News Archive

Envision Frederick County is compiling an archive of news articles, editorials, columns and letters to the editor, from a range of local and regional publications.  The archive will grow to include more than 2,000 entries, from the last decade or so. If you want to search the archives using a combination of tags, you can type multiple tags into the "Search this site" box to the right. If you find a bad link, please let us know, and keep in mind that you can search for the item by using the headline on the site of the publication. PLEASE NOTE: Click on the headlines below to open the individual items in a new window.

Hagen prepares incinerator battle plan, Inspired by trip to Colorado

Frederick County commissioner hopes to convince colleagues that increased recycling is better option
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/19/2008
Frederick County Commissioner Kai J. Hagen’s trip to Boulder, Colo., last week only served to add more fuel to his fight against a proposed incinerator here. "I will keep fighting on this issue,” Hagen (D) said. "I absolutely believe it is a very, very important decision and the county is headed in the wrong direction.” Hagen said that he plans to put together a power point presentation about the trip to try to convince his board colleagues to abandon a plan to build an incinerator. Hagen has also created graphics for "No Incineration” stickers, which he e-mailed to incineration opponents Monday. The stickers can be put in car windows and house windows. Throughout the Boulder trip, Hagen posted pictures and information on his online forum and he now plans to invite Eric Lombardi, executive director of Boulder’s Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit that runs the county’s recycling center, to Frederick, to speak with commissioners.

Commissioner Toor talks recycling and ‘zero waste’

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/12/2008
In 2006, Boulder County Commissioners took an unusual step and adopted a resolution encouraging its government and residents to work toward creating ‘‘zero waste.” The resolution by the three-member board meant that the county would devise a plan to reduce trash by 50 percent or better by 2010. The ultimate goal is the elimination of all waste by 2025. The county has already upped its 50 percent goal by 2010 to 75 percent or higher. Commissioner Will Toor (D), elected to the board in 2004, was instrumental in developing the resolution along with programs and policies designed to reduce trash.

Recycling expert advises against incinerator

Gazette
Molly Fellin Spence
06/12/2008
As officials consider building an incinerator - or what people in the industry call "waste-to-energy facilities” because they burn trash to generate electricity - to deal with that crisis, an expert in waste diversion had some warnings. "The marketplace is smarter than all of us. Why hasn't the marketplace built [a landfill] in over 20 years?” said Eric Lombardi, executive director of Eco-Cycle. "Until you answer that question, don't write a big check because you're the guinea pig.” As leader of Eco-Cycle, Lombardi is passionate about waste diversion as a clean and ethical way to deal with trash. Eco-Cycle volunteers brought recycling to Boulder in 1976, making it one of the first 20 communities in the U.S. to offer curbside recycling. It provides business recycling collection and drop-off centers as well as educational programs for regional schools. Eco-Cycle also operates the county-owned Boulder County Recycling Center. Lombardi advised a group of Frederick County and city officials and residents Monday that businesses, communities and government must work together to all decide what's the best way to deal with waste.

Transmission line meeting set for June 17 in Frederick

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
06/06/2008
Area residents will have an opportunity to meet with utility company officials June 17 to discuss the proposed PATH line. The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline is a high-voltage system that will start in West Virginia, cross Frederick County and end at a proposed substation in Kemptown. The $1.8 billion line is scheduled for completion in 2012, a date when experts say the area could face blackouts without additional power. The meeting will be held at the FSK Holiday Inn from 5 to 8 p.m. Additional meetings will be scheduled in August. It is a first step in a long process that will involve the public, the utility companies and public service commissions in Maryland and West Virginia, said Vernon Estel, director of transmission projects for Allegheny Power. The project is mandated by PJM, the firm that monitors power needs in a 13-state area.

An incinerator is not worth the risk

Gazette
Michelle Buckingham
05/22/2008
What is it going to take for Frederick County commissioners to realize that a trash incinerator is an incredibly bad idea, not only economically, but for health reasons as well? Shouldn’t Frederick County at least keep up with the rest of the nation as far as going green? After reading about the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission using wind energy, I’m astounded that while Prince George’s County is moving forward and using wind energy, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners is thinking of building an incinerator for energy! All of the arguments against the incinerator are valid, but seem to only address the incredible cost of millions of dollars! Of course, the residents’ taxes and fees will go up as well! The other, and more important, cost we would pay is our health.

Commissioner questions size of proposed incinerator

Gazette
Charles Schelle
04/24/2008
Carroll County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge questions whether a proposed incinerator that Carroll is considering building with Frederick is too big. "We’re building a facility that is much larger than we need right now,” Gouge said. The proposal calls for the incinerator to be built in Frederick County, possibly near the Ballenger Creek-McKinney Wastewater Treatment Plant off Md. Route 85, with Carroll contributing $140 million to the $350 million project. The incinerator would handle 1,500 tons of trash per day, 600 tons of which would come from Carroll. However, Carroll only produces about 320 tons per day.

