Howard Councilmen Intro Legal Action Against FAA for BWI Noise Impacts
Howard County Council Chair Jon Weinstein and Vice-Chair Calvin Ball introduced Council Bill 8-2017 authorizing the Howard County Office of Law to take legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) related to the implementation of the NextGen system.
The NextGen satellite-based air control system was launched at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in April 2015 and, since, planes have been taking off in more concentrated areas and turning at lower altitudes, resulting in a significant increase in aircraft noise in Elkridge, Hanover and parts of Columbia. The satellite technology is designed to cut down on flight times, reduce fuel consumption, reduce emissions and pollution and deliver savings to the airline industry.
The bill alleges that the FAA failed to appropriately consider the significant environmental impact of NextGen and acted arbitrarily in issuing its Finding of No Significant Impact under the National Environmental Protection Act. In addition to BWI Marshall, increased noise complaints resulting from implementing NextGen technology have been reported near airports in Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Phoenix and New York.
“For nearly two years, all attempts to work constructively with the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) and FAA have been virtually ignored,” Weinstein said. “I share our constituents’ deep frustration, and I am extremely disappointed at the FAA’s complete lack of action. Their lack of communication with us since our July meeting is unacceptable and has left us with no option other than to demand legal action and a formal Congressional inquiry.”
Numbers released by BWI Marshall reveal that the airport received 835 noise complaints in 2014; in 2015, that number jumped to 1,849, an increase of 121%. Testimony on Council Bill 8-2017 will be accepted at the regularly scheduled public hearing on Jan. 17. To sign up to testify, visit https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/otestimony or submit your testimony electronically via email@example.com.
Statement by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman Regarding CB-9
“Howard County has long been known for valuing diversity, inclusion, and civility. These have been guiding principles throughout my life and why I have championed efforts like #OneHoward and stood up against acts of hatred and bigotry. We in Howard County are a welcoming community that values diversity and inclusion of all people, which makes us a stronger community. We embrace our diverse cultural and religious beliefs throughout the year with dozens of community programs and events.
“While we have laws in place against hate crimes, we also know that no law or policy can prevent all acts of racism or prejudice. Council Bill 9 (CB-9), introduced by Councilmembers Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa, is a hollow political statement that provides a false sense of security, compromises our ability to keep our community safe, and could jeopardize federal funding for critical programs and services. For these reasons, I will veto CB-9 should it pass the County Council.
“False Sense of Security. As many have already pointed out, CB-9 will not protect undocumented immigrants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and cannot prevent immigrants from being deported. As the Supreme Court has held, only the federal government has authority over all immigration enforcement. The Howard County Police Department is responsible for the investigation and enforcement of criminal law, and has never been engaged in the enforcement of immigration laws. This bill’s own language states it will not supersede any federal or state law, or any existing agreement between the County and any other federal, state or local government.
“Compromise Public Safety Efforts. Our police department has made tremendous progress working with ICE over the last several years targeting drug activity, child pornography and human trafficking. The County was successful in its effort to locate, arrest and prosecute MS-13 gang members in large part through assistance from ICE. In addition, our recent efforts to investigate child pornography and human trafficking crimes have been successful because of cooperative agreements with ICE. A serious concern is that passage of CB-9 could compromise the County’s ability to keep our community safe.
“Loss of Federal Funds. CB-9 will add language to the Howard County Code that could put us at risk of losing some critical federal funding. I am not willing to jeopardize existing programs and services which benefit all Howard County residents to adopt a label that would not change any of the policies and practices that we already have in place.
“My administration will continue to champion and preserve our values and we encourage residents to seek paths toward legalization. Our departments and agencies, including our Police Department, will continue to treat each resident with dignity and respect. My promise, as County Executive, is that Howard County will continue to be a welcoming, inclusive and safe community where we celebrate our diversity.”
Statement by Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh Regarding AAMC Open Heart Surgery Program Recommendation
“We are grateful that Anne Arundel [County/Medical Center] is one step closer to having an open heart surgery program to serve its more than 560,000 citizens. The decision by the Maryland Health Care Commission will help improve the quality of life for our residents.
“While it is unfortunate that Baltimore Washington Medical Center did not receive the same recommendation, we thank Dr. Craig Tanio and the Commission for recognizing this essential need for our county.”
DOC Approves Rise Zone Around UMCP
The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) has approved a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone, or RISE Zone, in and around the campus of the Unive rsity of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). The designation aims to spur economic development and job creation by allowing commercial and industrial business that move into, or expand significantly within, the zone to benefit from real property and income tax credits. Businesses in targeted industries, including engineering, cybersecurity, additive manufacturing, aerospace and biotechnology, among others, will be eligible to receive increased incentives.
