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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 14

Lenzing to expand fiber plant in Mobile, add 145 jobs

A multimillion-dollar factory is headed to Mobile County. Austria-based Lenzing AG already has a facility along Highway 43 in Axis that employs around 80 people but it plans to build another factory on the same site, touted as the largest of its kind. “This is going to add another 145 employees with an average wage of around 56 thousand dollars a year,” said Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood. Lenzing produces its own brand of nonwoven textile fiber called Tencel. – WPMI

Company sues over historic hotel contract in Selma

A company that sought to redevelop a historic hotel overlooking the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma says city leaders broke their contract for its sale. The Janee Hotel Corp. made the allegations in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The Illinois-based company offered to purchase the St. James Hotel for $100,000 and commit $4.5 million to redevelop it, according to the suit. The Selma City Council voted in August to accept the offer, but later backed out, the complaint says. The hotel, built in 1837, is the only surviving riverfront antebellum hotel in the Southeast, according to the Alabama Department of Tourism. – AP/ChicoER

PMT, o2ideas to conduct Southern Automotive Conference

PMT Publishing and o2ideas have been selected by the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association to conduct the 10th annual Southern Automotive Conference in Birmingham Oct. 4 - 6. The SAC annually brings together AAMA’s sister organizations in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, with more than 1,200 attendees expected. – News release

‘Precision medicine’ aim of new HudsonAlpha biotech center

Gov. Robert Bentley broke ground in Huntsville Tuesday on a new biotech center that will use the genetic profiles of patients to provide "precision medicine" designed for them. Bentley said the center's work "may be more important" than the Saturn V moon rocket developed in Huntsville, because it is "helping the lives of people in this state, and in this country, and in this world." – AL.com

Judicial Correction Services to pay damages over jail threats

Judicial Correction Services will pay monetary damages to three people in Clanton who were threatened with jail by the private probation company when they fell behind on fines from traffic violations or other misdemeanor citations. The settlement stems from a Southern Poverty Law Center’s federal lawsuit, filed in March 2015, which accused JCS of violating federal racketeering laws by extorting monthly payments from probationers. – SPLC

Auburn-based Chicken Salad Chick opening 17th Florida location

Chicken Salad Chick will be expanding in Florida with its first location in Palm Harbor. The new restaurant will open on December 19 at 35271 US Hwy 19 N. This location is owned and operated by new franchisee team, Paul and Linsay Rohr and marks the chain’s 17th location in Florida. – QSR

UAB to help map molecular changes related to exercise

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine has been selected as a clinical center for the National Institutes of Health Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, or MoTrPAC, to explore molecular changes that occur during and after exercise. – News release

Hiller Companies acquires Standard Fire Equipment Inc.

Mobile-based Hiller Companies will acquire Standard Fire Equipment Inc. of Birmingham. The Hiller Companies offers fire protection and security products and services that are preserving lives and property around the world. Hiller has ten branch offices from Houston to Boston. – News release

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