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Top News Links: Tuesday, Sept. 9

Reliance to open plant in Cullman

Reliance Worldwide Corp., a leading maker of products for the plumbing and heating industries, announced plans today to open a new manufacturing facility in Cullman to launch U.S. production of its innovative SharkBite plumbing connection system, creating 130 jobs over five years. – Made In Alabama

Decatur GE plant has new owner

It's "business as usual" at the General Electric refrigerator plant in Decatur, at least for now. GE announced Monday it has entered an agreement to sell its appliance division – which includes its Decatur facility – to Swedish company Electrolux for $3.3 billion. The plant is one of Morgan County's largest employers. – AL.com

Battle against bingo costs $895,000

The Alabama Attorney General's Office has spent nearly $895,000 since 2011 on its fight against electronic bingo and illegal gambling, according to information obtained by The Decatur Daily. The figure didn't come from the agency, but a north Alabama lawmaker who also had requested it. – Decatur Daily

Vodquila gives family a shot

When Nina Arora set out to complete a class project at Birmingham-Southern College a few years back, she had no idea she’d be creating an international business that would employ her entire family. Arora, now 25, was a longtime resident of Birmingham and a senior at the college when she developed the idea for Vodquila, a liquor mixed from − you guessed it − vodka and tequila. – Dothan Eagle

Panera: Please leave guns home

Panera Bread doesn’t want guns in its restaurants. The sandwich-and-soup chain out of St. Louis, said it doesn’t want armed customers in its more than 1,800 stores in an effort to increase the comfort of its unarmed patrons, joining a growing list of other companies who have issued similar directives. – CNN Money/WHNT

Debates unlikely in gov race

Alabama voters aren't likely to see debates between the state's two candidates for governor. Representatives of Republican incumbent Robert Bentley and Democratic challenger Parker Griffith had been talking about scheduling debates for weeks, but both sides acknowledged Monday those talks had failed. – AP/Tuscaloosa News

UA, Lockheed create analytics library

UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce has partnered with advanced technology company Lockheed Martin to combine academia and industry to create a first-of-its-kind data analytics laboratory designed toward helping companies better compete in a global economy. – News release

Bumper corn crop good news, sort of

North Alabama corn farmers are harvesting what could be the best crop in decades. That could be good news for poultry producers, who buy the corn for feed, but probably not for the farmers. That crop will only bring about $3.50 per bushel, perhaps less, compared to last years prices of $5.00 to 5.50 per bushel. – AL.com

NASA unveils massive weld tower

NASA’s new Vertical Assembly Center (VAC), a 170-foot-high marvel of machinery that will be used to assemble elements of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS), now is complete and ready to weld parts for the rocket that will send humans to an asteroid and Mars. – News release

Redstone working on SWAP

At the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, engineers work on programs to help improve fire support and build the Army of 2025 and beyond. "The Single Warhead for Area and Point, or SWAP, is focused on developing a single warhead that can address both area and point targets," AMRDEC engineer Mike Turner said. – News release

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