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Week in review: 4/12/12

This too shall pass

There was much unfinished business on the last day of the General Assembly, but Gov. Martin O’Malley still held the traditional bill signing ceremony Tuesday for the legislation that did actually pass. It was a tense moment — the governor made clear his displeasure at the General Assembly’s failure to act on key legislation. “We had the ability, and I think that the people of our state had the will, but our leaders weren’t able to come to the consensus necessary.” He said.

New Potomac bridge unlikely

The Maryland Department of Transportation is throwing cold water on the prospect of a new Potomac River Bridge between Montgomery County and Northern Virginia. According to the Frederick News-Post, an MDOT spokesman says such a project could infringe on agricultural preservation efforts in Montgomery County, and that the state’s commitment to environmental protection and smart growth are other impediments. The bridge is one possible solution to gridlock on the Capital Beltway.

Carrollton, Bay Bank to merge

Carrollton Bancorp, parent company of Carrollton Bank, and Bay Bank FSB will merge in a transaction valued at $25 million. Bay Bank was created after Bay National Bank, of Baltimore, failed in 2010 and was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Bay National’s deposits were assumed by Jefferson Bancorp Inc., Bay Bank’s parent company. Bay Bank will be the surviving entity and will have 12 branches in the Baltimore-Washington market.

Harborview wins mold lawsuit

A judge has thrown out a $5 million mold lawsuit filed by a unit owner at Harborview Condominiums against the owners’ association and the property management company. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill granted summary judgment to the association and Zalco Realty Inc. in the lawsuit, which was filed over leaking water and mold at the luxury condo tower. He said both entities met their obligations regarding disclosures and the resale certificate, and were not in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

No snooping on Facebook

The General Assembly passed a bill that would ban employers from asking employees or prospective employees for passwords to their private social media accounts. If Gov. Martin O’Malley signs the bill, Maryland will become the first state with a law allowing workers to tweet, update their Facebook status and post information in LinkedIn without worrying about their bosses looking over their shoulder.

Dream Act wins hearing

An immigrant-rights group’s bid to block a referendum on the Maryland Dream Act is not over yet. The Court of Appeals has revived Casa de Maryland’s quest to keep the question off the November ballot, agreeing to review a judge’s ruling that the legislation can be put to a popular vote. Arguments are scheduled for June 12.

No ruling yet on wind farm

Utility regulators questioned developers of a proposed Western Maryland wind farm for almost an hour Wednesday before holding off on whether to give them more time to start a project embroiled in a county zoning battle. Dan’s Mountain Windforce is asking the Public Service Commission to extend the March 12 deadline to begin construction until Sept. 12, 2013. Commissioners asked company and state officials at length about wildlife affected by wind turbines before deciding to take more time to consider the request.

Bay at mercy of warm winter

Crabs are crawling early out of the mud in the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay, and that’s only the beginning of changes expected from the warm, dry winter in the nation’s largest estuary. “All the animals, whether they be fish or crabs, are going to be doing things a little differently. It’s going to be really interesting,” said Lynn Fegley, deputy director of fisheries at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Large Eastern Shore farm sold

An 800-acre agricultural property in Somerset County has been sold for $3.2 million, it was announced Wednesday by Ben Alder, advisor with Sperry Van Ness – Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury. The buyer, described as “a local family farm,” purchased the land for agricultural uses. Located near the town of Westover, the property consists of several parcels containing 600 acres of tillable agricultural land and 200 acres of woodland. “This represents the sale of a $3 million … small business [that] produces jobs and economic benefits to our community and other small businesses throughout the region,” Alder said.