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May 2013:

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May 6, 2013

Posted in: News

Maryland Live! Casino Slot Revenue for March 2013 Hits $44M

Maryland Live! Casino generated the top slot revenue in the mid-Atlantic gaming market for March 2013 with $44,613,545.

Compared to other facilities in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the property’s net revenue was more than 20% higher than the next highest competitor, PARX of Pennsylvania, with $36.4 million. The results mark the strongest revenue month to date for Maryland Live! Casino, which opened to the public in June 2012.

One of the largest and most profitable casinos in the country, Maryland Live! Casino now has added more than 100 live action table games, which opened to the public on April 11, 2013. The property also plans to open a new Poker Room with more than 50 traditional poker tables this summer.

The state of Maryland is also well-positioned to benefit from the additional revenue generated from table games. Currently, the state receives an average of $1 million per day in taxes from Maryland Live!, making it one of the highest taxpayers in the state. As of the end of March 2013, the state has already received $236 million in taxes from Maryland Live! Casino since its June 2012 opening.

O’Malley, Israeli Leaders Announce First Maryland/Israel Advisory Board

Joined by more than 30 Maryland business, civic and higher education leaders, Gov. Martin O’Malley recently visited in Israel for a week-long economic development mission that also included a visit to the neighboring country of Jordan.

During a welcome reception, the governor, along with a member of Israel’s Knesset, Rabbi Dov Lipman, announced the first Maryland/Israel Advisory Board, which will be composed of some of Maryland and Israel’s leading business, scientific and civic leaders.

“While Maryland and Israel have a long history of partnership, the Maryland/Israel Advisory Board will be a dedicated group looking to open new doors for Maryland and Israeli businesses and community organizations looking to collaborate,” said O’Malley. “I look forward to working with Rabbi Lipman and the members of this board to strengthen our shared ties in industries like biotechnology, [information technology] and aerospace and defense and encourage trade and cultural missions to both of our communities.”

During the reception, O’Malley also announced that LifeBridge Health of Maryland and The Trendlines Group of Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Maryland/Israel Medical Device Commercialization Initiative.

Ulman Proposes Record Funding for Education

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman recently released a proposed $920.8 million continuing-costs operating budget that contained record funding for the county’s top-ranked public school system while bolstering public safety through strengthened specialized police units.

The budget plan unveiled programs to keep the county’s economic development mission moving forward and included increased resources and new initiatives to address bullying, homelessness and victims of domestic violence.

The budget accomplished these objectives while holding the line on income and property tax rates. It also includes funding for the first general cost-of-living increase for county employees since 2008.

“This is a responsible and reasonable budget that fulfills our core obligations, continues progress and is sustainable for the long term. First and foremost, I am committed to the best education possible for our children,” Ulman said. “We managed wisely and sought efficiencies through trying economic times. Our county employees learned to do more with less, and they should be compensated for their efforts.”

New Clean Energy CNG Fueling Station at BWI Marshall

Clean Energy Fuels Corp., headquartered in Seal Beach, Ca., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently to mark the opening of the new public access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, to be used by shuttle vans and buses, taxis, pickup trucks and mid-sized commercial delivery trucks.

Owned and operated 24/7 by Clean Energy, the CNG station is located at 131 Aaronson Drive, on the airport grounds. The facility provides CNG fuel for public and private vehicles and fleets. Among key Clean Energy station users will be a new fleet of CNG airport parking shuttles operated by IMPARK.

Natural gas fuel costs up to $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline or diesel, depending on local market conditions. The use of natural gas fuel not only reduces operating costs for vehicles, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30% in light-duty vehicles and 23% in medium- to heavy-duty vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 98% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada, making natural gas a secure North American energy choice.

CA Releases Report on Local Residential, Non-Residential Sales Price Trends

How much did home sale prices in Columbia increase between 2000 and 2010? Which village has seen the greatest rise? And where in Columbia are far more homes being sold than any other place in the community?

The answers to these questions and many more are contained in “Sales Price Trends, Columbia, Maryland: Residential and Non-Residential Sales, 2000–2010.” This new report from the Columbia Association (CA) contains research and analysis on residential and non-residential real estate sales during that decade, examines the trends for each of Columbia’s villages and Town Center, and compares the villages, Columbia and Howard County.

CA undertook this analysis to better understand Columbia’s real estate sales trends and particular home sales trends, given the significant market changes and redevelopment activity that are occurring. The report provides important data that can be used to better understand Columbia and point toward areas where further study, follow-up investigation or action might be warranted.

