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Top News Links: Friday, April 10

Friday shocker: A year later, VA still slow

A year after Americans recoiled at revelations that sick veterans were getting sicker while languishing on waiting lists — and months after the Department of Veterans Affairs launched major reforms — government records show the number of patients facing long waits at VA facilities hasn't dropped. – Montgomery Advertiser

Former Navy SEAL O’Neill to address BCA

Yellowhammer confirmed Thursday that the yearly Business Council of Alabama’s Chairman’s dinner will feature former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill as its keynote speaker. O’Neill says he is the member of SEAL Team 6 who fired the shots killing terrorist leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. – Yellowhammer

Here’s your Friday Good Deeds link

Employees from Alabama Power and Buffalo Rock will team up for Alabama Power’s annual Run for the Reason, a two-and-a-half day, 350 mile continuous run across Alabama to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society. Three teams of seven runners will take turns running through the state in leapfrog style. The Run for the Reason starts April 16 at the Alabama/Georgia state line and ends April 18 at Dauphin Island. – News release

Civil suit claims chopper firm cheated

Two former employees of a helicopter company owned by a Wall Street financier allege that she exploited a connection with an Army colonel to charge the U.S. government inflated prices for rotorcraft. In documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alabama, the whistleblowers said Lynn Tilton offered the officer, Norbert Vergez, a lucrative job long before he retired from military service as a way of inducing him to make contract decisions favorable to MD Helicopters of Mesa, Arizona. Vergez will be arraigned April 20 in Tuscaloosa. – BellinghamHerald.com

Legislation passes to improve rural incentives

Legislation to provide extra incentives to industries that hire large numbers of veterans or locates in rural or low-income areas has passed in the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama Veterans and Targeted Counties Jobs Act gives companies creating at least 25 jobs in a rural county an extra 1 percent job credit from the new employee wages after the first year, for a period up to 10 years. – AL.com

Entrepreneurs compete today for startup funds

Nineteen entrepreneurial teams, composed of University of Alabama faculty and students, will compete for approximately $100,000 in start-up funding and in-kind services today during UA’s annual AIME Day. Hosted by UA’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs Center, the competition gives innovators a forum to pitch their technologies, inventions and ideas to potential investors. – UA News

Sessions visits Alabama A&M University

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) engaged in an hour-long dialogue Wednesday with Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine Jr., AAMU administrators and college deans during a campus visit. Also in attendance were members of his staff, including Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn. – AAMU.edu

First ELM home going up in Madison County

A faith-based, private foundation is working with a Madison County custom homebuilder to break ground on the first Homes for ELM project in Alabama. The ELM (Expect Little Miracles) Foundation, with support from Compass Homes of Huntsville, will host a 3 p.m. ceremony today to kick off the start of construction of a home in the Shadow Mountain subdivision of Priceville. – AL.com

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