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Madison blinded by science museum; lawmakers head back; Baby Boxes needed


Off The Record: Latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama

Science museum reports raise questions  

Many questions are being raised about a proposed science museum in Madison. At a City Council work session this week, city leaders expressed frustration after a recent report claimed the city was working on the museum that would be located on city property: “We have received no actual proposal.” Meanwhile, there also seems to be confusion amongst the high-profile names touted as supporters – apparently some had never even heard of the Madison Science Museum.  

Special session in less than a month 

We hear the special session to tackle with redistricting will be coming July 17. Governor Kay Ivey will need to call for the special session on redistricting after a court ruled the plan needs to be passed by July 21. It is expected the districts inside the Birmingham metro will likely be the ones most impacted. However, this is Alabama politics and anything is possible.  

Baby boxes needed  

Despite not being law yet, newborn babies are already being surrendered at fire stations. A Safe Haven Law signed by Gov. Kay Ivey this month allows for babies to be surrendered to fire stations up to 45 days after birth. While the new law doesn’t go into effect until Sept. 1, at least one baby has already been surrendered at a North Alabama fire station. The Madison Fire Department, which is not yet equipped with a Baby Box, reported the baby is doing well and is in the care of Madison Hospital. A Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender the child if they are unable to care for their newborn.   

Judge vs. judge

The Legislature approved a much-needed, new circuit court judgeship for Madison County. The new judge is needed as the caseload in Madison County continues to rise as the population continues to grow. The new judgeship will be on the ballot in 2024 which means we may see a rare contested race for judge in Madison County. The route to a robe and gavel usually comes through an appointment by the governor as judges retire. Those judges typically serve the remainder of the original term and then are on the ballot, leaving would-be opponents hesitant to run against a sitting judge. Political insiders are hearing that District Court Judges Don Rizzardi and Linda Coates are both eyeing the seat and starting to make phone calls. 

Athens lands big brands 

TJ Maxx, Ulta, and Ross are set for Athens Marketplace, a shopping center expected to be open next summer. Developers say other national brands will be joining the center on the north side of U.S. 72 behind Wendy’s and Taco Bell. Not far down the road, a Slim Chickens will anchor a 13,500 square-foot retail center called The Shoppes at Lindsey Lane. Dining, office/retail space is available at the center expected to be completed in May.


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