Kittleman Considers Proposal for RENEW HOWARD Loan Program

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has presented draft legislation to provide funding for RENEW HOWARD – Revitalizing Neighborhoods EveryWhere in Howard County, a neighborhood revitalization loan program. The program would use Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) funds, so Kittleman is seeking input from stakeholders and affordable housing advocates.

Under the proposal, the county’s housing commission will sell $2 million in bonds. That money will leverage an additional $20 million from banks to provide loans to homebuyers seeking to renovate older homes. To assist in paying off the annual $250,000 debt service on the bonds, the county would annually commit up to 50% of the revenue collected from the MIHU Fee in Lieu Program. The remaining debt service will be covered by the commission.

To participate in the loan program, eligibility would be based on the age of the home, as well as the applicant’s income level, among other things. Kittleman has invited stakeholders, including Bridges to Housing Stability and the Full Spectrum Housing Coalition, to provide feedback on the draft legislation.

Norwegian Air Announces Service Between BWI Marshall, Martinique and Guadeloupe

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport has announced that Norwegian Air Shuttle will start nonstop seasonal service to Martinique and Guadeloupe. Norwegian will operate the service with two round trip flights per week between BWI Marshall and both destinations starting in December.

With the announcement, Norwegian would become the third new international airline added at BWI Marshall this year. In May, WOW air started service between BWI Marshall and Iceland, with easy connections throughout Europe; and Sunwing Airlines is offering service to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The two new destinations added by Norwegian Air would be the sixth and seventh new international markets for BWI Marshall in 2015. The Norwegian service between BWI Marshall and Martinique will operate on Mondays and Fridays, starting Dec. 4; the service between BWI Marshall and Guadeloupe will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, starting Dec. 5.

Maryland.gov Launches New Mobile-First Design

The state of Maryland has launched a “mobile-first” design on its official web site, Maryland.gov (www.maryland.gov). Mobile-first refers to designing and developing web sites for smaller screen sizes, such as those found on smartphones; the newly designed web site focuses on providing quick access to online services and user personalization features.

Visitor analytics and mobility drove the mobile-first design, with up to 50% of visitors accessing the portal and agency web sites on a mobile device. The maryland.gov portal serves as the gateway for the 63 million visitors to Maryland state agency web sites each year. User analytics show online services continue to be a top pick for visitors, along with the unique Insta-Search, which facilitates quick access to services and information across the enterprise of Maryland government.

In the past year, Maryland has launched more than 30 new mobile-ready online services and has improved access to hundreds of online state government services through its search results, Online Services Directory, MyMARYLAND Clipboard and the “Featured” area within each main navigation section.

All Covered Acquires America’s Remote Help Desk

All Covered, the information technology (IT) services division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, has acquired the assets of America’s Remote Help Desk (ARHD), of Eldersburg. The acquisition will greatly increase the scope of All Covered’s help desk support services. ARHD also offers customers a range of IT services, including cloud computing solutions, IT infrastructure management and onsite engineering support.

ARHD’s IT support staff also will join All Covered, adding to a workforce of more than 800 employees. The larger engineering and operations teams created by the acquisition will enhance the ability to provide clients on-site support at locations across the country. All Covered’s IT services also include application development capabilities and expertise in a variety of vertical markets.

Light Point Intros New Security Plug-In

bwtech@umbc’s Light Point Security recently announced that its product, Light Point Web — an online plug-in offering safe web browsing — would integrate OPSWAT’s malware protection device Metascan for extra security on the Internet. With Metascan, every file is scanned more than 40 times before downloading, making the odds for malicious downloads much less likely.

Mike Spykerman, vice president of product management at OPSWAT, said, “Metascan’s fast multi-scanning technology results in significantly higher malware detection rates and provides Light Point Web users with optimal threat detection.”

Ciena Selected by O2 to Deploy Nationwide Network in the U.K.

