Politics & Business

Under Armour Develops Sci-Fi-y Innovation


USA Today scored big time with its recent interview with Under Armour CEOKevin Plank and his incessant quest for innovation.

Did you know that in Under Armour’s Tidepoint headquarters a lab exists through which only 20 employees can pass, and those only after a scanner has read and calculated the pattern of veins on their backs?

Or that Under Armour has designed a fabric that repels water as well as a duck’s feathers?

Or that they have created a shirt that can monitor your heart rate?

Plank states as Under Armour’s goal: “All we’re trying to do is change how people think about fitness …. And build Under Armour into the biggest brand in the entire land.”

Read more at Citybizlist

I See You, Maryland Live! Casino


I know I had some doubts about the recently opened Maryland Live! Casino, but after the results from its earnings this month, I may need to take my criticisms back.

A statement from the Maryland Lottery came out today that the casino, which opened June 6 at Arundel Mills Mall, pulled $28.5 million in its first 25 days. That’s more than twice what Maryland’s two other casinos took in – 8 million from Hollywood Casino Perryville and $4.4 million from Ocean Downs, on the Eastern shore.

Even though you have to consider that this was the casino’s opening month, that’s still a ton of money. And two-thirds of it goes to the state in taxes, most of which is supposed to be put into the state’s education trust fund. That’s a great deal for pretty much everyone – the casino’s investors, the people it created jobs for, the players, and the kids in Maryland schools.

The real question we have to think about now is what to do about the other casinos that are hoping to start up in Maryland. Is demand strong enough to justify building one or two more, or would that spread the casino clientele too thin? At least for the other two Maryland casinos the Maryland Live! opening doesn’t seem to have changed too much – Hollywood dipped 9.8 percent and Ocean Downs went up 16 percent.

Baltimore City Council Vote to Give Themselves One Extra Year


Last Week, the City Council approved a change to Baltimore’s charter that would move local elections to align with the presidential cycle. The change would save taxpayer money and could potentially increase voter turnout. Oh yeah, and it would give the Mayor and the City Council an extra year in office.

Some local activists smell a rat and are campaigning for city voters to reject the measure. Problem is, the Maryland General Assembly has already passed a bill moving all cities to the presidential cycle.

Does Michael Phelps Have His Groove Back??


Last week, Ryan Lochte had some brash words to say to ESPN The Magazine: “Once I beat someone, they won’t beat me again.”  That’s pretty bold talk.

Now that Baltimore’s Michael Phelps has beaten him in the final races in Omaha, will the rising star change his tune? One thing is for sure, we’ll see exciting races in London.

“It’s not like anybody completely counted Phelps out, after what he did in Beijing, but there was a definite sense that the legend had faded, and that Lochte was the new superstar. But over the past few days, it’s all coming back: the top form, the pressure performances, the dramatic finishes. The trials are over for Phelps, but he’s whetted the national appetite for what should be an incredible week at the Aquatics Centre in London,” writes Shane Ryan at ESPN’s Grantland.

See the races above and below, and read more at Grantland.




Hundreds of Traffic Signals Still Without Power – Traffic Delays Expected Monday, July 2nd.

Motorists Electing to Drive Should Leave Early, Allow Plenty of Extra Commute Time and Use 511 for Up to Date Route and Commute Information

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is urging motorists in Maryland’s Washington suburban area to use Metro for Monday morning’s rush hour.  In the Baltimore region, Light Rail, Baltimore Metro Subway and MARC are the suggested options.  Citizens who need to drive should leave early, plan on extra commute time and be patient as traffic delays are expected.  In Montgomery County alone, there are more than 400 traffic signals that are without power and several roads blocked with fallen trees.  Statewide a handful of roads remain blocked due to fallen trees and tree limbs.

“This is a very serious situation and drivers need to be patient and allow extra time to commute in the morning as many traffic signals may still be without power,” said SHA Administrator Melinda Peters.  “At a signaled intersection where traffic lights are not operating it is imperative to treat it as a four-way stop, but remain extra cautious of other drivers that may think they have the right-of-way.”

