Spy Video: QAC Commissioner David Dunmeyer

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner David Dunmeyer agreed to sit down with the Spy for a talk in the basement of the Liberty Building last week.

As a self described conservative-conservationist, Dunmeyer’s other job is as a contractor, which gives him a unique insight into the philosophy and pragmatics of sustainable development which he espoused during the interview.

In the first video,  Dunmeyer explains his views on the efficacies of the current Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, the threat of Big Box development, the work of the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association (QACA), and his opinion of the controversial “English-Only” mandate passed in Queen Anne’s County which made English the official language.
In the second video, Dunmeyer discusses his role on the county’s Watershed Implementation team, which works with E.P.A. mandates on nitrogen reduction and wastewater management strategies for the local Corsica and Chester River watersheds.

“It’s not just about finding credits and getting by by meeting our requirements for nutrient reduction–its not just that, its part of it,” said Dunmeyer. “I feel that the bigger picture is clean water. Without clean water, you have nothing. We lose industries, we lose our fishery industry, recreational boating. You should be able to go out in that water without fear of getting a disease or bacteria, and sadly, that is not the case now.”

Dunmeyer remains sensitive however of the importance of farming to the Queen Anne’s County economy, despite the fact that the industry on average is responsible for about 75% of all the nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay.

” I don’t want to lose another acre of farmland in this county….farming is a way of life in Queen Anne’s County, it’s the biggest industry we have, and we need to protect the farms,” he said. “But we all know that farms have the biggest impact on our water quality. Queen Anne’s County farms do a lot in reduction, they do tremendous amounts, and over a lot of the other counties, especially in other states. We are doing a good job. Can we do better? Yes we can. I think if we work together as a team, we can make some better things happen….[the farmers] know the benefits.”

Spy Video: QAC Commissioner David Dunmeyer

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner David Dunmeyer agreed to sit down with the Spy for a talk in the basement of the Liberty Building last week. As a self described conservative-conservationist, Dunmeyer’s other job is as a contractor, which gives him a unique insight into the philosophy and pragmatics of sustainable development which he espouses in the video below. As such, in the first video,  we get to hear Dunmeyer’s views on the efficacy of the current Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, the threat of Big Box development,  the work of the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association (QACA), and his opinion of the controversial “English-Only” mandate passed in Queen Anne’s County which made English the official language.

In the second video, meanwhile, Dunmeyer discusses his role on the county’s Watershed Implementation team which works with E.P.A. mandates on nitrogen reduction and wastewater management strategies for the local Corsica and Chester River watersheds.

“It’s not just about finding credits and getting by by meeting our requirements for nutrient reduction–its not just that, its part of it,” said Dunmeyer. “I feel that the bigger picture is clean water. Without clean water, you have nothing. We lose industries, we lose our fishery industry, recreational boating. You should be able to go out in that water without fear of getting a disease or bacteria, and sadly, that is not the case now.”

Dunmeyer remains sensitive however of the importance of farming to the Queen Anne’s County economy, despite the fact that the industry on average is responsible for about 75% of all the nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay.

” I don’t want to lose another acre of farmland in this county….Farming is a way of life in Queen Anne’s County, it’s the biggest industry we have, and we need to protect the farms,” he said. “But we all know that farms have the biggest impact on our water quality. Queen Anne’s County farms do a lot in reduction, they do tremendous amounts, and over a lot of the other counties, especially in other state. We are doing a good job. Can we do better? Yes we can. I think if we work together as a team, we can make some better things happen….[The Farmers] know the benefits.”

Will the Lights be Bright on Chestertown’s High Street?

The Garfield Center Foundation has recently come up with a bright idea that has the potential to make new waves in downtown Chestertown’s local business community.

Now in the latter stages of the historic Prince Theatre’s renovation, one of the last concerns for the Garfield is to have the old marquee returned to its rightful position over the theatre’s threshold.

The plan, according to GCF president Phil Dutton, has been to have the marquee sent away to Ohio, where it receiving  full refurbishment to its original, tiffany glass paneled elegance.  This phase of the project has already been approved by the Town of Chestertown.

But it is the Garfield’s second phase of their plan that has brought a very contemporary issue to the front door of a very historic town. They want to have a digital sign as well.

New Lyceum Theatre (Prince Theatre) Original Facade

While cost factors and poor quality would have immediately deterred many small towns from using digital billboards in the past for their historic districts, newer, less expensive, and more advanced technology has given even the smallest towns the luxury of debating the use and future role of digital signage on main street.