To support a new, high-speed, nationwide backbone network throughout the United Kingdom, O2, the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited, is deploying Hanover-based Ciena’s converged packet optical solutions. With this scalable 100G network, O2 has more flexibility in how the network is controlled and configured and can satisfy growing unpredictable demands for high-bandwidth mobile, video and cloud services.

This new backbone network will connect major U.K. cities, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool, and enable O2 to deliver web-scale services to support massive growth in data center and network virtualization demands.

New App Gives Howard Water, Sewer Customers Instant Account Access

Howard County Government has unveiled its newest mobile and web-based application, Howard County Utilli, which connects county water and sewer customers with their accounts virtually, without incurring a convenience fee. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store, Google Play and the Windows Phone Store; an online version of the customer portal can be found at https://utilli.howardcountymd.gov.

Creating an account will provide county water and sewer customers the ability to view their consumption, and billing and payment history, as well as meter reading history. Customers also can enroll in the county’s Direct Debit program, as well as sign up for or donate to the new “H2O Help to Others” program. “H2O Help to Others” began this past March and connects county residents who need help in paying water and sewer bills with residents who want to help.

Howard Bancorp Receives Regulatory Approval for Patapsco Bancorp Deal

Ellicott City-based Howard Bancorp Inc. has announced that it, along with its banking subsidiary, Howard Bank, has received all required regulatory approvals necessary to proceed with the acquisition of Patapsco Bancorp Inc. and its banking subsidiary, The Patapsco Bank. The transaction will be voted upon by stockholders of both Howard Bancorp and Patapsco Bancorp at meetings scheduled for July 22. The deal is anticipated to close on or about Aug. 28, pending stockholder approval.

Upon satisfaction of all closing conditions, including stockholder approval, and closing of the merger, Howard Bank will acquire approximately $220 million in assets, $172 million in loans and assume approximately $183 million in deposits from The Patapsco Bank. The acquisition will increase Howard Bank’s Greater Baltimore branch network to 17 branches.

Towne Group Earns Three Emmy Nominations for PSAs Created in 2014

For the eighth consecutive year, Towne Group’s video production unit has been honored with multiple Emmy nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter. The three nominated productions fall under the category of Community/Public Services (PSAs) and were created under the auspices of the American Forces Radio and TV Service.

The nominated PSAs are “Fire Safety: Fire is not your friend,” developed for the U.S. Navy Fire and Emergency Services (the PSA can be viewed at http://townegroup.media/fire); “Absentee Voting: Your Vote Matters,” developed for the Federal Voting Assistance Program (the PSA can be viewed at http://townegroup.media/fvap); and “Arlington National Cemetery: Last Full Measure,” for the cemetery’s public affairs staff (the PSA can be viewed at http://townegroup.media/anc).

Merkle Subsidiary Periscopix Named Performance Agency of the Year

Columbia-based Merkle, a marketing agency, has announced that Periscopix, which recently joined Merkle under the umbrella of Merkle’s Digital Agency Group, has received seven Drum Search Awards. The Drum Search Awards honor exemplary individuals and companies at the forefront of the search industry in the U.K.

Most notably, London-based Periscopix was recognized for the night’s most prestigious award, Performance Agency of the Year. It also took top honors in the Best Use of Paid Search as Part of a Programmatic Strategy (World First), Best Use of Connected Devices (Rentokil-Initial/JC Ehrlich), Best Retail & eCommerce Campaign (Toys ‘R’ Us), Best Consumer Products & Services Campaign (Rentokil-Initial/JC Ehrlich), Best B2B Campaign (PPL) and Best Charity & Not for Profit Campaign (Agape Volunteers).

PMI Opens New Office in Area

Property Management Inc. (PMI), an international franchise company, recently announced the grand opening of a new property management company, PMI Maryland Solutions, to service Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Baltimore counties and the surrounding areas.

