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Top News Links: Friday, March 25

Some lawmakers calling for Bentley resignation

An escalating sex scandal related to a corruption case and an alleged retaliatory firing is causing some Alabama lawmakers to lose faith in Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who publicly denied sleeping with an aide Wednesday before the release of a sexually charged audio recording. – U.S. News & World Report

Bentley staffer saw pay jump in short order

The woman at the heart of Gov. Robert Bentley’s sexual-comments scandal was once a state employee in Bentley’s office – before switching to a more lucrative, but very similar, position funded by Bentley’s campaign. Rebekah Mason made $66,000 in state salary during her last full year as a state employee in Bentley’s office. In 2013, Mason’s consulting firm, RCM Communications, was paid $273,000. – Anniston Star

TVA’s Colbert Fossil Plant ends 60-year run

Colbert Fossil Plant was scheduled to shut down next month, but on Wednesday the coal-fired power plant's last unit went offline, marking the end of more than 60 years of power production. Construction of what was often referred to as Colbert Steam Plant began in 1951 and commercial operation began Jan. 18, 1955, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority website. – Decatur Daily

Alagasco name being retired by owners

In the next year, the name Alagasco will exist only in memory. The gas utility's St. Louis parent company is changing its name - and with it, all of its subsidiary utilities, including Alagasco. "The Laclede Group" will become "Spire." The Laclede Group announced it would buy Alagasco from Birmingham's Energen Corporation in April 2014, and the $1.35 billion deal closed in September. – AL.com

Alabama still high on cash homes sales

In December of 2015, cash sales comprised 33.4% of all home sales, down from 36.7% in December of 2014, marking the 36th consecutive year-over-year monthly decline. Cash sales fell by 2.8 percentage points month over month. The three states where cash sales were highest in December were Delaware (57%), Alabama (50.1%) and New York (46.5%). – 247WallSt.com

First US Bank opening Mountain Brook office 

First US Bank Thursday announced that it will open its first commercial loan production office in the Birmingham market April 4. The new location, US Bank’s 21st statewide, will be located at 300 Office Park Drive, Suite 175, off U.S. Highway 280 in Mountain Brook. – News release

Dance studio told it must shuttle students

The Mayfair community in Huntsville has officially won the battle against hundreds of little dancers that go through their neighborhoods to get to the popular Ann’s Studio of Dance. This week the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a 2012 ruling that states Ann’s Studio of Dance must bus students in and make other changes in order to keep on dancing. – WHNT

Coal hurts port slightly in Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Alabama State Port Authority's approximately $301.2 million docks facilities revenue bonds at 'A-'. The Rating Outlook has been revised to Negative from Stable. The Negative Outlook reflects concerns about negative pressures in commodity markets that drive the majority of port revenues, namely coal. – Business Wire

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