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Top News Links: Friday, August 18

States jockey for position over new auto plant

One of the biggest potential job-creating bonanzas in the country, a giant new auto plant proposed by Toyota and Mazda, began in secret with a mysterious code name. Now it has become a full-blown race among states to try to reel in the $1.6-billion project that will create 4,000 good-paying direct jobs and thousands of other indirect jobs. – USA Today

Energen investor pushing company to explore sale

One of Energen's major investors is pushing the Birmingham-based publicly traded company to explore a sale, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The New York hedge fund owns a stake between 4 and 5 percent and is joining with Corvex Management LP, which pushed for a sale in June. – AL.com

Coal production down almost 7 percent in Colombia

Colombia's coal output fell 6.95 percent to 21.4 million tons in the second quarter from a year earlier, the country’s national mining agency said on Thursday. The Andean nation, the world's fifth-largest coal exporter, produced 23.07 million tons in the second quarter of 2016, the ministry said in a statement. Birmingham-based Drummond Co. is among Colombia’s biggest coal industry players. – Reuters

Altec CEO helps bring pro soccer to Birmingham

The chairman and CEO of Altec, the Alabama-based manufacturer of truck cranes, bodies and more, is part of the proud ownership team behind a new professional soccer team that will join the company in calling Birmingham home. The United Soccer League, a minor league soccer association, recently announced that it had awarded Birmingham a franchise, saying that the team would first lace up during the 2019 season. – Equipment World

Infirmary Health acquires more space in Baldwin

Infirmary Health, the largest non-governmental health care system in Alabama based in Mobile, recently purchased 17.8 acres of Baldwin County land with over 800 feet on US 90 in the Malbis community of Daphne near the intersection of Highways 181 and 90. The undeveloped property was re-zoned to a neighborhood business district B2(a) to accommodate future development plans.  It remains a historical district. – News release

Female worker pulled into machine, killed in Shelby County

A 45-year-old woman has been identified as the worker killed Wednesday night in an industrial accident in Shelby County. The Shelby County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Eva Saenz. She lived in Alabaster. Shelby County 911 received an emergency call from ABC Polymer at 545 Elm Street in Helena at 6:41 p.m., said Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar. Once on the scene, Helena police and firefighters found Saenz had been pulled into an industrial machine. – AL.com

Add water to your whiskey. It’s important.

Two physical chemists walk into a bar. They order whiskeys, and a jolly Scotsman one stool over insists they add a splash of water to optimize the flavor of the spirits. Inspired by the smooth, smoky flavor, they vow to investigate a question whiskey enthusiasts answered decades ago: Does adding water to whiskey really make it taste better? That’s the almost true story behind a paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports. – Washington Post

Professor accused of UNA sex assault now out at new job

A professor at the center of a lawsuit against the University of North Alabama is no longer employed at his latest university. A former UNA student is suing over allegations her professor, David Dickerson, sexually assaulted her and the university covered it up. Over the weekend, UNA said Dickerson "violated university police" and was fired. He later went to work for Metropolitan State University of Denver as  director of international business programs at the College of Business. – WAFF 

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