Yea: For those still not sure whether the county is a hub for the biotech industry, this week’s news that Ellume, an Australian-based company making at-home COVID-19 tests, is opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility here should convince you.
Let’s talk about how big of a deal this is: 1,500 new jobs are expected and cutting-edge technology will be manufactured right here in Frederick.
Once fully operational, this company will be among the county’s top 10 employers — creating desirable jobs for our workforce and bringing in others from around the region.
Frederick County sweetened the deal for Ellume by speeding up the permitting process and making them eligible for county tax credits, but we’ll take it considering they are looking to invest $16 million locally and expect to be fully operational by next year.
“Frederick is the ideal location for Ellume as we continue to work closely with the U.S. government in delivering COVID-19 tests to communities across the country,” Jeff Boyle, Ellume U.S. president, said in a prepared statement.
This is certainly not the first big-tech company to see what we see in Frederick, and we’re sure it won’t be the last.
Nay: Didn’t we learn from the toilet paper shortages of 2020? Panic buying is not necessary and does more harm than good.
This time, it’s the fuel industry. Gas stations across the county — and much of the nation — are seeing long lines and supply shortages because folks are getting worked up and fearful that somehow there won’t be enough gasoline to survive.
The disruption is largely attributed to a ransomware attack last week on the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York City and accounts for 45 percent of all fuel utilized on the East Coast. On its own, the hack did not cause widespread disruption. The pipeline operators said this week they are resuming operations, so hopefully this all subsides.
“There’s really no shortage of gas in the U.S.,” Ragina Ali, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told us. “What we are seeing in some areas are people basically panic buying.”
That said, some gas stations here in Frederick County did run out of some grades of fuel while others saw supplies running low.
Say it with us, you don’t need to run to the gas station and fill whatever you can find with gasoline. Take a deep breath and don’t let this get out of hand.
Yea: We’ve been cautious about returning to normal during this pandemic. After all, it’s been 13 months since the pandemic was declared and everything was shut down and countless restrictions and protective measures were put in place.
We've been seeing positive signs of things getting better and this week we saw some additional light at the end of that tunnel. Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday he would be lifting all business-related restrictions — except indoor mask wearing — starting today.
On top of that, Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban said Wednesday that the school system was moving forward with plans for a return to normal operations this fall.
That does not mean this is over. There’s still a pandemic. There are still people getting infected, still people getting hospitalized, still people dying because of this nasty virus.
But, for now, let’s just focus — cautiously — on some positive news.
Yea: Happy retirement to John Fieseler, whose last day as executive director of Visit Frederick, the county’s tourism council, was Friday.
After 23 years, Fieseler is ready for retirement, but that does not mean he’s going away. He came here four decades ago after taking a job at WFMD, and hasn’t left since.
Maybe John Fieseler isn’t a household name, but the work he has done to grow Frederick’s tourism industry cannot be ignored. Before Fieseler’s tenure began, Frederick saw about 700,000 visitors a year. Now, that number tops 2 million visitors who spend an average of more than $1 million a day.
That didn’t happen without a lot of hard work by Fieseler and his team, so for that, we say, thank you.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to email@example.com.