Top Headlines: Huntsville woodworking shop selling nationwide, Alabama vs. Mississippi unemployment rates

Huntsville shop sells artisan wood products nationwide
If you shop on the Brooklyn-based artisan website UncommonGoods this holiday season, you’ll find chess boards, yoga mat holders and more made at a Huntsville woodworking business. Or if you buy an engraved six-pack carrier from an Oklahoma company to carry your craft brews to parties or barbecues, it came from the same north Alabama shop. Woodtech on Triana Boulevard makes tap handles for local breweries in addition to specialty items for defense companies, wine crates, puzzles, wooden boxes, business signs, trays with old maps of Huntsville, cornhole-game boards and more. –

Alabama’s unemployment rate going one way, Mississippi the other
The chart looks important. Starting in 2015, unemployment rates in Alabama and Mississippi declined in perfect unison until mid-2017, when something appeared to change. Alabama’s improvement accelerated. Mississippi stagnated. And this year, unemployment rose in Mississippi even as Alabama laid claim to the nation’s fastest-falling unemployment rate. The two states look so similar but appear to be on different trajectories. We asked why. – The Washington Post

Genius of coastal Hangout being exported to South Carolina
Coastal Alabama’s Hangout seems to be on the verge of expanding its brand to the east coast, with a new Hangout restaurant nearing approval for Myrtle Beach, S.C. If final approval is granted, the new Hangout will anchor a redeveloped portion of the Broadway at the Beach shopping center and entertainment complex. According to, a theater multiplex and other closed attractions have recently been demolished to make way for new features – including a new Hangout modeled on the original in Gulf Shores. –

Governor Ivey proclaims Small Business Saturday
Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a proclamation to formally declare November 30, 2019 as Small Business Saturday in the state of Alabama. This special designation by the governor is intended to celebrate and support small businesses and the impact they have on communities across the state. – WPMI

Companies take home cash in Birmingham’s Big Pitch
An Avondale community project took home the big prize at REV Birmingham’s The Big Pitch Saturday. Presented by PNC Bank, the competition, now in its sixth year, pits up-and-coming businesses vying for $50,000 in cash and professional service prize packages. The firms pitched to judges and a crowd of about 150 people at The Gallery at The Pizitz. –

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Ex-Alabama sheriff sentenced to prison for food fraud
A federal judge has sentenced a former Alabama sheriff to 18 months in prison for fraud related to the jail food program. A federal judge on Monday gave the sentence to former Pickens County Sheriff David Abston, who was sheriff for over 30 years. Prosecutors say Abston scammed a food bank and his church to get jail food at low cost and boost his income. He pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. – WVTM

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