December 13 // Laslo Boyd: A Gift for my Grandchildren

When I was three years old, my mother gave me an extraordinary gift. Against incredible odds, she got the two of us to this country after the communist regime in Hungary executed my father. Fortunately, there was no ban at that time preventing refugees escaping dangerous places from entering the United States. I have always been grateful for the privilege of living in a nation that values individual freedom and liberty and strives to be a democracy. (fromacertainpointofview)

Read Full Article

BLocal scratches the surface

The leaders of Johns Hopkins University and Health System and BGE showed desperately needed leadership last year when they recruited two dozen other big Baltimore businesses for an effort to boost the city’s economy by setting goals for increased spending with local, small, minority-owned firms. As we noted at the time, an increase of $69 million in spending with local construction firms and suppliers wouldn’t solve all the city’s problems, but it was a start. With no cohesive response to the social ills exposed by the 2015 riots coming from City Hall, somebody had to step up, and it was a testament to the cohesiveness and resilience of the city that such a private effort emerged. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Numbers show opioid epidemic hasn't peaked

Imagine the fury and alarm if terrorists took as many lives as are claimed by the national opioid epidemic. The current estimate is that about 90 Americans a day die from overdoses, roughly the same number as are killed in car crashes. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. And if the latest bleak numbers for Anne Arundel County are any indication, the problem hasn’t peaked. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Carl Snowden: 2017 was the year local activism reignited

As we approach the end of the year, I am amazed at just how much has happened in 2017. Besides the obvious change — Annapolis’ election of Mayor Gavin Buckley, which means a new first lady, Julie Williams Buckley — something else is happening: Activism is more intense than ever before. After President Donald Trump was elected last year, activism reignited, and has become more focused than ever before. Locally, new groups that have emerged include Action Annapolis, WISE, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Connecting the Dots, Coming to the Table, March on Maryland, the African Diaspora Identity Group and Anne Arundel Indivisible.These organizations — joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Caucus of African-American Leaders and the venerable NAACP — are energizing voters and citizens alike. (Capital)

Read Full Article

Rodricks: Zeke Cohen gets the Willie Don Bull-by-the-Horns Award

Nobody asked me, but ... back in the day, when William Donald Schaefer was mayor of Baltimore, he would have called James DeWees, the sheriff of Carroll County, immediately upon hearing of the sheriff’s fear-induced recommendation that Carroll public schools suspend field trips to the city because of the crime problems here. Schaefer took every knock against Baltimore personally, and he confronted critics. When he was governor of Maryland, he showed up, unannounced, in The Baltimore Sun lobby, looking for me, furious about something I had written. I know this because the officer at the security desk left the following message on my answering machine: “Mr. Rodricks, there’s a — what is your name, sir? — Governor Schaefer here to see you.” (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Sedrick Smith: Quality abounds in Baltimore schools

OK, I’ll admit it. I was one of those people who assumed there were only a handful of decent schools in Baltimore. At the high school level there were your usual suspects: City College, Polytechnic, BSA, and, depending on the year, Western would join that group. The middle school options seemed even more sparse: Roland Park’s reputation precedes itself, and Mt. Washington has always been a strong performer, but outside of that, the viable options for those families who wanted a consistently high quality education for their students seemed limited at best. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

David Sundstrom: Criticism of school technology group misses mark

I was saddened and profoundly troubled by assertions contained in Julie Sugar’s and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s letter to the editor — assertions that are simply false (“A critical decision for Balt. Co. schools,” Dec. 4). I hope to clear them up here. First, ERDI is a research and development institute. It enters no contracts with school districts and advocates for no vendor of a product or service. Second, it receives no compensation from school districts and does not act as agent for any vendor of a school district. Third, it negotiates no agreements between school districts and vendors. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

December 12 // State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr.: Md. governor should study chicken farm emissions

The campaign to get people to “Eat More Chicken” seems to be working: A according to the Delmarva Poultry Institute, from 2005-2015, the amount of chickens produced on the Eastern Shore increased by more than half a billion pounds (from 3.3 to 3.9 billion pounds). But as the poultry industry continues to build hundreds of new houses containing bigger birds — and more manure — each year, Eastern Shore communities are bearing the burden. Chicken houses don’t have smokestacks, but they do generate air emissions that can threaten public health and clean water. But because no one monitors these emissions, we don’t know how much this pollution is affecting the health of neighboring communities and their residents or nearby waters, including the Chesapeake Bay. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article