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Top 5 business stories of 2010

The most-read stories of 2010 by The Daily Record’s business reporting team mirror many of the big ongoing stories that have dominated the news since the economy cratered two years ago — failed banks, slot machine gambling, struggling commercial real estate developments, and City Hall politics.

1. Two Maryland banks closed by regulators – Ben Mook

Federal regulators closed two troubled Maryland banks, including one that was believed to have been the oldest black-owned financial institution in the state. Bay National Bank and Baltimore-based Ideal Federal Savings Bank Friday became the fourth and fifth Maryland banks to be closed over the last two years.

2. Baltimore’s FiOS chances getting slimmer – Staff and Wire reports

Verizon is nearing the end of its program to replace copper phone lines with optical fibers that provide much higher Internet speeds and TV service. Its focus is now on completing the network in the communities where it has already secured “franchises” — and that means major cities such as Baltimore and downtown Boston will be left without FiOS.

3. Clarke closes deal for Fells Point Recreation Pier – Robbie Whelan

The developer of a hotel planned for Baltimore’s historic Recreation Pier, a Fells Point landmark, said he has closed on a deal to buy the property from the city after a year-long stalemate in negotiations.

4. Rawlings-Blake names 151 to transition team – Robbie Whelan

Then-City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a list of 151 civic and business leaders who would comprise the six transition committees leding her effort to review city government operations as Baltimore’s new mayor.

“Each committee will conduct a comprehensive review of each city agency to ensure that all public and taxpayer funds are used in the most effective and efficient manner,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

5. Hollywood Casino Perryville opening ushers in slots gambling in Md. – Nicholas Sohr

Dorothy Neal was joined by about 45 others in a cool, persistent drizzle one September morning and at 8 a.m., they helped move Maryland’s nascent gambling industry into its next phase — one with actual gambling.

By 9 a.m., about 200 had entered the $97.5 million Cecil County casino to play its 1,500 slot machines. And just a few minutes later, Neal walked out more than $5,000 richer, with promises she would be back.