Archived Articles: February 2018

People in Business

Kittleman Announces Director for Howard Finance Department
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced the appointment of Janet Irvin to lead the county’s Department of Finance. Since 2013, Irvin has served as chief financial officer for the Maryland Environmental Service (MES), in Millersville.

MES Names Wojton
The Maryland Environmental Service (MES) has named Beth Wojton deputy director. She will serve as chief operating officer for the organization and as a member of its board of directors. Wojton was promoted from her recent position as MES chief of staff.

CA Hires Sewell-Williams to
Head Columbia Archives
Columbia Association (CA) has hired Lela Sewell-Williams as the new manager of the Columbia Archives. She has worked for two decades as an archivist. She was the first archivist at South Carolina State University, a manuscripts librarian at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library and the initiator and project archivist for The Schomburg Center’s Hip-Hop Archive Project.

HCCEF Announces New
Board Members
The Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF) appointed two new members to the board of directors, Charlie Camp and Nancy Calder. Camp is a vice president for M&T Bank and oversees the Howard County Business Banking group; Calder serves as the program director and chair for Howard Community College’s fully accredited Medical Laboratory Technician Program.

MUIH Adds Two Therapists
The Natural Care Center at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has added two licensed medical and therapeutic massage therapists to its staff. They are Myron Kimble-Marvel, who is working on an M.S. in clinical herbalism at MUIH; and Jessica Smith, a Dr. Vodder School International Certified Lymphatic Decongestion therapist.

The Columbia Bank Names
Local Branch Manager
Kevin Jordan was named branch manager at The Columbia Bank’s Gateway Plaza office. He comes to the bank from SunTrust Bank, where he held the same title.

Ellison Joins impactHR as
Senior Consultant
impactHR, of Columbia, has hired Tracey Ellison as senior HR consultant, client services. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in health care, banking, insurance and consulting, most recently as a vice president for Carroll Hospital.

Champion Realty CEO
Named to Power List
For the fourth time since 2014, Champion Realty President and CEO Jon Coile has been named to the Swanepoel Power 200 list of the most influential people in residential real estate. This year, he checked in at number 165; more than 3,000 executives were considered for inclusion on the 2018 list.

From the Desk of CA President Milton Matthews

I was very pleased to see Columbia Association (CA) facilities mentioned in the “Best of Howard County 2017” awards listed in last month’s Howard Magazine.

The awards went to Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club (Best Golf Course); Swansfield Mini-WaterPark (Best Pool for Kids); Bonnie Pace (Best Personal Trainer); Columbia Gym (honorable mention, gym); Supreme Sports Club (honorable mention, gym); Columbia SportsPark (honorable mention, kids’ activity); SplashDown (honorable mention, kids’ activity) and River Hill Pool (honorable mention, pool for kids).

All eight of these recipients are repeat winners, and they are among the best in the county for good reason. Yet, I also believe that there are many other CA facilities and staff who are among the best of the best.

Columbia thrives as the best small city in America, in part, because of CA’s vast portfolio — and because of CA’s commitment to serving the community with the types of facilities, amenities, programs and activities that not only make Columbia a destination for residents and businesses, but go beyond what you would typically find in a community of more than 100,000 people.

I am proud of all we do at CA. However, as an organization with a mission to make the community better, CA seeks each day to improve and continue to evolve with the community.
River Hill Pool and Swansfield Mini-WaterPark are wonderful destinations; our other 21 outdoor pools will continue to be enhanced to ensure that they remain just as desirable during the summer months. Renovations at Columbia Athletic Club will continue in 2018, with major improvements throughout the facility to revitalize the oldest of CA’s three fitness clubs. Hopefully in the near-term, Columbia Athletic Club will join Columbia Gym and Supreme Sports Club on Howard Magazine’s list; and our personal trainers will continue to increase their expertise and grow their presence as a component of any fitness regimen.

As I looked through the “Best of Howard County” awards, I was honored to see the many other individuals, businesses and organizations that CA is listed alongside.
Congratulations to everyone within those pages and, like here at CA,

I want to acknowledge all who went unlisted this year but whose great work also contributes so much.

Chamber Training Programs Enhance the Member Experience

With a significant turnover in chamber and association staff leadership in Maryland during the past year, it is important for business leaders, and particularly chamber and association board members, to understand what opportunities exist for new staff executives to learn industry best practices from their peers and from industry experts.

Encouraging new and continuing executives to participate in such education is the difference between organizations that adopt cutting-edge programs for their members and those that continue to do what they’ve always done — which is of the greatest benefit to the membership?

Many opportunities exist for new, and even long-time, chamber and association executives to learn about industry best practices and how to apply them in their own organizations. Among the best is the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management, a four-year, one-week-per-year program covering a defined 96-hour curriculum. Topics covered include board development and governance practices, financial management, membership development, event planning, personnel management and advocacy.

But as important as the in-class education is the opportunity to network with industry peers. Most participants end up sharing ideas and issues under the Institute umbrella, not only between annual programs, but well past their graduation. While the cost of this program is $1,795 per year (plus travel expenses), partial scholarships are almost always available for those in their first year of the program, and the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) offers scholarships for future years.

What’s more, most participants find they leave each year with ideas that more than pay for their attendance.

Opportunity Plus

The national associations for chambers and associations — respectively, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) — also offer significant professional development opportunities. Both hold annual conferences packed with quality speakers and cutting-edge information; in addition, they offer online resources, webinars and focused professional development opportunities.

For professionals in Maryland, the D.C. locations of these organizations also mean many programs are offered within easy driving distance, thus reducing the cost of participating.

A number of certifications help business leaders identify chamber and association executives who have made the effort to become knowledgeable in their fields. Those who complete four years at the institute earn the Institute for Organization Management (or IOM) certification.

This can be used as a building block for ACCE’s Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) or ASAE’s Certified Association Executive (CAE). Each require a certain number of professional development hours, as well as a certain number of years in the industry, to be eligible. The CAE then requires applicants to successfully pass a four-hour exam, while the CCE requires applicants to submit a comprehensive analysis of their organization, several essays and to sit for oral and written exams.

Organizationally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also offers the U.S. Chamber Accreditation Program, which involves submitting a self-assessment of your organization, based on industry best practices, which is then evaluated by a third-party accreditation consultant.

While smaller organizations often find this program too expensive and time-consuming, those who have completed it generally report it has made them much better chambers and improved their value to the business community.

Act Locally

For those not ready or able to participate in national programs, the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) offers quarterly professional development opportunities for chamber staff and board members. (Unfortunately, the association counterpart of MACCE is no longer active in the state.)

MACCE programs include a January legislative update, April board leadership meeting, September Best Practices session and November meeting reserved for only chamber CEOs and executive directors, to allow a free flow of ideas and concerns. Meeting costs are minimal (generally $65), and membership is also affordable. at $150 per year.

Chamber and association management is a profession, just as engineering, banking and accounting are professions. Would you entrust your building structure or financial accounts to those who haven’t learned the defined body of knowledge common to their industry or haven’t pursued continuing education to understand how that knowledge has changed with new discoveries?
If so, then why wouldn’t you expect, and encourage, those who run your industry/community organizations to do the same?

Claire Louder, former CEO of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, has been a chamber and association leader for 28 years. She now offers consulting for chambers and associations through her new company, Louder NonProfit Strategies. She can be contacted at claire@loudernonprofitstrategies.com.

Chamber Resources

For more information about the programs mentioned, contact the following.
• Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)
www.acce.org (for CCE, visit www.acce.org/cce); 703-998-0072
• American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
www.asaecenter.org (for CAE, visit www.asaecenter.org/programs/cae-certification);
202-371-0940
• Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE)
www.mdchamberexecutives.org; 410-271-8503
• U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management
www.institute.uschamber.com (for accreditation, visit www.uschamber.com/
members/chambers/accreditation); 202-463-5570

Nonprofit News & Charitable Giving

CAREAPP Unites Providers, Orgs, Clients to Improve Health Outcomes

CAREAPP is a community-wide project led by Howard County Health Department to support healthy living beyond traditional health care settings. The project focuses on a client’s economic and social conditions and reducing needs, such as transportation, food, education, employment, housing and health access, to improve health outcomes.
CAREAPP operates on a web-based platform developed by Healthify, which features a live, searchable resource database, a needs assessment screening tool, a two-way referral tracking system and data analytics. It enables the network of partner organizations and providers to communicate in real-time, linking vulnerable clients to critical resources and support.
There are 27 community partners in the CAREAPP network, including private, public, government and academic sectors, with more than 700 individual community providers recently trained to use the tool. For more information about CAREAPP powered by Healthify and participating community partners, visit www.hccareapp.org.

MDOT Announces $2.1M for 43 Bicycle, Pedestrian Projects

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced $20,395,834 in grants to support improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety, and connectivity across the state. Three separate state and federal grant programs will provide funds to transportation agencies, local jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations for 43 projects, as well as provide a key link in western Anne Arundel County.
The three grant programs allow the state to support local partners and invest in safety and connectivity improvements in the multi-modal transportation network. For example, a project to link the WB&A Trail in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties via a bridge over the Patuxent River will receive $4.7 million from the Transportation Alternatives Program. The 700-foot bicycle and pedestrian bridge will complete a key missing link in the WB&A Trail, which was built on the abandoned corridor of the WB&A Electric Railway.
Once constructed, bicyclists and other trail users will be able to travel more safely than sharing the roadways with motorized vehicles on Route 450, Route 3 and Route 175. The WB&A Trail is a component of the East Coast Greenway and the American Discovery Trail, which are national trail systems running from Maine to Florida and Delaware to California, respectively.
The announcement includes $2.1 million in state funds from the Maryland Bikeways Program; $478,000 in federal funding from the Recreational Trails Program; and $17.8 million in federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program.

Join the HCAC for the 21st Annual Celebration of the Arts

The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) will mark 20 years of recognizing the local arts community’s stars at its signature event, the Celebration of the Arts in Howard County gala, to be held Saturday, March 24, from 6–10 p.m. at the Peter & Elizabeth Horowitz Visual & Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College.
The evening will begin with a reception featuring artwork and musical performances in the Studio Theatre. At 8 p.m., guests will move to the Smith Theatre for the live presentation of the Rising Star Performing Artists Competition and the 2017 Howie Awards; seats also will be available in the Studio Theatre for a simulcast of the show. Then, the HCAC’s 2018 Arts Scholarship recipients will be announced.
Buddy and Sue Emerson, supporters of a number of community and charitable organizations in Howard County and statewide, will act as honorary chairs for the evening. Myron “Mo” Dutterer, recipient of the 2003 Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Educator and a member of the Howard County theater community, will serve as emcee.
The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition showcases 10 young performing solo artists and/or small ensembles (ages 18–35). These artists will be vying for a no-strings-attached $5,000 professional development award; the winner will be selected by the audience. For more information, visit www.hocoarts.org/explore/learn-participate/celebration-of-the-arts.

Kellner Retiring From  Columbia Archives

After more than three decades of leading the Columbia Archives, Barbara Kellner is retiring. Kellner, 72, moved to Columbia from New Jersey with her family in the early 1980s. Soon afterward, she took an administrative position with the newly formed Archives, which became part of Columbia Association in 1992.
What began as a part-time job led to her eventually becoming director. During her tenure, the archives has received landmark acquisitions such as Columbia founder Jim Rouse’s papers, which document his life and give even more insight into the story of Columbia and Rouse’s role as a pioneer of festival marketplaces and shopping centers.
She also has been a guiding force behind signature community events, such as the annual Columbia BikeAbout, which spotlights Columbia’s history and landscape with a family-friendly bicycle ride through the community’s open space. As for her plans, Kellner said, “I am looking forward to a new chapter, a new passion ­— but Columbia is still in my heart, and I expect it will show up in something I do.”

Vendors Wanted for Howard County’s GreenFest

Vendor applications are now being accepted for Howard County’s annual GreenFest, which will be back for its 11th consecutive year on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Howard Community College’s Burrill Galleria, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia.
Last year’s event drew more than 2,000 attendees and featured nearly 80 commercial and nonprofit vendors with information about how to live a more ecologically-sound lifestyle. The theme for 2018 is “Explore, Connect, Act.”
Each exhibit space includes a 5-foot table and two chairs. Cost to nonprofits is $25 per space; cost to other entities, including commercial businesses, is $35 per space. An additional $10 late fee will be charged to those who apply after Friday, Feb. 23. The vendor and sponsorship application is available via www.hcgreenfest.org. For more information, contact Alan Wilcom at 410-313-6433 or via email at awilcom@howardcountymd.gov.

MDOT to Host Minority Business Workshop in Spanish

As part of the Hogan Administration’s “Maryland Is Open for Business” initiative, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) offers free Minority Business Enterprise/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Small Business Enterprise Application Assistance workshops to assist business owners with the certification process.
To increase outreach to Hispanic-owned businesses, MDOT has partnered with the Alliance for Hispanic Commercial Contractors (AHCC) to offer workshops in Spanish. The second Spanish-Only Certification workshop will be held Jan. 10, from 9 to 11 a.m., at MDOT Headquarters, 7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover.
For questions, contact Denise Merritt (MDOT) at 410-865-1380 or Vanessa Lopez (AHCC) at 443-324-6854. RSVP to Vanessa Lopez at vanessa@ahcc-midatlantic.org.

Schuh to Host ‘King’s Dream: Then and Now’

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and Anne Arundel United will host a special event honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to include a screening of his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and presentations by experts called “King’s Dream: Then and Now.”
The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC). Doors will open and a welcoming reception will start at 6 p.m. Featured speakers will include Lester Brooks, from AACC; former Maryland Delegate and Baltimore Councilman Keiffer Mitchell, Jr.; and civil rights activist Carl Snowden. RSVP via www.facebook.com/events/133222000703146.

Arundel LDC Community Grant Application Period Open

Anne Arundel County announced the Local Development Council (LDC) community grant application period is open. The LDC was established under the authority of state law in those counties in which a video lottery terminal facility, or casino, is located.
Anne Arundel County receives 4.51% of total revenues generated by video lottery terminals at Maryland Live! Casino. This funding is distributed by the county in the form of local impact grants and must be used for improvements primarily in the communities in immediate proximity to the casino.
Applications can be downloaded at www.aacounty.org/LDC; applicants also can download tips for a successful grant proposal. All applications must be received by close of business on Jan. 26. Applications and documentation can be mailed to Jack Patterson, Development Assistant, Arundel Community Development Service, 2666 Riva Road, Suite 210, Annapolis MD 21401. Electronic copies must be emailed to jpatterson@acdcsinc.org.
Grant awards will be distributed in August 2018. Last year, the county and Maryland Live! awarded $18.5 million in local impact grants for fiscal 2018 to various grant recipients as recommended by the LDC, of which $370,000 went to community support grants.

Come-UNITY Founders Share Crime Prevention Award

Pastor Ginny Price of New Hope Lutheran Church, Columbia, and Steven Lewis, a Howard County real estate professional, received the Governor’s Crime Prevention Award. Nominated by the Howard County Police Department (HCPD), they were recognized for their efforts to foster increased community engagement with the police through the Come-UNITY Group, an informal conversation and community discussion group that seeks to cross color and cultural divides.
Presented during the 38th Annual Governor’s Crime Prevention Award ceremony in Annapolis, the award is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS), among other agencies. It recognizes individuals and agencies for contributions to the furtherance of crime prevention in their communities.

HCC President’s Gala Raises $200K for Student Scholarships

Howard Community College (HCC) raised $200,000 for student scholarships at its President’s Gala, which celebrated the opening of the new Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Building. Presented by BGE, the black-tie affair attracted more than 600 guests, with proceeds going to the Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The $76.7 million, 145,300-square-foot building offers dedicated laboratories for hands-on training in disciplines such as cybersecurity, computer forensics, genetics, geology and plant science. It also features a two-story engineering big build room with a strong wall, a ceiling-mounted crane, a catwalk and workbenches. A rooftop telescope observation area, with a telescope warming room and a weather station with a camera, is available to the college’s aspiring astronomers.

Apply for CA Scholarships Rewarding Teens for Community Service

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Maggie J. Brown Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Award. Columbia Association’s (CA) scholarship program offers up to six $2,500 awards to graduating high school seniors who exhibit exceptional efforts in providing community service to benefit residents of Columbia and the surrounding area.
The students must live on CA-assessed property or have a parent/guardian who works full-time on, or owns, CA-assessed property. Applicants must be graduating in May/June 2018 from an accredited public, private or parochial high school, or be home-schooled in accordance with COMAR 13A.10.01. The students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better.
Applications are available at ColumbiaAssociation.org/scholarship. Completed applications must be submitted by March 15. For more information, call 410-715-3161 or email SpiritofColumbia@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

MSP Needs Volunteers for Polar Bear Plunge

The 2018 Maryland State Police (MSP) Polar Bear Plunge is right around the corner, and Special Olympics Maryland is looking for volunteers. They are needed throughout the week to assist with event setup, logistics and in the plunge zone. Interested volunteers wanting to help can register at www.somd.org/volunteer.
Group leaders interested in group volunteer experiences should email volunteers@somd.org for more volunteer opportunities. For additional information about the plunge, as well as other volunteer opportunities throughout the year, visit www.somd.org or call 410-242-1515.

CAC Gives Back by Creating Hand-Made Toys in New MakerSpace

The Chesapeake Arts Center (CAC) opened a new MakerSpace in September 2017 and used it to give back to the community during the holiday season. Approximately 65 wooden toys, handmade and painted under the direction of CAC MakerSpace Coordinator Henry Scott and Prof. Stephen Bradley, UMBC ‘Social Entrepreneurship in Place’ class, were given to children at the Anne Arundel County Public School’s Ruth Parker Eason School.
A selected group of children from the school visited the Makerspace to create crafts and receive the toys that were created for them. Ruth Parker Eason is a public, separate day school located in Millersville. The school provides a special education program for students ages 3 through 21 who have moderate to severe disabilities.

Columbia Orchestra Season Resumes

The Columbia Orchestra’s 2017–18 season continues on Saturday, Jan. 27. The program opens with “Deadlock,” by Ruby Fulton, featuring Baltimore beatboxer Shodekeh, for whom the piece was written. Next, the orchestra welcomes back pianist Michael Sheppard to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3; finally, Brahms’ D Major Symphony No. 2 will round out the program.
In addition, Bill Scanlan Murphy, music department faculty member at Howard Community College, will offer a free lecture at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $28/$22 for adults, $24/$18 for seniors and $12/$10 for students. A $3 ticket processing fee will apply. For more information, call 410-465-8777 or visit www.columbiaorchestra.org.

Howard Office of Children, Families to Hold Info Fair

Howard County’s Department of Community Resources & Services will host its annual Preschool/Child Care Information Fair, Children On Board, on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane, Clarksville. Admission is free; however, attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or unopened pack of diapers to donate to the Howard County Food/Diaper Bank.
Coordinated by the Department’s Office of Children and Families, Children On Board provides parents, guardians, grandparents and child care personnel with a one-stop shop for information on child care, pre-school and summer programs, as well as the opportunity for personal contact with teachers and program directors.
In addition, the new 2018 “Parent’s Guide to Howard County,” will be distributed at the event, free of charge. For more information about the fair, call 410-313-1940 (voice/relay) or email children@howardcountymd.gov.

HCAC Announces HoCo Open 2018, Everyday Relics

Two new exhibits open in mid-January at the Howard County Center for the Arts: The first, “HoCo Open 2018,” once a biennial event, is now an annual non-juried exhibit showcasing work by artists who live, work or study in Howard County; the Gallery II exhibit, “Everyday Relics,” features artists Charles Bowers and Pamela Crockett. Both exhibits open Jan. 12 and run through Feb. 23.
For “HoCo Open 2018,” artwork will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the gallery is full. The exhibit is expected to feature approximately 100 pieces of art in a variety of styles and media, including watercolor, oil painting, sculpture, collage, line drawing, photography, ceramics and more.
“Everyday Relics” features mixed media works. Bowers creates pigment ink transfer images, often depicting imagery of nature; and Crockett’s abstract paintings are inspired by Byzantine artifacts.
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) and Howard County Tourism (HCT) will hold a reception for both on Friday, Jan. 19,  from 6–8 p.m., and welcome HCT’s partners for a pARTners in ART networking event (snow date: Jan. 26). The evening also will feature the presentation of the new, $500 Covington Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by HorseSpirit Arts Gallery, of Downtown Ellicott City, to an emerging artist participating in “HoCo Open 2018.”

Franchot Presents Schaefer Awards in Howard, Anne Arundel

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot recently presented the 2017 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Awards. In Howard County, the winner was Colleen Konstanzer, the first executive director of Howard County’s Neighbor Ride. The nationally-recognized supplemental transportation program relies on volunteers to provide rides for seniors. Konstanzer has been the organization’s community outreach coordinator for nearly 10 years.
In Anne Arundel County the award went to Isabel’s Gift, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting families with sick children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The presentation will be held at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC).

Holiday Food and Wine Tasting Attracts Women Leaders for Grassroots

Almost $8,000 was raised at the third Annual Women Leaders for Grassroots Holiday Food and Wine Tasting hosted by Whole Foods Market Columbia that donated the space and the food. Decanter Fine Wines donated the wines for sampling.
Executive Director Ayesha Holmes provided an update on activities at Grassroots, Howard County’s 24-hour crisis intervention center and shelter for the homeless noting that Grassroots counselors had met face-to-face with 2,386 people last year, received 37,591 calls on the hotline and went out on 1,015 Mobile Crisis Team emergencies..
The shelter programs supported 290 men, women and children who received services to help them achieve permanent housing. Another 977 people were served at the Day Resource Center, where the chronically homeless are provided meals and services.
Presenting sponsors for the Women Leaders for Grassroots event were Lisa Higgins Hussman, Jean F. Moon of Jean Moon & Associates and Barbara Van Winkle of Nancy Adams Personnel.

Hickory Ridge Joins Village Center Redevelopment Queue

Hickory Ridge Village Center (HRVC) owner Kimco Realty is proposing a $70 million redevelopment project to reconfigure the property and add a residential component.

While few would argue that the 25-year-old center is due for a makeover, the scale of Kimco’s proposed 230-unit apartment building has elicited concern from many residents, and even a few Howard County Planning Board members.

Even so, the Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the project at its Jan. 18 meeting.

According to Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) Planner Bob Lalush, that action does not green light the proposal; rather, it confirms its compliance with the criteria for a major village center redevelopment.

“If the Zoning Board approves this case, then an actual site development plan will be coming back to the planning board later,” he said, during the board’s Jan. 4 public hearing. “More detailed site development plan issues could be dealt with at that stage.”

Market Forces

The 14-acre HRVC consists of a 66,655-square-foot Giant supermarket, a 29,912-square-foot, multi-unit commercial building, a drive-through SunTrust Bank with limited services, an assisted living facility, a daycare center, a gas station and parking lots.

Kimco’s vision for the center calls for demolition of the commercial building and bank, reconfiguration of the existing pedestrian promenade into a courtyard plaza, and new construction that would include 32,516 square feet of retail and commercial space, as well as a 3,229-square-foot ,full-service bank with a drive-through.

The proposal also includes architectural changes for the Giant store, which would also receive two additions, one of 540 square feet and one of 3,944 square feet, respectively.

Market forces and customer expectations are driving the need for redevelopment, said Kimco Vice President Gregory Reed.

“When [HRVC] opened in 1992, there were nine grocery stores within the five-mile trade area,” which has expanded to more than 22 grocery stores, he said. “We’ve seen it in the past; when the grocery anchor doesn’t do well, the village center doesn’t do well.”

The remedy that Kimco has embraced to sustain grocery anchors in village centers under duress is a transition to the mixed-use configuration, he said.

What’s foreseen for HRVC is a new, four-story apartment building located at the intersection of Cedar Lane and Freetown Road, consisting of a parking garage wrapped with residential units, 393 parking spaces for residents, 10,365 square feet of retail space and an internal courtyard.

Two new, 4,400-square-foot and one new, 11,599-square-foot retail/restaurant buildings would be added south of the apartment building, as well as a village green with seating areas, landscaping, lighting and other features.

“The Design Advisory Panel reviewed the proposal in December and expressed concern about the scale and massing of the residential building, particularly along Cedar Lane and Freetown Road,” said Lalush, which prompted a 70-foot reduction in the building’s proposed length and recession of the upper floor to reduce the appearance of height.

