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Top News Links: Wednesday, April 24

Strange rejects call for utility rate hearings

Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn, asking State Attorney General Luther Strange to support his call for formal hearings into Alabama's higher-than-neighboring-states utility rates, received instead a one-sentence rebuke from Strange telling him to "focus on working with his colleagues" — who have flatly rejected hearing on the widely publicized rate issues. — al.com

State funding for Carpenter Technologies

The state has approved a $600,000 grant to Limestone County to fund sewer services to the site of the Carpenter Technologies plant across the Tennessee River from Decatur; now under construction, the plant will make specialty alloys for aerospace and energy companies. — ADECA PR

S3 expands with Summit Aviation acquisition

S3, an aviation firm based in Huntsville, has acquired Texas-based Summit Aviation, adding aviation maintenance and inspections, avionics sales and other services to those already offered by S3's Kachemak Bay Flying Service. — al.com

Senate approves private hotel in Gulf State Park

Gov. Bentley's plan to let a private developer operate a hotel in the state's only Gulf beach park has won approval by the state Senate, the Associated Press reports. — Miami Herald

Huntsville firm wins NASA award

A-Squared Research, A Huntsville firm that does testing and calibration at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, was chosen as NASA's Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year. — Huntsville Times

South Carolina awards $120 million in incentives for Boeing plant

The governor of South Carolina has signed off on $120 million in incentives — enough to cover land acquisition and improvements — to help Boeing expand its aircraft plant there and attract suppliers who will focus there and on the new Airbus plant in Mobile. — Crain's Chicago Business

Alabama Power exec, congressional staffer to help distribute BP fines

Alabama Power chairman Charles McCrary and former congressional staffer Michael Sharp have been named to leadership roles with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which is overseeing distribution of fines that BP paid for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but had no Alabama leaders. — al.com

Barron, staffer charged with campaign finance violations

Former State Sen. Lowell Barron and a former staffer were arrested yesterday and charged with campaign finance violations; Barron called the charges a "witch hunt" by Attorney General Luther Strange and said all transactions had been properly accounted for. — Montgomery Advertiser

Twinkies return

Hostess Brands plans to reopen its bakery in Columbus, Ga., once again producing Twinkies, Cupcakes, HoHos and Ding Dongs; bakery is expected to employ 200 workers when it reopens, with more added over the next few years. — Area Development

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