THUMBS UP: We got to see a bit of a glimpse into the future, or at least a present most of us don’t yet have access to, when the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory unveiled a Smart Home Project that is designed to assist two current clients of Target Community & Education Services Inc., which provides care for adults with disabilities.

The new Smart Home technology will make it easier to report on trends, abnormalities, and collect overall data that affect Target's clients.

The project put technology in alternative living units that provides round-the-clock medical, recreational, and daily living support to Target’s clients. The Smart Home’s devices are being coordinated by Skayl, a data architecture tools developer and provider. Sonya Hand, Skayl’s director of strategy and marketing told us: “We build an ecosystem based on the context of behavioral, medical and environmental data. For example, once the system is modeled, a mattress sensor can tell how many times a resident gets out of bed and the data can be used to make other things happen in the house, like turning on a light. The sensor can also help detect patterns, like if the resident is restless, or set off an alarm to let someone know a resident is awake.” Sounds promising.


The Westminster Common Council voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance authorizing the purchase of the BB&T Bank Building. They also voted unanimously to update an agreement regarding police vehicles and presented checks from Fallfest to partner charities Monday night. 

THUMBS UP: Westminster’s mayor and Common Council made a wise financial decision Monday when it voted to purchase the BB&T building at 45 W. Main St. downtown to relocated its administrative offices there. It’s also a move that is long overdue. The $1.6 million may not seem like a bargain on the surface, but consider how much the city has been paying in rent for its current administrative offices at 56 W. Main St., also known as the Winchester West building. In the current fiscal year, the city budgeted $178,000 in rent. Over the past five years, rent has totaled approximately $819,000 — or more than half the anticipated cost of the BB&T building just across the street. Council member Tony Chiavacci said future councils will thank the present council for doing this. Council President Robert Wack said the council is “taking a big bet on the future of Main Street.” We think it’s a bet that will pay off.

Westminster faces Northern Calvert in the Class 3A volleyball state final Nov. 18 at University of Maryland.

THUMBS UP: The last two fall sports teams playing, both from Westminster High School, went into the weekend in the midst of trying to do something neither program had ever done. The Owls football team faced Linganore on Friday night in the regional final, three wins from Carroll County’s first-ever state football championship. Meanwhile, the Owls volleyball team plays Northern Calvert in the Class 3A final seeking the program’s first state title. State titles are becoming old hat to the Liberty boys cross country team. The Lions prevailed in the 2A state meet last Saturday for their third consecutive state championship, the second time the Liberty harriers have pulled off a three-peat, having also won from 2003 through 2005. We congratulate the Liberty boys on their accomplishment, along with what the Owls volleyball and football teams have done, as well as the many other teams who made the fall season a success in Carroll.

Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc., in partnership with Westminster Church of the Brethren, invites the community to visit and vote during the festival which raises awareness and funding for Carroll County’s five homeless shelters.

THUMBS UP: Human Services Programs of Carroll County’s third annual Gingerbread Village Festival is an annual event that we’ve always thought to be pretty sweet. In partnership with Westminster Church of the Brethren, HSP invites the community to visit and vote during the festival, which raises awareness and funding for Carroll County’s five homeless shelters. The event coincides with National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Voting began Friday, Nov. 17, in the Winchester Exchange Building at 15 E. Main St., across from the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library and concludes Saturday, Nov. 25, after the downtown holiday parade. “It’s a fun event that brings attention to the plight of the homeless in our community,” Stephanie Averett, HSP’s volunteer and special projects coordinator, told us.