Gulf Shores: September 2006

11:30 PM

Vacation destination in Gulf Shores

Clearwater is an amazing vacation destination if you are looking for outdoor activities that will test your strength and abilities. Fishing is popular with visitors since the Gulf is home to more than 300 varieties of fish, such as snapper, king-fish, mackerel, tarpon, red fish, and sailfish. If you prefer to head out to sea rather than fish off the pier, you are likely to find a charter that can accommodate your needs since the Clearwater Marina is home to the largest fishing fleet on the Gulf Coast.
For a personal adventure, find a captain who can take you to a private island where you can snorkel or collect shells. No matter what water activity you plan to partake in, Clearwater is sure to be an accommodating host.

Madeira Beach is the perfect destination if you are looking for a low key beach experience combined with a gorgeous sunset. The area is quaint, it is located near an old fishing village, yet you can still find all the beach activities you could desire. There are deep sea fishing boats, dolphin-watching cruises, and entertainment boats that leave from this area, so be sure not to miss out on all the fun. If you are walking along the beach, however, be careful since there is a large quantity of sea shells.

Tampa Florida Gulf Shores is a great destination if you need an action-packed, rather than the sit by the water, vacation. The biggest draw in this city is Busch Gardens, an entertainment park that combines the intrigue of a zoo with the thrill of roller coasters. For a more informative attraction, since each location is supremely unique from the others, deciding what you want to do during your vacation will make your decision an easy one. After you determine what you want out of your trip, look into lodging that accommodates your desires.

There's no doubt that the topic of Gulf Shores can be fascinating.
2:24 AM

Gulf Shores : Earthquake Rattles Central Florida

An earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend sent tremors all the way to Central Florida, rattling nerves and sparking fears of a tidal wave.

The quake hit Sunday morning and registered 6.0 on the Richter scale.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was centered to the west of Ft. Myers and south of the Panhandle at 26.339°N, 86.568°W, at a depth 10 km (6.2 miles).
That puts it 250 miles from Anna Maria, Florida, 251 miles from Holmes Beach, Florida and 260 miles from Clearwater, Florida.

However, there are no reports of any major damage.

There were briefly some fears about a tidal wave, but the government quickly said the quake was too small to produce a tsunami.

Geologists say quakes are not unheard off near Florida but they are very rare.

"What you're having here is you get residual stress in the middle of these plates, and that relieves itself with earthquakes,” geologist Dr. Dan Britt said. “These things build up very slowly, and then you get a quick release from the earthquake. But this doesn't happen very often."

Scientists recorded some seismic activity in the same area of the gulf in recent months.

In Brevard County, folks who lived through our hurricanes say this earthquake pales in comparison.

Linda Marie Tisdail though says she felt her couch shake Sunday when the quake hit. Tisdail used to live in California, so she wasn't completely caught off guard by the trembling.
Tisdail says while her family did feel Sunday's earthquake, none of her neighbors did.

There were also reports of pictures falling off the wall in one part of the Space Coast, but no major damage was reported. One Lake County family says they have proof Sunday's earthquake did cause at least some minor damage.
The Addison family says hairline cracks on the pool deck actually got bigger following the quake, and cracks appeared on the family's driveway that weren't there at all.

The family says the whole thing was surreal. “It woke me from a sound sleep,“ MichelleAddison said. “ I just immediately jumped up and my reaction was to run outside. My mom was out here on the patio [and] her chair was shaking. My husband came outside and we originally thought it was a sinkhole.”
2:19 AM

Gulf Shores : Foley Shoney's building sold for $1 million

The former Shoney's restaurant building on Alabama 59 in Foley, across from Tanger Out let Centers , was purchased for $1 million, according to Frank Malone of ERA in Gulf Shores, who represented the buyers. The owners of Peng Garden Chinese Restau rant in Foley bought the property as an investment, he said.

M&A Supply Co ., a marine and aviation supply firm, has leased a 17,500-square-foot office warehouse at 1771 15th St., on Brookley Field, according to Mitchum Jackson of Hegge man Realty .

