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UMBC No. 6 in U.S. News college rankings

As UMBC welcomes the largest incoming class in its history, the 2022 U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings affirm UMBC’s position as one of the top universities in the nation. UMBC is among the best of the best in both undergraduate teaching and innovation, and distinguished in several other key areas.

U.S. News ranks UMBC sixth among all U.S. universities for undergraduate teaching this year, tied with Rice University of Houston. This recognition honors the unwavering commitment of UMBC’s faculty and staff in helping students navigate a largely virtual and hybrid curriculum during the COVID pandemic. UMBC is the only Maryland public university to appear on the list.

UMBC has also advanced to number six on the Most Innovative Universities list, just ahead of Stanford. Joining UMBC in the top 10 are institutions like MIT and Carnegie Mellon.

“What has always set UMBC apart is the people,” said President Freeman Hrabowski, who is retiring in June 2022. “Year after year, these rankings illustrate the many ways in which our faculty and staff work to support the success and well-being of our students.”

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) announced UMBC as its newest member earlier this year. The pioneering consortium of 13 select public research universities boosts student success through sharing and scaling approaches that work.

“It’s our responsibility to understand the challenges students face at the most granular level possible, and to provide resources to help them reach their goals,” said Katharine Cole, UMBC’s vice provost and dean of undergraduate academic affairs.


Roesch joins Netography as CEO

Image by Diggity Marketing from Pixabay

Netography announced that Martin Roesch has joined the company as CEO. With the addition of Roesch, CEO and co-founder Barrett Lyon will assume the role of Chief Architect and co-founder, alongside CTO and co-founder Dan Murphy.

Roesch is the creator of the open-source project Snort and the former founder, CEO, and CTO of Columbia-based network security firm Sourcefire. That company commercialized the Snort software and was a pioneer in the industry, leading the open-core business model, intrusion prevention systems, next-generation firewalls, context-driven network security, and cloud-based advanced anti-malware technologies. Cisco acquired Sourcefire in 2013, where Roesch served as Chief Architect in the Security Business Group. Since leaving Cisco in 2019, Roesch has served as an investor and advisor to numerous companies in the security and infrastructure space.

“As long-time industry collaborators, we are thrilled that Martin is joining Netography to help supercharge our growth at a time when we see strong market need and demand for our solution,” said Barrett Lyon, co-founder of Netography. “We both firmly believe that the traditional approaches to securing organizations no longer hold water. Today’s threat landscape and hybrid enterprise environments require radically new services rather than the current bolted-on features on top of existing decade-old solutions.”


Birx joins Real Time Medical Systems

Photo: Real Time Medical Systems

Real Time Medical Systems, a Linthicum Heights-based health care interventional analytics solution, announced the appointment of Dr. Deborah Birx to its board of advisors. Birx will work with Real Time’s Executive Team to analyze early detection of infectious disease symptomology to advance the company’s infection prevention and control solution offerings for healthcare organizations nationwide.

“I am thrilled to be working with Real Time, an organization dedicated to utilizing technology and live data analysis to improve care for our senior population, and do it in a timely, meaningful, and cost-effective way,” said Birx. “Real Time’s system is able to capture live post-acute [electronic health record] data and deliver clinical insights and alerts for specific patients when their symptoms change, so clinicians know immediately which patients require prompt attention.”

Birx sought to join Real Time to address vulnerabilities in the country’s nursing facilities regarding the pandemic response and emerging variants. Many patients will not exhibit the same constellation of symptoms as the original strain, making it more difficult for clinicians to detect COVID-19 variants as the virus evolves, she explained.

“These variants develop quickly,” Birx added. “Accessing live patient data allows us to evaluate symptomatology now, not three months from now, thereby enabling facilities to make timely, well-informed decisions that make a difference in patients’ lives today.”

A world-renowned medical expert specializing in HIV/AIDS immunology, infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, vaccine research, and global health, Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and previously managed some of the most high-profile, influential programs at the CDC and Department of State.


Howard: boost in sales, newly-listed homes

Despite a continued shortage of available housing inventory, Howard County saw an increase in home sales and newly-listed homes in August 2021, according to the latest data from the Howard County Association of REALTORS (HCAR).

New residential listings were up 6.6 percent compared to the same time last year, while active listings were down 14.5 percent. There were 560 homes sold in August this year, up 8.3 percent from last year, and the average days on market sat at 11, which is 54.2 percent lower than the same time last year. The average sale price was $558,324, which is up 8.4 percent compared to the same time last year.

There is currently a contract ratio of 1.96 pending contracts per active listing in Howard County, which is higher than the 5-year August average of 1.10. When comparing the contract ratio to recent months, it shows that the market is starting to move in the buyer’s favor as it is down from 2.29 in July 2021.

“The Howard County housing market is still strong as homes continue to sell quickly and low interest rates have encouraged buyers to step into the market,” said HCAR President Shirley Matlock. “Compared to recent months, we are seeing a slight increase in available inventory which may create more opportunities for homebuyers in Howard County.”


APL pursues AI-driven climate initiative breakthrough

Scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, have made significant progress toward creating the first worldwide, near-real-time inventory of road transportation emissions, contributing a major piece to a larger effort to monitor greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale, known as Climate TRACE.

Climate TRACE, from “Tracking Real-time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions,” is a global initiative to build a tool that will provide a public, independent measure of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions using artificial intelligence (AI), satellite image processing, machine learning and other remote sensing technologies.