The relatively small city of Riverhead, NY, for example, faced a similar debate last year when the Suffolk Theatre was being renovated in their historic district.  The Landmarks Preservation Commission, similar to Chestertown’s own Historic District Commission, wrestled with the appropriateness of the newly proposed digital signage for several months.

As the Riverhead News-Review documented in their coverage, the commission was having a hard time trying to accept the idea of having digital component to their historic 1930s marquee.  It was only when they started reviewing old photos of the original building that they came to the conclusion, according to their report to the city, that “The effect of the sign is similar to what the designers of the original sign were attempting to create, and might have installed had the technology been available in 1933.”

Closer to home, Princess Anne County has just had to issue a 120 day moratorium on signs after the Princess Anne Volunteer Fire Company proposed to install an electronic sign in the town’s historic district since the town’s 1996 ordinance does not take into account the new electronic digital signs.

Chestertown, meanwhile, is on the brink of such a debate.

For Prince Theatre staff like Sam Howell, the proposed screen’s digital, easily programmable nature will allow for a convenient way to update the community about upcoming programs and events pertinent to the Prince and other businesses. Described by its proponents as “not about selling advertising”, the sign would contain content that complemented other downtown businesses, like where you might go for a dinner deal prior to the show.

But for foundation members like President Dutton, and Chesapeake Architects’ Peter Newlin–the architectural liaison for the project– the proposed installation of this modern sign signifies much, much more.

For them, the LED sign has the potential to usher in a new era of economic vitality and growth for the Prince theatre and its downtown partners and peers in a way that the old back-lit letter board never could.

How would it do this? Well, the argument runs like this; By providing a steady stream of information pertaining to events, fund-raisers and shows to the theatre going pedestrian, the new sign would make the gap between seeing a show and finding out what to do next in Chestertown significantly briefer. In other words, what is good for the theatre is also good for the rest of downtown.

“A theatre really survives on signage,” said Dutton, “It’s really important that people are kept abreast of what the theatre has to offer, and what is going on in the rest of the community. If you go to a shoe store, you know they always sell shoes there, but a theatre is different; it changes week to week. We are a 501c-3, we came from money acquired from the public, so we want to be able to help drive attendance and economic activity downtown.”

Of course, The Prince Theatre isn’t just any theatre, it is a historic theatre (in a historic district) that has been recognized as such by the Maryland Heritage Trust. While Chestertown’s Historic District Commission has already approved the restoration of the old marquee, they have yet to approve the addition of the LED sign.

Ostensibly, this would be for two reasons. One, there is currently an ordinance in place that restricts the number of signs any given building or establishment is allowed to bear. That number is one. Currently, the Prince’s three-sided marquee contains three signs bearing the word “Garfield”, this new digital display would up that number to four.

Secondly, there is the fact that having an unmistakably modern LED sign hanging within the marquee of an historic theatre does slightly clash with the zoning stipulations for a historic district. It’s just plain anachronistic.  But naturally, this is something Dutton and Newlin are aware of.

“Because of the new technology, people are rightfully concerned, but once we can help folks understand what the sign will do, to help generate activity in the theatre and downtown, I think people will start to change their mind,” said Dutton.

There is also Peter Newlin, who sees the GCF’s yearning for more modern signage as essential to the preservation and survival of Chestertown’s historic downtown. As a former member of the HDC, this is an irony not lost on him.

“Theatres across the board are moving to this newer technology because you are able to create a string of messages directly,” said Newlin. “What you really have here is a series of paradigm shifts, from the hollywood poster board system, to the moveable letter board, and now to the digitally programmable sign. The theatre is not just a theatre anymore, it plays many roles downtown, we need signage to reflect that.”

But for Kees de Mooy, Assistant Zoning Administrator and a co-author of the Historic District Design Guidelines for Chestertown, economic arguments for the sign’s installation have no bearing on existing ordinances to prevent such signage from going up in a historic district.

“The Historic District Commission has no business reviewing economic data,” said de Mooy. “We can’t start down that road, because the rational would then be that if there is a positive economic impact, then it should be allowed. Massage parlors, dog fighting studios…I’m using ridiculous examples, but just because it brings in money–albeit this assumption has been deduced through a very narrowly focused study–doesn’t mean we can approve it.”