Palmetto Place at 960 S. Schillinger Road has several new tenants, according to An gela McArthur of Prudential Cooper & Co. commercial . They are Taiwan Chinese Res taurant , 2,500 square feet; Wholesale Shoe Wearhouse , 2,500 square feet, to open in early November; and a 2,500-square-foot Coldwell Banker Charles Hayes Real Es tate office to open in early October with Don Jones as managing broker. The center is owned by Langan Develop ment Co.

Spring Hill Baptist Church has removed three houses from property it owns west of the Moorer/Spring Hill Mobile Public Library on McGregor Avenue, but has no immediate plans for the land, according to Terry Ellis , pastor of the church on McGregor Avenue. "If we do anything in the near future, it would be a parking lot," he said. "We'd keep the trees and give it a good border for the neighbors. We are not putting a building there." The church plans to plant rye grass and azaleas on the vacant land, he said.

A developer paid $210,000 for a commercial lot of less than 1 acre on Krchak Lane just south of Alabama 59 in Robertsdale and plans to build a 5,500-square-foot retail center, according to Ralph Neal of Watson Realty , who represented the buyer. Tim Herring ton of Saad & Vallas Realty Group worked for the sellers.

A 2,800-square-foot house on the bay side of Dauphin Island was purchased by out-of-town buyers for $1.4 million, making it the highest-priced house sale on the island, according to Lin da Henderson of Dauphin Is land Real Estate , who handled the transaction. The house in Seapointe subdivision was built by Cay Rogers and has a boat dock and 78 front feet on Barcelona Bay.

Developers will seek approval from the city of Spanish Fort Monday to build Shell Bank Landing , a three-story, 57-unit condominium on Blakeley River in Spanish Fort, according to Dent Boykin , one of the partners in the project. The 3.5 acres is at the foot of the bluff, just off the Causeway, and has about 800 front feet on the river, he said. The unit prices would range from $400,000 to $499,000 and each would have a boat slip.

Bon Secour Village , a mixed use community on the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores, has opened its preview center and sales office at 2975 Bon Secour Avenue, off Baldwin County 4 West, according to developers. The 4,500-square-foot building will house Bon Secour Realty and the Bon Secour Homeowners Association office. The antebellum-style structure was designed by Charrette Design Group of Dothan, and built by John O. Freeman General Contractors of Gulf Shores.

BankTrust has opened a new branch office at McGregor Avenue and Old Shell Road in Spring Hill, according to bank officials. Stephanie Powell is the branch manager. The 4,600-square-foot building is BankTrust's sixth location in Mobile; it has three branches in Baldwin County.

by Business Columnist Kathy Jumper
2:15 AM

Gulf Shores : New projects

Construction is under way on Plantation Lakes off Alabama 59 in Summerdale, where homes will range from $189,000 to $275,000, according to Cowen Developers of Pensacola, Fla. The lots start at $40,000 and lake lots are $55,000. So far, 12 of the 43 lots in the first phase have been reserved, and there will be a total of 90 lots. The second phase will have multi-family units and commercial space. The amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pool and landscaped lakes. The Real Estate House is marketing the project.

Construction is under way on 114 condominium units at Jubilee Ridge on Baldwin County 64, east of U.S. 98 in Daphne, and the first 8 units should be done by the end of the year, according to Anthony Kaiser of Realty Executives Gulf Coast, one of the developers. The units start at $199,900. Cynthia McAllister of Realty Executives Bay Shores is co-marketing the units.

The 71 lots in The Mead ows at Point Clear on Section Street and Dairy Road in Point Clear have presold to builders for a total of $6.5 million, according to B.T. Roberts of Roberts Brothers Commercial & Property Management. He and Richard Rowan are developing the community, which will have $500,000-plus homes on the interior lots and $1 million dollar homes on the large lots.

The eight-unit Laguna Breeze condominiums on the north side of Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores have presold, according to developers Nick Wilmott and Sam Gates of Weichert Realtors Sea-N-Shore in Gulf Shores. The four-plex units were priced at $197,650. The contractor is Motes Construction and the units should be finished by next March. The units have lagoon views but are not on the waterfront. The developers are looking at building additional units there.

