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.

With privatization's end comes a time to reflect, explain

Frederick News Post
07/14/2013
Saying there's nothing more to privatize, Commissioners President Blaine Young called it a day in a optimistically toned July 8 letter to county staff, lauding a streamlined, much-less-costly, much-less-populated county government. The controversial and unfortunate decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation and Montevue Assisted Living "will be the last major change this Board will make," he wrote. Since 2009, the county workforce has been reduced by 25 percent -- one in every four staff -- through "layoffs, eliminating vacant positions and consolidating County divisions and departments and privatizing services." "I realize all the changes have been difficult," Young wrote. That doesn't really capture it.

Not our county's finest hour — or five hours

Frederick News Post
Bill Pritchard
07/14/2013
ou might have already picked up on this, but there are some really rude dudes in our county. This was not the first time I’ve witnessed this, but the five-hour public hearing June 25 at Frederick Community College on the county commissioners’ decision to sell Citizens Nursing Home and Montevue Assisted Living was without a doubt one of the worst examples of an out-of-control local crowd I’ve seen in a long time. It started off badly when a man angrily confronted Commissioners President Blaine Young in the lobby and had to be restrained. It continued throughout the meeting with the majority anti-sale crowd forgetting they weren’t at a Frederick Keys’ game, cheering those they agreed with and booing those who had the audacity to speak their mind in favor of the sale. Either FCC or the commissioners knew what was coming -- Kussmaul Theater was generously stocked with cops that night Joining the vocal opposition was Kai Hagen, former commissioner and longtime commissioners’ critic who shouted “liar!” from his seat in response to a statement from Young towards the end of the meeting. This was an unexpected outburst from an otherwise cooler head. They had good reason to be angry, frustrated, furious, and just plain mad as hell.

Not our county’s finest hour — or five hours

Frederick News Post
Bill Pritchard
07/14/2013
ou might have already picked up on this, but there are some really rude dudes in our county. This was not the first time I’ve witnessed this, but the five-hour public hearing June 25 at Frederick Community College on the county commissioners’ decision to sell Citizens Nursing Home and Montevue Assisted Living was without a doubt one of the worst examples of an out-of-control local crowd I’ve seen in a long time. It started off badly when a man angrily confronted Commissioners President Blaine Young in the lobby and had to be restrained. It continued throughout the meeting with the majority anti-sale crowd forgetting they weren’t at a Frederick Keys’ game, cheering those they agreed with and booing those who had the audacity to speak their mind in favor of the sale. Either FCC or the commissioners knew what was coming -- Kussmaul Theater was generously stocked with cops that night Joining the vocal opposition was Kai Hagen, former commissioner and longtime commissioners’ critic who shouted “liar!” from his seat in response to a statement from Young towards the end of the meeting. This was an unexpected outburst from an otherwise cooler head. They had good reason to be angry, frustrated, furious, and just plain mad as hell.

Delegate says state public works board must OK Citizens sale

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/14/2013
Galen Clagett has not added his voice to the mix at boisterous public meetings on the sale of Frederick County's nursing home and assisted living center. The state delegate and Frederick mayoral candidate has not written any strongly worded letters to the editor. He has not participated in any demonstrations. However, he has been working behind the scenes to raise questions about privatizing Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. The Frederick County commissioners late last month voted 4-1 to sell the facilities to a private company, Aurora Health Management, for $30 million.

Going with the flow on the Golden Mile

Frederick News Post
07/11/2013
Frederick has asked the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments for $35,000 to fund a traffic study of the Golden Mile. According to Frederick County traffic engineer Ron Burns, MCOG’s Technical Advisory Committee reviewed the proposal and recommended approving it, so right now it looks like a go. This is very good news, because vehicle, transit and pedestrian traffic is a major consideration in the new vision for this commercial area that the city and Golden Mile Alliance have forged. It is vital to the alliance’s goal to “ ... ensure that the Golden Mile is an attractive, diverse, and highly dynamic, mixed-use commercial corridor with top retail, office, and service uses linked by safe pedestrian routes to healthy residential neighborhoods and parks.” Currently, the flow of all manner of traffic on the Golden Mile needs attention — particularly for bike riders and pedestrians. Despite efforts to improve safety and efficiency, it’s obvious that some new vision is called for. Among other issues, the study would likely examine the pros and cons of creating a dedicated bus lane. It should, because the Golden Mile corridor in heavily traveled and many who work and live in the area need or choose to use public transportation. Traffic flow also needs to conform to and facilitate the small-area plan that has been the centerpiece of the revitalization plan for the Golden Mile. As envisioned by the Frederick Planning Department, the concept is dedicated to making the Golden Mile corridor “walkable, connected, vibrant, safe, complete, attractive and sustainable.”

