Meritus cath lab receives third award

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Meritus Medical Center’s cardiac catheterization lab has earned its third award since 2015 from the American Heart Association for consistent, high-quality care.

The Mission: Lifeline Silver Receiving Quality Achievement Award for 2018 was presented to the lab staff for its treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

The Meritus cardiac cath lab treats approximately 136 patients each year for STEMI or “ST elevation myocardial infarction.” According to a Meritus news release, STEMI is a deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. It requires timely treatment by restoring the flow as quickly as possible either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or providing clot-busting medication.

The team has a goal of a door-to-balloon — the treatment method to open the blocked vessel — time of 90 minutes for a STEMI patient. It has exceeded that by averaging 66 minutes per patient for door-to-balloon time during the past seven years.

USDA grants Hood College professor $100,000 for biofuels project

FREDERICK, Md. — The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded Hood College biology professor Craig Laufer $100,000 over an 18-month period to fund research and development of cost-effective biofuels.

Successful completion of this project would qualify Laufer’s lab for larger grants for commercialization, according to a news release from Hood.

The research will focus on a new biotechnology idea that could significantly lower the cost of enzymes needed to produce biofuels and bioproducts, making them more cost-competitive with petroleum fuels.

The project will provide hands-on experiential training for master’s-level and undergraduate students at Hood College.

Hood will work with Atlantic Biomass LLC, a Frederick-based biofuel technology company that is focused on the development of affordable, renewable biofuels.

The key aspect of this joint effort has been the discovery and development of a sequential enzyme process that converts plant biomass into fermentation-ready sugars without the use of expensive pretreatments.

The first application of this system is converting energy beets to bio-jet fuel. The technology funded by the USDA grant will help reduce enzyme costs, making biofuels more competitive commercially.

Criswell revving up for another new building in Thurmont

THURMONT, Md. — Criswell Auto plans to expand its presence in Thurmont, Md.

The company previously acquired the Chevrolet dealership in Thurmont and built a new facility on Frederick Road. Now the business is planning to build a new Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram showroom and service center across the street.

“We’re just very, very happy with the community and the business environment up there,” said Neil Kopit, Criswell’s director of marketing.

Criswell, a family-owned and operated business, started in 1972 with a Chevrolet dealership in Gaithersburg, Md. Over the years the company has grown to include a Chrysler Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat outlet in Gaithersburg and centers selling Honda, Nissan, Alfa Romeo and Maserati vehicles in Germantown, Md.

Kopit said the company sees opportunity in the Thurmont area, with customers coming from multiple locations, including Frederick and Hagerstown, Md.

“Of course, there’s growth in Frederick, and they’re growing up north (in neighboring Pennsylvania),” he said.

“We get involved in the community … and we’re going to support the community up there, as well,” Kopit added.

The planned showroom and service center is valued at
$3.1 million and will include 29,084 square feet, according to the building permit application information.

The site is south of Thurmont Park.

Notes and quotes for August 2018

Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis:

‘Driven by lists’

I follow the philosophy imparted to me by my father and mother: Service before self and excellence without arrogance. These themes have served me well throughout my career. On a daily basis, my life is driven by lists. Detailed lists keep me focused and on task, and they provide benchmarks about progress on key initiatives.

— Mary J.C. Hendrix, the president of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and a leading cancer researcher

New housing

Below is the number of new, privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in 2017. The numbers include houses, apartments, groups of rooms or single rooms intended for occupancy as separate living quarters:

• Frederick County, Md.: 1,893

• Berkeley County, W.Va.: 949

• Franklin County, Pa.: 412

• Washington County, Md.: 308

• Jefferson County, W.Va.: 274

• Morgan County, W.Va.: 52

• Fulton County, Pa.: 26

• Allegany County, Md.: 21

Because not all permits become housing starts, and because starts lag the permit stage, the numbers do not represent total new construction.

— Source: United States Census Bureau


More honors for Volvo

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Volvo Group Trucks near Hagerstown was one of five recipients of the Maryland Green Registry’s leadership awards earlier this summer.

All Volvo Group facilities follow an environmental policy. But the Hagerstown-area facility has one of the largest solar-panel canopies in the eastern United States. Volvo Group Trucks had projects that reduced the operation’s environmental footprint, such as lighting system additions; heating, ventilation and air conditioning modernization; and equipment replacements.

Volvo Group Trucks is one of 520 member organizations in the Maryland Green Registry, a voluntary program that helps organizations become more sustainable by offering tips and resources.


‘Negative consequences’

A primary challenge to the banking industry is related to regulation. Regulators seem to use a one-size-fits-all approach and, in many cases, the unintended negative consequences impact community bank customers.

— Mark Harrell, president and CEO of CNB Bank

Volvo, FedEx demonstrate platooning

Volvo Trucks North America, together with FedEx and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, recently used advanced driver assistance system technology to conduct on-highway truck platooning as part of ongoing research collaboration.

This marks the first public on-highway showcase of platooning technology between a major truck manufacturer and a transportation company in the United States, Volvo reported. In platooning, trucks follow one another closely, minimizing drag to save fuel.

The test platoon consisted of three trained, professional truck drivers in Volvo VNL tractors, each pulling double 28-foot trailers.

Through a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, the tractors and trailers remained in constant communication. The tractors and trailers traveled at speeds of up to 62 mph while keeping a time gap of 1.5 seconds, maintaining a closer distance than what is typical for on-highway tractors.

Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins demonstrated how the technology handles common traffic situations.

The demonstration is the result of an ongoing research collaboration.

Since April, three Volvo VNL tractors have been paired with various combinations of FedEx trailers to simulate real-world routes and trailer loads.