© 2006 Alabama Live LLC [ and] All rights reserved.
4:10 AM

gulf shores: Koziol joins coaching staff at Gulf Shores

A new school year and a new sports season means new faces for many schools in the area, and the hiring of former Robertsdale coach Jay Koziol as Gulf Shores' new defensive coordinator highlights a short list of newcomers to south Baldwin County's two public high schools.

Koziol, who was transferred from his post as Golden Bears head coach back in February, joined the Dolphins' staff around the time of their May 12 spring game against Madison Academy. Since then, he has played an integral role in what has likely been Gulf Shores' most successful summer ever.

"I'm extremely happy to be here," said Koziol, who will also coach boys golf at Gulf Shores. "I have the utmost respect for (GSHS Principal) Eddie Tyler and his staff, and that filters on down to coach (Duane) Davis and the rest of the coaches here.

"What it came down to for me is that Baldwin County's my home. I didn't feel comfortable moving, and I always felt comfortable coming down here. It's definitely going to be a challenge this year, but I'm excited to see what we can do on the football field. I think we've got a lot of good players."

Davis said Koziol's presence has been felt in many ways. His experience and leadership abilities have already impacted players and coaches alike, said Davis.

"Any time you can get a guy who's been a head coach for eight years, it's great. That kind of experience, you just can't get," Davis said. "Coach Koziol brings a lot of knowledge of the X's and O's to our staff, and he brings a lot of enthusiasm, too.

"What I really like is that he's constantly teaching and coaching," Davis added. "He's worked well with the kids so far, and we're very happy to have him here."

Also joining the Dolphins' coaching staff this fall are Anthony Kummel, Rhett Tranchina, Amy Galemore, Martin Sepic and Thad Akins, who joined the staff last spring as the new girls basketball coach. He will also help coach the freshmen football team this fall.

Kummel will coach running backs and head the boys basketball program, while Tranchina will coach defensive backs and coach the boys soccer team. Galemore will coach the boys and girls swimming teams, and Sepic will coach girls tennis.

Up the road at Foley High, several new coaches have joined the Lions' pack.

Tatum Saltz has been tapped to coach boys soccer, while Jeremy Borchardt will coach the JV boys soccer squad.

Ricky Smither will take over for Russ Moore as boys track and field coach after assisting with the football team as defensive line coach. Peter Bezeredi has also been brought on board to be an assistant baseball coach and help with the freshmen football team.

The Lady Lions' volleyball team is currently without a head coach, as school officials are waiting patiently for the Baldwin County Board of Education to approve that hire at the next board meeting.

In the meantime, Mark Mueller has stepped up to spearhead a group of volunteers who will guide the team through the first few weeks of practice. Foley Principal Kenneth Dinges said Thursday the Lady Lions should have a coach in place by mid-August.

4:06 AM

Gulf Shores : Gulf fisheries require vigilant protection

tPROTECTING THE Gulf of Mexico's fish population will require much more vigilance than federal and state agencies have shown so far.

The importance of the resource can hardly be overstated. It forms the foundation of the Gulf's commercial fishing industry as well as a substantial part of its tourism.

"It's time to follow the science and put Gulf fisheries on the road to ecological and economic recovery," Chris Dorsett of Austin, Texas, who works for The Ocean Conservancy, told The Associated Press. "We can and must be better stewards of our coastal ecosystem." He's right.

Ironically, Congress passed legislation in 1996 directing federal agencies to rebuild diminishing fish populations, but it has been poorly implemented.

Four species -- red snapper, red grouper, greater amberjack and vermillion snapper -- are being overfished in the Gulf of Mexico, meaning they are being harvested faster than the fish species can reproduce. Other species of grouper are at risk, too.

Unless aggressive steps are taken to limit fishing of these species and others, restore wetlands, and protect estuaries from pollution and encroachment, the Gulf will lose them.

Granted, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and its related regional councils contend plans are in place to protect these at-risk species. But a recent study concludes most fish resources remain in poor shape a decade after the 1996 law went into effect.

