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Top News Links: Tuesday, Aug. 18

U.S. Steel says it will close Fairfield Works

U.S. Steel Corp. said Monday that it will close its Fairfield Works mill, one of the largest remaining pieces from Birmingham's years as a Southern steel-making giant. The decision will affect about 1,100 workers at the roughly century-old plant, company spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said. It was unclear whether employees might be able to move to other jobs within the Pittsburgh-based company. – ABC

Birmingham Council ponders $10.10 minimum wage

The Birmingham City Council is set to consider the establishment of a $10.10 minimum wage in the city. The council could vote on an ordinance as soon as Tuesday. Alabama doesn't have a minimum wage law, meaning the standard is the federal floor of $7.25. An employee who works full-time – many jobs are 20-30 hours a week – makes about $15,000 per year. – AL.com

Get ready for restaurants run by robots

The fast food industry may face a jolt as a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour nears in the District of Columbia and as other campaigns to boost wages gain traction around the country. About 30 percent of the restaurant industry’s costs come from salaries, so burger-flipping robots — or at least super-fast ovens that expedite the process — become that much more cost-competitive if the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is doubled. – Washington Post

Provident Global says Texas park still on

Soon after my story about the mysterious DreamVision Mountain DreamScape Texas theme park was published today, I heard from the company planning to fund the $3.5 billion venture. The response from Alabama-based Provident Global Capital said my email — which asked about the state of the project — apparently got caught in the company’s email filtering system. There was little information in the email other than to say the Fort Worth project is still in the works. – DallasNews.com

AutoNation acquiring Alabama locations

AutoNation announced that it has signed agreements to acquire 13 stores in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee from Carl Gregory Enterprises and 3 stores in the Baltimore, Maryland market from Valley Motors Auto Group representing over $600 million in combined annual revenue. – Street Insider

Back Forty makes fastest growing list

A little more than a decade ago, craft beer was a luxury item in Alabama, reserved for small shelves that sat in the shadow of major domestic producers. Then, along came Gadsden-based Back Forty Beer Co., which was recently listed as one of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in Alabama, and the rest of the U.S. – BizJournals.com

Blue Bell charts return to store shelves

Blue Bell Creameries announced today a five-phase return to the market, beginning Aug. 31. In an announcement on the company website, Blue Bell said the first phase will involve parts of Alabama. The company's Sylacauga plant is currently the only Blue Bell plant operating, as plants in Texas and Oklahoma continue cleaning and training programs. – AL.com

Understanding state’s new covenant statute

When Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed House Bill 352 into law on June 11, 2015, he repealed Alabama’s bare bones restrictive covenant statute and replaced it with a detailed codification of much of Alabama’s restrictive covenant case law. The new statute, which will become effective on January 1, 2016, will make it much easier for the uninitiated to understand Alabama’s restrictive covenant enforcement standards. – JDSupra

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