Friday, January 29, 2010

FREDERICK - A Great Place to Live
New York Times veteran editor moves to Frederick for peaceful retirement
Originally published January 29, 2010 By Danielle McFall

Jack Topchik, a former editor at The New York Times, lives is a condominium overlooking Carroll Creek. He began working for The Times in the fall of 1967 after graduating from the University of Tennessee. Topchik's career was mostly at the Times News Service, which selects, edits and transmits news content to more than 600 newspapers and government agencies worldwide. "During my career," he said, "I served as European editor, Latin American editor, special sections editor and day editor." For seven years, Topchik was also the photo editor of The New York Times.
Topchik took a leave of absence in 2000 to join the Peace Corps in Haiti, but returned a week after the Sept. 11 attacks. He retired from The Times in 2007.
He then took an online survey titled "Where Should You Retire?"
"It had about 50 questions, some weighted more than others, and it kept coming up 'Frederick,'" Topchik said, "Our first response was 'where the hell is Frederick?'"
After making a few pit stops in Frederick on the way home from visiting their son in Washington, he and his wife, Carol, settled on Carroll Creek in July. So far, Topchik enjoys his new city.
"Aesthetically, we love the proximity to the farms and the mountains, not to mention the ability to be in two major cities within an hour," he said.
He has already shared his journalistic wisdom and experience in two Hood College communications classes and said he hopes to work with students more in the future.
Danielle McFall is a student in a journalism class at Hood College.

Agricultural Land Preservation

The Frederick Board of County Commissioners announced today that 3,051 acres on 18 farms were placed under protective agricultural land preservation easements during 2009. The easements bring the total land preserved in Frederick County to 45,738 acres.

Board President Jan Gardner commented, “We are pleased to report on our achievements in agricultural preservation as we continue to press forward to reach our goal of preserving 100,000 acres by 2020 and ensuring an agricultural legacy for the future of Frederick County.” Easement purchase programs administered by Planning Division staff include the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Program, the Frederick County Installment Purchase Program, the Critical Farms Program, the Federal Farm and Ranch Protection Program and the Maryland Rural Legacy Program.

Preserved acreage in the county for 2009 also includes easements to the Maryland Environmental Trust, which are administered separately by staff who work for the trust. Of the total preserved, the county’s Installment Purchase Program has protected 14,649 acres of prime farmland on 94 farms in Frederick County since the establishment of the program in 2002. Frederick County strives to preserve farmland and other important property in order to protect local food and fiber, the resource base necessary for the county’s leading industry, agriculture. Land preservation also helps to maintain farming as a way of life for many residents and assists in the continuance of the county’s longstanding rural character.

Frederick County residents are invited to visit or contact the Agricultural Land Preservation office with questions about programs that allow landowners to be paid for development rights while maintaining ownership of their farms. For more information, contact Program Administrator Tim Blaser at 301-600-2513 or via e-mail at or Anne Bradley at 301-600-1474 or via e-mail at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Plans for Frederick Restaurant Week Announced

Frederick will offer diners price-fixed meals at mouth-watering prices the week of March 8-14, 2010 during the inaugural Frederick Restaurant Week. Details of this special event were announced at the Weinberg Center for the Arts on January 26, 2010.

Featuring over a dozen restaurants, Frederick Restaurant Week is the perfect time to visit a favorite restaurant or to try something new, as chefs prepare delicious 2-course and 3-course special menus. In a collaborative effort, the Downtown Frederick Partnership and the Tourism Council of Frederick County (TCFC), along with local restaurants, planned the promotion. During Restaurant Week, lunches will be offered at $15.10 for a 2-course meal and $20.10 for a 3-course meal. Dinners are offered at $30.10 for 3-courses. Pricing is per person and excludes beverages, taxes, and gratuity, unless otherwise noted by individual restaurants.

“Frederick area restaurants are producing some exceptional, unique, dishes,” said John Fieseler, Executive Director for the TCFC. “It’s a perfect opportunity to feature this culinary treasure in the heart of Mid-Maryland.” Most participating restaurants for the 2010 event are located in Downtown Frederick. “Since meals are priced to offer a savings to the diner, it’s the perfect time to try something new,” said Kara Norman, Executive Director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership. “It’s a great week to skip making dinner and just plan on making reservations,” she added.

The website,, launched on Tuesday, January 26 and will be continuously updated with participating restaurants and menus. It will also include links to places to stay, complementary Restaurant Week activities, and other information so visitors can experience historic Downtown Frederick and nearby attractions. To keep dining enthusiasts in the loop, Tourism will tweet Restaurant Week happenings from their @tourfrederickmd Twitter account, and people can either follow or join the discussion under the hashtag #fredrw. Updates will also be posted to the Tourism Council of Frederick County’s Facebook page.

