A meaningful day for The Maryland Theatre and the community

The Maryland Theatre is the consensus crown jewel of downtown Hagerstown, but for a jewel it has, through the decades, been treated rather shabbily. It was with equal parts pride and embarrassment that the city showed off its premier asset, as the grand architecture was tempered by threadbare upholstery and crumbling plaster. Finally, this is changing. On Saturday, Gov. Larry Hogan attended a ceremonial groundbreaking that kicks off a $15 million rehabilitation and expansion of the theater, which dates back to the days of vaudeville and is a battle-scarred survivor of devastating fires and inadequate budgets. (Herald-Mail)

Read Full Article

If county lacks money for both, school repair more important than Brooklyn Park land purchase

County Executive Steve Schuh's newest supplemental budget will go to the County Council this week, not long after he proposed a welcome additional $640,000 to add counselors, social workers and other conflict-addressing staff members to the schools. Moving faster with work at the increasingly run-down Edgewater, Tyler Heights and Richard Henry Lee elementary schools is clearly a good idea. What we’re not clear about yet is where the money is coming from and how the county can afford to do this and still have $28 million for another excellent idea Schuh has floated — buying an old rubble landfill and gravel mine in Brooklyn Park and using the 160 acres for schools, athletic fields and possibly a regional park. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Hye Yeong Kwon: Ellicott City's Main Street is too risky to reopen businesses post flooding

Once again, Ellicott City has been drowned by torrential rain and ravaged by deadly flood waters. Today’s downtown business owners have an extremely difficult decision to make: whether to risk everything and rebuild, just two years removed from the last flood and with the knowledge that it could happen again. Ultimately, of course, every business owner must balance a wide range of factors and determine their best course of action. But if it were my business, I would likely choose not to reopen until there are radical solutions to rebuild. The Main Street corridor simply has too many odds stacked against it right now. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Graduation season is fitting time to appreciate bold proposal by Hancock

In the season of graduation ceremonies and celebrations, our greatest hope for all graduates is that they not stop learning. Earning a high school diploma is cause for celebration, but it should be treated as a milepost, not a finish line. To open more doors, continued education is need, whether it's in trades or college. Only 1 in 5 Washington Countians over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree or better. Trends are improving, as more young people have at least some college experience today than do their older counterparts. Even so, two-thirds of our population between 18 and 24 have never received a single college credit. The town of Hancock sees these trends and has put forth a laudable proposal to address them. (Herald-Mail)

Read Full Article

Jacques Kelly: Penn Station still a neighborhood showpiece, and potential powerhouse

In my years of passing it daily, I’ve watched Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station grow and mature into a thriving commuter destination, where thousands come and go to jobs on a daily basis while other passengers — the ones with the heavy baggage — arrive and depart on longer journeys. Over the past 20 years in particular, our Penn Station has served as a gateway to both Washington jobs and Baltimore’s housing market. I’ve also watched the station undergo renovations and changes. Some 35 years ago, its leftover World War II-era pinball machines finally got tossed. At that same time, a thorough refurbishment revealed its stained glass skylights — once covered in blackout paint — as well as its Rookwood tiles (chipped in places) and oak benches (overly varnished). It’s time for this 1911 station to stage another transformation. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Jimmy DeButts: Crossed fingers not enough to protect Annapolis against sea threat

Keep those fingers crossed Annapolis. “Nuisance flooding” will continue with greater frequency on City Dock, but it’s not going to create the devastation historic Ellicott City endured twice in the past two years. We can thank topography. Annapolis plans to spend $10 million to address the impact of high tides sending water up through existing pipes and flooding Dock and Compromise streets. But even that won’t be much help if another Isabel-sized hurricane sweeps up the west side of the Chesapeake Bay. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Hogan should be among first to donate to Operation Build a Reef on the Severn

Fifty million oysters for a Severn River reef is an ambitious and laudable goal being pursued by the Severn River Association, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Oyster Recovery Project. Oysters may be the most important species in the Chesapeake Bay at the moment because of their potential to help make it cleaner. The plan to add 40 million larval oysters from hatcheries to an existing sanctuary would be good news on its own. But the decision to, essentially, crowdsource an additional 10 million might be a stroke of genius. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Farm Alcohol Producer zoning designation a great way to promote Carroll’s ag heritage

Given Carroll County’s rich agricultural heritage, but some of the challenges of farming for a living in the 21st century, various forms of agri-tourism seem like a natural fit. One popular form of this is farm alcohol producers — that is, wineries, breweries and distilleries. While all three already exist in the county, what didn’t until recently was an update to Carroll’s zoning code that now gives farm alcohol producers a designation for exactly what they do and makes clear what the county requires of them to make and sell alcohol, along with other agri-tourism services. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article