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Week in review – 6/29/12: Rally protests for Superblock jobs

Rally protests for Superblock jobs

A group of about 100 protestors gathered at the offices of the Baltimore Development Corp. at Charles Center this week to demand local hiring in the promised 600 new jobs at the $150 million Superblock development downtown. Chanting “We want jobs” and “Our community, our jobs,” the protestors demanded to be included in the planning for the Lexington Square project, now underway as a request for a 95 percent property tax break for two decades is set for a public hearing on July 11.

Gambling winners: lobbyists

This year’s high-stakes gambling debate contributed to a big payday for top General Assembly lobbyists, who saw their earnings for the six-month period that includes the 2012 legislative session leap 38 percent year-over-year. Penn National Gaming Inc., operator of Hollywood Casino Perryville and owner of casino candidate Rosecroft Raceway, spent $877,432.84 on lobbying between Nov. 1 and April 30 — about $375,000 more than any other employer, according to lobbying totals published by the State Ethics Commission. Gerard E. Evans, who counts Penn National among a diversified portfolio of clients, was the top-earning lobbyist for the period, pulling in $1.05 million.

Football helmet change hits schools hard

A change in how long football helmets can be used is forcing high school athletic departments around the state and the country to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep their players on the field this fall. The National Athletic Equipment Reconditioning Association said in March 2011 that its members would no longer recondition any football helmets more than 10 years old.

Dog days for pit bull bull action

With plans to hold a special General Assembly session in July on life support, a task force studying a ruling by Maryland’s high court that imposes strict liability on pit bull owners and their landlords has slowed its deliberations. After meeting twice in two weeks while trying to draft legislation, members of the task force agreed to delay their next meeting until September or October, with an eye toward having legislation ready for the 2013 regular session.

Income up at McCormick

McCormick & Co. Inc. said its second-quarter net income rose 9 percent, buoyed in part by higher prices, strength in emerging markets and acquisitions. The Sparks-based spice and flavoring maker earned $80.4 million, or 60 cents per share, for the three months ended May 31, compared with $73.6 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

Internal flaws cost Lockheed

The Pentagon’s contracts management agency has increased to 5 percent from 2 percent the funding it is temporarily withholding from Lockheed Martin Corp.’s aircraft unit, according to a Defense Department document. The money is being held back because of flaws in internal systems, the Defense Contract Management Agency said in a letter dated June 22. Lockheed will seek approval for its systems as soon as possible, company spokesman Joe Stout said in an emailed statement.

Creig Northrop repeats as No. 1 in sales volume

The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. has been ranked as the nation’s highest volume seller of residential real estate by the Wall Street Journal and Real Trends Inc., closing $325.6 million in transactions in 2011. This is the second straight year that the Clarksville-based Northrop team was ranked first on the list of the Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals in America in the sales volume category.

More nominees sought for state high court

Those who missed the application deadline to succeed retired Judge James R. Eyler on the Court of Special Appeals will have a second chance, as the vacancy will be readvertised. The reopening results from the Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission’s submission of only two names to Gov. Martin O’Malley as candidates to succeed Eyler: Daniel A. Friedman, counsel to the General Assembly, and Public Service Commission Chairman Douglas R.M. Nazarian.

Unions still pushing National Harbor casino

Labor union leaders criticized the stalled gambling negotiations among state lawmakers, saying the snarled debate was preventing the largest construction project for union jobs in the country at National Harbor. The claim, made as about 20 members of the Washington D.C. Building Trades Council and Unite Here Local 25 briefly rallied at Lawyers’ Mall in front of the State House, continues an aggressive marketing campaign paid for by the trades council and run by Baltimore firm Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs LLC.

Hailey guilty in energy credits case

A federal jury convicted Rodney R. Hailey of selling $9.1 million worth of bogus renewable energy credits under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program. Hailey, of Perry Hall, faces up to 32 years in prison based on his convictions for wire fraud, money laundering and Clean Air Act violations.