Rezoning North Carroll High is the best possible outcome

The Town of Hampstead seems to have softened its stance when it comes to a potential rezoning of the former North Carroll High School, and that’s a good thing in the long run. On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 to authorize county planners to assist Hampstead to draft a rezoning plan for the former school building, leaving fields for recreational use. The commissioners suggested the parcel would be zoned for restricting industrial use. (Carr. Co. Times)

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June 7 // Dan K. Morhaim: Fight crime by treating substance abuse

On March 27, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger what percentage of crime in Baltimore County was due to drugs. His answer: “Upwards of 85 percent.” I then asked Baltimore City Police Major Byron Conaway the same question, and his answer was “90 percent.” As an E.R. doctor, I ask my patients who are substance abusers where they get the $50 a day needed to sustain their habit. Many get others hooked because then those new users become paying customers. There’s also petty crime, prostitution and the major crimes that plague our streets and neighborhoods. If we are to be serious about reducing crime, then the focus must be on preventing and treating substance abuse. (Balt. Sun)

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Which Democratic gubernatorial candidate is best on the environment?

For a state with so much at stake environmentally — from the fragile Chesapeake Bay to communities that are vulnerable to extreme weather or sea level rise — there’s been relatively little discussion of the environment in the crowded Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Larry Hogan. Perhaps that’s because the Republican Mr. Hogan, while not perfect in the eyes of environmentalists, has been better on the issue than most expected, making it less fruitful as an avenue of attack. Perhaps it’s because the seven major Democratic candidates largely agree on major issues related to the bay and clean energy. (Balt. Sun)

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Tamara Toles O’Laughlin: Maryland's air quality is a growing crisis

At the Maryland Environmental Health Network, air quality is chief among the issues we tackle. Although it’s not well highlighted, Maryland’s air quality has problems. Both our citizens and the Chesapeake Bay are vulnerable. The causes of poor air quality are many, from industrial pollution and waste disposal to agriculture, car and truck traffic, emissions from an ever-growing network of pipelines stretching from Canada to Virginia, and bad breezes blowing in from the Ohio River Valley. (Daily Times)

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Auditor offers caution on capital spending, hope on hiring teachers

Every now and then — at least in some jobs, if you are living up to your responsibilities — you have to be the skunk at the garden party. JoDee Dickinson, the county auditor, was living up to her responsibilities on Tuesday when she warned about the size of the county’s bonded indebtedness for capital projects. Her recommendation the council remove $28 million in capital funding for “advanced land acquisition” can’t have been the nicest of tidings for County Executive Steve Schuh, who wants to use that money to buy land for parks or future school sites — and is considering using about $22.5 million of it to buy the Belle Grove Landfill in Brooklyn Park. (Capital)

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Jeff Ifrah: Betting on sports — from our phones

Though sports betting has been technically illegal for years, it hasn’t stopped anybody from joining in the office pool, participating in a March Madness bracket once or twice or making a friendly wager on the Super Bowl. But it has meant that everything had to happen in an under-the-table fashion. And if Carl from accounting decides he’s entitled to the winnings alone, it’s not like there’s any legal recourse for anyone else — until now, that is. (Balt. Sun)

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Robert Lord, David Mussington: Maryland could be a cybersecurity leader, here's how

Historically, health care has spent fractions of a percent of its technology budget on security, a paltry proportion when compared to industries like finance that handle similarly sensitive data. As a result of this underspending, there were an alarming number of data breaches in health care, with 477 incidents reported to HHS, the media or other sources in 2017, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer. These incidents represent only a fraction of the approximately $6 billion in damage done annually in health care due to data breaches. (Balt. Sun)

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Peter Smith, Ph.D.: Recognizing the value of experience

Ever since the first college campus was created, its program of studies, modes of instruction and standards have, one way or the other, been controlled by the college and its faculty. Campuses were, relatively speaking, intellectually pristine, information-rich enclaves, separated from the rest of the information-poor world. Fast forward to the beginning of the community college movement and the passage of the GI Bill in late-1940’s America. Suddenly, colleges were not only not for the elite, but they had overtly economic — as well as intellectual — purposes. Over the last 70 years, there have been multiple changes in post-secondary education and the employment landscape. (Balt. Sun)

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