Kittleman Reinstates Public Parking Along Ellicott City’s Main Street

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Howard County Council Chair Jon Weinstein have announced that parking on Ellicott City’s Main Street has been reinstated between Old Columbia Pike and Maryland Avenue.

With significant construction activity still underway during the week, public parking will only be allowed between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, and then throughout the weekend from 5 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday. The two-hour parking limit will be enforced on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.

While public parking will be limited to the lower end of Main Street, visitors are still encouraged to use Lots D, E and F, which are easily accessible. These three lots provide 363 spaces. Additionally, on weekends, another 197 spaces are available at the Circuit Courthouse lot.

Petition Seeks Ouster of Howard Schools Superintendent Foose

An online petition being circulated on the Change.org website has collected more than 1,039 signatures in support of firing Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent Renee Foose. The petition appeared Thursday, Feb. 2, following a contentious Howard County Board of Education work session on the school system’s fiscal 2018 operating budget.

During that meeting, Foose sent an email directing her staff to leave the meeting. Pressed for an explanation, Foose simply said, “They have work to do,” and added “I don’t care” when Board Vice Chair Bess Altwerger reminded Foose that administrative staff were needed during the work session, should the board have any questions for them.

The petition is directed to Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon, the only state official granted the authority by state law to terminate a county superintendent for cause.

County Council Approves Schuh’s Government Reform Legislation

The Anne Arundel County Council has approved County Executive Steve Schuh’s legislation to expedite capital projects in the county. Bill No. 2-17 implements the recent voter-approved Charter Amendment that authorizes the county to issue interim notes for projects before the county’s annual bond ordinance is approved. This mechanism allows work to begin on July 1 on capital projects funded within the new fiscal year.

“We came to office committed to making government work more efficiently,” said Schuh. “The legislation approved this evening will help ensure we can begin work on capital projects at the beginning of the fiscal year, allowing us to get a three-month head start on projects crucial to enhancing our quality of life.”

The legislation is in addition to the county executive’s JumpStart Anne Arundel capital project financing program enacted in 2015, which embraces a 30-year bond financing option. This reform has allowed Anne Arundel County to expand its capital funding program to finance projects like Crofton High School and the new Police Academy.

Another New Annual Passenger Record for BWI Marshall

A record number of passengers — 25,122,651 — flew through BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2016, setting a new, all-time record for annual passenger traffic at the airport. The previous record for annual passenger traffic was 23,823,532 passengers, which was set in 2015.

In addition to setting a cumulative record for 2016, BWI Marshall also set new monthly records for each month during calendar year 2016; the airport has now broken monthly passenger records for the past 18 consecutive months. International passenger traffic reached 1,233,466 passengers in 2016, also a new record, and 2016 was the second straight year with more than 1 million international passengers.

Hybrid Certified Nursing Assistant Course Charts New Territory at HCC

Howard Community College (HCC) plans to offer Maryland’s first hybrid Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course in the spring of 2017. The new blended CNA course, which prepares students to provide a variety of crucial services, from taking vital signs to monitoring patient treatment plans, leverages the most effective elements of online learning and face-to-face teaching. It also benefits from the success of HCC’s first hybrid noncredit health offering, the Advanced Patient Care Technician course.

Jennifer Bukowitz Keller, the director of HCC’s Continuing Education Nursing and Allied Health Program, believes many students will use the CNA course as a launch pad to other health careers. “Our students learn so much from working. Their experience as certified nursing assistants helps prepare them to study in a variety of health care fields,” she said.

T-Mobile Wins Merkle’s Fourth Annual Digital Bowl Report

Columbia-based Merkle released its fourth annual Digital Bowl Report, evaluating Super Bowl advertisers’ digital marketing efforts. This year, T-Mobile and Avocados from Mexico took first and second place, respectively. The Digital Bowl Report presents a quantitative look at how brands leveraged social media, SEO, paid search, digital media advertising and email marketing to support their Super Bowl investments. T-Mobile took home the 2017 Merkle Digital Bowl crown by its show of strength across all focus areas, and particularly excelling in the areas of social media, display and paid social advertising.

On social media, T-Mobile was active across Facebook and Twitter throughout the night, engaging users in two different languages. It was the only brand to request user-generated content during the game, and users responded with homemade dance videos in real time. In digital media, T-Mobile had a strong presence on YouTube with both in-stream and discovery ads. Complementing its video creative were targeted banner ads, and it spread messaging across major social networks with sponsored posts featuring major celebrities. T-Mobile also fared well in paid search, tying for second with five other brands.

