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Top News Links: Wednesday, Nov. 4

Tractor entrepreneurs work it in Cuba

Saul Berenthal was busy this week in Cuba showing off a tractor aimed for small-scale farmers that he designed with his business partner, Horace Clemmons. Berenthal says he's gotten the initial thumbs up from the director of the Port of Mariel to ship tractors from the Alabama-based plant of their company, Cleber LLC. The two are featured here in this month’s Business Alabama magazine. – USA Today

HealthSouth completes $170M CareSouth deal

The nation's largest provider of recovery health services just got a little bigger. HealthSouth Corp. has completed its $170 million purchase of CareSouth Health System, adding 45 home health and hospice locations in seven states to its Encompass Home Health business unit. – AL.com

Fort Rucker solar power plan moving forward

Plans have been approved for construction of a 10-megawatt solar power project at Fort Rucker, one of two major solar projects approved for the state Tuesday by the Alabama Public Service Commission. The facility is known as a Photovoltaic Solar Array System. The project supports the Department of Defense Energy Performance Goal and Master Plan, which calls for 25 percent of energy used at Army facilities to come from renewable sources by 2025. – Dothan Eagle

A key to top holiday sales: customer experience

This holiday shopping season, the keys to winning for retailers will not be having the “toy of the season,” free shipping, or huge Black Friday sales. Shopping has transformed so significantly that these old ways of competing have become less effective. Perhaps the most successful retailers this holiday season will be the ones who compete on customer experience. – HBR.org

ABC administrator says store closings appropriate

The recent decision by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to close or consolidate 15 state-run liquor stores at the end of the year because of budget cuts has generated a great deal of discussion in the media – and commentaries critical of the decision. – Montgomery Advertiser

Study says oil spill affecting dolphin reproduction

Dolphins living in a Louisiana bay polluted by BP's massive 2010 offshore oil spill have had a very difficult time giving birth long after their bay was covered in slicks, a new study shows. The government study is the latest by a team of scientists that has tracked the health of a population of common bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, an estuary south of New Orleans covered in heavy slicks after BP's April 2010 oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. – AP/Star Tribune

Wellborn Cabinet product researcher honored

Gloria Jones of Ashland, Alabama, was recently recognized by the International Association of Who's Who for Exemplary Achievements in the Field of Product Research. Jones helps manage Product Research at Wellborn Cabinet Inc., located in Ashland. Wellborn Cabinet is a national kitchen and bath cabinet manufacturer, family owned and operated since 1961. – MarketWatch

Coca-Cola bottler closes expansion deal

Birmingham-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company United Inc. has closed a transaction with The Coca-Cola Company expanding Coca-Cola United’s territory into Tallahassee, Florida; Valdosta, Georgia; Alexandria, Monroe, and Shreveport, Louisiana; and Natchez, Mississippi. Terms were not disclosed. – News release

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