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Top News Links: Thursday, June 2

Bentley testifies at Hubbard ethics trial

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley testified under oath Wednesday that House Speaker Mike Hubbard met with him to discuss economic development projects that prosecutors say could have benefited one of Hubbard's clients. That client — a municipal gas utility — was paying Hubbard $12,000 a month at the time. Alabama ethics law forbids lawmakers from taking money to lobby the governor and other members of the executive branch of government. – AP/ABC

Rebekah Mason asks judge to issue stay in Collier lawsuit

Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Gov. Robert Bentley’s former top political adviser, is asking a judge to stay the lawsuit filed by former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency — Spencer Collier. The filing Wednesday afternoon argues that there is a federal criminal investigation and possibly a state investigation into matters involving Bentley and Mason. – WHNT

Mid-market companies show strong growth in state

So called middle market companies – worth between $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenues – have seen dramatic growth in Alabama over the last five years. That's according to the latest Middle Market Power Index from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet. The new study puts the number of middle market companies in Alabama now at 2,513. That's an 80 percent increase since 2011. – AL.com

Opinion: Legislators getting serious about infrastructure

It may have gotten lost in all the discussion about prison construction, Medicaid funding and a myriad of other issues facing our state, but something big happened during the 2016 regular session of the Alabama Legislature. For the first time in more than 20 years, state leaders actually had a serious conversation about our state’s declining road and bridge system. – Montgomery Advertiser

State construction employment up, though some cities tumble

Construction employment rose between April 2015 and April 2016 in two-thirds of the nation's metro areas, and in Alabama rose 1 percent, according to a new analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Dothan, though, saw the second largest job decline by percentage, at -16 percent. Only Bloomington, Ill., had a worse decline by percentage, at -31 percent. – News release

Big Easy loves South Alabama handcrafted oysters

New Orleans is the biggest market for a young company near Bayou La Batre, Alabama that takes pride in raising a handcrafted oyster. Head farmer for Murder Point Oysters, Lane Zirlott, says he has 800,000 oysters growing in cages underwater, at the end of a newly built pier in Sandy Bay. “It's just one of the best oysters you’ll find anywhere in the world,” claims Zirlott. – WGNO

Huntsville among cities where flipping back in vogue

The number of people buying dilapidated homes, fixing them and reselling them for a profit has returned to levels not seen since the housing bubble was building up in 2005. Data from RealtyTrac released today show that 6.6 percent of all single-family home and condo sales in 2016's first quarter were flipped, the biggest gain since the same period in 2014. The share of home flipping reached all-time highs in the first quarter in nine of 126 metropolitan statistical areas, including Baltimore, New Orleans and Huntsville. – CBS News

Clean Earth acquires EWS Alabama of Glencoe

Compass Diversified Holdings announced this week that its subsidiary, Clean Earth Inc., has acquired EWS Alabama Inc. Headquartered in Glencoe, EWS has utilized advanced technologies to provide a wide range of hazardous and non-hazardous waste management services. – Street Insider

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