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Howard County debuts Age-Friendly Community Survey

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Howard County has launched its Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS) Age-Friendly Community Survey. Part of a year-long process to gather data to develop a multi-year action plan, the survey allows residents the opportunity to provide feedback on efforts they believe will make Howard County a more livable community for all.

The anonymous survey solicits information and opinions on how residents view the availability of county resources, including housing, social participation, social services, health services, employment, volunteer and civic engagement opportunities and transportation. Results collected from the survey will help inform policymaking and planning to support active aging throughout Howard County, with an eye towards achieving equity and inclusion.

“The Age-Friendly Howard County initiative is a true collaboration among residents, government, private and nonprofit sectors and faith communities throughout Howard County to imagine new opportunities for all residents, with a special emphasis on how to ensure the community is one that enables older adults to age actively,” said DCRS Director Jacqueline Scott. “To quote the World Health Organization (WHO), to age actively is to ‘live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society.’”

The survey is just one part of the county’s recently launched Age-Friendly Howard County initiative, a three- to five-year plan to join the AARP network of age-friendly states and communities, an affiliate of the WHO.

The survey may be completed online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/HoCoAgeFriendly until Feb. 29. For more information on Age-Friendly Howard County, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/agefriendly.

County Council adopts updated WalkHoward plan

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The Howard County Council has unanimously adopted the updated WalkHoward plan, a pedestrian master plan that provides vision, framework and guidance for improving walkability and pedestrian access to transit within the county.

“Following the passage of our Complete Streets resolution, it was important to make our WalkHoward plan an immediate priority. I’m thankful for the effort that went into creating such a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to making Howard County more accessible and reliable for pedestrians, including a greater emphasis on safety and accommodations for people with disabilities and integration with transit services and schools,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “The WalkHoward plan is a critical component of creating a multi-modal community for all and its unanimous passage signifies broad community support.”

WalkHoward will now be the definitive reference for proposed pedestrian improvements within the county that all agencies, developers and stakeholders can reference for guidance. WalkHoward is in accordance with PlanHoward and recommendations to make pedestrian, bicycle and transit modes of transportation attractive and viable options.

The goal is for Howard County to have “a connected pedestrian network that safely and conveniently accommodates people of all ages and abilities,” and includes physical infrastructure recommendations, ideas for policy changes, and proposed programs in support of that vision.

To view the full WalkHoward plan and an online interactive map of all recommendations, visit www.walkhoward.org.

Howard County releases plan to end homelessness

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Photo courtesy of Howard County Government

A new report jointly authored by the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services’ Office of Community Partnerships and the Howard County Coalition to End Homelessness provides a new multi-year outlook on the county’s collaborative effort to build a community where no one is homeless.

The Path Home outlines a five-year strategic plan to ensure that homelessness in Howard County is rare, brief and nonrecurring. The report builds upon the county’s 2010 plan that focuses on strategies to assist those who are chronically homeless and/or situationally homeless. Goals outlined in the updated plan were informed by a three-month assessment conducted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). According to the assessment, county resources currently accommodate approximately 33 percent of eligible homeless residents.

Through the plan, the county will implement a set of strategic goals that align resources and services within the homeless response system. These goals will address capacity limitations, with a focus on providing safe alternatives to entering the homeless system whenever possible; increasing exits from emergency shelter; and creating innovative partnerships with landlords, businesses and other community stakeholders to leverage resources and increase housing options.

The full report can be downloaded at www.howardcountymd.gov/OCP.

Board of Education approves Health Fund Deficit Reduction Plan

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The Howard County Board of Education approved the collaborative plan with the County Government to reduce the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Health and Dental Fund deficit. The modified plan sent to the Board earlier this week from County Executive Calvin Ball, proposed eliminating the debt of $39.2 million over four years, through year-end savings and one-time funds from the County.

The updated plan amended the original proposal by preserving at least $8 million of the unassigned fund balance, introducing a mechanism to ensure HCPSS is accountable for generating year-end savings, and a longer time frame to minimize the impact on County services.

