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Top News Links: Monday, April 3

Mercedes speeding up electric cars schedule

Mercedes-Benz is accelerating its rollout of battery-powered autos in a race to meet tighter emissions rules as European buyers turn away from fuel-efficient diesel cars. In a $10.8 billion project, the world’s largest luxury-carmaker intends to release 10 new electric vehicles by 2022, three years earlier than a target announced at the Paris auto show in September. – Alabama News Center

Sylacauga, world famous for marble, preps for festival

What does Alabama have that’s 32 miles long, one and a half miles wide and 400 feet deep, at a sea level of 50 feet? The answer is in Sylacauga, first mentioned in Fernando DeSoto’s records in 1540. It’s a city of about 13,000 residents in southern Talladega County, about 60 miles south of Gadsden. A solid deposit of the finest and hardest grade of white marble ever known was discovered about 1820; quarrying began in earnest in 1847 and has never stopped. – Gadsden Times

SBDC recognized for work with state’s small businesses

The Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network was recognized recently for its role in helping thousands of small businesses in Alabama, as part of national “SBDC Day” to share the impact SBDCs have in communities across the country. The Alabama program is an accredited member of America’s SBDC, the largest business assistance network in the U.S. – Made In Alabama

Developer giving hope to Black Belt economy

Spring has sprung in Selma and a rookie developer has appeared on the scene with a smile as wide as the Alabama River. Landon Nichols isn’t allowing distressing business news to get him down as he prepares for a challenging second year with the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce. – Montgomery Advertiser

Entrepreneur donates big to UAH’s hockey team

Sheldon Wolitski, the founder and CEO of the multi-million dollar company The Select Group, attributes much of his success to his time playing for the Chargers hockey team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. However, Wolitski says his time in Huntsville was almost finished before it began, when he ended up in the hospital in 1992 after fighting off two would-be robbers. – AL.com

Birmingham CEO Andrew Wingard dies unexpectedly

Andrew Wingard, founder of the startup MetalView, died unexpectedly Monday. He was 35. MetalView, one of the companies selected for the inaugural class of the Innovation Depot's Velocity Accelerator, aimed to create a marketplace between metal industry buyers and suppliers. The goal was to allow buyers to easily access supplier's inventories and quickly get a quote. – AL.com

Honda sees slight sales decline in March

Honda Motor Co. posted a slight decline in March U.S. light-vehicle sales as record truck demand failed to overcome weaker car volume and sharply lower Acura deliveries. Sales at the Honda brand rose 1.8 percent but dropped 21 percent at Acura. – Automotive News

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