Proposed new digital sign with message rotation (Chesapeake Architects)

In his view, the intrinsic historicity of Chestertown’s downtown is its single most economically valuable asset; adding an internally lit sign to an historic building doesn’t necessarily augment that value. It bears mentioning that in order for the GCF to install the new LED sign, it must first be reviewed and approved formally by not only the Historic District Commission, but the Chestertown Town Council. As of yet, this has not happened.

“The way their application has been filed, they have three signs on the marquee, and then they’re applying for a fourth sign, which would not conform to several provisions of our sign ordinance,” said de Mooy. “And then it has several features that are specifically precluded by the sign ordinance, which includes flashing and other capabilities that are outside of what we’ve traditionally allowed.”

While de Mooy acknowledges that there are a few other examples of internally lit signs in the historic district that were grandfathered in after the sign ordinance was created–such as Paul’s Shoe Store–that doesn’t mean he has to like it. Regarding Chestertown’s downtown as perhaps “the most intact historic district in the state of Maryland”, de Mooy hopes for it to stay this way, remaining optimistic all the while in the downtown’s current economic viability, sans LED marquee.

Meanwhile, it will be left to the Town Council to decide whether or not to alter the sign ordinance, deliberations which no doubt will take place in the coming meetings this July.



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O’Malley Announces Funding For 301/304 Overpass Design

Commissioner Phil Dumenil meets demonstrators last fall outside Liberty Building. Photo From SOS facebook site.

The office of Governor O’Malley released a statement yesterday confirming that an additional $7.8 million has been allocated for the design phase of an overpass to span the US 301/ MD 304 intersection outside of Centreville.

The announcement comes after nine months of grassroots campaigning  for the overpass induced by the tragic death of 15 year old Connor Rice, who lost his life in an accident in the intersection last fall. Rice’s death was the fifth in that particular intersection since 2005, catalyzing the community to take action in the form of a Facebook group, Support Overpass 4 Students , and a protest/march to raise awareness of the danger presented to all members of the community by the interchange.

Today, the page proudly includes the press release by O’Malley, a true testament to the power of social media in community activism.

“With this investment in the US 301/MD 304 interchange, we can keep our families and children safe as they travel to work, school and go about their daily lives,” said Governor O’Malley in the release.“Today, we move another step closer to separating local traffic from the truck and through traffic running on US 301 so that we can improve safety and better serve the needs of area residents. Together, we can work to improve this busy intersection.”

As a short-term solution, the state installed a J-turn, forcing east and westbound traffic on MD 304 to take a slower, more circuitous route either north or south along US 301 in order to traverse the highway. At the time of the protest in September, this was viewed as an inadequate response from the SHA and state by the citizens, and the community duly documented their dissatisfaction on the Support Overpass 4 Students site.

But the funding for a full scale overpass–which will cost around $60 million– simply was not there. Likewise, the funding earmarked by O’Malley today is meant to cover the design expenses, not the construction of the overpass. Members of Support Overpass 4 Students however, couldn’t be more thrilled with this recognition.

“It’s just a huge push forward, getting the 7.8 million, we really weren’t expecting this to happen so soon,” said organizer Nikki Pino who was sure to acknowledge several public officials, the students of Queen Anne’s County High School, and savvy social networking as “instrumental” to the organization’s success.

“We couldn’t have done this with the support of Senator Pipkin,County Administrator Gregg Todd, Delegates Smiegel, Hershey, and Jacobs,” she said.  “In the case of State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, we prepared a bus ride for her to see what students go through daily, and now she completely understands.”

The planning phase is expected to take another two years, after which the building stage will begin.

The timing for this overpass comes at a critical juncture in the growth of Queen Anne’s County. According to the most up to date information on QAC’s population from the U.S. Census Bureau, the county swelled by 17% between 2000 and 2010. The state of Maryland, meanwhile, has on average only experienced a growth rate of 9% during this same interval.

Traffic density in the QAC area is only expected to reflect these growth trends, with the SHA projecting US 301 to carry about twice the traffic it does today by 2030. Thus, the activism of the Support Overpass 4 Students group has been particularly prescient, while uniting a community under a common cause at the same time.

“We all are pushing for the same goal,” said Pino. “Everybody understands how much that intersection needs to be changed–but the fight has not ended. In any case,  we’ll take $7.8 million and run with it, and hopefully we’ll start digging in a few years.”

