News in brief for December 2017

Submitted photo

Dice Office Equipment held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 5 to present and celebrate its new space in Greencastle, Pa. The company also held open houses at its new home on Oct. 5 and 10 to give customers the opportunity to visit and tour the facility.

Dice opens new Greencastle, Pa., outlet

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Dice Office Equipment has opened a new location at 20 Commerce Ave., Greencastle.

“Dice has served the Tri-State area for 15 years, and our employees have more than 100 years of combined experience in the business,” said Brian Hoffman, service manager.

Dice services all brands of equipment and specializes in the sale of new Xerox, Ricoh and Oki brands.

“We recognize that each business, organization and individual has their own needs, and we love to help our customers find custom solutions that satisfy their unique situation,” said Kevin Swope, sales manager.

Hub Labels brings home three awards

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Hub Labels, a custom manufacturer of pressure sensitive labels in Hagerstown, received three awards at the annual Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute Inc. competition in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Environmental Leadership Award recognizes a converter and a supplier member each year that consistently demonstrates a commitment to progressive environmental practices across a range of areas. These areas include solid waste reduction, recycling, waste or energy recovery, the implementation of new clean technology and/or processes, and the implementation of an education program.

Hub Labels also received a first-place award in the Wine and Spirits category for Digital Printing/Ink Jet, and a first-place honor in Digital Printing/Ink Jet — Color Process Prime.

Frostburg State to host development office

FROSTBURG, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a state investment of $300,000 to establish an Office of Regional Development and Engagement at Frostburg State University.

The office will integrate university resources with regional partners in Western Maryland to help communities and companies be competitive and meet the challenges of economic and community development.

The office will have three main priorities.

• Sharpening and supporting the regional focus on business clusters identified for their potential in the region. Those clusters include back-office operations for larger entities such as financial, business and information technology services; life sciences and health care, especially in the testing and development field; light “lifestyle” manufacturing operations, such as for recreation; and regional opportunities in energy and farm-to-table food production.

• Boosting regional entrepreneurship, with the help of the Small Business Development Center. A particular effort will be made to encourage Frostburg alumni, including recent graduates, to bring their businesses to Western Maryland or create new ones in the region.

• Highlighting education, done in collaboration with the region’s community colleges. This could include creating “just-in-time” certificates, micro-credentials or badges in knowledge areas best suited to the needs of regional industries. Efforts will also increase the awareness of best practices in rural economic development.

Frederick firm receives Mayflower honors

FREDERICK, Md. — Ramar Transportation & Logistics Group Inc. of Frederick, Md., was honored recently by Mayflower van line company for exceptional professional performance.

The recognition was conferred during Mayflower’s annual awards program.

Ramar received the Million Dollar Club Award at the $1 million level, which recognizes top Mayflower revenue producers. It also received the Admiral’s Club Award, recognizing the Mayflower top sales producers in domestic household goods business segments.

Mayflower, headquartered in suburban St. Louis, maintains a network of nearly 300 affiliated agencies.

Ramar also received United Van Lines President’s Club Award at the $2 million level, honoring agents who have generated at least $1 million in sales for the United system during the past year.

Volvo electric bus offers greater range

Volvo Buses has launched a new version of its Volvo 7900 Electric.

With extended range and more charging options, the all-electric vehicle offers bus operators greater flexibility. Battery capacity, in particular, has been extended, the company announced in a news release.

The bus is available with a choice of 150, 200 and 250 kWh. This means the bus can run longer between charges, allowing it to be used more efficiently throughout the day.

“This is a very important reinforcement of our electromobility product range, giving our customers maximum flexibility in their daily operations,” Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses, said in a news release. “During peak hours the buses can operate continuously without stopping to recharge. Instead, the batteries can be charged once traffic is at off-peak levels. On shorter routes, they can even run throughout the day and be charged at night.”

State accepting programs to aid adult learners

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is investing $1 million in federal money in projects that support ways for adults to get into long-term career paths.

With this funding opportunity, the Department of Labor is seeking innovative proposals from Local Workforce Development Areas to develop demonstration projects to increase training and employment opportunities for Marylanders who do not yet possess high school diplomas.

