Column Archive

A Tale of Two Walmarts

The Frederick Citizen
Jack Lynch
03/27/2013
The era of the big box store has presented a conundrum for many places planning, the consumer convenience and pricing have driven a wild success in repeating these retail locations across the country, and they grow increasingly larger in size and offerings, and in recent years have driven down the commercial success and increased competition with retail grocery chains which typical operate on already thin margins. This situation presents itself in Frederick along Route 26 on the north side of the city.

City Limits

The Frederick Citizen
Jack Lynch
07/31/2012
Looking ahead towards the upcoming City of Frederick Comprehensive Planning process, and looking back over the last two previous Comp Plans, yields a few insights into various theories and outcomes from our public process that suggest alternatives to continued municipal growth. Rather than a growth, no-growth argument and its corresponding fallacy of economic benefit, we would achieve better results and improve citizen’s lives by following a model of ”benefit area” as our thinking. To try to summarize this concept of benefit area, let’s consider the current model, which assumes that a physical and economic growth model improves the quality of life.

Baby’s no longer on board

Frederick News Post
Matt Edens
04/30/2012
Frederick's clustered spires are a proud symbol of the city's past, but do they also bode well for its future? The thought came to me the other day while reading a news story about, of all things, the automobile industry. A business piece in The Atlantic, it chronicled how carmakers are struggling to connect with the youth market, specifically Gen Y, the millennials born between approximately 1980 and the early 2000s. Roughly 80 million strong, they're the largest demographic cohort in American history, outnumbering even their baby-boomer parents. And since they're now entering their car driving and buying years in large numbers, they represent the next major market for carmakers. There's one just one problem. The under-30 set, many of whom spent their formative years being chauffeured from play date to soccer practice in station wagons and SUVs festooned with "Baby on Board" stickers, isn't all that keen on moving up to the driver's seat.

Baby's no longer on board

Frederick News Post
Matt Edens
04/30/2012
Frederick's clustered spires are a proud symbol of the city's past, but do they also bode well for its future? The thought came to me the other day while reading a news story about, of all things, the automobile industry. A business piece in The Atlantic, it chronicled how carmakers are struggling to connect with the youth market, specifically Gen Y, the millennials born between approximately 1980 and the early 2000s. Roughly 80 million strong, they're the largest demographic cohort in American history, outnumbering even their baby-boomer parents. And since they're now entering their car driving and buying years in large numbers, they represent the next major market for carmakers. There's one just one problem. The under-30 set, many of whom spent their formative years being chauffeured from play date to soccer practice in station wagons and SUVs festooned with "Baby on Board" stickers, isn't all that keen on moving up to the driver's seat.

Bulldozer Blaine Young

The Frederick Citizen
Jack Lynch
07/07/2011
here he goes again! Fresh off the deregulation of builder’s codes and requirements across the board, and after launching a proposal to gut county employees with a ham handed privatization scheme, our good old boy “Bulldozer” Blaine Young has released his latest diatribe aimed at the heart of Bay cleanup plans from the state. First, a bit of background on septic growth from the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP): “Maryland has about 430,000 septic systems on developed parcels; 420,000 of them are on residential parcels.

Burnt Out

Frederick News Post
Katherine Heerbrandt
12/03/2008
'm not wild about writing yet another column on the waste-to-energy discussion. I stick with it not only out of a sense of moral obligation and civic duty, but in the sincere hope that someday Frederick County will get the answers it needs to make the right choice. Then everyone on both sides of the debate will form a circle, join hands and sing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" just like in that old hippy-dippy Coke commercial. OK, that's never going to happen. But come on, we're talking three years that this issue's been in the news. It's certain that county staff's been working at it much longer. And yet we still don't know with certainty how much it's going to cost to build and operate, where it will be located, or whether Frederick County will produce enough trash to feed the gaping mouth of the mass-burn beast we've come to know as WTE. Will it be a 1,500-ton incinerator or a 900-ton incinerator? With or without hauling Carroll County's garbage into the county, coming up with 1,500 tons of trash a day is no small feat. So will the county one day be forced to advertise outside its borders with slogans like, Your Trash is Our Treasure; You Bring it, We Burn it; or Got Trash? And I still can't get a logical answer to this burning question: How are aggressive recycling efforts compatible with the WTE's exceptionally large appetite for traditional recyclables like plastics and paper?

