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OTR – Special session warning, peanut butter burgers and more …

Off The Record: Latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama


Special session on redistricting “and nothing else…”

As we told you last week, the special session on redistricting would be coming July 17. On Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey issued the proclamation to call the Alabama Legislature into a special session beginning at 2 p.m. July 17. The governor also released a statement that that included the following: “It is of the utmost importance that this special session only address the congressional map and nothing else.”  Whatever could the governor be referring to we wonder?

OBB opening in Athens 

Old Black Bear Brewing Company will be opening a new location in Athens. Already a downtown Madison favorite, OBB is famed for its eats almost as much as the extensive beer selection and crafted cocktails (try the Shine-O-Mite Moonshine margarita). We hear new location on South Marion Street will be even bigger and feature wine as well as frozen drinks. And, like the Madison location, the brewery will be right next door. OBB will also be taking the famous “It’s the Jam” burger with peanut butter and hot bacon jam to Athens as well.  

Tickling the ivories downtown

A piano bar is coming to downtown Huntsville. The Library, as it’s called, is the newest concept from the restaurateur power couple Stephanie Kennedy-Mell and Matthew Mell. The duo is also behind Huntsville’s upcoming Dining in the Dark experience at Purveyor. Stephanie says the July 16 event will allow patrons to enjoy a delicious dinner all while being blindfolded, prepared by a Master Chef, and coupled with the perfect drink pairing.

Apple of Bridge Street’s eye

There is some shuffling going on at Bridge Street Town Centre. Apparently, Apple is about to rule the roost at the Huntsville live-eat-shop center. According to some insiders, the computer giant reportedly will take over the space formerly occupied by Oxford Street, Jos. A. Bank and Alumni Hall. Those three stores have moved to other spaces. Coming soon are Dry Goods and Trashy Dawg Epic Chicken and Booze Room …

Tuberville counters Biden

In Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s previous career, he was a pretty darn good football coach – especially on the defensive side. Lately, he tangled with perhaps the most-powerful person on the planet in a Twitter spat over an announcement where Tuberville tweeted, “Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts …” to recognize the state receiving $1.4 billion to improve broadband access. The money came from the federal government in a package that Tuberville voted against. So, President Biden, snarkily tweeted in reply, “See you at the groundbreaking.” This exchange made national news but Tuberville has his defense ready when he countered, “The groundbreaking for Space Command in Huntsville?”

Sticker Shock

Residential growth and rising home values always bring with it higher property taxes. Local property owners received their new – and likely higher – property tax appraisals by mail this spring and sticker shock followed for many. Owners have the option to appeal their new valuation to the three-member Madison County Board of Equalization. Typically, this is a quiet board that hears a handful of appeals each year. That was not the case for this tax year. The board recently finished hearing a record number of appeals turning what usually is a few days work into a few weeks. If you would like to appeal your new value and tax bill – you’re too late. Appeals must be filed within 30 days so your next chance for to appear before the county board is the summer of 2024.

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