Later Metro service hours, fare evasion come under budget microscope

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld’s budget proposal to fulfill a rider wish list that includes later hours, a flat weekend fare and more frequent weekend service will come at more than a financial cost: more service disruptions such as temporary station shutdowns and single-tracking for maintenance. That is one of the many considerations Metro board members must weigh as they review Wiedefeld’s proposed spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. (Wash. Post)

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Metro board member Christian Dorsey to return $10,000 campaign donation from transit union

The Metro board on Thursday forced member Christian Dorsey to return a $10,000 campaign contribution from the transit system’s largest union and give up his finance committee chairmanship as punishment for breaking ethics rules regarding the donation. The board penalized Dorsey for waiting four months to disclose the June donation, instead of within 10 days as required by the board’s ethics code. (Wash. Post)

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Festa steps down as non-executive chairman of W.R. Grace

Fred Festa's run at W.R. Grace & Co. has come to an end. The Columbia-based chemical and materials manufacturer announced Thursday that Festa has retired as non-executive chairman. Festa was succeeded as CEO by Hudson La Force in 2018 after leading W.R. Grace for 13 years. He had been chairman since 2008. W.R. Grace said the move is part of its leadership transition plan. Christopher J. Steffen, formerly the company's lead independent director, has been elected as non-executive chairman. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Maryland Visitors May Have Dipped, But Tourism Revenue Is Up

The number of tourists who visited Maryland last year may have dropped slightly, but a report says they spent more money than in 2017. The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland report was announced Wednesday at the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit. The report says visitors to Maryland spent more than $18 billion last year, up about 2.1% from the previous year. (AP)

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Juul Stops Sales Of Mint-Flavored Pods

Juul Labs will immediately stop online sales of mint Juulpods and will stop accepting orders for them from retailers, Juul Labs’ CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said Thursday. Juul announced last month that it would stop the sale of flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Juul now says it will stick to selling only Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco and Menthol flavors in the United States. The company said the decision comes after research published earlier this week showed mint flavor was attractive to young people who vape. (CNN)

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Proposed Vape Shop Ban ‘Demonizes’ Local Businesses, Owners Say

County vape shop owners clashed with the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday night, saying proposed legislation to ban their businesses near schools “demonizes” entrepreneurs whose aim is to “save lives.” In September, the County Council proposed legislation that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, also called “vapes,” within a half-mile of middle and high schools, and prohibit the sale of flavored vaping products. (Bethesda)

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Rights group files federal complaint against artificial-intelligence hiring firm HireVue

A prominent rights group is urging the Federal Trade Commission to take on the recruiting-technology company HireVue, arguing that the firm has turned to unfair and deceptive trade practices in its use of face-scanning technology to assess job candidates’ “employability.” The Electronic Privacy Information Center, known as EPIC, on Wednesday filed an official complaint calling on the FTC to investigate HireVue’s business practices, saying the company’s use of unproven artificial intelligence systems that scan people’s faces and voices constituted a wide-scale threat to American workers. (Wash. Post)

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Sinclair CEO warns Dish: Agree to deal or risk becoming irrelevant

The CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. remains confident that the TV broadcaster has the advantage against Dish Network Corp. as the companies continue to negotiate an agreement to end a prolonged blackout of Sinclair's regional sports networks. Hunt Valley-based Sinclair's 21 regional sports networks have been dark since July on Dish and Sling TV when the Walt Disney Co. still owned the Fox sports channels. Sinclair closed on its purchase of the channels from Disney for $9.6 billion in August. Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley provided an update to analysts on Wednesday after the company reported its earnings. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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