Climate TRACE will rely primarily on existing infrastructure — satellites, but also mobility data, drones and land- and sea-based sensors. The tool counts former vice president Al Gore among its chief funders and supporters, and it was honored as one of the top 100 inventions of 2020 by Time magazine.

An APL team has demonstrated for the first time that road-transport emissions can be accurately estimated from satellite imagery. In conjunction with other data sources, including road network data, population data and satellite- and ground-based data on carbon dioxide concentrations, the team was able to use satellite imagery to train and validate machine learning models that can be used to make accurate predictions where direct measurements are not available.

Data from APL’s models are incorporated into the first public Climate TRACE inventory and dashboard, which launched this week. The team’s initial proof-of-concept results were presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition 2021 Conference and published in the conference’s proceedings, earning the award for Best Paper in the EarthVision Workshop track.


Laurel to prohibit single-use plastic bags

Mayor Craig Moe and the Laurel City Council have approved Ordinance No. 1977, prohibiting retail establishments from providing disposable single-use plastic bags at the point of sale. The Ordinance goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

In a related press release, the City reminded residents that single use plastic bags are not accepted in household recycling and are not biodegradable.

City administrators said they will provide residents with resources regarding information on purchasing reusable, biodegradable and compostable bags, an will also assist each business in educating employees and customers regarding this new legislation.


Inner Arbor Trust addresses Merriweather, Chrysalis incident

Image by Ioana Sasu from Pixabay

Nina Basu, president and CEO of the Inner Arbor Trust, addressed the incident from the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 18 ― which concerned a Hall & Oates rehearsal and sound check at Merriweather Post Pavilion that occurred during the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s nearby performance of Peter And The Wolf at the Chrysalis ― as follows:


“Dear Guests:

“On behalf of the Inner Arbor Trust, and the entire Merriweather Symphony Woods neighborhood, we are deeply sorry about the concert interruptions at Saturday’s free family performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra of Peter and the Wolf featuring Wordsmith. We are heartbroken that this was your experience at the Chrysalis as guests and heartbroken that the artists also had this experience. As an organization, we are committed to providing opportunities for free performances for our entire community, and especially children and families. We hope that you consider visiting us again and giving us another chance to provide you and your family with great arts experiences at the Chrysalis.”

Basu said the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra “phenomenally managed a difficult situation” and graciously offered the Inner Arbor Trust’s concert patrons up to four free tickets to enjoy the orchestra uninterrupted at one of two upcoming Family series concerts.


Arundel Exec Pittman announces reelection bid

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has announced the launch of his reelection campaign. County Executive Pittman released the following statement:

“We’re beginning a campaign to reach voters in every corner of Anne Arundel County, to tell them the story of what we have done and what we have left to do for them, regardless of their age, their race, their national origin, their wealth, or even their political affiliation.

“When I ran for office four years ago, I was a guy with a vision, stepping onto a path that we hoped would lead our communities to a better future. With residents across Anne Arundel County, we shared the vision and the values, we built the coalition, we put out the message and we put ourselves in the driver’s seat

“Since taking office we’ve done exactly what we promised: raised pay and staffing levels for our teachers, police, and firefighters so that we can hire and retain the best; targeted transportation funds to fix our traffic bottlenecks; and protected our forests and open space with new rules for land use that empower community stakeholders. We did all this with fiscal discipline, keeping taxes among the lowest in the state.

“This campaign will be long and it will be hard. We will likely be up against a very well-funded opponent with a very different agenda. But I can assure you that our story and our values are the ones that will truly make Anne Arundel County The Best Place For All.”


TEDCO reschedules Entrepreneur Expo

The Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) has rescheduled its annual Entrepreneur Expo to Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. The Expo will be held at this year’s scheduled site, The Hotel at the University of Maryland. For more information, visit www.tedco.com.


COVID-19 relief sent $62.7M to Second District restaurants, venues

Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) highlighted the impact of emergency federal funding for Maryland restaurants and arts and entertainment venues sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provided more than $40 million in grants to struggling eateries throughout Maryland’s 2nd District alone. Another $22.7 million aided museums, galleries, theaters, music festivals and more under the bill’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.

The Congressman visited Myrie’s Island Kitchen in Randallstown, which received a grant that owner Christine Mattis-Myrie used to pay her rent and employees. He also visited the Chesapeake Arts Center, a nonprofit community arts center in Anne Arundel County’s Brooklyn Park that received a grant under the SVOG program.

“As the owners and executives of these nonprofits and small businesses can attest, the American Rescue Plan was an invaluable lifeline that literally kept the lights on and people fed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ruppersberger said. “As a lawmaker, nothing is more rewarding than seeing the positive impact of federal policy-making right here in our own backyards and knowing that these employers will now be able to support jobs and serve our communities for years to come.”

In all, 163 restaurants, food stands and trucks, bars and breweries in Maryland’s 2nd District received grants from the RRF. Another 20 venue operators, promoters, live-event producers, galleries and theaters in the district received funding under the SVOG program. Statewide, the RRF provided more than $561 million in restaurant grants and the SVOG provided $158 million in grants for arts and cultural venues.

Both programs were administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which awarded grants based on 2019 revenues and pandemic-related losses. Funding could be spent on a wide range of expenses including mortgages or rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage inventory, payroll, and operational expenses.


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