Ruppersberger Applauds Decision to Send More Troops, Helicopters to Fight ISIS

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger applauded the Pentagon’s decision to send more air support and 217 new troops into Iraq to serve in advisory and training roles in the fight against ISIS. The move will enable American forces to advise at the battalion and brigade level — closer to the front lines — to better support the Iraqi offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS.

Ruppersberger, an Appropriator who serves on the House defense subcommittee, recently traveled to Iraq to meet with American troops and commanders on the front lines to evaluate current resources and strategy. The group also met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones and Iraqi military leaders, including a tribal leader whose people are under attack from ISIS. “I was in Iraq to hear directly from U.S. and Iraqi military leaders about the fight against ISIS — to find out what’s working and what’s not,” Ruppersberger said. “My primary takeaway from the trip was that Iraq needs more resources, including manpower and helicopters. Our Special Ops are helping Iraqi forces, but they both need more support to defeat our common enemy. We must stop ISIS on their home turf so that they will not be able to attack the United States or our allies first.”

Bozzutto Again Named No. 1 Property Management Company in U.S.

For the second year in a row, Bozzuto has been named the Top Property Management Company for Online Reputation by Multifamily Executive and J Turner Research for its customer service. Conducted by J Turner Research, the Online Reputation Assessment (ORA) Power Rankings evaluate apartment communities and management companies across the country and is considered an authority for property management standings.

  • Bozzuto has four properties in the 2015 Top 50 Properties list, the most from any other management company.
  • Boston was voted No. 1 on the 2015 Top 50 Properties list.
  • Every community in the Bozzuto portfolio scores above the national online reputation average in the country.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for Bozzuto to not only be ranked first in our rankings, but doing it two years in a row,” said Joseph Batdorf, founder of J Turner Research. “We analyze the online reputation of more than 57,000 properties on a monthly basis across all apartment review websites, which makes for very tough competition. We congratulate Bozzuto for this incredible achievement and for being able to maintain their high levels of service in a very competitive industry.”

VAAAC Celebrates National Travel, Tourism Week With Rally

Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) invited area residents, public officials, partners and business owners to celebrate travel and tourism during National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs through May 7.

In solidarity with destination marketing organizations across the country, VAAAC was to host a “Rally for Travel” at Market House Plaza, 25 Market Space, Downtown Annapolis, on Tuesday, May 3. Tourism supporters were encouraged to wear red to the event that celebrates the significant economic impact travel and tourism have on Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and the nation.

VAAAC President and CEO Connie Del Signore said 6 million individuals visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County annually, and spend $3.4 billion while they’re there. “These visitors don’t arrive on our doorstep by chance; they’re here because our residents, our businesses and our elected officials have created an environment that says, ‘Welcome: We’re glad you’re here.’ This team effort supports an industry that employs nearly 30,000 individuals in our destination and saves county residents $405 in additional taxes,” she said.

SHA to Resurface Route 1 in Howard County

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun to resurface more than one mile of Route 1 (Washington Boulevard) between Assateague Drive, just south of Route 175, and Gatewood Drive, in Jessup. The $1.2 million project will be complete mid-summer, weather permitting.

SHA will grind (remove the top layer of asphalt), pave and restripe the highway, which was last resurfaced in 1988. Additionally, crews will upgrade guardrail along the corridor.

Nearly 29,000 vehicles use this section of Route 1 each day, including, on average, more than 2,000 trucks. To minimize traffic delays, most of the work will take place at night between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. SHA’s contractor, C.J. Miller, of Hampstead, can also close a single lane between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Motorists are encouraged to build in extra commuting time and possibly use I-95 as an alternate route to avoid delays.

Horizon Foundation Applauds Passage of Howard Bicycle Master Plan

The Horizon Foundation has commended Howard County lawmakers for passing a resolution that would establish the county’s first bicycle master plan and pave the way for a new “complete streets” approach to road design so that all residents can safely and easily travel, whether by foot, bike or car.

The resolution, CR 35-2016, also convenes a workgroup of bicycle advocates, transportation officials and others to develop a comprehensive complete streets policy and complete streets design manual to guide future road projects in the community. It was proposed by County Executive Allan Kittleman, approved by the county planning board in January, and recently approved, with amendments, by the county council.

“The passage of this resolution marks a significant step forward in setting the vision for a future Howard County that is designed and built to support the health and well-being of those who live or work here,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of The Horizon Foundation. “We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the groundwork for a built community that is thoughtfully developed to improve quality of life, health, safety and the environment.”

BWI Marshall Welcomes Added Service From Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines announced that it would add service between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and several markets. The additional flights, set for the August to November 2016 period, are now available for purchase by travelers.

The added Southwest flights will operate between BWI Marshall and: Denver; Seattle; Portland, Maine; New Orleans; Minneapolis; and Boston. Recent passenger traffic at BWI Marshall has steadily increased, resulting in a new annual record for passenger traffic in 2015, with more than 23.8 million passengers. Seven straight monthly passenger traffic records have been set at the airport.

IRS Alerts Region to New Phishing Scam

The IRS has warned taxpayers of a new phishing scam targeting Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Virginia residents. Scammers are telling people that the IRS needs to verify the last four digits of their Social Security numbers — which is untrue. Scammers are citing tax fraud and even suggesting that information from recent data breaches across the nation may be involved. The IRS has reported a 400% increase in phishing schemes in 2016.

