Lawsuit claims Baltimore billboard tax unconstitutional 

A Texas-based outdoor media company claims Baltimore city is limiting the company's commercial speech by taxing billboards. Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. argues that a city law passed in June, imposing an annual regulatory fee on outdoor ads, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. (Daily Record)

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Health care union blasts UMMS over finances

A health care workers union has launched a full-blown advertising campaign against the University of Maryland Medical System’s financial practices, complete with full-page newspaper ads, highway billboards, radio spots and an advertisement-plastered vehicle circling the system’s flagship Baltimore hospital. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Baltimore tourism numbers on the rise despite areas of concern 

Despite its annual report noting some areas of concern, Visit Baltimore’s yearly business meeting celebrated a successful year of “continued rebound” for the tourism industry. “We have major world-class traction in Baltimore,” said Atwood “Woody” Collins III, chairman of the Baltimore Convention & Tourism Board and executive vice president of M&T Bank. (Daily Record)

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Brochin urges state officials to deny Greene Turtle loan

State Sen. Jim Brochin of Towson this week joined a chorus of high-ranking officials who oppose a proposed state loan to help fund renovations to the Greene Turtle in Towson. Brochin, whose District 42 includes the Towson area, wrote a letter on Wednesday to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp in which he asked the pair to reject the loan when it comes before the three-member state Board of Public Works next week. (Patuxent)

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Kickstarter pays off for Earth Starter 

Earth Starter LLC, a Frederick-based company that makes the Nourishmat for home-grown vegetable gardening, raised over $100,000 in a crowdfunding campaign, the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship announced. (Daily Record)

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Giant Food expands Peapod service to include gas fill-up

An innovative new model for delivering groceries opened in Montgomery County, where shoppers who order groceries online can fill their gas tanks while attendants stock their car trunks with their purchases. Giant Food opened a gas station in Chevy Chase that also will serve as a standalone location for groceries purchased online through its Peapod service. (Wash. Times)

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Jos. A. Bank issues profit warning

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. expects profits to drop in the second quarter, the Hampstead-based retailer announced Thursday. Earnings are expected to decline to about 49 cents to 53 cents per share, compared with 83 cents per share in the second quarter of 2012, the company said. (Balt. Sun)

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Slater touts solar, reliability projects at SMECO meeting

Members of the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative had an opportunity to learn about new projects, talk with employees and board members, and win prizes at the utility’s 75th annual meeting at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. “We’ve made some significant accomplishments in the past year. All of them were planned to move us into the future,” said SMECO President and CEO Austin J. “Joe” Slater Jr. (Independent)

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