“Waste-to-Energy” = a risky waste of energy, resources and money (part 3)

Frederick Politics
Kai Hagen
09/24/2008
There is more to evaluate and compare, of course. But, for now, I'll end with a very heartfelt word of encouragement that the county commissioners genuinely consider the subjective, but real, value of alternatives that preserve our flexibility. We risk more than some seem to appreciate by selecting a path that heads backwards, and fails to account for the rapid changes - even major paradigm shifts - we are seeing in the world around us today. We can be the last community - or one of the last - in the entire country to choose Waste-to-Energy incineration, permanently converting limited resources to ash (because our plan does not include only incinerating what can not be recycled or composted). Or we can show real leadership, and become one of a growing number of communities that will serve as working models of a better, more flexible and adaptable, more environmentally-friendly, and less economically-risky path.

“Waste-to-Energy” = a risky waste of energy, resources and money (part 2)

Frederick Politics
Kai Hagen
08/27/2008
I'm convinced there are viable alternatives that are far more economically-responsible, more environmentally-friendly, and, generally, much more in tune with the way the world is moving. As contentious and frustrating and stressful as this process has been, I have to believe that we will not make this decision and commitment without a fair and thorough examination of the basic concept that so many (and more all the time) have been asking for. One of the most critical differences between WTE incineration and potential alternatives is that the alternatives would be inherently more flexible and adaptable and dynamic in our changing world, and much less risky as a result. The county commissioners owe it to the people of Frederick County to be more diligent and certain before giving up that flexibility, and locking the next six or seven boards, and the residents and taxpayers, into a very expensive, unpopular, outdated, and irretrievably inflexible "solution."

“Waste-to-Energy” = a risky waste of energy, resources and money

Frederick Politics
Kai Hagen
08/06/2008
It's hard to know where to start a short series of columns about an issue as mutli-faceted and complex as the current controversy about the proposal to construct a regional "Waste-to-Energy" (incinerator) facility in Frederick County. A steadily growing number of people in the county have been discussing and debating the issue for a while. Over the past few years, the county has taken many steps in the process, including a number of concrete steps toward a decision to build a Waste-to-Energy (WTE)/incinerator. But an abundance of anecdotal evidence makes it clear that many people, and perhaps most by a good margin, have only recently started paying attention and learning about the issue. Certainly, the vast majority of local news coverage of the issue has been in the last year, with most of that in the last few months.

Boulder dash: A rush to judgment?

Frederick News Post
Don Kornreich
06/29/2008
Some resident-advocates have been strongly urging the Frederick Board of County Commissioners to take a closer look at recycling. Their objective (as I understand it) is to convince the BoCC to adopt an expanded recycling program instead of the proposed incineration facility, which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Looking at alternatives to the expenditure of such a large sum, as well as considering the benefits of recycling verses incineration are laudatory goals. So, what is my concern? It is not with the BoCC undertaking a full review to gain all the information it can before making a decision in a matter of such vital importance to Frederick County. Rather, it is with the process by which the "review" has been proceeding; and, more importantly, how it will proceed in the future. One anti-incineration advocate who is very familiar with Boulder, Colo.'s recycling program, and Eco-Cycle a company involved in that program, has been in contact with the BoCC, especially with Commissioner Kai Hagen. These interactions resulted in the advocate arranging a trip to Boulder for several Frederick and Frederick County officials to meet with people involved in Boulder's program. Commissioner Hagen was so impressed with what he heard and saw that he has proposed having an Eco-Cycle executive come to Frederick to make a follow-up presentation.

A Boulder approach

Frederick News Post
Katherine Heerbrandt
06/20/2008
If they can do it, why can't we? That's the inspiring message that most politicians, citizens and journalists brought home recently from Boulder, Colo., about Frederick County's ability to reduce and recycle trash. The trip was the brainchild of resident Caroline Eader who joined long-time efforts led by resident Sally Sorbello to look for alternatives to a $350 million, 1,500-ton regional incinerator in Frederick County. But Kevin Demoskly, deputy director of solid waste for the county, told The Gazette that there's "a different mindset" in Boulder than in Frederick. His gloomy assessment of residents' willingness to change their lifestyles reflects the thinking of much of the pro-incinerator crowd, including a majority of the county commissioners. But that's selling people short. And, in fact, most of those who traveled west say they were surprised at how little impact there was on their "daily habits." Jim Racheff, a Frederick resident and a rumored contender in the 2010 county commissioner race, said the trip proved that there's "nothing magical about Boulder."