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Top News Links: Friday, March 16

Ten Winn-Dixie stores to close in Alabama

Southeastern Grocers, parent company of the Winn-Dixie grocery store chain, plans to file bankruptcy by the end of March and close 94 stores in the coming days, the company announced Thursday. Those 94 stores closing include 10 Winn-Dixie stores in Alabama. Southeastern Grocers owns Winn-Dixie, BI-LO, Fresco Y Mas and Harvey's Supermarket. – AL.com

Ivey signs bill providing tax break for middle class

Alabama's governor has signed into law a bill that provides the biggest tax break for the state's middle-class in over a decade. According to Kay Ivey's office, the new law raises the threshold for claiming the maximum exception for state income taxes. For married couples filing jointly, heads of households, and single filers, the income threshold would be raised from $20,000 to $23,000. For married individuals filing separately, the threshold would be raised from $10,000 to $10,500. – WTOK

How a robotics competition teaches you to be an engineer

Listen to an aerospace engineer explain it from pit row at the international robotics competition sponsored by NASA at Huntsville's Von Braun Center this week. "You get a budget, but you don't have as much money as you want," Kate Caldwell said Thursday. "It (the robot) doesn't work just like you thought it would. You have to make modifications to it." – AL.com

Former AT&T Center in Birmingham has new owner

An iconic part of Birmingham's skyline has a new owner. The former AT&T Center on 19th Street North was sold within the last two weeks, according to Colliers International, the building's local manager. It was purchased by 600 North 19th Street LLC, a Stamford, Conn. firm. Attempts to contact the new owner were not immediately returned. Its previous owner was The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. NA. – AL.com

First doctoral programs approved for University of Mobile

The University of Mobile Board of Trustees has approved the university’s first doctoral programs, the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance. Pending approval by SACSCOC regional accrediting organization, the programs should begin fall semester 2018. – News release

Startups invited to apply to Atlanta accelerator

IgniteHQ, an ecosystem of startups, investors and enterprises, is opening applications to its international accelerator program to startups throughout the Southeast. IgniteHQ has partnered with India-based venture development firm Commence Mint to offer a 12 week program where early stage startups gain investment, mentorship and an understanding of advanced markets. IgniteHQ is based in Marietta, Georgia. – News release

State reaches $3.3M settlement in Colonial Pipeline case

Colonial Pipeline Co. will pay $3.3 million to the state of Alabama to cover damages and penalties from an explosion and a spill on its gasoline line in 2016, the state’s attorney general said on Thursday. A combined 11,800 barrels of gasoline were spilled in rural Shelby County, causing pump prices to soar in much of the southeastern United States. The settlement includes a $1.3 million civil penalty, $1.8 million for state projects and a $200,000 payment to the state’s conservation department. – Reuters

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