BizWeekly Update – September 10, 2013

Brown, Maryland Health Connection Unveil Advertising, Outreach Campaign

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace operated by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, have unveiled a multimedia advertising and outreach campaign designed to inform consumers statewide about the importance of health coverage, access to health plan choices and the financial assistance available when the marketplace opens in October for the enrollment period that ends March 31, 2014.

The integrated communications and outreach campaign includes advertising, social media and partnership strategies developed to provide consumers with the information they require to shop, compare and select health insurance through Maryland Health Connection. Marylanders will experience the campaign in each region of the state through the open enrollment period, with the intent of insuring the 800,000 Marylanders (14% of the state’s population) who are not covered.

“In launching this advertising and outreach campaign for Maryland Health Connection, we’re going to ensure that Marylanders get the information they need in order to get access to the quality, affordable care they deserve,” said Brown. “It’s a significant step forward as we continue to lead the way in implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is going to generate more than $3 billion in annual economic activity for our state and cut the number of uninsured in half by 2020 throughout Maryland.”

During the open enrollment period, Maryland Health Connection will partner with the Baltimore Ravens to communicate to state residents the importance of developing a health coverage game plan. Research shows that 71% of the uninsured population in Maryland have watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months.

UMD, Vanderbilt Team Up for a New Wrinkle in MOOCs

The University of Maryland (UMD) and Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., will introduce a significant new step in massive open online courses (MOOCs) next year — a two-part, two-semester collaboration offered through Coursera. It begins with UMD faculty and concludes with Vanderbilt’s.

The project demonstrates a collaboration that would be unmanageable outside of a MOOC platform, the organizers said.

“We’re offering students a one-two punch by pairing these courses,” said UMD Computer Scientist Ben Bederson, who serves as special adviser on technology and educational transformation. “Students will get to create and examine, from end-to-end, an app that integrates mobile devices with cloud computing platforms. It promises to be a useful tool, for example, in collecting international data.”

The MOOC sequence begins at Maryland in the just-started academic year with “Programming Handheld Systems With Android,” taught by Computer Science Professor Adam Porter. Then, the sequence continues with Vanderbilt Computer Science Professor Douglas Schmidt and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jules White, who will teach “Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture.” This will focus on connecting mobile applications to the computing cloud.

“Creating such an opportunity for Vanderbilt and University of Maryland students alone would be incredibly complex in a traditional environment. With the MOOC platform, not only is it possible, it will now be available to learners globally,” said Schmidt. “This trans-institutional and interdisciplinary MOOC sequence will provide an exemplar of how intentionally coordinated MOOCs can create learning communities that cut across traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries.”

BWI Marshall Moves Up in North American Airport Passenger Traffic List

According to recent data released by Airports Council International (ACI), based in Montréal, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport has moved up one spot in its annual rankings.

With more than 1.56 billion passengers arrived and departed from North American airports in 2012, the overall total represented a 1.3% increase from the previous year. Cargo increased by 0.8%, while total operations decreased by 1.4%. Locally, BWI Marshall moved up one spot, from the 23rd to the 22nd busiest U.S. airport (and 23rd busiest in North America).

“The fact that North America’s airports continue to rank among the world’s busiest underscores their tremendous importance to the global economy and the economies of the local communities that they serve,” said Deborah McElroy, interim president of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). “Making the necessary infrastructure investments today will ensure that companies in North America, as well as ACI-NA’s member airports, retain their competitive edge in the future.”

The four busiest airports were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with more than 95.5 million passengers; followed by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (66.6 million); Los Angeles International Airport (63.7 million); and Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (58.6 million).

Memphis International Airport remained the largest cargo airport in North America, handling approximately 4.0 million metric tons, an increase of 2.5% from last year’s totals. Anchorage International Airport ranked second in North America with a 3.1% decrease in its cargo volume to 2.5 million metric tons.

Hartman Sells Annapolis Boat Shows

Paul Jacobs, general manager of the Annapolis Boat Shows, has announced that he and a team of four local business owners have a contract to purchase the Boat Shows from C. Edward Hartman, II.