“We believe 230 units is the number [we need] to have the minimal success in this type of Class A building,” Reed said. “If you get too small, residents will not come.”

Parking Pickle

Many residents from surrounding communities turned out to the meeting, but support and opposition was mixed.

“The apartment building will overwhelm the 105,000 square feet of retail usage and become the primary purpose of the village center, comprising 71% of all use,” said Michelle Wood, chair of the Hickory Ridge Village Board, adding that the dense concentration of housing is not in keeping with the original planned community.

Clemens Crossing resident Elaine Persons predicted that apartment residents who can’t afford to pay an extra $75 per month for each additional parking space they need would instead use surface lots and clog Quarterstaff Road, the only nearby road with on-street parking.

Moreover, she said, Kimco’s post-redevelopment total of 421 parking spaces represents a deficit of 190 spaces when compared to what they started with.

“Those are spaces that the community is supposed to be able to use,” Persons said. “We are not designing this village center to be the apartments’ village center. It’s supposed to be the neighborhood’s village center.”

Ellen Levin, also of Clemens Crossing, said that Columbia has always prided itself on being a welcoming place to live.

“A new apartment building will bring many more customers to our local businesses, the business will thrive and we will all benefit,” she said.

Improving the Odds

Eric Stein, who owns the Decanter Fine Wines store in HRVC, approves of the changes.

“I don’t think the people waiting to get into the Wegmans parking lot are thinking about the future of Hickory Ridge,” he said. “Columbia has changed dramatically, and it will take a commitment by Giant to serve the demographics of our community properly.”

Four storefronts are currently vacant in one of the HRVC buildings, “but they will not be replaced until a decision is made about our future, and we’re suffering,” Stein said. “Once this plan is approved, we’re still going to have several years of an underperforming center. Do we remain an outdated design, or accept one that gives us a chance to compete with contemporary concepts?”

Apartments are not an option, but a necessity, he said. “[Customers] that have left the center are not coming back, unless we give them an array of businesses that appeal to a newer audience as Columbia’s growth continues.”

Although the Planning Board unanimously recommended the project for approval, Board Member Trudy Adler said she still had concerns.

“Primarily, the parking does fall short by a fairly significant number of spaces,” she said. “It looks to me like there’s just a full bet on [apartment residents] having fewer cars, and it doesn’t seem that there’s going to be any room to correct that if that bet doesn’t pan out. That should be looked at very carefully.”

The Howard County Zoning Board, made up of the five current Howard County Council members, is scheduled to review the project at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Feb. 28.

With Raise Blown, New Roof in Works at Merriweather

The two-week roof raising project during the fourth winter of off-season renovations at Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was close to completion.

And while close may count in horseshoes and with grenades, it sure didn’t count in this case. The original roof of the 52-year-old venue was only a couple of feet beneath where it was to rest — 20 feet higher than where it was at the end of last year’s concert season — and was nearly set to be secured for, it was hoped, another half-century.

However, a cold front with showers burst through in the early morning hours of Jan. 13, accompanied by winds that were measured at approximately 45 miles per hour at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Blustery might not be a strong enough word to describe the gusts that may have been “of greater or lesser power elsewhere in the region,” said Brian LaSorsa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, as they look to have contributed to roof plummeting around 2 a.m.

That made the topic of building a new roof, which had been broached years ago, a sudden necessity — and a necessity with a tighter time frame.

While the engineers, architects, inspectors and insurers are working to identify the root cause of the mishap, I.M.P’s Seth Hurwitz, Merriweather’s promoter, immediately vowed the season will go on as scheduled. Five shows had been confirmed by press time, with the first night of the annual M3 Festival the first up on Friday, May 4.

Human Element

While the construction team has not set a completion date for the new roof, it got on the job after “a very brief period of mourning,” said Ian Kennedy, executive director with the Downtown Columbia Arts & Culture Commission.

“There had never been any replacement of the roof, just ongoing maintenance,” said Kennedy. “We had to start this phase of the project by clearing the old seats out of the pavilion so we could get the 20 hydraulic lifts in place, then other checks out of the way, before the crew lifted the detached roof the first inch.”

That part of the project started, in earnest, in early January, and the obviously loosened roof stayed in place for a little more than a week. But, even with all of the careful planning and engineering, the plans fell apart; or in this case, dropped about 50 feet.

“The human process is still imperfect, and accidents happen,” said Kennedy, “but until we know more from the investigation, we can’t say for sure why. The crew has been climbing through the wreckage, will make their report, and we’ll go from there.”

Today, the focus is on getting ready for the season. “The first night of M3,” he said, “is less about three months away.”

‘Pretty Simple’

Early in the damage assessment, the crew was out and moving the roofing materials and steel supports so construction of the new roof can begin as soon as possible. Costello Construction, of Columbia, has picked out the wood from the old roof that it believes can be incorporated into the new roof.

“And what they can’t use, we’ll use elsewhere the pavilion,” Kennedy said.

The timing of the collapse, “in a strange way,” said Audrey Schaefer, spokesperson for I.M.P., “was ideal. We have plenty of time to build a new roof, which will look just like the old one. Using the wood that was on the façade is a sentimental thing, since the venue was designed by [famed architect] Frank Gehry. It also says a great deal that people are so passionate about the pavilion’s look. It’s part of people’s past and it says, ‘We love it.’”

Schaefer added that the architects went right to work that Saturday morning, and by Sunday night the new specs “were pretty much sealed. They’re not wasting time looking back; they’re just looking forward at a pretty simple construction project.”

To make the point, she simply referred to the much more intensive construction during the past two winters, in those cases of the new stage and backstage areas. “A roof is a pretty simple exercise by comparison,” she said. “We’re as lucky as we can be.”

Said Hurwitz, Others

Gary Bongiovanni, president of Pollstar, an organization that covers the concert industry, expressed confidence that I.M.P. and the construction crew will make a figurative molehill out of the mountain of debris.

While there have been rare occasions of stages collapsing, etc., in the concert industry, the destruction at Merriweather was a new one. “The circumstances behind the collapse of the roof may not be unprecedented, but I haven’t heard of an amphitheater roof collapsing, even during a renovation,” he said.

But he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. “While there are less than four months until the first scheduled concert of the season,” Bongiovanni said, “unless there are any permitting and approval issues, I.M.P and the other stakeholders at Merriweather should be able to construct the new roof without too much difficulty.”

Today, all concerned are eager to see it, “but it’s still early” to talk about when, Kennedy said. “Right now, it’s about rebuilding the steel supports, as well as assessing any possible damage to the seating bowl. And Hurwitz offered this update just before press time: “It turns out that the roof is going to be much easier [to build] than we thought, so opening on time is not even close to an issue,” he said, adding, “there are no shows earlier than M3 being considered at this time.”

After that’s done, the crew at Merrriweather will know more. For now they know that, although they “don’t have an exact schedule,” he said, “we have a deadline.”

Legislative Issues: Anne Arundel Officials Target Economic Development

Approximately 340 business leaders attended the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s (AAACCC) 19th Annual Legislative Breakfast in January, eager to hear some analysis of how recent federal government decisions may affect them. State and local government leaders were also on hand to discuss the priorities they are pursuing this year.

Repercussions from the recently enacted federal tax reform constitute one of the biggest unknowns for the business community.

“What is compounding [the concerns in the business community] is that the states most adversely affected by the changes made in Washington are, in most cases, the states that produce the most jobs,” said AAACCC President and CEO Bob Burdon.

According to Maryland Speaker of the House of Delegates Mike Busch (D), Maryland could emerge as the most negatively affected state in the nation, because of its state and local income and property tax structures.

“We’re going to lose about $680 million collectively … in exemptions, so we have to act to make sure you [Marylanders] continue to have the exemptions you take,” he said. “We believe we can mitigate about $1 billion of the tax impact coming from federal tax reform.”

County Focus

The opioid crisis continues to impact the workforce and businesses “in ways we are just beginning to understand,” Burdon said.

To date, Anne Arundel County has implemented upwards of 40 new initiatives aimed at increasing financial and human resources to combat the addiction problem, to include designating police barracks and fire stations as safe stations where opioid addicts can request addiction services without fear of legal consequences.

Despite more than 500 individuals having done just that since last April, the county still saw an 18% increase in the number of overdoses and a 13% increase in opioid fatalities last year.

“The only good news is we’re starting to see a significant slowdown in the rate of growth of overdoses and fatalities,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.

The county is just beginning its decadal development planning process, which will be followed by a comprehensive rezoning effort. Department of Planning and Zoning officials are currently conducting listening sessions around the county to help shape a growth strategy for the next 20 years.

According to Schuh, the county has made progress in a number of areas, having broken ground in Crofton on the first new county high school in 35 years and seeing the long-promised Odenton Town Center finally begin to take shape.

“In South County, our dredging program is helping to protect the maritime way of life; and in North County, tax credits are helping spur redevelopment of an aging commercial Corridor,” he said.

Annapolis Rising

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley faces some significant challenges as he settles in to his second month on the job. One of them — the potential loss of the National Sailing Hall of Fame to Newport, R.I. — is emblematic of a more fundamental problem, said Burdon.

“Annapolis has not figured out what it wants to be yet,” he said. “For the past couple of decades we have debated what Annapolis is or should be, while Newport has figured it out and implemented their vision, with enviable precision. Our internal competing interests have compromised our ability to find consensus and unify around a common vision for our city.”

Buckley said he supports the development of a boutique Maritime Hotel with underground parking on the Phillips site and a transformation of the City Dock that would incorporate fountains and a spray park that would encourage more families to visit the city.

He also would like to revive the Annapolis Triathlon, and has pledged to emphasize private-public partnerships and civic investment in his larger vision for developing the city’s untapped potential.

Plans are already underway to establish Annapolis Rising, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 21, as a defining music festival.

“We’re going to have the Annapolis Symphony play the hit catalogs of Ahmet Ertegun and Jac Holzman, two guys who went to St. John’s College and started Atlantic Records and Elektra Records [respectively],” he said.

A Saturday main event and Sunday gospel music picnic will round out the festival.

“Annapolis is due for a renaissance, like we saw 50 years ago,” Burdon said.

Priorities

At the state level, “We are looking at some way to partner with the private sector to come up with some areas that will increase the number of beds for [opioid addiction] treatment,” Busch said. “We’ll balance the budget by the end of the year and continue to fund our schools, our hospitals and our health care delivery system.”

On a more contentious note, Burdon said businesses are “hard pressed to understand” how paid sick leave mandates, minimum wage increases, restrictive scheduling and other legislative initiatives under discussion can be reconciled with the guiding principles of the Maryland Economic & Business Climate Commission Report that state legislators bought into only two short years ago.

District 33 Del. Michael Malone said he takes issue with efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, arguing that it will result in wage inflation.

For high school and college students, “the purpose of an initial job is to be an apprentice, learn how to get to work on time and do the basic points of the job,” he said. “It’s not to support a family.”

Burdon also reminded elected officials of the perennial problems that plague the county.

“We want to call attention to Anne Arundel County’s transportation infrastructure and transit challenges, which we believe need serious attention and are key to the county’s future economic success,” he said, and called on the business community to get involved in the county’s General Development Planning process.

“We need to work diligently … to ensure the correctness and consistency of code interpretation with regard to land use, permitting, inspections and historic preservation requirements,” he said, “as well as maintaining and properly funding a functional and effective economic development effort and gaining a better understanding of how to engage emerging industries wanting to locate to Annapolis.”

Howard, Baltimore Counties Collaborate on State Park Improvements

Patapsco Valley State Park (PVSP) is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers and picnickers. It’s so attractive, in fact, that park rangers frequently have to close the park entrances on summer weekends due to overcrowding.

Park managers predict the problem may worsen when the nearby Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House opens later this year and begins attracting 300,000 visitors annually. Upcoming milestone anniversaries down the line for the B&O Railroad and Thomas Viaduct are also expected to generate visitor increases.

With so many people already taking advantage of the history, nature and outdoor recreation opportunities PVSP has to offer, the Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG) has begun conducting annual summits with community stakeholders to discuss ways to leverage Howard and Baltimore counties’ resources and enhance the Patapsco Valley Heritage Area (PVHA) shared by both jurisdictions.
“A few points that came out of our first summit were that we have to build upon cross-county and cross-community collaboration,” said PHG Vice President Victoria Goodman. “We’re interested in visualizing Route 1 as a unification Corridor for Elkridge, St. Denis, Halethorpe and Relay, building a more robust Catonsville/Ellicott City tourism corridor and establishing trail connections that strengthen these corridors.”

At the organization’s second annual summit, held last month at Grace Episcopal Church, in Elkridge, local residents and community stakeholders brainstormed on possible solutions for challenges related to the Thomas Viaduct, trails and trail connections, the visitor experience and park infrastructure.

Howard County Councilman Jon Weinstein and Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk were also on hand to co-host and share some of their own ideas.

Tapping Guinness

During the summit, Guinness Open Gate Brewery Marketing Manager Oliver Gray presented an overview of what his visitors center’s summer opening might mean for the park, not only in terms of an anticipated 300,000 annual visitors, but also in terms of partnership and collaboration.

“We’re dedicated to getting involved [with local communities and organizations],” Gray said. “We really don’t want to show up and just be ‘Guinness the monolith.’ We have big plans for tourism and community outreach. Diageo, Guinness’s parent company, chose Maryland for a reason, partly because our site’s heritage is so great.”

In terms of trails, as well as economies and activities, summit participants recommended finding opportunities to connect Elkridge and Relay to the Guinness facility.

“One idea is to convert River Road on the Baltimore County side to a one-way street with a trail using the other lane, and creating an entity to create information and partnerships to advance the trail network,” said participant Don Halligan, senior transportation planner for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. “The biggest challenge is money.”

Participant Anthony Cordo, executive director of Howard County Tourism, noted that parking is an opportunity.

“We want to increase the visitor experience without decreasing the residents’ experience,” he said. “How do we handle all these people coming in and give them a great experience without destroying the park or all the things we love about the area?”

Participants also suggested finding ways for the park to tie in to the arts experiences across the area, Cordo said.

Viaduct Bicentennial

The Thomas Viaduct won’t celebrate its bicentennial until 2035, but a lot of work needs to be done until then to make it presentable, not to mention viewable.

Structural improvements and the education of schoolchildren, locals and visitors should be priorities, said PHG Board Member Lisa Wingate. “We want to celebrate this bridge in an effort to enhance public awareness.”

Built between 1833 and 1835, it was the longest railroad bridge in America at its completion, as well as the first multi-span masonry railroad bridge to be built on a curve. Doubts as to its engineering soundness have long been laid to rest, and it continues to withstand the demands of frequent, continued use and ever-increasing freight tonnage.

Participants agreed that a ground level viewing platform should be pursued with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns the land the bridge occupies.

“Four possible sites have been identified,” Wingate said, adding that an upper-level viewing area also should be considered.

Another challenge, she said, is to establish a leadership entity for the multiple groups engaged in studying the bridge and preparing for its bicentennial, which include PHG, PVHA, Preservation Maryland, and representatives from Preservation Howard County and the local school systems.

Sustainability Issue

According to Karen Gaffel, park sustainability is already an issue in the park’s Avalon area in terms of parking, bathrooms and other facilities, and the removal of Bloede Dam will create more opportunities for recreation in that area.

“You can’t build [amenities] in flood plain areas like the Simkins [Mill] property, and all-day use and trash creates a significant amount of damage to vegetation, yet the public wants that to be an area that’s accessible and useable,” Gaffel said. “There’s a conflict between what can be provided and what the public wants out of it.”

Aside from facilities, invasive species control and overcrowding remain ongoing, recurring problems for the park.

“The idea is to find other areas to develop into areas people want to go picnic in and spend time in outside of Patapsco when it gets full,” Gaffel said, suggesting that a reservation mechanism for parking could help.

“We’ve been working to get some synergy around renewing the historic area of Elkridge and highlight the fact that it was a huge part of Maryland and United States history,” said Weinstein.

Roads, parking and other challenges are important factors to consider early, he said, before the park begins to experience an increase in spillover traffic from Guinness visitors and more attention being paid to the park’s historic significance.

Weinstein and Quirk said they are working with legislators during the current General Assembly in hopes of securing funding for a pedestrian bridge to connect the Ellicott City and Oella sides of the Patapsco River.

“It’s a sustainability issue, how we leverage limited funding and priorities that don’t make it all the way down to things like parks,” Weinstein said. “Community renewal, economic development, Guinness and the historical things happening with the bicentennial are all individually great, but collectively they’re a more compelling story to make an investment.

“Our efforts illustrate that the river binds the communities,” he said, “on both sides of the Patapsco.”

As Population Ages, Field for Hospitalists Growing

If you’ve ever been in the hospital for very long, chances are that you’ve been tended to by a hospitalist.

Hospitalists — or doctors who work exclusively in hospitals, taking care of admitted patients — are more integrated into today’s medical landscape than ever, as the local population simultaneously increases and ages, illnesses become more complex and hospitals put an unprecedented weight on safety.

“Hospitalists are providers who specialize in the practice of hospital medicine, or internal medicine, with the goal of providing comprehensive medical care to diagnose and manage patients’ acute illnesses while they are hospitalized,” said Susan Brickley Case, senior director of marketing and communications for Howard County General Hospital (HCGH).

“If you are admitted to HCGH, a hospitalist will manage your care, in concert with your primary care physician,” she said. “They also provide hospital care information to patients’ primary care physicians when patients are discharged.”

During the past decade, HCGH has experienced an increase in the number of patients and the complexity of their illnesses. “In recent years, the hospital industry has increased its focus on best practices for patient safety, quality and service,” said Brickley Case. “Hospitalists are critical to providing the best care and experience to patients in the hospital. They manage a patient’s care via an electronic medical record and collaborate with nurses, techs, pharmacists and other specialty physicians to diagnose and treat illness.”

Career Possibilities

Dr. Mindy Kantsiper, medical director with the CIMS Hospitalist’s Practice at HCGH, was a primary care doctor in the community for two decades. When she first became a primary care physician, she expected to be working in inpatient and outpatient environments.

“But it became increasingly impossible to be in two places at once,” said Kantsiper. “I had a yearning to be in the hospital, to be taking care of hospital patients.”

Kantsiper is also what she terms “an academic hospitalist,” meaning in addition to taking care of her own patients and serving shifts in the hospital, she also helps develop high-quality hospitalist programs.

“We develop programs that teach people how to communicate with patient providers and primary care providers.”

Hospitalists are, generally speaking, workers who are also interested in public health and safety, particularly in the growing sector of geriatrics. “We are providing high-quality acute emergency care, in addition to being an extension of primary care,” said Kantsiper.

When she first became a hospitalist, it was rare to have someone say, “‘My dream is to become a hospitalist.’ Not so anymore. Now, we definitely have physicians who come out of residency knowing they want to be hospitalists, the same way they would know they want to do primary care or cardiology.”

Your Hospital Team

You can think of a hospitalist as the “quarterback” of your care team while you’re in the hospital, said Jim Reiter, senior vice president of communications for the Elkridge-based Maryland Hospital Association.

“A hospitalist is a qualified physician who has dedicated their career to hospital medicine and, as such, they coordinate with the patient and his or her family, their primary care doctor and specialists to get patients the care they need,” Reiter said. “Hospitalists work with patients while they’re hospitalized. After discharge, patients return to their primary care doctor.”

Among other duties, hospitalists take thorough medical histories, order tests to monitor and diagnose conditions, prescribe medications and other therapies, and manage a patient’s transition to other care settings or home.

Education has changed to reflect the new field; medical students can now take hospitalist-related electives. “Some medical schools have tracks that emphasize more inpatient than outpatient work after residency,” said Kantsiper. “Those are for folks who might be doing hospitalist-related research.”

Hospitalists, like primary care physicians, also frequently work with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Though the environment in the hospital can be stressful, Kantsiper said a career as a hospitalist offers a good fit for work-life balance.

“It’s not the only reason to be a hospitalist,” she said, “but one of the things we find is it often provides work-life balance in a way that some other specialties do not.”

Enthusiastic Community

Locally and nationally, the community of hospitalists is growing, and as a body of people they are enthusiastic cheerleaders for their chosen field. New websites, blogs, educational tracks and other outlets indicate that field is strengthening as health care changes across the country.

So strong is the tide for this sector of the health care industry that hospitalist and poet Sima Pendharkar wrote the following on a website encouraging workers to join the ranks.

Starting off the day
In a systematic way
Sifting through the rounding list
Vital signs, data, auscultations and voices
Filtered with care and thought
Stories, smiles, tears and laughter
The colors and sounds
Overwhelm my senses and now back to the chart
Next I make my way, with a careful
dart …

The need for hospitalists will continue to grow, and many people already have been treated by hospitalists without realizing it.

“With how complex and ill our population has become, a lot of people end up coming to the ER,” said Kantsiper. “Fortunately, there are many effective models for hospitalists out there.”

After Sessions’ Proclamation, What’s Next for Medical Cannabis?

Imagine that you’ve recently made a six- or a seven-figure investment in a new business in a new industry; an industry that only recently was made legal in Maryland, with pent-up market demand and fairly limited competition.

That almost ensures that you’ll get a marvelous return on investment.

But you also know that, while the new industry is legal in Maryland and 28 other states, plus the District of Columbia, it’s not legal under federal law. That had new business license holders a bit nervous from the get-go.

Then imagine that the new presidential administration comes in and the attorney general states that the feds can prosecute state license holders at their will ­ even though the Department of Justice (DOJ) is understaffed and has announced that it will not aggressively arrest business owners that are operating under state rules legally. Similar statements have come from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Maryland.

Got all that?

That semi-flux is part of what the pioneers of these early days of Maryland’s medical marijuana industry are dealing with. For their part, they’re proceeding with business as usual, but they also wonder what might, perhaps suddenly, lie ahead.

A Strange Space

The political environment, along with the various other moving parts in the new industry, such as establishing distribution channels and product procurement, make for “an interesting space to find ourselves in,” said Jason Klein, principal, Cannabis Practice Group, in the D.C. office of Offit Kurman. “Many states have set up cannabis programs, but under federal law, nothing has changed. Cannabis is still on the Schedule 1 (the most dangerous) controlled substances list, so it’s illegal (while cocaine is on Schedule 2).

“What the [U.S. Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’ announcement did,” said Klein, “was overturn the Cole Memorandum regarding enforcement priorities [as well four other memorandums].”

And no matter how well the new industry progresses, he said, the feds “will never tell the license holders that they’re in the free and clear. They’ll tell them that they have limited resources, but say, ‘When you’re within state law, you’re probably all right,’ ­ although the feds can enforce what they want to, when they want to.”

Still, Klein said what those involved can also see: Little has happened since Sessions’ announcement.

That’s especially true in Maryland, he said. “The setup here is one of the most tightly-regulated in the country,” he said, “and remember, the acting enforcement czar in Maryland, Brian Schenning, acting U.S. attorney, is not necessarily being directed by the honchos in D.C.”

That’s good news for license holders, since Schenning recently stated that his office does not plan to enforce federal anti-drug laws against medical marijuana growers and distributors, and will continue its focus on fighting threats to national security, violent crime, the opioid epidemic (more on that later) and public corruption.

“Schenning may be a lame duck,” said Klein, “but his contemporaries in other states have made similar statements, and Gov. [Larry] Hogan and Attorney General [Brian] Frosh can come to the license holders’ aid if the feds come after them.”
This entire scenario could have been avoided, he said, if the previous administration had taken steps to prevent it.

“The knock on [President Barack] Obama was the he didn’t further the case, in any way, so that couldn’t be undone by the stroke of pen,” he said. “We needed legislation, not an executive order.”

Klein also noted that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment states that the U.S. Attorney General’s office of the DOJ can’t file charges against state dispenseries and growers since they’re not allowed to spend money on it. “So, the DOJ will have a hard time cracking down on anyone,” he said. “Plus, medical marijuana is popular with the public.”

Acting Locally

The people Klein thinks should be worried today are those operating on the black market.

“From the industry’s perspective, no one should be doing that. You don’t know where their product comes from. Anything you’d buy from a licensed seller is clean, safe and accounted for,” he said. “So, we’d like a crackdown. That would be good for everyone, from the federal government and local licensees to the patients and the public, concerning medical and safety matters.”

Phil Goldberg, CEO of Green Leaf Medical, in Frederick County, and president of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association, called the Sessions announcement “a scare, but I don’t think it was as bad as everyone thinks.”

