News & Weather Index

By Davis Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

December 23, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - While many of us have been busy searching for the perfect Christmas gifts these past few weeks, one group at Dauphin Island has been on an unusual quest for a totally different prize – fish fillets.

Nope, there’s no big Christmas fish fry planned. The search for fish fillets is part of an intensive training regimen for the Alabama Marine Resources Division’s new canine program to sniff out violators of state and federal fishing regulations.

Marine Resources (MRD) Chief Enforcement Officer Major Scott Bannon said when MRD’s Enforcement Officers, even with their limited resources, made seven cases against people for hiding fish in one week, he knew there had to be a better way to detect violators.

Tacky Jacks Chair DonationDecember 22, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) – The Marlin that makes wishes come true granted a Wounded Warrior the gift of mobility for the holidays. When Tacky Jacks set out to raise money to give away an Action Track Chair to a Veteran in need they had no idea that they would meet their goal so fast. The donations that were received at each of the three Tacky Jacks locations and online were matched dollar for dollar by the restaurant chain allowing them to meet their goal in just three short months.

Staff Sargent Jason Picaro, a retired Marine, was presented the chair at a ceremony at Tacky Jacks in Orange Beach on December 18. Jason joined the Marines at 17 and was deployed once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It wasn’t until he came home on leave to visit his fiancé that he was hit by a suspected drunk driver leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Jason was honored by Senior Vice Commandant Donald “Scooter” Fredrickson of the Marine Corps League, Commandant Mike Graham, Staff Sargent James Lopes, and several Marines of Aviation Maintenance Squadron 1 that are stationed at Pensacola NAS.

Flora-Bama Holiday EventsDecember 15, 2015 - Perdido Key, FL (PKF) - Having spread holiday cheer amongst family and friends for over 50 years, this year the iconic roadhouse overflows in tidings of joy with more food and fun than ever! Along with all the great music and fine oyster bar fare at its historic site, the Flora-Bama now offers two more fine eateries for the holidays across the road. Along with the 5-star, flip-flop, open air dining with Chef Chris Sherrill at the Yacht Club, next to its marina, now stands the Ole River Bar & Grill, an enclosed sports-bar venue with 40 HD TV’s, 16 craft/draft beers, music Fri/Sat, and great food by Chef Chris Kelly. Both will be open, at NO COVER, for fantastic New Year's Eve culinary extravaganzas with music, the Alabama vs. Michigan State and Clemson vs. Oklahoma playoff games, party favors and complimentary champagne at midnight to bring in the New Year!

Red Snapper DataDecember 15, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today drew attention to a new report that outlines serious flaws with the federal government’s data collection efforts, especially as it relates to Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the federal government has failed to develop a “comprehensive strategy to guide its data collection efforts.” The report also highlights the lack of communication with stakeholders as it relates to data collection efforts.

The GAO report concludes that “without a comprehensive strategy, (the National Marine Fisheries Service) may have difficulty ensuring that the variety of steps it is taking to improve data collection are prioritized so that the most important steps are undertaken first…Further, without communicating the strategy and NMFS’ progress in implementing it, NMFS may have difficulty building trust among its stakeholders, and these stakeholders may have difficulty tracking the agency’s efforts.”

December 12, 2015 - Montgomery, AL - Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday announced that 25 Alabama counties have been approved for a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers in the 25 designated counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA-Farm Service Agency.

The designation by the USDA was prompted by excessive rainfall, wind and flooding that occurred this year.  The severe weather caused extensive damage to many crops during the 2015 growing season.

Holiday Events at The WharfNovember 19, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) — This holiday season, The Wharf will transform into a winter wonderland offering a full series of festivities including the return of ice skating, featuring a large rink with real ice.

Beginning Nov. 23, The Wharf will offer something for everyone through a number of recurring events, including:

Ice Skating
Skate on real ice Nov. 23 through Jan. 10. The rink will be open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the rink is $10 and $13 for the skating and Ferris wheel package.

Live Animal Nativity Trail & Exhibit
This is the newest addition to Winter at The Wharf. From Nov. 27 through Dec. 27, everyone can walk, drive and or take a camel ride through the exhibit, in addition to a petting zoo with horse and pony rides. Prices range from $5 to $10, and this attraction is open Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lighted Christmas Boat ParadeNovember 18, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber's 30th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade will take place on Saturday, December 12th starting at 5:30 pm. The event has now been a southern Alabama family tradition for 30 years and it is FREE to the viewers.
 
