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Top News Links: Wednesday, Sept. 16

Designer Heidi Elnora buys Birmingham space

Alabama-based bridal designer Heidi Elnora has announced the purchase of a 124-year old building on Historic Morris Avenue, becoming the first and only downtown Birmingham bridal boutique. The 8,000-square-foot space will be home to both heidi elnora’s main offices and her bridal boutique. Read Business Alabama’s most recent feature about Heidi Elnora here– News release

Legislature begins making budget progress

The Alabama Legislature on Tuesday approved a cigarette tax increase as lawmakers busted through months of deadlock over a looming budget shortfall. Lawmakers gave final approval to the 25-cent-per-pack increase and agreed to a separate proposal to shift $80 million in education dollars to shore up the state cash-strapped general fund budget. The 11th-hour agreement could stave off deep cuts to prisons, Medicaid and other critical state agencies when the fiscal year begins in two weeks. – AP/TimesFreePress

Tomorrow will tell whether interest rates going up

Nine years after they last raised their benchmark interest rate and after months of feverish speculation, Federal Reserve policymakers this week may finally raise that rate from a record low near zero. When the Fed announces its decision Thursday, followed by Chair Janet Yellen's news conference, no one is sure what to expect. Economists appear evenly split. – AP/AL.com

Seattle columnist calls Alabama poor, corrupt

The Seattle Times' Jon Talton authored a piece on Airbus and the South just a day after the highly celebrated launch of the brand new, $600 million facility in the Port City. The piece takes the state to task as well as its politicians, insinuating that Airbus put on a dog and pony show to take advantage of low-skilled workers to save themselves money. – AL.com

New HudsonAlpha clinic to offer faster DNA sequencing

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville will open a new clinic in November using the increasingly fast and affordable sequencing of a person's entire DNA available today to diagnose rare diseases. Dr. Howard Jacob said this week that the new clinic will be the first of its kind and a resource for adults and parents with children suffering from rare and undiagnosed diseases. – AL.com

Former Bentley adviser taking UA System job

The University of Alabama System on Monday announced its economic development and governmental affairs efforts will be quarterbacked by former Congressman Jo Bonner and Birmingham attorney Clay Ryan. Bonner has been with the UA System doing both economic development and governmental affairs since he left Congress in in 2013. By bringing on Ryan, Bonner will now focus his efforts entirely on the university’s extensive economic development efforts. – Yellowhammer

Toyota produces 4 millionth engine in Huntsville

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama produced its four millionth engine this week in Huntsville. Check out these pictures from the happy arrival. – AL.com

HP begins process of cutting 30,000 workers

Hewlett-Packard Co. is preparing to shed up to another 30,000 jobs as the Silicon Valley pioneer launches into a new era in the same cost-cutting mode that has marred much of its recent history. The purge announced Tuesday will occur within the newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a bundle of technology divisions focused on software, consulting and data analysis that is splitting off from the company's personal computer and printing operations. – AP/AL.com

Photographers still feeling heat from ADOR

Plenty of analogies sum up Birmingham-based photographer Edward Badham’s experience with the Alabama Department of Revenue over the last few years. “It’s like being at someone’s house playing cards and after a few games they say, ‘Look, this is my house and I say these are the rules now,’” he said. Badham is one of many commercial photographers in the state who say they have been targeted by the ADOR for six years’ worth of back sales taxes. – Weld 

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