The vehicle-to-vehicle communication system helps reduce the reaction time for braking and enables vehicles to follow closer, matching each other’s speed and braking. The advanced technology is meant to serve as an aid, not a replacement, for skilled professional truck drivers.

When trucks can drive closely behind each another, fuel efficiency is improved as a result of reduced drag. Drag accounts for up to 25 percent of a truck’s total fuel consumption, and the closer the trucks drive to each other, the greater the fuel-saving potential, Volvo reported.

Reducing the traveling distance between vehicles also allows for greater highway use, helping alleviate traffic congestion.

Volvo Trucks and FedEx plan to continue developing the technology into the foreseeable future with the goal of continuing to learn about the potential benefits offered by vehicle platooning. Additionally, this advanced testing will allow the participants to adapt to the technological and regulatory developments that will ultimately determine the commercial viability of platooning technology in the United States.

The Volvo Group has facilities near Hagerstown, Md., and Shippensburg, Pa.

Middletown Valley Bank announces approval to covert to holding company

MIDDLETOWN, Md. — Middletown Valley Bank’s shareholders recently approved converting to a bank holding company structure.

Shareholders also approved adding two seats on the board of directors.

“We are pleased that the shareholders voted to support the conversion to a bank holding company structure, which will provide flexibility as we continue to grow and service a larger client base,” President and CEO Robert “B.J.” Goetz Jr. said in a news release.

“The addition of two seats on the board will allow the board to boost the expertise in certain areas and share in the increased responsibilities of being a larger bank.”

Middletown Valley Bank is headquartered in Middletown, Md., and conducts full-service commercial and retail banking services through six branches in Frederick and Washington County, Md.

CNB Bank celebrates recent grads

Submitted photo
CNB Bank has sent some of its staffers to the two-year West Virginia Banking School. From left are Nicole Stotler, who recently graduated; Sabrina Rebrook, a first-year student; Lindsey Houle, another recent graduate; and Tracy Lord, a first-year student.

Lindsey Houle and Nicole Stotler of CNB Bank recently graduated from the West Virginia School of Banking in Charleston, W.Va. 

This year’s class had 37 students from across the state. 

The two-year program covers many areas of banking, including financial analysis, leadership and asset quality management, as well as a bank simulation.

Houle has been with CNB Bank for six years and is currently an assistant vice president and branch manager of the Spring Mills office. She volunteers her time with the Martinsburg Centennial Lions Club.

Stotler has been with CNB Bank for 13 years and is currently the finance administrative assistant. She is an active volunteer with Starting Points Mealtime Community Kitchen.

CNB Bank is a full-service bank with assets of more than $350 million dollars. CNB Bank has eight locations in Berkeley and Morgan counties of West Virginia and in  Hagerstown and Hancock, Md.

Maryland Commerce designates new enterprise zone in Frederick County

FREDERICK, Md. — The Maryland Department of Commerce recently designated a new enterprise zone in Frederick County along the U.S. 40 corridor known as the “Golden Mile.”

The new, 530-acre Frederick County Enterprise Zone includes approximately 350 businesses and 28 percent of the total commercial area in the city of Frederick. Since its development in the early 1970s, this area has seen a decline in activity because of changes in retail trends and the closure of Fredericktown Mall in 2014.

The state approves the state’s enterprise zones, while local governments are responsible for their administration. Businesses in enterprise zones may be eligible for a tax credit towards state income tax filings based upon the number of new jobs created, and a tax credit on property taxes based upon their overall capital investment into a property.

Insulation maker breaks ground for W.Va. plant

RANSON, W.Va. — Rockwool (North America) officially broke ground recently on its second stone wool insulation manufacturing facility in the United States.

The new plant is being built in Ranson, W.Va., a community west of Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County.

Among those attending the ceremony were U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Mike Hall, chief of staff to Gov. Jim Justice. They were joined by Rockwool executives, including Jens Birgersson, president and chief executive officer of the global Rockwool Group; customers; industry members; and community leaders. 

The new 460,000-square-foot facility represents an investment exceeding $150 million and will employ approximately 150 people in positions ranging from management to the production line, the company said in a news release.

Full production at the completed Rockwool facility is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020. The facility will manufacture a full lineup of Rockwool stone wool insulation products.

The company has insulation manufacturing sites in Marshall County, Miss., as well as two in Canada, in Milton, Ontario and Grand Forks, British Columbia.

Rockwool is North America’s largest stone wool producer, offering advanced building insulation, industrial and technical solutions.

Its global parent company is the Denmark-based Rockwool Group.

D’Vinci, Media4Math create interactive online math tool

Media4Math has launched a flipped-classroom tool that allows educators and parents to assign digital algebra and geometry modules for use on computers and tablets.

D’Vinci Interactive partnered with Media4Math to create a new level of interactivity in math lessons for middle school and high school students. D’Vinci is based in Hagerstown, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. Media4Math is based in Washington, D.C.

The math modules increase access to student-friendly online lessons that can be used in or out of the classroom.

Educators can evaluate student responses to the standards-aligned modules live or with post-session reports.

The goal is to have students learn and apply key math concepts in an engaging interactive format.

Media4Math (M4M) has been collaborating with educators and parents for more than 10 years to create online math resources for students. Since 2008, the M4M brand has reached nearly a million educators through its portfolio of products (DVDs, M4M Classic, M4M Classroom) and its YouTube and SlideShare channels, Twitter and Facebook feed. Media4Math has partnered with Texas Instruments, Google Earth, Renaissance Learning, Infobase Learning and New Dimensions Media to develop content resources for math educators.

D’Vinci Interactive develops learning experiences, educational websites and web and mobile applications. D’Vinci extends its capabilities through its parent company, JPL, a creative agency that provides strategic marketing, internal communications, media production, and web development to regional, national and global brands.