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.

Violating the Open Meetings Act is no laughing matter

Frederick News Post
08/24/13
When is a quorum, not a quorum? Don't waste your time asking Frederick County Commissioner Kirby Delauter that question. Judging by his reaction of last week's unfavorable opinion by the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board he's "not going to lose any sleep on it." Not to be outdone, Commissioner Billy Shreve told Frederick News-Post reporter Bethany Rodgers, after learning about the ruling, that the compliance board's decision won't change his approach to talking about county issues. What we find troubling is that it's this kind of arrogance and disrespect for government transparency that continues to be the hallmark of the majority of this current board of commissioners. In case you missed it, the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board ruled last week that three commissioners, including Delauter and Shreve, violated the state's Open Meetings Act when they talked about the pending sale of two county-owned facilities on a local radio program on June 15.

Frederick County commissioners OK taxi voucher program

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/23/13
Frederick County commissioners Thursday gave their approval to a taxi voucher program that will supplement local transit services but won’t offer expanded hours. Officials for months have looked at using taxis to accommodate more riders with TransIT-plus, a service that provides reduced-cost transportation to senior citizens and people with disabilities. At Thursday’s board meeting, commissioners weighed in on the design and scope of a two-year voucher program set to start in 2014. The pilot will provide TransIT-plus riders with prepaid vouchers for paying their taxi fares.

Let voters decide

Frederick News Post
08/21/2013
A small group of county residents has filed a new lawsuit to block the county’s sale of Montevue Assisting Living and Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center to a private, for-profit company. Those who filed the complaint in Frederick County Circuit Court last Friday all have a personal or emotional connection with the institutions. They include two current residents of Montevue; two member of the institutions’ former board of trustees, which the Frederick County Commissioners dissolved earlier this year; donors to the two institutions; a relative of a Montevue resident; a neighbor who lives next to the facilities; and a descendent of Elias Bruner, who sold the Montevue property to the county in 1828, the deed of which stipulated that the property was to be used only to benefit the poor. The suit consists of five counts, among them that the county lacked the legal authority to privatize the institutions, that doing so would deprive the community’s of its safety net for the poor, and that the two facilities had not been given a reasonable opportunity to become financially self-sufficient. Every indication we have it that county residents, on balance, believe these institutions are a credit to the community and a worthwhile use of the small percentage of taxpayer money that they require. We support that position.

County to consider letting farmers sell growth rights

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/21/2013
Owners of agricultural land in Frederick County might eventually bring to market their development rights as well as their farm produce. A nine-person work group has formed to consider allowing farmers to sell their property’s growth potential to land owners elsewhere in the county. A transfer of development rights program would allow farmers to drum up cash without selling off their land piece-by-piece, supporters of the idea said. “My goal is to give the farmer more tools in the toolbox to keep their farms working farms because, really, their land is their 401(k),” Commissioners President Blaine Young said. “So what this allows them to do is basically access their 401(k) by selling their development rights.” It can also be used for conservation. The county has preserved thousands of acres through purchase programs, but these initiatives rely on a limited pool of taxpayer funding. Creating a TDR program could leverage private dollars for the same purpose. The programs are a way of decoupling development rights from a property and treating them as a separate commodity.

Lawsuit attempts to block Citizens, Montevue sale

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/20/2013
Assisted-living residents, charitable givers and several others have filed a lawsuit against Frederick County commissioners seeking to prevent two county-owned care centers from being sold to a for-profit company. The five-count complaint lodged Friday in Frederick County Circuit Court argues that county commissioners have no authority by state law to privatize Montevue Assisted Living and Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center. The plaintiffs also contend that handing the facilities over to a company will deprive the community of a safety net for its elderly citizens. “The Commissioners, over strenuous public opposition, and without undertaking any analysis as to public need, agreed to sell this property to a private company having no obligation to care for those who cannot afford it,” the complaint stated.This is the second court challenge initiated by opponents of the county’s $30 million sale agreement with Aurora Health Management. However, Friday’s lawsuit is more detailed and has a longer list of complainants than the previous filing, said Leslie Powell, attorney for the plaintiffs.

