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Top News Links: Friday, June 23

Firearms manufacturer to invest $2.9M in Bessemer hub

Steyr Arms will invest $2.9 million to add a manufacturing component to its Bessemer location, a key assembly and distribution hub. The firearms maker’s expansion project will create up to 10 jobs, according to the Birmingham Business Alliance. Steyr plans to relocate the manufacturing of its products for U.S. sales from Austria to the Bessemer facility. – Business Facilities

Cindy-related tornado packs 120 mph winds in Fairfield

Cindy has made landfall, but Alabama isn't through having to deal with the storm, which was downgraded to a tropical depression on Thursday. It was an active afternoon in the Birmingham area. Storm bands from Cindy dropped a tornado just west of downtown in Fairfield. The National Weather Service in Birmingham confirmed on Thursday afternoon that it was a tornado and gave it a preliminary rating of EF-2. Maximum winds were estimated to be 120 mph. – AL.com

Von Braun Center proposing $42M expansion

The Von Braun Center is proposing a $42 million expansion to its downtown Huntsville facility to meet increased demand. Officials with the indoor arena, meeting and performing arts complex on Monroe Street presented an expansion plan Thursday night to the Huntsville City Council. – AL.com

Alabama aerospace industry lifted by worldwide demand

Aerospace companies across Alabama are seeing strong demand for their products around the world, with the value of the state’s aerospace exports topping $1.4 billion last year, a 65 percent year-over-year increase. Over the past five years, the same export category has grown 156 percent, as aerospace and aviation firms in Alabama communities find more customers abroad. – Made In Alabama

GE gets orders from more than 30 airlines at Paris Air Show

GE Aviation and its partners racked up more than $31 billion in orders and commitments at this week’s Paris Air Show – and the company’s Alabama operations will benefit from. The orders and commitments received at the event from more than 30 airlines and airplane leasing companies extended GE Aviation’s order book by more than 1,700 engines. – Made In Alabama

Enterprise-based Arista Aviation cuts helicopter deal at show

Even after a long stretch of traveling across the world, Rich Enderle still had plenty of energy to talk about the new economic ground his company has broken. Enderle, the CEO of Arista Aviation of Enterprise, was at the Paris Air Show in France earlier this week when it was announced that Arista -- which has focused on aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul since its inception in 2014 -- had reached a deal to sell four modified UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters to the International Defense and Aerospace Group. – Dothan Eagle

Alabama added to California public-funded travel ban

California is restricting publicly funded travel to four more states because of recent laws that leaders here view as discriminatory against gay and transgender people. All totaled, California now bans most state-funded travel to eight states. The new additions to California’s restricted travel list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota. – SacBee.com

NCUA puts Riverdale Credit Union in conservatorship

The NCUA conserved the $76.1 million Riverdale Credit Union in Selma Thursday for unspecified safety and soundness issues, according to the federal agency’s prepared statement. Though Riverdale posted a net worth of 12.58% at the end of the first quarter, its delinquency loan ratio was 3.69%, significantly higher than the peer average of 0.94%, according to NCUA performance reports. – CUTimes

Malls should get busy, not give up

Once upon a time, the center of most American cities was devoted to manufacturing. Decades ago this industry moved to the fringes, and then offshore. And the downtown identity crisis began. What is at a city's heart if not manufacturing? What are we going to do with all these huge empty buildings downtown? Well. Cue the lofts and bistros and redevelopment. Now suburban malls are approaching a similar identity crisis. They should not be abandoned. Like downtowns that found new purposes without factories, suburban malls will show their value is not simply as a place to shop for apparel and home goods. – Bloomberg

Former legislator Oliver Robinson pleads guilty to bribery charges

A former Alabama legislator is pleading guilty to taking bribes from a lawyer and a coal company executive to oppose adding Birmingham area neighborhoods to an EPA Superfund site. Former Rep. Oliver Robinson agreed Thursday to plead guilty to conspiracy, bribery and honest services wire fraud. – AP/USN&WR

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