Bo + Allison.
Farther south, Alabama’s coastal area is working to move tourism beyond beach time.
With the help of the local community, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber located a 40-year-old retired Dutch cargo ship. They purchased the ship, transported it to the coast, de-hazmatted it and sunk it 17 miles off the coast to create a reef for diving. The cost of the project was $500,000, and they were able to raise $840,000. In two years, diving has quintupled. Other projects have been added, including an underwater playground and underwater wedding altar. A 180-foot barge has also been sunk for a mid-range diving attraction.
“The reef project is the perfect example of the community coming together,” says Ed Rodriguez, chamber president and CEO. “It’s been great for the diving and fishing industry and has received national and international publicity.”
This out-of-the-box thinking helped to earn the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber the award for Chamber of the Year in North America from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber was selected for this invitation-only honor out of more than 5,000 chambers of commerce across the continent.
via Hubs of Commerce New and Expanding.
Al Roker’s whirlwind trip through the U.S. arrived into the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, with a stop at the 50-year-old USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile garnering enthusiastic greetings from “Today Show” fans like Ashley Lowry of Fairhope.
via USS Alabama Battleship, 105-year-old veteran spotlighted during Al Roker’s stop into Mobile | AL.com.
Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved more than $21 million for five Alabama projects that address high priority conservation needs to restore some of Alabama’s natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
Of the amount, about $12 million will go toward the Alabama Artificial Reef and Habitat Enhancement. This project will fund the enhancement and expansion of the state’s artificial reef program to improve habitats for reef fish and other species in coastal Alabama.
via Alabama reef system to get $12 million in latest BP grant money – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has approved of spending more than $21 million on projects to restore areas of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Bentley said in a statement Tuesday that the money will be used to launch five projects focused on natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
via $21 Million Approved for Alabama Gulf Conservation Projects.
Don’t blame me if you don’t like the following rankings. After all, it was the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham who first crunched the government data to show which places were ranked as the most – and least – scenic, temperate and, well, beautiful.
The rankings are based on something the federal government calls the “natural amenities scale.” The scale ranks places based on climate specifically places with mild winters, temperate summers and low humidity topography variations or scenery and access to water areas. The rankings aren’t based on things humans built, but rather what the government calls “the natural aspects of attractiveness.”
Here’s what the data shows about the 7 prettiest counties in Alabama, shown with its ranking out of 3,111 national counties included in the data:
via The 7 prettiest – and 10 ugliest – counties in Alabama | AL.com.
BALDWIN COUNTY-After four consecutive record-breaking years for tourism in Baldwin County, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism announced 2015 continues the trend with year-to-date increases and seasonal gains, sports updates, transportation improvements, a new beach initiative and more during the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber’s First Friday Forum at LuLu’s in Gulf Shores.
via Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Sees Growth in 2015.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne will face a familiar opponent during the March 1, 2016, GOP primary for the Ala. 1 House seat.
Orange Beach resident and developer Dean Young is jumping back into political scene as he looks to upend his Nov. 4, 2013, Republican congressional runoff election loss to Byrne.
via U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne to face familiar foe in 2016 GOP primary in Dean Young | AL.com.
They are the hit songs we sing along to in the car and shower, country hits that crackle rom FM radio stations in major markets.
Sure, we might know the star belting out that favorite country-folksy tune but do we know who wrote the song?
via Nashville songwriters gather on Alabama Gulf Coast for start of Frank Brown Fest | AL.com.
More than five years ago, April 20, 2010, to be exact, life on the Gulf Coast changed, and not for the better.
That is the date of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform explosion that killed 11 people and injured 17. It also resulted in 134 million gallons of crude oil being released into Gulf waters.
via Alabama Gets Update on BP Settlement Progress | Outdoor Alabama.
As its Dec. 31 deadline approaches to forward recommendations to Gov. Robert Bentley, the Coastal Insurance Working Group (CIWG) is revealing more details about potential changes to the Alabama Insurance Underwriters Association (AIUA) and a so-called “coastal band” of wind insurers spanning the Gulf Coast.
via More details revealed in homeowners insurance reform plan – LagniappeLagniappe.
In our continuing effort to “Connect to Congress,” Local 15′s Greg Peterson caught up with Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne Wednesday from the Capital Rotunda.
Byrne told Peterson the conversation about the I-10 Bridge over the Mobile River continues.
via Connect to Congress: Byrne Asked about Mobile River – WPMI – LOCAL 15.
