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Top News Links: Monday, April 18

Prison lawsuit may complicate governor’s plan

After nearly two years of litigation, a federal lawsuit claiming the Alabama Department of Corrections regularly failed to provide inmates with health care is nearing a partial settlement, which would require ADOC to reconstruct some of its facilities. Mapping out that reconstruction has grown complicated since February, however, when Gov. Robert Bentley announced a plan to build four new prisons, and close most existing ones. – Montgomery Advertiser

Two-year colleges raise tuition $2 per credit hour

Alabama Community College system board of trustee members have approved an annual tuition rate increase for the state's two-year college system. The tuition will increase by a uniform $2 per credit hour for the 2016-2017 academic school year, Opelika-Auburn News reported. The tuition rate is set at $117 per hour for Alabama residents and $232 for nonresidents, beginning in fall 2016. – EnewsCourier

‘Mockingbird’ different after Harper Lee’s death

The play unfolded here Friday at the Old Monroe County Courthouse pretty much as it has for the past 27 years. Atticus Finch defended Tom Robinson. The gospel choir sang. Scout used a slingshot to keep the boys in line and her curiosity to pose tough questions. But much about this stage production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and life in this small town, where it has long been an economic and civic anchor, is a bit different this year. – New York Times

Alabama below national average on per-student spending

There’s a remarkable variation in what states spend per student on education, according to a new analysis by National Public Radio and Education Week. In Alabama the average district spends $9,743 per student, less than the nationwide average. You can explore further or search for a district by name below. – NPR

It’s striking when you find Vikings

Three archaeological sites that may have been used by Vikings around 1,000 years ago were excavated recently in Canada. Sarah Parcak, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and her colleagues spotted the so-called Point Rosee site in southern Newfoundland while scanning satellite imagery, and announced their discovery a few weeks ago. – LivingScience.com

Heritage Wars have contractors on one foot

Last month, New Orleans officials held a special meeting for contractors interested in taking on a city job estimated at $170,000. That's not typical. Neither were the concerns of the unidentified attendees: Could they work at night or in the early morning, when they were least likely to draw protesters? Did they have to post signage with their company name while they worked? Would the city provide security if necessary? – Chicago Tribune

Marengo County Commission hears good biz news

Positive news about business expansion in the county took up much of the time of the Marengo County Commission meeting Tuesday. The good news began with the tax abatement awarded Cemex in Demopolis for a $50 million expansion and renovation mandated by government regulations. The commission unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement of $351,776 per year. – WAWatchment.com

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