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Top News Links: Tuesday, Feb. 14

Chocolate makers are having their day

Nancy Curl is busier than Cupid during the week leading to Valentine’s Day. Since last week, Curl and her staff at Morgan Price Candy Co. in Decatur have been working frantically turning out thousands of chocolate-dipped strawberries, their most in-demand sweet for the season. – Alabama News Center

UAH scientists ponder best way to kill drones

Several UAH classes and colleges are collaborating on a new drone takedown strategy at the request of major defense contractor Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman asked the university for strategies beyond shooting the unmanned vehicle down, and the university has revealed its response. They call it a "Cyber Takedown Zone." – WAAY

Comcast announces gigabit plans for Huntsville

Add another player to the companies ready to provide gigabit Internet Service to Huntsville homes and business. This time, the provider says the faster speeds will be available wherever it has a franchise in Madison County. Comcast announced today plans to begin offering gigabit service in its Huntsville service area later this year. – AL.com

Daimler invests in U.S. vehicle finance app

Daimler is investing a double-digit million-euro amount into AutoGravity, a smartphone-based vehicle leasing and financing app as part of a broader push by the carmaker to build a digital platform for financial services. Car buyers in the U.S. can use AutoGravity to find tailored buying and leasing offers, the automaker said in a statement on Tuesday. – Automotive News

Need a forklift? State’s got one to auction

The state of Alabama this week will auction off hundreds of items from laptops, to vending machines, to cars. Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, the public will get a shot at items no longer needed by state and federal agencies, as well as abandoned items from airports across the Southeast. It’s a long and diverse list – forklifts, refrigerators, TVs, ice machines and much more. – Montgomery Advertiser

Four accused of using fake bomb in bank robbery attempt

Federal authorities say four people have been indicted in what they describe as a conspiracy to use a fake bomb to rob a bank in Trussville. An indictment made public Monday says two people planted a hoax bomb outside an elementary school in the Birmingham suburb in November, and one called 911 claiming to have seen someone leave the explosive. Prosecutors say the goal was to draw police to the school so they could then rob a bank. – U.S. News & World Report

Florence incubator coaches food entrepreneurs

The Florence-based Shoals Entrepreneurial Center is home to a culinary incubator that offers a fully equipped, FDA-approved commercial kitchen for fledgling startups to rent at reasonable rates. Beyond that, the center’s staff provides coaching for their culinary clients, with advice on everything from marketing and packaging to volume production and distribution networks. – Made In Alabama

Steel, coal worries cut into Port Authority bond ratings

Fitch Ratings has assigned 'A-' ratings to the Alabama State Port Authority's approximately $280.2 million in senior series 2017A, B, C, and D docks facilities revenue refunding bonds. In addition, Fitch has affirmed ASPA's outstanding $292.2 million in senior docks facilities revenue bonds at 'A-'. The Rating Outlook on all rated bonds is Negative, reflecting continued weakness and volatility in the Port of Mobile's main business lines, namely coal and steel. – American Journal of Transportation

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria opening in Mobile at Bel Air

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, known for its award-winning, coal-fired, brick oven pizza and calzones, announces the opening of its newest location in Mobile, Alabama. Scheduled to open Monday, Feb. 20, the restaurant at The Shoppes at Bel Air will be Grimaldi’s 49th location nationwide. The Shoppes at Bel Air location will be an upscale, seated-style eatery accommodating up to 163 guests. – News release

Nissan’s Titan line going for commercial sales

Slowly and deliberately, Nissan has been rolling out Titan variants to challenge the Detroit 3 for a small share of their big-truck market. Now, Nissan says, it's ready to compete for more. Because only now, Nissan executives said last week at the Chicago Auto Show, does Nissan have the full array of Titan packages and commercial vans. – Automotive News

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