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

Another hat in the ring

Now that Dale Strong has officially submitted his letter to Gov. Kay Ivey resigning as Madison County Commission chairman effective Jan. 2, attention shifts to who might replace him. Ivey will make the appointment and word is that Madison County Commissioners Phil Vandiver and Phil Riddick have submitted paperwork along with former Speaker Mac McCutchen. However, a new name that emerged this week is Madison Mayor Paul Finley.

Seeing green

It’s pretty much decided that once the new Madison County Courthouse (site TBD) and Huntsville City Hall are finished, the old buildings will be torn down. From what we’re hearing, both will become greenspace. The current City Hall site will be added to Big Spring Park, and the County Courthouse site will be converted into a traditional town square.

Ride on a bus …

Regional transit could be running in the Huntsville metro sooner than you think. The Metropolitan Planning Organization is studying routes for BRT: a rail/bus hybrid that could serve multiple cities. Current frontrunner for the pilot project is University Drive/U.S. 72, roughly from downtown Huntsville to Madison Hospital. The route, tentatively known as the “Health Line” because it would effectively connect two of Huntsville Hospital System’s largest campuses, is still in the planning phase, but development could be seen as soon as five years from now.

… Fight on a bus

While the Madison City Schools administration pledges to stand by their employee’s right to defend themselves, one of the suspended students involved in an altercation on a James Clemens High school bus has retained legal counsel from a well-known local law firm. A lawsuit hasn’t been filed … yet.

A roll of the dice

Expect to see State Rep. Andy Whitt of Harvest front and center should gambling make an appearance in the coming legislative session. His intended appointment as chair of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee by State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) was announced last week. As you know, gambling falls under purview of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee.

Demo Day in Montgomery

It appears new House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen’s first act in office was a demolition job. The Republican from Hartselle tried his hand at redecorating his new digs at the Statehouse, ripping up floors, walls and the like. Looks like the taxpayers will be stuck with the repair bill.

New Chick in town?

Is a Chicken Salad Chick coming to Town Madison?  The Auburn-based fast casual restaurant has 218 locations and we hear the next North Alabama one will be taking up space at Madison’s largest mixed-use development.

Have a rumor or rumbling to share? Email me at [email protected].

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