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Top News Links: Friday, Feb. 22

PSC commissioner took major donations from coal interests

Public Service Commissioners Twinkle Cavanaugh, who has vowed to protect coal from environmentalist scrutiny, received nearly a quarter of her campaign funds from coal interests. — al.com 

Check is in the mail

Trying to increase its cash reserves before automatic budget cuts, the U.S. Department of Defense says it will slow down payments to prime contractors. — Defense News

Even deepest red states expanding Medicaid at fed expense, but not Alabama

With the federal government picking up the tab for Medicaid expansions, many conservative-leaning states are taking the cash, but Alabama is among 13 where the governor has vowed not to take the money. — NBC News

Healthcare, education sources of Alabama job growth

Though manufacturing has been heavily praised as a source of new Alabama jobs, the sector has actually lost ground since 2000, while both education and health care have grown. — al.com

Mobile high schools add career focus

From tying a tie to building a plane, Mobile's career academies work to keep kids in school by helping them prepare for jobs. — Mobile Press-Register

BAE Systems won't make cuts in Mobile

BAE Systems has announced plans for laying off 3,500 of its 5,000 shipyard workers if the Navy cuts payments in response to sequestration, but no cuts are announced at BAE's Mobile facility. — Mobile Press-Register

Push to limit policing by drone comes from both sides of aisle

As police organizations seek FAA permission to use drones to gather evidence, lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — call for restrictions, worrying that drones represent a unique invasion of privacy. — Pew Charitable Trusts

Irrigation loans offered to Alabama farmers

Alabama is offering low-cost loans up to $20,000 for installation of irrigation equipment; agriculture commissioner John McMillan says it could help Alabama farmers capture a bigger share of poultry feed market. — Southeast Farm Press

No tattoos there!

Fairhope joins list of Alabama cities that want to restrict tattoo parlor locations; Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Daphne already working on restrictions. — al.com

AT&T invests $1.4 billion in infrastructure

Bolstering its communications infrastructure, AT&T has invested $1.4 billion in Alabama in the past two years. — AT&T PR

Knology becomes Wow!

Communications provider Knology, bought by Wow! last summer, will now be rebranded with the new company name. — Huntsville Times

Community Bank merger announced

Community Bank, Alabama, and the Community Bank in Destin, Fla., have voted to merge into Community Bank Coast, based in Biloxi; all are part of Community Bancshares, operating in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. — Mississippi Business Journal

New PNC leader works to grow bank

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles William Demchak, who takes the reins as CEO of PNC, a Pittsburgh-based bank with operations in Alabama. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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