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.

Planning commission OKs plan for 147-home Libertytown project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/14/2013
A plan for 147 new homes in Libertytown has area residents talking about the need for a global look at development in the area. The concept plan for the Mill Creek development, situated on about 66 acres along Jones Road and north of Green Valley Road, won approval Friday from the Frederick County Planning Commission. The project that began in the early 1990s has faced numerous hurdles over the years, but it is finally gaining steam, said Ed Wormald, who represented the developer and landowner. However, three neighbors of the proposed project are wary of moving forward too quickly. Many of the roads leading to the subdivision are narrow and rural, and Rustin Gallagher, one of the residents, said they should be improved before more cars are added. Traffic accidents on these roads have already claimed lives, he said. "Mike Fink was killed right there," he said, pointing to a road on the map of Mill Creek. Fink died in a January 2012 collision with a tractor-trailer on Md. 75 near Jones Road.

Aldermanic candidates mix of old, new faces

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/11/2013
wo sitting aldermen and two former aldermen are among the 10 candidates who are poised to face off against one another in the city of Frederick’s general election, according to unofficial primary results. On the Republican side, city voters Tuesday chose Philip Dacey, Katie Nash, Alan Imhoff, Dave Schmidt and Daniel Cowell to move on to compete in the city’s Nov. 5 general election, according to the preliminary totals for the primary election. The top five Democratic vote-getters were Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Alderman Michael O’Connor, Josh Bokee, Donna Kuzemchak and John Daniels, according to the preliminary numbers.

McClement, Young clinch mayoral nominations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/11/2013
Mayor Randy McClement and Alderwoman Karen Young each clinched their party’s nomination Tuesday and will move on to the Nov. 5 general election, according to unofficial election results. In the Republican race, McClement defeated Alderwoman Shelley Aloi and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger. He brought in 49 percent of the total with 808 votes; Aloi had 32 percent with 534 votes; and Holtzinger had 19 percent with 317 votes. In the Democratic race, Alderwoman Karen Young defeated Delegate Galen Clagett and newcomer Carol Hirsch. Young brought in 50 percent of the total with 1,168 votes; Clagett had 40 percent with 925 votes; and Hirsch had 10 percent with 237 votes.

Citizens and Montevue residents carry on despite fears about sale

Frederick News Post
Rachel S. Karas
09/09/2013
To see that it's business as usual at Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living in Frederick, just look at the parking lot. The county-owned facilities hosted an antique car party on Saturday to kick off Assisted Living Week, which runs nationwide through Sept. 14. Shiny black vintage cars were signs of normalcy at the facility, which is hoping to keep its cool despite an ongoing legal battle and impending $30 million sale to Aurora Health Care Management that will decide the home's future. Aurora took over as the center's management on Aug. 1 with little change to daily operations, according to Montevue administrator Diane Grove. "We're trying to make it as seamless as possible," Grove said. "I think it can only enhance our programs." The county commissioners' vote to privatize the home in June has residents on edge as they await a decision from the state Board of Public Works.

Frederick County to continue, possibly expand municipal recycling program

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/07/2013
Bottles and cans might soon have to cover less distance to land in a recycling bin near Brunswick or Thurmont. The Board of County Commissioners decided Thursday to continue and possibly expand the county's municipal recycling program. Middletown, Walkersville and Emmitsburg each have the recycling drop-off sites, and under the pilot program, have received county dollars to reimburse them for running the centers. Commissioners on Thursday unanimously opted to make the recycling incentive program permanent and set aside $50,000 to fund the current sites and support Brunswick and Thurmont if they join the program. "This is a program we started. It's been very, very popular. So this is to take it to another level," Commissioners President Blaine Young said. The fiscal 2014 funding levels represent a reduction from last year, when the program was budgeted for up to $100,000. However, Phillip Harris, the county's superintendent of solid waste management, said the three participating municipalities together used only about $12,300 of the available funds.

City officials pass ordinance to fight blighted properties

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/07/2013
The city now has a bigger hammer to help it fight its most habitually blighted and vacant properties. Frederick's Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to pass an ordinance that would allow the city to set up a receivership program. With receivership, the city could take the owner of a habitually vacant, unsafe and nuisance property to court. The court could either force the owner to make upgrades, or take the property from the owner and sell it to a qualified owner, with requirements attached to fix up the property in a set time frame. Alderman Michael O'Connor said the city does not believe receivership to be "the magic solution." The city would use the tool sparingly, if at all, said Alderwoman Carol Krimm.