Commission OKs concept plan for 314-home village

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/11/2013
The first round of drawings and plans for a 314-home development in Ijamsville brought the project one step closer to approval. The Frederick County Planning Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to approve the concept site plan for building Oakdale Village on roughly 52 acres north of Old National Pike and west of Eaglehead Drive. The property is sandwiched between Oakdale High School and Oakdale middle and elementary schools, and much of Wednesday's discussion related to the potential for worsening the existing traffic congestion during peak hours. Colby Hubble, who said she has lived her entire life on Old National Pike, said cars in the area of the proposed project are at a standstill for about 20 minutes most mornings. "The designer hasn't seen it, hasn't lived it," she told the county planning board. However, representatives of developers Oakdale Properties said the village would be ideally situated near schools and the future Linganore Town Center. "This is a very unique site. I can't think of a better place to put some density and establish a walkable community," said Mark Friis, president of Rodgers Consulting. Planning commissioner Robert Lawrence said he doesn't think the design provides enough access points to the community. Lawrence predicted backups at the Old National Pike entrance.

Businesses say yes, residents say no to rezoning for Wal-Mart

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/11/2013
Business owners on the Golden Mile are all for a new Wal-Mart on U.S. 40, but residents who live nearby say it’s the last thing the city needs. More than 120 people filled the City Hall boardroom Wednesday night to tell the mayor and Board of Aldermen their thoughts on rezoning Frederick Towne Mall and the Conley Farm. The bulk of the crowd at the public hearing commented on the mall property. Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20-acre mall site on U.S. 40, has requested a zoning change that would allow it to demolish the mostly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The zoning would change the land from commercial use to a mix of commercial and residential uses. After hearing more than 30 public comments Wednesday, aldermen finalized conditions of the rezoning, which is scheduled for a vote July 18.

Stroll and the City

Frederick Magazine
07/10/2013
Frederick City’s planning office works to make sure residents and visitors can traipse through the city with ease. Deputy Director of Planning Joe Adkins has a pedometer clipped to his belt and estimates that at least a half dozen of his staff regularly walk or bike to city hall. Downtown, with its tree-lined side streets and historic buildings to admire, speaks for itself as a great place to walk, as does Baker Park and Carroll Creek Linear Park. But Adkins says plans are moving forward with projects such as a pathway from the Golden Mile to Downtown and one connecting Worman’s Mill to the MARC Station on East Street, following the railroad tracks. He sounds almost gleeful when he talks about the idea of using the temporary pedestrian bridge on Motter Avenue, “if we can get it at a good price,” as a permanent link over Md. 26. Walkers grooving with their way of getting around tend to evangelize. On a recent rainy Sunday, about 60 people delayed their dinners to fill the seats in City Hall to listen to Washington, D.C., architect and city planner Jeff Speck talk about Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, the title of his newest book. Speck is a huge fan of Frederick and if certain pieces of his family’s life hadn’t fallen into place he would now be calling the place home. “Frederick is a good example of a city that has great bones. Frederick may not be as dense or as large as other cities, but at its heart it performs extremely well,” he says.

Mayoral candidates say city needs to act on big issues

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/09/2013
Candidates for mayor in this year’s election have their disagreements, but there is one thing they agree upon — there needs to be more movement on the city’s big issues. Blighted and vacant properties, Hargett Farm, Carroll Creek redevelopment, Frederick Towne Mall, and plans for a hotel conference center downtown were all discussed Monday night at the first forum for mayoral candidates. Six of the seven residents running faced off in the forum, hosted by Frederick Gorilla and WFMD radio at The Faux School. The only candidate who did not participate was Carol A. Hirsch. Hirsch is deaf and was not able to obtain an interpreter in time.

Rain in the garden

Frederick News Post
07/09/2013
Because we frequently editorialize on politics and government, it’s a nice change for us — and our readers, we hope — when we can focus on something that’s truly positive and uplifting. In this case, it’s the rain garden adjacent to St. James Episcopal Church in Mount Airy. Nancy Hernandez’s story about this little gem of a project was in Sunday’s News-Post, on page E-8. We hope you read it, as we did, with interest. If not, we recommend digging out your Sunday edition and doing so. We like this story because it’s about people working together to solve a problem. It also involves improving the environmental, and may even be of help to Frederick County residents as they seek solutions to stormwater runoff and ways to address the (drumroll) “rain tax.