The complete 62-page report, which includes detailed figures and tables for each village, is available at bit.ly/columbiasalespricetrends. In keeping with CA’s sustainability efforts, limited paper copies will be made available only upon request.

State Institutions Increase Small Business Lending

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has released a new report showing that Maryland institutions receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) continue to increase their small business lending, in total by more than $286.9 million over their baselines.

This “Use of Funds” report shows that participants receiving capital through the SBLF boosted lending for the seventh straight quarter. In total, SBLF participants have increased small business lending by about $8.9 billion since the depths of the recession in 2009. This increased lending represents an estimated 38,000 additional small business loans over baseline levels.

“In every region of the country, the Obama Administration’s Small Business Lending Fund is supporting small and family-owned businesses with the funds they need to create jobs and grow,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin. “This quarter’s report shows that SBLF participants are continuing to help thousands of small businesses invest, hire and expand in their local communities.”

The report also shows that SBLF participants increased their lending by $1.5 billion more than the prior quarter. Community banks participating in SBLF have increased business lending by 38%.

State Launches Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), the public corporation and unit of the state government responsible for the implementation of the state-based insurance exchange through the Affordable Care Act, has launched its Connector Program. The program, with the award of an anticipated $24 million in grant funds, will be distributed to six organizations serving as consumer assistance and enrollment resources throughout the state.

Healthy Howard Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Columbia, will serve as the prime grantee for 12 months beginning July 1. It will function to meet the needs of individuals and small employers in Howard, Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties through outreach and education, eligibility determination, and enrollment into Medicaid and qualified health plans.

The regional approach ensures that the needs of Maryland’s uninsured and underserved communities are provided with in-person assistance. The new health insurance coverage options become available in October through Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace.

Healthy Howard will receive an anticipated $3.3 million in grant funding to provide education, outreach, eligibility and enrollment services for the nearly 85,000 uninsured residents in the counties it serves.

Healthy Howard’s Door to HealthCare has developed a collaborative approach with 12 subcontracting partners to provide services, including the Benefit Data Trust, Chase Brexton Health Services and Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, among others throughout its network area.

Howard County to Construct First Streetscape Projects on Route 40

Construction is set to begin on streetscape enhancement projects at two locations on Route 40 in Howard County. The projects, the first to be developed based on the 2010 Route 40 Streetscape Master Plan, will enhance the aesthetics of the corridor and include stormwater management elements to mitigate runoff and improve water quality.

The project locations, at U.S. 40 at Wheaton Way and U.S. 40 at Chatham Road, were selected because it was determined improvements there would provide the greatest visual impact. The work will include new curbing for the medians, with portions made of brick-style stamped concrete.

There also will be new plantings of flowers as part of the bio swale. Future projects will add enhancements and amenities at other high impact locations along the corridor.

“Since the Route 40 Design Manual was adopted in 2010, we’ve started to see private development that enhances the community character,” said County Councilmember Courtney Watson, whose district includes portions of Route 40 in Ellicott City. “These projects show the county has a role in that as well, and we’re looking forward to doing more of these types of projects in the coming years.”

Work is scheduled to start on (or about) May 1. Construction will take approximately three weeks and be performed at night to minimize the impact on traffic.

Howard County Opens Composting Facility

Howard County has opened a state-of-the-art composting operation that will allow the county to double its curbside food scrap collection to 10,000 households, the largest in Maryland.

The facility will operate at the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville, diverting up to 400 tons of material a year from landfills and producing mulch, topsoil and other byproducts that will be sold to the public and used at county facilities.

Food scraps and yard waste from Howard County homes will be brought to the facility daily, where the material will be ground, placed in piles and connected to an odor-control system. After about 10 weeks, the end products will be available to be sold to landscaping companies and residents. The facility is designed to control odors and run-off, and can be expanded.

With the opening of the facility, Howard County is preparing to greatly expand its curbside food-scrap collection program. For more than a year, the service has been offered on a pilot basis to about 5,000 homes in the Elkridge/Ellicott City area. Within the next year, it will be offered to a second collection zone, adding another 5,000 homes in Columbia.

The Alpha Ridge facility cost $800,000 to construct. While it cost Howard County $41.50 per ton to remove regular household waste to a landfill in Virginia, it will cost $38.50 to process food scraps and yard trim at Alpha Ridge, with the end-product sold.

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