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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 27

Hyundai gets ready for battle with sexier crossovers

It was a ho-hum year for auto sales, destined to be the first annual decline in sales since the Great Recession. November sales reflect that Hyundai was particularly struggling, with sales down 8.5% compared to last year. The company’s solution will involve an unconventional approach to crossovers. – Forbes

Texas company spending $110M to do fajitas in Alabama

A company that produces and distributes fully cooked beef and chicken fajitas is expanding their business. John Soules Foods of Tyler, Texas announced Tuesday in a news release that the company is setting up a Valley, Alabama facility. The $110 million, 266,000-square-foot facility will employ about 500 people and help John Soules increase production by more than 100 million pounds. – KLTV

Alabama hospital delays closure for now

Lakeland Community Hospital, a 59-bed hospital in Haleyville, was slated to shut down by the end of this year but the closure has been delayed until at least Jan. 30, according to The Cullman Times. In November, officials said the hospital was closing due to dwindling reimbursements. Hospital CEO Debbie Pace said officials explored "every viable option" before making the decision to close Lakeland Community Hospital, which is the only hospital in Winston County. – BHR

Federal grant to support retail in Cullman County

A Community Development Block Grant of $120,000 will support establishment of a combination convenience store, gas station and sandwich shop in Cullman County. The money will be used to build a deceleration lane and access road off Alabama Highway 157 at the new store in the town of West Point. – AL.com

DataPerk acquires IT Express

DataPerk, a company that provides technology solutions to the Southeast’s leading organizations, has acquired IT Express. IT Express had offices in Birmingham and Mobile which are now DataPerk assets. – News release

Wildlife scientists to test feral swine poison

Feral swine do more than $1.5 billion a year in damage around the country, and scientists are taking what could be a big step toward controlling them. They are field-testing poison baits made from a preservative that's used to cure bacon and sausage. The tests will cover two major habitats, Alabama and Texas, where feral hogs are common during seasons when they're most likely to go for bait. – AP/Trib

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