 

 

 

 

 
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Ridgely Company Creating New Fuel Economy Standard

Located in an unassuming warehouse outside of downtown Ridgely, Combined Technology Solutions (CTS) is a little company with the potential to make a big impact on the way we think about engine efficiency standards in America.

Formed in 2008 by Joe Anderson in order to compete in an international contest funded by the XPrize Foundation called the “100 MPG Challenge”, CTS made its mark early with a 2003 Cadillac CTS that they modified to achieve 72 miles per gallon.

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This put CTS in the top 20 finishers for the contest – an impressive feat, considering how prior to Anderson and his team’s tinkering, this factory stock Cadillac CTS (C-class Touring Sedan, yes this redundancy is a coincidence) got about 14 miles to the gallon.

So what made the CTS team’s 2003 Cadillac CTS outperform eco-friendly paragons like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight?  

It all comes down to one little piece of technology, the company’s centerpiece item, the Dynamic Spark Ignition System (DSI). What is it? The short answer is that it is a different type of energy sent to the spark plug, but unlike a conventional ignition system, the CTS ignition does not send out a simple electrical spark, but rather an arc of plasma which has a much longer duration, combusting the compressed gas within the cylinder with greater efficiency.

Using lean and ultra lean fuel mixtures, air-fuel ratios are changed from the normal 14.7:1 to over 40:1.  The additional air boosted through the supercharger increases engine efficiency, reduces combustion and exhaust temperatures and lowers coolant temperatures while providing smooth power.

The result of this process is a much cleaner, leaner burning engine that can also burn just about any type of fuel, including gasoline, methanol, ethanol, natural gas, nitro methane, propane and diesel.

With this achievement under their belt, the question becomes, why hasn’t CTS been able to get their DSI ignition technology to a wider market? After all, by choosing a Cadillac as the DSI’s prototype vehicle–a brand typically equated with the golden age of American motors, when we were not the least concerned with fuel economy–have Anderson and team not found the ideal blend between nostalgia and forward thinking, eco-friendly technology?

Well, sure, but it comes with a catch. And it’s called good patenting, and not the kind that involves putting a little “c” on a napkin that you affix to your invention with a piece of chewing gum.

“One of the reasons we chose to go with a Cadillac for this idea,” said Anderson, “is that it is a car that every American would want to buy. Also, with the rolling resistance and weight specifications, we were presented not only with a challenge to make a cleaner, leaner burning engine, but also significant hurdles to overcome regarding friction and vehicle mass. And the outcome, even with these challenges, was a 72 mpg car.”

“However,” added Anderson, “the growth of this has been stymied by even myself, and partially because we have to make a living trying to do this to start with.”

“To divulge the specifics of the technology, you need to have great patents in place, I have provisional patents in place, but not fully developed patents–those cost money. We have to make sure our patents are solid enough that our competitors can’t go around the patents and steal from us.”

Thus, one of the most unnerving aspects of working in the tech industry-especially if you work for yourself as Anderson does– is that while you may have a unique idea, there is always someone around the corner who has an idea that might be just similar enough to yours that a proprietary squabble could ensue. What’s worse? When you are the little guy, there is always the threat of being outmanned, outspent, out-litigated.

Good patents, however, can serve as a firewall against this type of hazard. But again, they can cost a pretty penny, generally between $15,000 and $50,000 for the kind Anderson would need.

There is also the cost of the supercharger and drive system that is required to add more air to the engine essential for lean burn operation.The engine control requires different type of computer programming also to coordinate the DSI system.

These costs, says Anderson, can be offset with the elimination of the 3 way catalytic converter and the use of a smaller engine. However, with these manufacturing complications in mind, a DSI modded vehicle still isn’t quite ready for the average consumer market, even though breaking into this market is a goal.

But if CTS had been dependent on the average auto consumer all this time, they wouldn’t be where they are today. The CTS staff are automobile racers and engine developers.  Modeling their attitude on the “skunkworks” methodology first coined by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Developments Program, CTS  looks for opportunities to provide solutions for problems that their wide skill set and knowledge base apply, hence Combined Technology Solutions.

CTS has business relationships with unmanned aerial vehicle companies to test engines and certify them for their customers, usually the military.

“We have applied our DSI to reduce exhaust emissions on very large natural gas engines pumping natural gas all over the USA and Canada to EPA 2014 standards,” said Anderson “We prepare vehicles for a myriad of applications including, racing.”

