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Top News Links: Tuesday, Oct. 25

Legislators once again hunt for budget cure

The leaders of an attempt to address Alabama’s perpetual budget woes won’t oversell it. Both Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, and Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, said in separate interviews Monday that the Joint Legislative Task Force on Budget Reform – meeting Wednesday afternoon – aimed to gather information and float ideas to address a yawning gap between General Fund revenue and expenses that grows wider each year. – Montgomery Advertiser

Here’s a quick guide to 14 amendments on the ballot

State voters will have the chance to vote on 14 amendments to the state Constitution. Some deal with big issues like economics and labor. Some aim to clarify constitutional language. Some repeal age limits for elected officials. Any one of them winning passage will add to the pile of amendments passed to address issues that state or local government can't or won't tackle. There are currently 895 amendments to the Alabama Constitution. – Montgomery Advertiser

Both Democrats and Republicans unsure about AT&T merger

AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner is already raising eyebrows among an important constituency: politicians. Reaction to the deal, which was announced Saturday night, has been swift, and skeptical, from both sides of the aisle. – APR

Small building at UAH now runs on its own power

UAH research scientist Bill Carswell says powering your home without help from a local utility company will become "the wave of the future." Carswell has designed an alternative energy system for a 900 square foot building on the University of Alabama in Huntsville campus. Several solar panels help provide a power source to batteries inside the building, behind Von Braun Research Hall. – WAY

Explosion halts production, injures 1 at Pickens County plant

An internal investigation is under way at a Pickens County plant, following an explosion Sunday night. A spokesperson for Westervelt Renewable Energy says the explosion happened around 9 p.m. at the company's Aliceville production facility on Highway 17. One employee, a heavy equipment operator, suffered minor injuries. The employee has since been treated and released from Pickens County Medical Center in Carrollton. – WBRC

McCutcheon preps for his new role in Legislature

Like the maestro of a band, newly elected Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon finds himself about to begin directing the business of the Alabama House of Representatives. Only, unlike West Limestone & Ardmore High Schools, whose bands performed Monday night at Speaker McCutcheon's reception at the Limestone County Event Center, the legislature is 'out of tune.' – WHNT

Alabama once again wades into water wars

Alabama has filed a brief in support of Florida’s federal lawsuit to cap Georgia’s water use from federal reservoirs that terminate in Apalachicola Bay. The state cited its “long experience combating Georgia’s excessive withdrawals” and said Georgia “has largely chosen not to invest its resources in reservoirs and other infrastructure” as Atlanta outgrows its water supply. – Alabama Today

Why do so many teachers leave profession each year?

For Ross Roberts, it was a lack of resources that drove him from the classroom. For Danielle Painton, it was too much emphasis on testing. For Sergio Gonzalez, it was a nasty political environment. Welcome to the U.S. teaching force, where the "I'm outta here" rate is an estimated 8 percent a year — twice that of high-performing countries like Finland or Singapore. And that 8 percent is a lot higher than other professions. – APR

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