Happening this week around the county …

Lidl US announced Tuesday its plans to build 10 new grocery stores in Maryland, all in the Baltimore-Washington area.

The German grocer told Maryland officials this is doubling its footprint in Maryland and is part of a planned $500 million U.S. expansion that will bring 50 new stores to the east coast.

“It is exciting news that a fast-growing global company like Lidl is continuing to invest and offer good-paying job opportunities at a time when they are needed the most,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We welcome these new stores to our communities, and look forward to working with Lidl to ensure their continued growth and success in Maryland. This is more good news for our economic recovery, and will help more Marylanders get back to work.”

All these stores will be supported by the Regional Headquarters and Distribution Center in the Principio Business Park near Perryville.

The closest Lidl stores to Cecil County are in Aberdeen, Md. and Middletown, Del. with another being built in Bear, Del.

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Maryland Energy Administration is offering three grant programs between now and Jan. 12, 2021 for commercial, agricultural and manufacturing operations. Programs closest to readiness in the midst of the current pandemic will get priority for a share of the $1.65 million pot of Fiscal Year 2021 Commercial, Industrial and Agriculture (CIA) money.

Grant money is targeted toward energy efficiency and reduction in energy costs.

The deadline for the first phase is Sept. 10. Phase 2 runs Sept. 11 through Nov. 11 with the final phase Nov. 12 through Jan. 12.

Private schools and non-profits can also apply.

For more information including eligibility, application forms and incentives go to https://energy.maryland.gov/business/Pages/incentives/empowermdcigp.aspx

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The Maryland State Arts Council is looking to help eligible non-profit and tax-exempt organization that have either never received MSAC grants funding, or did not receive funds in the current fiscal year to enroll for FY2020 Grants For Organizations.

The deadline to state your intent apply is Sept. 15. After eligibility is established, those groups will be invited to pursue grant monies. That deadline is Nov. 15.

For more information contact Laura Weiss, program director, at laura.weiss@maryland.gov.

Meanwhile, the Cecil County Arts Council has grant money available to help businesses trying to stay open through the challenges of COVID-19. Art-based businesses, or even restaurants and breweries offering live entertainment or those that display art for sale can receive supportive funding from the council. Call 410-392-5740 or send an email to Anne Marie Hamilton, executive director; annmarie@cecilcountyartscouncil.org

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“Financial Guidance During Difficult Times” is the name of a three-part Zoom series being offered by Cecil County Public Libraries Small Business Information Center. On consecutive Tuesdays at 6 p.m. beginning Sept. 8 there will be business focused programs. The first is Managing Credit. On Sept. 15 the webinar is entitled Budgeting 101. The final seminar, Business Planning During a Crisis, is Sept. 22.

The programs, hosted by APGFCU, are free but pre-registration is required. Send an email to sbic@ccplnet.org.

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West Cecil Health Center on Rock Springs Road in Conowingo is the recipient of a pair of grants from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration through its Quality Improvement Awards.

Recognized as a highly performing health center, West Cecil received $5,750 in the Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality category and $21,866 in Clinical Quality Improvers.

The grant program was designed to recognize top centers and also further their efforts to improve community health among underserved populations.

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Northeastern Maryland Technology Council is offering two different web chats Sept. 3 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Building Trust During COVID is the theme of the NMTC Water Cooler Chat. Learn how to stay connected while you work apart.

Register or find out more by going here: https://nmtc.org/events/trust/

The Water Cooler Zoom Chat explores the latest tech; 5G. Is it better? Is it something your business needs to grow and prosper? Find out more at this free seminar.

https://nmtc.org/events/techkey-5g4work/ is where you go to register.

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Harford Community College was named one of the top three community colleges in Maryland by The Daily Record. Community College of Baltimore County and Howard Community College were the other two schools named.

All three will be featured in an October issue of the legal and government publication based in Baltimore, at which time a top winner will be named.

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The Chester County Commissioners have named a new executive director to the Chester County Water Resources Authority. Seung Ah Byun, PhD, PE, comes to the post from similar roles at Delaware River Basin Commission in West Trenton, New Jersey and as the Senior Planner for Water Resources with the Brandywine Conservancy. She also has experience with CDM Smith, Inc., an engineering and consulting firm.

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For the second year in a row Forbes Magazine has awarded APG Federal Credit Union “Best-In-State Credit Union” and gave it a fifth place ranking statewide.

Scores and ranking are based on consumer opinions of overall recommendations and satisfaction with an institution’s terms and conditions, branch services, digital services, and financial advice.

“We’re honored to be recognized for the second year in a row,” said CEO Don W. Lewis. “As a financial cooperative, we are member owned and member driven. This structure and our philosophy of people helping people guide our everyday decisions and help us stand out and rank among the best.”

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Martin’s Food Store in the Rising Sun Towne Center on East Main Street in Rising Sun will be offering drive up flu shots starting Sept. 13 and running through Oct. 17.

The exact schedule of the drive thru service will be released Sept. 1 at https://martinsfoods.com/pages/tgc-vaccines. The consent form that will need to be filled out in advance is at the same website.

The Cecil County Health Department recommends just about everyone get a flu vaccine this fall, especially the young, the aged, and those with chronic health conditions.

Flu shots can also be obtained inside the store at the pharmacy, also without an appointment.

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The Maryland Public Policy Institute is urging Maryland to shift how it invests the pension portfolio, citing another year of less than acceptable performance from the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System for the fiscal year that just ended June 30.

“The state would be better off firing all of its outside managers and paying the staff to stay home once the fund is indexed,” said Visiting Fellow, Jeff Hooke, adding the current management system only gave the fund a 3.6% return. “While some policymakers declared victory, the fund performance was 1.6 percent below the 60-40 stock-bond index that is widely considered the gold standard in institutional portfolio measurement. With a $53 billion portfolio, the fund’s lost income was $850 million.”

Senior Policy Analyst Carol Park said this could have been a better outcome.

“Had the fund followed Maryland Public Policy Institute’s recommendation from the 2018 report and indexed the vast majority of its portfolio, the state could have saved hundreds of millions in Wall Street fees and still end up with superior investment returns,” Park said. “The 2020 result therefore highlights why Maryland should immediately follow the approach that the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada has taken, and require most of its pension portfolio to be invested passively.”

Business Beat is a weekly column on business happenings in and around Cecil County. If interested in having your business featured in this column, contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

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