Thumbs up: The Carroll Biz Challenge never disappoints. It’s easy to see more than one of this year’s five contestants separating themselves from the crowd to win the grand prize. But only one could win, and we’re directing a hearty congratulations to KnowMe. Developed by Casey Davis of Westminster, KnowMe is a medical record device and service that uses a smart bracelet to hold medical information, which doctors and other health care providers can then use to better serve patients. Davis, a physician assistant with Dr. Wilbur Kuo and Associates in Eldersburg, says he’s looking forward to a future of helping more and more people. “This is a journey that we’ve prayed for,” he said in his acceptance speech Thursday night. “We’re at a battle right now and this is going to help a lot of people and change a lot of lives. It starts here with you guys, tonight." Davis did an excellent job of explaining what his device and service would do to help people — and help people it would. Sound medical advice is essential, especially for older patients, and KnowMe can help patients to know for certain that they’re giving their health care providers accurate information about their medical histories. If you want to get on board, KnowMe is offering beta testers all through the weekend. Sign up at https://getknowme.com/beta/. The Drifting Dreamers, a photobooth in a 1963 Volkswagen bus, also got to take home some prize money after winning the People’s Choice Award. That came with a $1,000 cash prize. But there were no hurt feelings about not winning the top prize. Brooke Schnorr of The Drifting Dreamers said, “We’re happy and it played out exactly how I think it should’ve. We know Casey, and we’re so happy for their family. It’s been just an awesome experience to be here, and I think it played out beautifully.” Well and generously spoken.
Thumbs up: We were worried that we might need to dole out a thumbs-down for this story, but we’re absolutely thrilled to be giving a thumbs-up instead. Four Seasons Sports Complex, a regional hub in Hampstead for fitness, swimming and other athletics, is staying open. If you haven’t been following this story, that might not seem like news. But this past Friday was set to be the last day it would be open with full services, after the ownership decided to sell. Fortunately, a prospective buyer emerged Thursday, a day before it was set to close. Coppermine Fieldhouse announced plans to acquire the Four Seasons facility, which features pools, indoor and outdoor fields, a fitness center and putt-putt golf course, and keep it open. To close it would have meant that volunteer recreation councils and all kinds of teams would have to search for a new home. Thank goodness they won’t have to do that. Not losing a community resource like this is one thing, but Coppermine has already given some reason for excitement. Coppermine plans to improve the facility’s amenities, by upgrading the fitness center with new free weight equipment in addition to “fresh paint, lighting, flooring, restrooms, and other cosmetic changes and improvements." They also want to upgrade indoor facilities and add “multi use spaces” with indoor turf and “multi-purpose flooring." But, most importantly, Coppermine said it intends to convert the outdoor grass field to a synthetic turf field. Currently there are zero public turf fields in Carroll County, so this would be a very welcome gamechanger. All in all, we’re relieved at the last-minute rescue this facility — and the community — is enjoying.
Thumbs up: Here’s some more news you love to see: The Arc in Carroll County held its record-breaking graduation for its summer employment program with 38 students on Wednesday. The nonprofit, which supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, works in the summer to refer students to employment opportunities and help them gain job experience — often through a six-week long internship. And this year’s class was the biggest in the program’s lifespan of about 15 years so far. The record that was broken this summer was set the previous summer, when The Arc referred 28 students. That’s a huge, and hugely encouraging, jump. Participants in the program are high school or college students in Carroll County. The program is funded by the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) but referred to employment opportunities through Arc. “Work-based learning experience are the number one indicator that indicates success after high school for any student, any kind of work experience," DORS Regional Director Sharon Plump told us. “Students that participate in work experience are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to enter competitive integrated employment, more likely to enter that competitive grade employment at a wage higher than minimum wage, more likely to go to college or intern for training programs or more likely to succeed long term.” We like the sound of ALL of that.