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Top News Links: Monday, August 10

Lawmakers may be close to FICA agreement

An eleventh hour effort to stave off $200-plus-million in cuts to the troubled General Fund is under way as the clock ticks down on a special session called to solve the state's budget crisis. According to multiple sources, some in the House of Representatives worked through the weekend to cobble together a majority of the House's 105 members to support legislation eliminating the tax deduction currently allowed on state income taxes for federal taxes paid. Eliminating that so-called FICA deduction would raise an estimated $182 million. – AL.com

Arbitration sought for battling brew brothers

The co-owner of Avondale Brewing Company who was sued by his brother in a dispute over ownership has asked the court to force the pair into arbitration to settle the matter. An attorney for Coby Lake filed a motion Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court calling for a stay in the case Hunter Lake filed last month and for the judge to force the dispute back before an arbitrator. – AL.com

Company’s $250,000 robot targets helping Marines

Alex Brooks is more than pleased with the outcome of his company's Australian-developed autonomous robot targets that have helped improve the accuracy of U.S. Marine Corps shooters by 104 per cent after two days' practice. Just don't ask him to build robots that shoot back and kill people. Dr. Brooks plans to take the technology further afield and open an office in the Middle East soon. The company already has offices in Huntsville. – Sydney Morning Herald

Trial to open in AseraCare whistleblower case

Lawyers are expected to give opening statements today in the Birmingham trial of a whistleblower lawsuit which claims that during one four-year period AseraCare, one of the nation's largest for-profit hospice providers, fraudulently billed Medicare $67.5 million for patients who weren't really on the verge of dying. – AL.com

Cholesterol drug developed with UAB patented

An Arizona drug company will patent a small peptide — developed through research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — that shows significant ability to lower blood cholesterol in animal models. Capstone Therapeutics Corp. and its joint venture affiliate, LipimetiX Development Inc., recently announced the U.S. Patent application, claiming novel, more potent analogs of its lead peptide, AEM-28. – News release

Forever wild proposal dropped by lawmaker

A state senator said Friday he is dropping his proposal to move funding from the Forever Wild Land Trust program to state parks. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Arab, said a Forever Wild board member agreed to talk to him about ways to help make sure state parks stay open, a breakthrough he said he had been seeking for a couple of years. – AL.com

Dothan ranks highly for commuting bliss

A Utah-based insurance brand that analyzed commuting times nationwide listed Dothan as one of Alabama’s top 25 cities for commuting to area jobs. Obrella.com, the brand’s website, recently placed Dothan 14th for its average 19.7-minute commute to work for employees throughout the region. – Dothan Eagle

Community Health forms Quorum Health Corp.

Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems has announced it will spin out 38 hospitals to form a new publicly traded company – Quorum Health Corp. Three Alabama locations will be affected by the change: Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne and L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville, according to a release from the company. – BizJournals.com

Ted Cruz says Alabama key in primary process

Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz spoke to a standing-room-only crowd during his Sunday evening visit to Huntsville. Cruz explained to the crowd why he thinks Alabama voters play a key role in winning his party's nomination. "There's the so-called SEC primary. It's going to be on Super Tuesday, and I believe Alabama is going to play a critical role in helping ensure the next Republican nominee is a real conservative, a strong conservative - and that's the only way we're going to win in November," he said. – WAFF

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