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Dragos acquires NexDefense


Hanover-based Dragos Inc., provider of asset identification, threat detection and response platform and services, has announced the acquisition of Atlanta-based NexDefense, a provider of industrial controls system (ICS) visibility technology. As part of this announcement, the company also introduced today Dragos Community Tools, a set of free assessment tools to help organizations of all sizes around the globe forge the path forward towards comprehensive ICS security.

NexDefense further developed and sold Integrity, a tool originally funded by the United States Department of Energy and developed as “Sophia” at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). NexDefense was one of the earliest and most well-known ICS security companies in the space. This acquisition further supports the company’s mission of safeguarding civilization by making ICS security tools and knowledge readily accessible to the ICS security community.

“Dragos is committed to safeguarding civilization, and central to this mission is finding ways to provide tools and resources for the entire community,” said Robert Lee, CEO and founder of Dragos. “With the acquisition of NexDefense, we can provide a free asset identification tool specifically for operators looking to start with situational awareness and enable continuous asset monitoring capabilities, thereby helping move our entire community closer to the next level of maturity in security against cyber threats.”

Dragos Community Tools provide organizations with free asset identification capabilities, an important first step to effective threat detection and response. This is especially important in ICS environments, as they can contain thousands of assets – many potentially unknown to industrial organizations – with interconnected communications. The tools include both the NexDefense product Integrity, as well as Cyberlens, an assessment tool developed by current Dragos team members before founding Dragos Inc.

Coming to grips with problem gamblers


A gambling court has been established in Nevada. That’s new, but it’s an idea that obviously could have happened many moons ago.

The establishment of the court made national news and immediately got some gears churning around the United States. With the continued inroads the gaming industry is making nationwide, might gambling courts start to pop up elsewhere?

There is no such court in Maryland – the state’s District Court confirmed that the judiciary does not have a gambling treatment program – but could it happen here, too?

Maybe. Judge Cheryl Moss, the presiding judge in Clark County, Nev., has already been “talking to people in Seattle and the state of Louisiana.”

Going Nationwide

While Moss said “it’s early to tell how many cases we’ll get,” in Clark County, it won’t be a surprise if it’s busy: An estimated 142,000 adult Nevada residents, ages 18 and older, are problem gamblers, according to the state’s only problem gambling prevalence study, which was conducted in 2017.

Nevada has had the diversion program since 2009, said Jennifer Roberts, associate director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. “What happened is that some observers felt there were inconsistent applications and allowances for the program, so now they use it in the confines of a specialty court,” which is much like drug or veteran’s court, she said.

The difference, Roberts said, is the program is now being applied within a designated court, and will be overseen by Moss.

“To my knowledge, this is the only gambling court program in the country. We now have gambling in 40 states and that decision [to follow suit] will be up to each one,” she said, adding that a “more uniform application” will help stem problem gambling.

The Home Front

In Maryland, Travis Lamb, general manager of Live! Casino, in Hanover, offered the organization’s stance on identifying and assisting problem gamblers. “Every member of our staff is trained each year to recognize problem gambling and how to offer assistance,” he said.

“If a customer requests information about the program or wants to voluntarily sign up, we facilitate the process with Maryland Lottery officials on site,” he said. “There are signs and brochures available at every customer service location” and “notices are posted on ATMs and ticket redemption machines.”

The casino also has signage posted at all entrances/exits, as well as digital messaging on every slot machine and electronic table game position; in addition, the Responsible Gaming Committee reviews the policies and procedures set forth by the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency, which oversees the casinos.

With Maryland a fairly recent addition to the gaming industry, would the adoption of a gambling court be a good idea?

“Yes,” said Keith Whyte, executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), in Washington, D.C.

Gambling court “has been proven highly effective,” he said, noting that the first was in Amherst County, N.Y., from about 2001-10, when Judge Mark Farrell (now retired and an NCPG board member) presided over the program.

How effective was it? “None of the 250-300 people who went through his court during that period reoffended,” said Whyte. “They were more likely to pay back money owed and, since they received treatment, had much better financial and family relationships.”

A system such as a court, assessment or something similar, would be a good idea, especially for first-time offenders,” said Mary Drexler, program director with the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, in Columbia, which estimates that 150,000 state residents have a gambling problem.