Existing businesses in the RISE Zone that invest a minimum of $5 million and create at least 50 jobs are eligible for the benefits, which include income tax credits. Companies in target industries are eligible for county and municipal real property tax credits as high as 75% for the five years that the designation is active.
The Greater College Park RISE Zone covers approximately 470 acres, including portions of the university’s campus, the City of College Park, and the adjacent Town of Riverdale Park. Major projects in the RISE Zone include The Hotel at the University of Maryland, a 300-room luxury hotel and conference center expected to open in July 2017; a 75,000-square-foot office building; two multi-family residential projects near the College Park Metro Station; and 111,000 square feet of flex space. The Hotel at UMD will also include facilities for academic research and incubation space for startup companies.
“RISE demonstrates the power of partnership to elevate economic development,” said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. “In Greater College Park and Prince George’s County, it is another important tool we are using to attract investment and develop our community, with clear benefits for the whole state.”
2015: State Tourism Revenue Hits $17B, Visitors Increase to 40.5M
Visitors to Maryland spent nearly $17 billion on travel expenses in 2015, up 3.5% from the previous year, according to a report released by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce. The report also found that Maryland welcomed 40.5 million visitors in 2015, a 6% increase from 2014, which also outpaced the growth of national visitation by a full percentage point.
According to the report, 60% of visitor spending focused on three areas: food and beverage, lodging and transportation. This spending has generated $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. More than 143,000 Marylanders were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2015, making it the 10th largest private sector employer in the state. The industry supported a payroll of $5.7 billion, which is an increase of 6% from 2014.
“Maryland has continued to delight visitors while increasing its product offerings with new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, executive director of Maryland’s Office of Tourism Development. “The state and its partners began expanding the traditional marketing footprint of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, which is paying off with increased visitation and visitor spending.”
“The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland – Calendar Year 2015 Tourism Satellite Account” was conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company. While the results of this report are only available on an annual retrospective basis, many performance metrics, including the Tourism Promotion Act sales tax codes, are available on a more frequent and timely basis.
State’s Largest Private Hospitalist Group Rebrands as Adfinitas Health
Maryland’s largest private hospitalist group, Physicians Inpatient Care Specialists (MDICS), celebrates its 10-year anniversary with the unveiling of a new brand identity – Adfinitas Health. Founded by two hospitalist physicians in 2007, Dr. Doug Mitchell and Dr. Hung Davis, Hanover-based Adfinitas Health currently serves more than 50 health care systems, hospitals and post-acute care centers, with approximately 400 employees. The company operates across the mid-Atlantic, delivering integrated medical services.
The recent release of a new published study coincides with the firm’s anniversary. Co-authored by Dr. Timothy Capstack, one of the company’s managing partners, the study confirms the benefits of Adfinitas Health’s model, which expands the use of advanced practice providers as compared to more traditional hospital staffing models.
“We built this company on our belief that talented, properly-trained physician assistants and nurse practitioners should operate at the top of their licensing to deliver quality care,” said Mitchell. “We developed a detailed, structured training program, including lectures, tests, and on-site training and evaluations, to equip these practitioners to be highly functioning hospitalists working in concert with doctors.”
VOR Technology Acquires SINTEL Group, First Strategic Cyber Acquisition
VOR Technology acquired Columbia-based Sintel Group, a provider of defense intelligence and analysis solutions to commercial and federal customers. The transaction also encompasses the addition of 25 high-end software engineers, intelligence analysts and cyber operators, thus deepening VOR’s core capabilities in offensive cyberoperations, systems architecture and software development.
Founded in 2012, “Sintel Group has established a strong reputation for exceeding customer goals and providing exceptionally-qualified individuals in hard-to-fill areas. Sintel’s strong customer relationships and contract vehicles fit exceptionally well within the VOR Technology structure. This transaction truly brings together two best-in-breed companies, and greatly enhances the combined value that VOR Technology will provide to our customers,” said Anthony Lawrence, VOR Technology president and CEO.
Maryland Seeks Applicants for Millions in Highway Safety Grants
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office (MHSO) will accept grant applications for millions of dollars in federal highway safety funds through Feb. 28, for projects occurring in federal fiscal 2018. The funds will be competitively awarded to law enforcement, government agencies, nonprofits, highway safety advocacy groups, individuals and others who support programs designed to reduce vehicle crashes and save lives on Maryland roads.
Federal grants are available to help fund the following initiatives.
● Preventing impaired, aggressive and distracted driving
● Increasing the use of seat belts
● Increasing motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist safety
● Funding child passenger safety fitting stations
● Improving Maryland’s traffic data systems
● Funding traffic safety-related law enforcement operations
Projects must be statewide in nature and correlate to a priority highway safety program area or another identified area, such as enhancing traffic records. Last September, Gov. Larry Hogan announced more than $12.5 million in federal safety funds to more than 80 agencies across Maryland to help strengthen and expand the state’s efforts to save lives on Maryland roads.
