SuperShuttle drivers protest franchise terms they call “intolerable”

Mohamed Cisse, like the other SuperShuttle van drivers at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, routinely puts in seven-day weeks and 18-hour days, sometimes sleeping in his van at the airport. But his work ethic stems not just from the need to support his family. Because of a “franchise” arrangement that Cisse and the other drivers say is exploitative, they face a mountain of debt and pernicious weekly fees that pile up whether they are sick, business is slow, the airport is closed or – as happened to Cisse last year – their van is stolen and they cannot work. (Brew)

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General Assembly leaders propose bills to support, retain cyber firms in Maryland

Democratic General Assembly leaders are proposing legislation that they say would create jobs in the state's growing cyber security industry. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch on Friday announced two cyber security initiatives for the General Assembly to consider this session. One would be modeled after the Maryland Technology Development Corp.'s Technology Commercialization Fund. The proposed Cyber Seed Investment Fund would make investments of up to $100,000 to cyber security startups that develop products for both the government and commercial sectors. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Baltimore City considering sale of property to boost port's auto processing

A developer wants to buy city-owned property near the Fairfield Marine Terminal to turn it into more parking for the port of Baltimore's thriving automobile import and export trade. The city's Board of Estimates could consider as early as Wednesday selling the 8-acre property in the 1500 block of Chesapeake Ave. to Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC for its appraised value of $760,000. The Baltimore Development Corp. board voted Thursday to recommend the sale of the once-residential but long-vacant site. (Balt. Sun)

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Company destroys computers, phones carrying sensitive data

In a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, where visitors are required to trade in a driver's license for a visitor's badge, some of the nation's secrets are torn apart, reduced to sand or demagnetized until they are forever silent. "We make things go away," said Arleen Chafitz, owner and CEO of e-End Secure Data Sanitization and Electronics Recycling. The firm's clients include the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. Its work: destroying hard drives, computers, monitors, phones and other sensitive equipment that governments and corporations don't want in the wrong hands. (Balt. Sun)

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Jan. 24 // Construction set to begin next week on Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods Market

Construction of Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods Market is set to begin next week and the store will open in late 2015, the project’s developer said Thursday. The Whole Foods store, planned for a wooded property on the northwestern boundary of Riverdale Park, was stalled for nearly two years. During the lengthy approval process, residents and some elected officials from nearby towns argued that the new grocery would worsen traffic in the already congested Route 1 corridor. (Wash. Post)

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Business bankruptcies decline statewide again

In another sign of an improving economy, the number of business bankruptcies in Maryland declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2013, reaching the lowest level since pre-recession 2007, according to federal bankruptcy court figures. Business bankruptcies dropped 12 percent last year from 2012 to 511 and were down 44 percent from the decade-high level of 913 in 2009. Overall bankruptcies, including consumer cases, were down 6 percent last year from 2012. (Gazette)

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Baltimore County Council passes countywide food truck bill

An eleventh-hour amendment expanded Baltimore County's food truck pilot program from a Towson-specific endeavor to a countywide measure, the last in a series of alterations to the guidelines that aimed to make food trucks more welcome outside city limits. (Balt. Sun)

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Bixi bankruptcy will slow, not stop, bike rollout, city says

Baltimore officials said today that the bankruptcy of Bixi, the Montreal maker of bikesharing equipment, won’t put the brakes on the planned launch of Charm City Bikeshare this summer to serve tourists and downtown residents. “We saw this coming some time ago,” said Adrienne D. Barnes, spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, referring to Monday’s filing for court protection by Bixi, which is facing more than $50 million in claims. “We made adjustments in our planning to protect us from Bixi’s possible bankruptcy.” (Brew)

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