A-SAFE Opens in Elkridge

Polymer safety barrier manufacturer A-SAFE Inc. officially unveiled its new, 30,000-square-foot distribution center at 6635 Business Parkway in Elkridge. The British company fabricates flexible, polyolefin barriers that dissipate and absorb impacts better than more rigid steel alternatives. Distribution and industrial facilities rely on these barricades to protect workers from vehicles and hardware without damaging their equipment and buildings.

A-SAFE has successfully introduced the plastic barriers in Europe and is now looking to expand its operations into the United States. The company opened its first American distribution center in 2013, before relocating to Howard County in April 2016.

ETA, Cyberbit Open Maryland Range Cybersecurity Training Center

Electronic Technology Associates (ETA) and Cyberbit have announced that the Maryland Range cybersecurity training and simulation center in Baltimore will open its doors on April 10. The Maryland Range is a live, stand-alone, hands-on cybersecurity training center that will instruct cybersecurity professionals in protecting national assets and infrastructure against cyberattacks.

The center will be powered by Cyberbit’s Range Platform, a cybersecurity simulation and training environment that enables security teams to train in realistic settings. Such training allows the teams to respond faster and more effectively to complex and advanced attacks, including ransomware, and to perform better as a team.

NAI KLNB Brokers Crystal Heights Office Center

NAI KLNB has brokered the sale of the Crystal Heights Office Center, a two-building portfolio comprising approximately 78,000 square feet of commercial office space, to Pratt Street Capital LLC. Located at 10005 and 10015 Old Columbia Road in the Columbia section of Howard County, both buildings were 100% leased at the time of the sale. 10005 Old Columbia Road is a two-story, 52,334-square-foot commercial office building, and 10015 Old Columbia Road is a two-story, 25,842-square-foot office building.

“There was a significant drop-off in the sale of investment-grade commercial office buildings, warehouse and industrial product last year, as many assets were leasing-challenged or distressed,” said Abby Glassberg of NAI KLNB. “Crystal Heights Office Center bucked the trend, in part due to the strong leasing fundamentals that exist at the portfolio. The new owner acquired a well-maintained and strategically-located office building that contains every necessary element to achieve long-term value. Our team was able to sell these assets close to the asking price.”

Arundel Mills Celebrates the Military With Discounts

Arundel Mill has invited the Armed Forces community to experience its ongoing Military Appreciation discounts, currently available for military families and active members who show a valid I.D. As an added convenience for military shoppers, brands and eateries will display a sign in their windows indicating participation.

Shoppers are encouraged to show a valid Military ID upon purchase at any of the 85 participating retailers, including Banana Republic Factory Store, Bass Pro Shops, Cole Haan, Helzberg Diamonds and Nike Factory Outlet, to receive extra discounts atop the already reduced prices. Visitors may also access the Military Appreciation discounts at select restaurants throughout the center, including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dave & Buster’s and Nando’s Peri Peri. For a complete list, visit simon.com/arundelmills.

Convergence Acquires Deep Run Security

Convergence Technology Consulting, of Columbia, has acquired Deep Run Security, the developer of Spectrum, software used in the cyberrisk analysis arena that is currently being used in major industries including finance, health care, higher education, legal, hospitality, manufacturing, federal and state contracting and retail. With this acquisition and by uniting resources, Convergence continues to grow its presence in cybersecurity.

“Spectrum Software is one of the best products that I have seen focusing on cyber risk analysis. Their team of people are top notch and are passionate about the same thing we are — successful client delivery — creating the most advanced cybersolution suite that places the proper focus on prevention, monitoring and response,” said Larry Letow, CEO of Convergence. “By combining our teams, we can continue to build upon on our individual success that can now deliver cybersolutions to an even larger community.”

Montevideo Road Relocation Project to Begin

A Howard County construction project to align Montevideo Road and Port Capital Drive, in Elkridge, is in its early stages. Additions will include new roadway and traffic signals, water and sewer connections, storm drains and a storm water management pond. Relocations of overhead wires by BGE, Level 3 Communications, Comcast and Verizon will take place. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late September.

Signs and flagging operations will be in place to direct traffic as needed during construction hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the occasional weekday night work. Lane shifts are expected during construction hours. For questions or concerns about Capital Project J-4206-1A, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

COPT Sells $53M Stake of Northern Virginia Assets

Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) recently sold $53 million of suburban assets in Northern Virginia. In mid-January, it sold 5.3 acres of land for $14 million and, last week, completed the sale of 3120 Fairview Park Drive in the Merrifield submarket of Falls Church, Va., for $39 million. The approximate 190,500-square-foot building was 87% occupied at Dec. 31, 2016.

