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Top News Links: Wednesday, Aug. 21

Work force tops consideration in auto plant site decision

Area Development magazine ponders factors influencing auto plant site choices, listing availability of a skilled workforce as the top decision factor. — Area Development

Rainy weather leaves cotton hungry for sun

Alabama's cotton has received plenty of rain but may not have enough early sun to yield a good crop this year. — al.com

Birmingham gets nod as great place for pre-med students

A magazine aimed at pre-medical students identifies Birmingham as the top city for them, based on low cost of living, free events and other factors. — PreMed Life

Alabama ranks fifth for obesity

Alabama's rate of adult obesity has climbed from 28 percent to 33 percent in the past 10 years, but its rank has dropped from first in 2003 to fifth in 2013 as other states' residents have gotten heavier. – F as in Fat

Three new projects for Caddell

Montgomery's Caddell Construction has been awarded three major new projects — an office annex in Moscow, Russia; an unmanned aerial vehicle complex at Fort Stewart, Ga., and new barracks at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri — with a combined value of about $190 million. — Caddell PR

State Farm selling Birmingham center, plans to lease it back

As part of a major property shift, State Farm plans to sell its Birmingham operations center and then lease it back from the new owner. – Birmingham News

Barons ballpark wins honors

Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons, was honored as the Ballpark of the Year; the field was designed by HKS Sports & Entertainment Group. — HKS PR

Brasfield & Gorrie completes border center

Final approvals have been awarded for the new South Texas Border Intelligence Center, a $3.5 million building housing agencies of the U.S. and Mexican governments in Laredo, Texas; Birmingham's Brasfield & Gorrie led the construction project. — Brasfield & Gorrie PR

Firearms manufacturer expanding in Bessemer

Steyr Arms has announced plans for a $1.7 million expansion, tripling its 7-person workforce over the next three years. — Birmingham Business Alliance PR

Honors for South accounting program

The accounting program at the University of South Alabama's Mitchell College of Business has been accredited by AACSB International, an achievement earned by fewer than 5 percent of the world's business schools. — AACSB PR

Mercedes ups commitment to in-house alternative fuel use

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International has ordered another 123 hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power for the fork lifts in its new logistics facility; the hydrogen cells replace lead-acid batteries. — Plug Power PR

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