Maryland takes a fast-lane, short-term approach to I-270 congestion

A $100 million plan to shave commuters’ drive time by 30 minutes along the north-south Interstate 270 slog is being hailed as, well, about the best we can hope for given the circumstances, thank you very much. Work is expected to begin this fall and wrap up in two years on a project that aims to reduce daily congestion on the 34-mile Frederick/Montgomery County corridor by adding sensors, signage and smart signals that would provide motorists with more real-time information to monitor and adjust for changes in traffic conditions. (News-Post)

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April 20 // A small investment to fight the overdose crisis

When the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sets its priorities for spending a limited pool of tax dollars, we can see why increasing staffing at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner wouldn't necessarily rise to the top of the list. There are so many unmet needs in public health interventions to save and extend lives that adding resources to an office that investigates the causes of deaths might not seem like the best investment. Yet the agency serves a largely unseen but crucial role in both law enforcement and public health, and as The Sun's Meredith Cohn reported on Sunday, an increase in the office's caseload, spurred largely by Maryland's drug overdose crisis, is putting its ability to perform it at risk. (Balt. Sun)

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Bill Barry: Baltimore Dems fail again

The refusal of Baltimore's mayor, City Council president and the majority of council members to legitimately support a (kinda sorta, but not right away) $15 minimum wage for city workers is a clear indication that the more things change, the more they stay the same. From the outset, the campaign pushed by the "new" Democrats in the council and the "new" mayor was phony. Legislation advanced by the City Council would not have increased the minimum wage to $15 until 2022, and even then not for workers under the age of 21. And businesses with fewer than 50 employees would have had until 2026 to comply with the $15 figure. (Balt. Sun)

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Andrew Sharp: It's too late to be bickering about the view in OC

If the Ocean City Council is all for renewable energy, I’m not sure what “all for” means. The issue at hand is US Wind’s $4 billion proposed project that would install wind turbines 12 to 14 miles off the Ocean City coast. That would result in a row of thumbnail-sized turbines visible from the beach. When the Council members recently saw a rendering of what that would look like, they objected, calling it “visual pollution.” (Daily Times)

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Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles: There are good arguments against dispensary

The marijuana debate is wide-ranging. Notwithstanding issues about quality of life, religious use, safety, location, etc., marijuana remains classified as an illegal substance on the federal level. On April 6, I testified before the county's administrative hearing officer and submitted letters from several Ward 3 pastors and from the Greater Parole Community Association's Executive Leadership Team, as well as a six-page legal memorandum opposing a dispensary at 2029 West St. (Capital)

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New faces, important move at housing agency

This has been a big week for the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis. Whether it's a decisive week remains to be seen. That depends on decisions yet to come, in Washington, D.C., as well as Annapolis. The authority's Board of Commissioners used its monthly meeting on Tuesday to introduce Beverly Wilbourn, the Edgewater resident who is going to become the agency's fourth executive director within a year-and-a-half. (Capital)

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April 19 // Laslo Boyd: Can a Democratic win the Maryland Race for Governor in 2018?

Sounds like a trick question, doesn’t it? In normal political times, the answer would be “Of course, why is there any doubt?” But, as we all know, these are not normal political times. In 2014, Larry Hogan shocked the Democratic Party establishment by upsetting its hand-picked candidate, Anthony Brown. Since then, the incumbent Governor has convinced some observers that he is invulnerable because of his very high approval ratings in public polls. His approval level of 65% in the most recent survey places Hogan as the most popular Republican governor in the country. (fromacertainpointofview)

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Filling Dance's shoes

If we were to pick one statistic that bolsters Dallas Dance's contention that he is leaving the Baltimore County school system in better shape than he found it, we would point to last year's high school graduation rates. For the first time, black students in Baltimore County graduated at a slightly higher rate than white students, and both groups graduated at rates above the state average. Baltimore County is the only big district in the state for which that's true. (Balt. Sun)

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