Tourism official: Hagerstown needs more sports tourism facilities

For the third year in a row, Hagerstown served as one of several sites in Washington County as a host location for a national youth lacrosse tournament this past October. The Maryland Sports Commission estimates the two-day event pumps about $1.4 million into the local economy, according to Dan Spedden, president of Visit Hagerstown. Sports tourism, especially involving youth, has continued to grow in recent years, and Spedden hopes the city can capitalize on that momentum by pursuing new venues in 2019. “We need more facilities to market bigger and better tournaments,” Spedden told Herald-Mail Media in a recent interview. (Herald-Mail)

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CareFirst sees some members take advantage of less-expensive plans

More than 1,600 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield members on the individual market heeded the insurer’s call to switch plans for 2019, potentially tapping into hundreds of dollars a month in savings. While preparing its rates for 2019, CareFirst realized that thousands of its members in PPO plans were paying more for the same services they could receive in the insurer’s HMO plans. CareFirst encouraged members to take a look at their plan and see if they would be better off switching. (Daily Record)

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Three more officials resign from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Three more officials have resigned from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the wake of a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins Medicine on Wednesday. The officials are Dr. Brigitta Mueller, chief patient safety officer and vice president of medical affairs; Sylvia Ameen, vice president of marketing, communications and culture/physician engagement; and Dr. Gerhard Ziemer, director of the Heart Institute and chief of cardiovascular surgery. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland’s Airbnb rentals total around $57M in 2018

Maryland homeowners who rented their property using a home-sharing website generated around $57 million in income in 2018. The Baltimore Sun reports about 6,500 Marylanders used Airbnb to rent individual rooms or entire spaces to around 383,000 visitors this year. The company said in a statement Monday that residents who use Airbnb to generate supplemental income averaged about $5,600 in 2018. The figures come on the heels of a decision by the Baltimore City Council to impose a strict set of rules on renting out property on online platforms, including Airbnb. (WTOP)

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Greater Baltimore's public companies have paid out $1.4B in dividends this year

Greater Baltimore's public companies increased the amount they spent paying out dividends by 12.5 percent in 2018, following a national trend that has helped investors during a year when the stock market has gone negative. Aided by last year's tax law that slashed the corporate income tax rate, the region's biggest public companies have spent about $1.44 billion on dividends as of Sept. 30, according to federal filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Joel Dunn leads Chesapeake Conservancy in new mapping project

For the Chesapeake Conservancy, and President/CEO Joel Dunn, 2018 went out on a high note. The Annapolis-based organization announced that it was awarded $1.1 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to bolster its land cover project, which uses aerial images and computer programming to identify precisely what’s on the ground across the watershed — impervious surfaces like a strip mall and interstates that rain can’t soak into, or natural surfaces like fields and forests that offer slow filtration. (Balt. Sun)

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Bridge Investment Group buys Station Square, plans coworking

A subsidiary of Bridge Investment Group purchased Station Square office complex in Silver Spring, and plans $12 million in upgrades including a new coworking concept in one building. Bridge Investment Group, via its subsidiary Bridge Office Fund Manager LLC, purchased the three Class A office buildings on Friday for an undisclosed price. (Daily Record)

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Hogan announces contract agreement with 1,500 state health care workers

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that a contract deal has been reached with about 1,500 state health care workers. The agreement with the American Federation of Teachers-Healthcare Maryland will grant the members of that union a 3 percent cost of living increase on July 1, followed by another 1 percent increase in 2020 — contingent upon state revenues exceeding projections by $75 million. Some of the employees, including addiction counselors, epidemiologists, mental health counselors and nurses, will receive an additional 6 percent increase “to assist with state recruitment and retention efforts,” according to the governor’s office. (Balt. Sun)

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