The Orange Beach Area Community
Overview of the Alabama Gulf Coast including Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Foley & Perdido Key.
Flooded by Three Hurricanes,
Zoo Makes Move to Higher Ground
July 22, 2015 - Gulf Shores, AL (GSA) - One by one the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo completed a full Noah’s Ark type evacuation before Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast in 2004. Within 11 months, the zoo also completed two more full-scale evacuations for Hurricane Dennis and Katrina. To save the animals, Zoo Director, Patti Hall opened her home and property to 275 exotic animals, 39 zoo employees and family members to ride out the storms. Zoo Director, Patti Hall, announced at an event on Monday, July 20 that that time has come to move the zoo inland to higher ground and make it better than ever. The zoo is currently in the fundraising stage with a projection to open the new facilities in March 2017. Keep up with fundraising and construction at FundTheZoo.com.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, also known as “The Little Zoo That Could,” will expand to a 25-acre property, 4.3 miles North of the current location in Gulf Shores, Ala. The zoo made international headlines in 2004 when they successfully evacuated the zoo, a feat never attempted by any zoo. In 2006, Animal Planet aired a 13-part television series, “The Little Zoo That Could,” that chronicled the evacuation and repairs of Hurricane Ivan.
July 18, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Below is the City of Orange Beach Council Meeting Agendas for July 21, 2015.
This is a service of the OBA Community Website. We are not affiliated with the City of Orange Beach.
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
July 16, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Alabama is blessed with the most successful and extensive artificial reef programs in the world. And it’s in the process of getting even better.
Thanks to a program called Rigs to Reefs, derelict gas and oil rigs will now become a part of the state’s artificial reefs instead of being sold as scrap metal.
Viosca Knoll 385 A, the first rig to be included in the Rigs to Reefs program, was deployed 40 miles south of Dauphin Island on May 21 this year.
“We have a real Rigs to Reef program now,” said Alabama Marine Resources Division Director Chris Blankenship. “We’ve made reefs out of a few rigs in the past, but we haven’t had a formal program like we have now. We work with the oil companies and gas companies and take possession of the rig in a formal agreement. Craig Newton, one of our Marine Resources biologists, went out to see the first rig deployed in the program.”
In addition to donating the decommissioned rigs, those oil and gas companies are also required to make a donation to the Alabama Artificial Reef Program according to the money saved by donating it to the Rigs to Reefs Program.
By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
July 10, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Identifying different shark species can be difficult even for an avid offshore angler. Even fisheries biologists sometimes have to take a closer look to determine a certain species. In the case of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR), the largest fishing event in the world, shark identification usually had to happen after the fish hit the weigh dock. In previous rodeos, several sharks, including species that didn’t qualify, died in the process.
No more. Thanks to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the 82nd annual rodeo will be the first to have a Shark Catch-And-Release category that will keep the sharks from being landed and give anglers a shot at a guaranteed $10,000 payout.
June 22, 2015 - Perdido Key, FL (PKF) - When Beverly Jo Scott wants to unwind from her whirlwind European life and relax, refuel and have fun, her thoughts turn to home. “My family’s here, my roots – I’m born and raised here,” she said. “Nobody’s telling me ‘wow, what an accent.’ It’s primordial for me. My roots are here. My branches are in Europe but my feet are firmly planted in the Gulf Coast.”
And for her that home is sometimes visiting with relatives. And it’s always fishing Alabama waters like she did growing up in Mobile, Washington and Baldwin counties.
“I was born in Mobile and raised in Baldwin County and moved to Belgium,” she said. “I play in Belgium and all over Europe. I’ve toured Europe many times. I’ve been over there 30 years.”
But what she really considers home is when she has guitar in hand and a mic in front of her onstage at the Flora-Bama.