Goldberg feels the reaction by Sessions was really directed to the adult (recreational) use markets that are expanding in the U.S., including California. “What we’d all been waiting on is to find out how the U.S. Attorney in Maryland was going to react, since Sessions basically left it up to the U.S. Attorney in each state to decide on their own priorities.

“Schenning said he had other priorities, including combating the opioid epidemic, ­ which is one of the main benefits of medical marijuana, Goldberg said. “That’s really big for the industry.”

And the medication is working, Goldberg said. “We’re getting great feedback. I just heard from a woman on social media who has neuropathy who’s waiting for one of our specific strains, Painkiller XL. She said if medical marijuana doesn’t work, she’ll have to have spinal cord surgery to relieve her nerve pain.”

Medical marijuana is also key for kids who have attention deficit disorder or autism, for instance. “It medicates the kids without giving them drugs that leave them in such a stupor they can hardly function,” he said.

While there “are still people who think this movement is about getting high,” he said, “it’s really about providing therapeutic options. If [naysayers] could see some of the sick people who visit dispensaries, many of them elderly, with walkers, wheelchairs and breathing devices, they might start to understand why this option is important.”

Opioid Option

That’s also the feeling of Gina Dubbe, managing director of Greenhouse Wellness, in Columbia.

“We’ve seen far sicker patients than we ever anticipated, and I mean terminally ill, sicker than I could have imagined,” Dubbe said. “It would be difficult to see an arcane government regulation result in patients not getting the relief they need.”

And those patients in need aren’t necessarily coming from the sectors of society that Dubbe suspected they would.

“We’re seeing 70–80 patients a day. It’s overwhelming and many more than I expected,” she said. “Our largest demographic is older than 30. We have 85-year-olds on walkers come in because they don’t want to take opioids; they want to be cognizant and functioning. They’re in so much pain that they’re doing something that they had never considered.”

Speaking of opioids, Dubbe said a “considerable chunk” of Greenhouse’s business has resulted from the opioid crisis, “and we’ve also seen a number of opioid patients drop their dosage from six opioid pain pills a day to just two.”

Dubbe also feels that the sector of the public that won’t accept medical marijuana hasn’t seen how it improves lives.
“When I see how sick people are, I can end up going home in tears,” she said. “Who can really say to someone who’s terminally ill that they shouldn’t have the ability to do this?”

That question is also asked by Alan Sharp, co-owner of Revolution Releaf, in North Laurel, which recently opened.

“We just gave a tour to a group from the Howard County Police Department. They asked a lot of questions, but didn’t really offer much in the way of their thoughts; they weren’t supportive or negative, but bear in mind that they’ve been dealing with the underbelly of this market for decades,” said Sharp, adding, “I’d certainly sleep a lot better at night to know that cannabis was no longer a Schedule 1 controlled substance.”

All told, he thinks the county and the state have been supportive of the new cannabis industry.

Slow Start

Cary Millstein, CEO with Zen Leaf, in Elkridge, has some short term concerns about today’s environment, but feels good about what he sees on the horizon — as long as the feds don’t make any sudden appearances.

“It’s been slow start in the industry, especially concerning the tremendous shortage of product. As soon as new product is available, it’s purchased,” he said. “I think the shortage of cannabis product will get worse in the short-term.”

But that also means that the demand is there, especially given that states with cannabis programs report 23% less opioid-related addiction issues than those that do not, according to research by the University of California San Diego, Millstein noted.

“We see, on average, about 35 patients a day, but on our busiest days, we’ve seen 90,” he said, “and the infrastructure is finally up, the growers and dispensaries are getting up to speed and the quality has been extraordinary.”

And then comes that sunny horizon. “I think the supply will right itself within the first quarter of this year,” Millstein said. “In fact, I think we’ll have a surplus of product by the end of the year.”

But even with all that said, he’s still “nervous about the whole thing.

“If I let [the feds] bother me, I’d never get any sleep. If Congress wants to make changes to the federal rules, I’m OK with that,” he said. “However, until we get there, these unknowns make everything in this wonderful new industry — like getting loans, following regulations, marketing, etc. — more tenuous and harder than they already are.”

Goldberg concurred. “I don’t feel like we’re on easy street by any means; [but] we’re taking big steps in the right direction,” he said.

Klein, too, is feeling a little more secure about the market.
“It could change, and l think Maryland operators have to be ready, in this dynamic industry, for whatever might come,” said Klein, “but as long as license holders are in unambiguous cooperation and compliance, they should be O.K.

“The roll-out is still going strong, and patients are still registering,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to be more concerned about the industry than anyone was the day before the Sessions announcement.”

Biz Roundup

Arundel Sues Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors, ‘Over-Prescribing’ Docs

Anne Arundel County has filed legal action against opioid manufacturers, distributors and “local over-prescribing doctors,” making it the first jurisdiction in Maryland to file such an action.

Defendants in the action include manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Insys Therapeutics and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Local physicians William Tham, M.D., Kofi Shaw-Taylor, M.D., Jackie Syme, M.D., and Lawrence Vidaver, M.D., and their practices, also are named defendants in the action. Legal claims against the parties include the following.

• Public nuisance claims
• False Claims Act claims
• Maryland Consumer Protection Act claims
• Fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation claims
• Unjust enrichment claims
• Gross negligence and negligence claims

The lawsuit will be litigated by the Motley Rice law firm. The firm works on a contingency fee basis and there are no immediate costs to taxpayers. Motley Rice will get paid only if the suit recovers funds. Motley Rice will work in conjunction with the Anne Arundel County Office of Law.

Despite record investments in education, prevention and public safety, the opioid crisis in Anne Arundel County has steadily gotten worse in recent years. Within the first quarter of 2016, drug and alcohol overdose deaths increased more in the county than in any other Maryland jurisdiction. The county’s opioid prescription rate remains above the national average and nearly three times higher than in 1999.

APL to Usher in 2019 With Flyby of Kuiper Belt Object

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, has announced the next stop on its New Horizons exploration mission: Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69, shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Nothing like MU69 has ever been explored before,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, in Boulder, Colo. The object represents a chance to study a pristine building block of the solar system that first was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014 in a region of the solar system that was practically unknown just a generation ago.

“The Voyagers and Pioneers flew through the Kuiper Belt at a time when we didn’t know this region existed,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at Headquarters in Washington. “New Horizons is on the hunt to understand these objects, and we invite everyone to ring in the next year with the excitement of exploring the unknown.”

Hubble’s initial observations indicated that MU69 could be two objects, perhaps accompanied by a moon. New Horizons will fly about three times closer to MU69 than it did to Pluto in July 2015, allowing the spacecraft’s cameras to provide a more detailed look at the object’s surface. APL Project Scientist Hal Weaver pointed out that New Horizons’ vantage point from about 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from MU69 will allow it to spot details about the size of a basketball court.

Southern Management Corp. CEO Hillman Dead at 75

David Hillman, a Baltimore-area developer and chairman and CEO of Southern Management Corp., passed away after a bout with cancer on Dec. 27. He was 75.

Hillman founded the Vienna, Va.-based firm that ranks among the biggest owner-operated property management companies in the United States in 1981; today, it manages 78 communities that encompass 25,000 apartments, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and three hotels, including the recently completed Hotel at the University of Maryland.

Its Baltimore-area properties also include the Hotel at Arundel Preserve, as well as a number of historic downtown apartment buildings. Hillman also served on the board of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the Business Advisory Council for the Comptroller of Maryland, and oversaw the David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation, and created the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program through the University of Maryland and Prince George’s Community College.

He was also the recipient in 2015 of the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber’s Freeman Hrabowski Visionary Leadership Award.

Sapwood Cellars Inks Deal to Open Brewery on Route 108

Sapwood Cellars, a new brewery founded by Scott Janish and Mike Tonsmeire, has signed a lease with Feldman Bergin Development and Fortified Property Group for 7,200 square feet at the Oakland Ridge Center, in Columbia — the site of what was to be known under previous tenant Josh Matthews as Bulkhead Brewing Co.

The local entrepreneurs anticipate opening the brewery and taproom in June at 8980 Route 108. The joint venture between Feldman Bergman and Fortified acquired the three-building portfolio, which is composed of 85,000 square feet of flex/office space, last fall; the new deal has brought occupancy to 85%.

Janish and Tonsmeire have been experimenting as home brewers since 2005, with Tonsmeire serving as a brewing consultant for a brewery in San Diego, while also writing a column for Brew Your Own magazine. He attributes the recent surge of new craft breweries cropping up throughout Maryland to the outgrowth of home brewing that became legalized in the late 1970s.

Sapwood Cellars initially will produce eight different taps, focusing on hoppy beers and IPAs, and intends to adjust the recipes based on the response. A June opening is planned; approximately six employees eventually will work at the brewery as it ramps up to full production.

BGE to Provide Federal Tax Reduction Benefits to Customers

BGE will file with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to pass approximately $82 million in annual tax savings on to customers, resulting from federal tax cost reductions. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which decreased the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, and became effective on Jan. 1.

If approved by the PSC, the average BGE residential electric customer can expect to see an estimated $2.31 decrease on his or her monthly bill, and the average residential combined natural gas and electric customer can expect an estimated $4.27 monthly reduction, effective in February 2018.

“Reduced tax costs create an opportunity for BGE customers to benefit from further decreases in their total energy bills,” said Calvin Butler, Jr., CEO of BGE. “Even prior to the tax reductions, the long-term trends of customers using significantly less energy and the declining costs of natural gas and electricity commodities have resulted in the average BGE residential customer’s total monthly bill remaining lower than 2008 levels.”

While customer bills have decreased, BGE has continued to invest in the systems serving customers, delivering record lows in the frequency and duration of power outages, accelerated modernization of the natural gas system and more useful information through the smart grid that allows customers to use energy more efficiently.

Paragon Bioservices Announces Expansion to BWI Business District

Paragon Bioservices, a private, equity-backed biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with expertise in gene therapy and next-generation vaccines, has announced plans for a new, 150,000-square-foot process development manufacturing facility near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The company expects the new facility to be up and running in 18 to 24 months.

Paragon currently provides full process and analytical development and clinical manufacturing services for a large and diverse global customer base from its 80,000-square-foot facility in the University of Maryland’s BioPark, located off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, in Baltimore City. The facilities, which include mammalian, microbial and virus suites, as well as automated aseptic fill-finish capabilities, also will be expanded to encompass an additional 10,000 square feet of space within the BioPark.

“The expansion of our biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities via our new site, including the ability for commercial manufacturing, is a key strategic initiative for Paragon,” said Pete Buzy, president and CEO. “Paragon is one of the few gene therapy manufacturers that has the expertise to develop and successfully manufacture complex biotherapeutics using commercially-scalable processes.”

Within three years, Paragon’s workforce has grown from 100 to 225 employees, becoming greater Baltimore’s fifth-largest biotechology company. Recently, Paragon was named one of the fastest growing companies in the region by the Baltimore Business Journal. The company estimates that it will hire more than 200 employees for the new facility during the next three years.

Season Eight of ‘Chesapeake Collectibles’ Premieres on MPT

Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) original series, “Chesapeake Collectibles,” returns for its eighth season starting in January. The new season, hosted by Rhea Feikin, features 13 half-hour episodes airing on a new day and time, Mondays at 7:30 p.m., on MPT-HD. Season eight premiered on Jan. 8, with episodes scheduled to air each Monday through early April.

One of MPT’s most successful flagship series, “Chesapeake Collectibles” showcases antiques from all over the world brought to MPT’s appraisal team by collectors from across Maryland and the region. Season eight episodes were shot on location at Turf Valley Resort, in Ellicott City. Special highlights of the season include the following.

• An authentic Shakespeare folio bought from a specialty bookstore in London
• A set of Tibetan wine cups saved from Mao Zedong’s takeover of China
• Memorabilia brought in by the son of a World War II pilot involved in a top-secret airbase in Africa
• A cache of diamond, ruby and gold jewelry inherited by a granddaughter who bursts into tears upon discovering how much her treasure is worth
• A Chinese wine vessel dating as far back as the ninth century
• Supreme Court items signed by justices including Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall

Each episode is rebroadcast on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. on MPT2. For more information, visit chesapeakecollectibles.com.

VEIP Inspections Become More Convenient, Less Expensive

Changes to the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) have extend edthe amount of time before owners of new vehicles are required to get an inspection, and eliminate the requirement altogether for pre-1996, light-duty vehicles (less than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight).

Each year, about 1.6 million vehicles go through Maryland’s VEIP program. Since 2015, the process has been made more convenient via the following changes.

1. Adding 10 24/7 self-service VEIP kiosks across the state;
2. Reducing the price at the kiosk from $14 to $10 and allowing customers who have been assessed late fees to pay them at a kiosk and still receive a reduced VEIP fee; and
3. Eliminating the VEIP test altogether for older light-duty vehicles and extending the initial VEIP test to three years. This third step to the VEIP test is expected to save Marylanders more than $2 million annually.

For more information about the VEIP program or to locate a full-service VEIP station or self-service kiosk, visit www.mva.maryland.gov/vehicles/veip.

 

Q&A With U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist J.D. Foster

J.D. Foster is senior vice president, Economic Policy Division, and chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in Washington, D.C. In addition to interpreting developments in the U.S. and global economies, he participates in discussions around the country regarding the economy and economic policy — such as a recent address at the Central Maryland Chamber’s Economic Forecast Luncheon.

Prior to joining the chamber in June 2013, Foster was the Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., research organization.

Before coming to Heritage in 2007, Foster spent five years as associate director for economic policy (i.e., chief economist) at the Office of Management and Budget, the White House. In 2001, Foster served as economic counsel in the Office of Tax Policy, the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Previously, he served as legislative director to Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.), vice chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives.

From 1993 to 1999, Foster was executive director and chief economist of the Tax Foundation. Prior to serving in that capacity, he was chief of staff at the White House Council of Economic Advisors under Michael Boskin; earlier he served, consecutively, under Sens. Bill Armstrong (R-Colo.), Steve Symms (R-Idaho) and Don Nickles (R-Okla.), representing them on the Senate Finance, Budget and Policy committees.

Foster writes extensively on tax policy and entitlement reform, as well as on matters of monetary policy and international economics. He received a B.A. in economics and a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in economics from Brown University and a Ph.D. in economics from Georgetown University.

You were obviously quite busy at the end of 2017 interpreting the new tax reform legislation. What’s your take on its immediate impact?

In terms of economic effects, the first thing you’ll hear about is companies increasing pay and offering bonuses. But the most important effects will be longer-term, as businesses invest more in new productive facilities, raising productivity, competitiveness and workers’ wages. We’re already seeing announcements by U.S. and foreign companies about increasing investment in the U.S.

How do you think tax reform will play out?

Know that there is a psychological component to such announcements. The outlook for the economy was optimistic in the first place, but tax reform is making businesses even more confident in making investments; in the coming year, I think you’ll see even more hiring and expansion.

I don’t see a downside to tax reform. One criticism raised involved tax reform’s effects on the deficit, but these arguments were based on misconceptions. The whole purpose of tax reform was to allow the economy to grow more rapidly during the coming years, which will produce a substantial revenue feedback that was omitted from the official scoring.

The argument isn’t that tax cuts pay for themselves, as some allege. The tax bill had trillions of dollars in increases offsetting most of the tax reductions. The additional revenues from additional growth just close the gap.

Will tax reform affect small business in a positive way?

Absolutely, directly and indirectly. They will see a simpler tax system and most will face a substantially lower tax rate. Secondly, when the overall economy expands more rapidly in the future, that will also mean good things for small businesses. The economy does not prosper without small business prospering.

How will it affect big business?

Much the same, only bigger businesses are more likely to be competing globally, and tax reform gives them a tax system that makes them not only more competitive at home, but globally as well. And rather than driving U.S. companies away, the tax system now beckons foreign companies to invest more in the U.S.

What’s your take on Walmart increasing its pay and benefits to its employees in the wake of tax reform?

Walmart, and other businesses, are seeing two things. First, they see an opportunity to share some of the immediate benefits of tax reform with their workforce. More importantly, they know they have to invest in their workers. Labor markets are tightening. This not an act of charity. These companies understand they have to treat their employees well to retain them.

How does the high cost of health care weigh into the nation’s overall economic mix?

When you spend more money on health care, you can’t spend it on something else. So the first issue is how rising health care costs are restructuring our economy from the demand side; but also, when health care costs are rising rapidly, health insurance costs tend to rise in tandem, which tends to substitute for wage growth.

Although the economy is doing well, some observers from various sectors seem to think the U.S. could be due for another recession. Are you surprised that hasn’t happened?

No, because recessions just don’t happen because you hit the wrong button on the economy roulette wheel. They happen because of bad policy decisions. President Obama’s policies largely restrained the economy, but didn’t trigger recession. President Trump’s policies, especially undoing much of Obama’s regulatory policies, have to date been profoundly pro-growth.

Still, I am deeply concerned about the possibility of withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as Trump has suggested doing. That would undo much, if not all, of all of the gains from the changes in regulatory policy. A second concern is the debt limit. No doubt, the federal budget deficit is much too large and growing, but if Congress fails to raise the debt limit in time, we would have a big financial crisis on our hands.
But absent major policy mistakes, the economy is poised to grow for years to come. Even so, we will have another recession at some point.

What’s your take on the $15 minimum wage, which is slated to begin in Montgomery County in the coming years?

It’ll hurt a lot of small businesses and hurt a lot of people it was intended to help. That happened in Seattle a few years ago. Some employers moved out; others found ways to replace workers with technology. Other employers who stayed in the city reduced the hours of their workers — so, on net, those workers had less income than they did before.

On that note, what’s your take on human beings losing jobs to automation and struggling to find suitable future employment?

Technology replacing jobs is nothing new. You don’t see many horse and buggy teams going up the street anymore in New York City. Cars replaced the buggy. The personal computer replaced the typewriter. Larger companies once had substantial secretarial pools; now they have large IT [information technology] departments. IT pays better.

The continuing march of technology isn’t about destroying jobs, but reshaping the economy and the workforce, while raising the quality of life and productivity. Workers have to be constantly aware of these changes and be prepared to learn new skills for new jobs. It’s a different world than when people went to work at age 18 and pretty much did the same job for decades, then retired.

I know that it’s easy to be worried when there is so much change, but trying to stop this train in its tracks would be counterproductive. We have to adapt to the times, because the times surely won’t adapt to us.

What is your take on the Maryland economy being overly reliant on being next door to Washington, D.C.?

If you have an investment portfolio, do you hold Treasury bills? You should as part of a diversified portfolio, because they’re low-risk. Likewise, a state’s economy should have a portfolio of industries, and having one that’s slow growing, but relatively stable, is an advantage.

Do you think the steady, but slow, post-2008 recession growth that began during the Obama administration is part of the reason that the economy hasn’t heated up like it did during the ’80s and the ’00s — when it eventually, on both occasions, crashed and burned?

Yes. We had an administration that had other priorities. Growth was important, but other issues were more important to President Obama and he manifested those priorities in a regulatory deluge that stunted the economy’s growth. Obama acknowledged as much, and even Secretary Clinton and Sen. Sanders talked about the disappointing economy at length during the 2016 campaign.

The biggest economic policy shift under President Trump was to relax Obama’s regulatory state. The result? Even at this late stage of the expansion, the economy is accelerating, and with tax reform’s passage this higher growth rate should persist for a few years.

Do you think some of Obama’s actions, like establishing the American Road & Recovery Act, prevented “The Great Recession” from getting worse?

My view is that the Obama fiscal stimulus had an imperceptibly small effect on the economy. Obama alluded to that himself when he acknowledged, some years later, there were not that many shovel-ready projects. Massive fiscal stimulus was basic to his economic philosophy; but, to be fair, many Republicans believed in it, as well.

How much of an economy’s performance is tied to who the president happens to be?

The president has an influence. We saw that with Obama: he regulated heavily and he raised taxes on productive activity — and it slowed the economy, just as we at the chamber said it would. For the most part, presidents and Congress move the dial a little bit in terms of annual growth, but these small changes matter because they really add up over time.

The recent tax reform is of an entirely different character. It is a game changer far beyond anything else Congress is likely to consider. Federal tax policy, which was previously a real handicap for American businesses and workers, is now a big advantage in competing with the rest of the world.

Do you buy the old adage about how the market always “corrects itself” after an economic downturn?
Generally, yes, I do. An old saying runs that the stock market has predicted three of the last 10 recessions. This saying reminds us the stock market isn’t always right at every point in time.
However, the market does generally reflect the long-term health of the economy. As long as America’s economic future is bright, the stock market will recover from corrections, recessions and the like.

What about the economy do you think the business community and the general public fail to understand?
That it’s the nature of the economy to grow, driven by technology and labor force growth — unless bad policy holds it back. Growth is natural, but policy matters.

Where do you think the economy will be a year from now?
Not to be flip, but it’ll be bigger. We will grow, significantly faster than in recent years, and hold that pace going into 2019. Why? The ongoing benefits from regulatory relief and the new benefits from tax reform. This assumes, of course, Congress and the President avoid any big mistakes as with NAFTA and the debt limit.

12 Arundel Businesses Awarded Southwest’s Runway to Success

A dozen Anne Arundel County-based small businesses can take advantage of out-of-state sales opportunities and employee training events due to a program, an initiative of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) and Southwest Airlines, that provides a round-trip flight e-pass to qualified companies wishing to have employees travel outside of Maryland to enhance their marketing and sales or provide for workforce training. The awardees include the following.

• BAON Enterprises, Annapolis
• Cheaper Than a Geek, Crofton
• Diverse Concepts Inc., Millersville
• Elevate Life, Annapolis
• Glacier Security, Odenton
• Herrington on the Bay, Rose Haven
• Paradise Donuts, Linthicum
• Partners in Care, Pasadena
• ServPro of Annapolis/Severna Park, Arnold
• Spatial GIS, Odenton
• SpinSheet Publishing, Annapolis
• TargetGov, Linthicum

The program was launched last October. The initiative targets businesses with fewer than 100 employees that generate annual revenue of less than $10 million. Through a first-come, first-served application process, companies were required to detail their marketing goals, travel plans and staff assignments.

As an added value, companies also could use Runway to Success with SWABIZ, Southwest Airlines’ corporate booking tool. The application allows businesses to manage and track its travel program. Runway to Success also may be used in conjunction with the AAEDC’s Workforce Training Grant program. Qualified businesses located in the county can be reimbursed up to 50% of the cost per employee to cover on-the-job training, classroom/offsite training, purchasing training software, and train-the-trainer scenarios to benefit new and incumbent workers.

What You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft

When you are in the information technology (IT) industry, you live and breathe security; but even given your best efforts to protect yourself from being attacked by cybercriminals, it’s not easy. Just as you think you have taken all preventative measures, a criminal finds another way to access information.

According to the 2017 “Identity Fraud Study” released by Javelin Strategy & Research, the “identity fraud incidence rate increased by 16%, a record high since Javelin Strategy & Research began tracking identity fraud in 2003.”

This means that 2 million more victims have been affected by identity fraud, and totaling nearly $16 billion. Here are some simple security measures to take to be more proactive.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, libraries, airports or hotels is very appealing, since there’s no cost to the user, in money and data usage. However, when you log on to public Wi-Fi, your computer and data become very vulnerable to others on that public Wi-Fi. This means cybercriminals can, unbeknownst to you, remotely connect to your laptop, phone or tablet and access information on your computer.

They also can monitor the websites you visit, including your email, financial accounts, social media sites, etc. If they are clever enough (which they usually are), they can even put “keylogger” software onto your machine to gather your login credentials.

They may not use them right away. In fact, they may just study your incoming and outgoing emails for days, weeks or even months. Criminals do this to study your communication — who you talk to, your language, common greetings, nicknames, patterns.

Eventually, they use this to either imitate you to your contacts or learn how and what you respond to. It is common for users to fall victim to this type of phishing attack. It’s careful, meticulous, and leaves you very vulnerable.

Change Passwords Often

Keeping the same password for an extended amount of time makes it very easy for criminals to gain access to your information and identity. While it is not convenient to change your passwords regularly, it is one of the safest precautions you can take. You should at least consider changing the passwords of your most valuable accounts. These include the following.

• Email accounts (yes, all of them)
• Bank accounts
• Credit card accounts
• Other financial institutions
• Social media accounts are especially important if you are very active, share identifying information like your location, etc.
• Any accounts that store financial information, such as online payments.

If you’re worried you won’t remember them, there are secure password management tools where you can store your passwords, such as LastPass or PassPortal.

