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Top News Links: Thursday, March 19

Legislature clears way for charter schools

The Alabama Legislature gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would authorize charter schools in the state of Alabama, sending the bill to Gov. Robert Bentley. The House of Representatives approved the legislation 58 to 41 after a three-hour debate. The Senate concurred in the changes about 90 minutes later by a vote of 24 to 11. – Montgomery Advertiser

Bidding slow on new Gulf oil leases

Regulators say only 195 bids were placed on the 41 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico up for new oil and gas leasing off of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. That's the lowest number since 1986 when 129 bids were offered, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It says the low price of oil accounts for the lackluster interest. – WDSU

NYSE threatens to drop Walter Energy

Walter Energy has been notified that its common stock listings are too low for New York Stock Exchange standards. The exchange requires that the average closing price per share of a listed company's common stock be at least $1 over a 30 day trading period. Walter's averaged $.99 cents. Walter Energy has six months to bring the price above $1 or risk the exchange removing the company. – AL.com

Drummond says coal stocks are ample

Colombia's second-biggest coal miner, U.S.-headquartered Drummond, is sustaining regular exports despite new restrictions on using the Andean country's main coal railway and has ample stocks for now, a company executive said. – Reuters

Greenwich recognizes Regions for service

Regions Bank has been recognized by Greenwich Associates for providing distinguished quality service to small business and middle market clients. Regions Bank received 28 Greenwich Excellence Awards in 2014, the highest number of awards received by any participating bank across the combined Small Business Banking and Middle Market Banking awards categories. – BusinessWire

Eight companies honored for brisk trade

Eight Alabama-based companies were recognized Wednesday for their contributions to international trade. The businesses, including Montgomery-based Knox Kershaw, Inc., were the recipients of the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award, which was presented at the Old House Chamber at the Capitol building. – Montgomery Advertiser

Sacred Heart says system was hacked

Sacred Heart Health System is notifying thousands of its patients of a hacking attack into one of the vendors who handles billing for the hospital. The hackers engaged in a what's known as a phishing attack to gain access to the e-mail account of an employee of the billing vendor. – AL.com

University of Mobile’s Steve Lee dies

Steve Lee, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at the University of Mobile who oversaw the Christian school’s recent $7 million campus renovation, died Tuesday, March 17, following an extended illness. – Umobile.edu

Goodwill Easter Seals unveils new facility

Goodwill Easter Seals announces the grand opening of its new facility on Azalea Road in Mobile. The 33,000 square foot renovated facility will house a donation center, retail store and community center. – News release

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