One Dish Cuisine Named Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant in America

AllergyEats has named One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli & Bakery, in Ellicott City, the most allergy-friendly restaurant in the United States. One Dish is free of most common allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy, as well as gluten. While the restaurant does serve dairy, all dairy-based meals are made in a separate kitchen with protocols in place to avoid cross-contact with milk, butter and cheese.

To further avoid possible cross-contact risk (and to increase the comfort of One Dish Cuisine’s food-allergic customers) Owner Maureen Burke prohibits outside food from being brought into the independently-owned restaurant.

“As with our top chains list, the determination of this esteemed title is based on input from AllergyEats users and their reviews of restaurants across the U.S.,” said Paul Antico, founder and CEO of AllergyEats. “One Dish Cuisine has raised the bar, setting a whole new standard in the food service industry. [It has] received unanimously positive ratings and feedback on AllergyEats from food-allergic diners who have visited from all over the country.”

Howard County Welcome Center Reopens

Howard County Tourism & Promotion has announced that the Howard County Welcome Center, located at 8267 Main Street in Old Ellicott City, reopened Nov. 14. This was the first time the Welcome Center has been open since the flood that occurred on July 31.

“The Howard County Tourism Team is very pleased to be back in Old Ellicott City,” said Anthony Cordo, executive director of Howard County Tourism & Promotion. “We’ve been working hard to assist in Ellicott City’s recovery efforts and are looking forward to greeting visitors again.” Cordo also said, “We are very grateful to The Howard Hughes Corp. for providing us temporary space in downtown Columbia and to the Howard County government for their help in getting us back into the Welcome Center.”

The Welcome Center is open Monday–Saturday, from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sundays from noon–5 p.m. It typically accommodates more than 30,000 visitors annually. The reopening is timely, with several major events planned during the holiday season. For more information on the planned events and open businesses in Old Ellicott City, visit EllicottCityHolidays.com.

Merkle Acquires Axis41, Boosts Marketing Cloud Practice

Merkle, a Columbia-based, technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, announced its acquisition of Salt Lake City-based Axis41, a strategic digital agency focused on customer experience. This is Merkle’s first corporate acquisition since joining the Dentsu Aegis Network in August 2016.

The move supports Dentsu Aegis Network’s strategy of building within its network a set of full-scale, people-based marketing capabilities rooted in data, analytics and technology. Axis41’s full staff of more than 170 employees will join Merkle.

The acquisition of Axis41 will bring additional customer experience management services to Merkle, including brand development, content strategy, persona development, UI/UX, graphic design and web development, among others. The acquisition will augment the agency’s Alliance Channel strategy, adding more than $25 million in revenue to Merkle’s marketing cloud practice.

Coverys Expands Clinician Reach With Med-IQ Acquisition

Coverys has announced the acquisition of bwtech@UMBC-based Med-IQ, a medical education and health care quality improvement firm. Med-IQ provides certified educational courses for clinicians; offers a suite of educational services to hospitals, academic medical centers and medical societies; and delivers health care system-based quality improvement, education and training.

Med-IQ was built on the core strategy of improving patient care through the development and dissemination of proprietary clinical content, education, tools and resources that facilitate positive change in health care provider knowledge and behavior.

The acquisition by Boston-based Coverys affords Med-IQ’s core medical education division the opportunity to expand its global clinician reach and participation; for instance, its Learning Solutions division will expand its portfolio of educational services that can be offered to hospitals and medical societies by partnering with ELM Exchange and MRM Group, which are Coverys’ educational companies that offer risk management and patient safety content.

Kittleman Announces Mid-December Launch of New Snow Plow Tracker

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced the county will beta launch a new cutting-edge snow plow tracker in mid-December. Purchased from AT&T and BSM Technologies, the tracker replaces a system acquired more than 10 years ago.

Howard County will install Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVLs) in 152 Department of Public Works (DPW) Bureau of Highway vehicles, including 135 pieces of snow removal equipment. The software downloads a digital snapshot from each AVL every 10 seconds, providing a comprehensive and constantly updated display of snow removal progress.