“Though [Clark County] recently got the new court up and running, the legislation in Vegas passed in 2010, and will be held in Friday sessions of family court only,” said Drexler, adding, “I think you’ll see other states follow suit. That way, people who are addicted can get help early, not after total devastation” of their finances, careers and families.

Spread the Word

The news from Nevada was timely, too, as March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. “It helps to increase awareness of the resources that are available for problem gamblers and their families,” said Drexler, pointing out a help line, no-cost treatment – regardless of insurance – and no-cost assessment, with peer support recovery specialists who are themselves in recovery.

In March, she said, the center will market its services by broadcasting PSAs, and via billboards, social media, www.helpmyproblemgambling.org and 1-800-GAMBLER. Working with the National Alliance for Mental Illness’s state chapter is part of the equation, as is the voluntary self-exclusion program offered by the Lottery.

Drexler said that the light at the end of this tunnel doesn’t always flick on on its own.

“Often with substance abuse or mental health, as well as financial difficulties, we try to tie in treatment of gambling disorders with other addictions,” she said. “Problem gambling wasn’t recognized as a separate addiction until 2013, so we are only recently understanding it as a separate issue.

“Gambling addiction is easy to hide and thought to be invisible,” she said. “You can often see when someone’s drunk, for instance. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to stop gambling until it’s too late.”

Soulful Symphony Finds Resident Home at Merriweather


Merriweather Post Pavilion’s physical makeover will be complemented by a significant program enhancement this spring when Soulful Symphony begins tenancy as the facility’s first resident orchestra.

“We are building on a decades-old idea whose time has finally come,” said Ian Kennedy, executive director of the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission that owns Merriweather. “We are incredibly excited to work toward fulfilling the cultural promise of Merriweather by expanding its role [as] home to a world-class, 21st century orchestra.”

Founded nearly 20 years ago, Soulful Symphony is renowned for performances that celebrate America’s diverse musical and cultural history. The orchestra comprises 85 predominantly African-American and Latino musicians and vocalists, and has previously enjoyed residencies with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore’s Hippodrome.

“We want to be as comprehensive as possible with our programming,” said Soulful Symphony Director Darin Atwater. “We want to bring everyone together, true to our motto, taking an entire culture and setting it to music.”

Soulful Symphony’s commitment to the community will include a partnership with the Howard County Public School System along with a groundbreaking Culture Behind Bars initiative with the Maryland Correctional Institute, Atwater said.

County Executive Calvin Ball termed the announcement an opportunity to “revel in [Columbia’s] foundation of diversity and inclusion” and also advance what he called “the democratization of the arts,” helping to make access to arts and culture more affordable and accessible for the entire community. “[We’re] making sure that the things that help life be worthwhile are not just tolerated, but celebrated.”

HFAM announces behavioral health program


The Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM), of Linthicum, has announced a new, focused education program on behavioral health trauma-informed care. This program will be offered two days: April 4, in Easton, and April 5, in Linthicum.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring the implementation of trauma-informed care by November 2019 under Phase 3 regulations. This HFAM education program, presented by CMS certified experts from Assurant Learning and Performance Solutions, will offer valuable information, tools and resources to improve delivery of behavioral health and trauma-informed care. Participants will gain an understanding of the broad framework of behavioral health with a detailed examination of new CMS requirements.

Trauma-informed care is a treatment framework that recognizes, understands, and responds to the fact that many people have lasting effects from adverse life experiences. It emphasizes physical, emotional, and psychological safety of both residents and staff and helps survivors recover control.

Specific topics of the HFAM training program will include F-Tag Examination, disease and non-disease states associated with behavioral health, PASRR updates, and best practices for trauma-informed care. Providers across all care settings will benefit from this six-hour educational program, including administrators, directors of nursing, directors of social services, training directors, activity directors and other leadership staff. To learn more visit www.hfam.org/education or call 410-290-5132.

LTN Global acquires Niles Media


Savage-based LTN Global, the global provider of broadcast-quality IP video transport solutions, has acquired the Niles Media Group, a Kansas City, Mo.-based company specializing in media content creation and TV remote production. With their combined creative and technical resources, the two companies are positioned to bring the market new efficiencies and robust end-to-end workflows for content production and delivery.

