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Schulz to Replace Gill at Commerce

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Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Kelly Schulz as secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce. Schulz currently serves as secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). She replaces Mike Gill, who held the position for the previous four years.

In her role at DLLR, Secretary Schulz is responsible for managing an agency with nearly 2,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $375 million. Under her leadership, Maryland’s apprenticeship program has grown to its highest level since 2008, with more than 10,000 apprentices statewide, in leading industries ranging from construction to cybersecurity and hospitality to health care.

Overnight lane closures on the Severn River bridge

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Next week, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will be installing a new navigational light on the bridge over the Severn River, in Annapolis. The navigational beacon is necessary and critical for marine vessels. The work began on Monday, Dec. 17 and will continue each night until 5 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Motorists can expect single and double right lane closures between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. MDOT SHA’s contractor is Joseph B. Fay Co., of Glen Burnie.

Winter Break meals program to serve Howard children

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The Howard County Public School System is collaborating with the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, the Howard County Library System and the Community Action Council of Howard County to provide nutrition for children in need during the winter school break. Free Winter Break Meals will be offered at two Howard County locations on Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28.

Lunches will be served from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on both days at the following locations.

● Florence Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia
● HCLS, East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia

All children under 18 years of age will receive a free meal. There are no application requirements or cost to families for this winter lunch program.

MPT’s Maryland Farm & Harvest visits Howard

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Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, will feature a Howard County farm during a new episode airing tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.

The segment featured on tonight’s episode is called “Preparing the Barn for Winter” and features farmer Dale Hough of Woodcamp Farm, in Mount Airy. Hough will explain how to winterize barns used to house livestock and will take viewers through the winterizing process as he introduces them to the beneficiaries of his efforts: a litter of piglets.

HCPSS’s proposed 2020 budget presented tonight

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Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent Michael. Martirano will present his proposed fiscal operating budget tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 18, for the 2019-20 school year, during the evening session of the Howard County Board of Education meeting at the Board Room, Department of Education, 10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City.

Board meetings may be viewed live or on-demand at www.hcpss.org and during and after each meeting on Comcast channel 95 or Verizon channel 42.

UHY merges with bgr CPAs

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Columbia-based UHY Advisors and UHY LLP (UHY) have expanded its mid-Atlantic office through its merger of the professional services firm Berman Goldman & Ribakow (bgr CPAs), also of Columbia. The merger doubles the size of UHY in the Maryland area. Marc Rubin, managing partner of bgr, and Steve Wolf, partner, and their 20-plus colleagues will be joining the UHY office in Columbia.

“The addition is part of UHY’s growth strategy to add quality firms and partners in the region, expand our footprint, provide added services and gain critical mass,” said Anthony Frabrotta, chairman and chief executive officer, UHY Advisors.

Schuh to run OOOC

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Gov. Larry Hogan appointed former Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh as executive director of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC). Schuh will serve as the state’s principal coordinator in the fight against the opioid crisis, replacing Clay Stamp, who will return to Talbot County as the assistant county manager and emergency services director.

Under Schuh’s leadership, Anne Arundel County launched the Safe Stations program, which designates each county and Annapolis City fire station, as well as county and city police stations, as a safe environment for individuals looking for assistance to start their path to recovery from heroin and opioid addiction. The county also created the “Not My Child” initiative to provide the facts of prescription drug misuse and educating parents, families, and communities on the impact of substance use disorder.

Odenton addiction treatment center proposed

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The Pascal Community Services Intercept is in the process of relocating from Severna Park to the Odenton Medical Center, at 1215 Annapolis Road. The mental health outpatient facility links clients to appropriate substance abuse services.

While the organization’s 16-bed crisis site is still located at the old Crownsville State Hospital grounds, it is hoped that a new facility will rise, also in Odenton, almost directly across the street from the medical center. The proposed new facility would accommodate 32-beds site under roof on land that is currently the site of two houses; they would be incorporated into the new design.

Laurel rejects permit, Tastee Diner Lives

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The Laurel Board of Appeals was scheduled to hear an application for a Special Exception application on Dec. 20 concerning a request to allow the opening of a medical cannabis dispensary at 118 Washington Boulevard, home of the Tastee Diner.

However, in a surprise twist to the saga, city planning commissioners rejected a permit that would have turned the city landmark into a marijuana dispensary. The five-member commission voted unanimously to deny the permit sought by Pure Hana Synergy, pointing out that there is already medical cannabis dispensary operating nearby, with a second set to open in the neighborhood soon. 

MSA releases Pimlico study

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The Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) has completed Phase Two of Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course Study, which revealed that the cost of replacing the 148-year-old facility with minimum capital improvements would cost approximately $424 million.

Key findings included the following:

  • The physical condition of the facility presents significant challenges, which, if not addressed, may threaten its continued existence and the success of the Preakness Stakes.
  • Despite its physical condition, there do not appear to be situational factors such as location, accessibility, the surrounding neighborhood, etc. that would negatively affect Pimlico Race Course’s ability to remain the long-term home of the Preakness Stakes.
  • The study proposed an extensive renovation of the existing facility to address issues related to code, safety and security, operational efficiency, revenue enhancement, visitor experience and accessibility. The order of magnitude cost estimate range to complete the renovation was between $248 million and $321 million.

The initial Pimlico Race Course Study was released in February 2017. The full version of the new report is available at www.mdstad.com/studies/pimlico-race-course-study-phase-1-2.

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