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.

Petitioning change

Frederick News Post
08/08/2013
Commissioners President Blaine Young is dismissive of their value, saying no local petition has changed his mind on any important question. He mentions two hot-button issues — the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator and education funding — as examples. Commissioner Billy Shreve is of the same mind, especially when he receives a form letter from an online petition site such as Change.org, which anyone can weigh in on. Says Shreve, “If I get a letter from someone in Australia, I pay zero attention to it.” But for average citizens, petitions can be a means to express their displeasure with local government and its decisions, and the simple act of doing so can be rewarding. While the effort may not succeed, there is value in it for those who participate. Frederick resident Ed Hinde, who promoted an online petition to recall Young, admits that he’d be hard-pressed to name any petition drive that’s had an effect on the commissioners. But he says, “I think the ones I’ve participated in are a venting of public angst. The basic premise is getting people educated and engaged.” Hinde makes a good point.

Below the belt

Frederick News Post
Glen and Gloria Dunham
08/08/2013
My wife and I are among the many in southeast Frederick County opposing the two massive developments, Lansdale and Monrovia Town Center, which Blaine Young and his Board of Frederick County Commissioners voting bloc so adamantly supports. We have written to the commissioners. To their credit, we received replies, but they clearly did not consider our argument that Frederick County currently has a dozen municipalities wanting growth, and that future growth should be within those boundaries instead of creating a brand-new townhouse city on beautiful farmland.

Facts on county budget, please

Frederick News Post
Bob White
08/04/2013
Enough misdirection is enough! Citizens deserve facts about the county budget, not hazy self-serving propaganda. ... The Young board has cut over 200 fees and taxes — primarily to benefit of the development and building industry. Most county taxpayers will not experience a benefit from these fee reductions. In many instances, there are still county costs to cover development review and inspection of projects. These costs have been shifted to the backs of county taxpayers. This means the taxpayer is now paying for the cost of permits and inspection for development projects that previously have been covered by user fees. The public deserves facts, not fiction about the budget and taxes. Look at your recently mailed property tax bill. Look at the annual county budget summaries. Spending and your tax bills have gone up! I guess this is the Young board just doing what it promised!

Brunswick eyes sustainable efficiencies

City committee to find ways to encourage resource conservation
Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
08/03/2013
The asphalt parking lot at City Hall has sprouted islands of flower beds and trees. Not only does the flora beautify the utilitarian backside of buildings in the first block of West Potomac Street, it stands to earn the city some credit with the state. Brunswick has just started working toward certification in the Sustainable Maryland Certified program, and although the garden was not part of the new effort, it could count. The City Council approved setting up an ad hoc committee called the Green Team to get started. About 10 interested residents attended the first meeting, and others said they want to participate, Mayor Karin Tome said.

Raining on the 'rain tax'

08/01/2013
According to a new report from the Maryland Public Policy Institute, Maryland’s so-called “rain tax” is poorly conceived, has been ineptly handled by some jurisdictions, and may not live up to its billing as an important weapon in the fight to clean up and save the Chesapeake Bay. MPPI’s John W. Walters, who wrote the report, concludes, “Despite its apparent environmental pedigree, the rain tax is basically just an additional property tax.” The report discusses many aspects of the rain tax, including how various jurisdictions have decided to implement the program. Thomas A. Firey, also of MPPI, edited Walters’ report and was quoted in a recent story in The Daily Record. His assessment of how it’s all going so far: “It’s really important to understand, at least in theory, why this could be good, but why a lot of this is getting screwed up.”

Raining on the ‘rain tax’

08/01/2013
According to a new report from the Maryland Public Policy Institute, Maryland’s so-called “rain tax” is poorly conceived, has been ineptly handled by some jurisdictions, and may not live up to its billing as an important weapon in the fight to clean up and save the Chesapeake Bay. MPPI’s John W. Walters, who wrote the report, concludes, “Despite its apparent environmental pedigree, the rain tax is basically just an additional property tax.” The report discusses many aspects of the rain tax, including how various jurisdictions have decided to implement the program. Thomas A. Firey, also of MPPI, edited Walters’ report and was quoted in a recent story in The Daily Record. His assessment of how it’s all going so far: “It’s really important to understand, at least in theory, why this could be good, but why a lot of this is getting screwed up.”

