Top Headlines: Virus threatens cotton crop, Gerhardi opens Montgomery plant

New virus with no immediate cure threatens state cotton crop
Alabama cotton farmers will face threats to their crops this year in the form of a new virus with no known cure. WSFA-TV reports cotton leafroll dwarf virus is a new strain of cotton blue disease. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System says the virus is transmitted by aphids and diminishes blooms and bolls in the upper canopy, resulting in lower yields, mainly in late-planted cotton. –

Gerhardi opens first U.S. plant in Montgomery
German auto supplier Gerhardi Inc. has opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Montgomery. The $41.6 million plant will employ up to 235 employees. The company will produce interior and exterior plastic automotive parts at the state-of-the-art injection molding, electroplating and assembly plant in Alabama’s capital city. – Business Facilities

Alabama prepares for a weekend visit from Tropical Storm Barry
Tropical Storm Barry will bring heavy winds and downpours to the Gulf Coast as it’s expected to make landfall Saturday morning on the Louisiana coast. Forecasters are predicting the storm may be upgraded to a hurricane. Neighboring states Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle will see remnants from the storm with potential flooding. – ANC

Regions provides $30 million credit line to Jacksonville State University
Regions Bank on Thursday announced it is extending a $30 million line of credit to speed construction at Jacksonville State University, still recovering from an EF-3 tornado that struck campus last year. The line of credit will allow demolition and construction to begin on two facilities damaged beyond repair – Merrill Hall and Wallace Hall – and renovation of Mason Hall. JSU is still awaiting insurance settlements on those structures. –

Hightower has raised over $395K for congressional campaign
Former State Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, a candidate for Congress in Alabama’s open First Congressional District, announced Thursday he had raised over $395,000 during the second quarter of 2019 giving him over $383,000 cash on hand. The Hightower campaign said that that fundraising total of over $395,000 included no loans from the candidate. – AR

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22nd State Bank converts loan office to full branch in Mobile
22nd State Bank announced today that it has enhanced its presence in the South Alabama market by converting its current loan production office located at the Executive Center at 917 Western America Circle Suite 202 into a full-service branch. Customers in the Mobile market will now have a broader scope of banking services, including consumer and commercial deposit accounts, money market accounts, savings accounts, and loans. – News release

Ford pushed ahead with Focus, Fiesta despite transmission problems
Ford Motor Co. knowingly launched two low-priced, fuel-efficient cars with defective transmissions and continued selling the troubled Focus and Fiesta despite thousands of complaints and an avalanche of repairs, a Free Press investigation found.  The cars, some of which lose power on freeways and have unexpectedly bolted into intersections, were sold starting in 2010-11. – Detroit Free Press

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