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Top News Links: Thursday, May 23

Mystery illness strikes 10, kills 2 in Dothan

Alabama Department of Public Health officials are "testing for everything" as they try to find the cause of a respiratory illness that has hospitalized 10 people in Dothan, and killed 2 of them. — Reuters

EBSCO to merge publishing and information service branches

Birmingham's EBSCO Industries Inc. will merge its publishing and information services branches into EBSCO Information Services on July 1, with Tim Collins serving as president of the newly merged company. — EBSCO PR

Mobile contractor picked for AIDT aviation training center

Rod Cooke Construction Inc., based in Mobile, has been selected as the general contractor for a $6 million Alabama Aviation Training Center, which will train workers for the Airbus assembly line that is also under construction at Brookley Aeroplex. — al.com

Secretary of state unveils new campaign finance reporting system

A new online campaign finance reporting systems, unveiled this week by Secretary of State Beth Chapman, should make it easier for candidates to file and for state officials to check their reports. — Montgomery Advertiser/South Union Street

Foreclosures down across most of state

Alabama's March foreclosure rate was down about a tenth of a percent from March last year to 1.35 percent, with the entire country seeing a bigger drop of 0.65 percent but to a higher rate of 2.84 percent rate, according to data released today by CoreLogic.  Rates were down in most Alabama metro areas:  Birmingham-Hoover down 0.11 percent to 1.51 percent; Decatur down 0.07 percent to 1.30 percent; Florence-Muscle Shoals down 0.08 percent to 0.79 percent; Gadsden down 0.24 percent to 1.22 percent; Huntsville down 0.25 percent to 0.88 percent; Mobile down 0.06 to 1.94 percent, and Montgomery down 0.06 percent to 1.30 percent. Rates in Tuscaloosa increased by a slight 0.01 percent  to a 1.25 percent rate, the Dothan rate was up 0.18 percent to 1.47 percent, Auburn-Opelika saw an increase of 0.07 percent to 1.09 percent, and Anniston-Oxford increase 0.11 percent to 1.59 percent. — CoreLogic

Belk workers plan to spiff up Decatur elementary school

As part of Belk's 125th anniversary celebration, company workers will refurbish Austindale Elementary School in Decatur this week, adding bookshelves, murals, picnic tables, reading areas and more. — al.com

UAB gets grant for glaucoma research

The National Eye Institute has awarded University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers $1.125 million to study the causes of glaucoma, an eye disease that is the second leading causes of blindness. — UAB PR

Black Warrior ranked 7th on endangered rivers list

American Rivers has ranked Alabama's Black Warrior River as the 7th most endangered in the country, saying it is threatened by coal mining. — American Rivers

Clean fuels forum in Birmingham

Clean fuels are the topic for a meeting of corporate and government fleet managers today at Birmingham's Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. — Birmingham News

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