Happening this week around the county …

Appalachian Railcar Services is about to add as many as 30 jobs to its workforce after adding a 13,000-square-foot painting facility to its Elk Mills plant.

Derek Mercure, director of environmental health and safety and special projects, said that this is a state-of-the-art facility that will bring the company more work.

“What we realized was that to become a full-service rail car repair facility, the one thing we lacked was the ability to do the exterior painting,” Mercure said. “We had a customer base we were missing out on essentially.”

ARS bought the plant in 2014. At that time, only repairs could be accomplished. To get exterior painting completed meant sending it elsewhere.

Now ARS is one-stop-shopping for customers in need of tank and freight car service, primarily on the CSX lines. With rail lines running to the plant off Elk Mills Road, customers arrange to have the cars come in, get cleaned, repaired and repainted, and then returned to service.

Lines of rail cars, with obvious graffiti and less obvious signs of wear and tear, were already lined up. Built by Finishing Systems, rail cars enter and are completely under cover while being blasted with a steel grit blend before being primed, painted and decaled. Mercure explained that the equipment protects the employee and the environment while delivering a top-notch product. Painters in protective gear board air-driven, multi-axis lifts that carry them the length of the car, floor-to-ceiling.

A bank of filters removes paint fumes from the air and a recovery and recycling system maintains the blasting side.

It was designed in September 2018, with construction started in November. By June 7, the paint services facility was taking in its first customers. An additional 15 workers were brought on right away with more planned.

“We will be able to go 24/7,” said Shannon Cartee, plant manager.

Look for details coming soon on a job fair to hire those 30 additional ARS employees.

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If you want authentic Vietnamese cuisine, check out Mr Pho Vietnamese Noodle House in the Northeast Plaza Shopping Center.

Vu Nguyen is one of five owners of the restaurant, which quietly opened for business June 22 offering a full menu of traditional foods from the southeast Asian country.

“We want to let Americans know Vietnamese food is good,” Nguyen said.

Offering appetizers, salads, rice and egg noodle dishes, plus specialty drinks, Mr Pho has a head-spinning number of selections including pho — pronounced “fuh” — or noodle soups served in large bowls.

For those with dietary restrictions of allergies, Nguyen said Mr Pho works hard to make sure the food is risk-free.

“We try to avoid allergens,” he said, adding no MSG is used and the rice noodles are among the gluten-free options. A vegetarian menu is also offered.

Nguyen said Vietnamese food is not spicy, but flavorful with the option for those who want it to add the heat. Appetizers come with peanut or fish dipping sauces that add to the palate experience.

Mr. Pho Vietnamese Noodle House is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

•••

If you’ve ever said to yourself that you would like to know how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce is offering a class July 17 at Singerly Fire Hall on Newark Avenue in Elkton. Paramedic Personnel of Maryland is teaching the two-and-a-half-hour course.

Upon completion, certification is good for two years. Chamber members get $15 off the $55 cost of the class. The public is also invited. Go to the chamber website, www.cecilchamber.com, and click on the link on the left hand side for registration.

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Allan Myers, the Pennsylvania-based construction company which also owns a quarry in Elkton, is among the corporate sponsors of the 2019 Cecil County Fair. Apple Auto, Elkton Recycling, Asti Ice, Hillside Heating and Cooling, Ramsey Ford and Crouch Automotive are also sponsoring one of the nine days of the fair. The Cecil County Fair runs July 19-July 27 at the Fair Hill Fairgrounds, located at 4640 Telegraph Road.

•••

The Harford Community College Board of Trustees elevated two of its own recently to lead the group. The Rev. Cordell E. Hunter Sr. is the new chairman of the board while Laura L. Henninger is the vice chair.

Hunter is a retired educator and a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal and was recently appointed presiding elder of the Eastern District Baltimore Annual Conference. He’s been a college trustee since 2012.

Henninger was appointed to the HCC board in 2015. She owns and manages Henninger & Henninger LLC, a Bel Air law practice. In addition to being an attorney, she is also a certified public accountant.

•••

Raffle tickets are still being sold by Cecil County Chamber members for which the winners will get either a charter cruise for 12 or a pontoon boat rental for eight. Cruise tickets are $25, while raffle tickets for the pontoon boat are $10 each.

Tickets can also be purchased at the chamber office, located at 216 E. Pulaski Highway in Elkton; on the chamber website, www.cecilchamber.com; or by contacting Katie Lewis at the chamber office by calling 410-392-3833. Winners will be drawn at the Pirates and Pearls Gala on July 19, although the winner does not need to be present to win, Lewis said.

•••

The J.D. Power 2019 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study has ranked Delmarva Power first overall for residential electric satisfaction in the East Midsize Region.

Companies are ranked on a 1,000-point scale. Delmarva’s score was 727 among 12 utility companies of the same size. Factors include power quality and reliability, corporate citizenship, communications, price, billing and payment, and customer service. Delmarva ranked highest overall in quality and reliability, citizenship and communications.

“This is a major achievement for our company and our employees,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power, in a prepared statement. “Most importantly, this award represents the voice of our customers, and we are so pleased that they have taken clear notice of the efforts we are employing every day to deliver the clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy service they have come to expect. This is an award that every one of our employees should be proud of.”

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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