The department will fund demonstration projects that pilot interventions involving proven strategies, such as pre-apprenticeship training, English language acquisition, distance learning, bridge programming and pathways to employment for out-of-school youth, among others.

Community partners and adult education providers are encouraged to partner with Local Workforce Development Areas to participate.

For more information, visit www.dllr.state.md.us/gedmd/ or email the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at DLWDALWIOA_DLLR@maryland.gov.

Rocky Gap wins big in magazine awards

FLINTSTONE, Md. — Strictly Slots Magazine’s “Best of Slots” has honored Rocky Gap Casino Resort with 19 awards.
Magazine readers and slot machine customers voted in multiple categories.

Rocky Gap earned first-place honors for “Best 50-cent Slots,” “Casino Where You Feel Luckiest,” “Best Comps,” “Best Players Club Lounge” and “Friendliest Casino.”

The resort earned second-place honors for “Best Overall Casino,” “Best Variety of Slots,” “Best Video Slots, “Best Progressive Slots,” “Best Penny Slots,” “Best Nickel Slots, “Best High-end Slot Area” and “Best Slot Club Promotions.”
Third-place honors were for “Best Video Poker,” “Best Reel Slots,” “Best Quarter Slots,” “Best Dollar Slots, “Best $5-plus Slots” and “Best Slot Club.”

Maryland is home to six casinos. Rocky Gap General Manager Skylar Dice said the Maryland gaming market became more competitive last year with the opening of a new resort in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. corridor.
Rocky Gap, one of the state’s smallest casinos, enhanced its 665-device slot machine floor during the year and improved other areas of the resort.

“Competition in the state escalated this year, and the results in this survey recognized that Rocky Gap continues to listen to all our guests and offers the best slot machine experience in Maryland,” Dice said. “Honors such as recognition in ‘Best of Slots’ are gratifying to our more than 500 team members, whose primary concern is the satisfaction of our guests.”

In addition to the casino, Rocky Gap includes the championship-caliber Rocky Gap Golf Course — the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Maryland — and the Spa at Rocky Gap.

Deep Creek, Garrett Co. chart tourism growth

McHENRY, Md. — Tourism traffic remains strong in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Md.

According to the Garret County Chamber of Commerce, for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, the area has seen a 5.9 percent increase in county accommodations sales, a 19.6 percent increase in “heads on beds,” an 8.5 percent increase in visitors to the chamber’s website (visitdeepcreek.com) and a 17 percent increase in Visitor Guide requests.

Chamber attributes much of growth in tourism to marketing efforts and new ad strategies, as well as the newly implemented post-Labor Day start for Maryland’s public schools.

With Maryland students returning to school after Labor Day rather than in mid- to late August, Garrett County saw an 11 percent increase in county accommodations collections in August 2017 over August 2016, a 53 percent increase in heads on beds and an 8.3 percent increase in sales tax collections.

Garrett County experienced similar tourism increases in fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017) with a 6.9 percent increase in county accommodations sales, an 8.6 percent increase in heads on beds, a 3.6 percent increase in sales tax collections and a 41 percent increase in Visitor Guide requests.

The county’s increases outpaced Maryland’s tourism growth. For fiscal year 2017, Maryland sales tax revenues specific to tourism grew 4.1 percent, compared to 6.8 percent in Garrett County The state’s lodging sales tax code collections grew 6 percent and restaurant sales tax code collections rose 3 percent. In Garrett County, those numbers were 8.7 percent and 5.6, respectively.

Rocky Gap receives Friends Aware award
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Rocky Gap Casino Resort General Manager Skylar Dice, left, congratulates Danny Pfister, a client of Friends Aware, on his 17 years of working at the resort.

FLINTSTONE, Md. — Rocky Gap Casino Resort recently was named Business Partner of the Year by the Friends Aware organization of Cumberland, Md.

Friends Aware is a nonprofit organization created to bridge the gap for adults with developmental disabilities through work programs at the facility and with local businesses to employ some of the people.

Friends Aware reported that Rocky Gap earned the award for creating and providing employment for people with developmental disabilities. The resort has long hired many Friends Aware clients, including Danny Pfister, who has worked at the resort for nearly 17 years.