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Top News Links: Thursday, July 24

Bentley wants November session

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday he plans to call a special session of the Legislature to use money from the state’s education budget to pay for economic incentives to lure new companies. He said the special session would come after the election in November. – AP

Confidence Index holding steady here

The Alabama Business Confidence Index held steady on the third quarter 2014 survey, down just 0.1 points to 55.5.  Sentiment improved from a year ago when the index stood at 52.9.  While trends in the six components of the ABCI were mixed, all indexes show positive outlooks. – UA CBER

The magic number: $75K a year

Of course making more money would make you happier, right? Well, maybe, but only up to a point. A new analysis conducted by Advisors Perspectives approximates how much money citizens in each U.S. state must make to reach a certain level of happiness before greater income no longer affects how happy they are. – Yellowhammer News

Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn’t come cheap

Those nifty new "Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama" signs that drivers will soon be seeing on state highways will come with a price, as most things do. The state is paying Universal Records, which owns the trademark for the phrase from the Lynyrd Skynyrd rock anthem, $75,000 for five-year rights. – AL.com

A&M researchers win DHS grant

A group of Alabama A&M University researchers has been awarded a Department of Homeland Security grant to conduct research on the use of lasers in finding food contamination. The $98,000 grant will pair gifted food scientists with two of the university’s leading physicists. – News release

Funds are fat, scholarships skinny

Scholarship-granting organizations raised nearly $24.8 million in tax-deductible donations through the Alabama Accountability Act, but granted only nine scholarships in their first semester of operation, a report by the Alabama Revenue Department shows. – AP

Parklands get permanent protection

The Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board has secured protection of more than 160 acres of public parklands through a conservation easement with Atlantic Coast Conservancy and Pelican Coast Conservancy - a process that took three years to complete. – News release

Thompson Tractor to show off crusher

Alabama-based Thompson Tractor will hold four exclusive demonstrations throughout Alabama of unique, one-of-a-kind machinery that significantly reduces waste and material sent to landfills. The MB Crusher Bucket crushes recyclable materials on-site for reuse as gravel and natural fill. – News release

Megabus passengers stranded briefly

 Authorities said passengers aboard a Megabus that had a mechanical breakdown in Alabama were aboard another bus and on their way New Orleans. WSFA-TV reports that passengers were stuck in Fort Deposit on Wednesday after the bus unexpectedly lost its air conditioning system and the driver later became ill. – WSFA

Hibbett opening new store in NC

Hibbett Sporting Goods Inc., the national sporting goods retailer based in Birmingham, will open a new location this fall at the Forest Gate Shopping Center in Brevard, N.C. The store anticipates employing eight full- and part-time employees. Currently, Hibbett has 54 locations in North Carolina alone. – Transylvania Times

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