Soulful Symphony finds its new home at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Darin Atwater sat down at a piano backstage at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Monday morning and performed an original piece, “First Note,” which he had composed over the weekend. The piece was to symbolize how Atwater’s orchestra, Soulful Symphony, which he founded in 2000, is moving into its new home at Merriweather, located in the heart of Columbia. Atwater was joined by Ian Kennedy, director of the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, and County Executive Calvin Ball at a press conference Monday to officially announce the symphony’s residency. (Balt. Sun)

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At Baltimore restaurants, black women rarely hold positions of power. Here's what they're doing to change that

Bar Vasquez general manager Charisse Nichols has been referred to as a racial epithet, repeatedly mistaken for the hostess and even spat upon. As an African-American woman and a leader at the upscale Argentine restaurant in Harbor East, she knows that this treatment can come with the territory. "I don’t see a lot of me," said Nichols, 44. "I can see that as being a jarring thing for other people." In a city that is 63 percent black, African-American women are a rarity in positions of power in restaurants. (Balt. Sun)

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Honda Likely Recalling 1 Million Vehicles For Second Time Due To Defective Airbag Part From First Recall

Honda is recalling around 1.2 million older vehicles in the U.S., Canada and Central America because the Takata driver's air bag inflators that were installed during previous recalls could still be dangerous – exploding and sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The recall covers many Honda and Acura models from 2001 through 2016. Takata used ammonium nitrate to inflate air bags. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures and humidity, blowing apart a metal canister and hurling shrapnel. At least 23 people have been killed worldwide because of the defect. (WJZ-TV)

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Maryland unemployment rate falls to lowest level in a decade

Maryland gained 3,100 jobs in January and saw its unemployment rate fall to its lowest level since 2008. The state started off 2019 with an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, down from 3.9 percent in December. Maryland's unemployment rate is now below the national average, which edged up to 4 percent, according to preliminary data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Maryland's unemployment rate is at its lowest point since April 2008 before the Great Recession. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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Walmart's Maryland workers will share nearly $2 million in bonuses

Walmart’s Maryland workers will share nearly $2 million in cash bonuses, thanks to a strong end-of-year performance for the mass discounter, the company said. Bonuses for its 18,200 employees in Maryland are part of nearly $207 million the retailer doled out in March 7 paychecks to 912,000 U.S. workers. Walmart reported comparable store sales growth of 4.2 percent in the last three months of the fiscal year.  Quarterly bonuses for full- and part-time workers are part of an incentive plan tied to sales and customer service goals. (Balt. Sun)

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Pepco offering free trees to help homeowners lower energy bills

Pepco is giving away 1,000 free trees to its residential customers in Maryland and D.C. to help conserve energy. The utility is partnering with the nonprofit group Arbor Day Foundation to distribute the trees. One-gallon trees will be delivered in April and May. Larger trees will be available for pick up. “Properly planted trees can provide many benefits, such as reducing energy use through summer shading and by slowing winter winds,” said Christina Harper, Pepco communications manager. A variety of trees is available for the choosing: redbud, crepe myrtle, river birch, red oak and red maple. (WTOP)

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Developers sought to overhaul two blocks in the city's Bromo Arts District

The Baltimore Development Corp. has issued a request for proposals from developers interested in improving two blocks of the Bromo Arts District on downtown’s Westside. The parcels make up a southern corner of the arts and entertainment district, which is anchored by the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower and was established in 2012 by the state to boost investment in other arts activities and venues such as theaters, galleries and housing for artists by providing tax breaks. The parcels, bound by Lexington, Howard and Fayette streets and Park Avenue, are near Lexington Market and the Hippodome Theatre. (Balt. Sun)

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Wireless industry reps worry Maryland will become 'doughnut hole' of 5G readiness

The future of wireless technology is fast approaching, and local industry officials are worried Maryland could be left behind. Have you ever been at a football game or in a crowded arena and couldn't get an app or a webpage to load on your phone, even though you had full service? "That's a traffic issue," said Arturo Chang. It's because thousands of people in a concentrated location are all trying to use tons of mobile data at once, and the nearest cell towers cannot handle all of that extra traffic. Chang's organization, the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), represents many of the companies involved in the effort to fix that connectivity problem. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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