Block IP Addresses

Microsoft does offer basic firewall functionality to block certain IP addresses. It is recommended to have an IT professional help set up these policies. However, there are solutions available for home users, including blocking visitors with IP addresses from specific countries, with advanced routers. An advanced feature in NetGear offers the ability to do this.

Avoid Pop-Up Ads

Those pesky pop up ads are not only annoying, but could potentially have malware embedded in them. Sometimes criminals are even smart enough to have the malware download without you even clicking on them.

That’s why it is highly recommended to use a pop-up ad blocker, such as uBlock Origin. Essentially, pop-up ad blocker software can detect when a site has pop-ups and will stop ads from loading. If there are certain sites you know are safe, like sites that have a pop-up to sign on, you can alter your settings to allow those to appear.

Slow Down

If these tools and tips are too intimidating, start with these.
Read your emails a little more slowly and carefully. Do you know the sender? Have you verified the entire email address? Is the email in the right context? Is the sender spelling or grammatical errors? Is the sender asking for an immediate response?

If so, call the sender first before replying, and do the following.

• Avoid clicking any link in any email from anyone, ever. So many phishing attacks begin with a simple click and quickly turn into a complex problem.
• Don’t use a single password for all of your accounts.
• Find your balance of security and convenience.
• Determine what layers of security you are most comfortable with implementing.

There are full-time cybercriminals that are paying for their mortgage, children’s college tuition and their parents to live in a nice, comfortable nursing home with your money. Their life, children’s life and parents’ life depends on this.

That means they’re relentless. Slow down, be mindful, and be intentional with your actions online.

Ananta Hejeebu is founder and a partner of Howard Tech Advisors. He can be reached at 410-997-2500 or Ananta@howardtechadvisors.com.

Howard Releases Comprehensive Assessment of Land Development Regs

Howard County has released a comprehensive evaluation of its development regulations. The assessment represents the culmination of a year of public input sessions and technical analysis to evaluate the county’s zoning code, regulations, policies and manuals related to land development. The effort, led by Clarion Associates, represents Phase 1 of an effort to rewrite and modernize Howard County’s development regulations.

“This represents the most comprehensive evaluation of our development code in years and is the result of significant participation by many stakeholders — including county government, residents, businesses and property owners,” said County Executive Allan Kittleman. “This review will help guide us to a new code that is consistent, simplified, easier to navigate and where professionals and residents alike can find all the information they need in one place.”

The final public meetings are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.
• 2:30 to 4 p.m., George Howard Building, Columbia/Ellicott Room, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City
• 7 to 8:30 p.m., Oakland Mills High School, AHU-7 Auditorium, 9410 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia

At these meetings, Clarion will present key components of the Assessment and Annotated Outline and solicit feedback from residents and other stakeholders. Both meetings will cover the same information. The Development Regulations Assessment & Annotated Outline is available on the Department of Planning and Zoning’s website at www.howardcountymd.gov/regulationassess ment.

Startup Maryland Unveils 2017 Video Pitches

Startup Maryland has unveiled its video pitches from the participants in the 2017 STRT1UP Roadshow, and entrants are now in the running for the Pitch Across Maryland competition. Categories this year for the Pitch Across Maryland include the following.

• Fan Favorite
• Champion’s Choice
• Industries (Cyber, Manufacturing, LifeScience, Social Innovation)
• Overall Winner

The roadshow, which is the year-long tour around Maryland, celebrates the ecosystem around innovation and entrepreneurship. During the event, entrepreneurs get on the Startup Maryland bus to deliver a two-to four–minute video pitch summarizing their venture and opportunity. Presenters receive a link to a professionally-edited version of their video for free; then all the videos are posted on the Startup Maryland YouTube channel as part of the competition.

Playlists based on the location/tour stop at which companies pitched can be found at www.youtube.com/user/StartupMaryland/playlists?sort=dd&view=1.

“2017 was the first year we conducted the STRT1UP Roadshow throughout the year,” said Mike Binko, founder and CEO of Startup Maryland. “Extending the tour beyond the two months of September and October gave our team more time to engage with each community that chose to host a tour stop for celebrating their innovators and entrepreneurs.”

New Live! Hotel Open Recruitment Center at Arundel Mills

The new Live! Hotel is ramping up its recruitment efforts to fill 500 new positions at the 310-room luxury hotel, event center and spa, with the new Live! Hotel Recruitment Center. Located inside the Arundel Mills Mall near the Burlington Coat Factory, the recruitment center will be open to the public daily as follows.

• Sunday: Noon–4 p.m.
• Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
• Thursday: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
• Saturday: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome. Recruiters will be available to assist with online applications and answer questions about the hiring process. A bank of computers also will be available at the center for use free of charge by job seekers.

In addition, job fairs are being held at the center; to find the date of the next fair and to explore current job positions, descriptions and requirements, visit www.jobsatmarylandlivecasino.com. For more information, call 443-569-5082.

State Political Analysis: Bipartisan Talk Overwhelmed by Election-Year Partisan Politics

Gov. Larry Hogan talked a lot about bipartisan cooperation in his State of the State address to the General Assembly last month. Democratic legislators say it was mostly talk.

There is little evidence of real give-and-take between the second floor of the State House where the governor and his staff have their offices, they say, and the first floor chambers where the legislators meet.

Democrats do not bother to talk about bipartisanship in a legislature where they hold two-thirds of the seats. But in practice, in most of 13 standing committees, there is real cooperation and respect between Democratic legislators and the minority Republicans.

Hogan and the Democratic leaders do agree, in general, that the extreme partisanship in Washington is bad, and Annapolis is much better.

Hogan mentioned Washington in negative terms six times in his address. “One need only look to Washington to see the destruction that is caused when hyper-partisanship and inflammatory rhetoric permeate the debate, and erode our faith in the institutions of government,” he said.

“We don’t want Annapolis to become like Washington, where bad policy is passed with a promise that a fix will come later,” Hogan said later in the speech. He was referring to the paid sick leave bill that Democrats overwhelmingly passed last month, overriding his veto. Hardly a bipartisan gesture.

Sen. Nancy King, a Montgomery County Democrat, gave the Democrats’ response to Hogan’s relatively short, 23-minute, 2,400-word speech — in sharp contrast to President Trump’s 80-minute message the night before.

King, whose remarks were pre-recorded, five times criticized “Washington Republicans,” and Republicans several times more. Key takeaway: Dems good, GOP bad.

Republican Hogan doesn’t want anything to do with Trump — and is more actively opposing his policies, such as cutting funds for the Chesapeake and cuts to Obamacare subsidies that will raise health insurance rates. Democrats, on the other hand, want to lump Hogan together with Trump, and those other nasty Washington Republicans.

No Turning Back

Hogan’s main message is that he is not at all like that other chief executive down the road, and that he gets along with everybody. As they have for more than a year, Democrats want to remind voters that Hogan is at least nominally of the same party as Trump, even though the president is pretty much his own brand.

Hogan’s other main message, besides touting more jobs, higher wages, an improving economy, great schools and a super-educated workforce, is that “we cannot afford to turn back now,” a phrase he used six times in his speech.

Translation: “You cannot afford to turn me out of office” in this year’s election.

On top of many smaller goals that legislators might have this session, Democrats want to pound home the message that “we cannot afford” to give Hogan a second term, especially with redistricting coming up in 2021.

Feds Giveth, Taketh

One of the issues where there should be bipartisan cooperation is fixing the damage done to some Marylanders by the new federal tax code.

In this case, the federal government giveth and the government taketh away.

If state income tax law is not changed this session, Maryland taxpayers will pay at least $572 million more in state and local taxes next year, while their combined federal tax burden would decrease by $2.8 billion, a report by the comptroller’s office found.

Its analysis calculated that 71% of the state’s taxpayers will pay less in federal taxes, 13% will pay more and 16% will pay the same.

The increase is mainly due to a new $10,000 limitation on state and local tax for federal itemized deductions. This will prompt the majority of taxpayers to opt for a new, larger standard deduction, said the comptroller’s report.

Under current law, Marylanders who choose a standard deduction on their federal income taxes are required to do the same for their state income taxes.

Hogan, who continually touts fairly meager tax cuts he’s been able to achieve, is loath to see any tax hikes for a state with among the highest income taxes in the nation. He favors a bill that would allow Marylanders to take standard deductions at the federal level, while still being able to itemize state deductions.

A few liberal Democrats would like to keep the revenue windfall and spend it, but all legislators know that you don’t raise taxes in an election year, especially when a GOP governor could use it as a political bludgeon.

Democratic leaders favor a slightly different approach, increasing Maryland’s skimpy personal exemptions and, like the governor, allowing people to itemize even if they take the standard deduction on the federal form.

With the goal of no inadvertent tax hikes, a compromise should be easy to achieve, but Democrats want to claim their plan is better than the governor’s.

The problem will get resolved in favor of most taxpayers in some fashion, because neither side wants to get blamed for higher taxes. If it were a Democratic governor up for reelection, a mutually agreeable solution would be a piece of cake.

$44.4B Budget

Hogan’s $44.4 billion budget plan was put together before the federal tax changes were passed and their consequences for Marylanders figured out. The budget increases by just 2%, with no new taxes.

You’ll sometimes hear lower figures bandied about for the size of the state budget. Some stories will refer to the state “operating budget” of $17.7 billion, but that’s just the “general fund” budget. That doesn’t include transportation spending or the federal funds, the largest single source of state revenues (29%, $13 billion).

The next biggest source of revenue is the personal income tax (22%, $9.8 billion), followed by the sales tax (11%, $4.8 billion).
Where does the money go? Health care in one form or another, but mostly Medicaid, eats up a third of the budget, $14.5 billion, followed by education, with an almost equal amount; then, it’s $8.1 billion (18%) for K–12 and $6.6 billion for higher education (15%).

Filing Deadline Feb. 27

By the end of the month, we’ll know how all the state and local races shape up. The filing deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 27.

You may have heard that there are eight or nine Democrats running for governor. But only one perennial Democrat candidate, Ralph Jaffe, has actually filed, along with his wife Freda, for lieutenant governor.

A major reason is that, like the Jaffes, a candidate for governor must file together with his or her running mate for lieutenant governor (LG). Only Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president, has announced an LG running mate, Susan Turnbull of Montgomery County, a former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.

The other candidates seem to be having trouble finding an LG candidate qualified to run the state government. There’s no guarantee they’ll win the primary, particularly the four Democrats who have never held elected office, and no assurance that they can beat a popular incumbent — even though he has a scarlet “R” on his forehead.

Howard County Politcal Analysis: Howard County Council Tees Up APFO Mulligan

Having missed the legislative deadline for a vote on updating the county’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) in November, the Howard County Council reintroduced legislation in January to complete the process.

Rather than being a simple exercise in formality, however, the new legislation provoked yet another all-nighter for the council, as passionate voices on both sides of the issue debated changes intended to manage the pace of growth in the county, which include tests for schools, housing allocations and roads.

On a related note, the council also introduced legislation calling for a referendum on extending the initial life of a bill to 70 days with two extensions of 35 days each, in order to avoid such a situation in the future.

Howard County Board of Education Chair Cynthia Vaillancourt said the board recommends amendments to make all open tests for school regions equivalent to below 100% of school capacity utilization, and said the board supports adding a high school test.

Growth vs. Limits

Howard Bank Senior Vice President John DeZinno argued that limiting housing stock would cause the price of existing stock to rise, pricing more low-to-moderate income families out of the county’s housing market.

“This bill still takes zero children out of overcrowded schools, crowding is still occurring largely from resales, there’s still no plan to compel redistricting, and overall APFO is actually working pretty well,” said Maryland Building Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Josh Greenfield. “The school board conducted very limited redistricting, even after sitting here and saying they got the message and they were going to [redistrict].”

He cited the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s recently released Economic and Fiscal Assessment regarding APFO legislation, which estimates losses of 8,000 jobs in the county, $56 million in government revenues and $1.9 billion in construction activity as a potential result of a development moratorium.
Among those who disagreed with that assessment was BreeAnne Chadwick, of Ellicott City.

“With developers, there seems to be an all-or-nothing mentality,” she said. “Moratorium does not mean never again, limiting growth does not mean stopping it completely. [T]heir interest seems to be shoehorning as many units as humanly possible on any piece of land, regardless of the impact upon the neighbors.”

Lisa Markovitz, president of the civic advocacy group The People’s Voice, said her organization favors passage of the bill, with minor technical fixes.

“APFO doesn’t define school wait in years, it limits the number of tests taken,” she said. “The maximum wait the school test can cause is actually not that long over the [regular development process] wait, which was predictable and already expected. This slowdown is not going to be long enough to a large number of projects at the same time to make significant market changes.”

Council, Executive Raises

A raise could be in order for the next seated county council and county executive, based on a recommendation from the county’s Compensation Review Committee. Accordingly, the county executive’s salary would increase from $178,000 annually to $226,000, and council members’ salaries would increase from $59,950 to $80,000 per year beginning in December 2018.
Jim Walsh, of Woodbine, termed the increase for council members excessive, favoring a continuance of the current compensation level index for inflation.

“It should be acknowledged that council members receive the same benefits such as health care and retirement plans as full-time county employees, as well as a $159 per month smartphone allowance,” he said. “If those additional benefits are considered, the total compensation package proposed could be $100,000 or more. I think the county is better served by having part-time citizen legislators who can bring a variety of experiences to the table, rather than expanding the council to a full-time position.”

North Laurel resident Brent Loveless, however, said the concept of adequate compensation was debated based on salary comparisons with neighboring jurisdictions, market rates, and a given level of service and relative values of responsibilities.

“The amount of the increase needed reached 25% to reach parity,” Loveless said. “[The recommendation] was made with the analysis of trusted individuals who deal with many financial matters in their respective committees elsewhere in the county.”

Also on the council’s agenda for January was consideration of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the county and Nixon’s Farm Lane LLC, regarding construction and operation of a solar array.

“A similar PILOT was passed by this body in July 2014, but unfortunately that agreement was never executed by a previous administration for reasons unknown,” said Nixon’s Farm Lane CAO Phil Nichols. The current arrangement reduces the PILOT agreement from $349,628 to $262,713.

“There’s [a need] for the PILOT in order for the project to be successful, especially with the recent unanticipated reduction of renewable solar energy credits and changing market conditions,” Nichols said.

Finally, the council will consider amending several rules of procedure, moving the start time of legislative sessions and hearings to an earlier time of 7 p.m., and clarifying when the council can move to withdraw a piece of legislation.

“We have also heard from the public in relation to safety issues,” said Howard County Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty (D-Dist. 4). The council is looking to adopt a new procedure whereby citizens testifying before the council no will longer have to provide a street address, but instead will provide a means of contact in case the council wishes to follow up with them.

Another proposal would reduce the five-minute testimony time limit for organizations to three minutes per speaker, in line with the time allotted for private citizens, but does not limit the number of speakers an organization can provide to testify.

School Budget, Honors

On Jan. 22, the National Education Policy Center designated Hammond High School a School of Opportunity, one of only eight schools in the country to earn that recognition. Hammond has seen increases in graduation rates from 2010 to 2016, with African-American students increasing their graduation rate from 80% to 92% in that time, while the graduation rates increased from 81% to 95% for Hispanic students and from 56% to 80% for students with special needs.

“Hammond’s recognition helps us communicate how our efforts to challenge students, support teachers and connect with families create engaging learning opportunities and solid preparation for higher education,” said Hammond Principal John DiPaula.
As part of his first operating budget as the confirmed superintendent, Michael Martirano is taking steps to close a structural imbalance that has plagued the Howard County Public School System since 2011.

Martirano cited expanded programs, salary increases and the lack of comprehensive planning to develop a sustainable budget plan as contributing factors to a $22.2 million negative balance that will grow this fiscal year by another $28.3 million.

“We must take ownership of the situation and reset our course to one that is fiscally responsible, yet still advances programmatic priorities to make HCPSS a premier school system,” he said.

Anne Arundel County Political Analysis: Opioid Epidemic Produces Bipartisan Cooperation

Uncompromising partisanship dominates Washington these days, but at the Maryland State House, there is plenty of bipartisan cooperation on tough issues.

Last month, Democratic House Speaker Michael Busch and Republican Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh jointly sponsored an opioid summit to emphasize local efforts and statewide legislation, and to battle the growing overdose deaths.

As part of the two-hour summit in a House hearing room, Del. Eric Bromwell (D-Baltimore County), chair of the House’s Opioid Workgroup, and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, of Pasadena, a workgroup member, described what the House passed last year. The workgroup melded 30 bills on opioids into the Heroin and Opioid Prevention (HOPE) Act, and some of the measures are just going into effect, Kipke said.

“We’re going to try to do everything we can to address these problems,” Bromwell said. “This touches every single person here.”

“Working together is the only way we’ll curb the opioid epidemic,” said Busch. “Last year, the General Assembly and Anne Arundel County took big steps to save lives and prevent addiction, but we’ve got a long way to go. That’s why it’s so important to continue to bring leaders and communities together to share best practices and plan our next steps.”

Third in Opioid Deaths

The most shocking figure about Anne Arundel County is that it ranks third in the state for the number of opioid-related deaths, after Baltimore City (628) and Baltimore County (305). In 2016 (the last year full figures for every county are available), Anne Arundel had 169 deaths related to opioids ­ which include heroin, fentanyl and prescription pain killers. That was nearly double the number from 2015, and is far more deaths than in each of the state’s two largest jurisdictions; Montgomery County had 84 deaths, and yet has twice the population of Anne Arundel’s 564,000 people; Prince George’s County had 106 deaths and 341,000 more people. (Howard County had 40 deaths.)

Last year, Anne Arundel County had 154 fatal overdoses and 929 nonfatal overdoses.

If that many people were dying in Anne Arundel County from car crashes or the flu, “we would be horrified, shocked,” said Schuh, who had declared a heroin crisis in the first month of his administration, “yet many of us don’t even notice.”

Schuh noted that 80% of the use of heroin and the other, even more lethal drugs mixed with it “started with a legitimate prescription from a doctor.”

Doctors are now getting trained to reduce the number of pain pills they prescribe, and there is a new database they can check to see if patients are getting prescriptions from other doctors. Kipke said this has led to a 14% reduction in the amount of painkillers prescribed last year, following a 13% reduction the year before.

But as doctors decline to prescribe refills, in the short term this may push patients to purchase street drugs, like heroin.

A map of the county’s opioid deaths shows them clustered in the north, where the county borders Baltimore, and the supply may be greater from a city that had a heroin epidemic decades before it hit the suburbs.

Police, Fire, Lawsuit

The county’s police chief, fire chief, deputy health officer and the head of the crisis response system testified to showcase Anne Arundel’s efforts at increased cooperation and coordination to provide prevention and treatment.

They’ve included Safe Stations, where someone using opioids can go into any fire station and request immediate help and treatment the EMTs have now been trained to provide.

Anyone who has overdosed gets a letter from Schuh and Police Chief Tim Altomare “begging them to get into treatment,” Altomare said. The chief has also set up a fatal overdose detective unit to investigate who sold the drugs that led to the death.

Finally, in January, like a growing number of states and counties across the country, Anne Arundel County filed a lawsuit naming 25 defendants including manufacturers, distributors and overprescribing doctors.

While they’ve had some sharp policy differences, Busch and Schuh are no strangers to cooperation. Republican Schuh was a member of the House of Delegates for eight years, and Busch has been the county’s administrator for youth athletics for decades. They often appear at events together.

Feud With Walker

While Schuh has a good working relationship with the Democratic speaker ­ who can help the county in many ways, ­ he continues to knock heads with at least one member of his own party, County Councilmember Jerry Walker.

In a late December interview, I asked Schuh if he thought he could maintain the 4-3 Republican majority on the county council.

“We don’t have a majority in the county council,” Schuh said, flatly. Jerry Walker “functions more like a Democrat than a Republican. He votes with the Democrats 62% of the time.”

Since Anne Arundel County has a two-term limit for county councilmembers and Walker is fulfilling his second term, he’s now running for the House of Delegates in District 33, which already has a full complement of three Republican incumbents: Tony McConkey, Sid Saab and Michael Malone.

Schuh’s million-dollar campaign chest helped fund mailers by the House Republican Caucus in November that depicted Walker as a clown.

“I’m involved in everything,” said Schuh. “I have to be.”

“The Republican Party cannot afford to have of its members acting like a Democrat. It would be disastrous for Anne Arundel County, it would be disastrous for the Republican Party,” given the 8-7 split in the county’s House delegation.

But other Republicans, including incumbent delegates, were unhappy to see a fellow Republican attacked so harshly, even if he was trying to unseat a fellow Republican.

Walker said he has had a rocky relationship with Schuh since Walker was a member of the Republican Central Committee, even serving as the county’s GOP chair for two years.

Since Schuh became executive, “I voted with him 92.6% of the time,” said Walker. “I looked at every bill” over the last three years.

The majority of administration bills from Schuh pass the council unanimously. Schuh’s figures are based on those few bills where the council is split, but Walker said that in “in half of those bills I was joined by another Republican.”

Walker, who represents the South County, has repeatedly clashed with Schuh over development and fiscal issues.

“What he wants is 100% loyalty,” Walker said.

“He’s increased the debt 64%,” raising the county’s debt ceiling from $125 million to $205 million. Most recently, Walker opposed Schuh on tax breaks for the Live! Casino at Arundel Mills, which passed with Democratic and Republican councilmembers on both sides of the issue.

Walker is currently president of the Maryland Association of Counties, a position which alternates between Republican and Democratic local office holders.

Cain for Delegate

The race for the two delegate seats in Annapolis-area District 30A is getting more crowded. Currently represented by Democratic House Speaker Michael Busch and Republican Herb McMillan, an American Airlines pilot, Republicans and Democrats are angling to claim both seats.

The newest entry is Democrat Alice Cain, who calls herself “an education policy wonk.” Her campaign launch party last month featured the endorsement of the state Democratic Party’s shining star of the moment, progressive Gavin Buckley, the newly elected Democratic mayor of Annapolis who unseated incumbent Republican Mike Pantelides.

Cain becomes the fifth Democrat in the race. Besides Busch, Democrat Mary Reese, a 2006 U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) graduate running on an environmental platform, filed last month; as did Brooks Schandelmeier, 27, vice president of the District 30 Democratic club; and Aron Axe, a retired Marine officer and also a USNA graduate, with progressive policy stands.

Republicans Chelsea Gill, 25, the youngest candidate in the race, and Dr. Mark Plaster, a physician who ran for Congress against Rep. John Sarbanes in 2016, have also filed.

McMillan has yet to announce his plans. Republican leaders have been urging the maverick delegate to run for his seat again, and not challenge former Del. Ron George for Senate. The GOP hopes to claim the seat long represented by Democrat John Astle, who has yet to decide whether he will seek a seventh four-year term.

Gonzales Poll: Hogan Still Gets High Marks, But Support Falls Off for Reelection Bid

Annapolis-based pollster Patrick Gonzales recently revealed the findings about the political scene in Maryland, which cast some concern regarding the reelection bid of Gov. Larry Hogan. The data is as follows.
• Among Maryland voters, 71% approve of the job Larry Hogan is doing as governor (41% “strongly” approve and 30% “somewhat” approve), while 21% disapprove (13% “strongly” disapprove and 8% “somewhat” disapprove), and 8% offered no opinion.
• Eighty-six percent of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 61% of Democrats approve of the job Larry Hogan is doing as governor.
• When matched against the top three Democratic contenders, Hogan enjoys a double-digit lead but does not crack the 50% mark against any: In a match-up with Rushern Baker, Hogan leads 47% to 37%, with 16% undecided; against Kevin Kamenetz, Hogan leads 48% to 34%, with 18% undecided; and against Ben Jealous, Hogan leads 49% to 36%, with 15% undecided.
• Hogan captures nearly 90% of Republicans, a quarter of Democrats and mid-50s support with unaffiliated voters against the challengers. His geographic base is composed of Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore (70%-range support) and the Baltimore suburbs (mid-to-upper 50s-range support). He trails badly in the Washington suburbs.
For more information, visit http://marylandreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Gonzales-Maryland-Poll-1-11-2018-HOGAN.pdf.

