Produce markets create access to healthy, affordable food

Grace Thorne makes a point of keeping her Wednesday afternoons open. Those afternoons are for going to the market. “The food is good. It’s good-quality produce,” Thorne said as she looked into her brown paper bag of apples, peppers, lettuce and broccoli. The 69-year-old Frederick resident is a regular visitor to Produce in a SNAP, a program from the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest to bring reduced-cost produce to markets with geographic or financial barriers to healthful food. (News Post) 

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Home Depot to open warehouses at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County

Home Depot plans to open two warehouses at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point as part of a push to speed delivery to its customers and stores. The Atlanta-based retailer has released few details on the plans to locate at the site of the former Bethlehem Steel mill, but spokeswoman Margaret Smith said Thursday the warehouses are part of a strategy announced more than a year ago to eventually reach 90 percent of its customers with same-day or next-day delivery. Smith declined to say how many jobs are expected to be created or when the warehouses might open. She also declined to say if the company would build the warehouses or lease the space. (Balt. Sun)

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Regional banks BB&T, SunTrust join to create nation's 6th largest bank, 3rd largest in Baltimore

Southern banking giants BB&T and SunTrust announced they would merge in a $66 billion deal, the first big bank merger since the chaos of the 2008 financial crisis. The deal would create yet another financial titan in the U.S. The combined company will be the sixth-largest retail bank in the country, putting BB&T and SunTrust in the ranks of other megabanks like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The banks said Thursday that the combined company will have $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits serving more than 10 million households, including some in Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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Morgan State gets funding to join group of schools researching blockchain, cryptocurrency

Morgan State University joins Princeton University, Georgetown University and other colleges in a multi-school program aimed at accelerating academic research around blockchain and cryptocurrency. The Baltimore historically black university is among 11 new universities to join the program, known as University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI). It is an effort by San Francisco-based tech firm Ripple to engage research institutions across the globe in studying and innovating around blockchain technology, which has become a hot topic in recent years as the tech behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Celebree School launches franchise model for states along East Coast

Lutherville-based Celebree School, which runs 26 early childhood education centers in Maryland and Delaware, plans to grow through a franchise business model and is looking for operators to open new schools in Maryland and eight other states. The business is offering franchises in Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The education firm, previously known as Celebree Learning Centers, was founded in 1994 by CEO Richard Huffman. “We look forward to bringing our mission of protecting, educating and nurturing children to additional communities and guiding entrepreneurs as they realize their potential,” Huffman said in an announcement Thursday. (Balt. Sun)

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Franchot vows to shine light on lawmakers’ connections

Maryland’s top tax collector and enforcer of alcohol laws — at least for now — is vowing to shine a light on lawmakers and their associations with corporate special interests. Peter Franchot told reporters Tuesday he plans to comment on the relationships between top lawmakers and what he called out-of-state corporate interests intent on stifling the state’s craft brewing industry.  “They’ve opened pandora’s box,” said Franchot. “We’re going to have lots of conversations down the road about what I call the swamp of Annapolis which has many, many connections between high-ranking members of the General Assembly and the out-of-state beer corporations in particular the beer industry but we’ll also get into tobacco and oil,” said Franchot. (Daily Record)

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Maryland bill, backed by Pugh, would extend Pimlico redevelopment study

A bill proposed on behalf of Mayor Catherine Pugh in the Maryland General Assembly would punt the issue of redeveloping Pimlico Race Course for another year. Senate Bill 800 would create a workgroup to study and make recommendations regarding financing for a proposed redevelopment of Pimlico.The legislation also calls for the workgroup to assess the economic impact of the $424 million project. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Black Engineer of the Year conference will return to Baltimore after leaving city in 2010

A convention of more than 10,000 science and technology employers and students that left Baltimore nearly a decade ago will return in 2024 and 2025. The Black Engineer of the Year Award Science, Technology, Engineering and Math conference will be held in February of those years at the Baltimore Convention Center, Visit Baltimore said. The event was held in Baltimore from 1987 to 2010, when it left for Washington. The conference, run by Baltimore-based media company Career Communications Group Inc., is expected to generate more than $3 million in economic impact in each year and more than 4,600 total nights booked in hotel rooms, the city’s tourism and convention bureau said. (Balt. Sun)

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