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Partnership Announces Greene’s Retirement, Names Carroll Board Chair

The BWI Business Partnership’s board of directors announced the retirement of Executive Director Linda Greene, effective Sept. 30. Greene has served the Partnership in that position since 2003, helping to strengthen and forge relationships with BWI Thurgood Marshall International Airport, Fort Meade and Arundel Mills.

The Partnership also announced Steve Carroll, principal at Miles & Stockbridge, as its new chairman of the board of directors. Carroll, who was elected to a two-year term, previously served a three-year term as secretary on the board. He replaces Gene Condon, vice president and general manager of Arundel Mills, in that position.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we are sad to say goodbye to our executive director, good friend and colleague, Linda Greene,” said Carroll. “In her time with the Partnership, Linda has elevated community connections, exhibited a passion for economic development and growth, and provided outstanding executive leadership to this organization. We wish Linda the very best in her next chapter. She has been an outstanding colleague, friend and supporter of this region for so long. We will certainly miss her and her leadership immensely.”

“I have had the privilege and honor of leading the BWI Business Partnership for 12 years. I am looking forward to enjoying retirement with my husband and family,” said Greene. “I am excited to work with the board of directors, outstanding staff and our members at the Partnership during this time of executive transition.”

The board has retained HR Strategy Group to conduct a national search for a full-time executive director to succeed Greene. Information regarding the search can be found at www.bwipartner.org.

Howard Installs Free Outdoor Wi-Fi in Historic Ellicott City, Announces Other Upgrades

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced that Main Street in Ellicott City will become the first county community to be provided free outdoor Wi-Fi. Using the name FreeHoCoGovWiFi, the project is part of a larger plan to expand access in the county.

It also represents the first time such access is being offered outside government facilities. The Meadowbrook Athletic Complex and the outdoor fields at Troy Park in Elkridge recently have been brought online with free Wi-Fi, as well.

The site of the announcement in the Historic District was the newly completed stormwater management project, including a staircase and retaining wall that now links parking Lot E off Main Street to an additional 197 parking spaces at the Circuit Courthouse. The staircase and wall address stormwater issues that had caused repeated flooding in Lot E, and eventually led to the collapse of the previous wall in the steep hillside.

The staircase project is one of several stormwater and flooding mitigation initiatives in the district. Kittleman included $2.5 million for a first phase of flood mitigation projects in the fiscal 2016 Capital Budget. Phase I includes the inspection, design and construction of retaining walls, a flood proofing study and the reformation of a channel under the Tiber Park Bridge.

Other ongoing projects to enhance Historic Ellicott City include pending streetscape improvements of new trashcans, planters and benches, as well as the availability of Façade Improvement Grants through the Maryland Community Legacy Funding and a 25% county tax credit for exterior restoration work to historic structures.

Kittleman Vetoes Howard Council Bill 17-2015

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has vetoed Council Bill 17-2015, which placed restrictions on food and beverages sold in vending machines on county property and mandates guidelines on packaged food and beverage items served or sold as part of youth-oriented county government programs, describing multiple flaws and unintended consequences of the bill.

The bill, introduced by County Councilman Calvin Ball in May, was tabled by the council, then was passed on July 6 in an amended form. In vetoing the bill, Kittleman identified numerous problems, including the unintended consequences of codifying nutritional standards that continually change.

“Nutritional preferences do not belong in the Howard County Code because these standards evolve over time. As new research is conducted, what’s considered most healthy often changes. Remember when margarine was considered healthier than butter? I don’t recall hearing much about the nutritional pitfalls of high fructose corn syrup until the past few years. We shouldn’t be put in a position where we need to pass legislation every time the nutrition industry modifies its recommendations,” Kittleman said.

“As I have said frequently since taking office, banning or limiting access to some foods at limited locations is not an effective strategy to reducing obesity. I am committed to developing a comprehensive health and nutrition educational program for Howard County, encouraging lifestyle changes that are far more likely to produce results. Motivating people to take responsibility for their own health and fitness is the most meaningful approach to effecting real and measureable change.”

IMPAQ International Acquires ESI

Columbia-based IMPAQ, a public policy research, evaluation and program implementation firm, has acquired Educational Services Inc. (ESI), of Scottsdale, Ariz., for an undisclosed amount. The transaction will add information dissemination, conference management, training and e-learning services to the company’s solutions portfolio.

“At our core, IMPAQ is a research and evaluation organization, and over the past few years we have grown our offerings to include value-added services around technology, analytics and program implementation,” said IMPAQ President Avi Benus. “This acquisition will allow us to continue expanding our offerings, both to our existing customers and to new government agencies and programs.