Annapolis Offers Parking Tips for Legislative Session

Members of the Maryland General Assembly, their staff and visitors who will be in Annapolis for the 2018 legislative session have been offered parking tips from the office of Mayor Gavin Buckley.
• Finding the best parking: There are plenty of parking options available to those visiting Annapolis. Visitors can explore these options at www.AnnapolisParking.com, a mobile-friendly website featuring maps, rates, contact information and additional details about the garages, surface lots, on-street parking and Circulator services.
• Reserving garage spaces online: This is the first legislative session in which visitors to Annapolis can reserve garage parking online in Noah Hillman Garage, Knighton Garage or Gotts Court Garage. Simply visit www.AnnapolisParking.com, navigate to the garage of your choice, and select “Buy Daily Parking.”
• Ride the free circulator: This also marks the first legislative session since the city eliminated the $1 fare on the Circulator. Visitors can now ride the Circulator free from city garages to points of interest downtown. They can also track the Circulator’s location in real-time by downloading the “RLS Shuttle” app to their smartphone and clicking “Annapolis” or by visiting the mobile-friendly https://annapolisparking.com/circulator-alternative-transportation and click “Track the Circulator.”
• Avoid the crowds: Visitors who wish to avoid the city’s busiest parking locations should consider the Park Place Garage located at One Park Place, on West Street; or the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium lot. Park Place is serviced daily by the free Circulator, and the stadium lot includes an Express shuttle service during the legislative session from 7:45–8:45 a.m. and 3:30–5:15 p.m., Monday–Friday. Stadium shuttle fare is $2.
• Free parking after 6 p.m.: Planning to attend an evening event? You can park entirely free at the State Garage (also known as Calvert Street Garage) after 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. The entrance is located at 19 St. John’s Street.

Government Contacting

The General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the release of a new, updated contract to allow new vendors to submit contracts to sell office supplies to federal government agencies through its Schedule 75. In 2010, the GSA had closed the contract so that only the 300-plus current contract holders could bid and sell office products using that contract vehicle.

The new contract was released on Jan. 16, and includes all legacy office services, such as on-site stores, customizing and imprinting; and traditional office products, such as pens, paper, shredders, CDs, office appliances and restroom products; as well as a new slate of products and services. The Schedule 75 will include new enhanced special item numbers, which will be known as Office Supplies Fourth Generation (OS4).

Courtney Fairchild, president and CEO of Global Services, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary specializing in GSA schedules and other federal contracts support services, has provided insight to this complicated contract. “Understanding the difference between the new and old Special Item Numbers (SINs) and the full contract offer requirements can be a challenge,” she said. “Be sure to read and digest the entire solicitation prior to putting your offer together.”

Fairchild continued with a timing recommendation. “The folks at GSA are not certain how many companies or how quickly the companies will submit new offers, so there is no timeline they can point to right now,” she said. “GSA Schedule submissions negotiations and approval can range from office to office anywhere from four to 12 months, depending on the workload.”

Since October 2010, GSA’s Schedule 75 for Office Products and Supplies had been closed to new contract offers. However, sales on the schedule remain comparatively high. GSA reports that, in fiscal 2016, Schedule 75 sales were $367.3 million — significantly higher than the $213.8 million sold under GSA’s Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies Third Generation (FSSI OS3). Now that the GSA is reopening Schedule 75 to new contract offers, it is, in the process, making a number of changes.

GSA has included new technical requirements for vendors including a demonstrated ability to meet all environmental reporting and green product requirements, a demonstrated system to remain compliant with the Trade Agreements Act, providing an updated Letter of Supply and special transactional data reporting. Vendors must maintain a satisfactory record of past performance and be Ability-One certified.

Companies considering submitting an Office Supplies Schedule 75 contract offer may choose to add either the legacy SINs, the new OS4 SINs or both. GSA is providing several resources to help companies understand the process to research, compare and validate the contract offer process. More information is available via https://interact.gsa.gov.

One may subscribe to Schedule 75 updates and gain access to recordings of recent GSA webinars at https://interact.gsa.gov/document/important-change-notice-schedule-75-re-opening-multiple-award-schedule-mas-75-legacy-sins.

Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov and is a national expert in business development in the government markets. For more information, email glorialarkin@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 866-579-1346.

AWARDED CONTRACTS

The following information is regarding awarded contracts and can be used to develop prime contractor, subcontractor and teaming partner relationships on these and other opportunities. For more information, contact TargetGov at 410-579-1346.
• ASRC Communications, Beltsville, won a $395 million contract from the 45th Contracting Squadron for cape launch operations and infrastructure support, including maintenance and engineering support for facilities and systems. http://asrcfederal.com/companies
• BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Rockville, won a $26,740,679 contract from The Naval Air Systems Command for engineering and technical services, in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Ship and Air Integration Warfare Division. www.baesystems.com/en/our-company/bae-systems-inc/us-suppliers/us-supplier-diversity
• Bravura Information Technology Systems, Aberdeen, won a $233,334,787 contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command for engineering, logistics, operations and program management support for the Persistent Surveillance Systems-Tethered. www.bravurainc.com/contact.html
• CRW & Associates, Bowie, won a $66,845,460 contract from the U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity for remote medical record coding services for outpatient medical records. www.crwassociatestoday.com/contact-us
• KBR Wyle Technology Solutions, Columbia, won a $69,301,409 contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division for the procurement of installation, systems integration, test and evaluation, in-service engineering, logistics, repair and validation, training, lab maintenance, quality assurance and technical management services for the Multi-Mission Datalink System. http://ww2.wyle.com/about-us.html
• LRS EOTI JV, Pasadena; and VETS – Tidewater JV, Elkridge; along with eight other companies, won a $60 million contract from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for environmental remediation services. http://lrsfederal.com/wp/contact, www.eoti.net/contact-us and www.tideh2o.net/contact-us
• Melwood Inc., Upper Marlboro, won an $18,552,775 contract from the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command for base operations at Fort Meade. www.melwood.org/contact-us
• Silicon Graphics Federal, Annapolis Junction, won a $23,341,671 contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Department of Defense high-performance computing modernization program’s technology insertion Air Force Research Laboratory Order 13. www.sgi.com/company_info/federal/sewp.html
• Thales Defense & Security, Clarksburg, won a $7,723,840 contract from the NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support for repair of one weapon repairable assembly on the airborne low frequency sonar system Sonar Dome, which is required to support the H-60 helicopter. www.thalescomminc.com/content/contactus.aspx
• Truston Technologies, Annapolis, along with four other companies, won a $13.5 million contract from the Naval Facilities and Engineering Expeditionary Warfare Center for worldwide ocean engineering services, including ocean engineering services in support of projects involving ocean cable systems and ocean work systems. www.truston.us/contact
• URS Federal Services, Germantown, won an $114,541,892 contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command for maintenance, supply and transportation logistics support services. www.aecom.com/small-businesssupplier-diversity

Visions of More Sports Fields Dance in Their Heads

Matthew Libber considers Covenant Park, located in Ellicott City with nine soccer fields, walking paths, concessions and restrooms, to be the top venue for local sports in Howard County — for the moment. “It’s the largest multipurpose facility in the county,” said Libber, vice president for business operations with Elite Tournaments.

He also names Terrapin Adventures — featuring activities such as zip lining, ropes courses and kayaking — as another great location.

Among the tournaments Elite organizes, nothing in local sports draws out-of-towners like the Columbia Invitational, a soccer tournament conducted in partnership with the Soccer Association of Columbia/HC (SAC), held over Memorial Day Weekend. “It has just under 700 teams coming from 20 states,” Libber said.

With Covenant Park and the new Blandair Park in Columbia — which currently has three lighted, synthetic turf, multipurpose fields — Howard County appears to be sitting pretty in high-end sports venues.

But in the eyes of those organizing sports events, Howard County, along with Anne Arundel and the rest of Maryland, are pretty “field-deprived.” Libber is among a growing group of executives from sports-related companies envisioning more fields for more players, along with all of the economic benefits they bring.

“We are currently looking to develop a new multi-purpose facility in the county with 10 to 15 fields,” said Libber. “We are exploring different locations within the county now and are working with a few investment groups interested in the project.”

But, Oh, Those Land Costs …

Like Libber, Terry Hasseltine, executive director of Maryland Sports, a company developing sports tourism in the state, can immediately name some top venues in Howard County: “Blandair Park, Troy Park, Covenant Park, Centennial Park for outdoor and Meadowbrook for indoor.”

But it’s not enough, he said. “We are still lacking the linear fields in Maryland needed to be highly competitive in the sports tourism space and be able to provide for necessary access for our residents, too,” he said. “It’s a delicate balance, the land costs and location of available land.”

And the “if you build it they will come” model simply doesn’t work, he said. “You need the right asset amenities within close proximity.”
Some people have been pining for better sports facilities for years. For indoor track runners, for example — who range in age from under 6 years to senior citizens — the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex is the closest large indoor track they have for meets, some of which draw more than 1,000 runners from across the nation.

Unless they go to the Prince George’s complex, runners in Howard and Anne Arundel counties take to the slippery wooden track at the Baltimore Armory. When, they are asking, will Howard County be home to an indoor track that can host real meets?

“At this time there are no plans for such a facility; however I wouldn’t think it is out of the question for the future,” said Hasseltine. “It would require some research and exploration to determine its potential usage and economic vitality for the region.”

The Unsung Venues

While Blandair Park, Covenant Park and soccer get most of the attention in Howard County, there are other unsung venues and sports that are growing. “In addition to soccer, lacrosse and field hockey are huge here in Howard County,” said Sally Slater, director of sales for Visit Howard County. “We are thrilled with the expansion project Blandair is currently undergoing, and Troy Park is also undergoing an expansion.”

The 101-acre Troy Park in Elkridge has two lighted, synthetic, multipurpose fields with press box structures, bleachers and a playground.

Also in Elkridge, for mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners, as well as ball players, disc golfers and BMX riders, Rockburn Branch Park has been a quietly appreciated venue since 1960. When Howard County announced Rockburn Park as a potential site for a 13th high school, residents voiced their opposition through a “Save Rockburn Park” petition that had gathered more than 3,500 signatures by mid-January.

In January, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman voiced his opposition to the proposed site at Rockburn as well.
Kittleman also called for the Howard County Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments to look more closely into the possibility of building a high school at Troy Park.

“Unlike Rockburn Park, Troy Park would not require as much environmental remediation, and it is not completely built out,” he said. “While there could be some challenges to constructing a high school at that location, I believe it warrants a more in-depth evaluation.”

Troy Park is a co-location for two of the largest sports tournaments in the area, one of which is the Maryland Youth Field Hockey League’s Halloween Havoc Tournament, which draws 800 families to Troy Park, as well as Blandair, Oakland Mills High School, Rockburn and Cedar Lane Park. The other is a fall lacrosse tournament that draws 400 families to Troy, Oakland Mills and Blandair.

For existing high schools, field improvements have been a highlight of the last decade, as all the high schools in Howard County installed synthetic turf through a joint-use agreement with the county Recreation and Parks Department. The fields — and the agreement — are working well, said John Davis, athletic coordinator for Howard County Public Schools. “We have fostered an excellent working relationship with Recreation & Parks so the implementation and use of the turf fields work well for all stakeholders,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Anne Arundel County, major league lacrosse team Chesapeake Bayhawks has announced its vision of building an expansive sports complex on the grounds of the former Crownsville Hospital Center. The venue could cost around $170 million to realize, and the three-phase project eventually would bring a 10,000-seat stadium, 20 sports fields and accompanying restaurants.

Plans could include a hotel, according to a December announcement from the Bayhawks, and fields would include facilities for soccer, football and lacrosse, as well as a baseball complex. The fields could be used by the county’s Recreation & Parks department, as well as local youth sports teams.

Hittin’ the Notes: Music Businesses Remain Vital in Digital Age

Bill’s Music, probably the best-known business on Frederick Road in Catonsville, has been in business for an impressive 53 years.

That stretch of street, which was officially named by former Gov. Parris Glendening as “Music City, Maryland,” is still retailing instruments, selling equipment and offering lessons, and remains the hub of the duly noted area that features seven music businesses.

The various challenges of digital technology, from using it to make today’s sounds to the sale of equipment needed to do so, have threatened the creation of music as previous generations have known it. However, the Music Row businesses — which also include Ann & Steve’s Music, the Baltimore Brass Co., Appalachian Bluegrass, Guitar Exchange, Trax on Wax and The Piano Man — seem to range from healthy to thriving in an overall market that has expanded.

Brian Higgins, son of founder Bill Higgins and general manager at Bill’s, and others in the business, keep holding their own. “We’re a full-line store,” he said. “We carry everything, for everyone from beginners to members of established bands that need a public address system and perhaps to build a studio.

“Our biggest challenge, bigger than competing with Guitar Center,” said Higgins, “is competing with the online market,” and sites like eBay and Sweetwater. “We have to give people a reason to get off the couch and into the car and come see what we have.”

Those Six Strings

A store like Bill’s, which encompasses 35,000 square feet, needs differentiators. For instance, “about 40% of our instruments are used. That can be a very good thing,” Higgins said. “Customers often want a piece of equipment that they think was built better [and maybe even domestically], rather than what’s new.”

Another differentiator is offering lessons, and Bill’s instructs 400 students (and potential customers for its 15 salespeople) each week. They learn from two dozen on-staff teachers, some of whom have been teaching there for decades. There are also four full-time repair personnel, including Ron Cook, who has worked at the store since day one.

Even given its variety, there’s one instrument that Bill’s sells and teaches how to play more than any other.

“That’s the guitar,” said Higgins, while noting an article that ran in the Washington Post last June that was headlined, “Death of the Electric Guitar” — the demise of which, he feels, was “greatly exaggerated” (according to www.musictrades.com, overall guitar sales for 2016 reached 2,630,950, up 6.4% from the previous year, and the highest in the last decade).

“We have to compete with eBay, Amazon, etc., and we don’t sell as many as we used to; not out of the front door, anyway. But guitars are still our best seller,” Higgins said, adding, “We’re part of the online party, too, with our eBay store,” which listed about 358 guitars at press time.

“All told, we have about 2,000 guitars in stock, which is more than most places on the East Coast. There are few places like Bill’s Music anywhere.”

Along the Row

Other stakeholders along Music Row (which also used to include Record & Tape Traders) describe a somewhat diverse and competitive, yet vibrant and cordial, scene — though there isn’t much of a unified effort to promote it.

Ann Quinn and Steve Ocone, of Ann & Steve’s Music, repair woodwinds on adjacent Bloomsbury Avenue, and have done so in Catonsville since 1999.

“We’re a destination,” said Ocone, “and most of our business is from word-of-mouth. There can be some competition between our Music Row shops, but we refer business to each other, too.”

As for the marketing of Music Row, aside from a large building mural that greets drivers as they enter Frederick Road from the Beltway heading west, there are some bike racks built in the form of musical notes, “but we don’t really work together to promote it.”
What they do, as Higgins also noted, is present concerts.

“In the summer, we have concerts in the parking lot on Music Row, in the Lurman Woodland Theatre by Catonsville High School and at the [Catonsville] Presbyterian Church. But,” Ocone said, “we don’t place joint ads. I just do specific placements in key places, like with the Columbia Orchestra. And we still have enough business to go around.”

Ocone said most of Ann & Steve’s business comes from Howard County (where Bill’s Music once briefly operated a second location on Route 40). “Plenty of [Howard residents] drive through Frederick Road. We get work from around the region, too.”

While Ocone doesn’t play much, Quinn performs in the Columbia Orchestra. “We stay ingratiated in the Columbia and Catonsville music scenes. I like to support music in the local high schools, too,” Ocone said, “even if it doesn’t necessarily attract new customers.”

Another Music Row destination is the Baltimore Brass Co., owned by Howard County resident David Fedderly, who teaches at the University of Maryland College Park. He echoed Ocone’s observations about the local market.

“There’s some competition,” said Fedderly, “but we all have our own niches and we often refer customers to each other. For instance, we don’t rent instruments very often, but are happy to tell customers that Bill’s does.”

What’s important to understand, he said, is that music is “a service business, and you have to know your products. We’re considered a professional shop, and that means employing classically-trained musicians who can make suggestions and make repairs. Also, our employees don’t sell on commission. They’re here to advise people.”
Like Ann & Steve’s, Baltimore Brass, Fedderly said, serves a market that’s only so big. “There aren’t that many tuba retailers or repair shops, and we have so much inventory that we’ve had people fly in from Europe to do business here.”

Getting Schooled

While Music Row is a big draw, there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the area, too. For instance, Mike’s Music has been in business in Ellicott City’s Montgomery Station during a decade that has included two expansions.

“We’re a lesson-based store” for a variety of instruments, said Haley Gordon, co-owner. “That’s how we pay our rent,” with the help of 42 instructors that have access to 24 soundproof lesson rooms, plus a group room for combos, ensembles and rock bands.

Unlike Bill’s, Mike’s added instruments and equipment as a secondary offering “so students,” many of whom are marketed from the time they enter Howard County’s public schools, “don’t need to shop around.

“Every fall I give the students in all Howard County schools, with which we partner, about 12,000 folders with our logo and information,” said Gordon. “Some of the kids come in for the rentals from Menchey Music, our affiliate. Then they can buy through Menchey, which has a repair shop, or through us.”

As for Menchey, the eight-store, Hanover, Pa.-based company opened at The Village of Waugh Chapel about a year ago.

“Our core business is school music,” said Joel Menchey, president. “Every decision we make is based on opportunities in that market. It’s very strong in Maryland, and particularly in Anne Arundel County, where we’ve dabbled for years. We opened at Waugh Chapel because there is no representation there.”

Menchey has been operating in Baltimore County for 60 years and has had a store in Timonium for 11 years, “but our main business is renting instruments in markets like Ellicott City and Frederick, where we don’t have stores and work with businesses like Mike’s.”
Menchey also commented on the listening habits of today’s younger demographic.

“Clearly, electronic music has found its place, and it’s growing,” he said. “Interest in playing classic rock is decreasing, but country music is trending up. So, I don’t think the number of players of any instrument are dropping, since our revenues have gone up every year for the last five.”

Such facts are undoubtedly why Guitar Center, which operates more than 200 stores (including a location in Glen Burnie), recently opened its fifth Maryland store at the Town Centre Laurel. Like Bill’s and others, the store sells guitars from around $100 to a few thousand dollars, as well as equipment and vintage gear.

Adam Hunter, general manager of the Laurel store, acknowledged that the popularity of digital music has led to the chain selling “everything needed to contribute to making music electronically,” he said, while adding that aficionados of that market might “even get into regular music, because the electronic mode was a gateway.

“Bear in mind that the electronic musicians need synthesizers, beat machines and ProTools [a popular mixing] boards, so they need at least some equipment,” he said. “It’s all about finding your sound.”

As for customers who prefer traditional instruments, Guitar Center gives “lots of lessons, too,” Hunter said. “We just opened in September, but we already have seven instructors and more than 100 students.”

Reaching the Kids

As for Guitar Center opening in an area that has been served mostly by small retailers, Hunter thinks everyone can coexist. “I don’t think we’re hurting any of the smaller stores. Most times, they’re selling something we don’t focus on, anyway,” he said, adding, “and new guitar players are born every day.”

And most of those small retailers seem to keep moving right along. At the National Association of Music Merchants convention three years ago, Bill’s Music was saluted for having been in business for a half-century.

“Only about 20 stores in the U.S.” have enjoyed such a run, Higgins said. “At one time, Washington Music Center [of Silver Spring, which turns 60 this year] was our main competition.”

These days, Higgins is concentrating on keeping the old-schoolers happy, as well as giving kids who may have first experienced music online reasons to visit Bill’s.

“We plan on being here at least another 50 years, but we have to keep offering better service and more options,” he said. “You’ve got to be on your game.”

 

In Tune With His First Love

Despite the popularity of digital sounds and hip-hop, as well as murmurs about the “death” of rock music, industrious sorts can still make some nice extra cash, and perhaps a solid (maybe, in time, lucrative) living, by setting up shop to build, repair and sell guitars.

Such efforts more than paid off with Maryland’s own guitar guru/hustler-made-good, Paul Reed Smith. On that note, meet Glen Burnie’s Dave Treude.

His life-long love of stringed instruments was spurred anew about two years ago by Treude’s fiancée, who encouraged him to set up the modest, yet well-equipped, Treude Guitar Shop at their home.

“The majority of what I’ve sold so far are cigar box guitars, and cigar box and standard ukuleles, which are a little unusual compared to what you’d find at Bill’s,” etc., he said. Other projects have included building several “Partscasters,” repairing and refinishing miscellaneous guitars for customers, and even building two themed electric guitars: a Nintendo NES game system and a Star Wars Millennium Falcon, from what he terms “donor” guitars.

Treude is also set up to do any type of guitar work, from paint and customizations to setups and electrical repair, in his shop (saving some work for a computerized CNC milling machine that a friend provides).

In 2017, Treude built and repaired upwards of 35 stringed instruments that have sold for from $100 and up. What does he love best? Reclaiming old cigar boxes and turning them into stringed instruments “and whatever other projects I can get my hands on,” he said. “It’s very rewarding.”

In Brief

CCTA Announces Reformatted Broadway Prep Program

Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts’ (CCTA) Broadway Prep class will continue to focus on preparing students for upcoming auditions, introducing them to Broadway classics and teaching the fundamentals of the Young Columbians style of musical showcase, in addition to cultivating a Broadway Revue for the final showcase.
Additionally, a new format will incorporate masterclasses twice a month to help performers improve their theater knowledge. Masterclasses will include Theatrical Make-Up, Stage Combat, Improvisation, Broadway Hip-Hop, Tap Basics and résumé writing. Students also will have the chance to have a professional headshot taken.

This class is appropriate for children ages 8–15 with all levels of musical theater background. Classes begin Feb. 22 at CCTC, 6655 Dobbin Road, Unit 4, Columbia. For more information, visit www.CCTArts.org.

Girls on the Run of Central Maryland Selected for Pilot Program

Girls on the Run of Central Maryland was chosen by its national parent organization, Girls on the Run International, to participate in an access and inclusion pilot program for the Spring 2018 season.

An Access and Inclusion Initiative grant from Target and Procter & Gamble made it possible for the organization to develop a curriculum adaptations guide and new coach training modules to ensure the activities in the program are accessible and inclusive for girls with sensory, cognitive and physical disabilities. The guide and training program were developed in partnership with the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for people with disability.

Girls on the Run of Central Maryland is one of only 14 out of a network of more than 200 councils nationwide selected to pilot the new program. Local volunteer coaches will receive the curriculum adaptation guide and additional specialized training before the Spring Girls on the Run Season begins in March 2018.

Girls on the Run Names Lisa Martin Energy Award Winner

Girls on the Run of Central Maryland has selected Shannon Biggs as the winner of this year’s Lisa Martin Energy Award. Named after the founder of Girls on the Run of Central Maryland, the award is given annually to one coach who has shown incredible energy and commitment to Girls on the Run’s mission — inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.

Biggs has served as a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run of Central Maryland since the fall of 2010. This spring marks her 16th season as a coach at Bollman Bridge Elementary School.

Artists’ Gallery Features All-Member Show: ‘Love in the Winter’

Running through Feb. 25, Artists’ Gallery in Ellicott City is providing “Love in the Winter,” a show featuring work by all of the gallery’s member artists, aimed at inspiring romance and gifts for Valentine’s Day.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 3–5 p.m. All artwork will be sold at a 10% discount on Feb. 10–11.
Artists’ Gallery, located at 8197 Main Street, Ellicott City, is a member-owned gallery showcasing many different types of media. Visit artistsgalleryec.com for gallery hours.

‘All She Must Possess’ Premieres at Rep Stage This Month

“All She Must Possess,” playwright Susan McCully’s original production about Baltimore’s famed Cone sisters, will premiere at Rep Stage, the professional regional theater in residence at Howard Community College (HCC), Feb. 8–25.

Directed by Joseph W. Ritsch, the story centers around Miss Etta Cone, who, with her sister Dr. Claribel Cone, voraciously collected art and curios from around the world. The production is a highly theatrical celebration of Etta’s life, in which works of art come alive and her one-time lover, Gertrude Stein, sings her praises while the audience watches her journey from society laughingstock to doyen of modernity.

“All She Must Possess” is Rep Stage’s production in participation with the 2018 DC Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

The show will be performed in the Studio Theatre of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center (HVPA), on the campus of HCC, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. There will be post-show discussions on Feb. 11 and 23, and a pre-show lecture prior to the 2 p.m. performance on Feb. 24.

