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Kennedy Krieger to Expand Narcotic-Free Chronic Pain Program

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The state of Maryland has awarded Kennedy Krieger Institute, which operates an office in Odenton, $635,000 to enhance a specialized program for the prevention of opioid dependence, abuse and addiction in children and adolescents with chronic pain. The grant will allow the Institute’s Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program to include opiate avoidance education and outreach to community pediatricians and primary care physicians, and will increase the program’s patient capacity.

The funding will expand the reach and services of Kennedy Krieger’s chronic pain rehabilitation program. Individuals in the program will receive evaluation and treatment recommendations. When appropriate, treatment will be provided from a continuum of services available from an interdisciplinary team at Kennedy Krieger. It will also help the organization expand its community support of patients and parents to reduce recidivism; provide training to community providers and develop a statewide advisory group.

MES Announces Pennington as Managing Director

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The Maryland Environmental Service (MES) announced that Steve Pennington, who recently headed business and industry sector development for the Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC), has joined MES, where he will lead strategic partnerships and industry relations for the $155 million, Baltimore area nonprofit.

Pennington comes to MES with extensive experience as a sales and business development leader in the private and public sectors. At the DOC, he led a team of 60 staff focused on Maryland’s “Open for Business” strategy. His earlier experiences in the private sector range from startups to large national enterprises, where he led sales teams focused on regional and national businesses, including teams for health care and public sector accounts.

Throughout his more than 30-year career, Pennington has led sales and marketing efforts for companies including Americom, USA Mobility, Bay Broadband and Sprint. He also led the national business development efforts for Seattle-based start-up ATG Risk Solutions.

Maryland Millionaires: State Loses Its Top Ranking

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America had 534,000 more millionaires in 2018 and New Jersey has nudged out Maryland as the state with the most millionaires per capita for the first time in seven years, according to the annual Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor.

In Maryland, which ranked fourth on the new list, there are 200,074 millionaire households, for a ratio to total households of 8.85%, according to the Phoenix Marketing International report that tracks high net worth households. The state slipped three places since 2017.

Nationwide, the number of U.S. households with more than $1 million in assets rose to 7.7 million in 2018, according to the report. The report’s authors also saaid that since the last downturn, the number of millionaires in the United States has increased by more than 2 million; in 2010, after dozens of major companies failed and America landed in one of the worst recessions in its history, Maryland had 144,686 millionaire households, for a ratio to total households of 6.79%, to rank No. 2 in the country.

Ted Lerner of Chevy Chase, who founded the commercial real estate firm Lerner Enterprises, consistently ranks as Maryland’s wealthiest resident, according to Forbes and other sites. He has an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion and his family is the majority owner of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals. The top 10 for millionaires in 2018 were New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts, followed by Hawaii, New Hampshire, California, Alaska and Virginia.

Cardin, Van Hollen Introduce Legislation to Support School Construction, Renovation Needs

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U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have signed on as original co-sponsors to the Rebuild America’s Schools Act (S. 266), a bill that would provide $100 billion in federal resources to rebuild and modernize schools throughout the nation and Maryland. Maryland public schools have an estimated $4 billion backlog in capital improvement needs.

“Our children should not be forced to make do with public schools without drinkable water, air conditioning or access to the Internet; they deserve modern learning environments,” said Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “Maintaining old school buildings means fewer dollars for classroom instruction and academic supports for students. I am proud to introduce this legislation to provide our neediest school districts with resources necessary to meet their school construction and modernization needs. Our children deserve nothing less.”

The legislation provides $70 billion over 10 years in formula funds to states for local competitive grants for school repair, renovation and construction. These grants focus assistance on communities with the greatest financial need, encourage green construction practices, expand access to high-speed broadband to ensure that all students have access to digital learning, contain state matching criteria, and outline permissible criteria for spending. The bill also includes the following.

● Provides $30 billion for Qualified School Infrastructure Bonds, $10 billion each fiscal year from 2020 to 2022.
● Invests in American jobs by requiring the use of American-made iron, steel and manufactured products.
● Reinstates and Expands Qualified Zone Academy Bonds for use on school construction.
● Requires the Government Accountability Office to report on projects carried out within two years after enactment with periodic updates.
● Ensures a federal comprehensive study of the physical condition of public schools at least once.

