Top Headlines: Mercedes shifts leadership in Vance, Grease trap law now enforced statewide

Mercedes shifts leadership role at Alabama plant
Mercedes Benz U.S. International, the Alabama-based arm of the luxury carmaker, is getting new leadership as CEO Jason Hoff takes on a new role in Stuttgart, Germany the company said Wednesday. Hoff will leave his current job as head of Production SUV/Sports Cars and president and CEO of MBUSI July 1 to become the new Head of Quality Management at Mercedes-Benz Cars worldwide. Replacing him at the Vance, Alabama plant will be Michael Göbel, currently head of Compact Cars Production for Mercedes-Benz Cars. – Southern Automotive Alliance

Medicaid chief says agency will need less money from state
The head of Alabama’s Medicaid agency says it will need less money in the coming year. Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar told state lawmakers Wednesday that Medicaid is asking for $715 million for the coming year. That’s $40 million less than the current year. Azar said it has about $106 million to take into the 2020 budget year and says benefits from the federal budget have helped the state, citing drug rebates, Medicare Part B and the tobacco trust fund. – AP

Grease trap law prompted by child’s death now enforced statewide
More than a year after an Alabama child died in a restaurant grease trap and nine months after the governor signed a law requiring locking lids to prevent another death, statewide enforcement appears to be in place. A split vote by the Mobile County Commission means the law will be implemented in Mobile. That follows a December start for enforcement in most of the state. – AL.com

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Huntsville company digs into your archaeological issues
Before Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Brendan Fraser’s “Mummy” or even Indiana Jones and his crusades, Hunter Johnson thought archaeology was cool. Johnson’s father used to take him digging for arrowheads. His mother was interested in the subject, too. “I blame them for my affliction,” he said with a laugh. That affliction was the inspiration for Johnson to form the Huntsville-based company Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research, which sends staffers to survey, excavate, sift, document and catalog sites around the Southeast. – AL.com

CarFax: Digital odometers make fraud easier, not harder
The number of cars having their odometers tampered with is rising in Alabama. Odometer fraud is when someone rolls the number back on the odometer to show less mile than what is actually on the car. According to CarFax, odometer fraud in Alabama went up from 12,627 cars to 14,411 cars between 2017 and 2018. Chris Basso with CarFax says one reason the number is rising is because cars these day have digital odometers, saying it only takes one minute for someone to roll the odometer number back. – WBRC

Academy closing sporting goods store in Birmingham
Academy Sports + Outdoors will be closing one of its Birmingham area locations this year. The Texas-based company sports retailer has announced its Lee Branch store, located at 310 Doug Baker Blvd., will close by the end of March. That leaves locations in Hoover and Trussville, as well as stores in Auburn, Decatur, Dothan, Florence, Foley, Gadsden, Huntsville, Madison, Montgomery, Mobile, Prattville and Tuscaloosa. – AL.com

Mobile-based Slingshot adds services, expands reach
In order to accommodate rapid growth and expand solutions and services throughout markets in the United States, Slingshot Concierge Group, a top-tier AT&T Solution Provider based in Mobile, has added a new service offering for local businesses with products that improve their connectivity, hired a new leadership team member to direct commercial sales activity, and expanded into Dallas, Texas and San Diego, California. – News release 

Ford plans ‘massive overtime’ to meet Ranger demand
Ford Motor Co. said it is scheduling “massive overtime” at a factory in suburban Detroit to meet strong demand for its new Ranger midsize pickup truck, a stark contrast to the cuts to production of traditional sedans U.S. automakers have been making. Ford is about to boost production of the Ranger, which went on sale this month and already has hits from 300,000 online shoppers. – Bloomberg

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