August 1 // No excuses for Prince George’s school scores

No surprise: Prince George’s County students’ scores on state tests continue to rank near the bottom in the state. Now there are fresh excuses for the poor showing. For Prince George’s, the problem can’t just be chalked up to system changes, however. County scores were low to begin with; the curriculum and special education problems only added to an existing issue. (Gazette)

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Another bargain, another rejection

There is widespread agreement that the U.S. can become more competitive in the global marketplace if it lowers its corporate tax rate. There's also a consensus that the nation needs to spend more money on its vital infrastructure. So one might assume that a proposal to accomplish both — and one that would create thousands of jobs without adding to the deficit — would be greeted with a roar of approval. Hah, where have you been? (Balt. Sun)

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Robert McCartney: Maryland case shows bars should be liable for drunk patrons

The staff at Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg knew the customer’s taste in beer so well they identified him on his tab as “Mike Corona Guy” on that fatal night in August 2008. They also knew something was wrong when Michael D. Eaton downed 17 bottles of the Mexican brew, plus a shot of vodka, in about five hours. It was too much. Eaton drove off in what he later called a drunken blackout. Shortly afterward, while speeding, he rear-ended another car on Interstate 270. Jazimen Warr, age 10 at the time, was killed. Eaton, a self-described alcoholic, was duly punished. But the bar escaped any responsibility last week when Maryland’s highest court rejected a closely watched lawsuit brought by the girl’s family. (Wash. Post)

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Raining on the 'rain tax'

According to  a new report from the Maryland Public Policy Institute, Maryland’s so-called “rain tax” is poorly conceived, has been ineptly handled by some jurisdictions, and may not live up to its billing as an important weapon in the fight to clean up and save the Chesapeake Bay. The effort to address rainwater runoff as it affects the health of the Chesapeake Bay is a worthy enterprise, but this law and its implementation leave a lot to be desired. (News-Post)

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Dean Minnich: Déjà vu all over again in government

Well, they seemed to relish the tag “Fighting 59th” when they took office, but only a few of us knew it would mean fighting with each other. In case you were out of town or out of touch during the past week or so, I’m talking about our duly elected board of five Carroll County commissioners, chosen by voters to represent five separate districts of the county rather than the county at large, or some anti-government faction. They had an ugly and avoidable argument, and Commissioner Robin Frazier was at the center of it. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Nick Berry: Annapolis eyesores and politics galore

The mayors I know — and I chaired a large group of them in Iowa — really hate eyesores in their cities and towns. They wisely work hard to eliminate them. There are eyesores in Annapolis. The ugly, three-years-vacant former Fawcett building on Compromise Street is the one currently in the news. It’s broke and needs fixing. The former Stevens Hardware, also at City Dock, could become one. There are three in Eastport — the decrepit former Hopkins warehouse on Fourth, the fire-damaged blue building across from Ruth’s Chris, and the remains of a house at First and Severn — and one at the end of Maryland Avenue. (Capital)

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Emily Scarr: Bottle bill would boost recycling in Maryland

This summer, as I enjoy Maryland's parks, outdoor dining, waterfront areas, bike trails and neighborhood walks, there's one thing that really bums me out: litter. You know what I'm talking about — the water, soda, beer and sports drink containers that litter our streets and waterways. This summer's bummer is a symptom of a much bigger problem. Nearly 1 billion recyclable beverage containers will get trashed instead of recycled in Maryland this summer alone. Our low container recycling rate has serious consequences for public health, climate pollution and our quality of life. (Balt. Sun)

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Handle food carefully

The outbreak of a stomach bug that has sickened more than 350 people across 15 states provides a timely reminder about the need to wash off fruits and vegetables before eating them. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not yet locked down the source of the outbreak. Cyclospora infections are caused by parasites spread through eating food contaminated with feces. (Carroll Co. Times)

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