Friday, February 03, 2012

State of the County Blog Notes

Lindsey McPherson from Explore Howard wasn’t the only member of the working press to cover the county execs State of the County address yesterday. WBAL sent out a camera crew out to Turf Valley and Brian Hooks from Savage Path provided live blogging coverage.

It was a record turnout for the annual address with over 450 people packed into the Turf Valley ballroom. Pam Klahr, the CEO of the HoCo Chamber announced that one dollar from each ticket was donated to Ullman Cancer Fund.

About ten 8th graders from Lime Kiln Middle School were set up at a table just inside the ballroom demonstrating their financial literacy project. I spent a few minutes talking to their principal, Scott Conroy and school board member Ellen Flynn Giles about the program which is part of Junior Achievement. Other school board members in attendance were Janet Siddiqui and Frank Aquino.

Ken told the assembled business leaders that while Maryland ranked first in the nation in research, it lagged in capitalizing on the opportunities created by that research. Close to home, Ken pointed out that the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Fulton was responsible for the invention of the Global Positioning System and heart stents, among other things.

Ken said he asked his daughter what he should say in his State of the County address and she suggested he ask Siri. Siri’s response was “Okay, I give up. Shall we try again?”

Over 300 miles of fiber have been laid so far in the One Maryland broadband initiative that was spearheaded by his administration. He claims that this is the only statewide broadband effort in the country. When completed it is expected to save local jurisdictions over $26 million annually. The first fiber installed connected Howard Community College with Howard County General Hospital.

The only state lawmaker to attend the event was Delegate Guy Guzzone. That is not surprising. Ken and Guy have been close since they served together on the county council. As I was leaving the event I saw Ken and Guy head off for a private meeting, probably to talk about how they might keep the guv from shifting $17 million of teacher pension liabilities to HoCo.

Good luck with that.
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