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Top News Links: Wednesday, Aug. 12

Special session ends, but not really

The Alabama Legislature ended a tense and unsuccessful special session Tuesday with passage of a handful of bills, most unlikely to impact a minimum $200 million shortfall in the state’s General Fund budget. The deficit, if addressed solely through cuts, could slash state services, force layoffs of state workers, and possibly lead to lawsuits. – Montgomery Advertiser

Lockheed Martin moving 100 jobs in Huntsville

Lockheed Martin is bringing 100 high-paying jobs to Huntsville as it works to consolidate its Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications program by mid-2016. The company said it will consolidate the C2BMC program, which has a presence in Huntsville, Colorado Springs and the Baltimore/Washington metro. – AL.com

Mercedes R-Class production officially ends in state

Production of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class officially kicked off today at a contract manufacturer in Indiana, marking the end of the luxury crossover's run at the German automaker's Alabama plant. AM General, producer of Humvees and other military and specialized vehicles, rolled out its first R-Class during a ceremony at its plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. – AL.com

Lawmaker starts GoFundMe site for budget

An Alabama legislator has started an online fundraiser for the state's budget. Republican state Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville, said Tuesday he started the GoFundMe account called "Fund the Alabama State Government" as the state faces a budget shortfall. Sanford, who owns a barbecue restaurant, says he started the tongue-in-cheek account to highlight "hypocrisy" over tax increases. Sanford said people only favor raising the other guy’s taxes. – AP/ABC-3340

Disappointing session for both sides of aisle

It is probably fair to say many, on both sides of the political aisle, would characterize the special session as disappointing. Alabama Arise policy analyst Carol Gundlach sees the session as a missed opportunity for lawmakers to find long-term solutions. – WHNT-19

Target going gender-neutral on toy signage

Target announced Monday that the company is ditching boys’ and girls’ labels on toys after the store says customers were raising concerns about “unnecessary” gender-based signs. “Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer suggestions based on gender,” according to a company statement. “We heard you, right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.” – Yellowhammer

No tears for Sears: They’re hiring online

It may surprise you to learn that Sears Holdings, a company that has been shedding jobs as it slims down its retail presence, is giving hope to people who are unemployed. The company is hiring for 100 new positions at its call center in Alabama, explaining that the closure of physical stores means that some of those sales shift online. – The Consumerist

Closing of Stillwater Pub raises variety of concerns

Last week Stillwater Pub, along with Rocky's Pizza, announced plans to close their current locations at the end of the year to make way for a $13 million mixed-use development. The announcement came as a delayed shock to much of the Birmingham bar-going populace, especially jarring to those intertwined in the city's blooming local music community. – AL.com

Alabama Power’s green plan goes to PSC today

Alabama Power Co. today will seek approval from the Alabama Public Service Commission for up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy. The proposal was filed with the PSC by the Southern Co. subsidiary in June, and was formed following months of dialogue with customers about the kinds of renewable options they would prefer, according to a release from the company. – BizJournals.com

Blue Bell trucks are back on the road

Brenham, Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries has shipped its first load of ice cream since the company shut down all three of its plants almost four months ago after some of its products were linked to a listeria outbreak. Blue Bell posted a video Tuesday on Twitter showing a company 18-wheeler heading out. – KWTX 

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