July 30, 2014
Does the recent uptick in consumer confidence indicate that the agendas of the White House and Congress are misaligned with middle class aspirations? The U.S. consumer confidence index jumped to 90.9 in July, marking the highest level in seven years from a revised 86.4 in June. Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board recently stated that "job growth helped boost consumers' assessment of current conditions while brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations.
July 28, 2014
The Comcast Center is no longer. The University of Maryland's arena will now be called the XFINITY Center, the school announced Monday. “We are excited to place the name Xfinity on this beloved University of Maryland sports venue,” Tom Coughlin, senior vice president of Comcast's Beltway region, said in a news release. “Our Xfinity brand represents our commitment to delivering an unparalleled, innovative entertainment experience to local consumers, and our partnership with the University of Maryland athletics department underscores this promise.” The building opened in 2002 and is home to the Terps' men's and women's basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, and wrestling teams.
July 25, 2014
Inviting a friend to play on a tire swing can be difficult for autistic children, but with special kinds of playgrounds cropping up in Maryland and around the country, it may become easier. The Shafer Center, a school in Owings Mills for autistic children ages 2 to 8, recently installed a playground intended to help children with social interaction and motor skills. Specialized equipment can "foster social interaction" between autistic children, who sometimes have a more difficult time interacting socially and using social cues, experts say. "A lot of pieces on the playground require more than one person," said Kristen DeBoy, an applied behavioral analysis therapist at the Shafer Center.
July 20, 2014
More than 50 Maryland middle-schools students have been building a house during a summer camp in Annapolis - not a routine task for teens and preteens. "I came here skeptical," acknowledged JJ Jennings, 13, a rising eighth-grader at the Key School in Annapolis. "Why am I paying to do labor?" To be fair, the house is a small-scale project - 210 square feet and sitting on trailer in the Key School parking lot. But that doesn't mean it's a not a big deal. Complete with solar panels and a rainwater filtration system, the compact home is designed to have the smallest possible carbon footprint.
July 17, 2014
The Baltimore City Council passed a bill Thursday backed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to make 10 years of tax credits available citywide for developers of apartments. The council amended the legislation to include developers who renovate apartments as well as those who build new structures. "Expansion of the current apartment tax credit program continues to move us in the right direction by encouraging investment that supports neighborhoods, promotes historic preservation and generates millions of additional dollars for the city," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
July 16, 2014
Taylor Property Group wants to build a modern five-story apartment and office building on Linwood Avenue close to Canton's O'Donnell square. The Baltimore-based company is negotiating with neighbors about the $7.5 million project, which has drawn concerns about how it will fit into the neighborhood. The new building would replace a warehouse, which the Taylor family purchased in 2013 for $1.5 million. Ross Taylor, Taylor Property's general manager, said he has met with neighborhood groups three times so far about the 1000 S. Linwood Ave. project, which would add 21 one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as roughly 7,500-square feet of office space, to the popular East Baltimore neighborhood.