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Top News Links: Thursday, June 12

Jefferson County approves $60M project

The Jefferson County Commission Wednesday approved tax breaks for the construction of a parking deck and VA medical clinic office building in downtown Birmingham. The project is valued at more than $60 million. – AL.com

Women’s Business Center wins contract

Technology-focused small businesses will now have access to technical assistance, coaching and training through a new $375,000 contract transferred to the Women's Business Center of North Alabama in Huntsville. The funding initiative has been rebranded as TechRich – Technology Regional Innovation Cluster. – AL.com

Aderholt, lobbyists in food fight

Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt, who chairs the subcommittee that decides how much money the school nutrition program gets each year, is not a fan of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. "This is where the heavy hand of the government is coming down and trying to dictate to local school systems," he said at a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee in May. – NPR

Valley scores tier 2 supplier

KMIN USA has announced plans to invest more than $17 million into an old textile mill in Valley, a move expected to bring 200 new jobs to Chambers County. "This will be their first USA plant, they are a tier 2 supplier and they will be investing $17 million into one of the old mill complexes,” said Mayor Leonard Riley. – WTVM

Solar research center rises

Not-for-profit scientific research organization Southern Research Institute has completed the construction of its solar research center in Birmingham. The Southeastern Solar Research Center has been designed to focus on the study of solar PV systems and will host a range of research programs. – PV Magazine

Emergency in U.S. Eleventh Circuit?

The federal court’s Eleventh Circuit, which includes Alabama, has a lot of visiting judges and only eight of its twelve statutorily authorized seats are filled. Last December, Chief Judge Carnes entered “General Order No. 41,” which declared an “emergency,” but some lawyers feel rules are being misapplied. – Washington Post

Complex planned at old dealership

The Birmingham Design Review Committee has approved plans for a retail and residential development to be built at the intersection of Third Avenue South and 20th Street South downtown. The building will be constructed at the site formerly occupied by the Adamson Ford dealership. – AL.com

Breaking down the basic bean

A team led by Jeremy Schmutz of Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Phillip McClean of North Dakota State University has sequenced the genome of the common bean to identify genes involved in critical traits such as size, flavor, disease resistance and drought tolerance. Beans are critically important to the global food supply. – News release

Tuscaloosa opening new crime lab

Assisting in cyber-crime cases will be the main goal of a new crime lab being created in Tuscaloosa. University of Alabama professors are partnering with local law enforcement agencies to create a new cyber-crime lab. The lab will assist with cyber-crime cases like computer hacking and child pornography. – Alabama’s 13

Alabama Graphite starts geophysics at site

Alabama Graphite Corp. has announced that it has begun ground geophysics at its flagship Coosa Project in Coosa County for the purpose of identifying possible drilling sites for an environmentally sustainable graphite mine. – Wall Street Journal

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