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Top News Links: Thursday, Jan. 12

HealthSouth expanding with first Mississippi facility

Birmingham's HealthSouth Corp. is expanding with its first facility in Mississippi. HealthSouth and Memorial Hospital at Gulfport have entered into a joint venture to own and operate a 33-bed rehabilitation hospital at 4500 13th St. in Gulfport. Construction is expected to begin the second quarter of next year. Memorial will still have an ownership interest but it will operate as HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Gulfport. – AL.com

New poultry feed mill a boon to Wiregrass

Wayne Farms’ new South Alabama Feed Mill near Ozark opened Wednesday and will soon provide feed to millions of chickens in the Wiregrass area. But the massive concrete structure is more than chicken feed – the $55 million project represents jobs and economic growth. – AlfaFarmers.org

Volkswagen agrees to $4.3B hit on diesel cheating case

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over its diesel emissions cheating scheme involving some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S. The company has also agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts. The settlement amount includes $2.8 billion in criminal penalties and $1.5 billion in civil claims, according to a statement from the Justice Department, which announced the deal Wednesday in Washington, D.C. – APR

Sessions hearing leads to ‘war on whites’ remark from Brooks

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks said in a radio interview on Tuesday that criticism of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump's pick to be attorney general, is part of an ongoing "war on whites" by Democrats. Brooks was responding to a question about criticism of Sessions' record on civil rights, which has come under renewed scrutiny as he seeks confirmation to head the Justice Department. – CNN

Kinedyne Corp. expands facility in Prattville

Kinedyne Corp., which makes webbing, logistic track, captive beams, ratchet straps and winches for the trucking and cargo industry, says that it’s close to completing a major relocation, consolidation and expansion effort in Prattville. The expanded 200,000-square-foot facility will major in engineering and quality control functions and open up 40 new positions, the company says. – Truck News

How the Fed might change in Trump administration

Change is coming. Fiscal policy, trade policy, and regulatory policies are all on the table and up for review in the Trump administration. In addition, we foresee significant changes on the horizon for the Federal Reserve and how it conducts monetary policy. We see these changes at the Federal Reserve as coming on three fronts. The first is the normal rotation of voters within the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC. – The Hill

Carmakers ramp up efforts on crossovers, SUVs

Automakers are reworking their product strategies and investments for the United States to bring more crossovers and SUVs to showrooms amid a sharp turn away from small and midsize cars, executives at Detroit's auto show say. Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Volkswagen AG are among those adding more SUVs and crossovers to their product plans, amid forecasts that crossovers, pickup trucks and other light trucks could soon make up two-thirds of U.S. light vehicle sales. – Automotive News

Newspaper decries the sad, weakened state of ADEM

If Calhoun County suffered an environmental emergency — say, a sizeable leak in the oil pipeline that runs through Oxford — primary response and cleanup would fall not to the state, but to local authorities. Why? Because the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has ceded that responsibility to the state’s cities, towns and counties. – Anniston Star

Rent-n-Roll store ordered to pay back wages in Montgomery

A Mississippi-based tire retailer is paying $27,000 in back wages and damages to 14 employees at its Montgomery store for altering employee timesheets to cut wages. The U.S. Labor Department said an investigation shows the Rent-n-Roll franchisee, which sells and rents custom wheels and tires, changed records in ways that meant some employees ended up with less than minimum wage. – AlabamaNewsNet

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