During Restaurant Week, no tickets or special passes are required, but reservations are highly recommended. For the most updated list of participating restaurants, visit

Monday, January 25, 2010

Entrepreneur Council of Frederick currently accepting applications for Venture Forum

At 8 am on Thursday, March 25th, the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County and the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce will present their semi-annual Venture Forum. Up to five companies will be selected to make their pitches for funding to an invited group of angel investors, venture capitalists, lenders, and other funding sources. The forum is Frederick County's only opportunity for businesses to present to an assembly of investors.

The Entrepreneur Council is currently accepting applications for potential presenting companies. Each selected company will present a 10-minute PowerPoint, followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. Presenting companies will also have an opportunity to present a practice draft of their presentation to members of the Entrepreneur Council, for coaching and feedback, in preparation for the Forum. The application deadline is February 15th.

If your company is searching for funding, especially equity funding, please consider applying to present. If you know of or work with companies that might be interested, please forward this to them.

For more information about the event, or to receive a presenter application, please contact Chris Olson at 301-600-1967/

Thank you,
Chris Olson
President-Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County

Business Consultant
Small Business Development Center-Western Maryland
5340A Spectrum Drive
Frederick, MD 21703
301-600-1966 FAX

Thurmont Prepares for Annual Business Expo - Viva Las Vegas!

Thurmont First, Inc. is excited to announce that the 6th Annual Thurmont Business Expo date has been set and preparations are underway. This year’s event will take place Friday, March 19th from 6 – 9 p.m., at Catoctin High School. This year’s expo has been extended to allow ample time to visit all the exhibitors.

In the fall members of the Thurmont Economic Development Committee voted on the theme Viva Las Vegas and exhibitors will be encouraged to decorate/dress within that theme. “In years past exhibitors have done an amazing job of embracing the theme and we anticipate this year will be no different,” stated Nancy Gregg Poss, Thurmont’s Main Street manager.

The Thurmont Business Expo steadily grows with each passing year. This year it is expected that approximately 100 spaces will be filled with businesses, schools, non-profits, churches and civic groups that have chosen Thurmont as their home. This event is free of charge to residents. We encourage all to attend and explore the many services and products that are available in Thurmont. For additional information on the business expo or for an exhibitor application, logo onto The deadline to apply is March 12, 2010.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chamber Seeks Nominations for Annual Summit Awards

The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its fifth annual
Summit Awards. The winners will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting breakfast
on March 11, 2010 at Ceresville Mansion.

The awards recognize member businesses and organizations of any size, in a variety of categories. To be eligible, nominees must be Chamber members in good standing for at least two years and must submit a nomination package to the Chamber by Monday, February 8, 2010. Members of the community are encouraged to nominate their favorite business for a Summit Award. This year, it’s easier than ever: The PDF nomination form is available online at, and includes a section for nominating a business other than your own. Businesses and organizations may also nominate themselves. A business may be nominated in multiple categories, but may be recognized in only one category. Nominating another business takes only a couple of minutes. Preparing a nomination packet on behalf of your own business should take no more than 30 minutes.

Nominations may be submitted in the following categories:

At Your Service Award – Awarded to a Frederick County retail or service business for making its store, office location, or web site a destination for an increasing number of customers; undertaking actions that generate customer loyalty and satisfaction; and bringing positive recognition to Frederick County.

Entrepreneurial Award – Awarded to a Frederick County business with fewer than 50 employees that has increased employment and/or production and/or introduced an innovative product or service.

Innovation Award – Awarded to a Frederick County business whose innovation has produced a measurable increase in sales, product quality, and profitability.

Made in Frederick County Award – Awarded to a business that makes or assembles a product in Frederick County. Judging criteria shall include demonstrated product quality, increased production, and sales growth.

Workforce Development Award – Awarded to a private sector employer that has consistently made workforce development a priority by offering its Frederick County employees training and education opportunities, or by investing money or other resources in local programs that positively affect local workforce development.

Partner in Business Award (nonprofits only) – Awarded to a nonprofit organization that strives to make Frederick County a better place by developing effective partnerships within the business community.

Nomination forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 8420-B Gas House Pike, Frederick, and online at To request a form, or to register for the Annual Meeting breakfast, call 301-662-4164 x 201.

