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Lands’ win was special or ‘lucky’?; Realtors, homebuyers, sellers seek answers; and more in this week’s OTR

Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama


Lands lucky?

Democrat Marilyn Lands’ victory over Republican Teddy Powell for the Alabama House District 10 seat is being hailed as historic by Democrats. And despite what could be considered sour grapes by the ALGOP calling it “luck”, one political insider agrees a general election could be a whole new ballgame. “Double the number of Republican voters cast straight-tickets,” he said. “Lands will have to keep the magic going to keep her seat through the general election in 2026.”  

Realtors new reality

North Alabama Realtors  are reportedly looking for answers after their national association – NAR – settled a lawsuit that bans a 6% commission fee. One local insider tells OTR there simply aren’t any answers right now, and won’t be until the settlement is finalized. He did say there was plenty of misinformation, “The bad takes are rampant about the settlement. Home prices will drop? Nope. Value will continue to increase for existing homeowners. A 6% commission will cease to be the norm? It never was in the first place.” He went on to stress that the major difference between Realtors and real estate agents is adherence to a strict code of ethics and the Fair Housing Act. 

College sports capital

March was a big month for local college sports fans. In addition to the always available sports lineup at UAH and Alabama A&M, the Rocket City hosted several other events. Conference USA chose the VBC to host its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the Alabama and Tennessee women’s soccer teams faced off at the Loretta Spencer Sports Complex. Toyota Field saw action as well as Alabama, Auburn and UNA each hosted games in the stadium. The city will host this month’s Sun Belt Conference Beach Volleyball Championship and the National Junior College Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Championship in May. All of this is part of a push by Mark Russell at the Huntsville Sports Commission and Joel Lamp at the Huntsville Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring more college athletics and championship events to the community.

‘Greatest Show on Dirt’

It’s about time to dust off the boots, don your best cowboy hat and mosey on over to Limestone County. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo, considered the largest outdoor rodeo east of the Mississippi, takes place the third weekend in May each year. An admittedly enthusiastic longtime fan said the Limestone County Rodeo should be required attendance for those new to the area. While mandatory attendance for newcomers is most likely off the table, the rest of us will be enjoying the 42nd “Greatest Show on Dirt” on May 17 and 18.  

Panoply ponchos?

The 2024 lineup for the Panoply Arts Festival has been released for this year’s 42nd annual event. In addition to featuring more than 100 local and national artists, hands-on art and steam activities, crafty libations and musical acts, perhaps it would be prudent to prepare for downpours? At the famous art festival, it’s not just soaking in the creative masterpieces, there’s also a high likelihood of just being soaked. While we all appreciate Mother Nature adding her own artistic flair to the event, might I make a small suggestion? Panoply designed ponchos. They’re sure to be a hit. 

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