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


The dance begins

School Choice Week is wrapping up and it’s no surprise the state’s highest leaders are beating the “Parent’s Choice” drum. While a popular political slogan these days, it’s an issue that Alabama Education Association stands firmly against. An interesting two-step is shaping up in Montgomery between the powerful union and savvy political leaders. Stay tuned for some fancy footwork.

Legislative Crystal Ball

I hear Gov. Ivey is going to double down on economic growth efforts this session. She’s been up front about her support of economic development incentives, but look for a more comprehensive policy initiative with the full weight and support of the governor’s office.

Lomax makes waves for North Alabama

The Alabama House’s new Ports, Waterways and Intermodal Transit Committee formed by Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter may be busier than originally thought. Word from industry is that the Wilson and Wheeler locks on the Tennessee River are in desperate need of repair. Rep. James Lomax of Huntsville is on the committee and we expect the rutted river regulators to be one of the first topics of review.

Could SRT go multi-state?

Singing River Trail’s Executive Director John Kvach has made great strides developing a 220-mile biking, hiking and walking trail across all of North Alabama, but will he go even farther? We have to wonder after the considerably companionable champion of trails was seen meeting with regional leaders in Chattanooga and South Pittsburg this week.

Shake up at API

The announcement of Stephanie Smith as the new leader of the Alabama Policy Institute may have prompted propitious applause in Montgomery hallways. We hear the new CEO may be tasked with repairing relationships with elected officials as a first order of business.

Yes, please

When Landry’s in Huntsville left the market they left a bit of a void for sitdown seafood restaurants that did not involve boiling bags but that may be changing. Multiple developers have received calls from a popular Gulf Coast seafood operator looking to build their first Alabama location.

Over a barrel on I-565

The barrels have started going up on I-565 next to Toyota Field. Crews have started work on the long-awaited interstate flyovers that will complete the interchange at Town Madison. Work is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Colbert County moonshine anyone?

Leighton is open for business. Mayor Derick Silcox is ready to sit down and talk up the town that hosts Sledgefest, a music festival ode to Percy Sledge, Leighton’s most famous son. No word if the sitdowns will include a bottle of moonshine from Dawson Distillery, Colbert County’s “first legal moonshine operation in Northwest Alabama since the prohibition.”

More free, family fun!

We hear more free, family-friendly events are coming to Historic Downtown Madison thanks to a deal between Madison Visionary Partners and the Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison. An agreement that has been months in the making will be a boon for downtown Madison, as MVP will be the umbrella organization for the Shoppes.

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


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