Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 'Fall Into Fairhope' Draws Big Crowds

Fairhope, Al.

Conservation and Bird Expo
Large crowds attracted by the cooler weather attended numerous 'Fall Into Fairhope'  events over the weekend -- including the October Art Walk, John Borom Bird and Conservation Expo, Book Festival and Grand Festival of Art.

The Art Walk was held Friday; the others Saturday and Sunday.

The new $1.2 million Faulkner State Amphitheater provided the venue for many of the events.

Conservation Exposition

Skunk petting
Art Walk

Art Walk

Art Walk
Art Walk

Art Walk

Art Walk

hands-on conservation training

sting rays

Conservation expo tent

Organic School represented

Faulkner pavilion entrance

17 Turtles Outfitters'  Jimbo Meador (hat)


Art Walk Dancers
Art Walk potter at work
Making pine cones tasty for wildlife
Poppies for Veteran's art project

Recycling encouraged to protect environment

Car Show/Benefit in Silverhill

Fairhope, Al.

69 Plymouth
The Gear Jammers Car Club of Baldwin County held a benefit at Oscar Johnson Park for 16 year old Michael Parnell to raise money to help his mother Tia to purchase a suitably-equipped van for her wheelchair bound son: He has had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) since age ten.

A 'Make Michael Mobile' Go-Fund-Me account has also been set up with a $40,000 goal.

68 Camaro
"rat fink"

66 Mustang

Friday, October 2, 2015

Unusual Art/Fitness Studio Opens

Fairhope, Al.

Mosher with 'Vertical Silks' student

Fairhope native Megrez Mosher has opened 'Kudzu'  (click) an aerial fitness and "kinetic arts" studio in the historic 1938-constructed Masonic Lodge building at 265 Young Street owned by Dr. Lynn Yonge.

Their grand opening was last Sunday. (video at bottom)

Mosher describes using the 'aerial vines' as a "fun way to get in shape" and provide therapeutic spinal decompression, "release your inner child" -- and "positively impact your life  by opening new perspectives.

Various rooms of the 1500 sq. ft. lodge are available for rent -- for special instruction or events.

Space is also available for traditional artists downstairs: her brother, painter Cleveland Mosher, works there.

Regularly scheduled classes offered by Mosher and other instructors include: aerial yoga, circus circuit conditioning, teen aerial, restorative aerial yoga, and "silks" for the more advanced.

She has recently added the Lyra (steel aerial hoop) to her repertoire and offers instruction as well, by appointment.

Mosher says she plans to divide her time between Fairhope and Brooklyn, New York where she has similar interests as a trainer, aerial contortionist, performer in various circuses, and other activities.

She hopes to get her friends in New York involved in the Fairhope studio as well.

Lyra (hoop)
She is the daughter of Dean and Pagan Mosher; grand daughter of Craig and "Butch" Sheldon: all famous Fairhopers renown for creativity in the tradition of the town.

She graduated from Pacific College in Forest Grove, Oregon in 2008 with a degree in creative writing and co-authored a book with her father about Fairhope in 2013 (The Spirit of Fairhope) and another last year (Knee Deep in Fly Creek With Sheldon).

Shortly after graduation, she proudly says she "ran away and joined the circus" -- in the manner of grandfather Craig many years before.

She co-founded The 'Gowanus Circus' in New York City in 2013 on the canal of the same name. (click)

student training upstairs
Mosher setting up Lyra

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Distribution of 'Handbills' Now Regulated

Fairhope, Al.


The city council unanimously passed a new ordinance regulating the distribution of handbills in the city:  they can no longer be left in city parks or right of ways (sidewalks, streets) -- but may still be on private property with some restrictions, including:

1. No person shall throw, deposit, deliver or
    distribute any commercial or non
    commercial handbill in or upon private
    premises ...  except in the following manner:

-- By delivering directly into the possession of
    the inhabitant.

-- By leaving such handbill so that it is wrapped, folded, tied, or otherwise secured so that it will not
    be blown loose by the wind or other elements.

2. If a sign is posted ... no peddlers, no trespassing, agents, advertising, etc. ...  no handbills may be

3. The entity leaving the handbills must provide a contact number so citizens may choose to opt out
    and not have handbills delivered to their premises.


A police officer or other designated official may issues tickets: fines if convicted are from $250 to $500 for each offense.


The Gulf Coast Life handbill is the one city officials hear the most complaints about: contact information about how to opt out may be found on the publication itself (phone number and website).


Sunday, September 27, 2015

UPDATED: Fairhope First In Flower Show Contest

Fairhope, Al.


