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Top News Links: Friday, Feb. 24

GE plants in Huntsville starting to take shape

By 2020, Aerospace giant GE Aviation is projected to have more than 750 U.S. employees dedicated to its advanced ceramic matrix composites industry. “We continue to make great progress,” Huntsville site leader Jon Lyford said. “The engineering and construction teams are on track to start placing process equipment by October. The CMC prepreg facility commissioning will be complete in the summer of 2018. The CMC fiber facility commissioning remains targeted for the spring of 2019.” – Made In Alabama

Nemak America adding 100 jobs in Sylacauga

Nemak Alabama is adding up to 100 new jobs through 2020, according to The Daily Home. Most of the jobs, which include salary, direct and indirect labor, will be filled over the next two years. According to the company, the jobs will stem from Nemak entering the structural components business and to support technology for automotive lightweighting. – AL.com

Mississippi prison bribery probe now has Alabama link

An Alabama consultant has admitted to lying to FBI agents about a health care contract at a county jail in Alabama, signaling that a Mississippi prison bribery probe has spilled across state lines. Michael P. Goddard of Vestavia Hills admitted in a plea agreement filed Tuesday in federal court that he received money from Mississippi-based Health Assurance in connection with a contract that the company had from 2007 to 2011 to care for inmates at the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham. – AP/Hattiesburg American

Foley’s UTC Aerospace plant a global best

Being picked as one of IndustryWeek's best plants of 2016 didn't come as a complete surprise to leaders at UTC Aerospace in Foley. "It is a tremendous deal for us. But really it shows what we all had known," said General Manager Darrell B. Wilson. "We knew we were the best plant. The world knows it now." – AL.com

Mercedes ponders U.S. potential for its new pickup

Mercedes-Benz Vans division is looking closely at a growing demand in the U.S. for midsize pickups to see whether there is potential to launch its X class in the market, divisional head Volker Mornhinweg said. Mercedes-Benz Vans has developed its first pickup, a Nissan-based model to be sold in South America and Europe, but has so far shied away from launching it in the U.S. because customers there have traditionally preferred full-sized vehicles. – Automotive News

‘Dirty Jobs’ TV host Mike Rowe visits Moog plant

TV personality Mike Rowe visited Boaz's Moog plant last year, and extolled the job done by workers there in a video that's making the rounds on social media. The host of "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It" posted video to his Facebook page today, while the company posted photos and video to its site. His work there was part of the company's "American Pride" video series. Moog manufactures automotive parts. – AL.com

Academy, PetSmart to replace Kmart in Florence

The Shopping Center Group announces the entry of two national retailers to Florence. Academy Sports + Outdoors, set to open in May, and PetSmart, which will open this fall, replace the former Kmart at Florence Square as part of the center’s $15.25 million redevelopment, to be completed later this year. – News release

Accused credit card skimmers face federal charges

Alabama authorities say they’ve shut down a major credit and debit card skimming operation that spanned four states. Eunises-Llorca Manses, 30, and Reiner Perez-Rives, 34, are accused of installing skimming devices on gas pumps, including one gas station in Ozark. Authorities say the crooks would target unsuspecting victims at gas stations and use their debit and credit card information to make illegal purchases. – Alabama News Net

Synovus offers early retirement to some employees

Georgia-based regional banking company Synovus has made a small number of early retirement offers to selected employees, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday. The company employed 4,436 people in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina as of Dec. 31. – Ledger-Enquirer

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