Pick -up the Pass at the Point - A GoodPeople Clean The Beach Event
Location: Alabama Point
Carrying on the momentum from ‘The Floppers Ball’- 1,900+ lbs of canned food & $800+ in monetary donations was collected for the Bay Area Food Bank. (The single largest single donation to date for the food bank) The Floppers Ball attendees helped feed an estimated 5,700+ meals to needy Gulf Coastians.
Drive, Float, Stroke, Boat, or Swim over and Pick-Up The Pass at The Point. Any time between – Participants are encouraged to ‘Leave no trace’ – Trash bags will be supplied by Alabama P.A.L.S
To sweeten the kitty, Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be provided.
Benefiting: Share the Beach www.alabamaseaturtles.com/
This event is to bring education and awareness to the Share the Beach – Alabama Seaturtle program. www.alabamaseaturtles.com
“No matter the size of the donation (all are appreciated), the funds are used to continue the work of finding and protecting the sea turtle nests and ensuring that the hatchlings have a chance to get to the water. We use screen wire to protect the nest from predators, wood stakes to tape off the nest area and material to place a tarp around the nest when hatching is imminent.
Education is critical for us to spread the word to residents and visitors that they have a stake in helping us reach our goal. Public outreach is necessary.”
- Sandi Caudill Adopt-A-Nest Coordinator
June 17, 2015 - Perdido Key, FL - (PKF) - Local author Chris Warner, a resident of Perdido Key, Florida, has revised the popular book, “Bushwhacked at the Flora-Bama” to include a 32-page addendum chronicling what has happened at the iconic, gulf coast watering hole during its past three years of new ownership.
The addendum contains interviews with the Flora-Bama’s new principal, John McInnis, chief operating officer, Cam Price, long-time owner Pat McClellan, original owners Bubba and Connie Tampary, longtime bartender Phil Harter, entertainers Rhonda Hart and Jack Robertson as well as updating fans on the revered institution’s many facility improvements and new events.
The new book contains the original book, plus the 32-page addendum, and a new, related picture spread.
“The Flora-Bama is so much to so many people. More than just a bar, the fabled vacation destination and haunt has united revelers from far and wide for more than three generations. It’s an unstoppable force of good times, great music and great people!” Warner said.
June 15, 2015 - Gulf Shores, AL (GSA) - Jeff Wheelock is no stranger to the art of carving. As a fourth generation woodcrafter, born from German and Native American master woodcraftsman he has carved his name into history along the Gulf Coast and the world. His pieces span throughout over 56 countries. Jeff will be demonstrating his skills in live chainsaw art and carving at Tacky Jacks in Gulf Shores on from . The event is part of the Art al Fresco summer lunch and learn series at the waterfront venue. The live demonstration is open to all ages and there is no charge for this special event.
Jeff Wheelock will make a second appearance this summer on July 15, 2015 at Tacky Jacks Gulf Shores.
For more information on the Summer of Fun at Tacky Jacks to include Art al Fresco or any of the other weekly activities visit www.tackyjacks.com. To find out more about the artist Jeff Wheelock visit www.wheelockgallery.com.
June 11, 2015 - WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), today announced full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 CJS appropriations bill, which contains critical provisions affecting fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Following today’s action by the Committee, the bill will go to the full Senate for consideration.
“The red snapper fishery is vital to fishermen and businesses across Alabama, and it is clear that the federal government’s continued mismanagement of the fisheries must be addressed,” said Senator Shelby. “That is why I included several provisions in this year’s CJS bill that I believe will help respond to the serious challenges facing anyone who wants to fish for red snapper in the Gulf.”
June 10, 2015 - Perdido Key, FL (PKF) - Flora-Bama’s 2nd Annual Fishing Rodeo was scheduled for this weekend, June 11th-14th. After closely monitoring the weather forecast, the team has come together to make a decision to post-pone the rodeo until June 25-28th. This decision is based on the safety of our anglers, which is our number one priority and concern. With the forecast predicting seas between 5ft and 8ft on Friday and 5ft and 7ft on Saturday, 0 to 20 miles offshore per NOAA marine forecast, we do not feel it is responsible to send our anglers out into the waters to compete in a tournament. More forecast information can be found at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/gulf/mobmz.htm.
