MedStar Selected as a Research Partner With AHRQ

Columbia-based MedStar Health has been selected by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to participate in its research network known as ACTION III (Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks).

MedStar is one of 13 health care organizations to win the five-year award. As part of this network, MedStar has become eligible to become a direct contractor with the federal government to undertake research focused on one or more of AHRQ’s priorities, which include improving the quality of health care and care delivery; making health care safer; increasing accessibility; and improving health care affordability, efficiency and cost transparency.

MedStar is already engaged in AHRQ’s ACTION II network through a partnership with the Healthcare Research and Educational Trust, in a project called CANDOR (Communications and Optimal Resolution). CANDOR involves developing and testing an educational toolkit to help hospitals respond to, defuse and quickly resolve potential patient harm situations.

Route 175/Oakland Mills Road Interchange Construction Underway

A Howard County construction project at Blandair Park in the vicinity of 5750 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia is underway. The project will include the relocation of Oakland Mills Road through Blandair Park. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late September 2017.

A portion of Oakland Mills Road will be closed during the project. Traffic will follow a marked detour using Thunder Hill, Santiago, Stevens Forest, Kilimanjaro, Oakland Mills and Old Montgomery roads, and Tamar Drive. Additionally, eastbound traffic along Maryland Route 175 will shift to the far left lane at mile post 5.8 for a distance of approximately one-half mile.

For questions or concerns about Capital Project J-4237/N-3102, contact Lisa Brightwell, public works customer service, at 410-313-3440 or by e-mail to publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Ribbon-Cutting Held at BWI Marshall Workforce/Commuter Center

The ribbon-cutting and grand reopening of the BWI Marshall Workforce & Commuter Resource Center was held on Tuesday, April 21, at the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The event was held on the Lower Level, between Baggage Claim 9 and 10.

The center responds to employment needs of the BWI business community, offering customized services to address talent management, turnover reduction and human resource needs to BWI employers. These services include pre-screened job seekers based on consultative meetings with the employers, posting job announcements via the Maryland Workforce Exchange, and customized hiring events that include pre-scheduled interviews for the employers.

The event was being coordinated by Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. (AAWDC) and the BWI Business Partnership. For more information, contact Bekki Leonard of the AAWDC at bleonard@aawdc.org or 410-987-3890; or Krystal Duncan of the partnership at akduncan@bwipartner.org or 410-859-1000.

Fitch, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Remain AA+ for Annapolis

Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides announced that both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services assigned their “AA+” rating and stable outlook to Annapolis for its general obligation (GO) bonds. They include $11.5 million public improvement bonds, 2015 series A; and $21.33 million public improvement refunding bonds, 2015 series B.

“We view the city’s management conditions as very strong with ‘strong’ financial management policies under our Financial Management Assessment methodology, indicating practices are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable,” wrote Standard & Poor’s.

Recently, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the city’s rating to Aa2 from Aa3/positive. The city is anticipating purchasing bonds in mid-May, so the current rating will mean a lower interest rate on a variety of bonds that will pay for capital projects within the city.

C2 Center in Maple Lawn Hosts Grand Opening Event

Atlanta-based C2 Education (C2), the country’s premier network of tutoring, test prep and educational support centers, will host a grand opening event at its new Maple Lawn center on Saturday, May 16. It is located at 8194 Westside Boulevard; the event will run from 1 to 3 p.m.

The center will employ 10 to 20 staff and serve up to 250 Maple Lawn students each week. C2 offers all subject tutoring programs, and also specializes in ACT, AP, PSAT and SAT test prep. The company is one of the few tutoring centers that writes and publishes its own curriculum and was the first to release workbooks for the new SAT. C2 boasts an average of a 362-point increase in SAT scores for its students, with 85% of those students gaining acceptance to a top tier college.

Members of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce will be present for the ribbon-cutting, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., to be followed by a seminar explaining changes made in the new, harder SAT. Attendees also will receive a savings voucher worth up to $1,000 off tutoring programs. The event is open to the public, but space is limited. Call 240-334-7625 or visit www.c2educate.com to reserve a spot.

Adler Exits Savage Mill After 19 Years

Steve Adler, who served as managing partner at Savage Mill since January 1996 — when he “quickly turned a 40% vacancy rate into nearly full occupancy within one year’s time” and cut its “debt in half,” according to a press release announcing his exit — has not been serving in that capacity as of earlier this year and is divesting his holdings in the historic center.

Adler, who was recognized by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce as the Business Person of the Year in 2000, is now working to develop a Capital Campaign Committee and Capital Campaign for the benefit of Doctors Community Hospital, in Lanham. The medical center is in the process of completing phase one of a $30 million, three-phase expansion.

Kittleman Stops Use of Parking Meters in Ellicott City

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced that the use of parking meters in Ellicott City has been discontinued. Meters on Main Street and Maryland Avenue, and in Parking Lot B in Historic Ellicott City, will be covered, and a two-hour parking limit will be enforced for parking spaces in those three areas. New signs will be installed to reflect the changes in parking enforcement.

In addition, the two-hour limit on parking on Main Street and Maryland Avenue will remain in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. “I have heard complaints from business owners, residents and customers who have brought up issues regarding usability and dependability of the current meters and that they are driving away businesses,” Kittleman said. “Addressing the parking meters was a promise I made to the community.”

