Top Headlines: Mazda Toyota plant opening delayed, Alabama’s housing market during pandemic

Pandemic pushes back opening of Mazda Toyota plant
Two reports Monday said the Mazda Toyota plant opening in North Alabama will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Kay Ivey confirmed the adjusted timeline in a statement. There was no word on how far the delay will be pushed back. The first hiring phase for the plant started in January. – WBRC

Clean up underway in Bagley community after Sunday’s storms
Storms hit the Bagley community near the the Walker-Jefferson county line Sunday. Houses, businesses and a church were hit. Pastor Ronnie Crapps of Lawler Missionary Baptist Church says the church building got some water damage inside because of the roof damage. He says he counts this all as a blessing because under normal circumstances–if it weren’t for the COVID-9 stay at home order and Easter Sunday, they would have been in church around the time the storm rolled through. – ABC3340

What’s next for Alabama’s housing market in the pandemic?
Alabama’s housing market was off to a fast start before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and like many industries, it’s unclear what’s next as the industry looks for a new normal. Stuart Norton, research coordinator for the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE) at the University of Alabama, said new housing starts in Alabama were up 23.2 percent when the pandemic struck, which was higher than the national average of 18.7 percent. In the Birmingham-Hoover metro area, ACRE said housing starts – measured from construction permits – are up 29 percent over this time last year. –

Mobile battling big box store crowds, looks to drop crowd size again
Large crowds inside Mobile’s big box retailers and grocery stores are still problematic, and public officials are looking to add more restrictions by Tuesday. An order could come from Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bert Eichold, who is one of only two county health officers in Alabama – the other being Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson – who has wide-ranging authority to issue strict guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. –

State begins processing massive pile of jobless claims
The Alabama Department of Labor has begun processing all unemployment claims from jobs lost from the coronavirus pandemic, the agency’s head said Monday. After the department began the process last week of sending the extra $600 in weekly unemployment compensation created by the $2 trillion economic stimulus package, the agency on Monday began processing unemployment claims among Alabamians who are typically not eligible for benefits, such as the self-employed. –

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Frontier Airlines offering flights to Orlando from Mobile
Frontier Airlines announced Monday that it will be offering direct flights from the Mobile Downtown Airport to Orlando International Airport. The seasonal service starts on Saturday, April 18. The Frontier website shows that the flights will run only on Saturdays. – Fox10 TV

As of now, stimulus payments still potentially taxable income at state level
Americans are looking forward to their coronavirus stimulus payments as thousands of people struggle to pay their bills. But this money may not be exempt from being taxed by the state when people file in 2021. Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Daphne, is drafting a bill to exclude the federal stimulus package from state income taxes. – WTVM

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