Oct. 7 // Fiber-optic network lighting aspirations across state

Hundreds of miles of new fiber-optic cable about as thick as a garden hose are lighting 21st-century ambitions from one end of Maryland to the other. Economic development officials imagine businesses opening or expanding thanks to more robust Internet connections. School administrators envision students using more electronic resources and foresee greater collaboration between schools. Some folks just look forward to dumping their dial-up modems. "We're providing a new highway system touching every area of the state," said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, whose technology staff took a lead role in the Central Maryland portion of the statewide project called the One Maryland Broadband Network. (Balt. Sun)

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In Md., government shutdown buffets businesses

The federal government intertwines with Maryland businesses in many ways, which means many Maryland businesses feel the pinch when the D.C. machinery comes to a halt. President Barack Obama chose a Rockville construction firm as the backdrop for his speech Thursday about the shutdown's economic effects. Some companies measure the impact in disruption and uncertainty. Others already are taking a bottom-line hit, either because they're government contractors or because they rely on the federal workers now going without pay. (Balt. Sun)

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Lockheed plans to furlough 3,000 employees companywide on Monday

The federal government shutdown is affecting one of Montgomery County’s largest employers, Bethesda defense giant Lockheed Martin, which announced Friday that it would furlough about 3,000 employees companywide on Monday because of the political standoff. The furloughs at Lockheed — which has about 5,000 employees in Montgomery County — include employees who cannot work because a government facility where they work is closed. (Gazette)

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Maryland’s health insurance Web site stumbles badly in first days

Barely 24 hours after President Obama signed his landmark health law, Gov. Martin O’Malley promised that Maryland would “lead the nation” in putting it in place. In the three years since, Maryland has been at the forefront of implementing the Affordable Care Act. If any state was going to be ready for Oct. 1, when millions of uninsured Americans would be able to start buying coverage under the health law, it would be Maryland. But when Tuesday arrived, Maryland’s Web site stumbled badly. (Wash. Post)

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Salisbury apartment construction booms as single-family building wilts

Call it Apartment City. Since August 2011, a confluence of local and national economic trends has led to a boom in apartment construction and a bust in new single-family housing in and on the doorstep of Salisbury. Apart from altering the physical landscape of Delmarva’s largest city, the trend stands to significantly amplify the already substantial share of housing given over to renters. (Daily Times)

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Job uncertainty could affect federal recruiting

As an accounts manager with the U.S. Department of Energy, Steve Bruno has endured a wage freeze, the sequester and now the partial shutdown of the federal government. Waiting at Penn Station last week for the train to his job in Washington, the Baltimore man said the serial uncertainty hadn't soured him on government work. "Not yet," said Bruno, 38. "Maybe if it goes on." As agencies sent nonessential employees home, unions and other advocates for federal employees warned that the seemingly endless succession of fiscal crises and cuts is threatening the ability of the government to recruit and retain the best talent. (Balt. Sun)

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Rocky Gap Casino bets on poker

Shuffle up and deal, Western Maryland: Rocky Gap Casino Resort has added Texas hold’em to its gambling lineup. The Allegany County casino, hard by Interstate 68, opened three poker tables to the public Friday after receiving regulatory approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. (Wash. Post)

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St. John unloads Maryland Executive Park in Towson: 'It was just time'

St. John Properties Inc. has sold the 206,000-square-foot Maryland Executive Park in Towson for $26.5 million. Gerard J. Wit, a senior vice president for St. John, confirmed the sale. The buyer is Connecticut-based Greenfield Partners LLC, a company that has been active in the region over the past two years purchasing suburban office parks. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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