The grant funding year begins on Oct. 1, and runs through Sept. 30, 2018. For more information, visit www.mva.maryland.gov/safety/mhso/grants-management.htm or contact the MHSO at 410-787-4050.
SBA to Launch $1.2 Million Aspire Challenge
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the Aspire Challenge, a prize competition of up to $1.2 million to expand access to entrepreneurial education and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals. The competition will make up to 16 awards of $75,000 to organizations across the nation to assist in delivering entrepreneurial training and microloan assistance to formerly incarcerated individuals.
Aspire builds on Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative, a public-private partnership announced in August between SBA, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and microlender Justine Petersen. The pilot connects the formerly incarcerated to entrepreneurial training, education and microloans focusing on those who are parents. The pilot began in Detroit, Chicago, Louisville and St. Louis.
“Sixty percent of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed one year after release,” said SBA mid-Atlantic regional administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “Self-employment must be seen as a viable alternative, and the Aspire Challenge leverages entrepreneurship as a tool to increase economic mobility.”
SBA will award the prizes through the online competition platform www.challenge.gov. The competition is open to all for-profit and nonprofit entities and organizations with an account in the System for Award Management (SAM). The submission ends Feb. 12; the SBA anticipates winners will be announced by March 14.
Howard County’s MLK Holiday Celebration Scheduled
The Howard County Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission will present its annual celebration of the life and legacy of the civil rights leader on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane, Columbia; the reception will begin at 2 p.m. and the program at 3 p.m. The celebration is free to the public; however, attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to support Howard County’s Food Bank.
Residents are also encouraged to take part in the county’s Day of Service Across Howard County Project on Monday, Jan. 16. Volunteer opportunities include Hands-Only CPR and “Stop the Bleed” training, shelving food donations and assisting Days End Farm Horse Rescue. Those interested in volunteering should visit www.volunteerhoward.org/hocomlkserve to sign up or to learn more about various opportunities. All volunteers are invited to attend a kickoff celebration that morning at 8 a.m. at the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.
In case of inclement weather, contact program committee member Tracey Williams at 443-253-4398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an event update. For more information about the event, contact Farheen Sheik with the Office of Human Rights at 410-313-6430 or email email@example.com.
Kittleman to Keynote GBC Newsmaker Breakfast
Join the Greater Baltimore Committee for a discussion with Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman about Ellicott City’s response and recovery and economic development in Howard County. The event will be held at the GBC’s offices on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with registration and the breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program at 8 a.m.
The GBC is located at 111 S. Calvert St., Suite 1700, Baltimore. For more information, call 410-727-2820 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Howard County to Host Public Meeting on Flood-Proofing for Ellicott City
Howard County Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold a public meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Columbia/Ellicott City Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City. In response to the July 2016 flood in Historic Ellicott City, USACE will discuss a scheduled flood-proofing assessment and share potential flood-proofing actions with property owners.
The assessment study, scheduled to be completed by fall 2017, will target Historic Ellicott City’s Main Street from Route 29 to the Patapsco River, and will evaluate various building styles and offer recommendations for types of flood-proofing. A final report will offer options for property owners to pursue.
Those unable to attend the meeting who would like to view the proposed plans and/or have questions should contact Mark Richmond of DPW’s Storm Water Management Division at 410-313-6413 or email email@example.com. For more information about Capital Project D-1165, contact Lisa Brightwell, DPW Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Howard County DPW to Host Public Meetings on Watershed Assessment
Howard County Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold two public meetings to discuss the findings from a comprehensive assessment of the main stem of the county’s Patuxent River and the Patapsco River watersheds. The assessment measured the current environmental conditions and identified restoration opportunities that could be considered for capital improvement projects. These projects would help improve water quality in the county’s streams and rivers, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
With both watersheds encompassing such a large area, the assessment was split into five study areas: the South Branch Patapsco River; Lower North Branch Patapsco River; Brighton Dam/Triadelphia Reservoir; Rocky Gorge Reservoir and Upper Patuxent River watersheds.
A map depicting the five study areas is available on the county’s website at www.howardcountymd.gov/SWM . To reflect these study areas, the department will hold two public meetings.
Brighton Dam/Triadelphia Reservoir, Rocky Gorge Reservoir and Upper Patuxent River Watersheds
Monday, Jan. 23, Gary J. Arthur Community Center, 2400 Route 97, Dayton Room, Cooksville, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
South Branch Patapsco River and Lower North Branch Patapsco River Watersheds
Thursday, Jan. 26, Roger Carter Community Center, 3000 Milltowne Road, Ellicott City, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
An RSVP is requested, but not required, for those planning to attend a meeting. To RSVP or for questions or more information about Capital Project D-1148, contact Christine Lowe with the Department of Public Works’ Stormwater Management Division at email@example.com.
