Top Headlines: Alabama’s secretive prison project, Alabama vet specializes in acupuncture

Alabama’s secretive prison project same as 2018 Kansas ‘hoodwink’?
The secrecy behind Alabama’s plan to build three new prisons using private prison companies mirrors a project in Kansas that left some lawmakers there feeling that the state got “hoodwinked.”   The Kansas governor has since said her state was “hoodwinked” by one of the same private prison companies now vying for a piece of Alabama taxpayer’s $900 million to build one or more of the state’s three planned prisons. Promised savings never materialized, and Kansas now plans to send some inmates to a private-prison-operated facility out-of-state. – AL Political Reporter

Alabama vet specializes in acupuncture for pets
Bridget, a 3-year-old black Labrador retriever, stays perfectly still, alert and quiet as the needle pierces her skin. The fine acupuncture needle sticking out of the top of her head is placed precisely in a “calming spot,” one of hundreds of canine acupuncture points identified to treat pain, intestinal or respiratory problems, skin issues and even paralysis. –

Finally, a kombucha taproom comes to Birmingham
Harvest Roots is moving to Birmingham and opening up the city’s first-ever kombucha taproom. It’s gonna be right next to Tropicaleo in Avondale by sometime in late Spring 2020. Founded in Mentone back in 2012 by Pete Halupka and Lindsay Whiteaker, Harvest Roots got its start as a small farm. – Birmingham Now

TVA execs scolded for overspending on travel
An audit has found instances in which executives for the nation’s largest public utility overspent on travel. The inspector general’s report Wednesday audited about $1.8 million worth of Tennessee Valley Authority executive travel expenses from October 2016 through July 2018. The report cites instances in which executives didn’t comply with federal travel regulation and TVA policies, including overpaid per diems; excessive meal costs while traveling; use of car services instead of less expensive options; foreign travel problems; lodging issues; and travel costs unreported to the utility’s board. – AP

Volvo exec concedes Tesla’s beating everyone on energy efficiency
An executive for Volvo’s Polestar candidly admitted that “Tesla is far ahead of everyone else on energy efficiency” and they are going to have to catch up or find other ways to compete. When Volvo rebranded Polestar two years ago, it was off to a somewhat weird but interesting start as it unveiled its first vehicle, the Polestar 1. The car turned out to be a highly expensive plug-in hybrid, which quickly sounded outdated when the automaker announced that they would bring an all-electric “Tesla Model 3 competitor” to production a year later. – Electrek

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Boone Pickens dead at 91: Oil tycoon built wealth through corporate takeovers
T. Boone Pickens, a brash and quotable oil tycoon who grew even wealthier through corporate takeover attempts, died Wednesday. He was 91. Pickens was surrounded by friends and family when he died of natural causes under hospice care at his Dallas home, spokesman Jay Rosser said. Pickens suffered a series of strokes in 2017 and was hospitalized that July after what he called a “Texas-sized fall.” – AP

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