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Top News Links: Tuesday, Dec. 12

After months of preamble, Election Day arrives

Alabama's high-stakes Senate election Tuesday perfectly encapsulates how the age of Donald Trump has turned political logic on its head: Republicans may lose by winning and Democrats can win by losing. Republican Roy Moore denies accusations of child molestation, but he's riding the President's endorsement. Democratic Doug Jones is striving to become his party's first senator from deep-red Alabama in 20 years. – CNN

Mobile County Commission OKs incentives for two big projects

Just in time for Christmas, hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic development incentives are being approved for two big Mobile aerospace projects announced earlier this year. On Monday, the Mobile County Commission approved its part of incentives for Safran USA, which announced in August that it will open a new manufacturing operation in Mobile. Commissioners also approved the county share of an incentive package for Continental Motors, which announced in March that it was spending more than $60 million to build an entirely new facility to house its existing operations at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. – AL.com

Homewood ups its lodging tax to 21 percent

The Homewood City Council voted Monday to approve a 3 percent increase to the lodging tax for Homewood hotels. Last week, the finance committee discussed a 2 percent increase to the tax, but Ward 5 Representative Peter Wright gained consensus among enough council members to amend the tax upward. This increase brings the lodging tax to 21 percent, of which Homewood would receive 10 percent, and puts the city level with the highest rates in Jefferson County. – Homewood Star

Hindsman P.C. merging with Barfield Murphy

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith (BMSS) continues its planned growth strategy across Alabama by announcing its merger with Hindsman P.C., a Gadsden-based CPA firm. The merger will take place on Jan. 1 bringing the combined entity to about 170 employees. The firms will consolidate under the name Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith LLC. – News release

Open-kitchen pizza chain heading for Birmingham

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the fast-casual concept known for its chef-driven menu and casually hip restaurants, today announced that it will soon open its first Alabama location, Birmingham.  The restaurant will be located at 707 Richard Arrington Blvd S. and feature a 2800-square foot interior with interior seating for 50 and exterior seating for 16. – Business Insider

Birmingham graphic designer launches holiday paper line

Birmingham graphic designer and watercolor artist Kristin Farmer has launched a holiday wrapping paper line that embraces girls with curls. Known as Curly Contessa, the wrapping paper features five watercolor images of African-American women with natural hair. Farmer, who’s natural, painted the women. She included herself in one of the images. – ANC

Alabama Makers traded retail for a more artistic life

Tim and Mary Davis base their Shadow Catchers Art in Greenville, where they’ve produced thousands of pieces of wall décor for more than 30 years. The couple met while working at a Parisian department store in Montgomery. “I have a degree in environmental biology, but ended up managing the Shadow Catchers plant,” Tim says. – ANC

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