Roundtable Discussion with Frederick’s Mayoral Candidates (VIDEOS)

Frederick Gorilla
08/01/2013
On July 8 Frederick Gorilla and WFMD Radio, assisted by the Young Democrats and Young Republican clubs of Frederick County, kicked off the contest for City Hall’s top office by hosting a roundtable with the candidates for Frederick’s mayor. Candidates who participated included Randy McClement, Shelley Aloi, William J. (Jeff) Holtzinger, Galen Clagett, Karen Lewis and Jennifer Dougherty. Of note, Carol A. Hirsch, who is deaf and also running for mayor was unable to participate in the roundtable due to a last-minute cancellation of her interpreter. The forum was moderated by Pattee Brown.

City, county officials back regional transportation plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
Residents should speak up for easier commutes and road and bridge repairs, according to Frederick city and county leaders. At a joint news conference Tuesday, Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith and city Alderwoman Carol Krimm praised a drafted transportation priorities plan that is under development by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Almost all major transportation projects need the council's blessing, so it's important to make sure the group's long-range plans reflect Frederick's needs, said Smith and Krimm. The Frederick area has significant infrastructure issues, the officials said. "We are actually behind the curve," Smith said.

Interested buyer to begin running Citizens, Montevue

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
The county-owned nursing and assisted living homes are set to see a change in management this week, as the company interested in buying the facilities gets a jump-start on running them. On Thursday, Aurora Health Management will take the reins at Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living on a month-to-month contract that is expected to last until the Millersville-based company purchases the two facilities. County commissioners on June 25 voted to sell the centers to Aurora for $30 million. Aurora will take over for LW Consulting, a Pennsylvania business that has managed Citizens and Montevue for more than 18 months. The county has agreed to pay Aurora $50,000 per month to run the facilities and head up everything from purchasing to health care reporting.

Mayor: City has done more with less

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/30/2013
Mayor Randy McClement characterized his administration Monday as one that has managed to do more with less. McClement used his State of the City address as an opportunity to highlight his administration’s work on maintaining Frederick’s fiscal health, pushing forward road and public work projects, and helping spur commercial development — all during the recession. The mayor, whose first term ends this year, focused on the city’s current state, rather than giving specifics for what should happen in the future. “It was important to me that we not reduce service levels or increase taxes, but be more creative and do more with less,” he said. “I feel that with the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the aldermen and I have done just that.” In the speech at City Hall, McClement addressed ongoing issues such as the second phase of Carroll Creek Linear Park, the city’s unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits, the downtown hotel and conference center project, and blighted and vacant properties.

Something vs. nothing

Frederick News Post
07/30/2013
Without any context to help sort this quote out, some readers would assume it came from the recent debate about whether to permit Wal-Mart to occupy the deserted Frederick Towne Mall space. In this case, however, the comment came from downtown Frederick resident Truby LaGarde, and the “something” she was referring is a chain establishment. As with the Golden Mile Wal-Mart, the big question is whether more chains would, on balance, be a good or bad thing for downtown Frederick’s central business district. Many residents and business owners appear to be somewhat conflicted about additional chains setting up shop downtown.

Head Start not in a better place

Frederick News Post
Shannon Aleshire
07/28/2013
The editorial in the Sunday, July 14 edition of the Frederick News-Post reflects on the end of the county’s privatization and used the “spin-free” example of the Head Start program. The editorial states that the Head Start program covers the same number of children in a reliable operation without county funding. This is true. The YMCA is federally mandated to serve the same number of children with the funds they receive. The question is: Does our community want to use the number of children served as the singular measure of success for a critically important early childhood program? If we used the same type of thinking for our pubic schools then we would say they served the same number of children as last year, therefore, they must be successful. Instead, I would suggest that the community look a little deeper. The early childhood community applauds the YMCA for stepping up to take on this valuable program. It is unrealistic to think that a program receiving $2 million less in financial support can offer the same programming and produce the same results.

