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Top News Links: Tuesday, August 26

Sticking their toes in water policy

Don't expect the Alabama Legislature to do too much about the state's water management in the upcoming legislative session.  Rather, lawmakers may start by taking on the more politically benign aspects of water management, according to according to State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur. – AL.com

AG wants Barron charges dropped

The Alabama attorney general's office is asking a judge to dismiss criminal charges against former state Sen. Lowell Barron and an aide. Prosecutors filed the request late Monday in DeKalb County. A judge hadn't ruled Tuesday morning. Grand jurors indicted Barron and Jill Johnson last year on campaign finance and ethics. – AP

When is a user fee a tax?

A "user fee" should not be assessed on shoppers at the redeveloped Westwood Plaza, Mobile Councilwoman Bess Rich said in her Friday newsletter. Rich called a proposed 1 percent fee at the shopping center an "extra tax" that creates a lack of uniformity in Mobile's sales tax rate structure. – AL.com

AEA refills its coffers

The Alabama Education Association has replenished its coffers with bank loans, after emptying them on primaries earlier this year. The teachers' group took out a $1.2 million loan from Regions Bank on Aug. 20, on top of a $500,000 loan taken out last July. – Montgomery Advertiser

Another headache for Drummond

Over 1,400 fisherman from the Bay of Santa Marta area on Colombia’s northern coast are preparing to sue environmental authorities and Birmingham-based Drummond Company for a major coal spill that has allegedly impacted fish populations. Drummond is the second largest producer of coal in Colombia. – Colombia Reports

Hibbett earnings beat expectations

Hibbett Sports has posted quarterly earnings results showing $0.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.31 by $0.01, Analyst Ratings Network.com reports. – Watch List

New-home sales still uninspiring

New-home sales in the U.S. fell unexpectedly in July for the second month as the housing recovery continued only fitful progress. Sales declined 2.4 percent, to a 412,000 annualized pace, the fewest since March and weaker than the lowest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, after a 422,000 rate in June. – Bloomberg

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