Top Headlines: Brasfield & Gorrie’s new project, New Huntsville companies

Judge releases Ethereum Foundation developer on bond to parents
Virgil Griffith is slated to be released to his parents’ home in Alabama pending some pre-release conditions, after a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick in New York Monday. “Laws in this country are not suggestions,” Judge Broderick told the accused Ethereum Foundation developer as the hearing began. Griffith is being held for allegedly violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by traveling to North Korea for a cryptocurrency conference organized by the government in Pyongyang. – CoinDesk

Brasfield & Gorrie begins work on huge Atlanta project
Birmingham’s Brasfield & Gorrie have begun work on what developers say will be an “iconic addition” to the Midtown Atlanta skyline. Partners broke ground this month on Midtown Union, a mixed-use development that will serve as the global headquarters for independent investment firm Invesco. MetLife Investment Management, the institutional asset management firm, and Granite Properties, a commercial real estate company, are project partners. –

The list of new Huntsville companies is as long as your arm
Here are the major new companies, expansions and jobs announced in Huntsville, Ala., in 2019, as collected by the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of smaller businesses from restaurants and coffee shops to clothing stores and startups also started or grew in the city during the year, but those are a story for another day. These are the bigger developments whose announcements suggest they will be hiring in 2020 and beyond. –

Study: When auto plants close, opioids deaths rise quickly
A study published on Monday found a shockingly strong link between declining participation in the labor force and opioid use. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts General Hospital led the study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.  It found that in counties where automotive assembly plants had closed five years earlier, opioid deaths were about 85 percent higher among people between the ages of 16 and 65 compared to counties where such plants remained open. – Salon

$99 million wood pellet plant planned for Demopolis
Another wood pellet producing plant is being planned for Alabama’s Black Belt. Tuscaloosa-based Westervelt is partnering with Canadian Pinnacle Renewable Energy to build a $99 million industrial wood pellet production facility in Demopolis. The plant should begin production in the second quarter of 2021, according to an announcement. –

- Sponsor -

Changes coming to car insurance laws in 2020
Starting Jan. 1, a new car insurance law is going into effect that could impact what could happen if you’re pulled over. The new car insurance law will give a break to people caught driving without insurance. Currently, if insurance can’t be confirmed, the person has 30 days to provide it. If they can’t, their registration is suspended, they get a $200 fine, and they have to provide proof of insurance. A second violation within four years means a $400 fine, proof of insurance, and a four-month suspension of vehicle registration. The change: The state is taking away the four-month suspension. – WHNT

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox