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Top News Links: Thursday, July 16

Walter Energy hopes to re-emerge by February

Walter Energy plans to emerge from bankruptcy "reorganized and debt-free" in February, a company attorney said at the Birmingham coal producer's first bankruptcy hearing Wednesday afternoon. The metallurgical coal producer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday morning. Walter has total funded debt of $3.15 billion, according to bankruptcy documents. – AL.com

New firm retail360 jumps into Birmingham real estate

A new firm called retail360, billing itself as Birmingham's first full-service retail real-estate research, site selection, marketing and consulting firm, opened for business on July 1 and, according to a company principal, may be the only company of its type in the country. "Based on our research, we have not found another firm in the U.S. that provides the full range of services provided by retail360 to the six primary retail real-estate sectors," Amanda Beshears, the company's vice-president and chief operating officer, told AL.com in an email on Tuesday. – AL.com

Is your smart phone making you depressed?

A new study suggests that how you use your smartphone could shed light on whether you might suffer from depression. The small study -- involving just 20 women and eight men, averaging 29 years of age -- looked at data from the people's phones to track the number of minutes they used their phone, as well as their locations throughout the day. – HealthDay/WSFA

Yellen upbeat, fights back Fed critics

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen delivered an upbeat message on the economic outlook to lawmakers and parried attacks from Republicans who say the central bank is too secretive and needs stronger oversight. Yellen repeated that the Fed is likely to raise its main interest rate this year, assuming its forecasts for stronger growth and lower unemployment are realized. – Chicago Tribune

Latest ULA Atlas V launches successfully

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket was launched Wednesday at 10:36 a.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. ULA's Atlas V launched the GPS IIF-10, a GPS satellite, for the U.S. Air Force. The rocket was assembled in Decatur. – Decatur Daily

California drought spurs state peach prices

For peach farmers the crops are great, peaches juicy and, at least at Todd's Produce, every peach has a buyer. According to the folks in Chilton County, frost hurt peach production last year but that's not the case this year. Sales are also good for wholesaler Durbin Farms. They've seen a 15 percent increase in sales to other states due to the California drought. – WVTM

ServisFirst closes $34.75M subordinated notes deal

ServisFirst Bancshares Inc., the holding company for ServisFirst Bank, today announced the closing of a $34.75 million private placement of 5 percent subordinated notes due July 15, 2025. The notes have been sold to accredited investors and the offering was fully subscribed. ServisFirst completed the offering without an outside underwriter due in part to the recently earned investment-grade ratings from Kroll Bond Rating Agency. – MarketWatch

Ground broken on new $6M dealership

A crowd of community leaders sweated under a tent Wednesday as they waited to break ground on a $6 million Ford "superstore" in north Prattville, one they hope is the beginning of a new retail boom in the area. Long-Lewis of the River Region expects to open early next year at a new, 40,000-square-foot facility on Alabama 14W near Interstate 65, boasting a full service department, a parts department, a finance department, a four-line quick service center and more. – Montgomery Advertiser

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