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Top News Links: Wednesday, August 9

Mercedes-Benz expansion on target for 2018 production

Mike Nicoll looked around the new 1.3 million-square-foot body shop at Mercedes-Benz, still under construction, and allowed himself a moment. "We're starting to see some things take shape," Nicoll, the body shop's senior manager, said. "When you think about how much has gone into this, the pre-planning, how much it took to get to this point, it's a little overwhelming. The plant's new body shop is still more than a year away from the start of production, but already presents an impressive picture at the Tuscaloosa County automotive plant. – AL.com

UAH students, Vector combine for spark-torch ignitor

The University of Alabama in Huntsville along with Vector, a space access company lowering the barriers to getting assets and ideas into space, today announced the successful test of the company’s second-stage engine, which includes a next-generation prototype of the spark-torch igniter developed by four UAH aerospace engineering majors. – News release

Gardendale city school plan appealed in court

Lawyers for black Alabama schoolchildren are appealing a federal judge’s decision to allow a predominantly white city near Birmingham to secede from its predominantly black school district, arguing that to allow such a separation would run counter to long-standing case law and undermine black students’ civil rights. Gardendale has sought for years to form its own school district independent from surrounding Jefferson County, arguing students would benefit from a smaller school system. – Washington Post

Trump endorses Luther Strange in Senate race

President Trump has endorsed Senator Luther Strange to be the next Alabama Senator. President Trump tweeted, “Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!” – WHNT

Clearview Cancer Institute building sold in Huntsville

A Delaware company has purchased one of Clearview Cancer Institute's buildings in Huntsville. Wilmington-headquartered Anchor Health Properties bough the three-story building that houses CCI's operational headquarters for the Huntsville market, including multiple oncology bays, two linear accelerators and office space. – AL.com

Heritage Insurance now operating in Alabama

Heritage Insurance Holdings, a property and casualty insurance holding company, announced today its subsidiary, Heritage Property & Casualty Company, wrote its first property and casualty policy in Alabama. Heritage P&C is actively writing business in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. With Alabama, Heritage P&C expands into its fifth state of production. – Business Insider

Fired Alabama engineer sues over Mississippi power plant

A fired engineer at a now-aborted Mississippi Power Co. plant sued the utility's parent company Tuesday, saying an order to reinstate him is being ignored. Brett Wingo of Homewood, filed the whistleblower retaliation case in federal court in Birmingham. Wingo says in the suit that he tried to tell executives with Atlanta-based Southern Co. that construction at the Kemper County power plant wouldn't meet deadlines promised to investors. Wingo says he raised concerns with executives as high as CEO Tom Fanning before he was fired, and describes that firing as retaliation. – AP/Ledger-Enquirer

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