Ball, Congressman Sarbanes Hear from Contractors on Shutdown Impact

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Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and Congressman John Sarbanes heard from nearly 30 federal contractors who described the impact of the recent historic 35-day government shutdown. The roundtable, held at the offices of Sparksoft, in Columbia, was hosted in partnership with the Howard County Economic Development Authority and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce.

Some contractors who attended called for passage of legislation to ensure they would be paid during a shutdown. Others indicated they are now seeking shutdown clauses when they enter into new contracts.

One minority-owned subcontractor who does marketing work for the U.S. Coast Guard said she hasn’t received payment since November, while another expressed fear he will lose good employees to jobs that promise more stability and uninterrupted paychecks; some contractors indicated they would make no profit this year because of the shutdown. Video of the event can be found at https://bit.ly/2G9MTcp.

Howard County Government and its community partners are continuing to provide special support services for those federal employees and contractors who were affected by the shutdown. A complete list of those services can be found at https://bit.ly/2Gb2I2u.

AACC Receives Million Dollar Gift to Support New Trades Center

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Donors James and Janet Clauson, of Crownsville, have made a commitment of $1 million to support the construction of a Center for Innovation and Skilled Trades on Anne Arundel Community College’s (AACC) Arnold campus. In recognition of this gift, the center will bear their name.

The 12,000-square-foot building will be designed to accommodate programming that adapts to job market demands; if sufficient demand exists to expand the facility, it could be expanded to reach 36,000-square-feet. The college and the AACC Foundation are engaged in a private fundraising campaign to raise philanthropic support to construct and equip the Clauson Center, which will cost approximately $5 million and is slated to open in 2021.

Skilled trade positions have been identified as the most difficult positions for employers to fill in the United States, according to various research. Programs at the Clauson Center will support the development of those with talent and abilities to excel in these fields. AACC plans to launch six inaugural programs when it opens: electrical, forklift operator, HVAC, plumbing, welding and general contracting.

“We recognize that not every student is interested [in], or needs to attain, a bachelor’s degree in order to be successful in their field of study,” said Dawn Lindsay, president of AACC. “By expanding our workforce development programs, we can support the needs of our employers and our local economy while helping people start and maintain successful careers.”

Howard Transition Team Delivers Report to Ball

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The transition team appointed by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has delivered its transition report: The 67-page document, prepared by a group of more than 100 community leaders, studied and evaluated areas of county government with a focus on ideas designed to move the county forward.

The team identified more than 60 issue areas and offered suggestions for improving performance and services in many, including mental health, behavioral health, consumer affairs, land use, adequate public facilities, Ellicott City and equity in education. The report can be found at https://bit.ly/2Hz5AZe; video of the event is available at https://bit.ly/2FT0Rjr.

Money may buy you love this month

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U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $143.56 each on Valentine’s Day – an increase from last year’s $136.57 – as 55 percent of the population celebrates, according to the National Retail Federation.

Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year. And in the workplace, this includes a projected $654 million spent on coworkers.

The top spenders on Valentine’s Day? Millennials. People ages 25-34 will drop an average of $202.76 per person, plus that generation is informally credited with inventing “Gal-entines” Day, held Feb. 13, when groups of women celebrate their female friends. A quarter of Valentine’s Day celebrants under the age of 35 plan to purchase gifts for their pets.

That’s a whole lotta cash for love.

At Hallmark, that translates into a whole lotta cards: 900, to be exact, that make up the company’s Valentine portfolio. Valentine’s Day is the second-largest card-sending holiday in the U.S. (following Christmas), with some 145 million Valentines cards exchanged between loved ones, according to the Greeting Card Association.

A local go-to Cupid…

Michelle Kupiec, owner of Kupcakes & Co., starts thinking about Valentine’s Day months before Cupid arrives.

