In the Region Judge denies bid by Hopkins to curb union...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 12, 2001

In the Region

Judge denies bid by Hopkins to curb union Web site

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake yesterday declined a request by Johns Hopkins Hospital for an order controlling a Web site and newsletter run by the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU's District 1199E-DC, negotiating for a new contract with Hopkins, calls the newsletter and Web site "Hopkins watch."

Spokesman Gary Stephenson said the hospital is concerned that the use of the Hopkins name and a logo including the familiar Hopkins dome would mislead the public into thinking the Web site and newsletter were produced by the hospital. He said the hospital is pleased that the union agreed to include a disclaimer, change its type face and add a microscope to the dome in the logo.

Robert Moore, president of District 1199E-DC, said, "I don't think this was about confusing people. This was about them trying to prevent us from getting our messages out." The first issue of the newsletter examines a complaint to federal officials about whether Hopkins is providing adequate information to patients who participate in research projects.

Heilig-Meyers to close last of furniture stores

Heilig-Meyers Co. will close its remaining 375 Heilig-Meyers furniture stores and liquidate its inventory, the company said yesterday.

The company, with headquarters in Richmond, Va., also is in talks with "various interested parties" to sell its three Homemakers stores.

Company officials said closing the Heilig-Meyers stores will help them pay off creditors and allow the company to focus on its RoomStore operations, which will be the centerpiece of the company's revised business model. The company's 54 RoomStores are concentrated in metropolitan markets in Texas, Maryland and Washington, and generate annual revenue of about $300 million, company officials said.

Profit rises 59 cents a share at BB&T banking firm

BB&T Corp. said yesterday that its profit increased 16 percent in the first quarter that ended March 31, to $243.3 million, or 59 cents per diluted share.

The nation's 16th-largest banking company said its net interest income, profit generated largely from loans, rose 1.4 percent to $522.6 million. Noninterest income, money made from services that charge fees, was up 20.7 percent to $289.5 million.

BB&T acquired FCNB Corp. of Frederick in January, which added $1.6 billion in assets to the company's balance sheet. BB&T has $62.1 billion in assets and 893 banking offices in Maryland, Washington, Virginia and six other states.

Compaq introduces new wireless devices

Compaq Computer Corp. says it is offering a new series of wireless Internet and communications products in Baltimore and a dozen other cities.

The company's iPAQnet Mobility Internet line of wireless pocket PCs and laptops is linked to the WorldCom Wireless Internet service.

The service also is available immediately in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles, the Houston-based computer company said.

ViPS licenses software to Tenn. health insurer

ViPS, a Towson health software company, said it has been awarded a $3 million contract to license its MCSource package, which tracks health care and costs, to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee.

ViPS produces a variety of software for health data storage, data analysis and claims processing.

Elsewhere

Bankrupt LTV to cut 900 jobs, shut steel mill

LTV Corp., the U.S. steel maker under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said yesterday that it will close a Cleveland blast furnace and eliminate the 900 jobs there because the plant can't sell steel at competitive prices.

The No. 2 U.S. steel maker said the 100 salaried jobs and 800 hourly workers to be eliminated represent about 5 percent of its work force. Closing the complex, which can make about 2 million tons of steel a year, will save $700 million over the next five years, LTV said.

The shutdown, including a related mill that makes steel sheet, will reduce LTV's steel-making capacity by about 25 percent and will restrict the supply of steel in the U.S. market, analysts said.

Yahoo! reportedly increases sales of porn

Internet media giant Yahoo! Inc., under pressure to develop new sources of revenue, has expanded pornographic videos and DVDs to its popular shopping service, according to visits to the site.

Yahoo! was not immediately available to comment on the reported increased attention to porn. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the company has quietly expanded its "erotica" store in recent weeks.

Although Yahoo! does not sell the materials directly, it typically gets a portion of the revenues generated from sales initiated on its site by other merchants. The company also charges retailers a fee to be listed in its directory, and the Times said Yahoo! charges adult-oriented sites three times as much as mainstream online stores.

Ex-officer of W.Va. bank admits insider trading

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