Protect against virus

The first confirmed cases of West Nile virus for the season aren’t unexpected, but they do serve as a reminder that we have to take precautions to help reduce our chance of getting infected. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported last week that there were three confirmed cases in adults in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and skin rashes. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Robert Weiner & Nakia Gladden -- Rep. Cummings: Obama's defender in chief

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, now the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has emerged as the leader and spokesman against what President Barack Obama calls "phony scandals." The committee's chairman, Republican Darrell Issa of California, has spearheaded the investigations into most of the scandals. (Balt. Sun)

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A mutually beneficial accord

The contract agreement Baltimore has reached with city firefighters is an example of the good that can come out of difficult negotiations when both sides are willing to make concessions. Neither the city nor the firefighters got everything they wanted, but they were able to strike a deal that allowed both of them to come out ahead. Compromise, it turns out, need not always be a dirty word. (Balt. Sun)

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Tom Hucker & Jennie Forehand: Don't let Congress trample Maryland's rights

When Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, ranking member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, helped Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa craft an amendment to the Farm Bill that would nullify dozens — if not hundreds — of state laws, this was his explanation, clear and simple: "I'm tired of these states doing this crap." And apparently a narrow majority of the House of Representatives agrees, since this amendment was included in the pared-down version of the Farm Bill that passed the House, 216-208. What Mr. Peterson so crudely referred to were state laws that safeguard public health, food safety, animal welfare and the environment. (Balt. Sun)

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Expanding the school day

As Baltimore school board officials search for a new city schools CEO, they might do well to note the big gains in student achievement at schools in the District of Columbia where educators have made a longer school day part of the reform effort. It's worked well enough in Washington that Baltimore might well benefit from emulating that city's success. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: Should the Grand Prix be a symbol of Baltimore?

This will be the third year in a row that Baltimore tries to get its head wrapped around an IndyCar race on our downtown boulevards, and the question is: Are we there yet? Is Baltimore now a Grand Prix town, and is that even something we want? (Balt. Sun)

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August 27 // Baltimore County's poultry agenda

For those who missed it, the latest news in Towson is that the Baltimore County Council will soon take up legislation to consider whether more people ought to be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards. The bill doesn't actually make a decision on whether this should happen but merely calls for a review of current regulations. In other words, county leaders are going to have to decide: What comes first, the chickens or the regs? (Balt. Sun)

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New school year brings opportunities, challenges

H.G. Wells surveyed the big picture: “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” But when it comes to education, parents across the county will be looking at a smaller picture as public schools open Monday and Tuesday: Do the kids have the necessary supplies? Can we get them up in time? Are they at the right place to catch the school bus? (Capital)

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