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Top News Links: Thursday, Jan. 22

Education funds to be on incentives table

Alabama must redesign the financial incentives that it offers to attract new industry, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday. Bentley and his commerce secretary, Greg Canfield, said Alabama has relied too much in the past on borrowing through bond issues to provide financial incentives for companies to build plants in Alabama. They are developing a new plan that relies on tax breaks, including cuts in taxes that go toward public education. – AP/Tuscaloosa News

What, exactly, is the Middle Class?

The problem with of defining it emerges immediately. In New York County, N.Y -- that is, Manhattan -- the median household income in 2013 was almost $69,659. In Tuscaloosa County, Ala., the median was $45,408. That's a function, among other things, of cost of living differences. But someone making $55,000 in Alabama is above average. – Washington Post

Obama to visit Selma in March

President Barack Obama plans to visit Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic civil rights marches across the state. The White House says the March 7 trip also will highlight the upcoming 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. – ABC News

Birmingham in hot pursuit of World Games

The International World Games Association will decide Thursday morning which of three cities - Birmingham, Ala., Ufa, Russia, or Lima, Peru - will play host to the 2021 games. The organization's executive committee heard 30-minute presentations from each of the finalist cities. The presentations are the final step in a 6-month long application and bid process. – AL.com

McCain on a mission over Jones Act

A small cadre of lawmakers came together this week to jointly voice their concern about an amendment being pushed by Sen. John McCain that would end preferential treatment for American-made ships. Repealing the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 has been something of a pet project for the Arizona republican for some time now. Earlier this month, his aversion to the law, widely known as the Jones Act, surfaced again. – AL.com

Hough named assistant director

Dr. Whitney L. Hough, a venture development associate in The University of Alabama’s Office for Technology Transfer, has been named the office’s assistant director. Hough’s promotion resulted from her “relentless efforts” in commercializing intellectual property created at UA. – UA News

Chuck Stark now CEO at Brookwood

Brookwood Medical Center has announced that Charles A. “Chuck” Stark, an experienced senior executive who has served in leadership roles at several U.S. healthcare systems, has joined the Birmingham hospital as chief executive officer, effective immediately. ABC3340

2015 Sustainability Summit Jan. 30

The Green Coast Council will hold its 2015 Sustainability Summit on Friday, Jan. 30, from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the University of South Alabama both in the Student Center and in Shelby Hall at the College of Engineering. The Opening Session speaker will be Eliska Morgan, the executive director of the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, who will provide an update regarding RESTORE activities in the state. – News release

National Security Group declares dividend

The Board of Directors of The National Security Group, Inc., on Friday declared a quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share. This cash dividend is payable on February 27, 2015, to shareholders of record February 2, 2015. With its home office in Elba, Alabama, The National Security Group, Inc. is an insurance holding company. Company shares are traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol NSEC. – BusinessWire

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