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Top News Links: Wednesday, Oct. 1

Prisons headed for fed takeover?

The Alabama Prison Reform Task Force met Tuesday at the Statehouse to discuss ways to reduce crowding in the state’s correctional facilities. Task force chairman Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, has said the state needs to lessen its prison population, or risk a federal takeover that could cost the state even more money than it already spends on corrections. Building more prisons isn’t the answer, he has said. – Decatur Daily

Redstone to get massive solar array

The April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak left thousands of north Alabama businesses and institutions without power for days on end. Redstone Arsenal was no exception. The prolonged power outage from that series of storms focused attention on the energy vulnerability of the arsenal and its tenants. – AL.com

Japan automakers like the climate

“It’s all about right-to-work,” says state Senator Clay Scofield (R-Arab), whose district is home to several Alabama-Japanese companies. “They are really big on that. They don’t want to do business if it’s not a right-to-work state.” – Yellowhammer

Trial starts for former ed official

A former state Department of Education official used her position to manipulate the awarding of federal stimulus funds and provide millions to the company that employed her husband, a prosecutor told a jury during the first day of her trial Tuesday. – AP/The Republic

Birmingham to honor 10 local women

The Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham has announced the names of 10 local women who will be recognized at the upcoming Smart Party 3.0 for their work in improving the region. This year's honorees represent a variety of fields, including business, education, arts and medicine. The third annual Smart Party will be held Oct. 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Iron City Birmingham. – AL.com

I-10 corridor gets SBA support

The U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday announced its support of four new Regional Innovation Clusters, including one that follows Interstate 10 through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. – News release

Dream Bar-B-Que touted on Letterman

Before tapings of “Late Show with David Letterman,” the longtime host visits with his audience for a few minutes. Monday, there appeared to be at least one Crimson Tide supporter, and fan of Dreamland barbecue, in the conversation. Monday's version of the long-running list gag was “Top Ten Things Overheard at George Clooney's Wedding.” The sixth came in as “Next Stop: Alabama Dreamland Bar-B-Que.” – Tuscaloosa News

Court sides with bank in casino case

The Alabama Supreme Court has sided with a bank in a fight over the troubled finances of jailed casino developer Ronnie Gilley. The ruling Tuesday involved a $100,000 check that Ronnie Gilley Properties wrote to Cile Way Properties in December 2010. – AP/The Republic

Bank environment improving in South

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today reported improving conditions among national banks and federal savings associations (FSAs) in the nine states that make up the OCC's Southern District, including Alabama. As of June 30, 89 percent of the banks had a composite rating of 1 or 2--the top ratings in a five-point scale indicating an institution's health. – Insurance News Net

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