MS's Tax Free Holiday is this weekend, and they're adding some items that haven't been included before. School supplies will join clothing and footwear on the list. Retailers are expected to double what they usually bring in Friday and Saturday. You can shop online for the items, but you have to order and make the purchase during the holiday time period.
You still can't go in the water along the MS Coast due to the toxic algae bloom, and it's having an impact on tourism. Hotel operators along our coast are dropping their rates to try to draw tourists, and that means less income even when they do book guests.The MS Hotel and Lodging Assoc. says revenue dropped 37% compared to last year, and bookings were off last weekend alone by 22%.
The anti-toll movement continues to grow in Mobile and surrounding areas. Dozens of protesters packed the Prichard City Council chambers on Friday to voice their opposition to Congressman Bradley Byrne, who was holding a town hall meeting. At issue is the State Transportation Department's plan to charge a six dollar one-way toll to pay for the proposed two-point-one-billion dollar I-10 Mobile River Bridge Project. ALDOT also wants to sell 90 dollar monthly passes to drive on the bridge. Byrne suggested using some of the funds from the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas lease program to partially pay for the project.
Starting September first, Alabama's new gasoline tax is set to go into effect. The ten-cent fuel tax rate hike, approved by the state legislature, is the first gas tax increase the state has had since the early 1990's. Officials say it will be phased in over the next three years with the proceeds going to road and bridge repairs.
A Louisiana police officer who shared a fake news story about congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is facing possible disciplinary action. Gretna Police Officer Charlie Rispoli shared a debunked story online which falsely claimed Ocasio-Cortez said soldiers were paid too much and commented with an allusion that violence should come to her. The post went up on Facebook on Thursday, but it and Rispoli's account had disappeared by Saturday. Police Chief Arthur Lawson said yesterday that the incident is under investigation and the post appears to violate the department's social media policy.
Alabama is the preseason pick to win the SEC. The SEC preseason media poll that was released Friday predicts another Alabama-Georgia SEC title game with the Crimson Tide winning the SEC title. Alabama is a big favorite to win the SEC West with 253 of the 260 first-place votes while Georgia is a significant favorite to win the East with 233 first-place votes. Auburn has got one first place vote.
And for a unique take on the days local/national stories...here's "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":