As an additional enhancement, Howard County is also purchasing 25 “plug and play” AVLs that can be installed in contractor vehicles, and that data also will be fed into the snow plow tracker to present a more accurate picture of snow removal progress. The cost to the county is $32,400 to develop the mobile-friendly website and $12,000 annually in maintenance and support costs.

The snow plow tracker is one component of a broader initiative to install AVLs in a fleet of 241 vehicles that also will include the Department of Inspections, Licensing and Permits and the Bureau of Facilities. Once launched, the tracker can be accessed at HowardCountySnowTracker.org.

HCGH Redevelops Diabetes Program

Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) redeveloped its diabetes education program with new classes and a new location, referral process and price structure designed to help patients, caregivers and families become better educated about diabetes management. The program launch this fall coincided with the American Diabetes Association’s American Diabetes Month in November, which draws attention to the 29 million Americans with diabetes — one in every 11 Americans. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, more than AIDS and breast cancer combined.

The new classes include a course about injectables for patients newly administering medications. Other classes focus on prevention and prediabetes, as well as gestational diabetes for expecting mothers. Basic and comprehensive diabetes courses, in addition, accommodate newly diagnosed and established diabetics.

The program offers new class dates and options while continuing to provide individual counseling. Classes are priced affordably — similar or less than insurance co-payments — and are no longer covered by insurance.

MCE Resident VitusVet Reaches 25M Mark

Columbia-based VitusVet, a veterinary technology company founded in 2013 by emergency veterinarian Dr. Mark Olcott and business school classmate Kalpesh Raval, has announced that more than 25 million pet medical records are currently being shared with pet owners through VitusVet’s cloud-based system.

The company, a resident at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), has developed an app that pet owners can use to download medical information through participating veterinary offices. This allows owners access to necessary and sometimes critical medical information in the event of a medical emergency.

“[Twenty-five million records shared] means so much more to us than an endorsement of our platform’s value. It proves that veterinarians are ready to embrace technologies which simplify their daily workflow and add value to their business,” said Olcott, who is CEO of the company. “Faxing is an anachronism, as are phone calls for routine requests. We’re working tirelessly to make the customer service tools that other industries have enjoyed for a decade the new standard of care for veterinarians, and this vote of confidence is electrifying.”

SBIRT Program Implemented in Area MedStar Hospitals

Columbia-based MedStar Health was awarded the largest grant in its history by Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore to fund tools, training and resources for emergency room staff to screen for risky substance abuse behaviors and to motivate patients to enlist in treatment programs.

Known as SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment), the nationally-recognized, evidenced-based program was implemented in MedStar Harbor Hospital, in South Baltimore, as well as in MedStar’s three other Baltimore area hospitals: MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan and MedStar Union Memorial. They will work in partnership with Mosaic Group, a Maryland health care consulting firm and an expert in SBIRT for the state.

The program’s three-part process starts with a universal screening. All patients are assessed for risky substance abuse behavior using standardized tools. If the screening indicates a moderate or high risk, a brief intervention by a peer recovery coach ensues. Finally, a peer recovery coach provides additional evaluation and referral services for patients deemed high risk. Since Oct. 1, more than 27,000 MedStar patients have been screened, with more than 5,200 testing positive for SBIRT intervention.

MDOT Announces $5.2M for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects

Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn has announced the Hogan administration’s commitment to provide $5.2 million in grants for transportation alternatives and improvements to bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity across the state.

Included in that total is $1.97 million in Bikeways Program Grants to fund 18 projects, including those that will create design plans and acquire easements for a connection between the B&A Trail, Anne Arundel Community College and the Broadneck Trail; design and construct a bicycle boulevard along Covington Street in South Baltimore; and install 20 bike racks, on-road “sharrows” and automated permanent bike traffic counters at the University of Maryland College Park.

Continuing its commitment to making connections statewide, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is awarding a total of 71 grants to transportation agencies, local jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations, from three separate state and federal grant programs: Maryland Bikeways Program, Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Alternatives Program.

HCPSS Corrects Employee Payment Errors

Problems with its new financial and human resources management software program, Workday, recently resulted in the payment amount on paychecks for approximately 1,500 employees of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) being incorrect — if they were paid at all.