Between its two locations in Elkridge and Clarksville, the company’s 30 employees bake more than 10,000 cupcakes and 60 custom cakes every week. Every year, the single highest daily tally is on Valentine’s Day.

“By far it’s our biggest holiday of the year,” Kupiec said. “Eighty percent of our customers on that day are males, and they are panicked. They don’t know what to get and they want suggestions.”

Enter Kupid-iec. She keeps the bakery’s two locations – Elkridge and Clarksville – open late. Otherwise, she said, “people are pulling on the door and making puppy-dog faces.”

Signature cupcakes go for $33 a dozen, or $3 each. Boutique and gluten-free versions go for $42 a dozen, or $3.75 each.

For Valentine’s Day, Kupiec recommends the chocolate cupcake painted with 24-carat edible gold.

But there are also pink, red, glittery, sparkly cupcakes. Tiny adorable sets of baby cupcakes ($13.50 per prepackaged dozen). Cinnamon buns. Cookies, heart-shaped with custom writing. Or French macaroons. Or a whole cake, surely a good bet since the company has twice landed the top prize on the Cooking Channel’s show “Cake Hunters.”

The bottom line: “Getting your loved one something homemade that you know will taste delicious is a small indulgence that creates a big impact,” said Kupiec.

Better loving through chemistry

Will chocolate make your Valentine happy? There’s an excellent chance it will, said Dr. Kathy Lilly, assistant professor of chemistry at Howard Community College (HCC).

Chocolate contains theobromine and phenethylamine, which increase the level of serotonin and endorphins in the brain when ingested, according to Lilly.

“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and increased serotonin leads to a feeling of happiness and increased pleasure,” she said. “Serotonin is sometimes called the love or happiness hormone.”

And, she added, according to a recent article published in “Frontiers in Immunology,” polyphenols in dark chocolate have a cardio-protective effect when ingested. “So, eating dark chocolate can not only make you feel good, it can also protect your heart,” said Lilly.

Opting out or cooking in?

Retail survey find that even those who “opt out” on Valentine’s Day – perhaps citing moral objections to rabid consumerism or the commercialization of love – still tend to indulge in some alternative activity. Which means they still spend money on Feb. 14, whatever they’re calling it.

Why not stay in and cook together? Specifically, cook Pollo Mole Maria, suggested Tim Banks, department chair for the Center for Hospitality and Culinary Studies at HCC. Depending on the recipe you choose, the traditional Mexican sauce can contain fruit, chili peppers, nuts, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate.

“The seasonings marry and create this beautiful sauce that just says ‘I love you,’ ” said Banks. “You feel like you can smell everything that’s going on in the kitchen at that time.”

For dessert, Banks said to dip up some chocolate fondue, and serve it with little pieces of cake or fruit. “It’s interactive and promotes sharing the meal process,” he said. “Plus, it’s light. You don’t want to crash and burn after dinner.”

Brewers growing, reforms needed

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It’s been a tumultuous year for the brewing industry. Threats of aluminum tariffs became reality, putting a crimp in business for brewers who can their products.

Fallout from a current government shutdown with no foreseeable resolution is forcing changes in production and marketing plans. And although there were some legislative concessions last year that eased some of the strictest regulations at the state level, Maryland’s brewers still feel they’re being hindered from realizing their full commercial potential.

Despite all the negatives, Maryland’s brewing industry continues to experience exponential growth. The number of breweries in Maryland rose from 84 at the end of 2017 to a current total of 102.

Howard County tallied its seventh brewery with the opening of Columbia’s Sapwood Cellars in October, while PUSH Brewing Co. expanded and changed its name to Reckless Ale Works.

Anne Arundel County, meanwhile, acquired its first two breweries last February with the opening of Chesepiooc Real Ale Brewery in Crofton and Crooked Crab Brewing Co. in Odenton.

“There were four openings statewide in December alone, and we have about 15 in the pipeline for 2019,” said Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM) Executive Director Kevin Atticks.

Also ahead for 2019 is a promise by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot to revisit efforts to reform state laws, allowing the expansion of serving hours and over-the-counter volume sales in breweries’ taprooms.

