Maryland unemployment stays at 4.3 percent in April

Maryland’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.3 percent in April as the state lost 4,300 jobs, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. The state’s jobless rate had ticked up to 4.3 percent in March, from 4.2 percent. Unemployment in the U.S. was 3.9 percent last month. Maryland’s unemployment rate may be higher than that of the U.S. because the state is seeing more people looking for work and they may not be finding jobs quickly, said Richard Kaglic, a senior regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Companies looking to hire are sometimes struggling to find qualified employees, he said. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland program to stabilize Obamacare hits snag over dispute about payments to insurers

As a federal deadline looms, a state effort to stabilize Obamacare by creating a fund to help insurers cover the most expensive claims may have hit a snag. The two insurers who sell plans in the state under Obamacare, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, disagree about whether the state plan favors CareFirst. The state is proposing to establish a $462 million reinsurance fund with money raised by a state levy on insurance companies plus some federal funds. The program would allow CareFirst and Kaiser to offer lower premiums and prevent Obamacare in Maryland from failing. (Balt. Sun)

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Kaiser Permanente pledges $200 million for U.S. affordable housing; Baltimore is eligible

Calling it one of the biggest private investments ever in affordable housing, Kaiser Permanente pledged to spend as much as $200 million to try to end homelessness in America. Officials with the nonprofit health care provider announced the investment Friday in Washington, D.C., with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and mayors from Alexandria, Va., Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore. “Maryland is one of the richest states in the country,” Pugh told the crowd. “Yet homelessness permeates the streets of our city.” (Balt. Sun)

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Solar company seeks to build facility in Union Bridge

A solar company hopes to turn 50 acres of land in and around Union Bridge into a field of solar panels within two years if it can obtain approval. The public was invited to an informal meeting Thursday to discuss the proposed solar facility. Citizens UB Solar LLC, which owns the land formerly known as the “Buckey Property” as well as land stretching beyond the town limits into the county, sent representatives to present on the project, designed to span 49.76 acres and produce 9.9 megawatts of energy. Following the citizens meeting, the company introduced the project formally before the Union Bridge Planning and Zoning Commission. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Cockeysville equine arena, dedicated to Kevin Kamenetz, will treat vets with PTSD

When Gail Watts, a 30-year military veteran, returned from her second deployment, something felt off. Watts, Baltimore County’s director of corrections, didn’t know how to put the feeling into words. But she knew she needed help, so she participated in a three-day program with the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation, which pairs about 200 veterans a year with horses to help the vets process trauma. “I was a skeptic when I went into the program. I said to myself, ‘How can horses help me?’” Watts said. “It was a therapeutic experience that changed my life and helped me to deal with the changes I was experiencing when I came home from deployment.” (Balt. Sun)

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Preakness could ultimately land on ‘super track’ at Laurel

Belinda Stronach has lofty goals for horse racing in Maryland, and she isn’t so sure Pimlico Race Course is the place to make it all happen. Stronach, the chairman and president of The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Pimlico and Laurel Park, spoke to The Associated Press Saturday about the future of the Preakness as rain poured on the infield chalet with her last name on it. “There’s a lot of tradition here with respect to the Preakness,” Stronach said. “Every year we try to do things better and better. But also, most people realize this facility is very old and in need of repair and major renovation. So for us at the Stronach Group, we ask ourselves, ‘What is the best option?'” (WTOP-AP)

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From Jaguars to 'junkers,' Baltimore longshoremen are first and last behind the wheel

Leo McFadden Jr. doesn’t drive them far, but this car lover has a dream job. The 16-year Baltimore longshoreman is part of a team of drivers who get behind the wheel of all the newest foreign makes and models before they are seen at a dealership or in a magazine. The dockworkers drive Jaguars, Maseratis, Mercedes and all manner of other gleaming vehicles off ships from Europe and Asia and onto American soil at the port of Baltimore. “You name it, I’ve been in it,” McFadden said. The port of Baltimore handled more than 800,000 autos and light trucks for the first time last year. (Balt. Sun)

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Program aims to connect Maryland's college students and international businesses

Connor Ganley, a rising senior at UMBC, will spend one morning a week this summer meeting with some of the most successful global companies in Maryland. The 21-year-old student sees the chance to learn about international business as key to his future in chemical engineering. Ganley is among 25 students in the inaugural class of a program for Maryland college students being launched by the World Trade Center Institute, a nonprofit international business network at the Baltimore World Trade Center in the Inner Harbor. (Balt. Sun)

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