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Top News Links: Monday, October 2

High court rules Alabama River Group must pay up

The Alabama Supreme Court is upholding a multimillion-dollar verdict against a south Alabama timber processing company. The justices ruled Friday that Monroe County-based Alabama River Group Inc. and its chief executive, George Landegger, must pay about $6 million to six wood dealers. The companies filed suit claiming they were cheated into accepting lower prices based on Alabama River Group's participation in a federal subsidy program. – AL.com

Auburn works toward offering a degree in sustainability

Auburn University is proposing an undergraduate degree in sustainability. Trustees recently approved a new program in sustainable biomaterials and packaging. Officials plan to open enrollment next fall if the plan is approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. A statement from the school says the program would be one of the first of its kind in the Southeast. – AP/APR

Synovus commits $100M to affordable mortgage program

Synovus has committed $100 million to its Affordable Mortgage Program for first-time homebuyers and other borrowers who may require assistance to purchase a residence. Synovus Mortgage Corp. is the subsidiary providing mortgages throughout the Bank’s footprint of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. – BusinessWire

Supreme Court opens term with case that could limit class actions

The U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term Monday with a reinforced conservative wing and a case that could give employers a powerful new tool to prevent their workers from filing class-action lawsuits. At issue is whether employers can enforce promises they extract from workers to pursue grievances as individual arbitration cases, rather than as group lawsuits in court. – Bloomberg

Buyers pay $4.2M cash for house on Ono Island

Buyers from Oklahoma paid $4.2 million cash for a 7,000-square-foot waterfront estate on Ono Island in Orange Beach, according to Erin Kaiser and Donna Burns of Kaiser Sotheby's International Realty in Orange Beach. The architecturally designed house on four acres features 1,500 feet of private beach, a private pier, two boat slips on Ono Harbor, and a saltwater pool with a swim-up bar. – AL.com

Finally, we can spend six figures on a pickup truck

As pickup trucks have become more than just a tool for a job, they’ve received more features and heftier price tags. Of course, trucks have managed to stay south of six-digit price tags -- that is, until the Ford F-450 Super Duty Limited. The ultra-luxe truck features a standard 360-degree camera, adaptive steering, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, heated and ventilated leather front seats and a panoramic sunroof. – AutoWeek

Alabama home sales up 7 percent in August

Alabama home sales totaled 5,671 units during August, an increase of 7 percent from the same month a year ago. August sales were 10.9 percent or 558 units above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE’s 2017 sales forecast through August projected 36,957 closed transactions, while the actual sales were 39,671 units. – ANC

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