CTS is also working on commercializing technologies invented at UMd-CP, funded by TEDCO. The USDA has awarded a cooperative research agreement with CTS to test bio fuels.

Hopefully, with the revenues gleaned from these enterprises, Anderson and his team will be able to scrape together the funds to apply the DSI for the average American motorist and commercial delivery fleets.

“Our best thing is to go to market with whatever we have, as fast as we can,” said Anderson.  “The first rule of business is sell something. And we do that very well.”

 

Attica Riots Remembered By St. Michaels Pulitzer Winner

On September 9, 1971, 1300 inmates of Attica Prison–a maximum security facility in western New York State– decided to rebel against their white captors. Taking forty prison staff hostage, the prisoners attempted to negotiate with authorities for better treatment, living conditions, and educational opportunities within the overcrowded, mostly minority prison. Eventually resolved by the New York State Police, the conflict lasted four days, resulting in 41 fatalities, 10 of which were civilian prison staff.

“I had gone to the Holiday Inn in Batavia where the state police were relaxing in the bar watching the news, and it was kind of like being in a hunting camp after a successful day,” said Dick Cooper, who was put on assignment during the riots as a young journalist for the Rochester Times-Union.

According to the authorities within the prison, the fatalities that occurred during the four day skirmish were caused by prisoners armed with shanks, who indiscriminately slaughtered each other and their civilian hostages as the state police valiantly sought to restore order.

And in 1971, this stereotype of the maximum security prison inmate as conscious-less psychopath had enough currency that it could float over the head of the public, going generally unchallenged. But this image of the state as an impugnable, righteous actor, and the prison inmate as a disposable societal burden without entitlement to basic human rights was about to change, all thanks to the work of Cooper and his partner on the beat, John Machacek.

Cooper’s eye for inconsistencies between the behavior of the troopers, the pronouncements of the prison, and ultimately, the autopsy reports of the coroner, led to exposing the truth about what really happened inside Attica those four fateful days.

Forty one years later, Cooper can recall as if yesterday the words spoken by Carl Lupo, the senior civilian member of the medical examiner’s staff, who gave the then 24-year-old journalist the lead of a lifetime. The following year, in 1972, Cooper and Machacek were rewarded  for their coverage with a Pulitzer Prize for Local General or Spot News Reporting.

“He was a former butcher in another life, so he was well trained for his position,” Cooper said wryly of the senior coroner, “Then he came up to me and he said, ‘Yo Cooper, where did the media get this story about slashed throats?’ So I said, ‘Well, what do you mean, Carl?’ He said, ‘We completed the autopsies, and they all died of gunshot wounds[…] All the fatal injuries were gunshots.’

“So I said, ‘what kind of gunshots?’ And he says, ‘Well, it was thirty-ought six, double-ought buck, and it was .38 caliber revolver.’–which was the arsenal of the New York State Police.”

With this information brought to light by Cooper and Machacek’s reportage, the administration of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller came under serious scrutiny, as did the State Police, who were now guilty of deliberately spreading false rumors about the causes of the inmates and hostages’ deaths. Radical left wing activist/anarchists The Weathermen  made their disapproval of the institutional racism that led to the prisoners unrest clear with a bomb detonation at the New York Department of Corrections.

And indeed, the sense that the state was getting off with murder scot free did become the general sentiment regarding the riots, as the Special Commission that was convened to investigate the riots in the aftermath did little more than provide verbal condemnation towards the State of New York’s conduct under Rockefeller, resulting in a single state trooper indictment for reckless endangerment. Meanwhile, it took until 2004 for the State of New York to agree to a $12 million settlement to the families of the slain prison employees.

The year 1971 may be remembered by those who lived it as a particularly turbulent year in U.S. history. With protest against the Vietnam War raging and the Black Panthers and Weathermen inciting social unrest in the streets, distrust for authority, police, and the Nixon administration were at an all time high.

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Tidewater Direct Purchases 8 Unit Heidelberg Sunday 2000 Printing Press

Centreville, MD (PRWEB) May 30, 2012

Tidewater Direct, a web offset printing company with 3 plants in the United States, reported Tuesday that it purchased an 8 unit Sunday 2000 printing press to install at its 100,000 square-foot Centreville, MD printing facility. While its Baltimore and West Branch facilities have benefitted from significant investments to their pressrooms, this marks the first major investment in printing technology in the Centreville plant since Tidewater Direct began operations in 2006. The first installation of the press is projected to be operational in mid-September, 2012.

