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Top News Links: Friday, Sept. 8

Hurricane Irma fills up Alabama hotel rooms

As Hurricane Irma races towards the U.S. coastline, many residents in harm's way are hitting the road and filling up Alabama hotel rooms. Most rooms in South Alabama are completely sold out, meaning more and more coastal residents are driving farther north, including the Tennessee Valley. – WHNT

Kay Ivey says she’s in it to win it

Governor Kay Ivey announced her decision to seek re-election as governor on Thursday. Since taking office on April 10, Ivey has pursued an aggressive agenda of cleaning up Montgomery. One of her first actions was to fire Jon Mason, the husband of Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who allegedly had an affair with former Gov. Robert Bentley. Bentley had appointed Jon Mason as the director of SERVE Alabama. She also dismissed Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, also appointed by Bentley. – Sand Mountain Reporter

New Flyer looks to expand zero-emission bus production

Canadian bus maker New Flyer Industries Inc. is bolstering its manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. with a $25 million investment in its Anniston campus. The expansion project includes major building renovations, the purchase of new fabrication equipment and a reworking of the site’s welding process. Along with increased production capacity, New Flyer said the expansion will create a new innovation center for zero-emission bus production—a fast-growing segment of the company’s business. – Canadian Manufacturing

Laser tech firm M Squared working with UA on quantum sensing

Laser developer M Squared is collaborating with teams at the University of Alabama and Imperial College London to develop devices for measurement and quantum 3D sensing. In the ANAGRAM project, co-funded by Innovate UK and part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Program, M Squared is working on engineering and system integration for Professor Kai Bongs’ group at the University of Birmingham to create a collaborative team of experts to develop a device capable of highly sensitive gravity measurements. – Photonics Media

Southern Research hires STEM educator for outreach effort

Southern Research today announced plans to expand the scope of its longtime educational outreach efforts with the hiring of a STEM educator to direct a statewide program that aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering, in addition to training teachers in these fields. – Business Insider

Survey reveals most popular snacks at the office

America is a nation of snackers. Ninety-four percent of Americans report snacking at least once per day, and 50% say they snack two to three times per day. In the workplace, millions of workers rely on their employers’ snack arsenal to get them through the day.  At a typical tech company in San Francisco, stacks of Kind bars and cases of LaCroix water are more often than not in the kitchen. – Priceonomics

Former legislator Robinson pleads guilty to host of charges

A former Alabama legislator has pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a lawyer and a coal company executive to oppose adding Birmingham area neighborhoods to an EPA Superfund site. Former Rep. Oliver Robinson of Birmingham on Thursday pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud and tax evasion. – AP/USN&WR

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