“The county executive’s recommendation advances accountability and sustainability through his proposed modifications,” said HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano. “My goal has always been to eliminate the deficit as quickly as possible; however, we cannot do so without collaboration with our county partners.”

Each year until fiscal year 2024, the deficit would be reduced by $6 to $11 million. The county will contribute $13 million in total one-time funding, contingent upon HCPSS meeting established yearend savings targets, and the Maryland State Department of Education (excluding one-time county funding from the maintenance-of-effort base calculation); and preservation of $8 million in unassigned fund balance in HCPSS General Fund throughout the duration of the modified plan period.

The modified plan is consistent with the original proposal by addressing the deficit immediately in fiscal 2020, retaining the $13 million in county contributions and $26.7 million in HCPSS year-end savings, and provides enough funding to eliminate the $20.7 million interfund loan by the end of fiscal 2021.

Maryland casinos generate $145.5M in January

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Maryland Lottery and Gaming announced that January 2020 gaming revenues for the state’s six casinos were $145,466,952. The total represents an $8,471,517 (6.2%) increase compared to the January 2019 total of $136,995,435.

Contributions to the state of Maryland from January 2020 casino gaming revenue totaled $60,208,740, including $45,161,218 for the Education Trust Fund. Casino gaming revenues also support local communities and jurisdictions where the six casinos are located, as well as Maryland’s horse racing industry.

Three of Maryland’s six privately-owned casinos are in central Maryland: Live! Casino & Hotel, Hanover; Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, in Baltimore City; and MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill; the others are Ocean Downs Casino in Worcester County; Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County; and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County.

Horseshow Casino Baltimore was the only casino in the state that reported a year-over-year decrease compared to their January 2019 gaming revenue totals.

MGM National Harbor (3,135 slot machines, 207 table games)
$58,526,509 in January 2020, an increase of $2,303,072 (4.1%) from January 2019.

Live! Casino & Hotel (3,853 slot machines, 193 table games)
$51,748,184 in January 2020, an increase of $5,455,481 (11.8%) from January 2019.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore (2,100 slot machines, 154 table games)
$19,288,279 in January 2020, a decrease of $897,692 (-4.4%) from January 2019.

Details on each casino’s gaming revenues and contributions to the state of Maryland are available at www.mdgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/January-2020-Casino-Revenue-Dtata.pdf.

One moves in, two more coming at Long Reach Village Center

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One company has moved in to the Long Reach Village Center and two more are on the way.

Now under roof is Roll Up ’n Dye, a tie-dye studio that hosts parties and team-building events, is moving into the first floor as part of the Long Reach Rising Revitalization project led by Howard County.

In addition, two more entities announced plans to move into a portion of the Safeway space in the center. They are Andersen-Becker, which produces art clothing designed by Lee Andersen and sold under the Lee Andersen, ZooLOLogy and Victorian Doll labels; and ManneqART, a nonprofit for Education in the Arts, which will create the DoodleHATCH Department Store, a new tourist and community destination that offers interactive evolving art installations and experience to the public.

Roll Up ’n Dye opened in 2011, serving customers out of owner Erin Cassell’s garage, and has seen explosive growth for nearly a decade. The studio hosts events. Cassell was recently recognized for winning a Changemaker Challenge grant from the Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland, which she received for beautifying a bus stop shelter off Route 1 in her hometown of Elkridge.

Andersen-Becker has 10 staff, including seamstresses, inspection, shipping and administration. The company will also be creating a new fabric store and opening their fourth factory store in the village center. Andersen-Becker produces approximately 10,000 garments and accessories each year and supplies about 300 independent boutiques throughout the U.S.

ManneqART’s DoodleHATCH Department Store is not actually a department store but is using the organizational device of a pretend Department Store for “mythological creatures, time travelers and galactic tourists” to present interactive experiences to the public.

