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Top News Links: Friday, Oct. 17

Knauf Insulation doubles down on Lanett

Knauf Insulation plans to double production at its Alabama plant, adding as many as 100 new workers in an expansion project that will make the Chambers County facility one of the nation’s largest insulation factories. Company Senior Vice President Jon Pereira said the company selected the Lanett plant for expansion over other locations in Indiana, where the firm is based. – Made In Alabama

State spending on students among lowest

Alabama remains well below its peak levels of funding for students, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The drop may be tied to cuts in funding in the Education Trust Fund, which has only slowly begun to return to its pre-recession levels. – Montgomery Advertiser

Conference offers lessons on business abroad

PZI International Consulting President Debbie McGee hopes attendees of next month's Navigating the International Landscape of People Management conference in Huntsville grasp a lesson. "Obtain the education needed to understand the complexities of working outside one's home country," she said Thursday. The Nov. 6 event at the Embassy Suites will be an all-day conference hosted by the North Alabama International Trade Association. – AL.com

An advocate for longleaf pines

His feet trudged through the underbrush of weeds, moving at the pace, if not with the age, of a youthful park ranger. Surrounded by dozens of pine trees, Dr. Salem Saloom came upon a tall, wiry, sapling. "This one here is my favorite," he said, "pinus palustris."  A retired surgeon, Saloom, 67, started buying land in Conecuh County in the early 1980s. After nine land purchases, he says, his family now owns some 2,200 acres in Evergreen. He takes special pride in nurturing longleaf pine. – AL.com

Create B’ham: New name, new mission

Create Birmingham, formerly The Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, announced the details of the creative industries report, Stoking Innovation in the Magic City: Birmingham’s Creative Industries at an event Wednesday at WorkPlay. The full report, which details a strategic plan to develop and support the creative industries can be read online and is available for download on the organization’s freshly launched website. – News release

Barber Park completes Proving Grounds

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Barber Motorsports Park have announced the completion of the Barber Proving Grounds, a major addition to the Barber Motorsports Park. The Proving Grounds are currently in operation, with Mercedes‐Benz USA as the first customer, using it for their employee "Brand Immersion Experience." – Racer

UAB study may change guard rails

The highways in Virginia may look a lot different soon depending on the results of safety tests on guardrails there. The Commonwealth is demanding new crash evaluations on the end terminals of the ET-Plus guardrails supplied by Trinity Industries, by October 24 according to The New York Times. A study from the University of Alabama Birmingham into the safety of guardrail designs found the ET-Plus was nearly three times as likely to cause fatalities than an earlier product from Trinity, based on eight years of crash data in two states. – AutoBlog

Hoar completes Bridge Street Town Centre

Hoar Construction recently finished construction of Phase III at Bridge Street Town Centre.  Bridge Street is an upscale lifestyle center in Huntsville, Alabama, which originally opened in 2007.  Phase III included a 170,000 square foot, 2-level Belk department store, 50,000 square feet of new specialty shops in four additional buildings, and new surface and deck parking. – News release

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