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Top News Links: Friday, August 7

Lawmakers talking about second special session

Alabama legislators are becoming resigned to a second special session as they continue to deadlock on how to fill a more than $200 million budget shortfall. Senate budget chairman Arthur Orr said Thursday he believes a second special session is inevitable. Lawmakers are at the halfway point of the session and have yet to pass a major revenue bill in either chamber. – Times Free Press

Study says Hyundai’s state impact now $4.8B

A new study conducted by Auburn University-Montgomery Professor M. Keivan Deravi indicates that the economic impact of Hyundai’s Montgomery manufacturing center is upward of $4.8 billion. The study stated that the company’s 2014 earnings represented 2 percent of the state’s Real Gross Domestic Product. – Yellowhammer

Bentley cuts state ties with Planned Parenthood

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is cutting off state Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood in the face of undercover videos that implied the group was selling fetal tissue to research groups. In a statement Thursday, Bentley calls Planned Parenthood's practices "deplorable." He says he doesn't want Alabama to be associated with the group. – Sun Herald

FCC pays $500,000 to expand Alabama’s broadband

An Arkansas-based company is getting more than $500,000 annually in federal funds to expand high-speed Internet service in rural Alabama. The Federal Communications Commission says Windstream Communications Inc. will offer broadband service and support to nearly 3,800 customers in rural parts of the state. The company will receive $511,000 in what's described as annual, continuing support. – WVTM-13

Tax-free weekend is now upon us

It’s the calm before the storm at Davie’s School Supply. The staff has been preparing since January to ready themselves for tax-free weekend, and now the frenzy is upon them. To prepare, they’ve brought in additional employees and have stocked the shelves to the point of overflow. “It’s always crazy like this,” said Caroline Davie, whose father started Davie’s School Supply 40 years ago. The exemptions began today at 12:01 a.m. and last until Sunday at midnight. – Montgomery Advertiser

Volkert celebrates 90 years with pictures

Celebrating 90 years in business in 2015, Mobile-based Volkert Inc.'s mark on the Gulf Coast and beyond is visible from mega-bridges and athletic stadiums to the Alabama State Docks and U.S. Air Force bases. Founded in New Orleans in 1925, the employee-owned infrastructure engineering firm moved its headquarters to Mobile in 1946, and has the distinction of being the only Alabama-based design firm to be ranked for 50 consecutive years among the nation's top firms since Engineering News Record began tracking the accolades in 1965. – AL.com

UNA to offer master’s degree in public history

A project started in the fall of 2012 has now finally come to fruition for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Alabama.  Beginning fall 2015, UNA will offer the first M.A. in public history in the state of Alabama. The new master’s program will offer two tracks: Historic Preservation and Historical Administration, the latter of which will focus more on jobs working with archives and museums.  – News release

MEDS breaks ground on Huntsville property

Management Enterprise Development and Services has come a long way since its founders Carol Jones and Stanley McCall launched the firm in a trunk of a car three decades ago. The woman-owned small business broke ground Thursday on a 10,000-square-foot commercial building that will complete a 45-acre portion MEDS originally owned and developed on Millennium Drive in Huntsville. The $900,000 Millennium Center will allow MEDS to move its growing construction division and attract outside tenants to the property. – AL.com

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