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Austal Awarded Additional LCS Contract, Oyster Beds Reopened in Mobile Bay

LCS USS Montgomery
Thigpen Photography
Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery at Austal shipyards in Mobile, Ala.

The U.S. Navy has awarded Austal USA the contract to build Littoral Combat Ship 26.

The additional warship is part of a contract modification increasing Austal USA’s block-buy contract with the Navy to 11 ships.

When LCS 26 is built, it will be the 13th LCS built by Austal USA at its shipyards in Mobile. The company currently has ten warships in different stages of production: seven Littoral Combat Ships and three Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels. Three LCS vessels have already been delivered to the Navy, and a fourth will be delivered later this year.

The new contract comes on the heels of a recent decision by the U.S. Navy to give Austal $14 million for special studies and analysis of the new ships. At the beginning of this month, the company was awarded an additional $14.5 million toward design changes.

Oystermen can go back to work in parts of Mobile Bay now that two areas are reopened for harvesting.

Areas 1 and 3 of the bay are now open after being closed for over a month because of potential bacterial contamination. The issue came about due to heavy rainfall in late February.

Ron Dawsey is a Deputy Director with the Alabama Department of Public Health. He says rising waters have halted harvesting before in the past.

“The high water level, which is usually indicated by the Mobile River Stage, can indicate runoff of any potential pollutants, contaminants, bacterial contamination that would trigger a closure. It’s not especially unusual, especially during the wintertime.”

Dawsey says people can check the Alabama Department Public Health’s website to view a map of the reopened areas.

It looks like you have a little more time to file your federal income taxes this year.

The Internal Revenue Service says the traditional due date of April 15 is now April 18. That because Friday the 15th is a holiday in Washington D.C.

Greg Rosica is a contributing author to the EY Tax Guide 2016 and a partner with tax preparer He says Alabamians could save money this year if they know one trick.

“You know, in Alabama, you have state income tax that you pay, you could deduct that, but you could also deduct the sales taxes you payed, if those were higher, so you want to make those comparisons to make sure you’re taking the one that is the best for your personal situation.”

Rosica also says it helps tax preparers to know your personal situation well so people can learn about the best ways to get tax reductions.

The president of Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College plans to step down from his position next year.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, Peter Millet says he plans on stepping down once his current three-year contract expires at the end of June 2017. The college's board of trustees has announced it will spend the next year looking for a successor.

Millet did not specifically mention a reason for leaving. He says he made the decision not to seek a contract extension, approaching the board of trustees about stepping down.

Millet officially began his tenure as Stillman's sixth president in July 2014. The former provost served as interim president following resignation of former president Ernest McNealey in fall 2013.

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