Top Headlines: Alabama’s aerospace investment surge, The Edge opens in Tuscaloosa

Lawsuit sows unrest in minds of soybean farmers
The biggest, most valuable new technology on farms these days is a new family of soybean seeds. But some farmers say they’re buying these seeds partly out of fear. A new lawsuit claims that the company Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, violated antitrust laws when it introduced the seeds. Bayer is asking the court to dismiss the complaint. – APR

Alabama prepares for role in a new space race
Alabama is seeing a new surge in aerospace investment as companies like Blue Origin and Aeroject Rocketdyne bring hundreds of new jobs to the state and build new facilities to put them to work. They’re building because the government space programs based in Huntsville could soon have billions of new dollars to spend in a defense and telecommunications market that’s making rapid and expensive changes. –

Longer commute times may cost Birmingham on labor
The longer drive into work may drive some Birmingham professionals to quit their jobs. According to a survey from global staffing firm Robert Half, more than 1 in 5 employees (23 percent) have left a job because of a bad commute. The average one-way commute in Birmingham-Hoover metro area is 26 minutes, slightly higher than the national average of 25 minutes. Couple that with the fact that 85 percent of people commuting in the area drive their own car alone and commutes/traffic will become a major factor for existing and new job opportunities. – News release

The Edge now ready to do business in Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa saw the grand opening Wednesday of a new workspace for businesses and entrepreneurs. A ceremony welcomed The Edge, an $11.7 million high-tech facility designed to support entrepreneurial collaboration and innovation. Located at 2627 10th Ave., The Edge is about 1.5 miles from the University of Alabama campus. –

Sanders Trust acquires Boston addiction treatment center
Birmingham’s The Sanders Trust has announced another acquisition, this time in a Boston suburb. The Birmingham-based healthcare real estate and development firm has acquired the property of Serenity at Summit New England in Haverhill, Mass., located near the Merrimack River and Holy Family Hospital-Haverhill. –

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Jones calls foul on effort to roll back payday loan regs
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, criticized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal to remove a key regulation on the payday lending industry introduced in the final year of President Barack Obama’s term. The CFPB said Wednesday that it is rolling back plans to put into place a rule intended to protect the most vulnerable payday loan borrowers from ballooning debt associated with payday loans. – APR

UNA, Manufacture Alabama partner on scholarship opportunities
Manufacture Alabama and the University of North Alabama jointly announced the launch of a new partnership that will offer increased access to higher education for manufacturers throughout the state. With the newly formed partnership, employees of Manufacture Alabama-member companies are eligible to receive a special scholarship directly from UNA. – News release

Calhoun Community College wins grant to teach specialized CDL
The Calhoun Community College Workforce Solutions department received a $26,500 Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training program grant, which was awarded by the Alabama Craft Training Board. This grant funding will allow Calhoun’s Workforce Solutions (CWS) team to provide a free 5-week, 200-hour training course that will prepare students to obtain a Construction Industry CDL. “Students enrolled in the course will learn to operate trucks pulling trailers such as lowboys, dump trucks, and concrete mixing trucks. – News release

Tesla, Mercedes having talks on potential collaboration
Tesla and Mercedes-Benz have been holding ‘talks’ about a possible new collaboration, according to comments made by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche this week. The idea first came up when Zetsche said last year that Mercedes-Benz is open to working with Tesla again. A few weeks later, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he would reach out to Daimler to propose a possible collaboration on an electric version of the Sprinter van. – Electrek

Co-founder of J&J Furniture dies at 73
Longtime Alabama furniture retailer Oran Robert “Bob” Jones died Jan. 23 after a long illness. He was 73 years old. Jones was owner and a founder of J&J Furniture Co. Inc., a retail conglomerate located along the Alabama Gulf Coast. After working for Mather’s Furniture in Mobile, he founded J&J in 1967 with his father, Oran Jones. – Furniture Today

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