LTN and Niles have been partnering for years to innovate, streamline, and advance the use of IP in delivering exceptional products and services to their broadcast and digital clients. With Niles’ capabilities in production and downstream video workflows, LTN can now offer multiple additional services, such as production, centralized graphics insertion, record and playback, standards conversion, and closed captioning. The company also can scale to offer many more linear and digital services, such as transcoding, streaming, and other ad hoc services, and to provide more “eyes on glass” services.

“With LTN’s fully managed IP multicast network and Niles’ media services, we can offer customers the benefit of a complete and seamless workflow, from content creation through to delivery,” said Malik Khan, co-founder and executive chairman at LTN. “Like LTN, Niles is an IP-forward company that’s focused on the future. We’re already close partners, having worked together on successful sporting events, and we look forward to building on our strengths to provide enhanced products and services at the highest levels of quality, reliability and scalability.”

With details of the acquisition complete, LTN will be investing in a large-scale digital and linear video processing services facility in Kansas City. The company is currently scouting potential sites.

Columbia building used for training before development


The Howard County Police Department and the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services are occupying the American Cities Building in Downtown Columbia for training for the next two months, prior to the razing of the vacant office building to make way for redevelopment of the Lakefront District. Demolition of the building is set to begin as the BizWeekly was distributed.

The building is owned by The Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC), the master developer for the revitalization of Downtown Columbia. All of the building’s tenants have been relocated; most recently the Post Office moved to 50 Corporate Center at nearby on 10500 Little Patuxent Parkway. As part of the transition, the “Bear and Nursing Cubs” sculpture at the corner of the American Cities Building will be moved and stored for future relocation, along with an accompanying plaque listing the names of every employee of The Rouse Company on its 30th anniversary.

The Lakefront District is the next area of concentration for HHC as it implements the Downtown Columbia Plan, which guides the redevelopment process. The plan was unanimously passed by the Howard County Council about nine years ago. It calls for the transformation of the 50-year-old center of Columbia into a walkable, urban core. Investments to date in the area made since the passage of the Downtown Columbia Plan including the development currently underway in the Merriweather District are already approaching $1 billion.

In April of last year, the Planning Board approved plans for Phase 1 of the Lakefront redevelopment including demolition of the American Cities Building and the former Copeland’s restaurant and transformation of surface parking to make way for future redevelopment to produce the following.

● 72,400 square feet of new restaurant/retail
● 242,000 square feet of new office
● 509 units of housing

In addition, Phase 1 of the Lakefront District redevelopment will feature:

● A new open space amenity area called the Lakefront Connection, which will increase access and visibility to Lake Kittamaqundi
● The Lakefront Neighborhood Square, which will serve as a gathering space and the site of the Howard County Veterans Monument
● An expanded network of pedestrian and bike-friendly public and private streets to enhance connectivity throughout the neighborhood

MPT to air Columbia’s Promise April 28


With Columbia one of the most meticulously planned cities in the world and having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, Maryland Public Television (MPT) has produced Columbia’s Promise, a one-hour documentary about the city and its founder, Jim Rouse. It will air on MPT on April 28, at 7 p.m., and will be rebroadcast on MPT2 on April 29, at 10 p.m.

Rouse’s careful planning cultivated social diversity, economic prosperity and some of the best schools in the nation. Using rare archival footage, viewers will be able to hear Rouse tell the story, interspersed with interviews with the likes of Robert Tennenbaum, who was one of Rouse’s top executives at The Rouse Company; Joshua Olsen, author of “Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse”; and long-time area journalist Len Lazarick, publisher of MarylandReporter.com and contributor to The Business Monthly.

“Rouse was famously modest and resisted most formal photo sessions, as well as televised interviews,” said MPT Senior Executive Producer Ken Day. “However, one prescient television producer/cameraman, Scott Kramer, begged Rouse for years to sit down and talk about Columbia. He finally succeeded, and in December of 1987, Rouse consented to a 90-minute interview about how Columbia came about. That interview drives much of this documentary.”

MPT is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has several events and observances planned throughout 2019 and into next year. A two-hour documentary, Made Possible By Viewers Like You: 50 Years of Maryland Public Television, will premiere on June 3, at 8 p.m.; in October, an official exhibit will open at Hornbake Library, at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will run for a year.

