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Top News Links: Monday, Oct. 12

Trump pumping up Southern campaign staff

Donald Trump is expanding his paid campaign staff into several Southern states that will be key to selecting the Republican presidential nominee. Trump's advisers say it's a sign he's committed to a long race, despite suggestions he's reconsidering his bid. He now has paid staff in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. – AP/NewsChannel19

Shape Corp. brings 170 jobs to Athens

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said a new injection molding and roll forming operation will bring 170 jobs to the Limestone County community. Shape Corp., a full-service supplier in engineering, testing and manufacturing of metal and plastic solutions, will begin construction later this month on a new facility on a 34-acre site in the Breeding Industrial Park on Roy Long Road in Athens. – AL.com

Feds scrutinize hiring at Pilgrim’s Pride

Pilgrim's Pride is under fire after the U.S. Department of Labor filed two lawsuits accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices. In a complaint filed Sept. 15, the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges Pilgrim's Pride "systematically discriminated" against qualified African American, Caucasian and female applicants for entry-level laborer and operative jobs at its Athens poultry plant, which closed in 2009. – AL.com

Study: Student loans cooling postgrad degree plans

Becky Hardy says she’s lucky. The numbers say she’s right. College graduates have flooded into a tight job market over the past decade carrying heavy school debt along with them. Only half of those graduates polled now “strongly agree” that their degrees were worth the cost, according to a new study by Gallup and Purdue University. Nearly two-thirds of the 60,000 people surveyed had to take out loans to finish school. Their median loan was $30,000. – Montgomery Advertiser

Sneak peek at Alabama’s first Trader Joe’s

California meets sweet home Alabama at Birmingham's first Trader Joe's. The tropical island-themed grocery chain gave media tours in advance of Tuesday's grand opening, and the 12,000-square-foot space mixes Alabama's culture with tropical flowers. The walls are decorated with murals of Vulcan, Alabama and Auburn football helmets, and one mural tells customers, "It's nice to have you in Trader Joe's." – AL.com

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