One by one, Baldwin County parents on Monday accused the school system of using intimidation to try to win a campaign for higher taxes.
Appearing at a news conference called by state Auditor Jim Zeigler, four parents said they believe the school system has exceeded its legal and moral authority. Baldwin voters have the final say Tuesday. The school system is asking for the renewal of 7 mills of property tax and new levies totally 8 mills. The money would finance a $350 million construction program to relieve overcrowded schools.
via Baldwin parents decry ‘intimidation,’ heavy-handed tactics by schools in tax campaign | AL.com.
In November, shortly after taking the reigns as superintendent of the Baldwin County school system, Robbie Owen announced its plan to embark on a 10-year, $350 million capital campaign.
The ambitious operation looked to put new or improved structures in every one of the county’s seven feeder patterns, and help create an eighth, in the Elberta area to the south. And ever since, two campaigns have saturated Baldwin County, polarized over the proposed 8-mill ad valorem tax increase to pay for the measure.
via Here’s your primer for Tuesday’s Baldwin County schools tax referendum | AL.com.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office on Monday reaffirmed a decade-old opinion issued by the office blessing the use of public funds to promote school tax referendums.
A letter sent to Auditor Jim Zeigler, who last week asked for a grand jury investigation of the Baldwin County school system’s campaign in support of Tuesday’s tax initiative, states that an opinion issued in 2003 deals with a different section of the law than the one cited by school tax opponents.
via Public funds can be used for Baldwin tax campaign, AG’s Office says | AL.com.
Despite Alabama’s tax-allergic reputation, when voters have a chance to decide on levies for local schools, they generally say, “yes.”
According to an AL.com review of news coverage throughout Alabama, voters have affirmed taxes in 20 of 25 referendums since the beginning of 2010. It is possible that the list is not complete, because no state agency or advocacy organization apparently tracks school tax votes in a systematic way.
via Anti-tax myth? School levies pass in Alabama more often than not | AL.com.
What happens if the Baldwin County schools tax referendum fails?
That’s a question civic leaders, school teachers, parents and even some students are asking as a vote looms on the other side of the weekend that could infuse more than $1 billion into the public school system over the next 30 years.
via What happens if the upcoming Baldwin County property tax vote fails in part or in total? | AL.com.
Although the Baldwin County property tax referendum seems simple – it involves approval of a renewal and a new tax – the ballot voters will see at most polling places on March 31 is not. And that’s because the vote actually has five parts, due to the antiquated Alabama Constitution and the amendments that were established for the property tax levies.
via Breaking down the Baldwin County schools tax referendum ballot | AL.com.
Baldwin County Commissioner Frank Burt’s personal contribution into a political action committee pushing against Tuesday’s school tax referendum generated some criticism Friday from two other commissioners who support the measure.
Burt, the senior member on the four-member commission, and his daughter-in-law contributed $1,125 toward Educate Baldwin Now, the PAC formed to fight against a referendum asking for 8 mills of new property taxes to pay for a 10-year, $350 million building expansion of the Baldwin County School System.
Burt said Friday he doesn’t think the tax referendum is the “economic boom” that others, including Commissioners Chris Elliott and Tucker Dorsey, “are pushing for in Baldwin County.”
via Baldwin County commissioner’s contributions opposing referendum draws criticism | AL.com.
I don’t remember Daddy ever growing strawberries. After I married and left home, we went to a “u-pick” strawberry patch and picked our own fresh strawberries. Oh my goodness, they were good. It’s easy to make yourself sick eating so many fresh strawberries.
Naturally, you ate as you picked, not taking time to wash the strawberries. Guess what? Dirt, bugs or whatever went into your mouth along with that beautiful, delicious strawberry! Strawberries grow right on top of the dirt, so you were standing on your head to pick your own. Picking strawberries at ground level is back-breaking. It only took once or twice picking my own strawberries to realize the value of farmers. I gladly paid for baskets of strawberries that were already picked; no more picking my own. Hard work, ‘nuff said!
via Just in time for strawberry season – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: People.
ORANGE BEACH, AL — It took Ian Boles – due to circumstances beyond his control – a little while to get things going on his beach front property in west Orange Beach.
But once he got it going, he decided he was going big.
