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Top News Links: Tuesday, Dec. 29

Judge OKs Walter Energy not paying retiree benefits

A federal bankruptcy judge has honored Walter Energy's request to reject its collective bargaining agreement with union workers. The Monday ruling means Walter Energy can stop paying retiree benefits so the Hoover-based company can move forward with a deal to sell its Alabama operations. – Tuscaloosa News

Remembering the departed of 2015

As we close the final page on the 2015 book, my yearend tradition is to reminisce about the passing away of significant players on the Alabama political stage. The first obituary is not a person but an entity. The Alabama Education Association is essentially dead as a political organization. The king is dead. When Paul Hubbert died the AEA died. – Selma Times Journal

Group wants to block new hotel built with BP money

An environmental group has asked a judge to hear oral arguments in its lawsuit challenging Alabama's plans to use oil spill settlement funds to build a 350-room beach hotel and conference center. The Gulf Restoration Network filed the request earlier this month in federal court. The group asked for expedited arguments, citing Alabama's continued work on the project. – AL.com

AEgis Vampire simulation headed for Spain

AEgis Technologies is subcontracting to a United States Army contract with AeroVironment, Inc., on a deliverable to the Spanish Ministry of Defence via the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Foreign Military Sales program. AEgis’ role is the development of geospecific terrain databases and tactical training scenarios that will accompany a new set of licenses for AEgis’ Vampire UAS Embedded Training Simulation. – Defense-House.com

A memorable year for state’s politicians

Even by Alabama standards, 2015 was contentious. The state entered the national spotlight thanks to same-sex marriage, refugee settlement and driver’s license bureaus. A teachers' group struggled to rebuild itself. One of the Legislature’s most powerful men fought for his political and personal life. – Montgomery Advertiser

New FHA rules could boost condo sales

Condo sales along Alabama’s Gulf Coast were down 25 percent from September and have fallen 19 percent from a year ago. New rules from the Federal Housing Administration, however, could boost those numbers in the months to come. This month, HUD announced three major changes to the qualifying standards for a financing a condo. Though these changes are deemed “temporary,” they could help major condo markets like Alabama’s in the short term. – Alabama News Center

Sunny King Ford marks 94 years in Anniston

Sunny King Ford has been an important member of the Anniston community since its  founding in 1922. For over 90 years it has helped the community through war, economic depression and multiple industrial booms by providing affordable transportation and helping the community any way it can. – PR Newswire

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