The company has an additional $10 million of asset sales under contract, and $37–$47 million in contract negotiations, all of which are expected to close during 2017.

TEDCO, Harbor Bank CDC Pilot Minority Pre-Seed Fund for Tech Entrepreneurs

The Columbia-based Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) and The Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corp. (HBCDC) have launched a pilot program, the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund (MBPF). The MBPF will provide pre-seed capital and mentorship to underrepresented tech entrepreneurs in Maryland.

“The Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund is designed to be TEDCO’s initial attempt to grow entrepreneurship in underrepresented communities with the goal of fueling innovation and economic development in Maryland,” said TEDCO President and COO John Wasilisin. “By partnering with Harbor Bank, a top-rated African-American-owned financial institution whose mission aligns with the MBPF, TEDCO’s initial effort is aimed to broaden the resources available to African-American tech entrepreneurs.”

TEDCO is accepting applications for the program. Fund investment terms and conditions can be found at www.tedco.md/program/minority-business-pre-seed-fund-mbpf. For more information, contact McKeever Conwell at mconwell@tedco.md and 410-715-4180, or Calvin Young at cyoung@theharborbank.com and 443-923-0534.

INFORS HT Announces the Opening of New U.S. Headquarters

INFORS HT, the Swiss manufacturer of bioreactors, shaking incubations and bioprocess software solutions has announced the opening of the company’s new U.S. headquarters in Annapolis Junction. The new, 27,000-square-foot facility houses corporate offices, sales & marketing, service, engineering and all U.S. based manufacturing of incubating shakers and bioreactors.

“The new facility is an important step. This expansion is necessary to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for our cell culture and fermentation products in North America,” said Simon Egli, director of sales of INFORS HT.

“These are exciting times. Our business has more than tripled since we went direct in the U.S. three years ago,”said  Peter Tunon, CEO of Infors USA Inc. “With our new corporate location, close to three major airports and much of the biotech business on the East coast, and regional offices in California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, we are well positioned to serve both existing and new customers all over the country.”

LocalLynx App Now Available Locally

The husband and wife team of David and Amanda Fields have brought a new app called LocaLynx to the state of Maryland. This mobile marketing app is designed to help smartphone users find local small businesses and take advantage of current coupons and deals, or be informed of spotlights or upcoming events, as determined by the businesses themselves.

Consumers can download the app for free on their iPhones or Android devices.

Participating businesses pay a flat monthly fee to Mansfield, Ohio-based LocaLynx (after a free trial period), which varies depending upon the complexity of the information provided to shoppers. The focus of the app is on small business marketing budgets, and they require no contracts. The LocaLynx app is expanding and is in 10 states and Canada.

Whole Pet Central to Open in Snowden Center

John McGeehan and Liora Robinson, both 20-year-veterans of the pet food trade and co-owners of the local Whole Pet Central independent retail pet supply business, are “very excited to be part of the Howard County community.”

Whole Pet Central — which was named “one of the best pet supply businesses” by Washingtonian and Montgomery County Magazine — specializes in healthy, all-natural food, treats and quality supplements for dogs, cats and small mammals.

Like the original Whole Pet Central location in Rockville, which opened in 2005, this newest retail space in Columbia is yet another “where healthy food comes naturally” to provide for the total nutritional requirements of dogs, cats and small mammals. It is located near Wegmans and next to Race Pace Bicycles in Snowden Center at 6925 Oakland Mills Road, Suite R, replacing the former Dogs & Company (where the much-appreciated daily Dog Wash self-services will continue). The grand opening celebration scheduled for early spring 2017.

Howard Bank Pledges $7,500 to Support Humanim’s Newest Social Enterprise, City Seeds

As part of its mission to serve the broader Baltimore community, Howard Bank is supporting Humanim’s newest social enterprise, City Seeds, with a $7,500 gift. City Seeds is a culinary social enterprise launched by Humanim, a growing nonprofit focused on creating economic opportunity for people facing barriers to employment.

City Seed’s goal is to develop the best culinary job opportunities, cultivate the savviest food entrepreneurs, support the finest local food businesses and positively impact Baltimore.

“We are so grateful to Howard Bank for their support of City Seeds,” said Cindy Plavier-Truitt, chief business officer at Humanim. “With their help, we will be able to hire and train more individuals with barriers to employment within the culinary industry, and continue to work toward our goal of creating economic stability and upward mobility for those who have suffered from chronic unemployment.”

