Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner.


In this issue:



Survey looks for job clues

By Robert Palmer Staff Writer | 

April 12, 2015 

The Shoals area is still trying to recover from the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in the past year.


Beginning this week, a major first step toward replacing those jobs will be taken with a survey that should provide information on existing labor force skills and the training needed to make the area more attractive to businesses.


"The biggest part of the information will look at the skills gap in the existing workforce," said Keith Jones, executive director of the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG).




[Times Daily]



How 3-D Printing Is Going Out of This World Researchers explore ways to build objects in space; lunar dust as ink

Dutch television producers chose 100 contestants in February to vie for a one-way trip to Mars. If all goes as advertised, winners might be landing there sometime in 2027. They'll quickly need permanent shelter. The nearest Home Depot will be 140 million miles away. The only readily available construction material on Mars is sand.


That might be all they need if a plan by Niki Werkheiser and her engineering team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center works out. They are experimenting with a 3-D printer that would make bricks suitable for airtight buildings and radiation-proof shelters using the grit that blows across Mars's red surface.


In Huntsville, Ala., Ms. Werkheiser, NASA's 3-D print project manager, is starting to print curved walls and other structures using imitation Martian sand as an ink. Engineers at the European Space Agency are exploring ways to use lunar dust as an ink to print out an entire moon base. London-based architects Foster + Partners have designed a printable lunar colony.







Remington's Alabama plant is running, and the first gun is ...

on April 10, 2015 

Alabama's new Remington firearms plant is up and running, and the first gun to bear the Huntsville stamp is a pocket .380-cal. pistol being marketed to women as well as men.


That's the word from the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville Friday where Remington proudly showed off the small semi-automatic model RM380 with "Huntsville" stamped on the right side.


The pistol, which holds six cartridges in a magazine with room for a seventh in the chamber, is apparently also being made in Charlotte, N.C., if a giant poster for the handgun is evidence. The picture shows the new handgun with "Charlotte" stamped on its side.







Birmingham's first health care hackathon aims to solve state's health woes

on April 12, 2015 

A mentor at Birmingham's first health care "hackathon" asked a team working on chronic health whether they could borrow techniques from an unlikely source - the beer industry.


"How does Miller Lite get people to stop drinking Budweiser?" he asked.


Unlocking that question could potentially lead to better strategies to get people to eat healthier, exercise and stop smoking. Changing patient behavior is one of the hardest problems in healthcare, and also the one with the biggest potential for improving the state's dismal health statistics. Obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart disease affect much of the state's population and account for many premature deaths.







More growth ahead for Prattville

Brad Harper
April 11, 2015

Prattville finally ran into something that can slow down its breakneck speed of growth. The weather.


The hope was to have a ribbon-cutting for the new $2.3 million Lemak Sports Medicine and Drayer Physical Therapy building on April 1, but a rough patch of weather delayed the opening until May. The nearly finished building sits in an already bustling hub between Mellow Mushroom and Firestone, across from Home Depot.


Not far away, construction workers slogged through a muddy Tuesday putting up the structure for a 20,000-square-foot Brewbaker Motors dealership that opens this fall. That 14-acre site was one of the few big spaces still available along that stretch of Cobbs Ford Road, an area that has become one of Alabama's hottest business targets.





[Montgomery Advertiser]


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