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Top News Links: Friday, Sept. 19

Alabama to be tutored on Medicaid reform

The National Governors Association has chosen Alabama as one of three states to take part in a yearlong policy academy on Medicaid reform. Gov. Robert Bentley's office announced that Alabama was chosen, along with Nevada and Washington. State Health Officer Don Williamson will lead a team of six who will meet with NGA staff and other experts about proposed regional care organizations. – AL.com

Automakers hungry for good steel

North American auto plants soon should see an improved and greater supply of the high-strength steels needed to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy, thanks to a change in ownership earlier this year of an advanced steel-finishing plant 35 miles north of Mobile. – Auto News

Southern poverty remains stubborn

The national poverty rate declined to 14.5 in 2013 from 15 percent in 2012, the first time it's fallen since 2006. But the picture is far gloomier in the South, which at 16.1 percent, had the highest rate of all four regions of the country. – U.S. News

Look busy, World Games folks to visit

In just a few weeks, Birmingham will roll out the red carpet for World Games Association officials as they make their official site selection visit to the Magic City. Three World Games officials will be in town for the visit October 16-19, during which time they'll be shown sites where games and athletes could be hosted. – AL.com

Has debt recovery gotten too nasty?

Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2008, as the country was in the throes of the great recession, Conrad Goetzinger discovered every penny in his bank account, $688.43, went missing. In a panic, he called his bank for an explanation, and discovered that a company he’d never heard of had garnished the account. “In an awful lot of states, the information … may be very, very confusing,” said William Henning, a law professor at the University of Alabama and chair of a committee drafting a model state law on wage garnishment. – ProPublica/Salon

New effort puts local produce on school menu

Farm-to-plate just got easier for north Alabama. A new collaborative effort is bringing healthier options to schools from local sources. Lunchtime at Martin Luther King elementary in Huntsville featured sweet potatoes, courtesy of a farmer in the Tennessee Valley, thanks to the Farm Food Collaborative. – WHNT

Baldwin schools lead in energy savings

When Baldwin County Public Schools teamed with Cenergistic to reduce its energy use, little did it realize how quickly it would become a recognized leader in energy conservation within its state. The school district this year has earned ENERGY STAR certification for 26 buildings, the most ever certified by an organization or business in Alabama. – Energy Star

Trader Joe’s coming to Birmingham

Are visions of $2 wines, the world's greatest hummus and organic frozen foods already dancing in your head? If so, you're one of thousands of Birmingham residents cheering the announcement that Trader Joe's is coming to Birmingham.  – AL.com

Settlement reached in discrimination case

A food processing company has agreed to a $330,000 sexual discrimination settlement in a case involving nearly 2,500 men. The TimesDaily of Florence reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs entered into an agreement with Hillshire — formerly Sara Lee Food and Beverage. – AP/Republic

Manufacturing celebrations all around

Celebrate Manufacturing Week will be held Oct. 13-17 with more than 1,500 manufacturing events across the country taking place during the  celebration.  Ten events are scheduled throughout the state of Alabama with a series of events taking place on the East Broad Campus of Gadsden State. – GadsdenState.edu

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