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Top News Links: Friday, April 3

Juries: Austal didn’t tolerate hostile workplace

Two juries in federal civil trials have found that Mobile shipbuilder Austal did not tolerate a racially hostile work environment. The juries ruled in favor of Austal and against plaintiffs Cynthia Bumpers, Nathaniel L. Reed, Fred Williams, Tesha Hollis, Larry J. Laffiette, Ron Law, and Jerome Pettibone in the trials that were held in March and April at the U.S. District Court in Mobile. – AL.com

Jobs recruiting bill awaits Bentley signature

Two Alabama economic development bills aimed at bringing new jobs to the state are closer to becoming law. Alabama lawmakers on Thursday passed legislation to revamp how the state offers economic incentives to companies. The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for tax abatements and other benefits offered to companies that create jobs or capital investment here. – AP/AL.com

Peanuts winning over cotton in Wiregrass

The Wiregrass is anticipating a busy peanut planting season this year with more farmers choosing to plant peanuts rather than cotton. The planting season begins toward the end of this month and more farmers are focused on peanuts due to falling commodity prices. – Dothan Eagle

Good news: More Americans quitting jobs

Many Americans are stuck with stagnant wages, but Ben Baxter has scored a 31 percent pay hike since the end of 2011. No, the 28-year-old Alabama resident didn't hypnotize his employer into giving him a raise. Baxter just felt confident enough about the economy to jump from job to job in order to boost his salary. He's quit six different engineering jobs since February 2013. – CNN Money/KCRA

Study: 9 percent of state bridges ‘deficient’

An analysis of the recently-released 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database finds that there are 17 fewer structurally deficient structures in Alabama than there were in 2013. The bad news: 2,144 bridges, or 13% of all state bridges, are functionally obsolete. – News release

Executives plead guilty in fraud case

Two former executives of a Madison County, Mississippi company have pleaded guilty to conspiring to mislead investors in Mississippi and Alabama about a monitoring system for nursing homes that could help improve the overall care of patients. Federal prosecutors say Mark Rodgers and Samer N'Ser will be sentenced June 15 in U.S. District Court in Jackson. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. – Sun Herald

Bama pays less at the government pump

Alabama seems to be in the midst of a financial upswing, following the economic downturn of 2008, with unemployment at its lowest since the recession. But another factor could be leaving Alabamians with more in their bank accounts than other states—tax  burdens. – BizJournals.com

Wheeler Real Estate comes to Alabama

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. announced Thursday it has closed on the acquisition of Alex City Marketplace in Alexander City for approximately $10.25 million, or $69.35 per leasable square foot. It’s the company’s first property in Alabama, according to Wheeler officials. – BusinessWire

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