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Top News Links: Tuesday, April 19

Bill to change top education structure pulled

A bill seeking to amend the Alabama Constitution to make the state superintendent work directly for the governor’s office has been pulled. State Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, has withdrawn a bill she had previously introduced that sought to make the governor the sole person to appoint the state superintendent, circumventing the Alabama Board of Education in the selection process. – Tuscaloosa News

Odd road happenings in Gulf Shores

A memo from someone who works in an office in Boston was able to shut down a well-used north-south artery through Gulf State Park at a moment’s notice. “I had no idea they were going to close that road,” Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said. “And neither did our police or fire or anybody knew until I got a text from the folks at the state park at 6:30 yesterday morning. – Gulf Coast News Today

Dothan leads nation in affordable office space

Tech-heavy Mountain View in California — where Google, Symantec, LinkedIn, and Samsung all have offices — unsurprisingly rated as the most expensive small city in which to purchase office space, with a price averaging $66 per square foot. Kentwood, Michigan, and Dothan, Alabama tied for the most affordable office space, at $8.76 per square foot. – NBC News

It’s the season for hunting camp break-ins

Sheriff’s offices routinely see a spike in break-ins and thefts from hunting clubs as the seasons wind down. Spring turkey season closes April 30 in most Central Alabama counties. By their nature, hunting camps are off the beaten path, making them perfect targets, said Autauga Sheriff Joe Sedinger. – Montgomery Advertiser

Get ready for Grapico’s 100th birthday celebration

Grapico -- the purple-colored, grape-flavored soft drink that is distributed throughout the South by Birmingham's Buffalo Rock Company -- is celebrating its 100th birthday with the launch of vintage-inspired packaging and a real-sugar soda that will be available in glass bottles. – AL.com

Wood Studio happy with move to Winston County

At first blush, a remote patch of woods near the shore of Smith Lake seems an unlikely spot for an award-winning furniture studio. But the Cochran family had reasons both practical and sentimental to move Wood Studio from Nashville to rural Winston County in 2005. – Alabama News Center

Historic Mentone Springs Hotel on the market

The owner of the former Mentone Springs Hotel and White Elephant Galleries antique mall hopes to see the DeKalb County property flourish in the years to come. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Partner Jim Rotch recently listed the 3.3-acre, eight-lot property for sale. It's the first significant movement at the site since a fire took the treasured tourism destination more than two years ago. – AL.com

Opinion: Halt gamesmanship over historic tax credits

The Historic Tax Credit is a vital economic incentive tool for rehabilitating and developing historic structures. Since its passage in 2013, fifty-two different preservation projects –including work on the Redmont Hotel, the Empire Building and Lyric Theatre in Birmingham – have been made possible because of the tax credit. – BizJournals.com

Vulcan Solar Power wins UAB installation

The University of Alabama at Birmingham selected Birmingham-based Vulcan Solar Power to install a rooftop solar photovoltaic system on the UAB Campus Recreation Center. Vulcan Solar provides turnkey solar installations for residential, commercial, and non-profit projects. – News release

Tourism generating money, jobs in Limestone

Travelers spent $124 million and were responsible for 1,559 jobs last year in Limestone County, according a report conducted for the Alabama Tourism Department. This represents a 2.9% increase in traveler spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation. – News release

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