A Week In Business

Top CBRB Producers

OCEAN CITY – Ed Wehnert, branch vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s 52nd Street office has announced that for July Peck Miller was the top individual sales associate and Rick Meehan and Katy Durham were the top selling sales team.

Bob Miller was the top individual listing associate and Meehan and Durham were also the top listing team.

Miller was the top individual settlement associate and Meehan and Durham were the top settlement team.

According to Wehnert, Meehan and Durham, Miller, Cathy Vlcek, and Miller all did over $1 million in sales or listing production for the month.

CAR Has Volunteer Spirit

OCEAN CITY – The Coastal Association of Realtors® has announced that its more than 1,400 members once again contributed an enormous amount of money, time, and energy during that past year making the community a better place to live.

From June 2006 through June 2007, CAR members contributed the following: volunteers, more than 319; volunteer hours, more than 11,888; dollars/in-kind donations raised, more than $383,035; groups assisted, more than 182; individuals assisted, more than 428,156; and families assisted, more than 200,000.

These activities include monetary donations and "hands-on" activities helping numerous types of organizations, including churches, schools, retirement homes, disaster relief funds, charitable organizations, local families in need and government agencies.

"I applaud the ongoing volunteer efforts of Realtors who are making exceptional contributions to improve the quality of life in their communities," said Kevin White, CAR President. "Together, we are making the Eastern Shore a better place to live."

Recent Nurse Shortage Trend Reversed, Study Says

BERILN – After two years of improvement, vacancy rates for nurses in Maryland hospitals are climbing again, a new survey by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) shows. Nursing vacancy rates increased to 13 percent in 2006, up from 10 percent in 2005. That means to be fully staffed with permanent employees, Maryland hospitals would need approximately 2,340 more nurses.

Nurse vacancies in Maryland hospitals hit a high of 15.6 percent in 2001 and then started declining as intensified recruitment and expanded nurse training programs began to pay off. The 2006 vacancy rise marks a reversal of that favorable trend.

The new results point to a troubling and not unexpected problem for health care, according to Catherine M. Crowley, MHA vice president.

“While there’s been an increase in the number of nurses graduating over the last several years, the demand continues to outstrip the supply —and it will continue to do so,” Crowley said.

One study estimates if nothing is done to address the problem, Maryland will have a shortfall of 10,000 nurses in less than a decade.

This shortage is projected to worsen unless additional steps are taken. This prompted MHA to convene a high-level group of hospital and academic leaders to develop a comprehensive plan to address this shortfall. The results of this effort will be announced in September.

The MHA survey also shows shortages of skilled allied health professionals. The largest shortfalls occur among physical therapists and occupational therapists — both with vacancies over 15 percent; and radiographers at 13 percent; and respiratory therapists at 14.6 percent. MHA surveyed 41 positions. Just under half of these positions had vacancy rates above 10 percent.

Hospitals continue to do a good job retaining people they recruit, the survey found. The average retention rate across all 41 positions surveyed is nearly 86 percent, and for nurses, it is nearly 89 percent.

Hand Leads The Way

BETHANY BEACH – ResortQuest Real Estate recently announced that Associate Broker Bill Hand recorded both the company’s highest sales volume and highest listing volume for July.

In June, Hand recorded the company’s highest sales volume and Sales Associate Despina Kaneles posted the highest listing volume.

First Homes Now For Sale

BERLIN – Arcadia Village, a new 41-home development in Newark, announced this week its first five new homes are currently for sale starting at $270,000.

“Our goal at Arcadia Village is to offer the working and retired families of Worcester County quality, affordable new housing in a market that no longer sells new homes for under $300,000,” said Robert Kitchens, project manager. “Our ambition is to build brand new homes in the $250,000 range. Rather than buying a fixer upper, families can walk into a turn key new home for a great price.”

There are currently five new homes available at Arcadia Village. No two homes are the same, as each house has a unique look and an original floor plan. All the homes are located on private, landscaped lots. Buyers can choose from traditional one-story, contemporary two-story or even an inimitable farmhouse style home.

