Top Headlines: Blue Origin to break ground in Huntsville, Frontier Airlines new direct flights for Mobile

Blue Origin to break ground Friday on rocket engine plant
Blue Origin, the commercial rocket company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, will break ground in Huntsville Friday on a promised plant to produce its new, next-generation rocket engine. The plant in Cummings Research Park will manufacture Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, to power the next generation of rockets produced by United Launch Alliance in nearby Decatur. – AL.com

Frontier Airlines announces low-cost flights from Mobile to Chicago, Denver
Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights connecting Mobile to Chicago and Denver in May, using the Downtown Mobile Airport. The flights will begin May 1 from a brand-new passenger terminal. An initial offer puts one-way fares as low as $39, for passengers who make reservations now. – Lagniappe

ServisFirst shares climbing since Jan. 1
ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. (SFBS) on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $36.2 million. The Birmingham-based company said it had profit of 67 cents per share. The holding company for ServisFirst Bank posted revenue of $95.8 million in the period. ServisFirst shares have climbed 7 percent since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $34.09, a decrease of 20 percent in the last 12 months. – AP

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National Commerce Corp. beats Wall Street forecasts
National Commerce Corp. (NCOM) on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $10.7 million. The bank, based in Birmingham, said it had earnings of 51 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions, came to 62 cents per share. Its revenue net of interest expense was $49 million, which topped Street forecasts. – AP

Two Alabama firms named to Forbes’ diverse employers list
Forbes Magazine is out with its list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, and two Alabama companies made the top 250. Forbes named Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Regions Financial to the list. Blue Cross and Blue Shield checked in at 159, while Regions Financial was listed at 242. – AL.com

Alabama issues midwife licenses for first time since 1976
The state of Alabama has issued its first licenses to out-of-hospital midwives since 1976. The newly formed Alabama State Board of Midwifery on Friday approved the licensing of five certified professional midwives. It’s illegal to practice unlicensed midwifery in Alabama, and for decades, the lack of licensing effectively outlawed lay midwifery in the state. State lawmakers voted in 2017 to legalize midwifery. – AP

Chances abound to learn about Singing River Trail
Land Trust of North Alabama and its partners have engaged in a year-long study of the 70-mile Singing River Trail to connect communities and residents of North Alabama from Huntsville to Madison to Decatur to Athens.  Learn more on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Education Resource Center, from 5 to 7 p.m., with a presentation at 5:30. A second session will be Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a presentation at 5:30. – News release

Lincoln Aviator deemed Detroit’s best-in-show vehicle
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator was voted best-in-show in The Detroit News’ annual Readers’ Choice Awards at the Detroit auto show. One hundred judges selected from the public chose for the top honor the luxurious Aviator, which debuted last fall at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2019 Lincoln Navigator, which earned the top Readers’ Choice Award last year, won for top road-trip ride. – Detroit News

Want an electric pickup? New company has your back
Gas-powered pickups and SUVs now make up two-thirds of U.S. auto sales. But, until recently, truck buyers looking for an American-made electric-powered pickup would be out of luck. America’s small electric vehicle fleet is just that — small, mostly cars and sedans. That’s where a new startup automaker saw an opening. Rivian plans to make battery-powered trucks and SUVs in a former auto plant in central Illinois. – APR

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