Tickets are $40 for general admission, $35 for seniors and the military and $15 for students with a current ID. Thursdays are $10 performances. For tickets and additional information, visit www.repstage.org or call the box office at 443-518-1500.

New Exhibit Explores Historical Clothing from Era of Baltimore’s Famed Cone Sisters

A new exhibit of historical women’s clothing from the era of Baltimore’s famed Cone sisters is on display at Howard Community College’s Rouse Company Foundation Gallery. Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone, daughters of German-Jewish immigrants, chose not to live unassuming lives in Baltimore at the turn of the century, but instead they traveled the world, amassing one of the world’s greatest modern art collections. The exhibit was developed in connection with the Rep Stage world premiere of “All She Must Possess,” a theatrical celebration of Etta Cone’s extraordinary life.

The exhibit provides an opportunity to view historical garments from the era in which the Cone sisters lived and to learn more about the fashion tastes shared by two of Baltimore’s most famous doyens of modernity. The exhibit showcases clothing and accessories used for everyday wear, traveling, evenings out and formal occasions. The exhibit also includes the historical clothing and photographs that inspired Julie Potter, costume designer for “All She Must Possess,” as she developed the costumes worn by the play’s actors.

Accompanying the clothing are Potter’s original renderings of the costumes.

The Cone sisters’ style was simple, conservative, and somewhat austere. They did not adapt to current trends, but instead favored petticoats and long skirts. Their choice in clothing is interesting, juxtaposed with their passion for collecting artifacts and art, which was anything but conservative and plain. As a result, their art collections were modern, exotic and colorful.

The clothing exhibit runs through March 11 in The Rouse Company Foundation Gallery, which is located in the lobby of the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center. Free and open to the public, the gallery hours are Monday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m. For more information on the gallery and the exhibit, visit www.howardcc.edu/galleries.

Howard County Seeks Nominees for ‘Community Sports Hall of Fame’

Nomination forms are now available for Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks’ 2018 “Community Sports Hall of Fame.” The award recognizes outstanding individuals who have gained prominence in or made substantial contributions to community recreational sports in Howard County.

Coaches, managers, league officials, commissioners or behind-the-scenes contributors closely identified with community recreational sports can be nominated. In addition, nominees must either be residents of Howard County or have made their community sports contributions primarily in Howard County.

Nomination forms are available at www.howardcountymd.gov/halloffame or by calling the Department of Recreation & Parks at 410-313-4711. All nominations must be delivered or postmarked by Sunday, April 15, to: Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21046.
Individuals chosen for this year’s class will be inducted into the Community Sports Hall of Fame at the 16th annual Celebration of Sports in October.

Dragonfly Arts Magazine Is Currently Accepting Submissions

Dragonfly Arts Magazine, a publication of HopeWorks made possible by the Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County Government, is currently accepting submissions from the public-at-large in the following formats: poetry, photography, sketch, short story, mixed-media, sculpture, painting or prose.

Themes for submitted work (both visual and literary) should focus on reflections about relationships, love, advocacy, social justice, trauma, intersectionality, hope, self-care and healing.

The submission deadline is Feb. 28. Early submission is encouraged. Acceptance notifications will e-mailed by May 2018.
Email or call Vanita Leatherwood, director of community engagement, at 410-997-0304 with questions.

NinjaBe Obstacle Course Comes to Howard County

Inspired by the challenges of the “American Ninja Warrior” TV show, new indoor-challenge center NinjaBe brings the latest fitness craze to Howard County.

The 25,000-square-foot center, located at 9301 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, is packed with obstacles, an ultimate dodge ball court, climbing walls and even mechanical bulls.
Week-long camp sessions for children ages 7 and up will be offered beginning in June.

NACPS to Present ‘Icons of the Harlem Renaissance’

The Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society (NACPS) will present “The Salon: Icons of the Harlem Renaissance,” on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. The show focuses on the Harlem Renaissance, featuring notable African-American philosophers, writers, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians and actors of the period.

To be held at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, the show is free to the public. For more information, visit www.nacpsibh.com.

HCAC Celebrating 21st Annual Celebration of the Arts

The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) will mark 21 years of recognizing the local arts community’s stars at its signature event, the Celebration of the Arts in Howard County gala, to be held Saturday, March 24, from 6–10 p.m. at the Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College.

The evening will begin with a reception featuring artwork and musical performances in the Studio Theatre. At 8 p.m., guests will move to the Smith Theatre for the live presentation of the Rising Star Performing Artists Competition and the 2017 Howie Awards; seats also will be available in the Studio Theatre for a simulcast of the show. Then, the HCAC’s 2018 Arts Scholarship recipients will be announced.

Buddy and Sue Emerson will act as honorary chairs for the evening. Myron “Mo” Dutterer, recipient of the 2003 Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Educator and a member of the Howard County theater community, will serve as event emcee.

The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition showcases 10 young performing solo artists and/or small ensembles (ages 18–35). These artists will be vying for a no-strings-attached, $5,000 professional development award; the winner will be selected by the audience.

The ten finalists performing at the Celebration are: Keely Bosworth Borland, classical voice; Tyler Fitzpatrick, jazz guitar; Lindsey Landry, musical theater; Benjamin Lurye, musical theater; Elizabeth Milligan, flute; Brian Nabors, musical yheater; Arelle Oberlander, classical voice; Pacing Bodies (Ryan Bailey & Maia Schechter), dance; Junghoon Park, piano; and Alexandra Rodrick, classical voice.

For more information, visit www.hocoarts.org/explore/learn-participate/celebration-of-the-arts.

ARTsites: Integrating Art Into the Community In Public Spaces With Innovative Sculptures

The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is seeking up to 12 artists to participate in its Seventh Annual Juried Public Art Competition for a temporary outdoor exhibit from August 2018–July 2019. HCAC’s goal is to make art more accessible to the entire community by placing sculpture at sites throughout Howard County. The sculpture will serve as visual anchor points that will enhance and activate community spaces and generate interest in public art.

HCAC will administer the selection process and provide an identification plaque for each work and promotional support for the exhibit. HCAC staff will serve as liaison with site administrators. Sale of artwork will be encouraged but work must remain on view for the duration of the entire exhibit.

Up to 12 artists will be provided a $2,500 grant to cover the temporary loan, insurance, installation, de-installation and repairs to the sculpture. If multiple pieces are selected from one artist, a separate grant will be awarded for each piece.

The competition is open to all professional visual artists, aged 18 and older, with public art experience commensurate with this project’s scope. HCAC board, staff and their immediate family members, and selection panelists and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate. In addition to finished pieces, proposed work will also be considered. For full details, visit www.hocoarts.org.

Paint It! Ellicott City to Be Held July 6–8

Paint It! Ellicott City, an annual event bringing artists and spectators interested in the plein air tradition to Historic Ellicott City. Both juried and Open Paint artists set up their easels around the historic district as they capture the mill town.

A popular feature of the event is the Quick Draw competition – open to both juried and Open Paint artists – in which artists take a plein air painting from start to finish in just two hours. A pop-up exhibit and sale of work completed during the Quick Draw will take place during the competition.

Paint It! culminates in an exhibit of juried artists’ work in the Howard County Arts Council gallery, that features an opening reception and juror’s award presentation. A one-night exhibit of work created by Open Paint artists is also on view, then moved to a temporary exhibit at the Howard County Tourism Welcome Center in Ellicott City. Artists and visitors may view and purchase the finished pieces during the reception.

The deadline to apply for the juried portion of the event is April 27. Applications for the non-juried Open Paint portion of the event will be available in May. For more information, visit www.hocoarts.org.

Industry Perspective: Crossfit Fitness Method Is Showing Some Muscle in the Region

More and more CrossFit locations are putting their stakes in the ground. There are currently more than 10 CrossFit options in Howard County alone and, worldwide, there are more than 14,000, compared to only 13 in 2005. This fitness boom doesn’t seem to be slowing.

It’s not just the six-pack-abs set that have become loyal CrossFit followers, but a more diverse group from all walks of life who are finding CrossFit to be a better workout method for them. Not only are they trying it; they are sticking with it.

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. Workouts are based on functional movements that reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. There is evidence-based science behind its methodology.

CrossFit is an open source fitness method with a focus on gathering, analyzing and interpreting data from athletes all over the world. What that means is that, first, it openly publishes its philosophies and prescriptions based on research that its designers have either done or gathered that defines fitness, and gives a prescription on how to make a human as fit as that person can be, and relates that to health. It is grounded in exercise science.

Second, the 14,000 affiliates worldwide — the hundreds of thousands of members at those affiliates — are tabulating the scores of their workouts (everything is scored, either by the amount of work the person did in a specific time domain or by the time it took that person to complete specific work). They submit scores to CrossFit, which are published. So everything is a competition — every day at the gym is a contest to do better. And there are certain workouts that are repeated over and over so that clients can see how they are progressing over time.

Tailored, Defined Methodology

From the data collected, CrossFit headquarters analyzes and publishes results, and the methodology pivots as needed based on these results. This data-driven methodology has shown that CrossFit is one of the best — and safest — ways to condition humans to face life’s challenges.

From high-performing athletes to grandmothers, from those who will face life-threatening situations to those simply faced with everyday tasks, the methodology is universally valuable due to the functional and scalable aspect of the movements. This means using real-world, everyday movements that can be tailored to suit any fitness level, impairment or injury.

Another benefit is the programming. Clients don’t need to wonder what to do when they arrive, or if what they’re doing will actually provide results. There are 10 recognized fitness domains that include: endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination, agility, accuracy, balance, power and speed. It is important to work on all the different domains, because to be truly fit, one can’t focus on just one or two. Such specialization lacks balance, and creates deficiencies that actually can be detrimental.

Focusing on all 10 offers a bulletproof approach, where clients work in a variety of ways to become truly fit. According to fitness enthusiast Erin Wallace: “I came in [to do CrossFit] with what I thought was a fair level of fitness. This experience proved me wrong — I have a high endurance level, but my strength and balance in particular needed major work. I can see and feel the results in just a few months.”

Fitness Across the Ages

One of the booms in the CrossFit world has been for the age 40-plus population, particularly women. At most CrossFit locations, women have a program specifically designed for them — as a result, their intimidation level and fear is greatly reduced and they excel quickly. They are finding that CrossFit is as much about looking and feeling fit as it is quality of life and hedging against the aging process.
Squatting down properly, lifting groceries, shoveling snow without injury, remaining flexible — all are priorities. And as clients age further, male or female, those needs accelerate, and preventing injury from daily activities is of utmost importance.

Kids have been joining in the fun as well. Many affiliates offer a children’s class taught by specially-trained CrossFit Kids coaches. The programming for these classes is fun and age-appropriate, teaching proper general movement and fostering a love of fitness.
Children involved in other sports see improved performance and fewer injuries. Adolescents and teens that need speed and agility training or pre-season conditioning for their sport of choice also are finding CrossFit training helpful.

The glue that makes it stick for all athletes, however, is the community. Shared adversity truly does bring people together. Pushing hard is what creates the results, and most athlete and fitness enthusiasts wouldn’t push nearly as hard working out alone.

Luke Espe is co-founder and coach at 12 Labours CrossFit Columbia, BWI and Annapolis. He can be reached at luke@the12labours.com.

Museums & Galleries

In this region chock-full of history and culture, it would be nigh impossible to create a comprehensive listing of all of the museums, galleries and historical sites that abound. Below is a sampling of local galleries and museums for those who would like to add a little culture to their lives.

The African Art Museum of Maryland
11711 East Market Place
Fulton, MD 20759
301-490-6070
africanartmuseum.org

Annapolis Maritime Museum
723 2nd Street
Annapolis, MD 21403
410-295-0104
www.amaritime.org

Artists’ Gallery
8197 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043
443-325-5936
artistsgalleryec.com

The B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City Station
2711 Maryland Avenue
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-461-1945
visitoldellicottcity.com/explore/museums-historical-sites/bo-railroad-museum

Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall
Airport Galleries
7062 Elm Road
BWI Airport, MD 21240
410-859-7111
bwiairport.com

Banneker-Douglass Museum
84 Franklin Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-216-6180
bdmuseum.maryland.gov

The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House
10400 Cross Fox Lane
Columbia, MD 21044
410-730-3987
wildelake.org

Chesapeake Arts Center Hal Gomer Gallery
194 Hammonds Lane
Brooklyn Park, MD 21225
410-636-6597
chesapeakearts.org/gallery

The Ellicott City Firehouse Museum
3829 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-313-1900
www.howardcountymd.gov/HistoricSites

Fort George G. Meade Museum
4674 Griffin Avenue
Fort Meade, MD 20755
301-677-6966
ftmeade.army.mil/Museum/index.html

Galesville Heritage Museum
988 Main Street
Galesville, MD 20765
410-867-0373
galesvilleheritagesociety.org

HorseSpirit Arts Gallery
8090 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-461-3505
horsespiritartsgallery.com

Howard County Center for the Arts
Galleries I & II
8510 High Ridge Road
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-313-2787
hocoarts.org

Howard County Historical Society Museum
8328 Court Avenue
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-480-3250
hchsmd.org/museum

Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum
12985 Frederick Road
West Friendship, MD 21794
410-489-2345
www.farmheritage.org/museum.html

Laurel Museum
817 Main Street
Laurel, MD 20707
301-725-7975
www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org

ManneqART Museum
9010 Maier Road, Unit 104
Laurel, MD 20723
301-725-5555
manneqartmuseum.org

Maryland Federation of Art
Circle Gallery
18 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-268-4566
mdfedart.com

McBride Gallery
215 Main Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-267-7077
mcbridegallery.com

The Meeting House Gallery
Oakland Mills Interfaith Center
5855 Robert Oliver Place
Columbia, MD 21045
410-730-4090
themeetinghouse.com

Mitchell Art Gallery
St. John’s College
Mellon Hall
60 College Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-626-2556
www.sjc.edu/annapolis/mitchell-gallery

National Cryptologic Museum
8290 Colony Seven Road
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
301-688-5849
www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic-heritage/museum

National Electronics Museum
1745 West Nursery Road
Linthicum, MD 21090
410-765-0230
nationalelectronicsmuseum.org

Richard B. Talkin Family Gallery
Howard Community College
McCuan Hall
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
443-518-4055
ww.howardcc.edu/discover/arts-culture/horowitz-center/art-galleries

Rouse Company Foundation Art Gallery
Howard Community College
Horowitz Performing Arts Center
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
443-518-4055
www.howardcc.edu/discover/arts-culture/horowitz-center/art-galleries

U.S. Naval Academy Museum
121 Blake Road
Annapolis, MD 21402
410-293-2108
www.usna.edu/Museum/index.php

 

Five Key Facts About the New Tax Bill

The recent enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) represents “the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years.”

For millions of Americans and businesses it means an altered financial and investment landscape, with new opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. Keep in mind, however, that the information is not intended as tax advice and may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.
Here’s a brief look at five key changes.

Personal Taxes

Some of the TCJA’s key provisions include a reduction in most marginal income tax brackets, near doubling of the standard deduction, and a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deduction. The Tax Policy Center projects that taxes will fall for all income groups and result in an increase of 2.2% in after-tax income. The Tax Policy Center also cautions, however, that some individuals and households may see a higher tax bill.

Investments

The TCJA did not adjust the preferential rates of 0%, 15% and 20% for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends. For example, the transition from 15% to 20% capital gains rate will continue to use the top tax-bracket thresholds of $425,800 for individuals and $479,000 for married couples.

Retirement

The tax bill introduces several key changes for business owners, including the introduction of a 20% deduction for pass-through businesses. Business owners may want to review their current business structure (C-Corp, S-Corp and LLC) and determine what entity is best structured to help them accumulate retirement assets.

College Savings

529 plans may now be used to fund private elementary and secondary education (for up to $10,000 in distributions per student each year). Prior, they were limited to eligible post-secondary institutions.

Estate Strategies

The estate tax exemption was raised to $11.2 million, a doubling of the $5.6 million that previously existed. As such, individuals benefiting from this change may want to re-evaluate the strategies they have in place to address the tax and liquidity issues that may no longer exist.

John E. Day is a financial consultant with LPL Financial Services, in Columbia. He can be reached at 410-290-1000, john.day@lpl.com or via www.daywm.com.

Buying or Leasing Your Wheels: Three Questions to Ask

The decision to get a new vehicle is sometimes made for you, such as when your old car breaks down and the repairs are too costly to justify.

On the other hand, sometimes, purchasing a new car is an impulsive decision after seeing a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign on television and getting that “must have” urge. And sometimes, it’s in between; you have had your car for 10 years and you deserve a new car with the latest technology and safety features.

In either case, while the new vehicle buying process is typically exciting and fun, it may also be stressful, as you figure out how to pay for your new and shiny ride.

Likely, after countless hours researching your new wheels on the Internet and visiting a dealership or two to test-drive the vehicle, you have selected the make, model, options, color and the rest of the “bells-and-whistles.”

Then comes the not-so-fun part: Can you afford the vehicle you selected, and what is the best way to pay for it? After you add on the metallic paint, technology package, upgraded sound system and destination charges, the total price after taxes and other charges may be more than you were expecting the vehicle to cost.

The Priority

The first step is making sure you can afford the car. Do you have the cash to pay for the vehicle, or will you have monthly payments? If you have been diligently saving and can write the check for the vehicle, that solves this question.

Is paying cash for a vehicle the best option? That is a topic for another day. The point herein is making sure, while considering cash flow and long-term savings goals, you can afford the new vehicle; and, assuming so, what the best way to pay for it would be.
More specifically, should you buy or lease? Neither leasing nor buying has a clear advantage over the other. Many of the advantages and disadvantages depend upon your personal preferences and needs. While there are many considerations, there are three big questions you should ask yourself.

The Payments

When you buy a new car, you typically need a down payment, which can be in the form of cash and/or a trade-in. You may have to come up with 5% or more of the new car’s value, depending upon factors such as your lender and credit rating. When you lease a car, there’s typically no down payment. Instead, you’re usually required to make the first lease payment and provide a security deposit equal to one or two monthly payments. If you don’t have the cash or trade-in for a down payment, but need a car now, leasing might be the best choice for you.

When you buy a car, your monthly payments are based on the total purchase price, down payment, term of loan and interest rate. Alternatively, when leasing, your payments are based on the car’s expected depreciation over the term of the lease, state sales tax, your credit score and a lease fee.

All things equal, the monthly lease payment is usually lower than the monthly loan payment for a comparable car. As compared to buying, if you want to get “more car” for your dollar in the short-term or if your monthly cash flow is tight, you probably will do better with a lease, since the combination of a low initial down payment (i.e., security deposit and first monthly payment) and the lower monthly payments may be appealing.

Could Be a Keeper

Leases typically run two-to-four years, and at the end of the lease you can switch to a new car. If you like the idea of driving a new car every few years, leasing may be a good choice for you. At the end of the lease term, you drop the car off at the lease company, pick out a new car, sign a new lease and drive away.

There’s no haggling over trade-in allowance and no worries about loan payoffs or down payments. That is a big advantage of leasing.
While you can still get a new car every few years even if you buy, you typically will need to sell your old vehicle. This generally involves negotiating the value of your trade-in or advertising in the local paper or on a website, such as Auto Trader. Be prepared to deal with inquiries and showing the vehicle to prospective buyers if you decide to advertise on your own. If you plan to keep your cars for more than four years, then it may be better to buy. When you buy a car, whether you purchase it outright with cash or use a loan, you own it free-and-clear (once the loan is paid off, if you borrowed).
Since you own the car, you can drive it as long as you want, sell it or trade it in for a new car.

Drive Much?

Contemplate your driving habits. A typical lease will include 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. If you exceed this limit, at the end of the lease term you could be charged a per-mile fee for each mile over the contract limit. As mentioned above, when you buy a car, you’re free to drive it as much (and as far) as you like. So, if you drive a lot, buying may be a good option.

Most leases only allow “normal” wear and tear. If you are tough on your car, live in a crowded city or typically park on the street, a lease may not be the best choice since you will have to pay for any damages the dealership dictates are above the “normal” wear and tear (dings, dents, cracks, stains, tears or other unusual wear).
And remember, those repairs you may have to pay for are a complete loss since you are turning the car back in to the leasing agency.
Compared with buying, if you have wear-and-tear that is excessive, you can decide to live with those dings and dents, or repair them. Since it is your car, you benefit from the repairs, not the leasing agency.

One or the Other

Remember, neither option is inherently better than the other. It all depends on where you are in your life, what you’re looking to get out of your vehicle and your financial situation.
As with any major purchase, it’s always best to have a discussion with your financial adviser to educate yourself, and weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.

Gary S. Williams is the president and founder; and Nicholas Ibello is wealth manager and associate vice president; of Williams Asset Management, in Columbia. They can be reached at 410-740-0220 and Gary@WilliamsAsset.com or Nick@WilliamsAsset.com.

BBB Advice: Preserve Ethics, Integrity of Your Business With Each Hire

Starting a business isn’t easy. Growing a business can be even more difficult. As your team grows, it’s important to maintain the core values and culture upon which your organization was founded.
Employee theft is expensive. Losses can result from theft of supplies, product or by cheating hours on a timesheet. Dishonesty doesn’t just wreak havoc on the bottom line, it can also tarnish your brand’s reputation, drive away your customers, corrupt your company’s culture and weaken the integrity of other employees.
An honest business needs honest employees. Once you know what to look for, you’ll know who you can and can’t trust. Here are five best practices to help you hire for honesty.

Prioritize Honesty

Many employers make the mistake of jumping the gun and hiring people who have fancy educations or winning personalities — without checking to see if they’re trustworthy. You may get lucky, but why risk it when a bad hire can cause serious damage to your business? You can always teach people the skills to do the job, but you can’t teach integrity. People have it or they don’t.
To avoid making this mistake, make assessing for honesty an essential part of your hiring process. You may not come away with the most experienced or skilled employees, but at least you’ll be able to sleep at night, knowing you’ve got people on your team you trust.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet said it best: “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

Tailor Your Job Post

Set the standard from the start. In your job postings, clearly communicate your core values and the type of employee you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to state specific attributes and attitudes that align with your values.
When you’re clear about who you are and your expectations up front, you’ll have a better chance of attracting people who lead with integrity in everything they do.

Spotting Lies

Résumés are a breeding ground for deceit. Because few employers check them for accuracy, there is nothing stopping some people from stretching the truth or making false claims. If you really want to know who is legit, pay attention to these résumé red flags.
Résumé Red Flags:
• Job hopping or large unemployment gaps
• Skills listed are inconsistent with past positions or education levels
• Discrepancies between one’s résumé and other forms of communication
• Stagnant career progress or regression
• Inconsistent employment dates
• Vague descriptions of responsibilities in past positions
According to a survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers by CareerBuilder, 56% of those in charge of hiring have caught job candidates lying on their résumés.

Interview Questions

There are endless questions you could ask in a face-to-face interview. But none are as valuable as those that target a person’s level of integrity. You can ask the prospect to describe a past ethical dilemma or about a mistake s/he made previously on the job that only s/he knew about and how s/he handled it. An easy question is, “Would you lie for me?”

Don’t Skip References

It’s important to always check references, and it’s surprising how often this step is skipped. At a minimum, you should be able to confirm dates of employment and if the person is eligible for rehire. If you have managers who hire directly, require them to make notes with names and the dates references were reached.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and abarnett@greatermd.bbb.org.

Pounding the Keyboard: Intel Flaws – Now What?

It’s not enough that there are viruses — Trojans, backdoors and “zero-day exploits” — out there, is it?

No, it’s not, because now there are flaws in the architecture of the processor chips that can be used to steal data from your computer or phone. A fair amount has been broadcast about the Spectre and Meltdown exploits. What are they?

First off, variations of these exploits can affect most every processor chip on the market. The 800-pound gorilla is, of course, Intel. But other competitors, such as AMD and ARM, are affected, though not as much; that means your Apple is vulnerable, as well as most PCs.
These flaws were first discovered last June by several independent research teams, including one from Google, called Google Project Zero, the function of which is to protect Google software and systems (including the Android software on your phone, as well as its search engine) from this stuff. It was shared with the processor manufacturers and some other software developers (think Microsoft and Amazon) in an effort to find cures before it was executed by hackers.

This has been partially successful. Many patches have been issued to shield users, but not everyone installs every patch or update, especially if they have had unhappy consequences of updates trashing things in the past.
And that they can do. A few weeks ago, I had three clients whose computers did killer updates in Windows that required wholesale rebuilding. Not good.

Where To?