“As we approach the final days of this filing season, we continue to see these tax scams evolve,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We don’t send emails like this, and there’s no special effort underway for people in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. As these criminals shift their tactics, the IRS remains committed to quickly warning the taxpayers who may be targeted,” he said.

The IRS reminded taxpayers that it does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS instructed taxpayers to report email scams and phishing incidents.

MVA Expands New Self-Service VEIP Kiosks

As part of Gov. Larry Hogan’s efforts to make government services more convenient and put money back in the pockets of Maryland families, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) have announced the addition of seven new self-service Vehicle Emission Inspection Program (VEIP) kiosks.

The expansion brings the total number of the easy-to-use devices to nine. The self-service kiosks are available 24/7 and have been installed at existing VEIP and MVA offices throughout the greater Washington and Baltimore regions. As part of the plan to reduce fees, the cost for the self-service kiosks was reduced from $14 to $10.

The kiosks first launched in August 2015 at the Glen Burnie VEIP station and the Gaithersburg MVA branch office. The two kiosks have performed more than 2,300 VEIP tests and have a customer satisfaction rating of 85% to 90%. The VEIP self-service kiosks are now located at the following locations: Bel Air, Beltsville, Frederick and Waldorf MVA branch offices, and the Annapolis, Edgewood and Owings Mills VEIP stations. For a complete list of self-service kiosk locations and addresses, visit

FAI to Serve as Adviser on Verbal Beginnings 401(k) Plan

Columbia-based FAI Wealth Management has entered into an agreement with Verbal Beginnings, also of Columbia, to serve as the investment adviser on its new 401(k) plan. FAI will provide plan participants with an investment platform of 20 funds and four goal-based profiles from which to choose. As co-fiduciary, FAI also will perform the ongoing due diligence of the funds and employee education.

Verbal Beginnings promotes independence and improves the quality of life for children with developmental disabilities through a custom treatment approach based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. It is a family-focused network of professionals providing ABA therapy to 151 families across the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia areas. It has 102 employees.

HCEDA’s Thompson, Ag Grant Receive MEDA Award

The Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) has announced the recipients of the 2016 MEDA Awards, which celebrate the people, projects and programs bringing economic vitality to Maryland. This year’s winners include Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) Executive Vice President Vernon Thompson, who has been selected for induction into the MEDA Hall of Fame. Thompson spent most of his career with the state of Maryland at the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), followed by the Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED).

This year, MEDA also recognized the HCEDA’s Agricultural Innovation Grant with a Judges’ Award for its contributions to economic development best practices. Influenced by agriculture innovation projects in the farming community, the grant creates a foundation in support of farming and generates the ability to equip county farmers with the resources to establish or expand their operations.

greeNEWit Honored at Energy Star Awards

greeNEWit, of Columbia, was honored by the EPA as a 2016 Contractor of the Year at the recent Energy Star Awards Ceremony, which was held in Washington, D.C. Out of Energy Star’s total corporate partners, only 1% are selected for this recognition.

The energy solutions company was founded to help society build sustainable communities and better economies through conserving the use of natural resources. It provides a variety of energy- and water- saving solutions that help residents and businesses save money on energy bills, as well as reduce their carbon footprints.

Health Care Doc to Screen on May 28

“Fix It,” a 2015 health care documentary which delves into how rapidly rising costs in our current health care system places relentless pressure on businesses, and explores the benefits of a single-payer plan for everyone (including businesses and employees), will be screened on Saturday, May 28, at 1:30 p.m., at the East Columbia Library at 6600 Cradlerock Way.

This event is free. For more information, email [email protected].

HCPSS Launches Public Awareness Campaign for Students, Adults

The Howard County Board of Education has received recommendations for strengthening Board Policy 8080, “Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media,” to ensure equitable use of technology, and to add definitions for digital tools and personally identifiable information. The public hearing on the policy is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., on May 12, in the board room at the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) central office, 10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City.

Also, HCPSS has announced a public awareness campaign to support the responsible use of technology and social media by students and adults. The system will engage student groups and other stakeholders in activities that promote positive messages and activities this school year and next.

HCEDA Partnership Supports HCPSS Career Academies

The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) is partnering with the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) to support Career Academy programs and connect students to the local business community. The partnership was formalized with an official signing on Thursday, April 21, at the HCPSS’s Applications and Research Laboratory.

Under the terms of the partnership agreement, HCEDA will collaborate with HCPSS staff to work with the business community to promote the value of student internships. The partnership will also provide opportunities for students and staff to participate in Howard Tech Council Affinity group meetings, such as cybersecurity and women in technology. HCEDA will partner with HCPSS to introduce students to the breadth of Howard County industries, from small and emerging companies in the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship to the environmental and agricultural sector.

HCC Wins National Award for Campus Safety Planning

Howard Community College (HCC) recently won the national Safety Planning and Leadership Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Kate Hetherington, president of HCC, accepted the award on April 11 at the AACC annual convention in Chicago.

The award recognizes exemplary practices and innovation in campus safety and emergency response strategies, programs and procedures. HCC practices a fully-integrated approach to campus safety, called the Safe Campus Initiative.

FMA at New Address

The Fort Meade Alliance (FMA) has moved its headquarters to a new location that is just around the corner from the old office. The new space will help accommodate the growth of the FMA and the FMA Foundation.

The new address is 7467 Ridge Road, Suite 220, Hanover, MD, 21076. It features more space for staff and a larger conference room for meetings.