Md. leads way on breast-feeding

For the past 21 years, the first week in August has been known as World Breastfeeding Week. Maryland, recognizing the importance of breast-feeding for both personal and public health, has annually expanded this to declare August Maryland Breastfeeding Month. Breast-feeding rates have increased significantly across the country over the last four decades, following many years of promotion of formula by both health professionals and formula companies. (Balt. Sun)

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Start date debate returns

As predictable as the big yellow buses that become a familiar sight on our roadways, the start of the school year inevitably brings some calls for a change in the starting date to after Labor Day. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Let voters decide

A small group of county residents has filed a new lawsuit to block the county’s sale of Montevue Assisting Living and Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center to a private, for-profit company. Why not put these decisions in the hands of Frederick County voters? Let them decide whether they want their county to retain the historic service for the poor that Citizens/Montevue provides, and whether they want to embrace WTE as the county’s principal method of solid waste disposal. (News-Post)

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What Montgomery County can learn from Raleigh

Urbanizing suburbs often suffer from an identity crisis, looking to the big city next door and wondering how to recreate the same vitality and sense of place. But they might find a better comparison with more distant Sun Belt cities, which like many suburbs are only now coming into their own. (Wash. Post)

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August 20 // A tablet in every cell: Gansler's conversation starter

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler raised quite a few eyebrows recently when he suggested that inmates in the state's prisons be given tablet computers to help them further their educations, search for job opportunities online and keep in touch with their families on the outside. It's an interesting idea but one that obviously needs to be fleshed out further, if only to explain why prisoners should be getting the devices before they are even available to all the state's schoolchildren. (Balt. Sun)

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City sits on its hands as Suns are ready to leave Hagerstown in the dark

By all appearances, Hagerstown is on the brink of losing professional baseball. That’s quite a feat. Over the past three decades there have been small bumps and major crises, but at the end of the day the men and women who occupied the mayor and council chairs were able to come together to keep baseball. This city council has been incapable of doing that. (Herald-Mail)

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One week and counting

Between Egypt and disgraced politicians, August has proven itself a more robust month for news than usual this year, yet there's always room in the summer doldrums for the wacky and off-beat. And for generations, few individuals have proven themselves better suited to provide that brand of comic relief than the men who have served as Maryland's comptroller. Whether it was Louis L. Goldstein's tireless campaigning or his cheerful but grammatically-challenged signature send-off, "God bless y'all real good," or even William Donald Schaefer's diatribes against the world or generally bizarre behavior, Maryland comptrollers have a tradition of quirky entertainment. How comforting to recognize that Peter Franchot, the man who has held the office since 2007, is continuing this proud tradition. (Balt. Sun)

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Kalman Hettleman: Alonso's special ed legacy

In the wake of the departure of Andrés Alonso, a commanding CEO for the past six years, Baltimore City school bells may be ringing a different tune this year. And listeners will be wondering: Will his bold legacy last? His best-known institutional reforms include extensive school autonomy, a wide variety of schools of choice, a progressive teacher contract, and restrictions on suspensions of students. These are likely to survive, but they are fairly commonplace across urban school districts, and he is not a signature founder of any of these movements. But one lesser-known reform is one-of-a-kind nationally and likely to be his most lasting legacy: the "One Year Plus" initiative to raise the academic performance of students with disabilities. (Balt. Sun)

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