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Top News Links: Thursday, May 14

Whistleblower protection not stopping lawsuit

A Selma auto supplier plans to continue its lawsuit against a former worker who spoke out about health concerns at the plant, despite a federal court injunction issued last week that blocks the company from retaliating against employees. Lear Corp.-owned Renosol Seating fired Kim King in March and filed a defamation suit against her in Montgomery County Circuit Court. – Montgomery Advertiser

Bill Cosby visiting Alabama today, Friday

Embattled actor and comedian Bill Cosby will visit Alabama on Thursday and Friday for events aimed at highlighting schools in one of the poorest areas of the state. Cosby, whose record of educational philanthropy has been overshadowed in recent months by sexual assault allegations from more than 25 women and two pending lawsuits, will speak in several cities across Alabama's rural Black Belt. – AP/Daily American

Advocates for disabled rally against budget cuts

To explain the need, Karen Hallmark invokes her daughter's tears. Rachel is 34 years old; Hallmark says cognitively, she functions on the level between a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old. As a school-aged student, she had access to services, but had to wait seven years before she could get into an adult program. "Long story short, she lost ground," Hallmark said, adding that her communication skills dropped as her boredom and bad behavior increased. – Montgomery Advertiser

Huntsville shopping center acquired in $16.5M deal

A neglected shopping center on 6125 University Drive N.W. is under new ownership and will have a fresh look in the coming months. Mark Gold with Skyline International Development announced this week he acquired University Place in April for $16.5 million. A day after buying University Place from New York-based Marx Realty, Gold began renovations at the site. – AL.com

Alabama banks combine in $36M deal

River Financial Corp. is acquiring Keystone Bancshares Inc. in a deal that will create a combined bank with $700 million in assets. As a result of the deal, Keystone Bank will operate as River Bank & Trust. River Financial is based in Prattville, while Keystone is based in Auburn. – BizJournals.com

Alabama unveils new look for website

The state of Alabama is proud to unveil the new look for its official website, Alabama.gov, and introduce its most user-friendly design yet. With the award-winning website’s easy to use format, visitors can quickly discover useful local, state and federal government information, and access convenient online services. – BusinessWire

Jeff County delays teacher layoffs

On Wednesday, the Jefferson County Board of Education decided to back off laying off 168 employees, at least for now. The board has rescinded the decision first made in March to layoff the workers because of a $10 million shortfall. – WSFA

Bentley flirts with Medicaid expansion

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley suggested earlier this week that Medicaid expansion might offer a way for the state to address its funding crisis for adult mental health services. But as quickly as the Republican governor dropped the hint Monday, during a visit to BayPointe Hospital in Mobile, he waved off a reporter’s question to elaborate; Bentley told al.com his visit was focused on a $541 million tax plan to fund programs for the elderly, the disabled, and children. – AJMC  

Robins & Morton wins Wofford contracts

General contractor Robins & Morton has been selected by Wofford College to manage construction of The Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Tuesday, May 12. The firm will also manage construction of The Jerry Richardson Indoor Arena, a new indoor athletic facility scheduled to start in early 2016. – News release

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