Anyway, how can a processor that’s supposed to be happily executing instructions leak data? It comes from our never-ending quest for more speed.

Processors work tremendously faster than the memory chips that supply them the data. Rather than just wait around for the memory to deliver the instruction path, the processor will take a guess where it’s going next. This is called speculative execution. The processor executes some code while waiting, then when the data path arrives, it checks if the guess was correct.

If it wasn’t, it discards the results and runs with the new data. While nothing is lost (it was just using what would have been idle time), if it was right, time has been saved.

And time is the name of the game. Modern processors have three levels of processor cache that can be used for this speculation.
The specific techniques involved have names like “flush and reload” and “evict and reload,” which make the data stay in cache memory long enough to be diverted to a side channel. Chaining together a series of these reads will allow the attacker to direct where the data comes from and where it goes — which is off to them.

This causes a breakdown in all the techniques, such as “sandboxing,” that manufacturers have created to try to shield data from leaking. Of the two, Spectre is the most damaging, since it works on all processor brands; Meltdown has a slightly different technique, called “out-of-order execution,” which is specific to Intel.

JavaScript, Too

It is possible to write JavaScript code that will use these exploits while in a browser, such as Chrome, so there’s that way of introduction to your system. Research papers funded by the European Research Council, as well as the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, have documented this information.

Unfortunately, although they did give the manufacturers a heads-up in order to circumvent hacking, their papers offer a clear method (for those who can understand) for using the exploit. We can only hope that the head start provided enough time to create patches that work.

As for speed, unfortunately, closing off the speculative execution functions will slow the processing; so for most users, it will be unnoticeable. For massive users, such as Google and Amazon Web Services, however, it will be important. They will have to come up with new work-arounds to build speed back again. This may take some time, and will be complicated by the always intense battle between hackers and protectors.

Something Lighter

The Consumer Electronics Show recently wrapped in Las Vegas. There was little this year in the way of groundbreaking technology between the new versions of massive TVs, though there was a flexible model that rolled up into a tube, and connected devices that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
And there was hope for your bathroom.

Kohler was big with smart fixtures. It showed off its Verdera Voice mirror, which uses Alexa to control lighting and two built-in speakers, so you can check the news and the weather as you shave; there’s also a shower system with 12 water streams that is thermostatically controlled; then there’s the Numi intelligent toilet, which offers a heated seat, ambient lighting and two flush settings — in addition to playing music. Marvelous.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is far behind Japan in our mastery of toilet control technology. The Japanese have toilets that gently wash your butt and dry it with a stream of heated air, as well as play music, etc.
How dare we lose this race for consumer dominance? Write your congressman. They have nothing better to do.

Cliff Feldwick is owner of Riverside Computing and offers PC troubleshooting, network setups and data retrieval for small businesses — when not contemplating how to add WiFi to an outhouse. He can be reached at 410-880-0171 or at cliff@feldwick.com. Older columns are online at http://feldwick.com.

Chamber Corner: Central Maryland Chamber

CMC Launches New Referral Program

It now pays to tell your friends, clients and vendors to join the Central Maryland Chamber (CMC). The new referral program, launched last month, offers a $25 gift card to anyone who brings in a new member. The person who makes the successful referral can choose a gift card from Bagels ’n Grinds, Grotto Pizza, Newk’s Eatery or Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar. Contact the chamber office for program details.

Boost Business Credibility

Did you know that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods and services from a business if they know that business is a member of a chamber?
This recent study, done by The Shapiro Group, Atlanta, shows that two out of three customers are positively influenced by your affiliation with the chamber. To help CMC members thrive as a successful business, we provide the CMC logo to promote their investment in the community. If you are a CMC member, contact the chamber office and request the free logo today.

A Feel-Good Event

The CMC Spirit of Community Awards fits the bill. This year’s dinner, on March 19, 6 p.m., at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, will recognize public safety officers and educators who serve our region, a military service member of the year from Fort Meade, and a Business Partner of the Year, whose efforts benefit local schools.
This is a feel-good evening. This event has historically attracted 300 or more attendees. Past recipients have told us how much they enjoyed the caliber of the event and the recognition from the business community. We are able to host this important event strictly through the generous support from the business community. Each sponsorship package available provides businesses with strong marketing opportunities in exchange for their support of this event.
Our region’s high quality of life is due, in large part, to the people we recognize at this event, and that quality of life is a pillar to our business community.
Join the CMC in thanking those who serve us every day to make this one of the best places to live, work and do business. To be a Spirit Sponsor, contact the CMC office for details on sponsorship and advertising packages available for this event.

February CMC Events

8 Multi-Chamber Breakfast, 7:30 a.m.
15 Membership 101, 9 a.m.
22 Networking Mixer, Anne Arundel Workforce Development, 5 p.m.
28 Women Mean Business Luncheon, Managing Stress in the Workplace, 11:30 a.m.

March CMC Events

13 Progressive Networking Mixer, Two Rivers, 5 p.m.
15 Membership 101, 9 a.m.
19 Spirit of Community Awards, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, 6 p.m.
21 Seminar: Capitalizing Your Business, 9 a.m.
If you are not a CMC member and would like to explore how membership can help you grow your business, contact Nancy LaJoice at 410-672-3422, ext. 4, and via www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Chamber Corner: Howard County Chamber

First State of Health Care in Howard Huge Success

One of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce’s (HCCC) first events of 2018 was its first State of Health Care in Howard County member luncheon, which was a great opportunity for everyone in the packed ballroom to learn about the health care challenges the county faces, as well as future plans.

The HCCC’s panel of health care industry leaders, including Steve Snelgrove, president of Howard County General Hospital (HCGH); Dr. Maura Rossman, health officer for the Howard County Health Department; Dr. William Saway, internist with Columbia Medical Practice; and Elizabeth Kromm, vice president of population health at HCGH, all of whom answered a variety of questions from moderator Paul Skalny, managing partner of Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny and chair of the HCGH Board of Trustees.
Skalny began the discussion by asking each panelist to describe his or her vision for the future of Howard County’s health care system. Each of the panelists spoke about the need for more collaboration between health care providers at all levels, including primary care physicians, urgent care facilities, the hospital and the Howard County Health Department. All agreed that the only way to achieve the goals of better care at reduced costs is if all parties work together.

Rossman said the good news is that the number of uninsured citizens has gone down recently, which allows them to concentrate on quality of care, rather than focusing on access to care. She also noted that, although the opioid crisis is a problem in Howard County as it is in the rest of the country, the number of overdose deaths from opioids started to trend downward in the second half of 2017.
Rossman also revealed some big news for the community: With special funding from Gov. Larry Hogan, Grassroots Crisis Center soon will begin offering screening and referral to treatment around the clock.

Skalny closed the discussion with a question for panelists about what the business community should know about health care in Howard County. Kromm remarked that business owners are in a unique position to build a culture of health in their workplaces, and also mentioned the Healthiest Maryland Businesses program through the county’s health department that offers Workplace Wellness Specialists who can offer training, screenings and stress relief plans for a business.

Celebrating MLK, Jr., Day

The HCCC staff volunteered for the Howard County Food Bank on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as part of the Howard County Day of Service.

Chamber staff toured the Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) and the new, larger Howard County Food Bank, now on Gerwig Lane. They learned all about the services offered and a lot about the food and other household items that are in highest demand for their clients, including diapers, pet food and peanut butter.

HCCC staff volunteered sorting items in the food bank and taking in donations collected at area grocery stores. All told, the HCCC collected and sorted more than 5,200 pounds of food and household items.

Thank you to the Community CAC and the food bank, and to Vaughn Greene Funeral Homes for sponsoring the HCCC team T-shirts for the event.

State of Howard

Join the HCCC for the State of Howard County Address with County Executive Kittleman on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Turf Valley, Ellicott City. For information, call 410-730-4111.

From the Desk of CA President Milton Matthews

Columbia’s elections are just around the corner. This April, residents will cast votes for their village boards and for Columbia Association (CA) Board of Directors. Six villages will elect representatives to CA’s board — Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, Town Center and Wilde Lake.

This column is not another reminder about the importance of voting. It is a call for you to serve.

CA is a sizable organization, with an annual budget approaching $90 million, and more than 1,700 employees across various employment categories. We play an integral role, along with our many community partners, in providing Columbia with the high quality of life that has become its standard, and a major factor in the community’s designation as the No. 1 small city in the United States (by Money Magazine).

The individuals who serve on CA’s board of directors can help set the course for the community. While CA board members are elected from their respective villages, they represent and serve the entire community, and they are responsible for the well-being of the organization.

We want anyone who is considering running for a seat on CA’s board of directors to know more about the community and CA. That is why we are, again, offering two information sessions for prospective candidates.

The sessions will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m., both at CA Headquarters, at 6310 Hillside Court, which is located off Stevens Forest Road and Broken Land Parkway.

Individuals from various backgrounds and all sectors can help CA as we move forward. CA’s board sets policy, oversees our budget and works closely with the president/CEO to ensure that strategic decisions and directions are being implemented and followed, and that the organization continues best practices in support of the community.

This is a volunteer role. We are very mindful of board members’ time and other commitments. On that note, CA’s board meets twice a month — a work session typically on the second Thursday evening of the month and a board meeting on the fourth Thursday evening. There are no meetings in August, and board members meet just once per month in November and December.

Join us at an information session. The setting and conversation are informal, with a focus on addressing questions you may have about the opportunity, about CA, about the community, and about the role of board members and how your service will benefit you and Columbia.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.

Kittleman Sends Letter to Martirano, School Board Concerning Mission Road School Site

Below is a letter sent by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman on Jan. 12 to the Howard County Board of Education and Interim Howard County Public School System Superintendent Michael Martirano. It was sent by Kittleman one day after his prior letter, in which the executive expressed his frustration concerning by the board’s reversal of its long-standing position to acquire a site on Mission Road for building future schools.

“Dear Ms. Vaillancourt and Dr. Martirano,
“I wanted to express my appreciation for the Board of Education’s swift action in voting to reconsider the Mission Road property as a potential school site. I believe this property has value as a potential school site to relieve overcrowding in the future, regardless of whether it is used for a 13th high school or an elementary or middle school. I am hopeful that we will be able to work together to resolve the concerns associated with this property.
“I also wanted to inform you of my decision to have the County Recreation & Parks and Public Works departments look more closely into the possibility of building a high school at Troy Park at Elkridge. Unlike Rockburn Park, Troy Park would not require as much environmental remediation and it is not completely built out. While there could be some challenges to constructing a high school at that location, I believe it warrants a more in-depth evaluation. I will have John Byrd, our Recreation & Parks Director, work with your Capital Planning and Operations office to investigate the feasibility of building a high school at Troy Park at Elkridge.
“If it would be helpful, I am more than willing to meet with you and the other members of the Board of Education along with representatives from our Recreation & Parks and Public Works departments to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding either of these two locations.
“Once again, thank you for your continued cooperation as we work together to provide the necessary infrastructure to relieve overcrowding in our schools.”

Nonprofit News & Charitable Giving

NEAP Names Hammond ‘School of Opportunity’

Hammond High School is one of only eight schools in the country to be designated a School of Opportunity by the Boulder, Colo.-based National Education Policy Center (NEAP). Hammond was recognized for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by engaging in proven practices that close opportunity gaps and give all students the opportunity to succeed.
“Hammond exemplifies our strategic call to action by providing equitable learning experiences so every student can be successful,” said HCPSS Interim Superintendent Michael Martirano. “This award illustrates that great things happen when we open access to enrichments, challenge students appropriately and back them up with the supports that help them succeed.”
Hammond’s curriculum is grounded in project-based learning. The school has encouraged students to take at least one course at a higher level each school year and has significantly increased African-American enrollment in its Advanced Placement courses. It also has seen increases in graduation rates from 2010 to 2016. African-American students increased their graduation rate from 80% to 92%, Hispanic students from 81% to 95% and students with special needs from 56% to 80%.
To be designated a School of Opportunity, high schools must demonstrate outstanding achievement in at least four of 10 criteria areas that include: broad and enriching learning opportunities; a healthy school culture; use of a variety of assessments; support for teachers as professionals; meeting the needs of students with disabilities and language minority students; services and supports including mental and physical health; challenging, culturally relevant curriculum; and parent/community engagement.

Candidates for CA Board Invited to Information Sessions
Columbia Association (CA) will host two information sessions in February for those who are considering a run to become a member of CA’s board of directors. The sessions will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m., on both occasions at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road and Broken Land Parkway.
CA’s board of directors has 11 members — one representative from each of Columbia’s 10 villages plus CA’s president/CEO. Representatives from the villages serve either a one- or two-year term, depending upon each village’s bylaws. In late April 2018, six villages will hold elections for their representative to the CA Board of Directors: Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, Town Center and Wilde Lake.
Potential candidates are encouraged to attend and learn more about Columbia Association, the role of its board members and how service on the board impacts the community. The goal of the sessions is to have a conversation with residents, including addressing their questions about this opportunity so they can make an informed decision about seeking a seat on CA’s board.

Howard Seeks Nominations for Excellence in Programs for Children
The Howard County Office of Children and Families is seeking nominations for people, programs and organizations that have made a positive impact on the lives of Howard County children for the 19th 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–5th)
• Middle School- and High School-Age Children (6th–12th)
• Mixed-Aged Group (person or program that works with children of different ages)
• Making a Difference Youth Award (youth under the age of 18 who have initiated positive change in the community either as individuals or as part of a group)
Nominations will be accepted online at www.howardcountymd.gov/CelebratingSuccesses through Friday, March 2. For more information, contact the Office of Children and Families at 410-313-1940 (voice/relay) or email children@howardcountymd.gov.
Nominees will be recognized during the Month of the Young Child at the county’s 19th annual Celebrating Successes for Children ceremony on Thursday, April 26, at Ten Oaks Ballroom, Clarksville.

Leadership Program Registration Open for Howard Middle School Girls
Maryland Leadership Workshops, a division of Leadership Maryland, announced that registration is open for its 2018 Journey program for Howard County middle school girls. The organization also announces UMBC is the new host for the program, to be held July 15–21. Female students residing in Howard County and entering grades 8 or 9 in fall 2018 are eligible to apply.
This program is tailored to meet the needs and experiences of girls in middle and high school, and includes workshops focusing on topics such as empowerment and motivation, communication, decision-making skills, self-awareness and building healthy relationships. It also includes small and large group projects for girls to apply and get feedback on their leadership and interpersonal skills; one-on-one interactions between staff and girls to address specific areas of individual growth and identify an action plan for post-site implementation; and recreational activities and team building games.
Registration is available at www.mlw.org and closes on May 15. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Anita Durall Anderson at 301-444-8623.

Halpin & Associates to Hold Fundraiser
The Law Offices of Kirk Halpin & Associates is holding its eighth annual Bowling Fundraiser & Middle Eastern lunch buffet to benefit the Howard County Food Bank on Sunday, March 4, from noon to 3 p.m., at Brunswick Bowling Alley, 7100 Carved Stone, Columbia.
It is hoped the effort will raise $20,000 and collect 2,000 pounds of food. Checks can be made payable to the Community Action Council and are welcome in lieu of food donations, which can be also be made on the day of the event (with a credit card).
RSVP at https://bowling2018.app.rsvpify.com, email at allison@halpinlawfirm.com or call 410-531-1700 by Feb. 23.

Board Selects Name for New Howard Elementary School
The Howard County Board of Education has selected Hanover Hills Elementary School as the name for the school system’s 42nd elementary school, which is slated to open this fall.
All Howard County public schools are named for geographic terms related to areas of the county served, per Board Policy 6050 Naming and Renaming Schools. Hanover Hills Elementary School is scheduled to open in Hanover, adjacent to Thomas Viaduct Middle School, during the 2018–19 school year. Troy Todd, currently principal at Running Brook Elementary School, has been named the principal of the new school.

HCAC Offers Employment,
Volunteer Opportunities Through Summer Camp
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is currently accepting applications for Camp Assistants (paid) and Camp Volunteers (unpaid) for its 2018 Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camps.
Applicants for camp assistant positions can visit www.hocoarts.org/2018-summer-camp-assistant; volunteer applicants should visit www.hocoarts.org/support/get-involved/volunteer/summer-camp-volunteer-application to submit their applications. Assistants must be age 18 by June 15; volunteers must be age 15 by Sept. 1.
Camps are offered June 25–Aug. 24, from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.; the application deadline is March 30. For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or email info@hocoarts.org.

Get a Closer Look at CA in
‘Excite Columbia’
Get a closer look at Columbia Association (CA) in March in the “Excite Columbia” citizens academy. The free, three-week program begins Tuesday, March 6, and concludes on Tuesday, March 20. Classes are held once each week from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m., at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, off Stevens Forest Road and Broken Land Parkway.
Excite Columbia educates and informs residents with an in-depth view of how CA operates and serves the community through its many departments and programs. The citizens academy also provides a forum for CA and community members to interact and engage with one another — and an informal setting to talk about your vision for the future of Columbia. Preregistration is required at www.ColumbiaAssociation.org/excite. Participants are expected to attend all three evenings. Each week, expert speakers will present information and answer questions on a variety of topics. The schedule for the March session is as follows.
Tuesday, March 6: The history of Columbia; an overview of CA by President/CEO Milton Matthews; and CA’s governance.
Tuesday, March 13: CA’s role in community planning; annual charge and budget; community services and programs; and sport and fitness facilities and programs.
Tuesday, March 20: CA’s open space management and facility services; energy management program; watershed management program; and a discussion about your vision for the future of CA and Columbia. For more information, email Communications@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Blossoms of Hope Selected for Brackets for Good
Blossoms of Hope is the only Howard County-based nonprofit that has been selected to participate in a fundraising tournament called Brackets for Good. Chosen from out of more than 110 other nonprofits in Maryland, the local organization is shooting for a grand prize of a $10,000 donation.
This is the only “sport” for nonprofits, and it can make a huge impact for Blossoms of Hope in 2018. This is an online single-elimination bracket-style fundraising tournament. The first round of tournament tips off on Friday, March 2, at 8 p.m. A championship victory includes a $10,000 donation from the tournament’s title sponsor, Stanley Black & Decker. For more information, visit www.blossomsofhope.org.

Registration Opens for Glen Mar Golf Classic to Benefit Grassroots
Registration is open for the 7th Annual Glen Mar Golf Classic, which is set for Monday, May 14, at the Timbers of Troy Golf Course in Elkridge. The event, hosted by Glen Mar United Methodist Church, will benefit Grassroots, Howard County’s 24-hour crisis intervention center, which shelters homeless individuals and families.
The tournament includes a continental breakfast, silent auction and luncheon. In addition to trophies for the three foursomes having the lowest scores, prizes will be awarded to the Winning Senior Team and Winning Women’s Team and for longest drive and closest to the pin, for men and women. There will also be the opportunity to win prizes for a hole-in-one, a putting contest and a “circle-of-cash.”
Sponsorships are available from $2,000 for Presenting Sponsor level to $250 for hole sponsorship. All proceeds cleared from tournament sponsorships, fees and the silent auction will support operations at Grassroots. Golfers can register online at www.glenmargolfclassic.com. Sponsorship information is also available at www.glenmargolfclassic.com.

The Faith Community Partnership Presents Soup’r Sundae Fundraiser for Grassroots
The Faith Community Partnership of Bethany United Methodist Church, Glen Mar United Methodist Church and Wilde Lake High School are hosting the 10th annual Soup’r Sundae — a family event featuring soups prepared by area restaurants — as a fundraiser for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. The event will be held on Sunday, March 18, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia.
Admission is $20 per adult and $5 per child under 12, and includes unlimited soup, bread and ice cream. There will be a silent auction with hundreds of items, music and entertainment for children. More than 600 people attended last year’s event, including 80 volunteers from Howard County high schools.
Sponsorships are available. Tickets are at www.souprsundae.eventbrite.com or by contacting cathyvsmith@verizon.net. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Calendar of Events

Tuesday, February 6
“YPN Celerate Series.” 7:30–9:30 a.m. $15/$30. UMBC Training Centers. www.howardchamber.com.

Thursday, February 8
“Howard County Estate Planning Council Breakfast Program: Mediation for Estate Planners: Managing Family Conflict.” 7:15–9:30 a.m. $35/$50. Seasons 52. www.howardcountyepc.org.
“Multi-Chamber Power Networking Breakfast.” 7:30–9:30 a.m. $30/$35/$45. La Fontaine Bleue. www.naaccc.com or www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Monday, February 12
“Business Women’s Luncheon.” 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. $22/$25. The Sunset Restaurant. www.naaccc.com.

Wednesday, February 14
“Valentine’s Day Mystery at Historic Oakland.” 7–9 p.m. $35/$45. www.valentinesmystery.eventbrite.com.

Thursday, February 15
Fort Meade Alliance Breakfast.” 7–9:30 a.m. $60/$120. BWI Hilton. www.ftmeadealliance.org.
“BWI Business Partnership Featuring Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.” 7:30 a.m. $40/$75. www.bwipartner.org.
“CMC Membership 101.” 9–10:30 a.m. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.
“GovConnects Education Series: Maryland’s MBE Program.” Noon–2 p.m. $25/$45. Howard County Chamber, www.howardchamber.com.
“Conscious Capitalism Converge.” 6–7:30 p.m. Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. www.consciouscapitalismcmd.org.

Friday, February 16
“MCE: The Fundamentals of Relationship Marketing: Reaching, Engaging and Keeping.” Noon–1:30 p.m. NC/$15. Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. www.hceda.org.

Sunday, February 18
“Misako Ballet Company: Reflections on Nature.” 2 p.m. $15/$18/$45. Jim Rouse Theatre. www.misakoballet2018.brownpapertickets.com.

Thuesday, February 20
“HTC Networking-Office Party at Tower Federal Credit Union.” 5 p.m. www.hceda.org.

Wednesday, February 21
“CMC Small Business Seminar: How to Build a Business Plan.” 9–10 a.m. Central Maryland Chamber Conference room, www.centralmarylandchamber.org.
“Business Women’s Network Luncheon: Themed Mastermind-Developing the Self Assured Woman in You.” 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Eggspectation. www.bwn-hoco.org.

Thursday, February 22
“CMC: Introduction to Fort George G. Meade with Col. Thomas Rickard, Garrison Commander.” 8–10 a.m. $20/$25. Courtyard by Marriott Fort Meade/BWI Business District. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.
“HCCC: 2018 State of the County Address Featuring County Executive Allan Kittleman.” 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. $65/$90. Turf Valley Resort. www.howardchamber.com.
“Joint Chamber After Hours Mixer.” 5:30 p.m. NC/$10. Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. www.centralmarylandchamber.org or www.naaccc.com.

Friday, February 23–Saturday, March 3
“Annapollis Restaurant Week.” www.downtownannapolispartnership.org.

Saturday, February 24
“2018 Retro Evening in the Stacks.” 7–11 p.m. Howard County Library East Columbia Branch. Howard County Library, www.hclibrary.org/Stacks.

Monday February 26
“HTC’s Health Tech Innovators Network After Work.” 5–7 p.m. NC/$35. AIDA Bistro. www.hceda.org.

Tuesday, February 27
“LHC 10th Annual Iron Chef Class Cook-Off.” 5:45–8:30 p.m. $10. Leadership Howard County, www.leadershiphc.org.

Wednesday, February 28
“Women Mean Business Luncheon: Managing Stress in the Workplace.” 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. $20/$25. Central Maryland Chamber Conference Room. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Sunday, March 4
“8th Annual Bowling Fundaiser and Middle Eastern Lunch Buffet to Benefit Howard County Food Bank.” Noon–3 p.m. Brunswick Bowling Alley. www.bowling2018.app.rsvpify.com.

Monday, March 5
“Silas Craft Collegians Dinner.” 5–8 p.m. $45. Hunan Manor Restaurant. Howard Community College Educational Foundation, www.howardcc.edu/donors/events/silas-craft-dinner.

Wednesday, March 7
“YPN Mixer.” 5–7 p.m. Hysteria Brewing Company & Lost Ark Distilling Co. www.howardchamber.com.

Thursday, March 8
“Women’s Leadership Conference: HERSTORY: Leading Women to Greatness.” 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. $150/$165. DoubleTree by Hilton. Howard County Chamber, www.howardchamber.com.

Saturday, March 10
“21st Annual Chocolate Ball.” 7 p.m.–Midnight. Turf Valley Resort. The Arc of Howard County, www.archoward.org.