Congregational Members Exhibit Set for The Meeting House Gallery

The Meeting House Gallery presents the Third Annual Congregational Members Exhibit, with works by Jim Auerbach, Peter Barbernitz, Barbara Bednarzik, Gale Bell, Stuart Berlin, Sonja Blake Hamada, Rebecca Canfield, Lewis Jones, Ron Klingner, Michele Krupka, Amanda Miller, Sue Nicholson, Linda Pescarmona, Robert Siner and Roslyn Zinner. These works include photography, paper collage, plastic relief, terra cotta relief, digital, acrylic paint, glass on wood, dry brush watercolor and graphite, ceramics and mosaics. The exhibit will run until April 30.

The Meeting House Gallery is located in The Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, at 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Visit Howard County Partner Earns Mention on The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post named The Wayside Inn in Ellicott City to its recent list of top historic upscale lodgings in the Northeast.
In the article, travel writer Malerie Yolen-Cohen said, “You’ll know you’ve arrived at Wayside Inn as soon as you see it … this stately stone building stands out, as does the greeting you get from owner Dave Balderson when you walk through the door. The host’s warm and high-spirited demeanor is just as much a reason to visit as is the inn’s interior décor and location.”

See the complete article at www.huffingtonpost.com/malerie-yolencohen/7-great-historic-upscale_b_14268024.html.

Crosby Hits No. 16 on O’Dwyer’s Environmental PR Firm Rankings

Crosby Marketing Communications has been ranked No. 16 on O’Dwyer’s magazine’s 2017 list of top Environmental & Public Affairs PR Firms. This annual ranking is based on verified financial information submitted by companies.

Crosby provides integrated advertising, public relations, social media and digital marketing services through specialized practices in health care, government, and nonprofits and causes. The firm currently ranks No. 39 on O’Dwyer’s list of largest public relations firms and is a top provider on the GSA Advertising and Integrated Marketing Services (AIMS) schedule.

Hudson Coastal Raw Bar & Grille Celebrates Grand Opening

Hudson Coastal Raw Bar & Grille, in Fulton, will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 22, performed by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce at 4:15 p.m. Hudson Coastal’s philosophy is to celebrate the best of the Eastern Seaboard, from the tip of Canada to the Florida Keys. The fish that it sources is from the Atlantic waters, and it purchases its fish whole or whole sides and butchers it in-house. The oysters on its raw bar also are sourced from the Eastern Seaboard, and in some cases, are received the day that they are pulled from the water.

“We officially opened for business on Nov. 22, 2016, and are looking forward to providing an exceptional seafood experience to the greater Howard County area,” said Brad Hudson, owner. Hudson Coastal is a locally-owned, family-run restaurant led by the husband and wife team Brad and Tricia Hudson, both of whom have decades of restaurant experience.

Mission Escape Room to Open at Waugh Chapel Towne Centre

Greenberg Gibbons announced that Mission Escape Rooms will open at Waugh Chapel Towne Centre, in Gambrills, this month. An interactive entertainment concept, Mission Escape Rooms provide a real-life escape experience designed for small groups of one person to seven people.

Teams work together to escape from a locked room in 50 minutes or less, testing their wits and skills to find clues and solve puzzles. The theme of the new, 685-square-foot Waugh Chapel location is “Oddities,” and the space is set up like a mysterious shop selling odd and unsettling objects. The room will be located next to Loft and White House Black Market on South Main Chapel Way.

Goucher Poll Finds 58% of Marylanders Support Making Cannabis Legal

A new Goucher College poll shows a strong and growing majority of Marylanders think cannabis should be made legal. The survey of 776 Maryland residents found 58% support making cannabis legal, up from 54% in 2016 and 52% in 2015. Just 36% are opposed, down from 39% in 2016 and 44% in 2015. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%. The results come as Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation to regulate and tax cannabis similarly to alcohol.

“There is a growing consensus among Marylanders that it is time to end cannabis prohibition. Most people do not think adults should be punished simply for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. The prohibition of cannabis is an ineffective, wasteful and damaging policy that causes far more harm than cannabis ever could itself. Marylanders see other states adopting more sensible policies, and they want their state to do the same. The public’s attitude toward cannabis is changing rapidly, and lawmakers are hearing the message louder and clearer than ever before,” said Marijuana Policy Project Legislative Counsel Kate Bell, on behalf of the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition.