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Top News Links: Friday, Dec. 5

Unmanned Orion makes it to space

NASA's new Orion spacecraft streaked into orbit Friday on a high-stakes test flight meant to usher in a new era of human exploration leading ultimately to Mars. The unmanned journey began with a sunrise liftoff witnessed by thousands of NASA guests. The craft was powered by a Delta IV H rocket built in Decatur. – AP/Fox5

Judge hears double dipping case

An Alabama legislator asked a judge Thursday to block a newly enforced state law that caused him to get fired from the state job he held for 19 years. Montgomery County Circuit Judge William Shashy held a hearing Thursday on Rep. Dexter Grimsley's legal challenge to Alabama's "double dipping" law. The law prohibits legislators from having a second state job. – Tuscaloosa News

‘Tim Cook Bill’ getting national attention

Apple CEO Tim Cook's name is on a new bill against gay discrimination in his native Alabama. Patricia Todd, the first openly gay state lawmaker in Alabama, said Cook fully supported the bill she plans to introduce. Called the "Tim Cook Bill," Todd told CNNMoney that it will protect teachers and state employees from being fired for being gay. Cook became the first CEO of a major U.S. company to publicly come out as gay in an op-ed published by Bloomberg Businessweek in October. – CNN/WPTZ

Wallace State president in Washington

The president of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with other college presidents and higher education leaders this week to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college. ABC3340

Hyundai donates $336K to United Way

The River Region United Way’s annual fundraising campaign got some fuel for its race to the finish this week, thanks to Hyundai. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and workers at the plant in Montgomery donated $335,954 to area United Way agencies. – Montgomery Advertiser

New Hibbett headed to Albertville

Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc., the national sporting goods retailer based in Birmingham, announced Thursday a new store will open in Albertville in 2015. According to a press release issued by Hibbett, the store is the first to ink a lease agreement to locate in The Shoppes of Albertville, a new retail complex planned for construction just off U.S. 431, behind Santa Fe. – Sand Mountain Reporter

Horatio Alger Association selects Anderson

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, Thursday announced that Alabama businessman Charles C. Anderson Sr., chairman emeritus, Anderson Companies, has been selected for membership in the organization. – PRNewswire 

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