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Top News Links: Monday, Sept. 29

Cheer up, we beat West Virginia

In 2014, Utah, Minnesota and North Dakota rank among the happiest states in America. New in-depth analysis from personal finance social network WalletHub took a look at 26 metrics, ranging from emotional health to income to sports participation rates, to determine the rankings. Alabama ranked 50th, sadly, beating only West Virginia. – NBC

Mercedes aims for 10 hybrids by 2017

Mercedes-Benz plans to launch 10 plug-in hybrid models by 2017, according to the company’s research and development chief. The hybrids would mirror most of its major models, including the C-Class sedans and M-Class sport utility vehicles made at its auto assembly plant in Vance. – Tuscaloosa News

OSHA putting data online to ‘nudge’ employers

Starting in January, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require employers to notify the government within 24 hours every time someone loses an eye, suffers an amputation, or gets admitted to the hospital with an injury sustained at work. – Business Week

Gulf State Park project advances

State officials may call it a lodge and meeting space, but locals know it as the much-talked-about convention center and hotel to be built on 2 miles of beachfront at Gulf State Park. Gov. Robert Bentley has contracted with the University of Alabama to help get the project rolling. The university has asked for a request for proposals (RFP) to be submitted by Oct. 6 for a master plan for the project. – AL.com

Rule 1 of emailing: respond quickly

In a new book out this week chock full of Google-flavored business wisdom, How Google Works, Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg share nine insightful rules for emailing (or gmailing!) like a professional. – Eric Schmidt/TIME

UAB’s new health center has it all

The new Student Health and Wellness Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham opened earlier this month in a renovated space that combines the Health Services medical clinic and Counseling Services in a central location on Ninth Avenue South. The center, which follows an integrated health and wellness model, will provide a comprehensive program in a facility designed to meet all of a student’s medical, counseling or developmental needs. – UAB Reporter

Company challenges NASA’s decision

Sierra Nevada Corp. said late Friday it has filed a legal challenge to NASA's selection of Boeing and SpaceX to provide the next generation of space access for American astronauts. Sierra Nevada was also in the running for a contract, but not selected. – AL.com

Restaurant owner keeps pistol handy

When Doug Stewart is working, a 9mm handgun is in a holster at his waist. But Stewart, 59, isn't a law enforcement officer or a security guard. The former Army sergeant spends about five hours a day at the Elberta restaurant he owns serving folks coffee, grits, omelets and his cook's specialty — pecan french toast. – AL.com

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