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Top News Links: Thursday, April 20

Auto supplier to do $20M upgrade in Opelika

Auto supplier Hanwha Advanced Materials America LLC plans to invest $20 million to upgrade its manufacturing facility in Opelika, adding 100 new jobs over the next three years, according to Mayor Gary Fuller. The additional new jobs will push Hanwha’s total employment to more than 400, Fuller said. – Made In Alabama

Poarch Creek Indians launch aviation company in Huntsville

The only federally recognized Indian Tribe in Alabama unveiled an office this morning for its new aviation company in Huntsville. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians held a ribbon cutting ceremony on 7067 Old Madison Pike for PCI Aviation, a subsidiary that will focus on cable and wiring harness fabrication before moving to system integration, kitting, hangar operations, ground support equipment and logistics support services for the U.S. military. – AL.com

Commerce wants to expand workforce investment boards

The Alabama Department of Commerce is trying to restructure their workforce investment boards, expanding them from just three, to seven across the state. The Madison County Commission discussed the topic at Wednesday's meeting. Under the current structure, 65 Alabama counties share just one board. The Alabama Department of Commerce wants to change that. – WHNT

Alabamians a step closer to wine arriving by mail

A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that would allow Alabamians to have wine shipped directly to their homes. Under the legislation, which now goes to the full Senate, people over the age of 21 in Alabama could have up to 24 cases of wine shipped to their doors each year. Shippers would need to obtain licenses from the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board, and out-of-state shippers would have to pay all applicable taxes on the alcohol. – Montgomery Advertiser

Feds sort out botched Avondale smokestack demolition

A Pell City contractor pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal explosives storage and record-keeping charges over a year and half after his botched demolition of the smokestack at historic Avondale Mills in Pell City. Contractor Timothy Manley Phifer pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor, according to an announcement by acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido. Phifer is scheduled for sentencing on Aug.14. – NewsAegis

Baldwin County may get state’s first Buc-Ee’s travel center

Baldwin County may soon be home to a huge, new travel center along Interstate-10. Texas-based, Buc-Ee’s wants to build its first out-of-state store in Alabama at the Baldwin Beach Express exit. The store will have 120 fuel pumps for passenger vehicles and inside will be 50,000 square feet of retail space.  No 18-wheeler truck traffic is allowed at these stores. – WSFA

‘Buy American’ rules sketchy for state’s steelmakers

U.S. President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order on Tuesday left questions about how the government would enforce the order and whether it would make a real difference in output and employment, according to steel executives and analysts. "Buy American" provisions already exist in U.S. law but policing them has been difficult because of waivers granted to foreign companies that undercut their U.S. counterparts on pricing. – Fortune

Moe’s BBQ must now win hearts and minds in Cloverdale

Times are changing in Cloverdale. The old Sinclair’s filling station- turned restaurant is no longer in business. And signs are gone. What was open every day at 11 a.m. is now closed and Moe’s Original BBQ is set to come in. But it’s not sitting well with everyone in the neighborhood. “A lot of people are very sad. It was home for many years to a lot of people. But change is good. He was ready to retire and that’s okay. I think it will be great,” said Jen Powell. – ANN

Merger approved for Progress Financial, First Partners

Shareholders of Progress Financial Corporation and First Partners Financial Inc. have voted to approve the merger agreement first announced on Feb. 14. Under the agreement, Progress Financial will acquire First Partners and the combined institutions will have banking operations in northern Alabama, the Birmingham MSA and Destin, Fla. – News release

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