Top Headlines: Coronavirus chaos in Anniston, Sports betting bill moving through House

Coronavirus chaos, confusion and a lack of communication in Anniston
Not long before local leaders decided, in the words of one of them, that federal health officials “didn’t know what they were doing” with their plan to quarantine novel coronavirus patients in town, a doctor here set out in a biohazard suit to stage a one-man protest along the highway with a sign. “The virus has arrived. Are you ready?” it asked. The town didn’t think it was. Residents already were unnerved by strange stories posted on Facebook and shared via text messages about helicopters secretly flying in sick patients, that the virus was grown in a Chinese lab, that someone — either the media or the government — was lying to them about what was really going on. – Washington Post

New Alabama mammoth mine project long in the making
Construction is expected to start next week on a mammoth mining project in Tuscaloosa County expected to more than double the mining company’s production capacity. Warrior Met Coal could spend up to $600 million on a new underground coal mining facility in northern Tuscaloosa County over the next five years, creating 350 new high-paying jobs. It’s a project with eye-popping ramifications. Average starting salaries for miners will be around $85,000 annually. –

Sports betting bill moving its way through Alabama House
Alabama’s House of Representatives is considering a new bill that aims to legalize land-based and mobile sports wagering in the state. Sponsored by Representative John Rogers, House Bill 336 is currently with the House committee on Economic Development and Tourism after being introduced late last week. The bill states that consumers would be able to place sports bets in person at approved locations across Alabama, as well as on mobile and other digital platforms when located inside the state. – iGamingBusiness

Finally, it’s time to cast a vote tomorrow in Alabama
Alabama and 13 other states will hold primary elections on March 3, Super Tuesday. Voters will choose among candidates for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and various state and county offices. The individual vote remains one of the greatest rights in this country and is a peaceful exercise of power that allows for a passive transfer of leadership throughout all levels of government. Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m., statewide. – AL NewsCenter

Two companies win Alabama Launchpad Montgomery pitch contest
Two companies took home a combined $150,000 Thursday in the finale pitch competition for Alabama Launchpad in Montgomery. Huntsville-based Acclinate Genetics won $50,000 in the concept stage, while Birmingham’s CerFlux took the $100,000 seed stage prize. Both companies gave their pitch before a four-judge panel. –

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Regions Bank to acquire Texas-based lender focused on small businesses
Alabama’s largest bank is getting even bigger. On Thursday, Regions Bank announced it is acquiring Ascentium Capital, the largest independent equipment finance lender in the United States with approximately $2 billion in loans and leases as of year-end and originations of $1.5 billion in 2019. Headquartered in Kingwood, Texas, Ascentium Capital partners with nearly 4,000 manufacturers, dealers and distributors to finance essential-use equipment for small business customers. Ascentium Capital offers comprehensive financing solutions through more than 460 employees. – Alabama Today

Local company to produce opening, closing ceremonies of World Games
A few weeks into his tenure as the new CEO of The World Games 2021 Birmingham, Nick Sellers just knew he and his team would select a large, national firm to produce perhaps the most visible events of the international competition: the opening and closing ceremonies, and World Games Plaza, which will feature music, food, and other activities at Railroad Park throughout the 11 days of the events. Then they heard a pitch from the firm headed by Rashada LeRoy, a native of Dothan who moved to Birmingham in 2003 and began a career meshing entrepreneurism and corporate experience. –

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