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Top News Links: Wednesday, March 27

Deadly airport sign had never faced safety inspection

Because a 300-pound overhead sign at Birmingham's newly renovated airport terminal was considered furniture and therefore didn't require inspection, no city, state or federal agency had checked on its safety before it fell, killing a boy and injuring three others in his family. — Birmingham News

State park cuts could affect nearby businesses, officials warn

Alabama state parks chief Gregory Lein has written to city officials in park-neighboring communities, warning that imminent cuts in park hours and services may curtail activity at nearby businesses, the Associated Press reports. — Gadsden Times

Everyone wants great Internet at Brookley; nobody wants to pay for it

As Mobile's Brookley Field awaits the April groundbreaking for the first U.S. assembly line for European plane maker Airbus, local officials are quibbling over who will pay the expected $10 million to $15 million to install a fiber optic system. — Mobile Press-Register

Big buy for urgent care operator

Hoover-based American Family Care has acquired Florida-based Doctors Express, described as "the largest franchisor of urgent care centers in the United States." — American Family Care PR

Memphis firm buying Steel City Crane

Memphis-based Barnhart Crane has announced purchase of Birmingham's Steel City Crane, which has provided crane services for industrial clients for more than 50 years; plans call for closing the Birmingham office and running Alabama operations from Mobile. — Barnhart Crane PR/Birmingham Business Journal

Big bonus for Regions CEO

Regions CEO Grayson Hall received a $1.4 million cash bonus last year after the Birmingham-based bank repaid its federal bailout money; Regions reported a profit last year for the first time in four years. — Bloomberg

Governor meets retired teachers over tuition tax credit law

Meeting with retired teachers to explain his stance on a new law that gives parents tax credits for private school tuition, Gov. Robert Bentley said the new law actually gives public schools more freedom to try new ideas, the Associated Press reports. — WVTM-TV

Quantum wins Army-space contract

Quantum Research International, based in Huntsville, has been chosen for a $19 million contract to develop launch vehicles to deploy nano satellites for the U.S. Army. — Quantum PR

States vying to host drone test flights

Like Alabama, many other states hope to win designation as drone test flight centers. — WVTM-TV

Argentine corn headed for Mobile, or maybe not

After a corn-curtailing drought last year, the U.S. is importing Argentine corn for the first time in several years; one expert says it's en route to Mobile, others that it will go to other East Coast ports. — Toronto Globe and Mail

Job training talks in Montgomery

Government, business and education leaders met in Montgomery this week to talk about ways to prepare the state's workforce to meet the needs of industry. — Montgomery Advertiser

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