Airbnb sees record bookings in Baltimore for Preakness weekend

As visitors begin arriving for Preakness weekend, Baltimore’s Airbnb hosts are preparing to accommodate a record number of guests. At least 4,270 guests have booked stays in Baltimore through the rental platform between Thursday and Saturday, up about a third from the 3,215 guest arrivals Airbnb had during the race weekend last year, according to Crystal Davis, a spokeswoman for the company. Airbnb provides short-term rentals — from single beds in a shared room to entire homes — and 970 Baltimore hosts are sharing their homes through Airbnb during Preakness weekend, according to the platform. (Balt. Sun)

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Farewell, Kmart and Toys R Us. Hello, empty 'big boxes' in Salisbury

Mammoth department stores are sliding toward extinction, leaving communities across the country to reckon with their vacant husks. Communities, alas, like Salisbury. Over the past 12 months alone, two dying behemoths, Kmart and Gander Mountain, have shut down while a third, Toys R Us, has begun liquidating in anticipation of a June 30 closure. Going back further, there are still no tenants in the former Ames on Business Route 50 or the majority of the space inside the long-shuttered Super Fresh on College Avenue. All this retail retrenchment has left the city with more than four football fields worth of commercial square footage to fill. (Daily Times)

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Grants for faster internet now available to small businesses

Small businesses across the county will now be eligible to apply for the Carroll Broadband Grants to bring high-speed internet to their enterprises. The Board of County Commissioners approved for the Technology and Economic Development departments to begin rolling out the $200,000 program at its weekly meeting. “With growing business technology needs and emerging international business opportunities, every business needs a competitive advantage like Carroll Broadband high-speed internet access,” said Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn in a statement Thursday. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Investment in health: Hospital looks to taxpayers for funding

When Howard County’s hospital opened in 1973, Columbia Hospital and Clinics Foundation, as it was called, only served members of the Columbia Medical Plan in Jim Rouse’s burgeoning city. A year later as residents continued to pour into the county, the hospital incorporated as the independent Howard County General Hospital and served a county with 84,711 residents. In 1998, Johns Hopkins Medicine bought the hospital for $142 million and added it to its health care network. Since then, the hospital’s patient-care numbers have ballooned. In 2007 the hospital admitted 13,799 patients. Last year it admitted 24,496. (Columbia Flier)

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May 17 // Fair Hill gets funding for international equestrian event

The Board of Public Works on Wednesday unanimously approved $1 million for improvements to the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, which is to be the new host of an annual international event of horse jumping, cross country and dressage. The upgrades to the state park’s facilities — to be phased in over the next few years — “are essential for the site to host major equine events and other recreational opportunities, and necessary for Maryland to maintain its unique status as an equestrian epicenter,” the Department of Natural Resources said on its website. (Balt. Sun)

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Redevelopment of the former PEMCO site in Baltimore gets underway

The redevelopment of the former PEMCO factory site in southeast Baltimore — a project four years in the making — got underway with a formal groundbreaking Wednesday. MCB Real Estate, a Baltimore-based developer, plans to remake the 20-acre industrial site across Eastern Avenue from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus as a mixed-use project dubbed Yard 56. The developer of a former industrial site near Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in East Baltimore is updating its master plan as it works to tie down tenants for the estimated $100 million project. (Balt. Sun)

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Will millennials ever be interested in horse racing? Preakness organizers take that bet

Despite the horses galloping with all their might just yards away, Preakness InfieldFest veteran Trevor Thomas was met with a mix of surprise and indifference each time he reminded friends that there were races throughout the day. “Most of them have no idea there’s even additional races,” the 24-year-old Federal Hill resident said of partiers at the second leg of the Triple Crown. “I don’t know a single friend who enjoys horse races.” In recent years, the Preakness Infield at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course has felt like a standalone concert and all-day drinking party for millennials, curiously placed next to one of the biggest horse races in the world. (Balt. Sun)

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BGE customers will see a decrease of $11 per month

The average BGE residential customer will pay $11 less per month starting June 1 thanks to low electric commodity prices and federal tax reform, the utility said Wednesday. Customers who buy their electricity from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. can expect the reduction in their bills as a result of the lowest electric commodity prices in a decade and reductions in the electricity distribution rate thanks to tax reform, BGE said. (Balt. Sun)

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