Gardner exploring run for county executive, plans first fundraiser

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/07/2013
Former Frederick County Commissioner Jan Gardner has filed to open a candidate committee account and says she is considering a run for county executive. Gardner said she mailed her paperwork to the Maryland State Board of Elections late last week and is already working to organize her first fundraiser. She said she's also planning a series of listening sessions across the county because many in the community feel their voices are not being heard by sitting officials. The 2014 election is a critical one for the county because it marks the shift to a new form of government, she added. "It's really important right now as the county transitions to charter (government) that we have strong leadership in place to make sure that transition goes well, to make sure we have open and ethical government," Gardner said. She said she is "very committed" to a race for executive, but wants to hear from local residents, gauge her support and raise funds before making her final decision. Gardner, a Democrat, served as Frederick County commissioner from December 1998 to December 2010 and from there went to work as a state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. She left her post with Mikulski in July.

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/05/2013
he American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday. In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said. “Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Green acres, not greenbacks

Frederick News Post
Chuck Honse
09/04/2013
The Monrovia and Green Valley areas are about to change. The folks living there are about to lose the lifestyle for which they moved into the area — lots of green space instead of blacktop and concrete; lots of peace and quiet instead of the sounds of traffic and emergency equipment; lots of fresh country air, the smell of freshly cut grass and hayfields instead of the fumes generated by huge volumes of traffic; lots of peaceful living instead of living in fear of increased crime, which is often the result of densely populated areas; lots of space around their homes instead of having to listen to their neighbor snoring, sneezing or their radio/TV program; lots of sounds of children at play in their spacious backyards, birds chirping and singing instead of the sounds of honking horns and screaming sirens. Head puppeteer Blaine Young and his three puppets (Billy Shreve, C. Paul Smith, Kirby Delauter) are about to change it all.

Community Expresses Concern About Portables

Urbana Town Courier
Sally Alt
09/03/2013
Although the Frederick County Public County Schools (FCPS) system is working hard to ensure the health and safety of classrooms, community members believe that more should be done to safeguard the health of students and teachers in portable classrooms at Urbana Elementary School (UES). Jeff Esko, who taught for 23 years in the Gifted and Talented Magnet Program at UES, filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that his health issues were caused by working in a portable classroom. The fifth grade teacher spent seven years teaching in portable buildings used as classrooms at UES, and has been treated for ocular migraines and vision loss Health issues in some portable classrooms may be linked to indoor air quality problems, which can be caused by poorly functioning HVAC systems, chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, water entry and mold growth, and improper or infrequent cleaning, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Outdoor air should be supplied continuously when a portable classroom is occupied by students and teachers, the EPA said.

Commissioners look to shed excess building space

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/03/2013
Frederick County officials have laid out a strategy to get rid of extra building space and free up more room in the budget. Relocating county staff members and programs will allow officials to sell several properties, cancel a $2.5 million maintenance project and end two leases, officials said. A task force has been working since last year to sketch out the five-year building consolidation plan approved Thursday by county commissioners. "I'm very happy to see it," Commissioner Paul Smith said of the plan. "It will help us be more efficient and reduce the taxpayer burden a little bit." With the plan, the county would put on the market a building at 520 N. Market St., now the headquarters of the citizens services division. The division would eventually move to 340 Montevue Lane, according to the plan.

Challenge for builders is finding construction crews

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
09/02/2013
New home construction is picking up, but builders are finding it challenging to find construction crews. "It's been a long time coming," said Dan Ryan, president of Dan Ryan Homes, "but it has created other challenges." Ryan, whose company builds in six states, said many construction workers left the industry when the economy took its toll on the housing field. "It is a volatile and cyclical industry," Ryan said. Additionally, he said the costs of both materials and labor have increased.

Board OKs lifting age restriction from Ballenger Run project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/29/13
Frederick County planning commissioners have granted a request to let people younger than 55 live in the proposed Ballenger Run development. The owner of roughly 197 acres on Ballenger Creek Pike on Wednesday night secured the county planning commission's unanimous blessing to lift an age restriction from the bulk of the project. With the volatility of the housing market, age-restricted communities had become a less viable option for the Ballenger Run development, project representatives said. "It was also very clear from the beginning that this location, with schools all around it ... was much better suited to an all-age community," said Steve Oder, the project manager. Plans approved in 2006 allowed for 970 age-restricted homes on the property just across from Tuscarora High School. The development plans now would include 855 dwellings, a community center, open space, a trail along Ballenger Creek and a roughly 13-acre school site.

