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OTR: Cole’s home sweet homes; Courthouse square dance; Russellville rumble; and more

Off The Record: Latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama

Clock strikes 2 for lawmakers

The most productive day of the 2023 legislative session took place yesterday. And last night. Into this morning. Two months of deliberation have taken place since state lawmakers received Gov. Kay Ivey’s budgets. It culminated Thursday when they authorized final changes to nearly $15 billion in spending decisions across education and General Fund budgets, along with an unprecedented surplus. Among many other saving, tax-cutting and investing measures, the surplus astonishingly checked two huge boxes: A direct tax rebate, which landed at $210 for each individual, and a 2% grocery tax cut. Both would go into effect this year. The scene at the State House left some legislators scrambling, others exhausted, but everyone relieved it’s done. It’s currently on Ivey’s desk.

Cole conundrum

Rep. David Cole seemingly can’t recall if he ever stayed in the home he claimed as his permanent residence in order to run for the District 10 Statehouse seat he now represents. A lawsuit was filed days before the election by Libertarian candidate Elijah Boyd claiming Cole did not actually live in District 10, but actually lives in District 4. Cole won the election but despite numerous attempts to have the case dismissed, he was required to provide a deposition under oath. The deposition details made public this week reveal Cole can’t remember much, such as why his wife and kids don’t live there or if he moved any furniture or personal property into the residence claimed as his. He also thinks he has stayed the night in his district, but doesn’t really know. Unsurprisingly, a number of Republican lawmakers are reportedly fed up with the situation.

Presumptuous plans

You may recall in December we mentioned the city of Huntsville has glorious greenspace plans for the Madison County Courthouse site in downtown. The much maligned structure was built in 1966 in the “International architecture style” and has been set to come down due to rising maintenance costs and general disrepair. A new courthouse will be built, location to be determined, but what of the site that is literally the roof of the mysterious Big Spring Cave? Despite perhaps presumptuous plans by the city, the site is owned by the county. And the Madison County Commission emphasizes NO decisions have been made regarding the site.

Pulling a Mac

Is Former Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Mike Bolin pulling a Mac? Bolin, who served three terms as an associate justice of the State Supreme Court and also as a Jefferson County Probate Judge, has entered running for the Jefferson County Commission District 5 position. Bolin seems to be following in the footsteps of Former Speaker of the House Mac McCutchen who took over as chairman of the Madison County Commission after declining to run for re-election.

Blimey! The Poppy is expanding to Athens

Work on the new concept by the owners of The Poppy and Parliament is progressing nicely just off the historic square in Athens. A downtown Huntsville favorite, The Poppy is fashioned after a traditional British pub and features a menu of upscale English and Irish fare as well as numerous imported draft beers, cask ales, and craft cocktails. The location in Athens is sure to be a showstopper, spreading across three storefronts and will no doubt take inspiration from the original inviting interior the Poppy is known for.

Mathews makes a move

David Mathews, the much celebrated Bank Independent area president of Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties, is reportedly set to retire. While Mathews has promised to stay on to continue his support and service in customer relationships, Bob Thompson, who currently serves as the bank’s city president for Athens, will assume the role as area president for Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties.

Sour grapes or too much wine?

Yellowhammer’s annual Power and Influence list is prompting plenty of chitter-chatter in Montgomery. Drink in hand, one frequent flier in the halls of the Capitol recently overshared their opinion of the list, or perhaps was it their lack of inclusion on it? Fret not darling, it’s an annual list. There’s plenty of future opportunities to be disappointed.

Russellville rumble

Is the Russellville City School Board considering not renewing Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes contract? A report out of the northwestern Alabama city claims three board members are seeking to push out Grimes for political reasons. Grimes has been the superintendent of RCS for eight years.

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


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