Arundel TV to Screen ‘History: Anne Arundel’ at Annapolis Library
Anne Arundel County will hold a special screening event for a new documentary about the life of the county’s namesake, Anne Arundel, on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The 30-minute documentary was produced by Arundel TV and contains information from primary sources and commentary by local historians, including Rocky Rockefeller of Anne Arundel Community College, Henry Miller from Historic St. Mary’s and architecture expert David Fogle of the University of Maryland.
The screening will be held in the meeting room of the Annapolis Library at 7 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the presentation. During the months of February and March, an exhibit in the Maryland Room at the library will allow the public to review primary sources and artifacts related to Anne Arundel, as well as view the documentary.
Howard County Seeks Nominations for Excellence in Programs for Children
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the Howard County Office of Children and Families are seeking nominees of people, programs and businesses that have made a positive impact on the lives of Howard County children for the 18th annual “Celebrating Successes for Children” awards program.
The program honors people, programs or businesses that make a difference and serve children in one of the following categories.
● Infants and Toddlers (0-3 years)
● Preschool-Age Children (3-5 years)
● Elementary-Age Children (Kindergarten-fifth grade)
● Middle School-Age Children (sixth-eighth grade)
● High School-Age Children (ninth-12th grade)
● Mixed-Aged Group (person or program that works with children of different ages)
● Making a Difference Youth Award (an individual under age 18 who has made a difference in the community)
● Family-Friendly Business Award (a Howard County business – not child care – that stands out because of its policies or service to children and families)
While an individual nominee does not have to be a resident of Howard County, s/he must serve Howard County children; however, program or business nominees must be located in Howard County. Nominations will be accepted online at www.howardcountymd.gov/CelebratingSuccesses through Friday, March 3. For more information, contact the Office of Children and Families at 410-313-1940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominees will be recognized during the Month of the Young Child at the county’s 18th annual “Celebrating Successes for Children” ceremony on Wednesday, April 26, at Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane in Clarksville.
The Arc Presents 20th Annual Chocolate Ball
The Arc of Howard County will present the 20th annual Chocolate Ball on Saturday, March 11, 7 p.m.-midnight, at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. One of Howard County’s premier social events, the Chocolate Ball features dinner and dancing to music by Oracle and an extensive silent auction. Extravagant desserts created by the area’s best chefs and caterers are a highlight.
The honorary chairs of the black tie-preferred event are long-time supporters Deanna and Joseph Murray, Sr. Sponsorships are now available from $1,000 to $15,000 and come with commensurate benefits, including recognition and seats at the usually sold-out event.
For information about sponsorships, visit www.archoward.org/events/chocolate-ball . Individual tickets may be purchased for $250 each. To review auction items and purchase tickets online, visit www.501auctions.com/archoward . Proceeds from the Chocolate Ball benefit The Arc of Howard County. For further information, contact Dee Athey, email@example.com or 410-730-0638, ext. 3.
Winter Edition of ‘Parent Pages’ Available in Howard
Howard County’s Department of Community Resources and Services has released the Winter 2017 edition of the “Parent Pages,” a newsletter designed for parents and families raising children. Published by the Department’s Office of Children and Families, the Winter issue contains articles about #OneHoward, activities to help your child become ready for kindergarten, behavior techniques for children and preparing your teens for life after high school.
The Howard County Family Institute’s Winter Family Workshop Calendar is also included with topics for all ages. For more information, contact Lisa Rhodes at 410-313-1440, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From MarylandReporter.com …
Hogan riding high with 74% approval; Trump in the dumps:
Gov. Larry Hogan is still riding high among Maryland voters, with the latest poll showing his job approval rating at 74%; even two-thirds of Democrats say the Republican governor is doing a good job. The recent Gonzales Research poll is the fifth public opinion survey in the last four months that has found seven out of 10 voters or more approving the job Hogan is doing as governor. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2017/01/05/hogan-riding-high-with-74-approval-trump-in-the-dumps
Knight Foundation will match gifts to MarylandReporter.com: MarylandReporter.com is one of 57 nonprofit news organizations from around the country that will receive matching grants, via Knight News Match, for any donations received over the next month until Jan. 19. Any donation of any size for the program – of up to $1,000 – will be matched dollar for dollar by the Knight Foundation, a major funder of nonprofit journalism. Donations are tax deductible, as MarylandReporter.com is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/19/knight-foundation-will-match-gifts-to-marylandreporter-com
MarylandReporter.com is a news site for government and politics in Maryland that is published and edited by Len Lazarick. For more information or to sign up for the daily e-news, visit www.marylandreporter.com .