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The Political Round-Up

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
More than 200 people attended a recent kick-off rally at Wintzell's downtown for fledgling Circuit Judge Michael Youngpeter's election campaign. About $34,000 was raised with a final accounting expected to surpass $50,000 from the event, according to Youngpeter supporters. Gov. Bob Riley earlier this month appointed Youngpeter to a vacancy on the bench created by former Judge Herman Thomas' resignation. Youngpeter will seek the seat as a Republican. Former Circuit Judge and ex-District Attorney Chris Galanos is reportedly mulling a Democratic challenge.
Made for Love
Four Mobile state legislators, their spouses and other Mobile area supporters of Montgomery state Rep. Jay Love will host a reception here Wednesday, Jan. 30 to raise funds for his GOP campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Hosts for the event at the home of state Rep. Jamie Ison and her husband, Jay, are state Rep. Jim and Kim Barton, state Rep. Chad and Carisse Fincher, state Rep. Victor and Jean Gaston, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Jackson, Jr., Keith King, Mrs. Taylor Morrissette, Mr. and Mrs. Irving Silver, Dr. and Mrs. Bill Urquhart, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Walton and Richard Weavil.  

Cost of attendance at the reception is $500 per couple or $250 for an individual.

Love, the minority whip in the House, hopes to win the seat held since 1993 by U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Rehobeth, who is not seeking re-election this year. State Sen. Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocomb, has announced her intention to seek the office. Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, an independent, has talked about a run, but has announced no decision publicly nor has he tipped his hand on party preference.

Romney event here likely Saturday
Mitt Romney's Republican presidential campaign hopes to schedule an event in Mobile on Senior Bowl Saturday in advance of Alabama's presidential primary voting here (Jan. 30 in Mobile/Baldwin counties) and Feb.5 (here and elsewhere), according to Romney campaign aide Claire Austin. One of Romney's sons, Josh or Ben, may headline the appearance in his father's behalf.

ALFA looking at own insurance reform bill?
ALFA is on the prowl for a legislator to sponsor its own bill on insurance reform, according to legislative sources. Mobile/Baldwin legislators, headed by state Sen. Ben Brooks, have already advanced an insurance reform bill to address soaring insurance premiums on property owners south of I-10, not just beachfront condos, in the aftermath of recent hurricanes. State. Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Bayou La Batre, is expected to partner with Brooks and handle the bill in the House.

Lawmakers headed our way
There are 60 sponsors for this weekend's Mobile Legislative Tour 2008 when more than 60 state legislators are expected to visit and familiarize themselves with recent activities and developments in the area.

'Snowbirds' flock to Mobile meet & greet
More than 500 "snowbirds" attended the annual “Meet Mobile Bay Day” in Gulf Shores last week, according to Mobile Convention and Visitors Bureau President/CEO Leon Maisel. It was the largest crowd ever to attend the event, he said. Some 38 tourism attractions and other MCVB partners introduced their services and products to the gathering, he said.

America is listening ... to Alabama?
Vote, Alabama, vote -- because this time, for the first time, all of America is listening, says Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman.

Judge sworn in, investiture to follow
New Mobile County District Judge Bob Sherling has been sworn in to office, but his official investiture will probably not be conducted until mid-February. Gov. Bob Riley recently selected Sherling over fellow finalists Barbara Brown and Ed Blount to replace Judson Wells on the district bench here. Wells retired to accept an offer from a private law firm.

Case not closed?
A bar association investigation into the conduct of former Circuit Judge Herman Thomas has been undertaken, according to legal sources familiar with the grievance process.

A bar spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the report.
 
"The Rules of the Alabama Supreme Court do not allow us to deny or confirm the existence of a bar complaint," stated Tony McLain, general counsel for the bar. "Disciplinary matters remain confidential until a lawyer pleads guilty to a rules violation, or is found guilty of same by the Disciplinary Board or Disciplinary Commission."

Thomas resigned from the bench just as charges lodged by the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission were set for trial before the state Court of the Judiciary last fall.

Siegelman supporters pound that drum
Harper's magazine columnist continues drumbeat in Siegelman case.

'A fresh and refreshing look at conservatism'
Democratic congressional contender Ben Lodmell takes "a fresh and refreshing look at conservatism."

Accord near on digital billboards
City Council public safety committee reaches tentative accord on digital billboards though fine tuning likely.

Brock Long new State Emergency Management Director
Brock Long, who has served in emergency management at the state and federal levels specializing in hurricane planning and response, was appointed by Gov. Bob Riley Wednesday, Jan. 23 to serve as director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency .

Long previously served as FEMA’s Hurricane Program Manager for six southeastern states. He oversaw FEMA’s hurricane emergency planning, preparedness, response and assistance in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Long also designed hurricane evacuation plans for those states. For four consecutive years, he received awards from FEMA for outstanding achievement.

Long also previously served with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency as a statewide emergency planner and hurricane specialist, supervising emergency operations plans for 55 counties. At the Georgia EMA, Long also focused on school safety, devising training and response plans for education officials in 70 counties.

Bridging the gap
City officials hope to complete repairs to the Navco Road Bridge and reopen it to vehicular traffic by the end of February, weather permitting. In the meantime, motorists are urged to use the detour routes of Morningside Drive and Greenbrier Drive with access to Halls Mill Road.

Thanks
Birmingham attorney and Mobile native Patrick Cooper, who fell short in a try for the mayorship there last fall, will host a "thank you" party for friends and supporters at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 at Millie's and Billy's, 2012 Magnolia Avenue in Five Points South. Millie's and Billy's is located under Cosmos Pizza near the Pickwick Hotel. For more information contact Cooper. Larry Langford won the Birmingham mayor's race. Cooper challenged the outcome based on Langford's residence. However, Cooper dropped his appeal a month ago.

Do tell
Add your voice to the Library Of Congress and the National Museum Of African American History And Culture and take home a free CD of your oral history.

StoryCorps Griot, a one-year initiative to gather and preserve in sound the life stories of African American families across the country, will be in Alabama to record stories of endurance, resilience, achievement and hope.

Working in partnership with WVAS, 90.7 FM and Alabama State University, StoryCorps Griot will document the history in 40-minute conversations between two people who know each other. A trained facilitator will be present with the pair throughout the interview to assist  and help handle technical aspects of the recording.

Participants will receive a broadcast-quality audio CD, and with their  permission, copies will go to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and to the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian. Segments of interviews may also air on WVAS.

The sessions are scheduled at the Ben May Main Library, 701 Government St. Jan. 29-Feb. 1; and at MPL's Toulminville Branch, 601 Stanton Rd. Feb. 2.

For appointment and other information call Nancy Anlage at (251) 208-7097.

Visit www.storycorpsgriot.net to see sample questions, listen to clips and learn more about the Griot Initiative.

Appointment slots are limited.

Hot, hot, hot
A global warming teach-in will be held Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the University of South Alabama in conjunction with other workshops, panels and brainstorming sessions on global warming solutions throughout the nation, according to Christin Savio, Sierra Student Coalition president.

USA professors and expert speakers will discuss aspects of the "climate crisis."

A roundtable meeting will feature local leaders, including Democratic congressional candidate Benjamin Lodmell, College Republicans President Nathan Ankersen and Mobile Sierra Club's David Underhill, among others.

The program will begin with coffee at 8:30 a.m. in the Student Center with talks to start at 9 a.m., followed by the roundtable discussion at 3 p.m. For more information visit to Focus the Nation or email sierrastudentusa@yahoo.com
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