City of Frederick can't plan in a vacuum

Frederick News Post
Jack Lynch
08/19/2013
We need to change our way of thinking about the demands upon the City of Frederick's planning. While the city's authority comprises only the area within its metes and bounds, its urbanized area (a census term, built by contiguous census tracts with population densities of 1,000 person or more each) extends much farther, meaning that the City of Frederick does not control what happens in these areas, but they have great impact upon its outcomes for roads, schools and services. These combined areas are different than the rest of Frederick County. We need to start thinking about how these factors contribute to our decision-making and the impacts of the future growth of the city in conjunction to these broader areas. Planning in a vacuum, as we prepare the next rendition of the City of Frederick Comprehensive Plan, will likely result in a failure to adequately guide the city through the next 20 years.

City of Frederick can’t plan in a vacuum

Frederick News Post
Jack Lynch
08/19/2013
We need to change our way of thinking about the demands upon the City of Frederick's planning. While the city's authority comprises only the area within its metes and bounds, its urbanized area (a census term, built by contiguous census tracts with population densities of 1,000 person or more each) extends much farther, meaning that the City of Frederick does not control what happens in these areas, but they have great impact upon its outcomes for roads, schools and services. These combined areas are different than the rest of Frederick County. We need to start thinking about how these factors contribute to our decision-making and the impacts of the future growth of the city in conjunction to these broader areas. Planning in a vacuum, as we prepare the next rendition of the City of Frederick Comprehensive Plan, will likely result in a failure to adequately guide the city through the next 20 years.

Frederick County officials advance Jefferson tech park housing plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/15/2013
Developers of an 825-home project southwest of Frederick aim to give future residents space to park, store their stuff and plant a garden, but it hasn’t been a simple task. At a Wednesday meeting, county officials talked about whether designs for the Jefferson Technology Park would produce a comfortable community or whether it would create problems. The preliminary subdivision and site development plan ended up passing muster with the Frederick County Planning Commission by a vote of 6 to 1. While much of the planned technology park is devoted to office and commercial space, the roughly 60-acre residential section will include 223 townhouses, 374 condos and 228 apartments. County officials heard that the technology park’s dense layout presented some challenges for planners, like making sure there’s enough room for cars. By Frederick County zoning law, the community must include at least 2,025 on-site parking spaces. The developer’s plan provides 1,243 spaces in driveways, garages and parking lots, 116 shared spaces and another 1,045 spots along the street, for a total of 2,404 spaces.

Frederick County gets a reputation for mean

Lovely vistas, destination dining and a hard line on undocumented workers
Baltimore Sun
Dan Rodricks
08/14/2013
A smart, progressive event gets under way in Frederick County in about a week — a farm-to-fork promotion in 13 restaurants there. Starting Aug. 23, the participating establishments will offer home-grown food and wine; they'll buy enough products from county farmers and vintners to make their menus 60 percent local. That's an oh-so-trendy concept and at the same time old-fashioned, a throwback to the days when chefs bought their meats and produce out the back door. Farm-to-Fork Frederick gets chefs acquainted with local farmers, and it challenges locavores to put their money where their mouths have been — demanding regionalization of the food supply. So people who want to see more local (and organic) produce, fish and meats on the menus of their favorite restaurants ought to get out to Frederick between Aug. 23 and Labor Day to support the effort. That is, of course, unless you have a problem with Frederick County — or, to be more exact, with the people who run Frederick County, the Board of County Commissioners and the sheriff. The president of the commissioners, Blaine Young, has boasted that Frederick is the Maryland county "most unfriendly to illegal aliens."

