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Top News Links: Friday, August 8

McGregor wants more ways to play

Birmingham Race Course owner Milton McGregor says his Birmingham Race Course is at a disadvantage when competing for gambling dollars. "The people in other states who I've talked to are absolutely amazed and dumbfounded that our state government hasn't done something in terms of allowing other forms of gaming for the tracks in Alabama," McGregor says. – AL.com

Politicians taking fewer trips

In the Alabama House, representatives have spent $126,721 on state-paid travel since taking office almost four years ago. That’s compared to $765,103 total in the previous quadrennium, according to Statehouse records and open.alabama.gov. In the Senate, the number dropped from $92,341 to $62,947. – TimesDaily

Utilities buying Colombian coal

The Southern Company has increased its purchases of Colombian coal by nearly 500,000 tons in the first half of the year, a spokeswoman for the utility said. Most of the Colombian coal is purchased from Drummond International LLC, a unit of Alabama-based Drummond Co. Inc. – Coal Valley News

Coal industry courts politicians

Money from coal companies has been fueling Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis’ race to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., including $21,100 from the nation’s largest privately owned coal company. The contributions came from the Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. – McClatchyDC

Greene County on switch list

Alabama Power Co.’s Greene County steam plant will cease using coal due to new clean air rules and switch to natural gas, officials say. The plant is one of the largest employers in the county with a workforce of 125 people, which will be reduced to 60 to 65 with the switch. No layoffs are expected. – Greene County Democrat

Judge throws out payday loan suit

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge this week threw out a lawsuit challenging the state’s creation of a database to track payday loans made in the state. Alabamians aren’t supposed to have more than $500 in payday loans at any one time, but there’s been no way to track if people loan shop from lender to lender. Legislation to set up a statewide database died last year. – TimesDaily.com

B&G finishes new Bruno Cancer Center

Brasfield & Gorrie has completed the new Bruno Cancer Center at St. Vincent’s Birmingham. The project included construction for Johnson Development of a three-story, 54,000-square-foot freestanding professional office building on St. Vincent’s Birmingham campus. – AL.com

Alabama Chanin adds purchase options

Alabama Chanin is dedicated to keeping design and production local to founder Natalie Chanin’s hometown of Florence since 2006. Now, the company is giving other designers and manufacturers rare access to produce their garments in the USA while using responsible methods and organic cotton through its Building 14 Design + Manufacturing Services project. – News release

Montgomery passes milestone

The future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) was launched from the Austal USA shipyard Wednesday, marking an important production milestone for the littoral combat ship program, Naval Sea System Command said in an Aug. 6 release. – SeaPower

New plant coming to St. Clair County

Processor’s Choice, an industrial food ingredients distributor and broker, will begin construction on its new $10 million facility in Moody Commerce Park in Alabama. “We are thankful to Mayor Joe Lee and the City of Moody, as well as St. Clair County, Don Smith and the EDC staff for their timely assistance with this project,” said Kaylan Adams, Processor’s Choice. – AreaDevelopment.com

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