The Long Reach Rising goal is to help stabilize the area through maintenance, repair, beautification and placemaking. The new tenants join the Columbia Arts Center, the Stonehouse Community Center, the African Art Museum of Maryland, and new Howard County Arts Council artists’ studios, as part of the emerging arts, culture and entrepreneurship hub.

AAMC partners with Sheppard Pratt

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Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) has partnered with Sheppard Pratt Health System to lead the expansion of AAMC’s behavioral health services and address the growing need for accessible, high-quality mental health and addiction services in Anne Arundel County and its surrounding communities.

Sheppard Pratt and AAMC have selected Rod Kornrumpf to serve as vice president of behavioral health at AAMC to help lead the management of the new 16-bed mental health hospital, partial hospitalization program, and Pathways business operations. Kornrumpf will also help oversee the associated clinics, facilities, and staff. He previously served as the regional executive director for behavioral health for the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health/Union Hospital partnership.

“Few health care needs are more misunderstood than those involving mental health,” said Kornrumpf. “Through the J. Kent McNew Family Medical Center, we are not only increasing critically needed mental health services in the region, but we are signaling a new era in which mental health is recognized as essential to overall health and is a true health care priority. I’m honored to be a part of this legacy.”

The behavioral health services offered in the new mental health hospital will include inpatient mental health care, a psychiatric partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient programs, residential and outpatient substance use services, and referral and care coordination to community-based treatment and support services.

Horse racing boosters praise legislation

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With the introduction of leadership bills to enact the racing and community development plan that was announced in October 2019, Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Maryland’s racing industry and The Stronach Group, owner of the Maryland Jockey Club, are praising Maryland’s legislative leaders.

The expected legislation preserves the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, enhances year-round sustainable racing at Laurel Park with state-of-the-art modern facilities and spurs community redevelopment efforts in and around Pimlico.

“Laurel Park is ideally situated to become not only a major entertainment destination and an economic driver for the state, but also the most horse-friendly racetrack and training facility in America,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Pittman. “Passage of this legislation will make it happen.”

“Maryland is a vital partner with us in this historic and economically important industry. With their collaboration, the racing industry produces in excess of $1 billion to the economy, provides tens of thousands of jobs, support businesses and protects more than 700,000 acres of open space,” said Alan Foreman, representative of the Maryland racing industry. “This comprehensive legislation presents a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to preserve the Preakness in Baltimore City and make Maryland the epicenter of Thoroughbred racing in the country, and potentially the world. We urge the General Assembly to support this transformational plan.”

Bills will be available online at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov. Additional information, including plans and graphics, can be found at www.racingforthefuture.org.

Ball testifies for Bay Restoration Fund

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Howard County Executive Calvin Ball recently testified in front of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of Senate Bill 172 (SB172) and House Bill 78 (HB78), also known as the Bay Restoration Fund. The legislation would alter the criteria for determining the use of funds in the Fund for purposes including climate resiliency and flood control; it also specifies that certain grants to local government may be used for stormwater management measures.

“The Northeast has experienced a 70 percent increase of precipitation over the last 50 years and Howard County knows, first-hand, the dangers of extreme weather,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Now is the time to ensure that funds are allocated for climate resiliency and flood mitigation, efforts that will not only protect historic towns like Ellicott City, but ultimately prevent debris and runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.”

Maryland Chamber Federation welcomes four partners

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The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has announced that four of its members have become partners with the Maryland Chamber Federation, a network of 23 local and regional chambers of commerce and trade associations committed to supporting the state’s small business community.

The new Federation partners are:

Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. (CAMI), a trade association comprising hundreds of cybersecurity providers, businesses and organizations that offer support and resources to Maryland’s cybersecurity industry.

Greater Crofton Chamber of Commerce, which serves Crofton, Gambrills, Davidsonville, Millersville and Bowie.

The others are the Maryland Tech Council and the Pikesville-Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Federation was established a year ago to ensure the needs and concerns of small businesses are elevated to the state and federal levels of government. Any business with 10 or fewer full-time employees, who is already a member of a participating local chamber or trade association, will receive free Federation membership into the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

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