Top Headlines: Hurricane Michael devastates Florida; Alabama Power mobilizes crews

Hurricane Michael shreds large portions of Florida Panhandle
When Hurricane Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, buildings along the coast were smashed to pieces, storm-surge flooding lapped at the eaves of beach houses, and an Air Force base sustained extensive damage. From Panama City, through Mexico Beach — where the storm made landfall — and into Apalachicola, houses were swamped or blown apart, roofs were ripped off, boats sank, and trees toppled in the high winds. – TWC

Alabama Power launches hundreds of power crews to Florida
Alabama Power will be mobilizing between 600 and 700 contract crews to the southeast area of the state to support Alabama Power teams already on the ground. The crews staged close to where the storm was expected to cause damage.  Because of the magnitude of the category 4 hurricane, damage is likely to affect substations, transmission lines and distribution lines. – Dothan First

Pencil pushers protest prodigious NASA payouts
Federal auditors released a highly critical audit Wednesday of NASA’s Space Launch System, managed in Alabama, saying the big new rocket the agency is counting on to send astronauts back into deep space will cost taxpayers $8.9 billion by the end of 2021 — double the amount originally planned. SLS is $226 million above budget plans this fiscal year alone, auditors from NASA’s Office of the Inspector General said, and delivery of the Core Stage of the rocket has slipped to December 2019 “and may slip further.” –

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Bellefonte developers looking to Memphis as potential customer
Developers planning to produce electricity from still-unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in northeast Alabama are seeking to find a customer in Memphis. Nuclear Development LLC is scheduled to complete purchase of Bellefonte next month and its CEO, Bill McCollum, appeared before the Memphis city council on Tuesday to pitch purchasing power from the plant once it’s up and running. –

Alabama memorial gets national notice in NBC report
When the National Memorial for Peace and Equal Justice opened this April in Montgomery, Alabama, attorney and author Bryan Stevenson was told no one would want to claim such painful and egregious part of history. Stevenson created the 11,000-square-foot memorial in the capital city through his organization the Equal Justice Initiative. The memorial features over 800 steel monuments with the names of over 4,400 black people who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. – NBC

Vice president expected to visit Birmingham today
Vice President Mike Pence is planning to visit Georgia and Alabama on Thursday. The trip to Atlanta and Birmingham includes an appearance in support of Republican Brian Kemp’s bid for Georgia governor. The White House says Pence will visit the Delta Airlines’ TechOps facility in Atlanta on Thursday to meet with employees and deliver remarks. – AP

BMW to spend $4 billion, up stake in China with new deal
The German firm will spend €3.6bn ($4.16bn; £3.14bn) to up its stake in Brilliance Automotive from 50% to 75%. The Mini maker will also invest more than €3bn to expand its existing production capacity in China. The move comes amid China’s plans to relax rules for foreign car companies in its enormous market. – BBC

Sears potentially going belly up on Friday, sources say
Sears Holdings Corp is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as Friday, sources said on Wednesday. Negotiations between Sears Chief Executive Eddie Lampert and Sears’ special board committee are at a standstill over the committee’s refusal to approve Lampert’s rescue plan. – Reuters

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