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December Construction Starts Improve 5 Percent

New construction starts in December grew 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $554.5 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Although both nonresidential building and housing settled back during the final month of 2013, the nonbuilding construction sector (public works and electric utilities) finished the year on a strong note.

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Pro-Tax Group Raises Concerns in Oklahoma

A pro-tax group in Oklahoma is raising concerns among that state’s aggregates producers. The Oklahoma Citizens for Aggregate Benefits will encourage county commissioners, county officials, rural fire departments and others to support HB 1876, which would allow counties to set a tax of up to 7 percent on the production of aggregates.

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Mellott to Expand Used-Equipment Segment

The Mellott Co. has hired Tim Smyth to manage its used-equipment segment, the company said. Smyth will be responsible for further expanding Mellott Co.’s used-equipment business and Certified Rebuild program. Smyth and his team will also be in charge of sourcing used crushing and screening equipment to rebuild and refurbish for worldwide distribution.

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ALJ Ruling in Sago Mine Explosion Overturned

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has overturned a decision by Administrative Law Judge Jerold Feldman involving Wolf Run Mining Co.’s Sago Mine in Upshur County, W. Va., where 12 miners died in a massive explosion Jan. 2, 2006. The commission found that the mine operator’s failure to notify MSHA and mine rescue teams immediately after the explosion involved unwarrantable failure and high negligence.

Read more: ALJ Ruling in Sago Mine Explosion Overturned