A healthy dose of skepticism and hope

Gazette
04/10/2008
We are skeptical that America can ever become a society that throws away nothing, or what some environmentalists would call a ‘‘zero-waste” community. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, or at least search for economical ways to throw away less. Officials from Carroll and Frederick counties have been invited to do just that by taking a trip out West. Caroline Eader — who holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology and works as a paralegal for a science-based, nonprofit environmental land trust — splits her time between Frederick County and Boulder, Colo. She has invited Carroll and Frederick leaders to visit Boulder to see how that city handles its trash, and they are responding favorably. They are working to organize a trip for mid-June. Boulder adopted a resolution in May 2006 to work toward becoming a zero-waste city. It uses Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit organization, to manage its recycling program to work toward that goal. Eco-Cycle provides recycling to about 800 businesses, and operates a community recycling center for items that are typically difficult to recycle, such as porcelain sinks, Styrofoam blocks and electronic equipment.

Frederick is at a crossroads again

Gazette
Josh Bokee
04/10/2008
Frederick is one of the fastest growing communities throughout Maryland; attracts an assortment of hard working and ‘‘industrious” people who make their living as farmers, artisans and professionals and are of a variety of faiths; located at the crossroads of the region. It sounds like a description from 2008, and yet this is a paraphrase from Robert Brugger’s ‘‘Maryland: A Middle Temperament,” and the year was approximately 1750. From the beginning, Frederick has been a part of a larger set of economic and social forces.

Incinerator meeting, decision dates announced

Gazette
Charles Schell
04/03/2008
Residents can give Carroll County’s Board of County Commissioners their opinions about a proposed regional ‘‘waste-to-energy” incinerator from 7 to 9 p.m. April 10 at a public hearing in Room 003 of the County Office Building, Westminster. But first they can learn more about the proposal that would create a partnership with Frederick County by attending a workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Room 003 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. Frederick’s commissioners voted Feb. 26 to ask Carroll to join them in building a trash incinerator, what industry officials call a ‘‘waste-to-energy facility” because it burns trash to generate electricity. Assuming Carroll generated 600 tons of trash per day, a shared incinerator in Frederick would cost Carroll $140 million to build, compared to $200 million to build one alone. The workshop allows residents to ask questions about the county’s trash and recycling options, as well as the incinerator. Carroll commissioners, Department of Public Works staff and the Environmental Advisory Council will be on hand as well as selected trash experts. Carroll’s commissioners will convene at 11:30 a.m. April 17 in Room 311 of the County Office Building to deliberate and vote on whether they will accept Frederick County’s offer

Officials invited for a new look at trash

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/03/2008
A woman who divides her time living in Frederick and Boulder, Colo., has invited officials from Frederick and Carroll counties to see how Boulder’s successful recycling program works. She sees the program as an alternative to the trash incinerator both counties are considering building here. Members of both county boards have spent the last week exchanging e-mails with Caroline Eader. Eader wants Frederick and Carroll officials to meet with representatives of Eco-Cycle Inc., a nonprofit recycling processor that has brought curbside recycling to Boulder residents and businesses since 1976. Eader touts Eco-Cycle’s efforts to create ‘‘zero waste.” The term means that all products and packaging is designed and built to be reused and recycled. Zero waste puts the responsibility of creating recyclable products on the manufacturers. Eco-Cycle is considered a ‘‘resource recovery” processor, because the items it collects are later sold on the open market. "... I would like you to see what a community can accomplish when it has the desire and the facilities in place to achieve a common goal,” Eader wrote in her e-mail invitation to both boards.

Group proposes alternate trash disposal plan

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/13/2008
A trash advisory group in Frederick County will unveil an alternate plan to the county’s proposal to build an incinerator. The plan will be unveiled at a series of presentations beginning Monday. "This alternative plan is designed to capture recyclable material on the front end before it becomes part of the waste stream, substantially reducing the current amount of trash going to our landfill or needing to be exported or incinerated,” said Steve Cassis, of the Solid Waste Analysis Group (SWAG). Friends of Frederick County, a land protection group that has been vocal in its opposition to an incinerator, is sponsoring the presentations. Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends, said since incineration has been on the table for Frederick County, alternative plans have not been considered. The alternative plan includes the building of a ‘‘Material Recovery Facility,” a specialized plant that accepts, separates and prepares recyclable materials to be sold on the open market, composting commercial and household waste and better disposal of construction debris and electronic items. Incineration opponents believe increased recycling will reduce the need to burn trash and reject incineration as harmful to the environment and too costly for county taxpayers. They consider their plan to be cheaper and cleaner.

