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Top News Links: Thursday, May 11

Small Alabama town may be due for $6M upswing

Jacksonville is working to revive a dormant sector of the city that once powered the local economy for nearly a century. Calderys USA, a company based in France manufacturing heat resistant refractory material, is looking to spend up to $6 million to construct a new 100,000-square-foot building on the site of one of the old Union Yarn Mill buildings, vacant since 2001. The mill's closure in 2001 was the basis of Rick Bragg's book, "The Most They Ever Had." – AL.com

Gulf Shores company highlighted in Google report

Villa Lagoon Tile scored an impressive nod in this year’s Google Economic Impact Report, published Wednesday. Broken down by states, Alabama saw $486 million in economic activity through Google’s help with businesses, websites and nonprofits in 2016. Villa Lagoon was cited as a company that grew through web-based marketing. – News release

Politicians figuring another path to your wallet

This year, some 27 states have considered increasing fees on electric, hybrid and other vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas, an uptick from past years, says the National Conference on State Legislatures. They include Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Massachusetts, as well as California and Tennessee, where laws were enacted in April. – Governing

Credit agencies spread bad data on Regions accounts

When Huntsville resident Andrew Sutinen checked his email Wednesday morning, he found he was notified that a his Regions Bank loan was 90 days late, and another account was being closed. So he pulled up his account: all his payments were up to date. Sutinen called Experian, which sent him the report. "They said 'Wait a minute, are you a Regions customer? We've been getting calls all morning.'" – AL.com

Anniston City Council explores an occupational tax

Anniston City Council members on Monday agreed that more information is needed about creating an occupational tax before putting the matter to the public in a hearing. Councilman David Reddick in Monday’s work session asked that the city hold a public hearing to get feedback from residents about his proposal to create the occupational tax, which would be levied on those who work in the city. – GovTech

Herrington Architects delivers third safe room

Birmingham-based Herrington Architects recently completed the Smithfield Estates Safe Room, close to the sixth anniversary of tornados that devastated several Birmingham communities, including Smithfield Estates. In response to the destruction on April 27th 2011, the City of Birmingham developed a Disaster Recovery Action Plan.  As a part of this plan the city applied for and received Disaster Mitigation Grants from FEMA to build five shelters. Smithfield Estates is the third to be completed and opened. – News release

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