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Week in review – 1/27/12: Sparrows Point is back to work

Sparrows Point is back to work

Employees of the RG Steel plant in Baltimore County’s Sparrows Point have returned to work earlier than expected after about 720 of them were furloughed Dec. 22. Most returned last week, with about 250 more expected to resume by early February. “Everybody’s coming back,” said Chris MacLarion, vice president of United Steelworkers Local 9477.

New tack on wind power

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s second try at legislation to foster development of an offshore wind energy farm includes what he has billed as stronger protections for power customers and more palatable requirements for utility companies. The bill was part of the legislative agenda he sent to the General Assembly on Monday night.

Proposal not new ‘tech tax’

Gov. Martin O’Malley is considering revisions to his effort to expand Maryland’s sales tax on the Internet after the proposal angered business groups, tech firms and others that deal in digital goods and services, an aide said Wednesday.

Legislator public disclosure

The financial disclosure forms filed every year by Maryland lawmakers would be available to the public online under a proposal being crafted by a state Senate special committee. Maryland is the only state in the country that requires citizens who want to view disclosure documents to access them in person.

Cross Keys sale appears near

The sale of The Village of Cross Keys in North Baltimore to Olney-based Carl M. Freeman Companies is under negotiation and could close as early as March, sources close to the pending deal said this week. General Growth Properties put the upscale shopping center on the market last summer after emerging from bankruptcy protection.

Added foreclosure fee denied

Trustees handling a foreclosure sale cannot require a winning bidder to pay their attorneys’ fees for reviewing documents when the deed changes hands, the Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The court called the additional fees “another example of the abuses that have caused these types of problems in the first instance.”

Appeal against paper loses

The Baltimore City Paper did not defame a former nightclub co-owner by reporting that some people thought he could have been involved in a double murder, the Court of Appeals held Monday. Nicholas Piscatelli had sued the weekly newspaper and reporter Van Smith over two stories about the criminal prosecution of Anthony Jerome Miller in the murder of the club’s manager and a friend in 2003.

I-95 plazas to get facelifts

A Miami-based company will spend $56 million redesigning and rebuilding the state’s aging travel plazas on Interstate 95 under a deal approved Monday by the Maryland Transportation Authority. The state will continue to own the facilities and expects collect more than $400 million over the course of the 35-year lease.

AG loses insurance fight

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld Allstate Insurance Co.’s decision to stop offering new homeowners’ policies in Southern Maryland, the Lower Eastern Shore and parts of Anne Arundel County due to the company’s potential for catastrophic financial losses if a hurricane hits that region.

News website finds backing

The Baltimore Brew news website raised more than $25,000 in a 45-day online fundraising campaign, far exceeding its goal of $15,000. Publisher and Editor Fern Shen’s website began covering the Baltimore area in 2009, sustained on modest advertising and volunteer work.

Public defender shortfall

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed $1.1 million boost to the public defender’s budget for the next fiscal year is welcome, but falls short of the money the agency will need to comply with the decision that it must represent indigent defendants at initial bail hearings, said Maryland Public Defender Paul B. DeWolfe.

Trademark secured — again

Though it was the party that brought the lawsuit, videogame-maker Bethesda Softworks has agreed to pay $2 million to a West Coast competitor it accused of infringing on its trademark for the lucrative “Fallout” series that depicts a violent post-nuclear war world.