Done the right way, thinking outside the box and with an eye to the future, there is no reason Alabama’s share of the BP oil spill settlement cannot be the foundation of a legacy of unparalleled job creation, land acquisition and environmental protection.
As the settlement now stands, it will accomplish neither.
via The current BP oil settlement is unacceptable | AL.com.
This isn’t your typical holiday parade: Boats glide along the palm-lined Intracoastal Waterway off the Gulf of Mexico, playing festive tunes and glimmering top to bottom in holiday lights. Welcome to the holiday season in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This year’s 30th Annual Lighted Boat Parade hits the water on December 12, and the most popular place to watch the parade is on the sandy beach at LuLu’s at Homeport Marina. Staying in Gulf Shores for New Year’s Eve? Get to The Wharf in Orange Beach for The Wharf Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Bash. This family-friendly block party has a Ferris wheel, live music on two stages, and fireworks to ring in the new year.
via Visit these 6 festive cities that go big for the holidays | HomeAway.
GULF SHORES, AL – The Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Festival offers at least two ways visitors can give something back to the environment, one from Hangout Festival organizers and another local effort to collect discarded oyster shells.
The festival starts Friday, Nov. 6, with a Craft Beer Festival at 6 p.m. The Oyster Cook-Off is the following day from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tickets for the beer fest are $40 and entry into cook-off on Saturday, Nov. 7, is $10.
via Hangout Oyster Cook-Off offers two recycling programs – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
The 31st annual Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival opens Thursday, and in keeping with tradition it’s a sprawling affair that will scatter literally hundreds of performers across coastal Alabama and the Pensacola area.
The event is centered at Flora-Bama Lounge, Package & Oyster Bar; it’s named for the late Frank Brown, a longtime night watchman at the storied state-line roadhouse. Performances will be presented at more than 30 venues.
via Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival opens Thursday | AL.com.
With rough conditions during the first 24 hours of the 2015 Andrews Institute Pensacola a la Habana race, four boats have “retired,” stated a Pensacola Yacht Club press release.
The homemade catamaran Surf Rider and the Island Packet 27 Island Sun returned to Pensacola Bay Saturday afternoon. Makani U’l, a Beneteau 40, suffered damage to her jib halyard and roller-furler system and is headed to St. Petersburg for repairs. Midnight Sun II, a Hunter 42, was dismasted at midnight and motored back to Pensacola Yacht Club by 8:30 a.m, said the release.
via Four yachts retire from Pensacola race.
In honor of Veterans Day, Alabama State Parks will waive the entrance fee for veterans at any of its 17 state parks on November 11, 2015. Anyone who indicates they are a veteran will be admitted into the park day-use areas without charge. No identification will be required.
via State Parks to Offer Free Admission to Veterans on Nov. 11 | Outdoor Alabama.
Thanks to the advent or cell phones and whiz-bang technology, the annual ritual of springing forward and falling back to keep up with time changes isn’t nearly as daunting a task as it used to be. But if you still rely on the old-fashioned alarm clock, you’ll want to make sure you set it back an hour before going to bed Saturday night Oct. 31 or risk being off schedule all day Sunday, Nov. 1.
via Daylight Saving: Things to know about Sunday, Nov. 1 2015 time change | AL.com.
Seven individuals, one from Alabama, have been indicted by a federal grand jury after authorities say they filed fraudulent claims totaling more than $2 billion related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The defendants were indicted on 95 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, identity theft, and aggravated identity theft, according to the Justice Department.
via 7 indicted for fraud, ID theft after filing 40,000 oil spill claims totaling $2 billion | AL.com.
If legendary Alabama record producer Rick Hall is known for anything, it’s for having a vision. So if someone’s going to play a dramatized version of him on TV, it’s no surprise that Hall has a very firm idea or two about who that should be.
“That’s something I’ve thought about a couple of times,” Hall said this week. “And I think that George Clooney could do a good job. And I think Johnny Depp could do a good job.”
via Who could play Rick Hall on TV? Rick Hall has an idea | AL.com.
Alabama lawyers are due about $20 million in legal fees connected to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement.
Half of the legal fees – about $10 million – will benefit the Alabama Attorney General’s Office budget; the other half flow to private firms. Mike Lewis, a spokesman for the office, said staff attorneys spent five years and more than 24,000 hours negotiating the settlement.
via Alabama lawyers clean up in BP oil settlement | AL.com.