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Top News Links: Thursday, Nov. 1

Opt-outs expected in BP spill settlement case

Some 10,000 individuals and businesses are expected to opt out today — deadline day for opt outs from  a $7.8 billion settlement for claims resulting from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. — Bloomberg Businessweek

Fed predicts economic growth in Alabama

Analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predicts that Alabama is among the six states with the best prospects for economic growth. — al.com

Paychecks shrink in Alabama

Researchers says one in five Alabama workers had a 25 percent drop in household income last year. — al.com

Searcy closes, Mount Vernon worries

As the state's 110-year-old Searcy psychiatric hospital closed yesterday, Mount Vernon residents worried about the impact on patients, employees and their town as it watches 300 jobs disappear. — WPMT-TV

UA President steps down

Guy Bailey, named president of the University of Alabama in July, stepped down yesterday, citing health concerns for his wife.  — al.com

Alabama electric workers help repair storm damage

About 1,000 electrical workers from Alabama Power and electric cooperatives in the state are helping mid-Atlantic regions get powered up after the crippling effects of Hurricane Sandy. — CBS News

Alabama skies show spectacular effects of Sandy

Huntsville workers caught photos of overlapping unusual light effects, probably caused by Hurricane Sandy. — The Atlantic Cities

United mulls Airbus twin-aisle purchase

United Continental Holdings is considering a purchase of Airbus jumbo jets, a market dominated by Boeing in the U.S., according to unidentified sources familiar with the talks. — Bloomberg Businessweek

Brundidge officials sue over landfill

City officials in Brundidge have filed suit against neighboring Coffee County commissioners who want to purchase their landfill from its bankrupt operators, saying they fear the neighboring county would shut down their landfill and steer customers to their own. — Enterprise Ledger

HealthSouth to purchase Georgia facility

HealthSouth, based in Birmingham, has announced plans to buy 58-bed Walton Rehabilitation Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, its first in the state. — Physical Therapy Products

Hyundai adds Elantra hatchback

New Hyundai hatchback to be built in South Korea with GTs rather than Alabama with Elantra sedans. — Car and Driver

Debate over proposed highway turns nasty

Birmingham belt line at center of debate between Southern Environmental Law Center and JobKeeper Alliance, a dispute now characterized by anonyous name-calling, internet video parodies and cyber attacks. — WELD

Dispute between A&M, contractor over Ethiopian textbook program

Contractors handling a program to provide educational materials in Ethiopia, funded by a $14 million USAID grant to Alabama A&M, have charged that the university is not meeting its obligations for prompt payments; university says it's just a paperwork issue. — WAFF

Added value for goat farmers

A new state program seeks to help goat farmers convert their $3.20-a-gallon goat milk into higher value products like $16-a-pound goat cheese to make their operations more profitable. — USDA.gov

Casino work resumes in Wetumpka

Construction for a new Poarch Creek casino project in Wetumpka, on hold while owners resolved a dispute with fellow Creek members in Oklahoma, is back on track, officials say. — Poarch Creek Nation PR

Six awards for Robins & Morton

Birmingham contractor Robins & Morton captured six Excellence in Construction Awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors North Alabama Chapter for projects in Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana and Ohio. — Robins & Morton PR

Corizon wins prison healthcare contract

Corizon, based in Tennessee, has been awarded another three-year contract to provide medical services for the Alabama Department of Corrections. — Corrections.com 

State dedicates Pell City veterans home

Dedication ceremonies planned this morning for the state's fourth veterans home, this one located in Pell City. — Department of Veterans Affairs PR

Byrne urges yes vote on Forever Wild proposition

Former candidate for governor Bradley Byrne endorses ballot measure, calls it a "conservative" choice. — Opelika Auburn News

Alabamians campaigning in Florida, Iowa

Confident their candidate will carry their home state, Mitt Romney supporters from Alabama — including a group of home-schooled kids — have traveled to Florida and Iowa to campaign. — Bloomberg Businessweek/Sioux City Journal

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