Top Headlines: Saving Selma’s St. James Hotel, Navistar expansion

U.S. Steel’s Fairfield electric arc furnace nearing completion
As many as 600 contractors have spent the last year getting U.S. Steel’s Fairfield Tubular Steel plant ready for the future. In this case, the future comes in the form of an electric arc furnace, representing a $412 million investment in the plant. When it is up and running at full capacity, the furnace will employ about 150 full-time employees and be able to produce 1.6 million tons of steel a year. –

Effort ramps up to save St. James Hotel in Selma
The St. James Hotel in Selma has stood since 1837 — decades before the Civil War, through the Civil Rights Movement. While it’s been closed and boarded up for years, there’s an effort underway to save the St. James and this important part of Alabama history. The St. James is known as the crown jewel of Water Avenue, overlooking the Alabama River near the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where thousands gather each year for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee to retrace the steps of Bloody Sunday. Selma’s Civil Rights Interpretive Center is nearby. – AL NewsNet

Navistar expansion one more example of Huntsville’s deep base
No, NASA hasn’t left town and the Saturn V still towers over the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. And, yes, Huntsville is still the “Rocket City.” But the point Mayor Tommy Battle wanted to make Tuesday is that while the Rocket City is still, well, the Rocket City, it’s more than that. And the groundbreaking for the expansion at Navistar was a prime opportunity to tout Huntsville beyond its space legacy. –

Are state’s fines enough to stop careless pollution? Maybe not
Last March, state conservation officials counted more than 500 dead fish after a fire suppression chemical accidentally spilled from Alabama Power’s Plant Gorgas in Walker County into Baker Creek. That’s a tributary of the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. Fisherman James Bramlett discovered the fish kill six days after the spill. In a final consent order, ADEM assessed Alabama Power a $50,000 civil penalty for two environmental violations, based on a 38-year-old law. Should big polluters pay more? – ABC3340

Diverse businesses ‘critical’ to success of Birmingham
African American entrepreneurs were encouraged to embrace growing business opportunities during the start of the 16th Annual A.G. Gaston Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex on Tuesday morning. A panel of business leaders shared with attendees a variety of opportunities. Bob Dickerson, executive director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center and host of the conference, said Birmingham has plenty of opportunities available. – AL NewsCenter

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More farmers signing up to grow hemp in state
Jon Hegeman’s newest crop looks like marijuana. It’s got towering, feathery flowers — aka buds — and those tell-tale multi-fingered leaves. “This is the closest thing you’ll have in Alabama to marijuana,” says Hegeman, a hemp farmer and president and co-owner of Greenway Plants. For the first time in almost 90 years, it’s now legal to grow hemp in the U.S., including in Alabama. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp off a list of drugs the federal government says have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. – WBHM

Ford’s 2020 performance will be an acid test of survival
Ford posted a paltry $84 million profit for 2019, down from $3.7 billion last year and $7.7 billion in 2017. The low profit was in large part due to the launch of the 2020 Explorer, which was utterly botched. This year the stakes are higher, with the Mustang Mach-E launching and the new Bronco and next-generation F-150 debuting. Ford knows it can’t mess this up. – Jalopnik

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