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Top News Links: Tuesday, April 18

One lawmaker thinks gas tax still has life

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon told reporters last week, the gas tax hike legislation was essentially dead for the rest of the legislative session. Now, local lawmakers believe the controversial bill could be revived. The town hall meeting Monday night was originally scheduled when the gas tax hike was rapidly moving through the Alabama House of Representatives. They decided to still hold it, in case it comes back up. – WHNT

Three Limestone County industrial parks now AT&T Fiber Ready

When Tom Hill started his career in economic development 25 years ago, infrastructure was mostly roads, electricity, natural gas, sewer, water and telephone. Fiber connectivity is now one of the most critical infrastructure needs for companies looking to expand in Limestone County, he said. AT&T Alabama announced Monday three Limestone County industrial parks – Breeding Industrial Park, Elm Industrial Park and Southpoint Business Park – are officially AT&T Fiber Ready sites. – AL.com

Velocity Accelerator holds Demo Day today at Iron City

Alabama's first class of tech entrepreneurs in the Innovation Depot's tech accelerator program will make their final pitches Tuesday night. Velocity Accelerator is hosting Demo Day from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Iron City. It's free and open to the public. – AL.com

Sears, once itself a disruptor, searches for survival formula

A century ago, it was one of the biggest names in retail. Now, even Sears officials say its future could be in doubt — though they say they have plans to make sure the retail icon survives. Nancy Koehn with the Harvard Business School says in its early days — Sears Roebuck and Co. was like Amazon is today — a retailer of great disruption. – APR

Alabama potter’s reputation stretching beyond Bibb County

Not many families have their own entry in the Encyclopedia of Alabama –  but the history of Steve Miller’s folks take up a couple of pages. That’s because they’ve been making some of the South’s best pottery for more than 150 years. The sixth generation of Millers to work with clay, Steve grew up watching his father and grandfather turn pottery wheels and tell family stories. – ANC

Teen clothier rue21 closing 14 Alabama stores

Teen clothing retailer rue21 is closing about one-third of its stores nationwide as it focuses more on its online business. The list includes two Montgomery stores. The privately held company is shuttering nearly 400 stores, leaving it more than 700 stores in 48 states. – ANC

Marshall County retools for manufacturing success

Several of Marshall County’s newer industrial residents have transformed buildings operated for decades by companies from another era. The former Accutek electronics factory in Arab is now the new wheel bearing facility for Progress Rail, which created 100 jobs at the site. And Albertville Quality Foods today employs 400 people in the former Arrow shirt factory in Albertville, following a renovation. – Made In Alabama

Selfies that deter theft: Crazy notion or solid tech solution?

Tax theft is a $20 billion a year industry, and one company thinks it can do something about that. Thanks to a new app from security firm MorphoTrust, taxpayers might now be able to secure their returns by using a selfie. It's an idea that might save them, and the government, a lot of time and money. – The Street

Mercedes S class gets nip, tuck, new engine choices

The Mercedes-Benz S-class sedan will get a six-cylinder engine with the introduction of the new S450 in the U.S. this fall. It’s part of a new range of engines for the S class, being re-engineered for the 2018 model year. Mercedes unveiled the 2018 S class on Tuesday at the Shanghai auto show. – Automotive News

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