Longshoremen union to hold secret ballot on proposed port contract

Members of a longshoremen's union at odds with port of Baltimore employers will vote next week on whether to accept the employers' "best and final" contract offer. The secret ballot vote, scheduled for Feb. 11, has the potential to end an extended stalemate between the International Longshoremen's Association Local 333 and the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore, which represents employers. (Balt. Sun)

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Shares of Bank and Men's Wearhouse fall as prospects for merger dim

As the prospect of a $1.6 billion merger between Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. and Men's Wearhouse dimmed, investors retrenched Monday, pushing down shares of both retailers much further than the broader market decline. The market reacted after a weekend in which Hampstead-based Jos. A. Bank rejected a Men's Wearhouse request to negotiate. Bank also raised antitrust concerns in a letter sent Sunday to Men's Wearhouse CEO Douglas S. Ewert, after the Federal Trade Commission questioned the merger. (Balt. Sun)

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Cold and unhedged: How the polar vortex drove Clean Currents out of business

The polar vortex sunk Clean Currents LLC. The Silver Spring-based renewable energy supplier surprised its customers, the green energy industry and government officials on Friday when it announced that it would no longer serve its 6,000 residential and 2,000 commercial clients in D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania. Those customers were being returned to their local utility, effective immediately. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Brookshire Suites relaunches as 'urban playground'

The owner of an aging downtown Baltimore hotel hopes to breathe new life into the property with a gritty, cool makeover that incorporates graffiti, sleek, white couches and a chain link fence. The multi-million dollar upgrade of the Brookshire Suites at Calvert and Lombard streets gives a new street twist to the 1958 building, which began as a parking garage but has been a hotel since the 1980s. (Balt. Sun)

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Why Under Armour is pushing the second version of its SpeedForm shoe harder than the first

At first glance, Under Armour Inc.’s SpeedForm Apollo shoe doesn’t appear all that different from its predecessor, the SpeedForm RC. A closer look reveals a few key differences between the two running shoes — and the reason for the massive marketing push behind the Apollo, set to hit shelves at the end of this month. The Apollo caters to a wider running audience, said Dave Dombrow, Under Amour’s senior creative director in footwear. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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GSA looking to shrink NIH in Bethesda, Rockville

The National Institutes of Health has a big presence in Montgomery County, but the federal agency’s office space would shrink significantly under a consolidation plan proposed by the General Services Administration. NIH is looking for 539,000 square feet of space, an efficiency move to replace leases in seven buildings totaling 693,908 square feet, according to a pair of lease prospectuses the GSA issued last week. (Gazette)

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Feb. 3 // Maryland looks to boost cybersecurity profile with new roundtable

Maryland industry executives and government officials are putting together a cybersecurity roundtable meant to bolster the state’s efforts to become a center for the rapidly growing field. The roundtable, which will kick off with a meeting later this month, is meant to follow the model set by the Maryland Space Business Roundtable, an organization set up to help aerospace-related businesses in the state as well as handle educational outreach. (Wash. Post)

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Renewable energy provider Clean Currents discontinues service

Clean Currents, a Silver Spring-based provider of renewable energy for residents and businesses, said Friday it has stopped serving customers after rising wholesale electricity prices in the recent cold snap caused the company to default on payments to its supplier, electricity grid operator PJM Interconnection. (Balt. Sun)

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