The over/underpayments, some of which reached five figures, were due to errors in Workday, and have been identified and fixed, according to HCPSS spokesperson John White, who added that the issue occurred due to calculation errors related to a unique leave code that was used by employees. “These employees were immediately notified and the payroll office worked with them to promptly correct their pay,” he said.

White added that the HCPSS, which employs a staff of 8,100, “found the errors through our internal review of [Workday], and we’ve made the technical corrections. The average over- and underpayments were $40,” and that underpayments were corrected for the following pay period on Nov. 18.

COPT Launches Research Platforms

Columbia-based Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) has issued three research reports at http://investors.copt.com/GenPage.aspx?IID=103010&GKP=329103, under COPT Research, as follows.

  • Defense & Intelligence Budget Updates
  • Fort Meade and The National Business Park
  • Cyber Valley in Maryland’s B/W Corridor

The three reports constitute the beginning of COPT Research, through which the company will analyze and report on trends that affect COPT’s defense/information technology locations, as well as new and evolving real estate dynamics that affect the company’s non-defense, urban real estate locations.

PharmAthene Receives Final Payment From SIGA

PharmAthene, an Annapolis-based biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against anthrax, has received a final payment from SIGA Technologies of $83.9 million, which fully satisfies the judgment owed to PharmAthene as a result of its long-running lawsuit, which resulted from the failed merger of the two firms about a decade ago. In total, PharmAthene has received payment of approximately $217 million (including interest) from SIGA.

Barring any unexpected material events, PharmAthene intends to distribute to its shareholders at least 90% of the after-tax net cash proceeds of the $217 million in total payments it received from SIGA. The timing and form of such a potential distribution will depend upon the company’s analysis of its current situation, applicable corporate statutes relating to distributions and the economic consequences to its shareholders. PharmAthene expects to provide further details of such a distribution in the near future.

Alaska Airlines Continues to Grow at BWI Marshall

Alaska Airlines will begin new transcontinental service between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and San Diego, Calif. The new service is scheduled to begin on March 15, 2017. BWI Marshall will be the only east coast airport with service from Alaska Airlines to San Diego, as well as Los Angeles.

The airlines first started service at BWI Marshall in September 2014 with daily nonstop service to the airline’s hub in Seattle. Alaska added service between BWI Marshall and Los Angeles in September 2015. The airline offers flights to markets throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Redesigned AAEDC Website Offers New Geographic DataTools

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) has launched a new, improved website that makes it easier for businesses and visitors to access economic data about the county, via any device. By using the Community Profile infographics tool, users can now find an easy-to-read overview of the county’s economy and access workforce, industry and community demographic data.

In addition, users can visit the Our Industries page to better understand major sectors in the county. This business data application includes a map and interactive industry data. To understand what makes Anne Arundel County unique from other communities across the U.S., AAEDC’s website now features a community comparison tool. Users are able to see how Anne Arundel County’s demographics, workforce, consumer spending and other data measure up against other localities.

Area Author Releases Illustrated Storybook

Author Joy Sammis Purnell, of Crofton, has released, “The Magic Hat Pin,” a children’s book that is being marketed to readers of all ages. Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

Purnell, who works at Joy Realty, is also the founder and director of Cat Tails Inc., an organization that aims to save animals.

Bostick Law Office Open in Clarksville

Local litigator Christina Bostick has opted out of the large law firm culture to start her own venture in Clarksville. From the Bostick Law Office, she is taking clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas, including municipality, employment, family, business, criminal and nonprofit law, as well as legal malpractice, estate planning, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims and Corporate EEOC Investigations.

Previously, Bostick worked in Baltimore City with Ober|Kaler’s Employment

Group in matters involving defense of municipalities, civil litigation, and labor and employment disputes; earlier, she worked at Shulman Rogers, in Potomac.

HCAR Receives Golden Hammer Award

The Howard County Association of Realtors (HCAR) was recently awarded the Golden Hammer Award by Rebuilding Together Howard County (RTHC). Award winners represent volunteer organizations, philanthropic patrons and material suppliers, and this year marks the seventh year RTHC has recognized outstanding leadership and support.