The parade route of the boats is from Lulu's and finishes at Cobalt in Orange Beach. There are great viewing areas along Canal Road, at The Wharf and at Cobalt Restaurant. A special flotilla party will cap the evening with live music and more at Cobalt.

November 10, 2015 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - Laura’s Vacation Rentals is proud to present the first annual Ultimate Tailgate Charity Golf Tournament & Tailgate Party Fore the Kids. This event will take place on Friday, November 20th at the Orange Beach Golf Center. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Orange Beach Sports Association, which is a “community driven” charity that aids local children in sports with the core belief that “Everyone Plays!” This event offers you a chance to either play, cook, compete or celebrate!

The golf tournament begins at 8:30 with registration followed by a shotgun start at 9:30. The entry fee is only $75, which includes the golf scramble, green fees, golf cart, range balls, food & beverage, gift bag, raffle & prizes plus a ticket to the “Tailgate Party.” Awards celebration will take place that evening.

The “Tailgate Party” kicks off at 6:30 with an awards celebration and food competition. Donation cost is $25/person, which includes food & beverages, raffle & door prizes, games, awards celebration, silent auction & live music. If you think you have the best tailgate food around, enter the food competition and compete at the party for the “Ultimate Tailgate Food Champion.”

Special thanks to the following sponsors:  Laura’s Vacation Rentals, B Agency, Guthrie’s of Fairhope, Tacky Jacks, McCarron Insurance Group, Diamond Jim’s & Mrs. Donna’s, Breathe at the Beach, B Square Repair & Remodeling & The Wharf.

Special thanks for donations: Down Under Dive Shop, Acme Oyster House, Archipelago, Blalock’s, Brick & Spoon, Cactus Cantina, Charm Boutique, Cosmo’s, Fisher’s, Flipper’s, Flora-Bama, Fusion Spa Salon, Gulf Coast Paddle Company, Gulf Island Grill, Lucca, Lulu’s, O’Chopper’s, Pepper Palace, Rafter’s, Salt Coastal Outfitters, Sam’s, Southern Grind Coffee House, The Meat Mart, The Orange Beach Community Website, The Wharf Marina & Wildflower’s Boutique.

For more information please contact Beth Strickland at (251) 504-0038 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LaurasVRCharityGolfTournament 

Good Ole' Freda at the Flora-BamaOctober 25, 2015 - Perdido Key, FL (PKF) -  “Good Ol' Freda” is the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years.

Freda Kelly was just a teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her.

History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band’s circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles’ devoted secretary, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution – advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history.

In Good Ol’ Freda, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few documentaries with the support of the living Beatles, the film includes a never before seen archive of Beatles photographs and offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the music industry.

Frank Brown International Songwriters' Festival 2015PERDIDO KEY, Fla. — The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival will celebrate its 31 st year, presenting a memorable lineup of Grammy-winning performers and up-and-coming hit-makers Nov. 5-15 at venues in Perdido Key, Pensacola and along the Gulf Coast. The event is centered at the sprawling Flora-Bama Lounge astride the Florida-Alabama line, but numerous venues will be used as more than 200 songwriters perform there and in other nearby locations along the Gulf Coast from quiet listening rooms to raucous honkytonks.

Both Billboard and American Songwriters magazines have recognized FBISF as the granddaddy of songwriter festivals. Featured performers include such noted songwriters as: Dennis Morgan who has charted 30 #1 Records; Grammy award for I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)- Best R&B Performance by Duo or Group, 1988; 8 Grammy Nominations; 47 BMI Writer Pop and Country Awards (400,000 airplays per song to receive these awards); BMI Songwriter of the Year- 4 times Country/2 times Pop; Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song, 1988 (London) for LOVE CHANGES (EVERYTHING)- Climie Fisher; Country Music Association’s Song of the Yearnominated twice; Robert Burton Award (BMI) for NOBODY – Sylvia; Songwriter of the Year (N.S.A.I.)- 1981, 1982, nominated again in 1983; President’s Excellence Award (N.S.A.I.)- 1990; Over 300 million records sold & hundreds of Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum Albums.

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