County rejects bypass proposals for New Market

Gazette
Chris Brown
01/31/2008
The Frederick Board of County Commissioners on Monday removed from plans several proposed roads that would bypass the Town of New Market, citing the lack of money. Commissioner John ''Lennie" Thompson Jr. (R) was the most stringent critic of the proposed roads, saying that without money, the roads were nothing more than ''words or lines on a map," and were not enough to build a bypass. The plan for a northern bypass from Boyers Mill Road and Summerfield was removed by a 3-2 vote. Thompson said that this would not prevent the construction of a bypass at some point, but there would need to be money first. "There's no money, there's not going to be a bypass," Thompson said.

If incinerator fails, county may opt for a new landfill

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/20/2007
Frederick County Commission President Jan H. Gardner (D) said this week the county would have to site a new landfill if commissioners decide against a trash-burning incinerator. "I do believe if we don’t pursue waste-to-energy, then we do have to move in the direction of siting land for a new landfill,” she said. Gardner acknowledged that siting a new landfill would not be easy — commissioners would need to find 300 to 500 acres of open land, away from homes. Gardner’s assessment comes after a two-night public hearing on an incinerator proposal. Commissioners started listening to testimony from residents and environmental groups on Dec. 11 and finished up Dec. 12.

Decision on trash to come next year

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/06/2007
Frederick County commissioners said Tuesday that before their terms end in 2010, they will make a decision about whether the county should build a trash incinerator."Absolutely it will be made in my term," Commissioner David P. Gray (R) said during a press conference Tuesday. Gray became convinced that the answer to the county's trash problems is an incinerator, after he spent a week in Europe touring incinerator plants in seven countries. On Tuesday, commissioners outlined their accomplishments during the last year, along with the issues they plan to tackle in 2008. Deciding whether to build a trash incinerator is high on their list.

Aldermen against city mayor prioritizing annexation requests

Gazette
Keith Martin
12/06/2007
When it comes to ranking requests for land annexation into the City of Frederick, a majority of the Board of Aldermen thinks the decision should not lie solely with Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger. At tonight’s public hearing, the board is scheduled to discuss a resolution on how to weigh and rank each request to incorporate land into the city’s existing boundaries.Chuck Boyd, deputy director for Planning, has told the board in two prior discussions that his department has more than a dozen inquiries from landowners regarding annexation into the city. Frederick has a moratorium on the practice dating back to 2002. The proposed resolution states the mayor will evaluate the merits of each case and rank them accordingly. It is that stipulation which has all three of the city’s Democratic aldermen calling for more discussion at tonight’s meeting. Alderman Donna Kuzemchak (D) said Holtzinger (R) should "absolutely not” have lone authority on prioritizing requests, since "annexation is a legislative act ... and a decision for the whole city.”

Residents tout alternatives to burning trash in advance of public hearing

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/06/2007
For weeks, incinerator opponents have been encouraging residents to come out Tuesday to tell Frederick County commissioners to scrap the idea of building one here. "We're out canvassing the area and going door to door," said Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends of Frederick County, a group that promotes a better quality of life. ''We've already got several businesses on board." The group has distributed postcards to businesses in downtown Frederick asking residents to come out to Tuesday night's public hearing and voice support to increase recycling instead of spending money to build an incinerator. "It is critical that Frederick County residents show up in force to urge our elected leaders that we must examine other options for disposing of our trash before we move forward," said Alane Hartley, cofounder of the Waste Study Group and a member of Friends of Frederick County. "Local taxpayers have a right to demand more transparency in a process that could potentially create more debt and pollute the air our children breathe."

Carroll’s environmental council says no to plan

Group prefers to increase recycling, charge residents by weight of their trash
Gazette
Charles Schelle
11/01/2007
As the Carroll Board of County Commissioners considers whether to build a trash incinerator, Environmental Advisory Council members have their own opinion about the plant: No way. "Our recommendation is that we not pursue waste-to-energy [incineration], and not pursue it for a period of at least five years,” said Sher Horosko, a member of the Environmental Advisory Council. Horosko’s comments drew applause from the audience at an Oct. 24 Frederick Board of County Commissioners meeting. "[The incinerator] will not have support of a single member of our Environmental Advisory Council,” she said.

Commissioners forgo bottled water

Frederick News Post
Meg Bernhardt
10/26/2007
A pitcher and paper cups replaced the traditional bottles of water placed in front of the Frederick County Commissioners during evening meetings. As the commissioners sat down to discuss waste disposal issues this week, Commissioner Kai Hagen announced the new policy to the audience, comprised mostly of people who want to protect the environment. The county established the rule this month that its departments will not buy bottled water or styrofoam cups. "One of the big issues right now is the going green concept and in my opinion this is going to go a long way to eliminate waste generation at the county's landfill," said County Manager Ron Hart. The quality of the water is not a problem, Hagen said. "Tastes fine to me," he said with a smile.