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New brand

The Tech Council of Maryland rolled out a new website and logo this week in a move aimed at modernizing and broadening services for members.

The Rockville-based organization’s redesigned website features the Connected Community network, which allows members to share information and even create blogs to further online community growth.

Members will see more events, including roundtables and educational programs, targeted to specific areas such as cybersecurity, vaccines and health information technology, said Philip Schiff, who became CEO of the Tech Council last fall.

“Our new brand identity and website are one phase of a broader effort to evolve and grow with the communities we serve,” he said.

The moves come on top of broadening its board to include representatives from MedImmune, Johns Hopkins University and others. The new members are MedImmune COO Matt Bell; Christy Wyskiel, Hopkins’ senior adviser to the president for enterprise development and a veteran entrepreneur; Karen Byank Mathura, claims and risk management consultant for consulting firm RCM&D; Joel Beaton, regional client executive for IT giant Hewlett-Packard Co.; and Gregory Kelly, senior vice president for bioscience at SoBran.

— Kevin James Shay

Biotech capital

Investors in 10 Montgomery County biotechs received $500,000 in local tax credits for 2013 for investing a total of $7 million in the companies, according to a county report released this week.

The county credit piggybacks on the state biotech tax credit program. The local credits are on top of state credits of $3.5 million for the investors in the ten companies, which include 20/20 Gene Systems, Rafagen and Sequella.

In 2012, investors pumped about $11 million into a dozen Montgomery biotechs, thanks to the state and local tax credit programs.

— Kevin James Shay

Herbin’ legend

Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop could not tell fact from fiction when he mistakenly cited a fake news report in his testimony against decriminalizing marijuana in Maryland.

Pristoop told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that 37 people died in Colorado of marijuana overdose the first day pot was legal in that state.

Or did they.

Sen. Jamie B. Raskin quickly pointed out that the “news” report the chief was citing was a spoof.

“Your assertion that 37 people died of marijuana overdoses in Colorado was a hoax,” Raskin said.

The Daily Currant, an online satirical news site, is to blame for the fake report. Its mission: “to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence — which presses forward.”

Pristoop later took to Facebook, admitting he was duped.

“I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.

But the chief stood by his opposition to the bill.

“This does not take away from the other facts presented in opposition to legalization or the good work of the Maryland Chiefs and Maryland Sheriffs Associations,” he said.

— Kate S. Alexander

Frick pulls out of AG race

Underdog candidate Del. C. William Frick has decided to end his run for Maryland attorney general and seek re-election to the House of Delegates instead.

The Washington Post’s latest poll on the attorney general race showed Frick trailing his competition, but most of those who responded to the poll had no opinion on the race.

Frick of Bethesda was running against his District 16 colleague Sen. Brian E. Frosh of Chevy Chase, Del. Aisha N. Braveboy of Mitchellville and Del. Jon S. Cardin of Owings Mills in the primary this June for attorney general.

While numerous factors influenced his decision to seek re-election rather than stay in the AG race, Frick said his campaign played a role.

“Even though I thought I had a lot to offer it was just not coming together the way I had hoped,” he said.

Frick said he has had a great session, however.

Frick was appointed House parliamentarian this year and to Speaker Michael E. Busch’s marijuana work group.

— Kate S. Alexander