Top Headlines: Alabama-built SUV propels Mercedes, Water board official avoids jail time

Surge in Alabama-built SUV helps Mercedes beat BMW in November
Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW AG for a second consecutive month in November, making the U.S. sales race between the two German luxury rivals the closest it’s been since March. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand sold 33,721 cars and SUVs in November, surpassing BMW by 2,508 vehicles. A refreshed GLC midsize SUV was the top seller, while demand for its larger sibling, the Alabama-built GLE SUV, rose a whopping 52%. – Bloomberg

Former water board official avoids jail time
The former board president of the Birmingham Water Works has avoided jail time. Judge Clyde Jones on Thursday sentenced Sherry Lewis to 36 months of supervised probation, 400 hours of community services and ordered her to pay court fees and fines. Lewis was convicted back in October on two felony ethics charges, and was facing up to 20 years in prison. – WVTM

If you steal in Alabama, be sure you’re with the government
Sherry Lewis will most likely never serve another day of jail time for committing two felony ethics violations.  A Jefferson County judge on Thursday sentenced Lewis to a 10-year suspended sentence, imposed community service and restitution, and promised to send her to jail if she violates the terms of her probation.  So, for stealing thousands personally — and helping others steal millions — from the citizens of Birmingham, Lewis received a whopping 22 days of jail time. – AL Political Reporter

Birmingham Business Alliance reveals new economic development approach
Chairwoman Nancy Goedecke passed the Birmingham Business Alliance gavel to Jim Gorrie, president and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, at the BBA’s 2019 Chairwoman’s Annual Meeting in Birmingham Dec. 11.. Gone is Blueprint Birmingham, which guided the BBA through its first 10 years. In its place is a strategy that keys in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology. Those are some of the main industries the Alabama Department of Commerce is expected to emphasize in its revision of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s new plan. – AL NewsCenter

Alabama truckers deal with surprise bankruptcy of Celadon Group
Truckers across the country struggled to map their futures after a major, Indiana-based trucking company with 4,000 employees filed for bankruptcy on Monday. Celadon Group announced it will shut down all operations days after two former officials were charged in a fraud scheme. Devin White was in Ohio when he learned of the company’s decision in a Facebook post. – ABC3340

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NTSB blames inadequate work of crew for Colonial pipeline blast
A federal investigation released Thursday cited inadequate work by an excavation company as the probable cause of a pipeline explosion that killed two people and slowed the flow of fuel to the Eastern Seaboard in 2016. Workers unearthing a Colonial Pipeline Co. pipeline that was carrying thousands of gallons of gasoline near Birmingham failed to plan, coordinate and communicate during the job, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. – AP

Bicentennial events: Three-day Alabama celebration this weekend
Two hundred years is a birthday so big it couldn’t be contained to a single day.  Although the vast majority of fun is happening Saturday in downtown Montgomery for Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration, there are events on Friday and Sunday as well. – Montgomery Advertiser

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