The press is currently configured as one press capable of running 2 webs into a folder. Tidewater Direct will repurpose this equipment and intends to separate the press into two independent 4 color presses that deliver into sheeters. In this direction, it will be the ideal complement to Tidewater Direct’s business model of providing high quality direct mail component parts to direct mail contractors across the United States. Most specifically, this press will propel Tidewater to the forefront of the high quality, high color brochure market. Tidewater prides itself on high quality direct mail printing, including continuous forms printing, generic direct mail inserts, andpharmaceutical printing.

The Sunday press, equipped closed loop color control and automatic registration control, is rated at speeds of up to 2400 feet per minute which is a significant increase in productivity as compared to the Centreville plant’s current equipment lineup. Furthermore, the extended dryers feature internal VOC destruction, which align with Tidewater’s environmental policy of having as minimal impact as possible. The press is designed with 22.25”cylinders, which is optimal for a variety of formats and layouts. The press width of 38” provides for a significant throughput.

“We continue to reinvest in our company to provide our clients better quality printed products with faster turnaround times,” remarked Ken Boone, President of Tidewater Direct. He added, “Most importantly, we keep our costs low so that the high quality product and service we provide can be delivered at prices that can be resold to end users.”

Geoffrey Eisenberg, Vice President of Operations for Tidewater Direct, also serves as the general manager of the Centreville facility where the press will be installed. Geoff believes that “Bringing quality, high-color capability into our Centreville plant will allow for aggressive expansion in the generic insert market that we serve.” He also noted, “Bringing in two presses at once will ultimately provide redundancy that will improve scheduling reliability and operator performance.”

State Comptroller Peter Franchot Speaks at YMCA of the Chesapeake’s 58th Annual Celebration

Senator Richard Colburn and State Comptroller Peter Franchot were in attendance  Tuesday at YMCA of the Chesapeake’s 58th Annual Celebration at Easton’s Tidewater Inn. Included among the proceedings was a special award presented by Franchot, the William Donald Shaeffer Award, to recognize the efforts of longstanding volunteer YMCA, Tom Hill.

Prior to presenting Mr. Hill’s award, Franchot spoke at length about the state of Maryland’s economy–in light of Governor O’Malley’s new income and property taxes passed on May 14. By no means a diffident critic of the new taxes, one of which raises taxes on the 14% of Maryland families making over $150,000 a year.

Franchot said the tax increases were “the wrong approach at the wrong time.” He has been vocal in his objections in speaking engagements across the state.

Long distinguished from his democratic peers for his fiscal conservatism, Franchot’s tone Tuesday was no different. Speaking out strongly against the new taxesat the YMCA event, and not without a touch of humor, he outlined his “simple formula” for what Maryland’s struggling economy needs to recover. This all comes in the wake of his announcement last week on WJZ-13 that he is considering running for governor.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MuLCgg2tEo]

 

“Right now, in the state of Maryland, as wealthy as we are, we rank almost dead last in the country in private sector wage growth, we ranked number one in the country last month in job loss, more job losses than states like California and New York. We’ve had our home values–perhaps not in this area, but around the state- drop by a third. So we have considerable difficulties as far as employment, consumer confidence, and the real estate market.”

“I have a pretty simple formula for  how to fix not only the economy of the state, but also the state’s business reputation, and it basically appeals to those things that pull us together rather than push us apart. I suggest that we take a time-out from tax increases and fee increase for at least two years.”

Other topics Franchot covered were transparent balancing of the budget, the folly of state funded slot machines, and  the promotion of financial literacy among young people, a subject particularly relevant to those preparing for college or already in the midst of navigating their loan payments.

“A passion of mine is financial literacy for young people, Franchott said. “I would like to have a special session focused on financial literacy, not how to promote gambling and casinos, bring Vegas into Maryland. Why don’t we bring financial literacy? Why don’t we  ask our banks, our private sector partners to link up with our school systems to provide finance academies, give our kids the building blocks  of wealth and prosperity, that’s what they need.”

“And frankly, they can then pass that onto their parents–those of us who learned it in the school of hard knocks. And if they really get good at it, they can come down to the legislature and communicate with folks.”