WTE endgame

Frederick News Post
Fred Ugast
07/09/2013
It’s no surprise that the Carroll County Commissioners voted last month to earmark $3 million in reserves to pay a termination penalty if they withdraw from the partnership with Frederick County to build a bi-county waste-to-energy facility and a suitable replacement partner does not step in. Those commissioners made clear long ago that a majority will not support Carroll County’s participation in the project. But by putting their money where their mouth is, the commissioners have taken a small but important step in moving toward the endgame of the divisive and unfortunate saga that this project represents. Sometime in the next few weeks or months, the Maryland Department of the Environment is likely to issue the permits necessary to allow construction of the project to move forward and set the stage for the crucial step of preparing and selling the bonds to finance it. I won’t rehash the pros and cons of this project. Since the 2005 Beck Report on Frederick County’s waste disposal options, this issue has been debated in great detail on almost every conceivable front, including its potential environmental, economic, public health and historical/cultural impacts. People whose opinions I respect have come down on both sides of this debate, and we can stipulate that this is a complex and difficult subject. I think building it would be a huge financial blunder, but I can respect that others think those concerns are overblown or trumped by other elements. I don’t know whether it will ultimately get built or not, but I hope we can cool the rhetoric enough for the Frederick County Commissioners to take another look and use Carroll County’s decision as an opportunity rather than a challenge. While WTE supporters can legitimately point to costs and risks of not moving this project forward after all these years, the financial risk to taxpayers deserves a fresh review using revised assumptions and greater sensitivity analysis than presented to date.

Frederick: A Bicycle-Friendly Community

Frederick News Post
William Smith
07/09/2013
In 2010, Frederick mayor Randy McClement, with the assistance of city planner Tim Davis and the newly-created Frederick Bicycle Coalition, formed what was then termed the “Mayor’s Ad-hoc Bicycle Committee”. Numerous people from the area were interviewed for positions on the committee, which was to be composed of people who lived in the city or owned businesses here and were interested and/or possessed knowledge of bicycling. Its first goal was to obtain “Bicycle-Friendly Community” (BFC) status as granted by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB).

Frederick County commissioners done with large-scale privatization, Young says

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/09/2013
The era of wholesale privatization in county government is coming to a close, and the surviving three quarters of the county workforce can breathe a sigh of relief, according to Commissioners President Blaine Young. Young sent a letter to Frederick County employees Monday thanking them for their understanding during the roughly two years that commissioners have looked at shrinking and streamlining government. The recent decision to sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living puts the county on course to lose 181 more workers, with facility staff expected to become employees of the buyer, Aurora Health Management. However, the sale of Citizens and Montevue represents the last major privatization effort the current Board of County Commissioners aims to undertake, Young wrote in the letter.

Frederick's race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Frederick’s race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Smith’s simplistic commentary

Frederick News Post
Jack Lynch
07/08/2013
Recent commentary by Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith exposes the simplistic political logic of the current Board of County Commissioners and of the statewide Chesapeake Coalition. At its base, it rejects firm science and portrays the problem as an out-of-state boogeyman to deflect attention from our real-life issues and responsibility for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. The citizens of Frederick County, and of Maryland, deserve better from our local elected leaders. As one dedicated over many years towards the careful practice of environmental stewardship and water quality while respecting history and economics and sustainability, I demand better deliberation, thought and action in these responsibilities from us all.

Smith's simplistic commentary

Frederick News Post
Jack Lynch
07/08/2013
Recent commentary by Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith exposes the simplistic political logic of the current Board of County Commissioners and of the statewide Chesapeake Coalition. At its base, it rejects firm science and portrays the problem as an out-of-state boogeyman to deflect attention from our real-life issues and responsibility for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. The citizens of Frederick County, and of Maryland, deserve better from our local elected leaders. As one dedicated over many years towards the careful practice of environmental stewardship and water quality while respecting history and economics and sustainability, I demand better deliberation, thought and action in these responsibilities from us all.

Monocacy, U.S. 15 interchange is funded. Now what?

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/08/2013
Now that the city has secured funding for the long-planned Monocacy Boulevard-U.S. 15 interchange, Frederick is trying to set new priorities. City planner Tim Davis said that the item had been the No. 1 transportation item since he started the position 11 years ago. Maryland's Transportation Act set aside $82 million for the interchange during the last General Assembly session. Davis met with the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to discuss the city's Highway Needs Inventory and set new goals. The inventory is a requirement of local governments to request state funding for road projects. The list does not guarantee funding, but it's a primary step to secure it.