“We are excited to add additional staff who bring valuable skills, experience and relationships from their many years of working with the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Administration for Children and Families (including the Office of Head Start), the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Benus said.

ESI employees will become IMPAQ’s Communications Solutions business unit, under the newly created Center for Technology, Data Collection and Dissemination.

AAMC Expands Tobacco-Free Policy

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) has reinforced policies to provide a tobacco-free workplace. AAMC already has a smoke-free campus and the new policy aims to improve the health of its workforce and set a healthy example for the rest of the community.

Under this policy, prospective new hires are tested for nicotine in conjunction with the routine drug tests already administered as part of pre-employment screening. If they fail, candidates are allowed to reapply for the position after six months and will again be screened for tobacco use as a condition of employment. This policy does not affect employees hired before July 1.

“As health care providers, we have a unique perspective on the burden of chronic disease. We not only treat disease, but we also play a vital role in educating patients and our workforce about lifestyle choices. We are leading by example,” said Stephen Cattaneo, medical director of thoracic oncology in the Geaton & JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at AAMC.

AAMC announced an expanded tobacco policy in 2014 with the ban of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on any AAMC property. While the health system has been “smoke-free” since 2007, the old policy was primarily focused on the main campus and was limited to cigarette use. During the last year, participation by employees in AAMC’s smoking cessation programs has more than doubled.

Howard Mental Health Authority Moves to Ascend One Building

The Howard County Mental Health Authority is relocating its offices to the county’s Ascend One Building at 8930 Stanford Boulevard, in Columbia, joining the Howard County Health Department, which moved its offices to Ascend One nearly two years ago.

During the past several years, there has been a movement at both the state and local levels to integrate mental health and addiction treatment services under one heading called Behavioral Health. At the state level last July, the Mental Hygiene Administration and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, two agencies that deal with publicly funded mental health services and addiction treatment services, merged to form the Behavioral Health Administration.

Locally, the Health Department’s Bureau of Behavioral Health and the Mental Health Authority have been collaborating to determine how best to integrate these state-funded services at the local level. This move comes as a result of these discussions.

Earlier this year, the county announced a partnership with The Horizon Foundation and Howard County General Hospital to begin implementing the recommendations made by the Behavioral Health Task Force. These included updating the Mental Health Authority’s online provider directory and adding a behavioral health specialist to the Health Department’s Community Care Teams. The county’s fiscal 2016 Operating Budget included $545,000 to continue funding mental health services, such as the Mobile Crisis Team, in the community.

HCPD Officers Trained to Administer Overdose Medication Narcan

In an effort to reduce overdose deaths, Howard County Police Department (HCPD) officers in field assignments have been trained and certified to administer the medication Narcan, which reverses the effects of overdoses from heroin and some prescription painkillers.

“Police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene of a suspected overdose,” said Police Chief Gary Gardner. “Training our officers and equipping them to deliver this medication will potentially save lives.”

Narcan, a brand name for the prescribed drug Naloxone, can immediately reverse the effects of an overdose of heroin or other opiate-based drugs. Administered via nasal mist, Narcan works by temporarily countering the effects of the abused substance, allowing the victim to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.

In July, the first newly-trained HCPD officer used Narcan to revive a 31-year-old woman in Elkridge who was unconscious and not breathing due to a heroin overdose. She survived the incident and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Heroin use and related overdose deaths have been on the rise in Maryland. Howard County has experienced seven heroin-related deaths so far in 2015, as well as 15 non-fatal heroin overdoses. Throughout the U.S., heroin deaths have nearly quadrupled in the last decade and, on average, 44 people in the U.S. die every day from overdose of prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HCLS First in State to Offer Customers Access to lynda.com

Howard County Library System (HCLS) is the first public library system in Maryland to offer customers free access to lynda.com, an online education portal that offers more than 3,600 video courses. The curriculum choices focus on technical skills, creative techniques and business strategies.

Course offerings include career development (résumé design, job searching, time management, marketing, etc.), software tutorials (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, WordPress, GIS, SQL Server, etc.), creative skills (photography, animation, filmmaking, music editing, graphic design) and others.

To create an account to access the portal, HCLS customers can go to lynda.com, click “Log In” in the upper right corner, select the “Organizational Login” tab, enter HCLS’s web site URL (hclibrary.org) and click the “Go” button. Users will then be prompted to enter their HCLS library card number and PIN.

HCLS customers have access to the entire lynda.com catalog of classes. lynda.com is also optimized for mobile browsing and can be accessed from an Internet-enabled tablet or smartphone.