Drive to Succeed

According to Atticks, the growth isn’t likely to threaten competition anytime soon. “If you look where breweries are going, they’re not just clustered in pockets, it’s a statewide phenomenon,” he said.

Even in Howard County, proliferation hasn’t reached the saturation point, thanks in part to the drive brewers have to develop a strong identity.

Sapwood Cellars, in the Oakland Center off Route 108, for example, specializes in barrel aged mixed-fermented beers.

“What they’re doing is a great example of where the industry is headed, toward smaller local producers who are producing high quality beer you won’t find anywhere else,” Atticks said. “They’re scrappy, able to start on a shoestring, and able to become successful because of their strategy and tenacity.”

Jailbreak Brewing Co. of Laurel is Howard County’s oldest production brewery, opened in 2013, and became the first to expand into food service, launching its FoodWorks open kitchen last year.

“FoodWorks has exceeded our expectations in just about every metric,” said Jailbreak co-founder Kasey Turner, adding that it supports the brewery’s philosophy of moderation and beer that is meant to be paired with food. “Responsible consumption is something we believe in wholeheartedly and we’re always looking for new and better ways to promote and enforce this belief.”

Federal Interference

Pending permits and build out, Annapolis-based Seawolf Brewery is planning to open a dedicated 60 barrel production brewery and taproom in Howard County between October and December this year. Beer production is currently contracted out to Baltimore’s Peabody Heights Brewery, and product is distributed through local beer, wine and spirits retail stores.

According to Managing Partner Alan Beal, the cost of tanks and other equipment needed to outfit the brewery haven’t been affected by steel tariffs, but aluminum tariffs have had a different effect on the industry.

“A lot of large producers bought up cans in bulk before the tariffs hit,” he said. “Being a smaller volume brewer, it was hard for us to find cans to release our last beer.”

Seawolf and other breweries are also experiencing an unexpected hardship stemming from the federal government shutdown: with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau closed, new labels can’t be approved for new products that are ready to be released.

“Without a label we can’t can it,” Beal said. “We’ll have to keg it and release it to bars and restaurants instead and hope it can all be sold and consumed before it expires. We have the potential to lose product.”

Depending on the beer style, the shelf life of kegged beer lasts from 60 days to three months, he said.

Reform Redux

Last year’s full-court press to expand taproom hours and on-site sales volume restrictions managed to chip away at some of the most onerous laws on the books, and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is vowing to continue the campaign this year.

“We’re adopting an even more comprehensive approach to legislation in 2019,” said Franchot’s Chief of Staff Len Foxwell. “We’re revising the Reform on Tap legislation, and there will be a couple of elements that the Brewers Association of Maryland will take the lead on.”

The Comptroller is also advancing the Drink Local Act of 2019, modeled on state legislation in New York that provides discounts on retail sales licenses for bars, restaurants and brewery taprooms that only sell beer, wine and spirits produced in the state.

“It’s a message that we want to incentivize and promote products that are grown and produced in Maryland,” Foxwell said. “We also want to sustain the energy and sense of the possible that is occurring in this industry in spite of illogical trade wars and state regulations. We’ve already had some very productive discussions with state lawmakers, and we fell that this is they year we’ll be able to get meaningful reform enacted.”

HCPSS Announce New Arborist Apprenticeship Program

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The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Office of Career and Technology Education has announced a new program for students interested in a career as an arborist.

Offered in partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) and Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), and funded through a grant from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), the program will enable participating high school seniors to complete, at no cost, half of the coursework required during the first year of an apprenticeship in this high-demand field.

Participants will learn the skills needed to care for trees, shrubs and woody plants, including standards related to the tree care industry, safety practices and hazard awareness, tree biology, plant care, and how to operate and maintain equipment and vehicles commonly used by the trade. The courses will be held each Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:45-6 p.m., from Feb. 12 through May 10.

Interested students and their families are encouraged to attend an information session on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m. at the Applications and Research Laboratory, 10920 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City. For more information regarding this program, please contact Stephanie Discepolo in the Office of Career and Technology Education, at stephanie_discepolo@hcpss.org.

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