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Top News Links: Thursday, April 6

Bentley issues now before district attorney’s office

Gov. Robert Bentley could face criminal prosecution after a state ethics panel found probable cause that he broke ethics and campaign finance law in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for more than a year. The Alabama Ethics Commission, after an all-day meeting, voted to refer four issues to the district attorney's office, which will decide whether to pursue charges. – AP/Chicago Tribune

Downtown loft properties in Birmingham sell for $9.35M

Two downtown Birmingham lofts have sold for a combined $9.35 million. Fix Play Lofts and Goodall-Brown Lofts, both on 1st Avenue North, were sold by affiliates of Sloss Real Estate to Highland. The properties have a combined 59 units and 20,577 square feet of ground floor retail. – AL.com

Analysis suggests state lagging on solar

While other Southeastern states are surging ahead with solar energy, advocates say a unique combination of policy obstacles, burdensome fees, and one reluctant utility company has Alabama lagging behind. Solar represented over a third of all new electricity generation added to the nation’s grid last year, and the Southeast has had a growing role in the solar boom. – Southeast Energy News

Canada, China, Germany among state’s top trade partners

It’s clear that 2016 was a stellar year for Alabama exports, with rising shipments in a number of markets worldwide, signaling even more optimism for the future. The top five destinations for state goods and services – Canada, China, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom – remained relatively unchanged from 2015 and most showed year-over-year growth. – Made In Alabama

Warren Averett, Kinsight combine to create finance giant

With a shared vision of holistic financial planning, client commitment and independence, Birmingham-based Warren Averett Asset Management and Kinsight have joined forces to create the largest fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm in Alabama, with combined assets under management in excess of $2.2 Billion. – News release

Crescent Theater to close in downtown Mobile

The Crescent Theater Film Society, the nonprofit group that financially supports Mobile's independent movie theater in Mobile, announced Wednesday on its Facebook page that the beloved theater will soon close: "It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of the Crescent Theater, which has been an anchor on Dauphin Street since 2008. We are unable to renew our lease with the landlord at 208 Dauphin Street, and will be forced to close the theater in early May." – AL.com

Payless ShoeSource closing six stores in state

Payless ShoeSource said Tuesday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and it now has released a list of the 400 stores that are being closed immediately out of the 4,400 it operates. Six locations in Alabama that are being eliminated. – Ledger-Enquirer

Delphi invests to deepen in-car computing capabilities

Delphi Automotive is investing in three companies to improve data processing and management within vehicles. The supplier, which has an Alabama presence, is partnering with two Israeli companies -- chip communication company Valens and data marketplace Otonomo -- and German Ethernet connecter maker Rosenberger, the company said Thursday. – Automotive News

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