Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama
End of the road for Cooper?
In light of the many ongoing troubles plaguing Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper many are wondering if the longtime director will finally get the boot. “It’s long overdue.” That’s according to a political insider who says no one understands why Cooper hasn’t been replaced but it’s the governor’s call. “It seems John Cooper will be there until John Cooper decides not to be there.” No stranger to controversy, Cooper was arrested for harassment this week and, in May, a judge accused ALDOT’s longest serving director of acting in bad faith.
A rescue for Cole?
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Alabama congressional lines. The court ruled that the Legislature could have increased the number of minority districts and has tasked them to redraw the lines to do so. The state House lines have been challenged on similar grounds and the case is now likely to be decided using the Supreme Court precedent. That means the Alabama Legislature could be called on to draw new congressional, state House, and possibly state Senate lines in a special session. Montgomery observers pointed out that perhaps they could draw a district that District 10 where Rep. David Cole actually resides. This would solve what has become an embarrassing issue for the House Republican caucus who may be forced to vote on whether or not to keep him in the Legislature after his own testimony in depositions made it clear he did not.
Sooner rather than later?
And speaking of that special session to handle redistricting, it may be sooner than expected. I’m hearing our elected officials could be called back to Montgomery the next week or two. Biggest question remaining is what else could potentially be up for a vote?
Up and up
In more up and coming news out of Limestone County, a yet to be announced YP group is reportedly forming. As more and more young professionals are choosing to call Athens and surrounding areas home this new young professional group is garnering immense interest. Expect a formal announcement later this summer.
Limestone County contender
Local interest in the March 2024 primaries is starting to bubble. Athens businessman Johnny Turner has scheduled a “Big Announcement” for next Thursday. He is expected to announce a campaign for office but sources differ on which Limestone County race he may be jumping in to.
Block party of the summer
It seems all of downtown Huntsville turned out for the grand-opening celebration of the Bank Independent building on Holmes this past Tuesday. The volume and influence of those in attendance felt more like a who’s who social event than run of the mill ribbon-cutting. The event featured live music, delectables from The Bakingtist, and a special signature drink developed by All Shook Up Bar and Beverage Catering. Local leaders including Mayor Tommy Battle joined the Maudlin family and bank leaders to celebrate downtown’s latest achievement. The new build features five floors, an upstairs deck area and ground floor retail space alongside a traditional banking area. It’s a far cry from Bank Independent’s first Huntsville location. As Tim Singleton, executive VP and Eastern Region president, recalled when they first opened at the old YMCA building they didn’t yet have cash on hand. “One of our employees cashed a check from his wallet for a customer over from the Shoals.” These days the community bank founded in Florence has flourished and grown with the Rocket City, taking part in many of the most transformative projects that make up today’s Huntsville.
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