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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Date: Aug 2013

photo of large bridge construction componenetsFronda Cohen
Baltimore County Office of Communications

A tunnel project in Virginia has brought new jobs to Sparrows Point. Let me explain. 

These days, if you walk along the dry dock at the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Park in Dundalk, you’ll see huge concrete tubes in the making.  Let me define huge. These sections of reinforced concrete are 32 inches thick and wide enough in diameter to fit more than two lanes of traffic.  The tubes are being manufactured by SKW Constructors for a tunnel project in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

SKW and its subcontractors have hired about 100 carpenters, concrete finishers, mechanics, structural and reinforcing iron workers, surveyors, truck drivers and laborers for the massive project.  These positions already are filled, but SKW is currently hiring certified crane operators. 

“SKW is a huge boost in the County’s efforts to bring new businesses and new jobs back to Sparrows Point,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. 

Senator Norman Stone recalled the great manufacturing tradition at the Sparrows Point shipyard.  “Workers at Sparrows Point built Liberty Ships here during World War II.  Even though it isn’t ship building, it is good to see some manufacturing jobs back at the shipyard.  I am hopeful that these jobs will be performed by local workers.”

In Sparrows Point, SKW found a perfect location for heavy industrial construction and shipping, taking advantage of one of the largest privately owned graving docks on the east coast.

By next winter, the first sections of tunnel tubes should be finished, floated out of the dock, and shipped by barge to Virginia for the Elizabeth River Tunnels project.  As soon as the first shipment is on its way, construction of another five sections begins, along with production of huge industrial fans to circulate air in the tunnels.

“It feels good to know we’re exporting a little bit of Sparrows Point down to Virginia,” said County Executive Kamenetz.  “This is the beginning of what promises to be a brand new Sparrows Point with thousands of new jobs coming to the region.  I am committed to building on this good news, and our next step is to ensure that the Port of Baltimore expands its operation to Sparrows Point as soon as possible.  I will do everything that I can to work with Port and State officials to move that process forward.”

To see the size of the concrete tunnel tubes, check out this slide show.


photo of students in college libraryJuliet Morris
Intern, Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences

It’s August which means that the summer season is coming to a close. For many Baltimore County residents, this means the time has finally come to see their victorious Ravens on the field again. For me, August means it is time to buckle up for nine months away at school. Come August 31, I will be making the trek down I-95 to my temporary home at the University of Maryland in College Park.

While I bid “adieu” to the 410 area code, thousands of other students will be pouring into Baltimore County, home to five of the fifteen colleges in the Baltimore metro region.

This includes the Community College of Baltimore County, which educates a whopping 74,000 students each year and accounts for half of all Baltimore County residents who are undergraduates. Towson will once again be bustling with Goucher and Towson students. Owings Mills will be welcoming back Stevenson University scholars and UMBC sweatshirts will be popping up all around Catonsville.

Many college graduates call Baltimore County home. With great proximity to Baltimore City and Washington D.C., what college grad wouldn’t want to live here? The Baltimore-Towson area landed a spot on The Atlantic’s 25 Best Places to Live for Recent Graduates in 2012. It isn’t just recent graduates that are drawn to Baltimore County. An impressive 35.2% of county residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Baltimore County Public Schools excels in preparing students for college. According to a recent study in Education Week, BCPS has the second-highest graduation rate among the nation’s fifty-largest school districts. Additionally, 52% of Baltimore County traditional and magnet high schools earned a place on national “Best Schools” lists. Many of these impressive graduates will be making their college debut this fall.

Here are a few words of advice for the soon-to-be college freshmen. As a rising sophomore, I am well-versed in surviving the back-to-school chaos. These three tips will help you start on the right foot this school year.

  • Join the Facebook group.

Social media has revolutionized college orientation. Students are now getting acquainted with their fellow classmates in school-specific “class of 2017” groups. Students have the opportunity to get to know floor mates, ask for advice, and even find a roommate.

  • Know what not to buy.

Before you go and buy tons of fun décor for your room, keep in mind the amount of space that you have. I am only packing half of what I brought last year! Consider making another shopping trip after move-in day so you don’t overbuy.

  • Don’t run right to the bookstore.

The cost of textbooks adds up quickly, but a couple strategies can help to cut the cost. Try comparing prices. You might even want to wait until after the first week of classes to buy books. There could be a more cost-effective online book, or you might not even need the book at all.

Remember this August that Baltimore County is more than Ravens nation. It is home to an impressive network of colleges and universities and a central hub for the countless college students who will attend them this fall. And, for me and thousands of others travelling beyond the county borders, Baltimore County will always be home.


Baltimore County Summer Restaurant WeekMarjorie Hampson, Director
Baltimore County Tourism & Promotion

In the words of Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” People love to eat out, don’t we? Restaurants are where we gather with friends and family to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions of all kinds, and the industry strives to provide patrons with limitless food choices to suit just about any taste, from “plain-Jane” eaters to those with even the most adventurous and sophisticated palates.

However, we need not wait for a special occasion to go out and sample some of the fine cuisine that Baltimore County establishments have to offer. Baltimore County’s Summer Restaurant Week gives people across the region the opportunity to try excellent food at discount prices, but more importantly, it gives people the chance to experience the unique character of Baltimore County’s neighborhoods through our local eateries.

Summer Restaurant Week kicks-off on August 9 and runs for 17 days, until August 25. There are far too many “meals and deals” to limit it to just seven days! Diners can discover new restaurants and enjoy old favorites at a discounted price, with one to three course lunch and dinner specials ranging from $15.13 to $35.13. Fifty-two restaurants throughout Baltimore County are featured marking the largest number of participating restaurants to date. The variety of participating restaurants will suit every taste and budget, from fine dining and fusion to family dining and pubs. It’s time to dine out, Baltimore County! 

Restaurant Week is not just an opportunity to explore neighborhoods while sampling old favorites and trying new food, it is an opportunity to support one of Baltimore County’s most important industries. With more than 1,200 establishments countywide, Baltimore County’s restaurant industry employs roughly 25,000 people and generates approximately $1.4 billion in sales and $82 million in taxes annually. Restaurant Week is a chance to try all that Baltimore County has to offer and to support some of our hardest-working local businessmen and women, all while eating amazing food at great prices.

The Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion, the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, and SYSCO are sponsoring the promotion. Partners include the Restaurant Association of Maryland, Downtown Diane and OpenTable.

For a full list of participating restaurants, menus, and reservation options, go to www.baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com/.


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