For more information about the Summit Awards and other Chamber programs, contact Jessica Hibbard, Communications Director, at 301-662-0745 or

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frederick County Reports Positive Job Growth Figures

According to second quarter statistics released by the Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Frederick County was one of only 10 counties in MD that experienced a positive growth in the number of new jobs created over the past five years. From 2005-2Q to 2009-2Q, the county added 571 jobs, the 6th highest number of new jobs (0.62%) created in the state of Maryland. Comparitively, the state of Maryland reported a -0.96% change in the number of new jobs created for the state. The county's 5-year average annual employment growth rate is almost 1%.

Private sector industries that saw the most job growth over the last 5 year were: Professional and Business Services (2,179), Education and Health Services (1,500), and Leisure and Hospitality (775). Industries that experienced the most decline in the number of new jobs for the same timeframe were: Construction (-3,114), Manufacturing (-1,416), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-1,161).

The average weekly wage per worker increased $110 over the last 5 years, representing a 15.4% increase since 2005-2Q. Industries that experienced the greatest increase in weekly wages per worker were: Information ($356), Professional and Business Services ($254), and Manufacturing ($160).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Executive Director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center Named

BALTIMORE, MD (January 15, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today named Dr. Judith A. Britz, a scientist, academician and entrepreneur with more than 25 years in Maryland’s bioscience industry, as Executive Director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, a part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. In her new role, Dr. Britz will lead Maryland’s bioscience efforts, reaching out to the State’s more than 400 bio and life sciences companies to help them grow and create new jobs and working with the Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board (LSAB) to move forward the 10-year, $1.3 billion BioMaryland 2020 initiative. She will also oversee the State’s newly launched Maryland Biotechnology Center, which coordinates and consolidates the vast number of State, university and private sector bio initiatives and resources and offers information and guidance on business strategy and development, access to capital, technology transfer and commercialization, grants, workforce development and training and federal resources. For more information:

New Media & Technology Conference

The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present a New Media & Technology Conference at Mount St. Mary’s University Frederick Campus on Friday, February 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This all-day conference is a follow-up to the Chamber’s first social media conference, held in June 2009, and is part of a new series of “Emerging Ideas” conferences.

Interactive seminars will provide an intensive review of strategies and tools that businesses can use to reach out to customers and grow their bottom line. The day begins with a keynote presentation by Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami at Network Solutions, a web hosting company based in Herndon, Virginia. After breakout sessions and lunch, the day concludes with “Top 10 Tech Trends,” presented by Jimmy Gardner of Tech Cocktail.

Three concurrent breakout sessions for beginning, intermediate and advanced participants will cover topics such as Twitter, Facebook, email campaigns, blogging and more. An optional lunchtime bonus session offers the opportunity to demonstrate and discuss new applications, including Google Wave, Posterous and Hoot Suite. Those with little or no experience will have as much to gain as those who are skilled users. To encourage discussion and create opportunities for networking, registration will be limited to 120 participants. Lunch will be provided. There is a cost to attend, and discounts and other benefits are available to event sponsors and Chamber Trustees. Participants must register in advance by calling 301-662-4164 x 201 or visiting before January 27. The snow date for the conference is Friday, February 19, 2010.

Registered participants will also receive a link to download a PDF workbook prior to the conference. The workbook will include instructions for signing up on major social media platforms, a glossary of commonly used terms and other essential information.

VillageWorks Communications, an internet marketing company, is the Diamond Sponsor of the New Media & Technology Conference. Ruby and Pearl sponsorships are available to Chamber member companies who wish to support the conference and gain additional marketing exposure. Interested companies should call Jessica Hibbard at 301-662-0745.

Detailed descriptions of each session, list of presenters, complete schedule of events, and instructions for online registration are available at

Maryland Schools Number One for a Second Year!

Education Week Magazine certified Maryland public schools as number one in the nation for the second year in a row.

The newspaper put Maryland at the top of the list, with the nation's only B+ average. The study looked at data in six critical categories over the last two years, including student performance, state accountability and teacher effectiveness.

New York and Massachusetts followed Maryland in the rankings with B grades. According to the report, most states received grades of C or less.Visit Education Week’s web site for the full report.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OED looking to fill vacant spot Business Development Advisory Council Board

Business Development Advisory Council
Meets the fourth Wednesday of every other month (Jan., Mar., May, July, Sept., and Nov.) at 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Seeking a person that has leadership experience in business and a vision for economic development in Frederick County. Please go to the Office of Economic Development’s website to learn more about the Office of Economic Development and the Business Development Advisory Council.

The deadline date for interested persons to apply is 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 1, 2010. As a reminder, all interested persons who wish to be considered for membership must be residents and registered voters of Frederick County.

