Residents along Alabama’s coast are hoping to avoid the worst from Isaac when it makes landfall, but they’re also taking precautions against the storm.Shelters are open in Mobile County, which will take at least an indirect hit. Dozens of shrimp boats are tied up at docks in Bayou La Batre waiting on the storm to pass, and few people are left on Dauphin Island. Tourists are gone from the state’s most popular beaches in Baldwin County, and floodwaters could make some areas inaccessible as the storm surge from Isaac sends water rising across roads. Low-lying areas closest to the Gulf remain under a mandatory evacuation order. But Gov. Robert Bentley allowed some residents to remain who earlier had been ordered to leave after the storm forecast changed. The Alabama Department of Tourism is providing a toll- free number to tell evacuees where a room might be available. State tourism director Lee Sentell and his staff is calling hotels around the state looking for vacancies. Sentell says evacuees should call 1-800-ALABAMA or 1-800-252-2262 for information on hotel and motel rooms.
The Jefferson County Commission will consider again whether to close the inpatient unit at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. The Birmingham News reports that Commission President David Carrington said the matter will be addressed Tuesday, but didn’t say whether a decision would be made.Carrington said a motion and a second to close the inpatient unit at the county-owned hospital for the poor are up for a vote. However, the matter could be carried over or amendments to the motion considered, he said.Two weeks ago, the proposal drew a crowd of angry hospital supporters who brought the commission meeting to a close with songs, chants and shouts.
The Bessemer Cutoff’s court system will continue to operate with at least one judge, whether it’s at the current courthouse or somewhere else. That’s according to Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington. The Birmingham News reports that in a statement yesterday, Carrington discussed the future of the Bessemer court in the wake of the commission’s vote last week to reject the courthouse lease because the county can’t continue to pay $8 million a year in rent for the facility. The commission’s decision still has to be approved by the judge presiding over the county’s bankruptcy case. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett has set a hearing for September 13 to discuss the request. Meanwhile, county officials hope to renegotiate the lease to lower payments and avoid having to vacate the courthouse.