“Our software tools and automated processes enable us to keep our owner clients and tenants well informed on rental performance, thus protecting the owner’s assets while generating owner security and profitability,” said Tracy McAbee, president. PMI, with headquarters in Utah, is an international franchise company with independently owned and operated offices throughout North America, Panama and Russia, which are providing property management services to the global real estate industry.

Community Covenant Signing Held at Fort Meade

Congressman John Sarbanes, along with representatives from state, county and local governments, business leaders and other interested parties, joined Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Brian Foley in signing the Fort Meade Community Covenant in a ceremony at Fort Meade’s Reece Crossing community.

The Community Covenant is a pledge between Fort Meade and key leaders in surrounding communities, including government officials, and business leaders who undertake to develop relationships aimed at supporting the needs of the Fort Meade Military Community by increasing awareness of issues unique to service members and maximizing resources to develop potential solutions.

Ciena Joins SARNET Research Initiative

The Secure Autonomous Response programmable networks project (SARNET), including Ciena, is exploring how software defined networking (SDN) can help alleviate cyberattacks and program networks to provide enhanced cyberterror detection and defense.

SARNET utilizes a multipurpose, high-capacity research network and allows researchers to trial advanced network detection and defensive functionalities that automatically reconfigure around anomalies to help create resilient and high-performing architectures.

Inovalon’s Dunleavy Named E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Bowie-based Inovalon, a technology company providing advanced, cloud-based analytics and data-driven intervention platforms to the health care industry, has announced that its founder and CEO, Keith Dunleavy, M.D., has been named the Ernst and Young (E&Y) Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 in Maryland.

Working with 17 of the nation’s 25 largest health care organizations, Inovalon provides data-driven insights to more than 100 of the nation’s health care systems, touching 98.2% of all counties within the U.S. Inovalon went public on Feb. 12, 2015.

Prince George’s County Disparity Study in Works

Prince George’s County has begun conducting a Disparity Study, which will serve to assess, quantify and evaluate the prevalence, magnitude and extent of marketplace discrimination, if any, against minority- and women-owned businesses. Business owners are invited to provide comments about their experiences with doing business or attempting to do business with Prince George’s County.

Local, small and minority business owners are strongly encouraged to attend the July 16 Public Hearing at 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, in Largo, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register, go to diversity.mypgc.us. For more information, visit www.princegeorgescountydisparitystudy.com or contact princegeorgescountydisparity@mgtamer.com.

WellAdvantage Partners With Healthiest Maryland Businesses

Sykesville-based WellAdvantage has partnered with Healthiest Maryland Businesses, a statewide initiative designed to engage business leaders in maximizing Maryland employees’ well-being.

As a part of its own employee wellness program, as well as the programs administered for clients, WellAdvantage offers health education, supportive physical and social environments for health improvement, employee screenings with adequate treatment and follow-up, Health Risk Assessments and biometric screenings to all employees and their families. In addition, a healthy lifestyle mobile app and interactive site supports employees in their daily health and fitness journey.

Alexandra’s Now Serving Chesapeake Bay Roasting Coffees

Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co. (CBRC) has been chosen as the new coffee provider in Alexandra’s American Fusion at Turf Valley, in Ellicott City. The restaurant will feature Chesapeake Bay’s Eco-Reef Blend Coffee, in regular and decaf, along with seasonal selections.

CBRC is a fair trade, organic coffee roaster dedicated to selecting the highest quality, specialty grade coffees from coffee-growing regions around the globe, and fits into Alexandra’s sustainable and green initiatives, through which Alexandra’s supports local businesses by using locally-sourced seafood, meat and produce.

TravelChannel.com: Annapolis Among Top 10 All-American Vacations

Families making plans for Fourth of July weekend are invited to set their sights on Annapolis by TravelChannel.com, which has just ranked Maryland’s capital city among the top 10 best All-American Vacations for 2015. The “Travels Best: All-American Vacations” calls Annapolis the “epitome of classic Americana” and invites visitors to check out the city’s various attractions.

