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Top News Links: Thursday, Feb. 18

Steve Spencer elected new president of EDPA

After a 37-year career at Alabama Power, Steve R. Spencer has been elected president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. The EDPA announced Tuesday that Spencer will succeed Bill Taylor, who is retiring after serving as EDPA's president since 2009. Spencer will become EDPA president on April 1. – AP/Moulton Advertiser

Critics call historic tax credits ‘welfare for rich people’

Before Mike Rogers and partner Steve Willard began a nearly $5 million revitalization project of an old car dealership in downtown Mobile, the Alabama Legislature stepped in and helped. That was in 2013, when Alabama joined 33 other states to offer a tax credit for developers of historic properties. Three years later, the tax credits are set to expire unless the Legislature acts again. – AL.com

Union, Walter Energy have a new contract

The United Mine Workers of America once again have a contract to work in Walter Energy's mines. Union members voted Tuesday to ratify a contract with Coal Acquisition Inc., the company in an asset purchase agreement to buy Walter Energy out of bankruptcy. – AL.com

Alabama Army contractor gets 2 years for kickbacks

An Alabama man once employed by an Army contractor has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking kickbacks and evading taxes. Federal prosecutors said 47-year-old Victor Villalobos of Enterprise was sentenced Wednesday by a judge in the Southern District of Florida. – AP/News965

Highlands Bar & Grill a James Beard semifinalist

One of Birmingham's most popular restaurants is again in the running for the title of the nation's top restaurant. Highlands Bar & Grill is a semifinalist for "Outstanding Restaurant" from the James Beard Foundation. – BizJournals.com

Huntsville’s ASFL takes home two national awards

The Academy for Science and Foreign Language (ASFL) in Huntsville won the IEEE-USA Best Communications System award and the grand prize at the Future City Competition National Finals on Tuesday. It is the first time in the 16-year history of the IEEE-USA award that a school won both simultaneously. – PRNewsWire

Target to offer specialized cart designed by Alabamian

A shopping cart specially designed to help parents of special needs children will soon be available in Target stores nationwide. The new cart was designed by an Alabama mom who found it difficult to push her 6-year-old daughter Caroline's wheelchair and her shopping cart at the same time while at the grocery store. – WIFR

Redstone’s experimental developers are on the job

Redstone Arsenal’s Redstone Test Center employs four people who are very experienced in the roles, but do not serve in a management position, nor do they plan to. These people are experimental developers and they have chosen to further their technical expertise rather than moving to a management role. – WAAY

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