Tuesday, March 13
“The Big Event Featuring Ron Clark: Leading an Education Revolution.” 11 a.m. $100. Turf Valley Resort. Leadership Howard County, www.leadershiphc.org.
“CMC Networking Mixer.” 5 p.m. NC/$10. Two Rivers. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Wednesday, March 14
“BWI Business Partnership Featuring Dr. John Brothers.” 7:30 a.m. $40/$75. www.bwipartner.org.
“7th Annual Glen Mar Golf Classic to Benefit Grassroots.” 7:30 a.m. $135/golfer. Timbers at Troy Golf Course. www.glenmargolfclassic.com.

Thursday, March 15
“CMC Membership 101.” 9–10:30 a.m. Laurel Conference Room. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Sunday, March 18
“10th Annual Soup’r Sundae to Benefit Grassroots.” 11 a.m.–2 p.m. $20/$5. Wilde Lake High School auditorium. www.souprsundae.eventbrite.com.

Monday, March 19
“CMC Spirit of Community Awards Dinner.” 6–9 p.m. $65. The Hotel at Arundel Preserve. www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

Tuesday, March 20
“GovConnects Breakfast.” 7:30–9:30 a.m. Homewood Suites–Columbia/Laurel. www.howardchamber.com.
“Conscious Capitalism Converge.” 10 a.m. Nourishing Journey. www.consciouscapitalismcmd.org.

Wednesday, March 21
“ACS: Conversation With the County Executive.” 9 a.m. NC/$20. 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 301, Columbia. www.acshoco.org.
“CMC Seminar: Capitalizing Your Business.” 9–10 a.m. Central Maryland Chamber Conference room, www.centralmarylandchamber.org.
“Business Women’s Network Luncheon: Three Essential Keys to Your Business Success.” 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Eggspectation. www.bwn-hoco.org.

Thursday, March 22
“HCCC: Member Orientation.” 4–5:30 p.m. Eggspectation. www.howardchamber.com.

Saturday, March 24
“Celebration of the Arts in Howard County Gala.” www.hocoarts.org.

Tuesday, April 3
“YPN Celerate Series.” 7:30–9:30 a.m. $15/$30. UMBC Training Centers. www.howardchamber.com.

Thursday, April 5
“HCCC: Women in Tech Social With the Cyber Association of MD & Ft. Meade Alliance.” 5–7 p.m. The Howard County Conservancy. www.howardchamber.com.

Saturday, April 7–Sunday, April 8
“Enchanted Forest Cherrybrations Days.” Clark’s Elioak Farm, www.clarklandfarm.com.

Thursday, April 12
“Conscious Capitalism Converge.” 6–7:30 p.m. Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. www.consciouscapitalismcmd.org.

Friday, April 13
“11th Annual Pretty in Pink Champagne Ladies Luncheon and Fashion Show.” 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Turf Valley Resort. www.blossomsofhope.org.
“Cherrybration 9th Annual Theme Exhibiton.” 6–8 p.m. Columbia Art Center. www.blossomsofhope.org.

Thursday, April 26
“HCCC Legislative Wrap Up.” 7:30–9:30 a.m. www.howardchamber.com.

Friday, April 27
“10th Annual Pink Greens Golf Classic.” 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Turf Valley Resort. www.blossomsofhope.org.
“Vino Scholastico.” 6:30–10 p.m. $125. Howard County Community Cellege Educaitonal Foundation, www.howardcc.edu/donors/events/vino-scholastico.

Thursday, May 10
“Howard County Estate Planning Council Breakfast Program: Best Practices for Helping Your Clients Achieve Their Financial Goals.” 7:15 a.m. $35/$50. Seasons 52. www.howardcountyepc.org.

Monday, June 11
“7th Annual Power of the Purse.” 4:30–7:30 p.m. Sub-Zero and Wolf Showroom by Fretz. www.blossomsofhope.org.

Wednesday, August 1
“HCCC: Elected Officials Meet & Greet.” 5:30–7:30 p.m. www.howardchamber.com.

Friday, October 5
“HCCC Signature Event.” 6 p.m. Turf Valley Resort. www.howardchamber.com.

Business Briefs

State Announces Maryland Apprenticeship Ambassador Program
The Maryland Apprenticeship Ambassador Program, an incentive program that raises awareness about apprenticeships and encourages job seekers and businesses to engage in apprenticeship opportunities, has been established by the state of Maryland. The program calls for apprenticeship ambassadors to demonstrate a commitment to apprenticeships and/or employ apprentices in their workforce, maintain a high profile in their sector or geographical area, and/or represent a broad membership of workforce stakeholders.
“The Maryland Apprenticeship Ambassador Program is a significant unifying movement, and I applaud Gov. [Larry] Hogan and [Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation] Secretary [Kelly] Schulz for making apprenticeship a priority,” said Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI) President Mike Galiazzo. “Apprenticeship is a meaningful bridge to good-paying jobs in today’s high tech manufacturing industry — from digital tech to biotech, and from cyber to material sciences. The [RMI] is honored to be the first to join this program, which is a national model addressing the workforce needs of all industries.”
For more information, contact info@mdapprenticeship.com or call 410-767-2246.

City of Laurel Looking for Residents’ Input on MAGLEV Project
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, and President Michael Leszcz and the Laurel City Council, have been following news about the proposed high-speed MAGLEV project that could be built through Prince George’s County and are asking for citizen input.
In addition, Moe recently wrote a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan opposing this project, one reason being it “will cut through Prince George’s County, taking people’s homes and land, while seriously damaging our environment, but providing no benefit to the greater Laurel area or Prince George’s County” (more reasons that can be found at https://tinyurl.com/OpposingMAGLEV).
A meeting was held on Jan. 10 to introduce the first public hearing on Resolution No. 2-18, a resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel opposing the high-speed Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (SMAGLEV) System between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. The public is encouraged to call Moe’s office at 301-725-5300, ext. 2125, or to contact him at LaurelMayor@laurel.md.us.

Terrasa to Enter District 13 Race
Howard County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa (D-Dist. 3) has announced her intention to run for Maryland State Delegate in District 13 to replace Del. Frank Turner, who is retiring at the completion of his current term in 2018.
In a post on her Facebook page on Jan. 6 — one day after Turner made his retirement plans public — Terrasa said her decision came after a year of considering what to do next after her third council term ends (due to term limits) in 2018. “I knew that I wanted to continue working with the community to address concerns, solve problems and improve life for everyone in Howard County,” she said.
Turner has won five re-election bids since he was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1974. “I do believe, after some soul-searching, that this is the right time to bring a replacement to voice the interests, concerns and issues of District 13,” he said.

HCEDA Releases Economic, Fiscal Assessment Regarding County’s APFO Legislation
With the recent unveiling of the Howard County Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) legislation (CB01-2018), the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) has released an independent high-level assessment of the bill’s possible impact.
Completed by Richard Clinch from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore and Ed Steere of Valbridge Property Advisors, the assessment performed a high-level analysis to quantify the economic and fiscal impacts if CB01-2018 is enacted and has the effect of a building moratorium in Howard County.
The report is available at http://hceda.org/media/56683839/HoCoAPFO18.pdf; more information regarding the council hearing can be found at https://cc.howardcountymd.gov/Calendar/EventId/862/e/county-council-legislative-public-hearing-16-jan-2018.

Arundel Announces $48M Public Safety Radio System Upgrade
Anne Arundel County has announced a $48.4 million capital construction contract to replace and improve the public safety radio system in the county. The project will replace all first responder mobile, portable and network radio equipment and comply with P25 public safety radio industry standards, providing improved interoperability between the county and its neighboring jurisdictions.
The contract with Motorola Solutions requires guaranteed in-building portable radio coverage inside of 196 critical buildings throughout Anne Arundel County. These buildings include schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations and government buildings. The system will address many current system coverage issues and will provide improved radio coverage inside of structures throughout the county.
In addition to improvements to voice dispatch radio performance, the new system will include state-of-the-art technology to enhance the safety and efficiency of first responders in Anne Arundel County, including real-time GPS location of first responders when they are away from their vehicles.

Lee & Associates Maryland’s Transactional Volume Rises
33% to $350M
Lee & Associates Maryland achieved transactional volume of $350 million in 2017 on the strength of 182 separate commercial office, industrial and retail leasing and sale transactions, a figure that represents a 33% increase from the previous year. The number of transactions completed by the company was a 20% rise from the previous year and included 19 building sales.
During the past four years, the local office has grown to more than 20 employees, including 14 brokerage agents, as well as five professionals working for Lee Chesapeake Property Management. “Since establishing the Maryland office in 2013, we have improved our transactional volume exponentially each year and, in 2017, we achieved the highest totals in our history,” said Allan Riorda, president and principal of the Lee & Associates Maryland office.
“The most active real estate product was and remains the flex/office and industrial category, as fueled by the continued proliferation of online retail sales and the ongoing need for high-quality and strategically-located real estate space to support logistics,” said Tom Whelan, principal for Lee & Associates. “As evidenced by an approximate 6.1% commercial office vacancy rate, the Howard County marketplace finished 2017 as the healthiest jurisdiction in the region.”

WalletHub Ranks Maryland Second Most Affected by Government Shutdown
With the U.S. government closed for business for the 19th time since 1976 and Democrats and Republicans placing the blame on each other, on Monday, Jan. 22, the personal finance website WalletHub released its report on the States Most & Least Affected by the 2018 Government Shutdown to add some hard data to the rhetoric.
WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of six key metrics, ranging from each state’s share of federal jobs and contracts to the percentage of kids covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The main findings are below. To view the full report, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/government-shutdown-report/1111.
Impact of the Government Shutdown on Maryland (1: Most Affected, 25: Average):
1st: Share of Federal Jobs
1st: Federal Contract Dollars Per Capita
2nd: Real Estate as a Percentage of Gross State Product
1st: Access to National Parks
26th: Percentage of Children under CHIP

TSA Pre3, TWIC Card Services Now Offered at MDOT MVA Locations
The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has expanded its TSA Pre3 and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card services to the Glen Burnie branch office. Glen Burnie is the last of six locations that have added the services in a rollout that started in July 2017.
Customers who sign up for TSA Pre3, a program that allows enrollees to expedite the airport screening process, can keep on their shoes, belts and light jackets, leave laptops in their cases and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in their carry-on bags. MDOT MVA’s Glen Burnie branch has enrolled nearly 100 people in the program since it began offering the service on Dec. 22, 2017; statewide, nearly 6,300 Marylanders have signed up for TSA Pre3 through the program.
In addition, MDOT MTA has issued 1,629 TWIC cards, which are required for maritime workers, including terminal employees, longshoremen, truck drivers and contractors, to access secure locations at Maryland port facilities. TSA Pre3 and TWIC card services also are offered in Annapolis and at other MDOT MVA offices. For more information about TSA Pre3 or how to obtain a TWIC card, visit www.mva.maryland.gov.

Columbia-Based Aspect
Security Joins EY
Aspect Security, a cybersecurity consulting firm in Columbia, has joined Ernst & Young (EY) in the U.S., in its EY Advisory cybersecurity practice.
Established in 2002, Aspect Security offers industry-leading application security services and solutions with leadership in the mobile technology, social media and cloud computing domains. With Aspect Security’s team onboard, EY can increase its focused and comprehensive coverage on application and product security.
EY recently opened an advanced cybersecurity center in Dallas, Texas, as part of EY wavespace. The cybersecurity center will bring together multi-disciplinary teams, distinct capabilities and collaborative working environments focusing on disruptive growth, optimization strategies and technologies. It also will serve as a learning hub to help train clients and EY’s next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Anne Arundel to Open Library at Westfield Annapolis Mall
Discoveries: The Library at the Mall, the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL), is slated to open a new location at Westfield Annapolis (Annapolis Mall) on April 30. It will be located in a 3,000-square-foot storefront in the west wing of the mall, across from Under Armour and near Crate & Barrel.
The first mall library in Central Maryland, the unique partnership will provide services to area residents and mall customers during the rebuilding of the Annapolis branch of the AACPL, which is located at 1410 West Street, in 2018 and 2019. The branch is made possible through the support of the AACPL Foundation and Westfield Annapolis.
Customers will be able to read new and classic books for kids, teens and adults; comfortable seating; a Discovery Dock children’s area; WiFi; self-checkout capabilities; public computers; DVDs; a 3-D printer; and an area to pick up materials placed on hold. Staff also will offer weekly early literacy programs and educational events for kids and teens.

ACell Kicks Off Construction of State-of-the-Art Learning Center
ACell Inc. has hosted a wall-breaking ceremony to kick off construction for a new, state-of-the-art learning center at its Columbia headquarters. ACell is partnering with Axis Research & Technologies, of Irvine, Calif.; Howard County; and the state of Maryland to provide the new resource, which will facilitate advanced training and education opportunities in the life sciences industry.
The learning center will include facilities to host on-site, hands-on programs, as well as a novel technology platform to conduct virtual training events including live broadcasts and advanced video conferencing. The facility will be designed to meet the needs of medical device manufacturers, health care systems and health care practitioners.
ACell plans to utilize the center to train its team of more than 300 employees, as well as offer professional education programs for health care practitioners in the areas of wound management and general surgery. It is scheduled to open in July.

The Squires Group Launches New Website, Brand Identity
The Squires Group (TSGi), of Annapolis, has launched a new website featuring its new Build Great brand identity. Company President Eric Galasso and Director of Marketing and Operations Apurva Shah led the effort, and worked with Haley Marketing, from Buffalo, N.Y., to help create the concept, design, content and user interface. In addition, Flying Brick, also of Annapolis, assisted with the creation of TSGi’s brand identity.
“In addition to our new design, the site is also rich in expanded features and content. In the Search Jobs section, candidates will now be able to connect directly with and see a photo of our resource manager that will assist them with their career search,” said Nancy Squires, CEO of TSGi.
“I strongly believe in providing personal interaction and service to all of our candidates and clients, whether they’re calling us or virtually interacting with us on our website,” Squires said. “With the updated design and content, our new clients and partners can quickly view our relevant industry experience and past performance case studies.”

BWI Marshall Announces Record-Breaking Passenger Traffic
Passenger traffic at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport surpassed 26 million passengers in 2017, marking the third consecutive year of record passenger traffic. In addition, an updated economic impact study revealed that the airport produces more than $9.3 billion in total economic activity for the state and region, and has added 8,751 jobs since 2015.
The Regional Economic Impact of BWI Marshall Airport report shows that the airport and visitors generate and support 106,488 jobs. The growth of 8,751 jobs represents an 8.95% increase from the last airport economic study, which was based on 2014 data. BWI Marshall’s economic activity creates and supports $4.1 billion in total employment earnings, along with $591.9 million in state and local taxes, the report shows. The 2017 statistics on cargo and number of flights are being finalized.

British American Auto Care Renamed BA Auto Care
After four decades of operating under the name British American Auto Care, the company has officially shortened its name to BA Auto Care. The family-owned business will maintain the same management team, staff, phone number and location. The auto shop has been servicing most foreign and domestic models; however, the new name heightens its appeal to owners of a wider range of vehicles.
“Often, I get questions from neighbors and friends, even customers, asking whether we service their [non-British] European or Asian car. Although we have a rich heritage as British American Auto Care, it just makes sense to move to a name that is less limiting,” said Brian England, president of BA Auto Care. The website will change to www.baautocare.com.

Loyola’s Accounting Program Earns Industry Endorsement
The accounting program at Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management earned endorsement from the Institute of Management Accountants, one of the largest associations dedicated to advancing the management accounting profession.
The endorsement recognizes programs that meet educational standards enabling students to pursue and earn designation as a certified management accountant. To qualify for endorsement, schools must substantially cover Certified Management Accountant exam content, have ample faculty resources and hold accreditation. Sellinger’s accounting program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which has only accredited 169 of the thousands of programs around the world.

SBA Baltimore District Office Relocates
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Baltimore District Office has relocated to 100 South Charles Street, Suite 1201, Baltimore, MD 21201. All phone numbers and email addresses remain the same. The office serves the state of Maryland, with the exception of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, which are served by the SBA’s Washington Metro Area District Office.
The SBA was created in 1953 and, since Jan. 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.

BWI Marshall to Welcome Icelandair in May
Icelandair will start nonstop service from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland, with four weekly round-trip flights starting on May 28. Icelandair’s hub in Reykjavik connects with more than 25 markets across Europe. Icelandair will offer the service between BWI Marshall and Iceland with its Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
Icelandair is the fourth new international air service for BWI Marshall to be announced in recent months. Air Canada will add service to Montreal in May, and Spirit Airlines will begin service to Montego Bay in March and tour operator Vacation Express announced seasonal flights to Cozumel starting in June.

MacKenzie Selected to Represent Anne Arundel County
MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services has been awarded the contract to represent Anne Arundel County for its real estate requirements. MacKenzie will utilize its full spectrum of commercial real estate offerings including brokerage services, consulting, and mapping and data analytics to effectively position the county’s real estate holdings.
The assignment will be led by industry veterans Trish Farrell and David McClatchy and serviced from the firm’s Annapolis office.

HCEDA Concludes Operations at Millworks in Historic Ellicott City
As part of the recovery effort after the July 2016 flood, the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) rented and rehabbed the space at 8098 Main Street as a business resource center for the community. The building was called Millworks to represent the town’s historical milling economy.
The location is being transformed back into its original use as a viable space for businesses to rent in Ellicott City, which is back to almost full occupancy in the historic district.

Howard DPW to Host Public Meeting on Ellicott City Building Floodproofing Study
Howard County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the George Howard Building’s Columbia/Ellicott City Room, at 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, to discuss the results of an Ellicott City building floodproofing study.
The study, which evaluated building types and floodproofing options, was conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). While the study’s target area consisted of Historic Ellicott City, primarily Main Street from Route 29 to the Patapsco River, its results and recommendations can be applied countywide. Possible options for property owners to pursue will be shared at the meeting.
A formal presentation explaining the results of the study will take place starting at 7 p.m. After the presentation, DPW staff members and representatives from USACE will remain on hand to answer any questions.
Those unable to attend the meeting who would like to view the study results and/or have questions regarding the project should contact Mark Richmond of DPW’s Stormwater Management Division at 410-313-6413 or email msrichmond@howardcountymd.gov. For questions or more information about this meeting, contact Lisa Brightwell at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Howard Budget Garners Special Performance Measures Recognition by GFOA
Howard County has received the Special Performance Measures Recognition as well as the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada.
Fewer than 2% of the 1,600 jurisdictions participating in the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Award program receive a special recognition on performance measures each year nationwide, according to John Fishbein, senior program manager for GFOA. A budget has to receive “outstanding” ratings on performance measures from all reviewers in order to receive this recognition for excellence in providing objective measures of progress toward accomplishing mission, goals and objectives in specific agencies, as well as organization-wide.

Sipping With Sam: Madeira

I always encourage wine drinkers to look beyond what they regularly drink and try something different. With such a wide variety of wines available, sticking to a couple of favorite brands or types of wine means you’re depriving yourself the pleasure of discovering and enjoying a whole world of unique and delicious bottles.
This time around, I am featuring a wine that is often overlooked (or is even unknown) to many American wine drinkers. Even if you have heard of it, you may think of it only as a culinary ingredient. That wine is Madeira, a wine that is unlike any other in the world.

About Madeira

You may be surprised to learn that Madeira was a favorite of American colonists. In fact, it was used during Thomas Jefferson’s toast at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and was also served at the inauguration of George Washington.

 

Madeira is a fortified wine from the Portuguese island of Madeira, in the north Atlantic. It is produced in dry, medium dry, medium sweet and sweet styles, using mainly five different grape varieties. The dry styles can be enjoyed on their own as an aperitif, where the sweet styles are perfect as is or with dessert.

What we know now as Madeira wine came to be due to the primitive shipping conditions of the 17th century. The island of Madeira was a natural stop for ships traveling to India, China and Japan; ships anchored in the harbor of Funchal, the regional capital of Madeira, where they loaded up with wine for the voyage.

On the way, the ships sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, where the wines baked in the hot sun and were damaged by heat and oxygen. The wine traders discovered that by adding alcohol to above 15% protected the wines from micro-organisms like yeast, mold, bacteria and viruses. The wine traders also discovered that this trip below the equator transformed the light and acidic wine into a wine with a smooth texture and a complex range of new flavors. No one knows why this wine, exposed to rocking on rough seas and baked by extreme heat, was not ruined.

With the Marriage of Portuguese Princess Catherine of Bragança to Charles II of England, Madeira was granted exclusive trading rights with the British Colonies.

Madeira is a totally unique wine. The processes for producing it, heat and oxidation, would destroy almost every other type of wine. Madeira is a fresh wine loaded with sweet and complex aromas, with the potential to taste even better after decades of aging.

Types of Madeira

There are two main types of Madeira: blended, which are inexpensive wines of average quality; and Single-Varietal, which are the highest quality Madeira wines produced primarily from four different grape varieties.

Blended Madeira is usually lower in quality and less expensive; and there are some higher-end blended Madeiras that carry a designation of age. Blended styles include the following.

• Finest Madeira is a 3-year-old blended style, made with the Tinta Negra grape.

• Rainwater Madeira is a blend that must be aged for at least three years before it can be released. Good on its own, this inexpensive style also can be used for cooking and for mixing in cocktails. Tinta Negra is used in the production of Rainwater.

• Reserve has different meanings for Madeira wines. Reserve wines are 5-to-10 years old, Special Reserve is 10-to-15 years old and Extra Reserve is 15-to-20 years old.

• 20-Year-Old is a blend of multiple vintages using wines from different years. A special panel decides that the wines taste at least 20 years old. Thirty-Year-Old and 40-Year-Old Madeira follow this same procedure.

• Single-Varietal Madeira is the highest quality Madeira and is made as both non-vintage blends and as a single vintage wine. These wines are very age-worthy and capable of aging for decades.
Single-Varietal styles include the following.

• Sercial (Dry) is a fresh and crisp style of Madeira. Mainly served as an aperitif, it also pairs well with light fish and vegetable dishes. It displays lemony citrus notes with hints of spice and herbs, and a stony minerality on the finish. The slight sweetness is balanced by the bright acidity.

• Verdelho (Medium Dry) is a richer, more concentrated wine than the Sercial. Verdelho is one of the most flexible Madeira styles for pairing with foods of varying richness. It has notes of spice, smoke and caramel.

• Bual (Medium Sweet) is incredibly aromatic and complex. It is great with any dessert made with nuts, dried or stewed fruit, chocolate or caramel. Bual is loaded with aromas and flavors of roasted coffee, salted caramel, dark chocolate, dates and raisins.

• Malmsey (Sweet) is the richest and sweetest style of Madeira. It pairs will with rich desserts, like cake and ice cream, and is a dessert by itself. It is complex and loaded with aromas and flavors of cooked fruit, roasted nut and chocolate. Malmsey is capable of aging for decades.

Making Madeira

During fermentation of the pressed juice, it is fortified with grape spirits. Since the addition of grape spirits stops fermentation, the timing of fortification depends on the variety being produced. The timing dictates whether the wine will be sweet or dry. Malmsey, the sweetest style, is fortified when fermentation begins. Verdelho and Bual are fortified on the fourth day of fermentation. The Sercial gets fortified about 30 days after fermentation began.

Next, the wine is heated using one of two methods — estufagem or canteiro. With the estufagem method, a large, stainless-steel container lined with pipes called an estufa is filled with wine. Hot water is circulated through the pipes, heating the wine to about 120 degrees, ans is kept at this temperature for about three months. This quick method of heating yields wines that display burnt caramel flavors.

With the higher-end canteiro method, the wine is put in wooden casks and stored in an attic, where the wine is heated by the sun beating down on the roof. The casks of wine spend years, sometimes 20 to 100 years, in storage. This slow heating method yields wine with aromas and flavors of fresh fruit.

Try Some

Some of the aged, single-varietal Madeiras can be pricey. If you are trying Madeira for the first time, a good place to start might be a single-varietal Reserve; you choose if you want dry or sweet. Just remember that even the dry Sercial Madeira has a touch of sweetness. Blandy’s and Broadbent are two producers that you might find easily. Expect to pay in the mid-$20s for the reserve.
Madeira is very food-friendly and, with the different types, you can pair one with each course of an entire meal. Cheers.

Sam Audia is a former advertising and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry. He is a wine specialist at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, in Annapolis, holds a Certification Diploma from the Sommelier Society of America, and Intermediate and Advanced Certificates from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He can be reached at sippingwithsam@verizon.net.

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