TravelChannel.com enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best all-American vacations for 2015, including Robin Bennefield (freelance travel writer and producer), Jessica Bowers (family travel expert, SuitcasesandSippyCups.com), Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard (TinyHouseGiantJourney.com) and Jessica van Dop DeJesus (U.S. Marine and editor of DiningTraveler.com).

Maryland PROMISE Video Cited by Tellys

The Maryland Department of Disabilities, along with partners TransCen Inc. and Waystation Inc., have announced that the Maryland PROMISE Video has been selected as a 2015 Telly Award winner for excellence in broadcasting and video journalism. With nearly 50,000 entries from all 50 states, the 2015 Telly Award has become increasingly competitive and remains a sought-after recognition in the industry.

The winning video highlights Maryland PROMISE, which is operated through the Maryland Department of Disabilities as a joint initiative with several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. Maryland is one of six participating states in this groundbreaking national study.

Fuchs Breaks Ground on New Headquarters

Fuchs North America, a supplier of seasonings, flavor systems and taste solutions to the food manufacturing and foodservice industries, held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new headquarters facilities on June 23, in Hampstead. It was attended by more than 150 people, including Fuchs North America employees, representatives from state and local economic development agencies, elected officials and other dignitaries.

For more than 50 years, Fuchs has operated out of its headquarters in Owings Mills. Despite several major expansions in the 1970s and again in the 1990s, the company has outgrown the facility and the grounds. The new facility will be situated on a 21-acre campus and will double the company’s manufacturing capacity. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2016.

Revere Bank Receives Capital Purchase $15.5 Million of Common Stock

Revere Bank, a Maryland community bank, recently announced that it received commitments from a limited number of shareholders to purchase 1 million shares of common stock at $15.50 per share. The offering, completed in April 2015, raised $15.5 million in less than five weeks and was oversubscribed by $14 million against an original $12 million goal.

The capital raise was the quickest and most successful since the bank’s formation in 2007. Revere received more than $26 million in subscription requests from existing shareholders during the first 30 days of the planned 60-day offering period. As a result of the interest, the bank increased the offering from $12 million to the overallotment amount of $15.5 million and ended the offering.

“We are humbled by the success of the capital raise and by our shareholders’ commitment to Revere’s future,” said Andrew Flott, CEO of Revere Bank. “The raise is instrumental to our goal of maintaining capital levels well above regulatory requirements while providing above average returns for our investors.”

The proceeds of the offering will be used to maintain Revere’s 20–30% annual growth rate. The raise will also contribute to the bank’s goal of reaching $1 billion in assets by 2017 and ultimately going public.

Champion Realty Among Top Places to Work

Champion Realty ranks among the top 20 best mid-sized places to work in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The ranking is based solely on feedback from agents and staff at the company.

Specifically, Champion was ranked 17th among similar-sized companies named by the Washington Post. The entire list of the 150 best places to work in greater Washington was categorized by size, and the winners were chosen from a pool of 1,901 companies who were invited to participate in the employee survey process.

Erickson Rates (Again) With Computerworld

Erickson Living, developer and manager of continuing care retirement communities, announced that IDG’s Computerworld magazine has selected it for the fifth consecutive year as one of the “top 100 organizations” that have created dynamic and challenging environments for their information technology (IT) professionals.

Specifically, the company was ranked third among large organizations, and recognized for having work cultures where creativity is valued, career opportunities are advanced, and great benefits and compensation are provided.

Tenable to Expand in Howard County

Gov. Larry Hogan, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Tenable Network Security CEO Ron Gula have announced that Tenable is expanding operations in Columbia Gateway. Tenable provides continuous network monitoring to enable organizations to identify vulnerabilities, reduce risk and ensure compliance.

The company currently employs 230 workers in Howard County and plans to add hundreds of new, full-time positions during the next five years. To assist the company, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development is providing a $1 million conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority & Fund. In addition, the Howard County Economic Development Authority is providing Tenable with a $100,000 reimbursable workforce training grant.

