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Top News Links: Friday, Jan. 15

NASA move helps Huntsville’s Dream Chaser chances

NASA'S award of an International Space Station resupply contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. of Colorado today increases the chance the company's Dream Chaser spaceship will one day land in Alabama at the Huntsville International Airport, officials said. – AL.com

Check out this ranking of most heavily armed states

As America reels from yet another mass shooting, inevitable questions resurface about guns laws and the nation's pervasive firearm culture. Here is a look at per capita weapons data, based on the ATF's National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and 2013 data from the U.S. Census. – CBS

Alabama native’s videos make you Smarter Every Day

Destin Sandlin's video channel is one of YouTube's most popular with more than 3.5 million subscribers and 250 million views. The Alabama native's online presence is so well known he was asked to participate in a live interview with President Obama today following Obama’s final State of the Union address Tuesday night. – AL.com

Austal delivers first ship of 2016 to Navy

Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Expeditionary Fast Transport 6 (EPF 6) was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Thursday during a ceremony aboard the ship at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile. The delivery of the USNS Brunswick (EPF 6) marks the first ship in its class Austal has delivered to the Navy in 2016. – News release

Doors back open at classic Lyric Theatre

The curtains were hung, the stage was set and the performers were ready. Birmingham's newly restored Lyric Theatre was ready for her long-awaited close-up. Don't call it a comeback; she's been there for years, 102 to be exact. After being covered in grime and neglect, 20 years of blood, sweat, tears and $11.5 million was all it took to wake up the once-sleeping beauty. Doors on the restored theater opened Thursday night to a near-capacity crowd. – TimesDaily

State’s high school grad rate a record 89 percent

Alabama last year reached a record graduation rate, with nearly nine out of 10 students leaving high school with a diploma, the Alabama Department of Education said Thursday. Superintendent Tommy Bice said that last school year, 89 percent of students graduated from high school on time. The rate is just shy of the department's goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. – AP/Baytown Sun

University of Mobile begins new president search

The University of Mobile has launched its search for the next president of the 54-year-old Baptist university, announced Terry Harbin, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “We are seeking a visionary leader, someone who understands the opportunities and challenges before us and, with dependency on the Holy Spirit, is eager to lead the University of Mobile into the future,” Harbin said. – News release

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