MahoganyBooks owner Derrick Young talks diversity in retail, expansion plans

When Derrick Young walked with his daughter into a big-box bookstore four years ago, he walked out knowing he wanted his own store to be different. It had been in the middle of Black History Month, and Young had asked his daughter to pick out a book at the massive retailer. But while there were plenty of books on the shelves about slavery or characters who were overcoming racism, there was little else. (Wash. Bus.)

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Mortgage rates move higher on encouraging trade developments

After a short-lived retreat, mortgage rates resumed their rise this week. According to the latest data released on Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 3.75 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.69 percent a week ago and 4.94 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed average has risen four of the past five weeks. (Wash. Post)

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Amazon will challenge DOD on JEDI award, citing ‘political influence’

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), plans to file a contract protest of last month’s Defense Department award of the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract to Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). An AWS spokesman confirmed to the Washington Business Journal in an email that the company plans to file a protest with the Court of Federal Claims at a yet to be determined date, citing "unmistakable bias" in the process as one of the reasons for the challenge. (Wash. Bus.)

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Jury finds Kennedy Krieger liable for lead exposure for study participant’s sibling

A Baltimore jury found Kennedy Krieger Institute liable for the lead exposure of a child whose sibling was part of its lead paint study in the 1900s, marking the first time there has been a verdict against the institute for the program. The Lead-Based Paint Abatement and Repair and Maintenance Study, or R&M study, exposed newborns and children to lead paint to determine the best abatement strategies. The Court of Appeals held in 2001 that plaintiffs could pursue negligence lawsuits. (Daily Record)

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Esquire names Baltimore restaurant one of nation's best

The chicken liver pate at a tiny French bistro in Baltimore is wowing food critics and winning acclaim on some of the hottest "best of" lists. Esquire this week named Le Comptoir du Vin in Station North one of its Best New Restaurants in America 2019, a list of 22 restaurants nationwide that the magazine says are worth a visit. The year-old restaurant shares the spotlight with up-and-comers in New York, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It comes less than two months after the increasingly popular French eatery made Bon Appetit's best new restaurants in America. Le Comptoir du Vin ranked 8 on the Bon Appetit Hot 10 list. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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College Park's Cybrary raises $15 million, sets sights on 100-employee goal

Cybrary Inc., a College Park cybersecurity company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding that it plans to use to reach the 100-employee mark in 2020. The funding round was led by Texas-based BuildGroup, with participation from existing investors Arthur Ventures and Gula Tech Adventures. This brings the cybersecurity workforce development firm's total funding to $23 million. Gray Hall, managing director at BuildGroup, and Ron Gula, president of Gula Tech Adventures, will join Cybrary’s board of directors as part of the investment. Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary, said the new funds will be used for continued product development of the company's free online training platform for cybersecurity professionals. It will also will support continued internal growth at Cybrary. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Behind the Reinvestment Fund's $180 million in Baltimore projects

Grocery stores, arts spaces and workforce training centers are just some of the Baltimore projects the Reinvestment Fund has invested in over the past few years. Despite the diversity of uses, those projects all fit with the fund's mission to create opportunity for underserved people and places, said Dana Johnson, the fund's managing director for Maryland and Washington, D.C. So far, the community development financial institution (CDIF) has invested in projects like the Senator and Parkway theaters, the ShopRite in Howard Park, the redevelopment of the Hoen Lithograph building, the CASA workforce and employment center in Southeast Baltimore and the Hebrew Orphans Asylum redevelopment in West Baltimore. In all, the Reinvestment Fund has invested $180 million in Baltimore, Johnson said. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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‘They Trust Us’: Baltimore Barbers, Beauticians Stepping Up To Help Stop Shootings

As the number of homicides in Baltimore this year approaches 300, a new group is emerging with the goal of stopping shootings before they happen. City barbers and beauticians are stepping up to serve as the first line of defense, standing between shooters and their next victim in an effort to cut away at the crime rate. The effort is part of the Healing City Baltimore initiative announced Wednesday. “Children in Baltimore are growing up experiencing PTSD similar to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” city councilmember Zeke Cohen said during a news conference announcing the initiative. “Two hundred ninety-five murders so far in 2019 is not normal.” (WJZ)

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