The Australian outback native, living in the U.S. since the early 1990s, faced natural and manmade obstacles before he began subcontracting out work on two duplex buildings with two eight-bedroom houses in each for a total of 32 bedrooms – eight in each side.
via Beach rental houses in Orange Beach can fill a tall order – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
GULF SHORES — Many exciting changes have come to Gulf Shores in recent months. The city has a new welcome center, brand initiative, website and even a city store where shoppers can purchase Gulf Shores brand merchandise.
New items for purchase in the city store include jewelry, T-shirts, visors, cups and ornaments.
According to Grant Brown, city of Gulf Shores director of recreation and cultural affairs, merchandise like this will help promote the city’s brand, and give people a chance to express their love of Pleasure Island.
via Gulf Shores city store offering new items – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
FOLEY, Ala. — The Foley Public Library is preparing to host its first Annual Military Equipment Show on April 17 and 18.
On Friday and Saturday, the show will feature captured equipment and U.S. equipment from the Civil War through the most recent conflicts in the Middle East on display throughout the library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
via Foley Public Library set to host Military Equipment Show April 17, 18 – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. WPMI A team with the Alabama Secretary of State will be monitoring the special election, to ensure the property tax vote is executed fairly.An election quick response team will be traveling all over the county alongside the county’s Probate Judge, Tim Russell, on the day of the special election.“I thought it was a good idea, because again, we are going to have an open, fair election and I’m not afraid for anyone to see how our election process goes,” said Judge Tim Russell.
via Baldwin Property Tax Vote Will Be Monitored By State Officials – WPMI – Mobile Top Stories – LOCAL 15.
BAY MINETTE, AL – Saying the school board wants to get “ahead of the rumor mill and rhetoric” Baldwin County Schools Director of Communications Terry Wilhite said in an email March 29 no voting age students will be bused to the polls on Tuesday or be offered incentives to vote.
via County: Students won’t be bused to the polls to vote – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
ORANGE BEACH, AL (WALA) -
It’s a tale of two banks: on the east side of Perdido Pass, are a beach full of spring breakers soaking up the spring sun. But on the west side, just a smattering of people boxed out by dozens of yards of chain link fence and “do not enter” signs.
Resident Bill Jeffires said it used to be very different just a few years ago.
“For years and years and years, this was an area that local fishermen, young kids came to learn to fish. Folks that really couldn’t afford to go to the state pier or that were handicapped to the point where it wasn’t comfortable for them, that used this,” Jeffries said.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Beloved Orange Beach fishing spot still closed after nearly four – FOX10 News | WALA.
BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WALA) – A Baldwin County group opposed to a proposed tax increase for schools has responded to alleged violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. A news release from the group Educate Baldwin Now states: “EBN has made every effort, and will continue to make every effort to comply with the law.”
EBN came under fire Tuesday when Probate Judge Tim Russell told FOX10 News exclusively the group’s flyers opposing the proposed tax were illegal, because they did not include a statement indicating who was responsible for producing the fliers.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Educate Baldwin Now responds to FOX10 Investigation – FOX10 News | WALA.
ALABAMA — There are few family vacations that are as easy and enjoyable as a good beach vacation. Families get the freedom to relax and enjoy each other while playing and being near one of the most beautiful sights in the world — the ocean.
The California coastline might come to mind when you think of a destination for a beach trip, but Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico have some of the best beaches in the world.
Here are five reasons why your next beach trip should be to Alabama.
Warm water, white beaches
The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area are located right on the Gulf of Mexico, offering warm tropical-like water, sugary sand beaches and beautiful views. These areas offer the type of beaches we often picture when envisioning a perfect tropical getaway in an exotic place, except they’re available on the mainland of the United States.
via 5 reasons your next beach trip should be to Alabama | Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A Gulf Shores man threatened his wife with a gun Wednesday, then holed up in his home, refusing to talk with anyone, after law enforcement arrived on the scene.
According to Gulf Shores police, David Gilbert Little, 61, threatened his wife with a gun early Wednesday evening. When he eventually put his weapon down, his wife ran from the home to a neighbor’s house and called police.
via Gulf Shores man threatens wife with gun, later surrenders to police | AL.com.
Another week of spring break entered the middle of the week and included students from the Auburn University at Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park in Orange Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
via Auburn University students dive into spring break at Gulf Shores | AL.com.
Anglers can start fishing today, but have until the final day of April to bring in the big one for the 2015 Outcast Cobia Classic. The good news is that you can sign up anytime throughout the event, so you haven’t missed out.