All tournament rules will remain the same and everything will still be based out of Flora-Bama Yacht Club, across the street from Flora-Bama behind our Liquor Store. If you have purchased a rodeo ticket or any competitive division tickets, all of those tickets are still good for the rodeo.
June 8, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - The City of Orange Beach - Relay for Life Team is gearing up for their 2nd Full Moon Paddle, to be held Sunday, June 28. The first event, earlier in June was a tremendous success and the City’s Relay Team is planning to continue holding these events throughout the summer and early fall.
The event is being held at the Wind & Water Learning Center, located at 26267 Canal Road, behind the Orange Beach Public Library. Prior to participants leaving to experience the night time paddle, Cayman Grill will be serving dinner at 6:15 pm. Thereafter everyone will don their headlights and PFD’s and take to their kayaks or canoes to paddle in the moonlight.
By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
June 6, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Chris Sherrill of Orange Beach, Ala., has a new mantra for anglers on the Alabama Gulf Coast – “Wait, don’t throw that back.”
Sherrill, the head chef and co-owner of Flora-Bama Yacht Club, which is across the road from the famous watering hole, is on a quest to get anglers who catch a wide variety of saltwater fish to keep several species that were once considered inedible.
Some of the species that Sherrill and his sous chef, Haikel Harris, have developed new methods of preparing include stingray, gafftopsail catfish and ladyfish.
What prompted Sherrill to try to make these “bycatch” species palatable was his experience with lionfish, an invasive species with venomous spines but delicious, flaky flesh.
Lionfish have infected many areas of the Gulf Coast, including Alabama. They are voracious eaters and compete with native fish species for forage. Because lionfish seldom are caught on hook and line, the colorful fish is harvested by divers.
There has been a push by everyone in the marine sciences to try to limit the lionfish population, and Sherrill was enlisted to promote the preparation of lionfish for the table.
That effort has been so successful it has somewhat backfired for Sherrill in terms of prices and availability.
“About 18 months ago, lionfish was an unknown threat,” Sherrill said. “There was a small group of people who knew it was a problem, that there was an invasion, but did not realize the magnitude. In December 2013, we formed the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition to tackle the problem, where concerned citizens, divers and chefs got together and said we were going to hit this head on. We said we were going to spearhead a project, no pun intended, to tackle the lionfish problem. As we got into it, people thought poison and venom were the same things. We were able to educate the public that there are venomous spines but no poison in the flesh. We proved that lionfish is an edible species. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.”
May 29, 2015 - Dauphin Island, AL (DIA) - Marine scientists on the Alabama Gulf Coast who work with marine mammals were beaming last week as the ribbon was cut on the new Marine Mammal Center at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
In the past, when stranded marine mammals were studied and necropsied, it was done under tents that were pitched to keep the scientists out of the blazing sun but offered little relief from the heat and insects attracted to the decomposing animals.
Ditch the tent: They’re moving on up to the inside. The new facility will give those scientists state-of-the-art technology to study species like the West Indian manatee and the bottlenose dolphin, an animal that has suffered a significant increase in mortality in the past five years.
May 28, 2015 - Gulf Shores, AL (GSA) - Most people show up and enjoy the Annual National Shrimp Festival and don't think twice as to how the event is produced and put on. Yet, there is a group of close to 100 volunteers that know exactly what it takes to put on the largest outdoor weekend festival in the State of Alabama. The 2015 Annual National Shrimp Festival presented by Zatarain's will celebrate its 44th year on October 8th thru October 11th. In order for this event to take place, a hefty amount of details must be addressed. For twelve months each year a devoted group of committee members never stop planning for the next event. From scheduling music entertainment to soliciting new artists, the Festival is always on their minds.