Andrew A. Rosenberg of the University of New Hampshire's Ocean Process and Analysis Laboratory told the AP that recovery plans instituted by NOAA have been delayed, managers have failed to revise plans that aren't working, and monitoring remains inconsistent or absent.

Those are damning conclusions.

Overfishing isn't a speculation; it's a fact. Worldwide, fish once popular on dinner plates are virtually gone from the oceans. The populations of many are less than 10 percent of what they were five decades ago.

Nationwide, NOAA says 54 fish stocks of specific species and complexes are overfished. (A complex is a grouping of different species that are similar.)

As the population along the coasts continues to grow, pressures on fish populations will intensify. There are an estimated 153 million residents living along the U.S. coastlines, and more are moving to the nation's edge on the sea every day.

Federal and state agencies need to step up their efforts to protect fish populations of the Gulf. Otherwise, red snapper, grouper and other popular fish will disappear from dinner plates, Alabama's fishing industry will dry up, and deep-sea fishing will cease to be a favorite tourist attraction for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
4:01 AM

gulf shores: Investors buy land for hotel in Gulf Shores

Local investors bought 2 acres on West Commerce Avenue off Alabama 59 in Gulf Shores for more than $1 million, and plan to build a four-story, 96-room Holiday Inn Express , according to Robbie Jaeger and Eric Nelson of Meyer Real Estate , who represented the buyers. The land was part of 10 acres owned by Leonard Kaiser of Kaiser Realty . He plans to build a new office there and develop the rest as a business district, according to Kaiser.

A Dauphin Island house that has its front pilings sitting in the Gulf of Mexico was purchased for $525,000 by Gadsden investors who plan to move the house back from the water about 50 feet, according to Daniel Prickett of Prudential Cooper & Co. Realtors , who represented the buyers. The 2,200-square-foot house in Audubon Place received minor damage during Hurricane Katrina , Prickett said. The buyers plan to renovate the house on the 300-foot lot and resell it, he said.

Local investors bought 39 acres on Wortel Road, one mile east of Baldwin County 95 in Elberta, for $497,500, according to John Flynn of Yance, Inge & Associates.

American Auto Paints bought 2 acres on the east side of the Beltline Highway just north of Moffett Road for $90,000 and plans to build a showroom/retail center; a warehouse and distribution center; and a training facility, according to Nancy Stone of White-Spunner & Associates .

Mobile Bar Pilots LLC purchased a quarter-acre lot at Jackson and St. Anthony streets in DeTonti Square for $75,000 and plans to build its headquarters there, according to Diane Horst of Dauphin Realty , who represented the sellers. David Dexter of Grubb & Ellis/Peebles & Cameron worked for the buyers.

Addicted to Dogs , a dog grooming salon, has leased 1,000 square feet in Baker West Shopping Center at 9120 Airport Blvd., and Inner Strength Martial Arts has leased 2,500 square feet at the center, according to David Stein of Stein Investments . Both businesses will open in June.

A business named i-Tans will open in June in 1,750 square feet in Palmetto Place at 960 S. Schillinger Road, according to Angela McArthur of Prudential Cooper & Co. Realtors commercial division. Langan Development Co. owns the center.

City officials are considering buying the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission building at Church Street and Washington Avenue, according to Mobile Mayor Sam Jones . The 11,500-square-foot building is for sale for $1.15 million, said John Peebles of Grubb & Ellis/Peebles & Cameron, who is working with the city and the property owner. The city would like to move some city departments from leased space in the AmSouth Bank building on Royal Street to the SARPC site, Jones said. The city also wants to move its last occupant, the city's main frame computer, out of City Hall North at 350 St. Joseph St., and put the building up for sale. The proposal will soon be presented to the City Council.

Sterling Resorts of Destin, Fla., has been hired to manage operations and on-site rentals at The Beach Club , a resort with 600 condominium and cottage units, a European spa, restaurants and retail on Fort Morgan, according to the Head Companies of Point Clear. Head and W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Co . will retain ownership of The Beach Club and continue with development there, according to David Head Jr .