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Three Big Things

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  • Majority of Toll Authority tied to Governor

    Those opposed to tolling the new I-10 Bridge and Bayway project are unlikely to find much relief with the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority scheduled to meet in October. Five of the nine spots on the Authority are controlled by Governor Kay Ivey who has made her position on the project clear.

    “It would be wonderful if we didn’t have to have a toll period, but that’s not reality,” Ivey told News 5 last week.

    Five of the nine people on the Authority are tied to the Governor. Ivey is on the board as well as her Chief of Staff, former Congressman Jo Bonner, and her Deputy Chief of Staff, Liz Filmore. In addition, two people whose jobs are appointed by the governor are on the Authority: State Finance Director Kelly Butler and ALDOT Director John Cooper.

    The four other Authority members may be more likely to consider a reduced toll, or no toll. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth came out this week against the toll. State Senator Greg Albritton lives in Conecuh County but represents a portion of northern Baldwin County. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon of Madison County is on the Authority, as is Ways & Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse of Ozark

    “It’s a big concern for everybody,” Clause said. “Obviously for the coastal area, but it’s important for us in (the Wiregrass) area. We have a lot of businesses who deliver their goods on I-10 to Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It’s become an issue with them. Their trucks are getting bottlenecked on the bay bridge there and the tunnel there.” 

    A new poll released today shows almost four out of five people throughout the state of Alabama oppose the concept of tolling interstates. That poll was commissioned by Orange Beach businessman Dean Young.

    Gov. Ivey has refused to move the Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority meeting to the coast. It will take place in Montgomery on October 7.


  • Putin orders Russia to respond after US missile test

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military on Friday to work out a quid pro quo response after the test of a new U.S. missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty.

    In Sunday’s test, a modified ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile accurately struck its target more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away. The test came after the U.S. and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

    The U.S. said it withdrew from the treaty due to Russian violations, a claim that Moscow has denied. Speaking Friday, Putin charged that the U.S. waged a “propaganda campaign” alleging Russian breaches of the pact to “untie its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world.”

    He ordered the Defense Ministry and other agencies to “take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetrical answer.”

    The Russian leader noted that Sunday’s test was performed from a launcher similar to those deployed at a U.S. missile defense site in Romania. He argued that the Romanian facility and a prospective similar site in Poland could also be loaded with missiles intended to hit ground targets instead of interceptors.

    Putin has previously pledged that Russia wouldn’t deploy the missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty to any area before the U.S. does that first, but he noted Friday that the use of the universal launcher means that a covert deployment is possible.

    “How would we know what they will deploy in Romania and Poland — missile defense systems or strike missile systems with a significant range?” Putin said.

    Russia long has charged that the U.S. launchers loaded with missile defense interceptors could be used for firing surface-to-surface missiles. Putin said that Sunday’s test has proven that the U.S. denials have been false.

    “It’s indisputable now,” the Russian leader said.

    He added the missile test that came just 16 days after the INF treaty’s termination has shown that the U.S. long had started work on the new systems banned by the treaty.

    Putin said Russia will continue working on new weapons in response to the U.S. moves, but will keep a tight lid on spending.

    “We will not be drawn into a costly arms race that would be disastrous for our economy,” Putin said, adding that Russia ranks the 7th in military spending after the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Japan.

    He added Russia remains open to an “equal and constructive dialogue with the U.S. to rebuild mutual trust and strengthen international security.”


  • Citronelle man breaks Alabama amberjack record

    MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — There is some big news in the angler world! A Citronelle man broke a 38-year record for the largest amberjack caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says Brian Andrews was aboard the vessel Summer Breeze II earlier this month when he hooked the 132-pound, 12.8-ounce amberjack. He had caught a 70-pound amberjack before, but he says this one seemed different.

    “I was trying to be positive, but several people were telling me it was a shark. He was pulling like a shark, but you never know. He made at least three big runs. It took at least 30 minutes to get him in.” - BRIAN ANDREWS, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    Once on the scale, the fish measured at 65 inches long and 40 inches in girth.

    The previous record was held by Marcus Kennedy of Mobile. Kennedy reeled in a 127-pound, 12-ounce amberjack on June 19, 1981. With his record being broke, Kennedy says his son will have to fight for his legacy back.

    “If I catch a record fish, it’s going to be something smaller. It’s not going to be an amberjack or blue marlin. I’ll leave that up to Tyler (Kennedy, his 28-year-old son) and Ryan (Kennedy, his 20-year-old nephew).” -  MARCUS KENNEDY, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    The AJ record will officially be moved into Andrews’ name on Friday, August 23 when the certification process is finished.


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  • Got Junk

    Most likely outcome of the proposed I-10 Mobile River Bridge:

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  • Arrow Exterminators
  • Southern Cancer Center
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