SHA is advising motorists to curtail travel this evening if possible to enable highway crews and utility companies to restore roads and service to customers.  If travel is necessary tonight, use extreme caution as many traffic signals and highway lighting systems are without power and not operational.  Approach intersections cautiously and remember to treat intersections without power as a four way stop, using extreme caution to mainline traffic and checking twice before proceeding.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, July 01, 2012, following is the listing of roads closed.

MD State Highway Administration Bugs Invasive Species with Brilliant, Beneficial Insects


above, the Mile-a-Minute Weevil

Two Highly Invasive Plant Species Targeted

(June 29, 2012) – They are not stink bugs, but they are creating quite a stir in wetlands throughout the State. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is unleashing a weevil and beetle attack on invasive plant species that choke the life out of native plants along highways and in wetlands.

SHA, along with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), is enlisting the help of the mile-a- minute weevil and the purple loosestrife beetle in the epic struggle to control invasive plant species that pose a threat to wetlands, native vegetation and wildlife habitat. Similar programs, which have been successful in New York, Delaware and other states, are using greener methods to control invasive plant species. In Maryland, SHA and MDA have used insects for the biological control of thistle, another invasive weed species.

“Weeds in gardens are a nuisance; weeds like the purple loosestrife in wetlands are destructive and can impact water quality,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “SHA is using safe, innovative and greener methods to control invasive species, reducing reliance on herbicides.”

SHA recently released the insects at 11 wetland sites on the lower Eastern Shore, in Central Maryland and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Wetlands, particularly those connected to storm water treatment systems, are critical at enhancing water quality that enters the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife and mile-a-minute weed kill off plants species that support water filtration, decreasing the wetland effectiveness or even destroying it.

Barry Landau, Document Thief, Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

Barry H. Landau

Barry H. Landau, 64, the Manhattan resident and rare documents collector whose secret life of crime came to a halt when he and his accomplice, Jason Savedoff, were caught swiping documents at the Maryland Historical Society last July, was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to theft and conspiracy.

Maryland is the Nation’s Most Enterprising State


“The New Normal” sounds a little like one of those insults that’s supposed to trick you into thinking its a compliment — but bear with us. In a new stats-heavy report on the “New Normal” of the nation’s economy, the U.S. Commerce Department argues that the nation is dealing with a new geography of growth, one that doesn’t match up with old ways of understanding how employment, manufacturing, and technology growth actually work. What we need, they argue, is a new multidisciplinary, enterprising approach — and, not coincidentally, they name Maryland as the nation’s top enterprising state.

Go Daddy Founder Establishes Professorship at UB


Bob Parsons, founder and executive chairman of Go Daddy, has made a $1 million donation to the University of Baltimore to establish a new professorship specializing in digital communication — a burgeoning field that brings together computer science, graphic design, entrepreneurship and related skills.

In addition to the professorship, Parsons, a member of the Class of 1975 who grew up in Highlandtown, will give lectures, either on campus or in a virtual environment, to share his expertise on  digital life, online marketing and entrepreneurship. Parsons is credited with providing leadership for Go Daddy’s marketing strategies, including its well- known Super Bowl ad campaigns that helped put Go Daddy in its leading position with Web hosting and domain names. The first lecture is set to occur at UB in the fall.

(Parsons continues to break new ground on the Internet with his highly-touted video blog, www.BobParsons.me, above, which has become popular with entrepreneurs. His one-of-a-kind personality — and his authentic Baltimore accent — really come through!)

“Like” Giving Away Cash to Local Charities?


Liberty Mutual Insurance launched this week the return of its “Like My CommunityTM Project,” a Facebook campaign to give more than $100,000 to local non-profits.  Employees in four Baltimore offices picked six groups to contend for the cash prizes, which will be awarded based on the number of Facebook likes they receive from June 25 through August 20. The top three winners will receive $30,000 each, the others $3,500 each.