Top Headlines: Launchpad competition semifinalists named; Surprise group tops political spending list

Launchpad Startup Competition names 12 semifinalists
The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama has announced 12 companies as semifinalists for the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition. The startup competition, begun in 2006, features companies competing for money on two tracks: Concept stage, for entrepreneurs launching businesses, and seed stage, for companies looking to accelerate growth. –

Hurricane Michael an unwelcome Gulf Coast visitor
Georgia, Alabama, and Florida declared states of emergency as Hurricane Michael, an “extremely dangerous” category-4 hurricane is due to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday and hammer the region over the next few days. The storm is likely to dump heavy rain over Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas — which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence. – Business Insider

Southern pine pricing skews many investment plans
Pine trees as an investment, the Wall Street Journal reports, made sense to thousands of Southerners about 30 years ago, thanks in part to a federal incentive to reforest. “If you work and you didn’t want to put all your money in the stock market, you’d buy 40 acres and plant trees and they’d be ready to cut by the time your kid went to college,” explains a timber broker in Alabama. “It’s like a 401(k).” One problem: Three decades later, a glut of timber hardly makes harvesting worth the effort. The price of Southern pine is down 45% since 2007. – Newser

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Realtors at top of political spending list in September
There may have been groups that exceeded the Alabama Association of Realtors’ political generosity last month, but they were few and far between. The Realtors’ political action committee gave Alabama candidates $393,500 in contributions in September, far ahead of similar contributors. – Montgomery Advertiser

Alabamian named chairman of National Beer Wholesalers
Alabama beer distributor Michael Schilleci has been elected chairman of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, a position that allows him to lead the distribution industry’s national policy and advocacy efforts for the next year. Schilleci, who owns and operates North Alabama-based Supreme Beverage Company, becomes the first from Alabama to chair the group. – News release

Hoover Met Complex hosting job fair today
The Hoover Metropolitan Complex will host a job fair Wednesday to fill approximately 50 to 75 positions. The event will take place in the Finley Center at the Hoover Met Complex, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, from 12 to 6 p.m. –


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