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Top News Links: Thursday, April 23

Selma dispute straining UAW-Lear relationship

The amicable relationship built up over the years between the UAW and Lear, the world's largest supplier of automotive seating, is being tested by a dispute at the company’s non-union plant in Selma. The clash is filling up the dockets in two different courts in Alabama and has triggered an angry exchange over employee safety between the company and the union, which has made the Selma campaign part of a broader effort to increase its visibility among non-union employees in the Southeastern U.S. – WardsAuto

Aventine gets first ethanol shipment to B’ham

Aventine Renewable Energy Inc., a leading producer, marketer and supplier of ethanol, today announced its first BNSF unit-train shipment of ethanol produced at its two ethanol facilities in Aurora, Nebraska. On April 19 Aventine’s first unit train pulled out of Aurora heading to Birmingham. The ethanol will be blended in gasoline to enhance octane, reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. – BusinessWire

Gulf Coast oysters finding new fans

Mike and Ardis Knoflicek acquired a taste for raw oysters late in life. Growing up in rural Nebraska, "Rocky Mountain oysters were as close as we got" to seafood, Mike jokes. Now, after trying the slimy mollusks for the first time in 2014, the pair of recent retirees partakes in oyster happy hour nearly every two weeks at Kimball House in Decatur, Georgia. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, the Knofliceks had the opportunity to try some new, rare additions to Kimball House's oyster menu from Alabama's Gulf Coast. – CNN

Business confidence edges up slightly

Business confidence reached 57.6 on the second quarter 2015 Alabama Business Confidence Index™ survey, conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. The index rose 0.2 points to its highest level since the third quarter of 2006. Panelists remain more optimistic than a year ago when the ABCI registered 55.6. – UA News

Sylacauga Blue Bell plant still operating

Blue Bell Creameries' Sylacauga plant is still operating, even as a complete product recall unfolds for the company in the wake of a string of listeria cases. The company announced a recall Monday of about 8 million gallons of ice cream products, which should take about two weeks to clear from shelves nationwide. – AL.com

Judge: Austal motion not relevant in overbilling case

Plaintiffs' lawyers in a whistleblower lawsuit filed a new complaint this week in a case alleging Austal USA overbilled the military after attorneys for the company asked for the dispute to be dismissed. Attorneys contended that elements of the claims included in the initial lawsuit lacked sufficient clarity. In light of the new complaint, a federal judge said Austal USA's arguments for dismissing the lawsuit were no longer relevant. – AL.com

Golden Construction begins $35M project

Golden Construction has broken ground on the $35 million high-end multifamily community, Bayonne at Southshore, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This project will consist of a 4 story, 240 unit luxury apartment complex and 113,360 square foot parking garage. – News release

ADTRAN, Troy Cable pair for gig service

ADTRAN Inc., a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions, today announced a new addition to its Enabling Communities, Connecting Lives program. Troy Cable has selected ADTRAN’s advanced Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) portfolio for its Gigabit Internet Service offering for residential customers in more than 20 communities across Alabama. BusinessWire

Senate committee OKs medical marijuana bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly approved a bill Wednesday to allow medicinal marijuana in Alabama.  Committee members approved the bill on a 4-3 vote.  It now moves to the Alabama Senate where even the bill's sponsor, Senator Bobby Singleton realizes he has work to do.  The Democrat from Greensboro says the legislation would allow patients with certain medical conditions, including cancer and AIDS, to buy or grow a small amount of marijuana each month. – WVAS

MAX marks Financial Literacy Month

Throughout the year, MAX promotes financial health for consumers by helping them get smart – and stay smart – about their money. During the month of April, MAX celebrates and highlights the education it provides to customers and the community. Each quarter, MAX offers consumer education classes to customers as well as the public. Past classes have had topics ranging from Buying a Home to Identity Theft. For more visit www.myMAX.com. – News release

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