Arcadia Development LLC is currently planning and designing the next phase of original homes to include in the Arcadia Circle neighborhood. Each home boasts cottage style details, upgrades throughout and bright, open floor plans.

New Director Named

BERLIN – Wor-Wic Community College recently welcomed Deirdra G. Johnson of Salisbury as director of retention and student success.

Prior to joining Wor-Wic, Johnson was the coordinator of retention and enrollment initiatives at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore(UMES) in Princess Anne. She also worked in public relations at UMES. Johnson received her

Excellence Recognized

SALISBURY – Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the Delmarva Bariatric and Fitness Center, both in Salisbury, have jointly been recognized as an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.

Surgeons Mike Sofronski, MD, Scott Bovard, MD and Daniel McCullough, MD of the Delmarva Bariatric and Fitness Center provide bariatric surgery services to patients at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, which offers patients the only surgical location on the Delmarva Peninsula where bariatric procedures, like gastric bypass and lap banding, are performed.

To earn a Center of Excellence designation, Peninsula Regional, its bariatric surgical team and the Delmarva Bariatric and Fitness Center underwent a series of site inspections during which all aspects of the program’s surgical processes were closely examined and data on health outcomes was collected. Peninsula Regional and the Delmarva Bariatric and Fitness Center, as well as other centers receiving the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designation, all agree to continue to share information on clinical pathways, protocols and outcomes data in an effort to improve patient care and patient outcomes.

“Due to the increasing prevalence and inherent risks of morbid obesity, the opportunities available at the Delmarva Bariatric and Fitness Center greatly improve the health of this patient population. We recognized the need to implement a systematic approach to improving quality of life. The systematic approach addresses surgical options, nutritional lifestyle changes and exercise,” said Sofronski, medical director of Bariatric Services at Peninsula Regional.

PRMC President/CEO Alan Newberry, president/CEO, added, “We have done our part by creating a bariatric surgical program that safely treats an average of 40 patients per month with outcomes that rival the best programs in the nation.”

Obesity has become a significant national health issue, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

Car Buyers To See Changes

TOWSON – For three decades, it has been one of the most frequent complaints by new car owners. Feeling deceived, their actual mileage didn’t come close to matching the city and highway mileage promised on the fuel economy sticker when they purchased the car. In some cases it was literally, and even worse, notoriously miles apart, says AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Depending upon the vehicle model, sometimes the estimates were 7 percent to nearly 40 percent off, previous studies by AAA revealed. Now, for the first time in decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is updating the way it measures fuel economy. The results of a new fuel economy rating system will soon appear on stickers on the windows of 2008 models rolling off the assembly line and hitting the showroom later this month and throughout the fall.

“This is a major victory for consumers, car buyers, and the motoring public,” said Ragina C. Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “When it comes to car-buying, consumers will now have a more realistic snapshot of the highway miles and city miles of any car, van, truck or SUV on the market. That’s important because most drivers rack-up 55 to 62 percent of the annual mileage on their vehicles in stop-and-go traffic. As always, fuel economy is much lower in rush-hour conditions.”

Starting in model year 2008, EPA mileage estimates will reflect the effects of the following: faster speeds and acceleration; air conditioning use and colder outside temperatures.

“With the advent of the updated fuel efficiency stickers it is likely that in the future many consumers will make different decisions regarding automobile purchases and fuel use. New fuel economy facts will appear on nearly 40 major brands of automobiles and more than 260 vehicle models,” added Averella. “Consumers shopping for vehicles trust the government’s safety rating. If things work as planned, they can now place that same trust in fuel economy standards.”

After several years of working with automakers, dealers and consumer groups, including AAA, the EPA revised fuel economy labels to more accurately reflect miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings based on normal or “real-world driving” conditions, Averella noted.

“Simply put, the new and improved label provides more information to motorists. What is more, mileage estimates are calculated with updated testing methods reflecting how people normally drive today,” Averella said.