Top Headlines: Santa Fe boosts Hyundai sales, Alabama’s growing student loan debt

Alabama-made ULA booster arrives at Cape Canaveral
It was a symbolic and important moment for The Boeing Company and for manned space missions, as a rocket booster arrived on Space Coast on Wednesday.  The booster was made in Alabama and came to Cape Canaveral on a cargo ship. It will carry United Launch Alliance’s Starliner capsule, a competitor of SpaceX. “It’s another milestone on the way to reclaiming that ability to be able to send humans to the International Space Station,” said Josh Barrett, a Boeing spokesman. – FOX35 Orlando

Alabama-built Santa Fe boosts May sales for Hyundai
Hyundai posted its best month ever for SUV sales in May, with a 29% jump in sales of the Alabama-built Santa Fe aiding in the achievement. SUV sales made up 55% of the automaker’s total sales for the month. Hyundai Motor America said all vehicle sales totaled 66,121, a 2% increase over May 2018 and the 10th straight month of increasing month-over-month total sales. – Alabama Newscenter

Army on four-year track to deliver lasers, hypersonic missiles
The U.S. Army says it will be able to field combat vehicle-mounted lasers and hypersonic missiles within the next four years to prepare for combat against rivals like Russia or China that may employ enemy drones or their own hypersonic weapons. The service will begin fielding 50-kilowatt directed energy weapons on Stryker combat vehicles in 2022 and road-mobile Long-Range Hypersonic Weapons (LRHWs) in 2023, Army Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office told reporters Wednesday. – Business Insider

Alabama in top 10 for fastest-growing college loan debt
Student debt is rising nationwide, as is Alabama’s share. Experian is out with an analysis that says Alabama is among the top 10 states in the nation with the largest five-year increase in student debt. According to the consumer credit reporting firm, the average student loan debt in Alabama is $35,674. That’s an increase of 3.3 percent from 2018, but it’s a whopping 30.9 percent increase over the last five years. –

Former Lanett Mill to be repurposed by new owner
Monday was a busy day on the Lanett Mill site as a front end loader and some excavators were in operation moving material off the site. It was the final day of ownership of the 27-acre site by Roy Granger, who had it for more than a decade. During that time, the massive Lanett Mill and the Lanett Bleachery and Dye Works buildings were torn down, and anything of value was sold. There’s a great deal of debris left on the site. It’s now up to the new owner, the City of Lanett, to do something about it. – Times-News

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Maryland board delays Alabama-based contract over politics
The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to delay awarding $625,000 to a Alabama-based company after Comptroller Peter Franchot called for a boycott of the state over its new strict abortion law. Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, both Democrats, asked administration officials to explore an alternative for the 20 children in foster care placement with Maryland families through Seraaj Family Homes, a company headquartered in Montgomery. – Washington Post

River Financial, Trinity Bancorp announce merger plan
River Financial Corp. and Trinity Bancorp, Inc. announced Wednesday the signing of a definitive agreement for strategic merger. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined entity will have more than $1.275 billion in total assets, $875 million in loans and $1 billion in total deposits across 17 locations in Alabama. – News release

Byars|Wright to open office in Cullman
Byars|Wright, a local family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, announces its expansion into Cullman. Trae Norrell, currently a producer within the agency, will lead the new office, located in the historic West Side Furniture Building at 216 Third St.  SE. – News release

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