Saturday night, AIB awards

The city received two first place awards at the America in Bloom symposium over the weekend in Holland, Michigan: judges for the event visited the city early last Spring -- click.

(video at bottom)

The first award was for 'Best in Urban Forestry' of all participants; and the second 'Best in Population Category."

The Knoll Park Restoration project was specifically mentioned.

Mayor Kant said he first participated in the AIB event as mayor way back in 2002 but had been city horticulturist before then since 1983; Jennifer Fidler took over that job from him in recent years.

He encouraged other cites not to give up and to keep trying to get" elected officials" to put tree
preservation measures in place.

A total of 42 cities participated in the AIB program his year.


The city also won overall first place for its population division (16 - 20,000); some reasons cited were being a tree city for 40 years, having three certified arborists, tree protection laws in place, having a list of recommended understory and overstory trees, protection-flexibility for owners, and restitution for unlawful removal, among others.

The other cities in the final three were Madison, Kentucky and Fairview Park, Ohio.

Mayor Kant told the group one reason for participating in the event is to set an example for neighboring cited in the home states: "When we do the right thing ... neighbors see it ... want to too."

One of the hosts joked that Kant was renown there for having his priorities in order: "water the flowers today ... fix pot holes tomorrow."

America in Bloom, Llc. is a non-profit private corporation based  in Columbus Ohio.

(Community Affairs Director Sherry Sullivan accompanied the mayor and Ms. Fidler to the event, as chief photographer.)

Sullivan at right

Council To Consider Next Year's Budget Proposal

Fairhope, Al.

FOR FY 2016

The city council will consider the Mayor's budget proposal for next year at work sessions before Monday's council meeting; but may not take action until a later date: The current-year's budget may have to be extended past the Oct 1st deadline.

Total revenue income (taxes, fees, fines, services, utility bill charges, etc.) is projected to be $62,519,304 -- and total expenses of $57,872,241. A surplus of $4,647,063 is projected.
A 2% cost of living raise is proposed for all full time employees.

$2,978,992 will be used for general fund debt service ($2 million for reduction) -- plus $408K for airport debt service.

city council

* Property taxes: $4,780,000 (little change from last year)

* Local taxes: $8,190,100 (up $400K)

* Business and liquor licenses: $1,962,000. (up $100K)

* Lodging taxes: $650K (up $30K)

* Charges and services: $5,513,000 (up $900K) 

* Fines and Forfeitures:  $280,000 (down $40K)

* Utility Income: $38,428,904 (down $300K)  ($3,417,969 will be transferred to the general fund,  
   $1.6 million more than last year)


* An additional $800K for the Manley Road Soccer Complex. (including $300K for field lighting)

* Unspecified "drainage improvements": $100K  

* Major's Field Press Box upgrades: $50K

* Additional tennis courts: $300K

* Boys and Girls Club improvements: $75K

* New police car radios: $158,441

* New police station consoles: $139,867

* Five police vehicles

* One new garbage truck: $220,000

* Parking deck sweeper: $37K

* New crowd control barricades (parades): $55K

* Re-roof the Welcome Center: $10K

* Library maintenance (carpets, etc.): $12K;  AC balancing: $15K;  Stucco repair: $15K;  Front
   entrance tile repair: $5K

* Greeno Rd. street lighting: $180K

* Old sewer line rehab: $400K;  Manhole rehab: $150K;  SCADA for lift stations: $146K

* New computer hard drive storage capacity: $175K


For city functions and various private, non-profit groups requesting donations from the city council totaling $802,700, about the same as last year -- including:

* $9,000 for "writing services" (Fran Morley): up $3K over previous year.

* $50,000 to print and deliver city sketches magazine: up $2K

* $30K for police labor: up $4K

* $1,000 for Mayor's Prayer Breakfast: up $500

* $25K for New Years Eve celebration

* $3,000  for 'Movie in the Park'

*  Thomas Hospital (Birth Center):  $50,000

*  Pirate Booster Club: $35,000

 * Rotary Youth Club: $55,000

 * Eastern Shore Art Center: $20,000

* Downtown Business Association: $20,000

* E.S. chamber of Commerce: $6,000

* Education Advisory Committee: $350,000 (This is a city committee)


The mayor included some more projects for the city council to consider:

* City-wide street resurfacing: cost $2,500,000

* Golf paths: $388,000

* Community Park parking lot repairs: $34,000

* Majors Field Track repairs: $60K


No funding was included for improving intersections according to a recent engineer's report (click); but the mayor has suggested the council could choose to use some of the projected $4+ million surplus for that.

(The city also has a $7 million emergency reserve fund.)