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Top News Links: Friday, March 4

First U.S.-built A321 exits paint shop

Painting of the first U.S.-built A321 has been completed as it emerged today from the paintshop in Mobile in its JetBlue livery. This latest milestone shows that the first aircraft to be produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility is progressing well on its route to first flight and delivery in spring 2016. – News release

UAB puts up $300,000 for Pepsi sign spot

UAB is taking over one of the most controversial ad spaces in the city -- and paying a lot to do it. UAB announced Wednesday it will replace Pepsi atop Birmingham's skyline, taking over a lease for the 179- by 25-foot billboard on top of the 17-story Two North Twentieth building. UAB will pay $300,000 to put the sign up for one year, and that price tag includes installation and labor. – AL.com

Prosecutor’s conversations are focus of Hubbard case

A prosecutor’s conversations with a political operative took center stage Thursday in House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s effort to dismiss his ethics case scheduled for trial later this month. Hubbard has accused prosecutors of “gross misconduct” because of conversations the lead prosecutor Matt Hart had with Baron Coleman, a lawyer, campaign consultant and radio show host, who had been on the opposite side of Hubbard in numerous campaigns and political fights. – AP/Tuscaloosa News

Southern Makers festival adds two-day event

The popular Southern Makers festival, which has sold out in each of its first three years in Montgomery, has added a second festival that will take place in Birmingham later this year. The two-day event, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 10-11 at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, will showcase the goods and products of more than 200 of Alabama's most creative people. – AL.com

B&G, Coca-Cola celebrate new sales center

Brasfield & Gorrie joined Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. this week for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of the new Coca-Cola Bottling Company United distribution and sales center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The site is situated on 38 acres that was previously home to Olan Mills. – News release

CPSI announces new financing model for hospitals

Mobile-based CPSI has introduced nTrust, a program that makes it possible for community hospitals and skilled nursing facilities to improve financial operations while simultaneously moving into an advanced Electronic Health Records solution with no up-front costs. – News release

Report shows firms moving to control health costs

Despite the delay of the Cadillac Tax to 2020, organizations are implementing plan design strategies and innovations at a rapid rate in order to control rising costs now, according to the 2016 Medical Plan Trends and Observations Report released by Birmingham-based DirectPath and CEB. – News release

Eight companies honored for exporting strategies

Eight Alabama companies were honored this week with a Governor’s Trade Excellence Award for their successful exporting strategies. Across the state, companies large and small are involved in shipping their products to overseas customers. This year’s roster of award winners offers a glimpse of the wide ranging Alabama-made lineup. – News release

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