Local Realtor goes green

Frederick News Post
Susan Guynn
07/27/2013
About five years ago she earned the National Association of Realtors Green Designation, a program that provides real estate agents training in green building and sustainable practices to help them seek out, understand and market properties with green features. NAR foresees an increasing demand for agents who are knowledgeable about new and existing sustainable homes. Nationwide, more than 4,000 people have been awarded the Green Designation since the program began in 2008. According to the NAR website, Borell is one of about a dozen Realtors in Frederick who are Green Designees.

TransIT accepting input on proposed taxi voucher program

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/27/2013
As the time for public comment on TransIT's proposed taxi voucher program comes to a close, director Nancy Norris wants to keep the conversation focused on service, not controversy. Some people, like Emmitsburg resident Catherine Forrence, have doubts about the proposal that would allow elderly or disabled residents to buy $10 debit cards pre-loaded with $60 for cab fare. Forrence emailed Pat Rosensteel, director of the county Citizen Services Division, stating that taxis are not an adequate substitute for TransIT-plus service because of the complications surrounding liability for riders in wheelchairs and other issues.

New primary date makes campaigns adjust schedules

While others actively campaign, Gansler opting for September start
Gazette
Ryan Marshall
07/26/2013
A new primary date has led many Maryland gubernatorial campaigns to start their politicking unseasonably early, but some prime contenders have opted for a delayed start to the race. For the 2014 election, Maryland’s primary will be held on June 24 rather than in September, forcing candidates who otherwise might have waited until the fall to declare their intentions earlier.
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Maryland’s New Emissions Plan Shows Climate Action Is Cost-Effective

World Resources Institute
Rebecca Gasper and Kevin Kennedy
07/26/2013
As impacts from climate change become more visible and costly, leaders across the nation are responding. In the wake of projections from the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science showing that Maryland could face sea-level rise of more than six feet by the end of the century, Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled a state climate action plan this week. The initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting job creation and economic growth. Sea-level rise will make Maryland–and other states on the Atlantic coast–increasingly vulnerable to costly and damaging floods, underscoring the urgency to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. The actions described in Governor’s plan aim to achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2006 levels by 2020. According to analysis conducted by Towson University for the state, the plan is expected to produce more than $1 billion in net economic benefits and support more than 37,000 jobs, providing yet more evidence that smart environmental policy is smart economic policy.

U.S. 15-Monocacy interchange gets regional stamp of approval

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/25/2013
It could soon get easier to travel across town in Frederick now that a regional transportation planning board has given its blessing to the long-awaited U.S. 15 and Monocacy Boulevard interchange. The Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted last week to include the project in its transportation improvement program. Construction is set to be completed in 2016. The state agreed in May to use funds raised from the gas tax increase to foot the $84.5 million bill for construction, but the plan still had to be approved by appropriate regional authorities — in this case, the council of governments.

Citizens, Montevue sale opponents take cause to court

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/25/2013
Opponents of privatizing the local government-owned nursing and assisted living centers say they have launched a legal challenge against Frederick County for its decision to sell the facilities. A copy of the petition for judicial review shows it was filed Tuesday in Circuit Court by five Frederick County residents. One lives at the assisted living center. The one-paragraph document did not lay out the petitioners’ reasons for taking legal action, but their attorney provided additional context in a letter to state officials. In the correspondence to the Maryland Board of Public Works, the attorney raised several issues about the June 25 public hearing where commissioners voted 4-1 to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. “The evidence at the hearing was contrary to the BOCC’s blanket assertion that the property was no longer needed for any public use,” Leslie Powell wrote in the July 23 letter. “Particularly troubling to the public was the fact that the BOCC members had already made up their minds and stated their intended vote prior to the hearing.”