Brown Enterprises Breaks Ground on Retail Center

David S. Brown Enterprises has initiated construction activities on Arcadia Square, a 7,000-square-foot retail center featuring frontage and roadside visibility from Baltimore National Pike (Route 40) in Ellicott City. Composed of two separate buildings of 5,000 and 2,000 square feet, respectively, the project is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

Arcadia Square is 100% leased to a variety of retail tenants, including Pie Five Pizza Co., a national franchise chain of fast-casual restaurants that offers specialty, handcrafted pizza pies in approximately five minutes; Smashburger, a cooked-to-order hamburger chain that has targeted the Baltimore-Washington region for a major expansion program; a nail salon; and an AT&T retail store.

New AAACCVB Web Site Gives Visitors Inside Skinny on Annapolis

Visitors to Annapolis should find it easier to explore the city like a local thanks to a new web site for the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Powered by the insights, commentary and recommendations of local bloggers, www.naptownlocals.com puts inquiring visitors quickly in the know.

“Today’s travelers regularly seek the advice of trusted third parties on TripAdvisor and blog sites, and they’re quick to share their experiences via social media, Instagram and personal blogs. Www.naptownlocals.com helps them get the conversation going in a format they know and are comfortable with,” said CVB President and CEO Connie Del Signore. The new site provides the latest information on events and attractions and introduces viewers to Annapolis’s local traditions and insider favorites.

Towne Group Cements Partnership With Web ‘Optimism Machine’

Towne Group, of Columbia, has announced a six-month partnership with the Good News Network (GNN), an online provider of inspiring news content since 1997. This is the first partnership of its kind for either organization, thought the principals of the two companies were television news colleagues in the late ’80s.

Under the agreement, Towne Group team members will provide comprehensive editorial, creative and management services to GNN, particularly in news writing, design and video production services. GNN Founder and CEO Geri Weis-Corbley said the network’s readership is “growing exponentially,” notably in recent years. The site covers local, national and international news, as well as business, science, health and a host of other topics.

CA Earns 2015 Energy Star Award for Excellence in Promotion

The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency honored 128 organizations with 2015 Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards for their commitment to protecting the environment while encouraging the widespread use of energy efficient technologies to improve the efficiency of products, homes and buildings within their communities. The Columbia Association (CA) was recognized as one of seven Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) program winners for its outstanding contributions to develop and enhance certified energy saving programs.

Home Performance with Energy Star is a systematic approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort in homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The HPwES program works with local organizations, called program sponsors, to implement energy saving improvements.

Howard County Earns 39th Excellence in Financial Reporting Award

Howard County has, again, merited a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 39th consecutive year. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada honors jurisdictions that exceed generally accepted accounting principles based on “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” (CAFR) submissions.

Issued by the county each fiscal year, the CAFR is an official, financial statement of record, which includes statements of special revenue, capital projects, enterprise, internal service and trust, agency, and general funds. An independently-audited report, it also provides information on long-term obligations and fixed assets, including infrastructure, and statistical charts on multi-year tax collection and assessable base figures. The CAFR offers transparency in government accounting for county taxpayers, elected officials, investors and anyone doing business with the county.

Two Local Businesses Recognized For Partnership With AACPS

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and E.W. Print & Design were named Business Partners of the Year by the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (AAACCC) and Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS).

AAMC received the award for the organization with more than 50 employees for its work with Glen Burnie High School’s BioMedical Allied Health program. They provide job shadowing, which includes hosting 75-100 freshmen in Annapolis for two days; E.W. Design and Consulting won the award for organizations with fewer than 50 employees for its work with Southern High School. The company’s founding owner, Wes Stinchcomb, was acknowledged for his loyal partnership to the school, which included writing curricula alongside teachers to bring real-world experiences into the classroom through project-based learning and guest speaking opportunities.

Howard County Named Tree City USA Community

The Arbor Day Foundation has named Howard County a 2014 Tree City USA community for its commitment to effective urban forest management. It’s the 25th year in a row the county has won this award.

To achieve Tree City USA recognition, Howard County had to meet the following requirements: create a tree board or department and a tree-care ordinance, make an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and hold an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Indiana Fiber Network Turns to Ciena for Network Expansion

To support its recently announced broadband expansion project, Indiana Fiber Network (IFN) has selected converged packet optical and packet networking solutions from Ciena to ensure network resiliency, reduce costs and increase capacity.

With Ciena, IFN can rapidly provision new high-speed offerings like Ethernet business services, 10G, and 100G services to its service provider, data center and enterprise customers. Bringing these scalable and secure communication services to users in both urban and rural areas will help drive sustainable economic development across the state.

Vantage House Offers Fresh Perspective on Retirement Living

Vantage House has launched a magazine dedicated to expanding views on aging and retirement living. “Fresh Perspective” is distributed to selected households in Howard County and nearby. The magazine’s editor is Andrew Morgan, the marketing director of the Columbia-based retirement community.

The focus of the publication, Morgan said, is “to encourage people to look at retirement living with a fresh set of eyes.” To have a name added to the mailing list for Fresh Perspective, contact Jennifer Jordan at 443-602-9690.