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Top News Links: Wednesday, July 17

Health officials ponder rules for free-standing ERs

Three free-standing emergency medical facilities — emergency rooms that aren't located at hospitals — have been approved by state health officials, who are now considering rules for their operation. — Birmingham News

No new trial for Scrushy

Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, convicted in 2006 on bribery and fraud charges, this week lost his appeal for a new trial; he has completed his prison sentence and is now living in Houston. — ABC News

Walter Energy in interest rate talks

Birmingham-based coal mining company Walter Energy is working to change its debt agreements, which could lead to a drop in dividends. — Businessweek

Oklahoma sues EPA over tactics

The Oklahoma attorney general has filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, charging that it encourages lawsuits from environmental groups and settles them with stricter sanctions against states and industries; Alabama is one of 11 other states joining the suit. — The Oklahoman

Arts group talks plans with Decatur

Creating a residential arts community in downtown Decatur will be the topic of a public meeting July 30 at the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts. — al.com 

Gestamp plans expansion in McCalla

Auto supplier Gestamp North America Inc. has announced plans to expand its McCalla facility, adding 96,000 square feet and about 58 jobs. — Birmingham Business Journal

Agency asks for funding increase for mental health care

In the wake of state psychiatric hospital closings, the Mental Health Center of Northeast Alabama has asked Limestone County to increase its funding for indigent mental health care. — Athens News Courier

Tax breaks finalized for Summer Classics deal

The City of Pelham has finalized its offer of $275,000 in tax breaks for outdoor-furniture maker Summer Classics, which is slated to consolidate several of its operations at the former Moore-Handling site. — Birmingham News

Experts link Gulf oil sheen to Deepwater Horizon spill

Oceanographers from two major research centers say that a recent oil sheen near the well site probably originated from oil trapped in pieces of the wrecked well. — Huffington Post

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