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Baltimore towing company owner alleges discrimination in suspension of city contract following inspector general report

A Baltimore towing company whose contract with the city was suspended following the release of a report by the city’s inspector general is alleging racial discrimination. Universal Towing, a company based in West Baltimore, was the subject of a report released Feb. 4 by Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming. That report, which did not name the vendor, said the company had violated the city’s police requested towing contract by towing three vans to a private lot rather than a city lot. The company attempted to scrap the three vehicles, in violation of the state’s transportation code, according to the report.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, will step down as CEO

Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore and built it into a shopping and entertainment behemoth, will step down later this year as CEO, a role he’s had for nearly 30 years, to become executive chairman, the company announced Tuesday. Bezos, 57, will be replaced in the fall by Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud-computing business.

Read More: WBAL
Study: Development around Prince George’s, Anne Arundel rail stations needs a boost

Increasing development around rail stations in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties could add thousands of transit-friendly jobs and homes while generating tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue, according to a study released Wednesday by the Greater Washington Partnership. The report cited seven Metro and MARC commuter rail stations with untapped potential for high-density “transit-oriented development” — the kind that planners say reduces traffic congestion and is more environmentally sustainable than auto-dependent sprawl.

Pre World Cup Russia 2018
Baltimore will know by year’s end whether it will host a 2026 World Cup match

Baltimore is slated to know by the end of the year whether it will be host to a 2026 World Cup game. FIFA officials plan to visit prospective host cities in the third quarter of 2021 and make site decisions by the end of the year. The international governing body of soccer announced the timeline late last month.

JMI Equity taps new leaders as part of succession plan

JMI’s new chairman and managing general partner have both been with the firm for more than 20 years and have a wealth of experience investing in software companies. The private equity firm announced Monday the promotions of Paul Barber to chairman and Peter Arrowsmith to managing general partner.

Restaurant roundup: Baltimore City will join state in lifting 10 p.m. dining curfew

This week brought news of a little more leeway for restaurants as state and local officials slowly loosen Covid-19 restrictions. Starting Monday, local bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open past 10 p.m., ending a curfew that was instituted in November during a spike in coronavirus cases. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the decision Thursday, saying the state is ready for the step after seeing drops in Covid-19 positivity rates, case rates and hospitalizations since the holiday season surge.

Ellicott City woman provides local, global jobs while creating beauty products for Black women

Funlayo Alabi believes that shea butter and its devotees — mostly Black women — will revolutionize the beauty industry where Black consumers already account for 86% of the ethnic beauty market, according to Neilsen, a global research company. The Ellicott City resident who owns Shea Radiance, a locally made globally sourced natural beauty brand, is well on her way to doing just that. She’s also creating more than a dozen jobs in the Baltimore region and offering a product that fills a niche for Black women, while employing women in West Africa.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
A plant in East Baltimore is making millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines. But they still have to be approved.

Covered head to toe in sterile garments, workers inside a modern manufacturing plant in East Baltimore have been making coronavirus vaccine for months — tens of millions of doses that, for now, are being stockpiled with no date set for distribution. None of the vaccines at the Emergent BioSolutions factory has yet been authorized for use. But among the pharmaceutical companies contracting with Emergent is Johnson & Johnson, which reported promising trial results Friday and is expected to submit data to federal regulators within a week for emergency authorization.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
New Downtown Partnership group aims to keep, attract office tenants in Baltimore

The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has formed a new group aimed at maintaining existing office tenants and attracting new ones to the central business district. The push is part of a campaign by the nonprofit to help stabilize the downtown area as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and office closures begin to shift and lift amid vaccine rollouts. T. Rowe Price Group Inc.’s recent announcement that it is moving to Harbor Point and vacating a 450,000-square-foot office at 100 E. Pratt in 2024 is also of concern.

The call of the wild: Baltimore stores selling outdoor gear see a pandemic-era boom

Out of 43 years in business, 2020 was far and away the most challenging yet for Race Pace Bicycles. The bike shop faced many of the same hurdles as other retailers: a spring shutdown, a pivot toward online sales, establishing new safety precautions for in-person shopping. But one challenge diverged from the experiences of many other businesses. Last year — and even now, as 2021 begins — it’s been hard to keep bikes and bike gear on the shelves.

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