 

 

 

 

State Comptroller Peter Franchot Speaks at YMCA of the Chesapeake’s 58th Annual Celebration

Senator Richard Colburn and State Comptroller Peter Franchot were in attendance this Tuesday at YMCA of the Chesapeake’s 58th Annual Celebration at Easton’s Tidewater Inn. Included among the proceedings was a special award presented by Franchot, the William Donald Shaeffer Award, to recognize the efforts of longstanding volunteer YMCA Tom Hill.

But prior to presenting Mr. Hill with his award, Franchot spoke at length about the state of Maryland’s economy in light of Governor O’Malley’s new income, property, and gas tax increases passed on May 14. By no means a diffident critic of the new taxes, one of which raises taxes on the 14% of Maryland families making over $150,000 a year, Franchot described them prior to the special session in a public letter as “the wrong approach at the wrong time”, and has been vocal in his objections in speaking engagements across the state.

Long distinguished from his democratic peers for his fiscal conservatism, Franchot’s tone Tuesday night was no different. Speaking out strongly against the new taxesat the YMCA event, and not without a touch of humor, he outlined his “simple formula” for what Maryland’s struggling economy needs to recover. This all comes in the wake of his announcement last week on WJZ-13 that he is considering running for governor.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MuLCgg2tEo]
“Right now, in the state of Maryland, as wealthy as we are, we rank almost dead last in the country in private sector wage growth, we ranked number one in the country last month in job loss, more job losses than states like California and New York. We’ve had our home values–perhaps not in this area, but around the state- drop by a third. So we have considerable difficulties as far as employment, consumer confidence, and the real estate market.”

“I have a pretty simple formula for  how to fix not only the economy of the state, but also the state’s business reputation, and it basically appeals to those things that pull us together rather than push us apart. I suggest that we take a time-out from tax increases and fee increase for at least two years.”

Other topics Franchot covered were, transparent balancing of the budget, the folly of state funded slot machines, and  the promotion of financial literacy among young people, a subject particularly relevant to those preparing for college or already in the midst of navigating their loan payments.

“A passion of mine is financial literacy for young people…I would like to have a special session focused on financial literacy, not how to promote gambling and casinos, bring Vegas into Maryland. Why don’t we bring financial literacy? Why don’t we  ask our banks, our private sector partners to link up with our school systems to provide finance academies, give our kids the building blocks  of wealth and prosperity, that’s what they need.”

“And frankly, then they can then pass that onto their parents, those of us who learned it in the school of hard knocks. And if they really get good at it, they can come down to the legislature and communicate with folks.”

University of Maryland Hosts First UM Ventures Symposium on Entrepreneurship

The first symposium on “the notion of entrepreneurship” by the newly formed University of Maryland (UM) Ventures was a breakthrough event for technology collaboration between the Baltimore and College Park campuses, said Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

UM Ventures is a joint effort among the technology transfer offices at the two campuses and the entrepreneurial business services programs at College Park, and is a core initiative of the new collaboration called MPowering the State.

The theme of the symposium, held May 11 at the UM BioPark, was starting a company based on discoveries made by University of Maryland faculty. The event featured more than a dozen entrepreneurial researchers.

“By joining these forces, UM Ventures will stimulate discovery and new business development. And this first symposium gives you a terrific perspective [on academic entrepreneurship],” Perman said as he welcomed faculty, venture capitalists, and business men and women to ‘The UMVentures: Symposium on Entrepreneurship, A Tool Kit for Launching a University-Based Startup.’

It was a full day of interaction among expert panelists from corporate perspectives, including CEOs of University of Maryland startup companies, legal fundamentals, and foundations for success by patent attorneys and intellectual property managers, and startup funding resources by public and private financial experts.

“We are not just an academic institution, we are a healthcare institution and the advantages of starting a company are many,” said UMB 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year Scott Strome, MD, FACS,, professor, School of Medicine. Strome co-founded startup Gliknik, Inc. with CEO David Block, MD, MBA, at the BioPark. Starting a company provides fulfillment, opportunities for nontraditional funding, and revenue for the School and the inventor, said Strome, who is chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

The symposium also celebrated an annual 10 percent rate of industrial funding at UMB. Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, assistant vice president at the UMB Office of Technology Transfer, (pictured) said that with additional human and funding resources, the University has “a real opportunity to increase an impressive list of startups.”

He said, “Faculty come into our office asking how to start a company and run a company. If you think about this, if you spent your life in research, you don’t have any background in this. We put them in touch with the right people to get things going.”

For more information on UM Ventures and the symposium. click here.