Jacobs will continue in his role as general manager and has pulled together a team of local maritime professionals to complete the deal. They include Sheila Jones, who has been with the shows for 15 years and currently serves as show manager; Peter Trogdon, owner of Weems & Plath, an international marine industry business based in Eastport; Bob Crain of Applied Lighting, who is responsible for bringing light (and electricity) to the shows; and Mary Ewenson, owner of SpinSheet and PropTalk magazines and co-owner of PortBook, the publications for boating on the Chesapeake Bay.

The Annapolis Boat Shows contribute $50 million annually to the local economy and help to ensure the success of many nonprofits in the community. In the past year, they’ve supported dozens of local charities, elementary schools and churches, and donated the use of a barge for the fireworks. The new ownership is committed to continuing and expanding that reach in the community.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to bring more marine companies to Annapolis and encourage them to open operations here. We plan to connect them with the Annapolis Economic Development Corp., so we can all work together to stimulate the economy and build the marine industry,” Trogdon said. “After all, Annapolis is the sailing capital of the United States. We offer the best sailing vacations, the best place to work on boats and the best place to buy a boat. I can’t think of a better way to support these efforts than through the Annapolis Boat Shows.”

Annapolis Market House Officially Opens

The community, city staff and business owners all joined together to welcome the new Annapolis Market House tenants and to officially open the historic market on Sept. 7. Mayor Josh Cohen made a big splash at the grand opening by keeping his word that he would “walk the plank” as he plunged into Annapolis’s Ego Alley — in his business suit and tie — in front of more than 300 spectators if the Market House was not open by his self-imposed deadline of last October.

Market House tenants are Yellowfin Seafood & Oyster Bar, Hard Bean Café, Carl’s Corned Beef & Delicatessen, Midship Fresh Bar, Annapolis Organic Market, Good Life Smoothie Bar, Firenzes Gelateria and Amsterdam Falafelshop.

There has been a Market House at City Dock since the late 1780s, and while it moved several times, it has always been located in the heart of the Historic District. The existing structure was built in 1858 and underwent a major renovation and restoration in 1972. For information about the new tenants, go to www.markethousemerchants.com.

Edwards Project Solutions Cuts Ribbon in Howard County – Again

Edwards Project Solutions and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman cut the ribbon on a new, 8,000-square-foot suite at 6085 Marshalee Drive in Elkridge in early September, marking the company’s return to Howard County. This is the third relocation for the 16-year-old federal contractor, as six years ago the company expanded from its previous home in Columbia and relocated to a new site off of Coca-Cola Drive in Anne Arundel County.

With 42 employees working both on- and off-site, this larger facility puts the company on track to reach its goal of employing more than 50 workers by December. “Our growth has not been in leaps and bounds, but it has been steady,” said company CEO Steve Edwards. “We have had year-over-year growth for the last seven years, between 25%–35% annually, and we look forward to continuing our growth back in Howard County.”

Interactive Map Unveiled for Public Input to Howard County’s Bicycle Master Plan

The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning has launched an online, interactive map for Bike Howard, the Howard County Bicycle Master Plan. The map will allow the public to review, comment and vote on the draft facility improvements proposed by the plan. Suggested facilities also can be added to the map by the public.

The map will be available for one month to allow the public ample time to review and comment on the proposed improvements. County planners will then use the information to refine the recommendations that will be included in the final draft of the master plan. A public meeting on that final plan will be held in November 2013. The map and instructions can be found at www.bikehoward.com.

The Door to HealthCare Announces Forums for Howard County Residents

The Door to HealthCare, a Program of Healthy Howard Inc., will host a series of community forums to answer questions and provide practical answers about what health care reform means for Howard County residents.

The next event will be held today, Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 7–8:30 p.m., at the North Laurel Community Center’s Chesapeake Multipurpose Room, located at 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel. Additional forums will follow in other locations throughout Howard County. For more information about upcoming forums, contact Patricia Omana at pomana@healthyhowardmd.org or 410-313-5170.

Public Workshops Scheduled for Downtown Ellicott City Revitalization

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced that three workshops will be held to solicit public input into capital projects and improvements for downtown Ellicott City. The first workshop is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Dohony Hall in St. Paul’s Church, 3755 St. Paul Street in Ellicott City.

This year, Ulman included $3 million in Howard County’s capital budget for sidewalks, curbs and other projects to beautify and improve the Tiber River basin and its amenities. A portion of the money is also planned for water quality and drainage projects. TND Planning Group has been retained to facilitate discussions of the various projects generated by county agencies and to solicit other ideas from the community.

