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Top News Links: Monday, April 20

Honda opens new engine assembly line

Honda's Alabama plant marked the opening of a new engine assembly line Friday that the Japanese automaker calls a breakthrough for its operations in North America. The $71.4 million highly automated facility will produce V6 engines for the Odyssey minivans, Pilot SUVs and Acura MDX SUVs made at the Talladega County factory. – AL.com

Chanin says slow fashion a matter of caring

A growing fashion movement has taken root in the northwestern Alabama town of Florence. Starting in 2006, Natalie Chanin's Alabama Chanin and its hand-sewn garments helped jump-start the slow-fashion movement, which pushes back against its opposite, fast fashion. Chanin uses organic, Texas-grown cotton spun into yarn in North Carolina, knitted into fabric in South Carolina and dyed again in North Carolina. – LA Times

ADTRAN updates tech for Calhoun schools

ADTRAN today announced its partnership with Calhoun County Schools to efficiently deploy district-wide, high-speed Wi-Fi to support an aggressive Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. This initiative is enabling teachers to incorporate new tools into their curriculum that will allow students in Calhoun County Schools to compete more effectively in today’s data-driven economy. – BusinessWire

State officials: Nature isn’t enough

Two of Alabama's premier state parks could soon get their own hotels -- if they can overcome legal battles, budget cuts and public dissent. Gulf State Park, on the coast, and Oak Mountain State Park, just south of Birmingham, are both planning major upgrades accompanied by multimillion-dollar lodging complexes. Staying in a full-service suite might not be everyone's version of a night in the great outdoors, but officials say hotels are needed to attract new visitors and new revenue. – AP/Sun Herald

Researchers still unsure about spill effects

Five years after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and flooded the Gulf of Mexico with an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil (more than 100 million gallons), a mixed message resounds from clean-up officials and those tasked with trying to return the Gulf region to its former self. – WPRI

Huntsville/Madison tourism hits $1B

The Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) just received big news. “Actually amazing news when you think about it,” explained Bob Rogers, the CVBN vice president of conventions. “We’re at a billion dollars in economic impact in just the tourism business.” Which means the average Madison County taxpayer will pay $600 less for their yearly taxes due to the dollars that came in from visitors during 2014. – WHNT

Airbus picks Mobile for support center

Airbus Defense and Space announced Friday it has selected Mobile-based Airbus DS Military Aircraft Inc. as its new worldwide support center for the C212 aircraft series. "The goal is to grow in the U.S., and Mobile is a success story," Mike Cosentino, president of Airbus Defense and Space Inc. told a crowd of about 100 gathered at the Mobile facility Friday to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary in the Port City. – AL.com

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