Davis pinpoints a rising problem: Heroin addiction

There are national trends we’d just as soon have this county skip. But judging from recent statements by county police Chief Kevin Davis, we’re not that lucky when it comes to the upsurge in heroin use. AForbes.com reported, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently said that heroin abuse among first-time users is up by nearly 60 percent over the last decade, going from about 90,000 to 150,000 new users a year. (Capital)

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Pump the brakes on speed camera changes

The use of speed cameras in Prince George’s County has largely remained under the radar. By the time the speed-monitoring devices were approved for the county in 2009, they had already yielded positive results in Montgomery County. Many Prince Georgians were sold on the millions that would be generated for public safety programs and the focus on protecting children. The speed-monitoring devices can only be used from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays in school and highway work zones, per state law. However, state Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Dist. 25) of Mitchellville was seeking to change the rules, and still may be. (Gazette)

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Jan. 15 // School construction apples and oranges

We certainly agree with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett that school construction should be a top priority and that their three counties have significant needs based on growing enrollments and aging buildings. That said, there are some key differences between their situation and the city's — and between the way the city went about building support for its program and what they have done so far — that should give lawmakers pause before jumping behind the idea of a long-term, enhanced funding stream to help build and renovate county schools. (Balt. Sun)

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The slogan is clever, but not as right as rain

The words “the rain tax” make a sensible but unpalatable policy — who likes additional government fees? — sound ludicrous. By sticking the label “the rain tax” on the state’s 2012 mandate that its most populous jurisdictions impose stormwater fees — although some apply the label to the fees themselves — opponents hope to reap political capital and save state property owners some money. (Capital)

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Don't base your valuable vote on mere slogans

As we enter a new election cycle, voters should look past political rhetoric and slogans to seeks facts and sources that will help them make sound choices at the polls in their respective state primaries, and again in November. (Daily Times)

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Dallas Dance: BCPS $1.4 billion budget proposal commits resources to students

As we dive into the new year, work is well underway to bring to life the transformation in teaching and learning envisioned by Baltimore County Public Schools in our strategic plan, Blueprint 2.0, with a focus on academics, safety and security, communications and organizational effectiveness. To make necessary progress, we must deepen our investment in public education with the goal of preparing all of the county's graduates to be globally competitive. (Balt. Sun)

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Board's practice exclusionary

The most troubling thing about a lawsuit brought by two residents against the Carroll County Board of Commissioners for opening their meetings with sectarian prayers is that the trouble, and cost in taxpayer dollars, could have been avoided entirely had the board simply done as other local governments do and open their meetings with non-sectarian prayers. U.S. District Court Judge William Quarles Jr. said he will issue a decision soon on the residents’ request to stop the sectarian prayers. The problem with a government body choosing a single religion to feature when it opens its meetings is that it leaves out all the people who follow different faiths, or choose to follow no religion at all. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Dan Rodricks: O’Malley still dogged by insurance exchange woes

It wasn't that Martin O'Malley was asleep at the switch during the development of this state's botched-and-still-botchy health insurance exchange. It's that he was in Israel or Brazil, or New Hampshire or Texas or South Carolina, or any of the many other places he visited during the last three years as a second-term governor and chair of the Democratic Governors Association, trying to make himself a viable presidential candidate. When the cat's away, the mice will ... ignore warning signs of big trouble ahead. O'Malley might have forged his reputation as a data-driven, results-focused Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, but when it came to the development of a state-based website to facilitate the biggest change in health law in half a century, he left someone else in charge — to wit, his lieutenant governor, Anthony G. Brown. (Balt. Sun)

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