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In the Region

Southwest starts using ticket counter at new BWI terminal

Southwest Airlines, which began using a newly constructed terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Terminal last month, has opened its ticket counter.

Until yesterday, passengers had been required to use the old counter in another terminal.

The roadway in front of the new terminal also opened and agents began accepting baggage dropped off at the curbside. Other roadway and terminal construction will continue throughout this year.

Maintenance supply firm builds in Annapolis Junction

W.W. Grainger Inc., a supplier of maintenance products, said it is building a warehouse and showroom in Annapolis Junction and plans to hire about a dozen people as it expands in the Baltimore market.

The approximately 35,000-square-foot facility will boost the company's warehouse capacity and inventory in the Baltimore area by about 25 percent, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Vertis helps to market frequent-flier program

Vertis, a Baltimore marketing and advertising firm, said it has joined with the Lacek Group of Minneapolis to create a direct-mail program for Continental Airlines' frequent flyer program, called OnePass.

The program combines an airline newsletter with a summary of a passenger's frequent-flier miles. Vertis' processes allow Continental customer data to be converted and printed in one week for the most up-to-date information.


Kodak to discontinue black and white photographic paper

Eastman Kodak Co. said yesterday that it would discontinue production of black-and-white photographic paper by the end of the year as it continues its transition to digital photography.

Kodak spokesman David Lanzillo said the paper, used in traditional darkrooms, is produced in Brazil. The company will continue to make black-and-white film and chemicals for processing.

Demand for black-and-white paper is declining 25 percent annually in the transition from film to digital formats, Lanzillo said.

3 ex-Newsday men arrested in circulation fraud case

Three former employees of the newspapers Newsday and Hoy were arrested yesterday for their roles in schemes to inflate advertising prices by overstating circulation figures, prosecutors said.

The arrests were the first in an investigation by U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf into alleged circulation fraud at Newsday and the Spanish-language Hoy, both owned by the Chicago-based Tribune Co., publisher of The Sun. The three men face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Edward Smith, of Hicksville, N.Y., who was Newsday's administrative circulation manager and a consultant to Hoy, and Robert Garcia, of Queens, who was Newsday's New York City circulation manager and Hoy sales and distribution manager, were arrested at their homes. Richard Czark, a former Newsday employee and Hoy national circulation manager, was arrested in Bluffton, S.C., where he moved after leaving the Spanish-language newspaper.

Fed report on economy is generally upbeat

The economy expanded from mid-April through May as tourism, real estate and manufacturing strengthened and the job market improved nationwide, the Federal Reserve said yesterday in its "beige book" survey of economic conditions.

"Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that business activity continued to expand," the survey said. "Labor market conditions continued to improve in most districts and several reports cited difficulty in finding specific types of workers."

However, the Philadelphia district "noted that the pace of growth had eased in May, and Boston and Cleveland observed some unevenness across sectors."

In manufacturing, most districts reported expanding activity. The Atlanta and San Francisco districts said defense contracts helped spur new orders for factories. The report also said vehicle production weakened in several districts, including St. Louis, Boston, Minneapolis and Chicago.

MCI shareholder moves to defeat Verizon takeover

Hedge fund Deephaven Capital Management said yesterday that it plans to solicit MCI Inc. shareholders' support to defeat Verizon Communications' $8.5 billion takeover and persuade Qwest Communications to offer a new bid.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Deephaven, an MCI shareholder, said it would solicit proxies from other shareholders to vote against the Verizon-MCI merger.

Deephaven portfolio manager Matt Halbower said in a telephone interview that the company has contacted Qwest Communications International Inc., but he does not know whether it will resurrect its $9.85 billion bid for MCI.

Delta raises fuel surcharge on some trans-Atlantic fares

Delta Air Lines Inc. increased yesterday a fuel surcharge on most flights between the United States and Europe by $20 round trip to a total of $90 because of higher fuel costs.

The fee increase applies to all trans-Atlantic flights except those from France and Italy, Delta said. The increase for travel originating in the United Kingdom will be 9 pounds, or about $16.50, per round trip.

Frank's Nursery wins OK from court to be realty firm

Frank's Nursery & Crafts Inc., the former lawn and garden retailer that liquidated its assets, won court approval yesterday of its bankruptcy plan to reorganize as a closely held real estate development company.

Frank's Nursery said yesterday that it plans to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of July with 42 parcels of real estate. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Prudence Carter Beatty in New York signed an order approving the plan yesterday, according to court documents.

Last year, Frank's Nursery filed its second bankruptcy in three years after it was unable to obtain a loan to finance a restructuring plan. The company began closing its 169 stores, including those in Maryland, in September.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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