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Top News Links: Tuesday, June 23

Brookwood, Baptist hospitals to merge in B’ham

The four hospitals that make up Baptist Health System are officially set to merge with Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham to become a new hospital system. The definitive agreements were signed late yesterday and will include all health care-related businesses owned by both groups. BHS president and chief executive officer Keith Parrott will become CEO of the new hospital system and anticipates the hospitals will begin operating as one company in September after gaining regulatory approvals. – TheAlabamaBaptist.org

More mixed signals in Hyundai plant storyline

Hyundai has denied a Korean news report that the automaker intends to begin building a second plant in the U.S. this year and is negotiating with officials in Alabama and other states. The government-owned Yonhap news agency reported Sunday that an anonymous company source in Korea says the plant would have annual production capacity of 300,000 units. The source will not identify the other states being considered because it could interfere with the ongoing negotiations in Alabama, where Hyundai Motor America has operated an assembly plant since 2005. – WardsAuto

Huntsville AT&T customer sues over data plan

An iPhone customer in Huntsville today sued AT&T in federal court, arguing the telecommunications giant sold her a "so-called Unlimited Data Plan" and then throttled her data speeds when she crossed an undisclosed limit each month. Shannon Lilienthal filed suit in U.S. District Court Monday, asserting that AT&T "was slowing (her) data speeds intentionally" and was doing this "for the simple purpose of making more money." – AL.com

Bloomberg: Alabama lagging in business creation

Southeastern states have seen a recent jump in business creation, but year-over-year, Alabama is lagging its neighbors. In a recent report from Bloomberg Business, each state was compared based on year-over-year business creation through 2014, with Alabama being one of only six states that either went unchanged or saw a decrease in businesses. – Bloomberg/BizJournals.com

Fast food wages dispute comes to Alabama

Kevin Yelling, 21, says he regularly has to choose whether to buy groceries or putting gas in his car on the $7.50 an hour he gets paid at Burger King. But he's more worried about the choices he'll have to make with his paycheck when his first child is born in six months. It's what brought him to the McDonald's near St. Vincent's in Birmingham on Monday. About 40 people gathered Monday to demand higher wages for fast food workers outside the McDonald's at 8th Avenue. – AL.com

Program seeks to assist Birmingham entrepreneurs

Small-business owners in the Birmingham area who wish to take part in a free financial education program sponsored by Regions Bank, the Birmingham Business Alliance and others have until June 30 to apply, according to a recent news release from Regions. The program, Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), connects entrepreneurs with experts in finance, marketing and other areas. – AL.com

Cost of Water Works trip a mystery

A majority of the Birmingham Water Works Board and two dozen utility staff members traveled to a national convention in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this month, but the total public tab is still unknown after nearly two weeks. Three of the five Water Works Board members, General Manager Mac Underwood, an assistant general manager and 24 other workers participated in the annual American Water Works Association conference. – AL.com

Drummond won’t renew Shepherd’s Bend permit

Drummond Company Inc. has faced controversy ever since it received a permit to mine coal at Shepherd Bend, an area close to an intake for Birmingham’s drinking water supply. Many groups and consumers, worried about toxins and chemicals reaching the water, have been speaking out since the company got the permit in 2010. Drummond announced Friday that it will not renew its permit to mine coal at Shepherd’s Bend. – WBHM

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