To access a complete list of Frederick County volunteer board vacancies, please visit

If interested in serving, send a letter of interest indicating the specific board/commission/committee of interest and a current resume by regular mail or e-mail (no facsimiles) to the attention of:
Mrs. Joyce M. Grossnickle, Administrative Officer
Office of the County Manager Page 3 of 3
Winchester Hall - 12 East Church Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701
Please include current contact information in the documentation submitted, i.e. home, work and cell telephone numbers, home mailing address and e-mail address.
Letters of interest and resumes must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 1, 2010.
Frederick County Government does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability in employment or the provision of services.

Friday, January 8, 2010

TransIT Connects People and Places

Connecting People & Places is more than just a slogan. TransIT connects people and places all around Frederick County, providing access to work, education, recreational and volunteer opportunities six days per week, 307 days per year. County resident, Larry Minnick, uses TransIT-plus to get from his Myersville home to Goodwill Industries in downtown Frederick where he attends adult basic education classes to develop reading, computer and travel skills. Afterwards, Larry takes a connector bus from downtown to his place of employment on New Design Road.

In addition to using TransIT for education and employment, Larry rides the bus to volunteer at Goodwill. He is one of Goodwill’s Volunteers of the Year. Store managers state, “Larry always brings excitement to the work area... and Larry is always motivated, happy and great to be around.” Patie Elsberry, Goodwill Program Manager, said, “None of this would be possible for Larry without TransIT.” Patie feels strongly that TransIT plays a vital role in her participants’ lives, as 90% of them do not have a driver’s license or own a car. She explains that TransIT benefits participants in many ways:

• Provides opportunity for participants to receive services in their many job readiness programs.
• Those who bicycle as a means of transportation can load their bikes on TransIT bus bike racks.
• Offers mobility for people with disabilities, as TransIT buses and shuttles are accessible. Buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts and steps can be lowered.

Many service agencies, including Goodwill and the Freedom Center, provide travel training on TransIT buses and some offer monthly TransIT passes to clients to enable them to reach their destinations — and their goals. A travel training video is available on TransIT’s website:

Can TransIT assist you or someone you know? For more information, visit their website at or call 301-600-2065. TransIT invites you to ride and find out what 792,000 riders already know ... TransIT Connects People & Places!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Local Business Utilizes OJT Program to Hire, Train and Promote Employees

Approximately three years ago, the owner of a local commercial cleaning franchise business (System 4) contacted Frederick County Workforce Services (FCWS) in need of a qualified worker to become a Field Consultant with the company. At the suggestion of a business consultant at FCWS, System 4 decided to participate in the FCWS On-the-Job Training (OJT) program. Through this program, employers agree to train an unskilled or under-skilled employee and during the training period (typically three months), the employee’s salary is partially covered through grant funding obtained by FCWS.

The FCWS job seeker selected to join System 4 and participate in the OJT has since been promoted and earned a national sales award with the company. When this individual was promoted, the transition created a new opening within the company, which was filled by another FCWS OJT candidate. After a period of time, the second OJT hire was promoted as well and the cycle continued, leading to a third hire in October 2009.

By participating in the OJT program, System 4 has saved time and money in recruitment costs, improved skills within its workforce and boosted morale by creating internal advancement opportunities for employees. To find out how the FCWS On-the-Job Training program can make a difference in your organization, please call (301) 600-2255.

Tech Awards Nominations Needed

Now entering its 8th year, the Frederick County Tech Awards Celebration continues to showcase the established excellence and rising stars of the technology sector in Frederick County. Now is the perfect time to nominate those persons and companies that have paved the course of excellence in 2009. This year’s event will be held on March 25, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Dutch’s Daughter in Frederick, MD.

Nominations are now being accepted for Executive of the Year, Firm of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Service Provider of the Year. Executive of the Year honors executives who have made outstanding contributions and led their company to success through their leadership skills and personal impact during 2009. Firm of the Year honors firms that have exhibited strong growth of revenue, employment and contributed to the advancement of technology in 2009. Small Business of the Year recognizes small businesses that have shown vision and enterprise in starting up in their chosen market sector and, through a well researched business plan and marketing performance, have met their targeted financial outputs and have identified future growth potential in 2009.

Service Provider of the Year honors the dedication and consistent outstanding service to Frederick County’s technology and biotechnology communities in 2009. Don’t wait to nominate those companies that have made a difference for Frederick County in 2009. To nominate, please click on the following link: 2010 Frederick County Nomination Form. All nomination forms must be submitted by February 19, 2010. For questions, please contact Todd Hayes at or 240-243-4049.

Register now and join us for the 8th Annual Frederick County Tech Awards Celebration, March 25, 2010!

We would like to thank our sponsors: Platinum – Frederick County Office of Economic Development; Gold – MedImmune; and Bronze– City of Frederick