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service”

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service"

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Solar farm being considered for Myersville

Frederick News Post
Ike Wilson
08/14/2013
The Myersville Town Council pondered a conceptual plan for a solar farm Tuesday that would provide 70 percent to 80 percent of the municipal government’s daily electric needs. The project will entail several steps, Town Administrator Kristin Aleshire said, including identifying a suitable property for the undertaking, vetting the proposal publicly so residents are aware and identifying private investment to fund the venture. The viability of making the project is there, Aleshire said; it’s a matter of identifying private investment. “We’re not envisioning financing the project ourselves,” Aleshire said. Mayor Wayne Creadick Jr. said the town has already had some good discussions with RER Energy Group, the same firm that nearby Middletown officials are considering for their solar project.

Delegate Hogan Announces he will not seek re-election

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
08/13/2013
In a press release, Maryland Republican state delegate Patrick Hogan announced he will not will running next year for the seat in district 3-A. Hogan said “I am grateful to the citizens of Frederick for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the legislature,” said Hogan. He continued, “I never intended to make a career out of elected service and now it is time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.” He added "he is particularly proud of working to secure funding for important local school construction and transportation projects as well as working on the Environmental Matters Committee trying to balance environmental protection with economic growth." There are two state delagte seats in district 3-A and Democratic delegate Galen Clagett, who is running for mayor of The City of Frederick has already announced he would not seek another term. The Maryland state election is next year and it is commonly known Democratic city alderman Carol Krimm, who is not seeking re-election as an alderman in the city election this year, will run for state delegate next year. Also, in the rumor mill is Democrat Ryan Trout, who ran for state delegate in district 4-A in the 2010 election. He now lives in Frederick, which is part of district 3-A.

Frederick leaders consider city's role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Frederick leaders consider city’s role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Recycling: What happens to all those plastics and cans?

Frederick News Post
Margie Hyslop
08/11/2013
Ever wonder how the jumble of recyclables tossed in your one-bin-takes-all cart gets sorted so it all can be shipped off to become new products? The answer is inside a building in Howard County which receives much of the recyclable material collected in Frederick County. Winding through the 50,000 square-foot Recycle America plant off U.S. Route 1 in Elkridge is an ingenious array of conveyor belts interspersed with a series of staged mechanical and magnetic filters. The apparatus fills most of the structure and separates most stuff stashed in the carts that Frederick residents have been wheeling to the curb since the county expanded its recycling program to a single stream system in 2009. At the plant — one of several in Maryland owned by Waste Management, the world’s largest collector and marketer of recyclables — workers first weigh each load and record where it came from. Then all the material goes onto a conveyor belt where workers watch for large items and plastic bags and remove those by hand. Tons of paper, cardboard, metals, glass, plastic run down the belt to rows of rotating disks gauged to sort materials by pushing some items over the top and allowing others to fall through and move for further sorting. Large pieces of cardboard are snagged early and sent to storage for baling.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski's office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.

Gardner leaves job at Mikulski’s office and mulls future

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/09/2013
Former County Commissioner Jan Gardner has left her job as state director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. As the first-ever race for Frederick County executive nears, what could be next for her? Reached by phone this week, Gardner said she's taking some time to think about her future, but declined to give any clues about whether an elected office is on her mind. She did acknowledge that many people are urging her to run for county executive in 2014. "If anybody ... tells you you've done a good job and says they'd like you to do it again, I think that's always flattering, certainly," she said. Gardner, a Democrat, joined Mikuslki's office shortly after the end of her term as commissioners president. Her last day as the senator's state director was in July, she said. With the buzz that Gardner is looking at the executive race, some see a potential match of the political heavyweights brewing between her and Commissioners President Blaine Young. On Thursday, Young, who has said he is open to a Republican bid for Frederick County executive, said Gardner's entrance into the race would nudge him toward joining it himself. "People say that she's the leader of one philosophy, and I'm the leader of the other philosophy. … Some would would like to see that competition take place," he said.