M&T Rolling Out New Chip Cards

M&T Bank is adding microchip technology to all new debit cards, providing customers with improved security and fraud protection. With the new cards, customer account information is encrypted on chip cards and converted into unique, one-time codes when used at chip-enabled terminals, making them virtually impossible to replicate in a counterfeit card.

All new M&T Bank customers are now receiving chip cards and existing bank customers will automatically receive new chip cards when their current debit cards expire. Customers are welcome to request a new chip card by visiting an M&T branch, calling customer service at 800-724-2440 or by visiting www.mtb.com/chip.

Hogan Announces New Shimadzu Innovation Center

Gov. Larry Hogan met with executives from Shimadzu Corp., a Kyoto, Japan-based multinational corporation, and announced the company’s plans to expand its U.S headquarters facility in Columbia by investing $20 million and creating an Innovation Center focused on new product research, development and engineering.

The company has operated its U.S. subsidiary, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, in Columbia since 1975 and currently employs 200 workers in Maryland. The center, which will be developed during the next five years and will create 25 new jobs, will enable Shimadzu to better align itself with new technologies being developed in the U.S., particularly in the Baltimore-Washington area. The meeting took place during Hogan’s recent 12-day trade mission to Korea, China and Japan.

SIS Expands, Opens Phil & Charity’s in Glen Burnie

After a year of growth, Success in Style (SIS), of Savage Mill, will expand into Anne Arundel County with the opening of Phil and Charity’s Closets — where everything costs $5. The donation center at the Centre in Glen Burnie has been built out, and the company’s director, Jeannette Kendall, has brought her expertise as a fashion designer/consultant to the decor and merchandising of the space.

During the last year, the SIS Savage store independently funded the expansion of three studios and the build-out for the donation center and resale shop in Glen Burnie, with no outside grants.

Maple Lawn Street Fest Set for July 11

The Maple Lawn Street Festival, a free event including food trucks, a beer garden, live music, a sidewalk sale and a kid’s zone, is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. The festivities conclude with a fireworks display that begins at 9:15 p.m.

The festival will be held along Maple Lawn Boulevard, the 600-acre mixed-use business community in the Fulton section of Howard County. The rain date for the event, which is sponsored by St. John Properties and Greenebaum Enterprises, is Sunday, July 12. For additional information, e-mail MapleLawnEvents@fullmoonmarketing.net.

KinderMender Cites Guess & Win Winner

KinderMender held a Guess & Win contest for the guess closest to the correct date and time of its 100,000th patient visit. Dr. Keyvan Rafei, founder and medical director of the company, is accompanied by staff and contest winner, who was identified simply as “Anna B.,” with her family. They are holding a $1,000 check for the Casey Cares Foundation.

IMPAQ: Team Improves Lives, Decreases Readmissions of Chronically Ill Patients

A recently completed health care analysis concluded a pilot program of the Howard County Health Department has reduced the number of preventable hospitalizations by patients with multiple chronic health conditions, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in health care costs.

Columbia-based IMPAQ International, a social science research firm, conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the Community Care Team (CCT) pilot program after its first year. After examining the program’s objectives and achievements, the assessment concluded that the CCT intervention method was effective.

“This focused, innovative approach helps patients manage their illnesses and avoid hospitalizations,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County health officer. “The evaluation shows promising results for the chronically ill and a reduction in the high cost of care, creating new opportunities to invest in other health initiatives.”

IMPAQ International’s findings for the program’s first-year include the following:

  • 2% of participants had no readmissions to the hospital after 60 days.
  • For the 48% of clients who were readmitted to the hospital after 60 days, their length of stay was decreased by 50%.

The CCT, managed by Healthy Howard Inc., connects patients in various units at Howard County General Hospital with a nurse and a community health worker who help find the resources needed for patients to manage their illnesses and prevent further hospitalizations.