“As a real estate association, we believe it’s important to give back to the communities we serve,” said Donna Weaver, 2016 Community Outreach Committee chair. “Our committee members work hard and are so generous. We are happy to support Rebuilding Together Howard County and extremely proud of our members who dedicate their time and talents to this worthwhile and much needed organization.”

VAAAC Scores State Tourism Award

The Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD) and the Maryland Tourism Development Board (MTDB) presented its 2016 Maryland Tourism Awards at the 36th annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit, in Baltimore, and Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) was among the organizations honored. The Visit Maryland Award went to the VAAAC for Naptownlocals.com.

After conducting consumer research, the VAAAC introduced three microsites to address the wants and desires of three groups of travelers — food enthusiasts, historians and explorers — which provide insider information on how to best experience Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

Artist’s Gallery Reopens, Features New Hours

The Artists’ Gallery, a member-owned and operated gallery formerly located in Columbia, has moved into a new space in the Taylor’s Collective building at 8197 Main Street, Ellicott City. Along with the current exhibition, New Beginnings, gallery members are offering various small items and cards for the holiday gift-giving season.

Artists work in media that include oil, watercolor, collage, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, traditional photography, hand-colored photography, digital photography, stained glass, wood-cut prints, mixed media and objects made of wood. There are new hours at Artists’ Gallery and Taylor’s Collective. They are Tuesday–Wednesday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. They are closed on Monday.

Annapolis Offers Holiday Parking Breaks

To support Annapolis businesses, Mayor Michael Pantelides has announced the return of parking options this holiday season, as well as changes designed to improve the downtown holiday experience for drivers and pedestrians. They include free valet parking offered downtown each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through Saturday, Dec. 24. The drop-off has been moved from Market Space to the Dock Street island this year to improve pedestrian safety and accommodate more vehicles.

Also, for a 12% convenience fee, guests can reserve a parking space in the Hillman, Gotts and Knighton garages by using a secure online transaction. Guests can purchase garage parking at www.AnnapolisParking.com. And to make Midnight Madness more pedestrian friendly, the top of Main Street, between Conduit Street and Church Circle, will be closed to vehicles from 4 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Vehicles on lower Main Street can still exit downtown from Conduit or Francis streets.

AAMC Opens Plastic Surgery Practice

Anne Arundel Medical Group (AAMG) Plastic Surgery, a full-service plastic surgery practice affiliated with Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), has opened in the hospital on Jennifer Road, Annapolis. It offers a full-range of cosmetic services, from surgical procedures like tummy tucks, body contouring and breast augmentation to popular non-surgical treatments, like Botox and Kybella.

The practice offers reconstructive and microvascular services in support of AAMC’s Rebecca Fortney Breast Center and other hospital units. AAMG Plastic Surgery is led by surgeons Dr. Tripp Holton and Dr. Devinder Singh, who are board-certified and offer expertise in aesthetic surgery and non-surgical procedures for the face and body.

Arundel Seeking Applicants for OTC Committee

County Executive Steve Schuh is inviting interested parties to apply to fill a vacancy on the Odenton Town Center Advisory Committee. The nine-member committee is a volunteer advisory committee that works with county staff, development and business interests, and citizens to implement the goals and objectives of the Odenton Town Center (OTC) Master Plan, which promotes development of a vibrant, transit-oriented, mixed-use community in western Anne Arundel County.

The committee meets on the last Tuesday of each month at the Western District Police Station, in Odenton. Interested parties are invited to submit a letter of interest and résumé to the Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning, Attention: Lynn Miller, Assistant Planning and Zoning Officer, 2664 Riva Road, 4th Floor, Annapolis, MD 21401. Letters of interest should be postmarked by Dec. 14.

TeamLogic IT Opens in Ellicott City, Hanover

TeamLogic IT, a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based national provider of comprehensive information technology (IT) management services for small and medium-sized businesses, has opened in Ellicott City and Hanover. Franchise Business Review named TeamLogic IT the No. 1 technology franchise company five years in a row.

“Due to our nationwide presence and hundreds of technicians around the country, we offer businesses a depth of end-to-end IT expertise and knowledgebase that is second to none, while offering local, walk-in support when needed,” said Sunil Raina, owner. “All of our services are designed to meet business technology needs quickly and efficiently so our clients can focus on building their business while we handle all of their IT-related issues.”