Top Headlines: Hyundai’s new wearable robot, Employed Alabamians can’t afford health care

How a Chinese plant in Wilcox County changed the game
Laura Lewis is an unlikely protagonist in the unfolding drama between the U.S. and China. The 32-year-old mother of two, who grew up and still lives deep in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt, always dreamed of being a nurse. But she dropped out of nursing school because she couldn’t find work. In this forgotten backwater of the U.S. economy, a Chinese company called GD Copper opened a new factory in May 2014. The company makes precision copper products that are sold in the U.S. market. In the 15th-poorest county in all of the U.S.—and still the poorest in Alabama—there are now hundreds of new manufacturing jobs. – Forbes

Brace yourself: Yale weighs in on Alabama’s ‘unluckiest island’
On the night of September 12, 1979, a bruising Category 3 hurricane named Frederic roared up the Gulf of Mexico and across Alabama’s Dauphin Island before surging into Mobile Bay. The 120-mile-per-hour winds and 12-foot storm surge toppled the only bridge to the island and destroyed 140 houses. Travel guides from the era described Dauphin Island as one of the Gulf’s hidden gems, a quaint, unpretentious oasis of pastel bungalows, white sugar-sand beaches, and spectacular sunsets. They didn’t mention hurricanes or the fact that the 14-mile island was slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. – Yale Environment 360

Workers at Hyundai’s Alabama plant to use new ‘wearable robot’ exoskeleton
Hyundai’s Alabama plant was instrumental in developing a new wearable robot exoskeleton, and its workers will be among the first in the world to incorporate the technology on the assembly line. On Tuesday, Hyundai Motor Group unveiled plans for its Hyundai Rotem company to produce the Vest EXoskeleton, or VEX, and Chairless EXoskeleton, or CEX. The technology aims to assist industrial workers working in overhead environments. VEX is lightweight and mimics the movement of human joints, allowing for added load support and mobility. Its design allows for muscular assistance without requiring a battery. – ANC

100,000 employed Alabamians can’t afford health care
More than 100,000 Alabamians are holding down jobs but still can’t afford health care, and groups that advocate for expanding Medicaid in the state say those families don’t have to go without.  In Alabama, around 50,000 women who work can’t afford the health care provided by their jobs or private insurance, according to a recent report by Alabama Arise, a nonprofit that advocates for the poor. Those women work in food services, in grocery stores and schools. They work in childcare and the auto industry. – AL Political Reporter

Alabama’s largest church buys land in Gadsden for new site
The Church of the Highlands, Alabama’s largest church, recently bought land in Gadsden to build a new campus for its congregation that currently meets in an auditorium at Gadsden City School. The church purchased 22.8 acres for its new campus, Senior Pastor Chris Hodges said on Sept. 1. –

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Walmart among first companies changing rules after gun violence
Walmart is taking steps to try and combat gun violence. The retail giant announced Tuesday that it would stop the sale of handgun ammunition and  short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style weapons once the current stock ran out. In addition to limiting its ammunition sales, Walmart is asking customers not to openly carry firearms in stores. This includes states that permit open carry such as Alabama. – ANN

Toyota Boshoku, AKI establish joint venture to make seating
Toyota Boshoku Corporation, Delta Kogyo, and Toyo Seat have completed their preparations and established the joint venture company in Athens, Alabama. Toyota Boshoku AKI USA is the new company established as a joint venture by Toyota Boshoku America, which is the North and South America Regional Management and Collaboration Hub of Toyota Boshoku, and AKI USA Corporation, which is the US joint venture between Delta Kogyo and Toyo Seat. – JustAuto

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