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Top News Links: Thursday, June 29

Engineered wood company investing $20M in new Dothan facility

International Beams, a producer of engineered wood products, announced today that it will invest nearly $20 million to open a manufacturing facility near Dothan to produce innovative timber panels and beams using Southern pine lumber. IB said its project will create 60 full-time jobs on a two-shift operation, with the possibility that figure could rise by 25 positions over a five-year period. Anticipated capital investment in the new facility is $19.6 million. – Made In Alabama

Global computer hack has Mobile terminal using pencils

An international cyber attack in Europe hit home in Alabama this week when the APM Terminals site at the Alabama State Docks was shut down on Tuesday. The container terminal was back open and operating in "manual mode" on Wednesday. However, the disruption appeared to have come at a particularly bad time: Two massive new container cranes were delivered to the APM site on Saturday and were to be moved to land this week - a process that was expected to involve a two-day planned shutdown. – AL.com

What’s behind Bezos move to build rocket engines in Alabama

The decision has been widely hailed as largely a political one—Alabama has considerable influence in the US Congress over space policy, and, with its decision to build there, Blue Origin was aligning part of its future with the southern state—but that does not appear to be the sole rationale. Rather, a closer examination of the Alabama choice reveals that Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, whose business acumen pushed Amazon to the top, has brought the same shrewdness to the aerospace industry. He is playing to win. – ArsTechnica

Pepsi sign battle rages on in Birmingham

The City has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of the sign on top of the Two North Twentieth building - again. Pennsylvania-based 84 Outdoor, which is now known as Transformation Media, started putting up a vinyl covering over the 179- by 25-foot sign on top of the 17-story building on Monday, despite a city board's ruling that such an action isn't permitted. – AL.com

Royal Cup, partners raise funds for clean water initiative

Royal Cup, Inc., a leading importer, roaster and distributor of premium and specialty coffees and teas, today announced that it, along with nearly 600 partner clients, has raised $68,162.05 for Neverthirst, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to underserved populations, by donating a percentage from each serving of Roar coffee sold. The monies raised through this partnership directly funded the construction of wells and provided water-filtration systems for communities in Cambodia and India.   – News release

Latest study suggests Alabama poverty down slightly

The 2017 Alabama Poverty Data Sheet shows Alabama’s median household income is up, at $44,833, from 2016’s reported $44,765. The state’s poverty rate has declined to 18.5 percent, down from 19.2 percent the year before. In 2016, 19 Alabama counties were reported as having a poverty rate of more than 25 percent; this year that dropped to 14 counties. – Lagniappe

Two more public charter schools get approval

A state commission has approved two more public charter schools to open in Alabama. University Charter School will be operated by the University of West Alabama in Sumter County near the Mississippi line. The second school, Infinity Learning Center, received conditional approval to accept at-risk students in Montgomery County. – WVTM

State offers new website to support Canoe Trails

The Alabama State Lands Division, in partnership with Alabama Interactive, has released its new website, AlabamaCanoeTrails.com. The newly launched Canoe Trails website allows kayakers and canoeists to plan trips down many of Alabama’s canoe trails, as well as set reservations for overnight shelters along their trip – all from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device. – BusinessWire

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