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Top News Links: Wednesday, July 12

Press gets a peek at luxury Elyton Hotel opening today

The team behind the long-anticipated luxury Elyton Hotel is putting the finishing touches on the hotel before its opening today. The 16-floor building, erected in 1909, has sat vacant at First Avenue North and 20th Street North since 2009 when Colonial Bank moved out. Georgia-based Ascent Hospitality announced in 2015 it would renovate the Empire Building along with two neighboring buildings into two Marriott hotels, a restaurant, event space and a rooftop bar in a $45 million overhaul. – AL.com

Governor writes of challenge in attracting, keeping workers

Every state in the nation is facing challenges. Alabama is no different. Our Legislature faces challenges, our prisons face challenges, as does our education system and our state's Medicaid program. Challenges abound. Yet, there are very few challenges which can't be addressed by putting people back to work. A good-paying job goes a long way in curing what ails a state and its people. – CNBC

Alabama Launchpad coming to Montgomery

Alabama’s entrepreneurs have a growing list of opportunities to showcase their innovative ideas. The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is expanding its successful startup competition, and the newest site is Auburn. EDPA is partnering with the City of Auburn, Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation to bring a regional Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition to the greater Auburn area. – Made In Alabama

Amazon sortation center aims to open in October in Mobile

Amazon's $30 million project in Mobile County is set to open in October, according to a Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce official. Troy Wayman said Tuesday that Amazon's "sortation center" being built in an industrial park off Interstate 10 in Theodore, does not have "a firm opening date." But he said the October opening will give the Internet retail behemoth enough time to establish its coastal Alabama business ahead of the 2017 holiday shopping season. – AL.com

Index says small business optimism dropped in June

Business owners’ expectations for better business conditions tumbled in June along with plans to create jobs, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) monthly Index of Small Business Optimism, released Tuesday. The Index fell 0.9 points to 103.6. Four of the 10 components posted a gain. Five declined, and one remained unchanged. – NFIB

Lack of ‘good’ workers may relate to pay offered

America has 5.7 million job openings, nearly a record high, according to new Labor Department data. Though this glut of jobs is often blamed on a shortage of skilled workers, some say there's another culprit: low pay. Jobs may be going unfilled, says Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group. But, he asks, "at what wage? That's the question. Will employers start to make job conditions better to attract more workers? If they're not doing that, then they're not facing much of a shortage." – CNN

Shipt expanding across Alabama market

Shipt, the fastest growing online grocery marketplace, has announced it will expand delivery from Publix stores to four new markets in Alabama. To celebrate Shipt's Alabama expansion, new members who sign up for an annual Shipt membership will receive $25 off their first order. – MarketWired

Governor shuts down Bentley’s gaming board

Gov. Kay Ivey is shutting down the Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming. Established in 2016 by then-Gov. Robert Bentley, the 11-member committee was to examine the impact of distinct types of gambling on state revenue. But since the board has not held a meeting in over four months, sources have told the Alabama Political Reporter that Ivey has “unofficially” dismantled the Council. – ALToday

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