CA postpones plan for CBA


A proposal to recognize Columbia Association (CA) under state law as a community benefit association (CBA) is now being targeted for 2020, instead of 2019. The CA Board of Directors held it previously announced a special meeting on March 6 to continue the discussion about the merits of the proposal.

Since its founding in 1965, CA has been classified under Maryland Corporations Law as a private, non-stock corporation. When the state Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act) passed in 1987, CA was classified as a homeowners association as well. CA’s board had been considering requesting that the Maryland General Assembly recognize CA as a new kind of entity called CBA, instead of an HOA. The original timeline would have brought the request to lawmakers in Annapolis for a vote in the 2020 legislative session.

However, a recent court decision created potentially detrimental financial effects for CA. The proposal to be recognized as a CBA could address this issue, while maintaining the transparency protections of the HOA Act for anyone who lives or works on or owns property that is part of CA.

CA opted to change its timeline, given the possibility that the bill could still be considered in the remaining weeks of the 2019 legislative session, pending approval by CA’s board. CA released information to the community, and it hosted meetings with the public and with managers and board members from Columbia’s 10 village community associations. For more information, visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/CBA.

HHC plans hotel in Merriweather District


An approximately 210-room boutique hotel will be developed in Merriweather District Area 3 by Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) as part of the company’s $5 billion development in Downtown Columbia.

The project is still in the design phase. The timeline for the groundbreaking “will be based on market demand, so it will be ready to go when the time is right,” said Greg Fitchitt, president of the Columbia region for HHC, who added that there are no estimated costs for the project at this time.

The new hotel is part of a project that will “truly create the walkable community that is called for under the Columbia Master Plan,” Fitchitt said. “The new hotel will be good for Tenable Inc., when the company moves into its adjacent new building, and it will accentuate the Merriweather Post Pavilion experience by allowing concertgoers the opportunity to not only park close the venue, but also have more convenient dining options before and after the show. Once we complete the hotel, visitors will then be able to enjoy a first-class experience at the hotel.”

The as-yet-unnamed hotel will rise by the 320,000-square-foot Tenable building, as well as a 382-unit, seven-story apartment building, with 60,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurants, plus 40,000 square feet of additional retail. Eventually, District 3 will encompass 2.8 million square feet of total development.

Chambers unite to serve small business


The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has announced a new membership model designed to organize thousands of businesses as a unified force while also forging closer collaboration with the dozens of local chambers of commerce throughout the state.

Under the terms of the Maryland Chamber Federation, any business with 10 or fewer full-time employees that is a current paid member of a participating local chamber will receive free Federation membership with the Maryland Chamber.

“The Maryland Chamber Federation is a partnership with local and regional chambers to ensure that the voice of business is heard with minimal investment and maximum impact,” said Maryland Chamber President and CEO Christine Ross.

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCC), Central Maryland Chamber (CMC) and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (AAACCC) are among the initial group of 14 chambers that have joined the Federation.

“It really does expand the participation of business and creates more business-to-business opportunities for members,” said Maryland Chamber Board Vice Chair Stephen Woerner. “This is important during the legislative session when we can focus on combining our lobbying efforts with one voice. The knowledge gained at the local and regional chambers around Maryland will be tremendously beneficial … to have a consistent voice that’s well-informed from both a small and large business perspective.”

HCC President and CEO Leonardo McClarty has had experience with a similar model in Georgia, where he previously served 10 years at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.

“As an executive, you’re pulled in various directions,” McClarty said, adding that many chambers don’t have the staff to dedicate to legislative policy issues. “This allows us to leverage our relationship with the Maryland Chamber in a more formalized manner, at the same time allowing us to truly enhance services to our members, particularly to our small businesses.”

Approximately 450 of HCC’s 700 members have 10 or fewer employees, “and I think that same percentage speaks to the vast majority of my colleagues,” he said. “We’ve always worked together with the Maryland Chamber, but I think now we’re taking it another step further.”

According to Ross, the Maryland Chamber will work over the course of the next year to add more members.

“We haven’t put a formal federation plan together yet for the General Assembly, but we will for the future,” she said. “We believe that the strength of the chamber brand in Maryland is going to be significantly strengthened by this.”

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