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Top News Links: Monday, March 13

New engines for Blackhawks, Apaches a top priority

During testimony to Congress, the Army's operations chief called the program to replace the engines for almost 3,000 Army helicopters is in the top 10 of the service's modernization efforts. That program is known as the ITEP or Improved Turbine Engine Program. The Army plans to field the new engine in 2,135 Blackhawks and 684 Apaches. Much of the work is done in Redstone. – WAAY

Gander Mountain closing four stores in Alabama

Outdoor retailer Gander Mountain is closing four stores in Alabama as part of a bankruptcy restructuring plan. The Tuscaloosa News reports that stores in Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa are among 32 stores that are closing nationwide. – AP/Miami Herald

Highlands Med Center reduces workforce by 26

The Sand Mountain community lost 26 jobs this week as Highlands Medical Center reduced its workforce in Scottsboro. Highlands CEO Lonnie Albin said the cuts were influenced by several factors involving declining reimbursement from payers and reduced patient admissions. The hospital also cited Alabama's decision not to expand Medicaid. – AL.com

Sight Savers America honors Doyce Williams

Sight Savers America held a special luncheon Wednesday at Regions Field and presented their 4th Annual “Hall W. Thompson Hero For Sight Award” to Doyce Williams, President & CEO of the Alabama Eye Bank. The award is named after Hall Thompson who was a business leader in our state and served on the board of Sight Savers America and had a profound impact on the organization and on children’s vision issues in Alabama. – News release

Ford experiments with three-banger engine in Europe

Ford's next-generation Fiesta ST is losing at least one cylinder -- and sometimes two -- but it's gaining an injection of technology under the hood. The new Fiesta ST, going on sale in Europe early next year, debuts Ford's second three-cylinder engine, a 1.5-liter turbo that generates 197 hp and features a cylinder deactivation system that reduces the engine to a two-cylinder under light loads and when cruising at highway speeds. – Automotive News

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