Two additional public workshops are scheduled for Sept. 26 and Oct. 10 at the Roger Carter Community Center, 3000 Milltowne Drive in Ellicott City; both workshops will begin at 7 p.m. The public can follow developments at www.facebook.com/planellicottcity.

Anne Arundel Cares Week Runs Through Thursday

The second annual Anne Arundel Cares Week is raising money for 58 local nonprofits. Three $2,500 challenge grants will be given to the nonprofits of various sizes that raise the most money through the Anne Arundel Cares web site, www.aacares.org, prior to midnight on Thursday, Sept. 12.

“From helping our struggling neighbors to cleaning up our rivers and building a thriving arts community, nonprofits have a tremendous impact on our quality of life,” said Joanna Conti, founder and chair of Anne Arundel Cares. “We ask everyone to support the work of their favorite nonprofits through www.aacares.org this week and help them win an extra $2,500.”

$32,160 was raised for 22 nonprofits during the first Anne Arundel Cares Week last September. All donations are fully tax-deductible and go directly to the chosen nonprofit, less a merchant account fee. The challenge grants have been donated by Capital One Bank, Joanna Conti and an anonymous donor.

Image360-Columbia Launches Inaugural Social Media Contest

Image360-Columbia recently announced the company’s first-ever social media contest, the Image360 Scavenger Hunt Social Media Contest. Its launch will include three monthly prizes and a grand prize upon completion in December.

Contestants are invited to participate via Facebook and will be required to enter by answering a simple question using a provided clue. The answers to the clues will be located on the Image360-Columbia web site and other online platforms. Contestants who provide the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for the monthly prize where a winner will be chosen at random on the last day of every month. All contestants who answer correctly also will receive an entry into the grand prize drawing, which will be held on Dec. 31.

Monthly winners will receive a $500 gift card to their nearest Image360 location. The grand prize winner will receive a tablet banner stand, an iPad and up to six free bannerstand banners throughout 2014, totaling more than $1,000 in products and services.

Businesses and their supporters can participate in the contest at www.facebook.com/pages/Image360-Columbia-MD/327400124058916/?sk=app_196592473850159&ref=ts. “Like” the page, then enter the contest. The contest ends Dec. 31.

Audition for Misako Ballet Company

Misako Ballet Company, a professional, nonprofit 501(c)(3) dance company based in Columbia, will hold an open audition on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10:45 a.m. The company’s repertory includes a mix of classical ballet, contemporary dance and Japanese-themed dances. Dancers will have opportunities to learn company repertory and to perform frequently in informal and formal performance venues.

The company seeks dancers older than the age of 18 and with a strong background in classical ballet/modern dance. Audition will consist of a traditional ballet class and centre pointe work, if applicable. For more information, visit www.misakoballet.com/pages/auditions.

From MarylandReporter.com …

In Republican race for governor, Lollar shows fire, and Craig needs some spark: Two faces of the Maryland Republican Party appeared just a few miles and a few hours apart recently in Ellicott City. Charles Lollar was dishing out his energetic, nonpartisan outreach to several dozen enthusiastic supporters. Three hours later, a group of mostly older establishment Republicans gathered to hear Bob Flanagan announce a run for delegate. Barely noticed in the small crowd was Harford County Executive David Craig, the GOP candidate for candidate for governor with the most solid experience and the least pizzazz. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/category/news/#ixzz2ePpKbIQO

Veteran political reporter Lou Panos dies; remembered for “fair reporting of the truth”: Lou Panos, who covered 40 sessions of the Maryland General Assembly during his 60 years as a working journalist, passed away on Sunday. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/category/news/#ixzz2ePpA5eZ8

Md. CEOs want to see state tax reform, spending efficiency: The CEOs of Maryland’s major businesses have found the “elephant in the room” that stands in the way of economic growth here: the state’s non-competitive tax structure, according to a new report from the Greater Baltimore Committee. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/category/news/#ixzz2ePormtVk

MarylandReporter.com is a news site for government and politics in Maryland that is published and edited by Len Lazarick. For more information or to sign up for the daily e-news, go to marylandreporter.com.

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