Tag: Montgomery

Montgomery mourns loss of Taco Bell

Taco Bell 2.jpg
Ashley Nicole and her angel singers perform a Taco
 Bell song. Dozens gathered in Montgomery in the
Arby’s parking lot for a candlelight vigil for the Taco
Bell next door, which caught fire Wednesday. The
whole thing began as as a Facebook event joke posted
by Katie James that drew the attention of thousands (photo via the Montgomery Advertiser).

Alissa CamplinArts & Entertainment Editor

It started as a joke on the internet.

It ended with dripping wax and songs about Baja Freezes.

A 24-hour Taco Bell caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 17. No one was injured and authorities have not determined the cause of the initial spark.

The closure of Taco Bell deeply affected current and former Montgomery residents, as evidenced by the candlelight vigil to mourn the great loss that went viral this week. More than a hundred people came to honor the mecca of delicious and cheap food.

“It just gave people something to talk about other than all the negativity that’s going on right now,” organizer Katie James said of the unconventional event.

The crowd, full of teens and adults alike, brought Taco Bell products and candles. The group was forced to go into the Arby’s parking lot after the Taco Bell lot was closed down.

A local comedian, Ashley Nicole Portis, performed a reprise of a Taco Bell parody video she released last year. Portis said that Taco Bell was an important instrument to

earning her degree from Alabama State University.

“I’ve had a lot of memories created at Taco Bell,” she said. “I was a theater major and we had long, long rehearsal nights. It was extremely taxing, and you don’t always have time to eat. You miss the cafeteria, it closes early. In Montgomery, everything else closes early.”

As the crowd began to tire out, some headed into the Arby’s for a late dinner. But that restaurant closes at midnight, as does a nearby McDonalds. With the loss of the Taco Bell, Montgomery’s late night options have dwindled to a precious few.

Shaw Gibbins posted on the event’s page on Facebook with this lovely poem of remembrance:

“When McDonalds failed me, you lifted me up. When Sonic was closed, you filled my cup. When Arby’s went dark, you made me smile. Your quesadillas sustained me mile after mile.”


Albert Cesare AP.jpg
Former governor Robert Bentley speaks at a press conference at the State Capitol on Friday, April 7. Bentley resigned from office on Monday, becoming the first Alabama governor to do so since 1837. (Albert Cesare/AP)

Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief

Alabama governor Robert J. Bentley resigned from office on Monday, April 10 after allegations arose that he had used campaign funds for personal gain.

ersonal gain. Bentley’s reputation was irreparably damaged when an affair with his top adviser, Rebekah Mason, was brought to light in March 2016. Bentley’s wife, Dianne, had filed for divorce the previous year, and it was finalized in September 2015.

The governor’s resignation comes in the wake of official impeachment hearings that began Monday morning.

“All indications are that Governor Bentley is going to resign shortly,” Koven L. Brown, a state representative for District 40, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “He has submitted his letter of resignation to Lt. Gov. [Kay] Ivey and she is to be sworn in a little [later] this evening. As sad as this situation is, I am relieved that it is over and our state can move on. We have much work to do in this legislative session and it will hopefully move smoother with this cloud lifted. Please continue to pray for all of us in state government. Most all of us love to serve our respective districts and take our legislative positions very seriously.”

Bentley, who was serving his second term as governor, had been under investigation by the Alabama Attorney General’s office for criminal felony charges. The Alabama Ethics Commission confirmed that it had probable cause to support these accusations.

Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use.

As per the plea deal, Bentley has one week to pay $36,912 in campaign funds, essentially emptying that fund and giving the money to the state. He will also be required to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket fines to return the misappropriated money to the campaign fund before that fund can be closed.

Bentley must also perform 100 hours of community service and is prohibited from running for public office again.

In a report released on April 7, the lawyer for the Alabama House of Representatives alleged that Bentley had coerced, sent threatening messages to and threatened to prosecute some of those who had criticized his affair with Mason. The report also described how Bentley reportedly used a member of his security detail to end his relationship with Mason on his behalf and how he allowed Mason to use official state

A “not anymore” sign was taped under Robert Bentley’s name on an Alabama welcome sign on Monday night. (The Ostrich/Facebook)

vehicles after she had left state payroll.

Also included in the report are accounts of how Bentley attempted to cover up audio tapes of sexually charged conversations between himself and Mason.

Bentley will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, a former state treasurer, high school teacher and bank officer. Ivey is only the second female governor of Alabama, the first being Lurleen Wallace, who served from 1967-68.

“The Ivey administration will be open, it will be transparent and it will be honest,” Ivey said on Monday.