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Top News Links: Tuesday, June 16

Huntsville in chase to be Dream Chaser landing site

Huntsville has launched a feasibility study to see whether it can become a commercial landing site for the Dream Chaser spacecraft in development by Sierra Nevada Corp. Flights could land as early as 2018. — AL.com

Michelin plans $22 million expansion in Dothan

Tire maker Michelin has announced plans for a $22 million expansion at its Dothan plant, adding 40 more employees, with a goal of increasing output by 10 percent. — Dothan Eagle

Austal seeks Saudi Navy business

Australian shipbuilder Austal is courting the Royal Saudi Navy for business as the Middle Eastern country seeks to upgrade its fleet. The littoral combat ship designed for the U.S. Navy and built in Mobile would be a good fit, Austal officials say, adding that the ship construction could be handled either in Mobile or in Austal’s home turf in Australia. — The West Australian

Not so poor as we used to be

Alabama is still poor, but it’s better than it used to be.  As recently as 1970, every county in Alabama had a poverty rate higher than the national average. — AL.com

Pelham still says no to payday loans, vaping and more

Pelham has added another year to its moratorium on payday loans, check cashing business, vaping stores, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, used car sales and similar businesses. Originally passed a year ago, the moratorium aims to give city officials time to draft planning and zoning guidelines. — AL.com

Northport sets cap on payday lending rates

Following in the footsteps of the Tuscaloosa City Council, the Northport City Council approved a 36 percent annual cap on payday lending rates — but noted that until the state legislature acts, the cap may have little effect. — Tuscaloosa News

Cheaha Bank earns top marks

An Atlanta bank ratings firm gave top marks to Cheaha Bank in Calhoun County. Bank Street Partners picked Cheaha as best in Alabama based on growth, rate of bad loans and return on investment. — Anniston Star

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