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Top News Links: Tuesday, April 8

Mercedes employees say union talk banned

Three employees of Alabama's Mercedes-Benz plant who support a United Auto Workers campaign there said Monday that the company has kept them from exercising their rights to talk about union activities in the workplace. – al.com

Carbon Hill residents invited to cut cord

Residents and business owners in Carbon Hill got a surprise in letters from AT&T in February. The company said the town could usher in one of the biggest technological changes since Alexander Graham Bell's first telephone – dispensing with land lines. – WSJ

Energen says it will stay in Birmingham

The CEO of Energen Corp. said the corporate headquarters will remain in Birmingham even after the announced $1.6 billion sale of Alagasco. – al.com

Rand Paul breakfasts in Mobile

The Alabama Republican Party hosted U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) at a roundtable breakfast in Mobile this morning attended by many Mobile and Baldwin County business professionals. – InsuranceNewsNet.com

Hunter Trees named 2014 Farm of Distinction

A Talladega County landscape tree nursery was named Alabama’s 2014 Farm of Distinction April 3 at the Alabama Farm-City Awards in Birmingham. Hunter Trees LLC was chosen from four finalists. As this year’s winner, brothers Phillip and Will Hunter received $10,000 in prizes. – AlfaFarmers.org

Aetos Systems wins NASA contract

Aetos Systems Inc. of Huntsville will provide human capital support services at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The performance period, including all options, has a maximum contract value of $23.8 million. – Aetos Systems

State ranks 8th in women-owned companies

Alabama ranks 8th in the nation in the growth in the number of women-owned firms, while Alabama ranks 38th in employment growth and 30th in revenue growth, according to Joanne Randolph of the Women's Business Center of North Alabama. – WBCNA

Alabamians are paid up

Alabama’s Tax Freedom Day, the day on which Alabamians have collectively earned enough income to pay off their total federal, state, and local tax bill, arrived on Monday this year, making it the 5th state to reach Tax Freedom Day. – TaxFreedom.org

Bass Pro Shop closer in Decatur

A shopping development anchored by a Bass Pro Shops store is one step closer to breaking ground after the Decatur City Council approved an ordinance Monday night to authorize development on the Sweetwater commercial. – al.com

RealtySouth opens new Shoals office

RealtySouth of Birmingham is pleased to announce the opening of its Shoals office, located in Florence. Formerly Real Estate Shoals, the new RealtySouth Shoals branch will continue to operate under the same leadership. – RealtySouth

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