New partners in county stream improvement

Frederick News Post
08/27/2013
John Smucker recently partnered with the Potomac Conservancy as part of a project to remove a fish barrier, an outmoded dam and control bank erosion in Tuscarora Creek. He planted 55 native hardwood trees along with cocoa matts. Brook Hill United Methodist Church helped complete the field and leg work. Ray Locke, coordinator of the Friends of Frederick County Clean Streams Initiative, is seeking to use similar techniques to improve the health of other streams in Frederick County. Frederick County has 20 different watersheds of which 11 are in poor condition. He is looking for groups to Adopt-A-Grid and install erosion stabilizers to improve water quality. Friends of Frederick County is organizing a Clean Streams Initiative, whereby individuals or groups can Adopt-A-Grid and monitor where a stream crosses a road. This will take two hours and be done twice a year, in October and March. A phone or Internet app will help report apparent pollution sources. For details, or to Adopt-a-Grid, visit the display in the lobby of the C. Burr Artz Public Library, 110 E. Patrick St., Frederick, visit www.friendsoffrederickcounty.org or email ray_locke@hotmail.com.

Citizens and Montevue’s $200,000 sticking point

Frederick News Post
08/25/13
On Wednesday, Commissioners President Blaine Young got to feel what it's like for many who stand on the podium across from him -- he was overruled. Young was in Annapolis alongside other county officials for a Board of Public Works hearing on the county's $30 million sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living to Aurora Health Management, a move that will ultimately privatize the two senior care homes, taking them out of public hands and ending close to two centuries of publicly supported care. The board, made up of Gov. Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, didn't go Young's way. The sticking point was the state's investment of $200,000 -- later revised to $191,000 -- for the construction of the two centers. Those grants give the BPW a say in the disposition of Citizens and Montevue. Instead, because of two lawsuits pending against the county commissioners, and despite Young's grandstanding flourish of a $200,000 check while at the hearing's podium, the board voted to delay the sale until two lawsuits brought by opponents are resolved.

Citizens and Montevue's $200,000 sticking point

Frederick News Post
08/25/13
On Wednesday, Commissioners President Blaine Young got to feel what it's like for many who stand on the podium across from him -- he was overruled. Young was in Annapolis alongside other county officials for a Board of Public Works hearing on the county's $30 million sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living to Aurora Health Management, a move that will ultimately privatize the two senior care homes, taking them out of public hands and ending close to two centuries of publicly supported care. The board, made up of Gov. Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, didn't go Young's way. The sticking point was the state's investment of $200,000 -- later revised to $191,000 -- for the construction of the two centers. Those grants give the BPW a say in the disposition of Citizens and Montevue. Instead, because of two lawsuits pending against the county commissioners, and despite Young's grandstanding flourish of a $200,000 check while at the hearing's podium, the board voted to delay the sale until two lawsuits brought by opponents are resolved.

Blaine Young bows out of governor's race

Frederick News Post
Daniel J. Gross
08/25/13
Blaine Young's eyes are no longer set on Maryland's top seat. The Frederick County commissioner's president announced he would not run for governor during Frederick's eighth annual FUNomenon, a daylong fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos Fund at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Instead, he offered supporters a glimpse of him becoming Frederick County's first county executive and also endorsed Charles Lollar for governor, saying Lollar had a better shot in the general election. The Marine and Charles County businessman, who attended Saturday's event, was a candidate in 2010 for Maryland's 5th Congressional District but lost to incumbent Steny Hoyer. Young first announced he would explore a bid for the governor's seat in May. Upon soliciting opinions and contributions from Frederick County residents, Young said in a speech Saturday he had gathered $500,000 from 1,500 contributors. He offered refund checks to those who have donated to his campaign. Polling data suggested he had a chance of gaining the GOP nomination but a "slim to none" chance of winning in the general election, he said.

Blaine Young bows out of governor’s race

Frederick News Post
Daniel J. Gross
08/25/13
Blaine Young's eyes are no longer set on Maryland's top seat. The Frederick County commissioner's president announced he would not run for governor during Frederick's eighth annual FUNomenon, a daylong fundraiser for the Patty Pollatos Fund at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Instead, he offered supporters a glimpse of him becoming Frederick County's first county executive and also endorsed Charles Lollar for governor, saying Lollar had a better shot in the general election. The Marine and Charles County businessman, who attended Saturday's event, was a candidate in 2010 for Maryland's 5th Congressional District but lost to incumbent Steny Hoyer. Young first announced he would explore a bid for the governor's seat in May. Upon soliciting opinions and contributions from Frederick County residents, Young said in a speech Saturday he had gathered $500,000 from 1,500 contributors. He offered refund checks to those who have donated to his campaign. Polling data suggested he had a chance of gaining the GOP nomination but a "slim to none" chance of winning in the general election, he said.