It’s basically two tournaments in one with an open division and a small boat division. Entry into the open is $850 and the small boat is $275.
via Outcast Cobia Classic gets underway.
The upcoming property tax vote in Baldwin County to help fund the school system as started a passionate debate among supporters and the opposition.
But specifics on the increase and how much it will cost is very confusing.
“I think there is a lot of confusion. There is a lot of speculation and a lot of different opinions about exactly what all this is going to do,” said Baldwin County Revenue Commissioner Teddy Faust.
via Breaking Down the Tax Vote.
“It’s chaos every morning.”
If you are driving too fast in a school zone, “We’ve had people having to screech on brakes,” this maybe your only warning.
An up-tick in heavy-footed drivers has caught the attention of Foley Police. “The adults are late for work or late for school that they speed here through this busy stretch of road,” says Capt. David White.
via School Zone Speeders Beware.
According to Build Baldwin Now, farmers will pay an additional 35 cents per acre if voters approved an 8 mil property tax increase to help fund new school construction.
That might not sound like a lot, but for farmers who own a lot of land, it could translate into thousands in additional taxes.
via How Will Potential Property Tax Hike Impact Farmers?.
With one week before Baldwin County voters decide whether to increase property taxes for the school system, the intensity level at the latest forum on the issue turned up a notch on Tuesday.
Sponsored by the tea party-affiliated Common Sense Campaign, the forum in Daphne was the latest in a flurry of campaign activity leading up to the referendum.
via Baldwin school tax forum features elevated emotions – and voices – as vote draws near | AL.com.
A former 9-hole golf course in the Lake Forest subdivision in Daphne may soon become a city-maintained greenspace park, offering walking and fitness trails.
Over the last nine months, the city has been working with the Lake Forest Property Owners Association to iron out an agreement to lease 33 acres of the old “Lake Nine” golf course on the south side of the subdivision’s lake.
via Deal in works to make old Lake Forest golf course a Daphne city park | AL.com.
The Foley Public Library will host its first-ever Military Equipment Show on April 17-18.
The show will consist of a large equipment display featuring jeeps, large trucks, Humvees, artillery pieces, and even a tank, located outside in the south parking lot of the public library in Foley.
via Foley Public Library to host its first-ever Military Equipment Show in April | AL.com.
Riding the financial boost provided by the city of Foley, the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the early return of the annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in May.
Each year, the two-day event at the Foley Soccer Complex on U.S. 98 draws upward of 65,000 people as balloonists from across the country descend on south Baldwin County. Over the last decade, the event has pumped an estimated $10 million into the local economy, according to the chamber.
via Balloon festival coming early this year; volunteers needed for May event in Foley | AL.com.
A city-wide celebration that kicked off in January with the Foley Centennial Plaza dedication is set to heat up again in April.
In what organizers are calling the “official birthday party” in recognition of the city’s 100th anniversary of incorporation, Foley will host a picnic and a concert by the Baldwin Pops on Sunday, April 19 at Heritage Park.
via Foley’s centennial celebration continues in April with picnic, Baldwin Pops concert, walking tours | AL.com.
Spring kicked off last Friday, just in time for many Alabamians to take some time off work and school for spring break. Many are eager to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Finding a place to unwind and enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of Alabama is easy.
Naturally, the beachfront Gulf State Park in Baldwin County is the most popular spring break destination in the Alabama park system.
via Ala. State Parks Director: Take a spring break, without breaking the budget – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
"The 2015 shorebird nesting season is underway at Gulf Islands National Seashore" said Superintendent Dan Brown. Each year, beginning in mid-March and ending in late summer, the park plays host to several species of ground nesting shorebirds such as least terns, snowy and Wilson’s plovers, and black skimmers.
via Nesting season for shorebirds has begun.
With a special referendum election just a week away, supporters and opponents of a tax increase for Baldwin County schools are asking for your vote. So what questions do voters face? FOX10 News got a copy of the actual ballot voters will see on Tuesday.
Absentee voting on the 8 mill ad valorem tax to build new schools will wrap up this Thursday. As of Tuesday, the Baldwin County Clerk’s Office has received 279 absentee votes. Election officials said that’s about average for a special election of this type. At the last special election to implement the original one percent sales tax for schools in 2010, 301 absentee voters turned in their ballot before the election.
FOX10 News | WALA
via Baldwin voters share concern over ballot – FOX10 News | WALA.