Grand Geyser in Yellowstone

National Park Service celebrates 100 years

The National Parks Service celebrated its 100th anniversary Thursday, so it seemed like a good time to link back to the travelogue published in June about my three-week, 4,000 mile trek to seven national parks in the west. It's light reading with more than 20 pictures of what many have called "America's best idea." Even if America's best ideas might actually be found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, establishing national parks was a darn good one too.

Rendering of proposed Prince George's County Regional Medical Center.

Opinion: New Prince George’s hospital needed, but must struggle for patients

In order to make its dream of building and sustaining the Taj Mahal of hospitals come true, the Prince George's County Hospital Center must attract more patients than it currently does. In its application for a new facility that it submitted to the Maryland Health Care Commission, the PGHC says that its financial problems in large part stem from the fact that county residents often seek treatment elsewhere.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake from her Facebook page.

Rascovar: The failed leadership of Baltimore’s mayor

There’s nothing quite as emblematic of Baltimore City’s failed leadership as the out-of-town (yet again) mayor firing her long-serving and super-loyal city solicitor for lacking a crystal ball. Once again, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threw someone under the bus rather than take ultimate responsibility for an embarrassment to her administration. She didn’t even have the courage to handle the firing herself.

Scissors on a budget

Opinion: Making local budgeting in Maryland more open and democratic

Ask any municipal official and they'll tell you that public participation in the budgeting process is horrifically low. Engagement is often limited to the privileged, or else​ people​ with​ extreme points of view​. No wonder it's sometimes called the "dark side" of civic engagement. ​The good news is that municipal laboratories across the country are trying out new strategies to reshape public budgeting to better include input from communities, especially the disenfranchised and disenchanted.

Reacting to the release of the Justice Department report: Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.

Rascovar: DOJ report is Baltimore’s ‘challenging moment’

That searing U.S. Department of Justice report on Baltimore’s police agency revealed an ugly truth we’d rather sweep under the rug. There is historic, deep-seated racism in what’s been labeled Charm City and it presents itself most hurtfully in city law enforcement. What’s clear is that there are two Baltimores – one white, fairly prosperous and contented; the other black, impoverished, crime-ridden and desperate. The DOJ report laid it out in uncompromising terms.

From the 2015 annual report of the State Retirement Agency

Maryland pension fund misses investment target again, earning just over 1%

For the second year in a row, Maryland's pension fund missed its target for return on its investment portfolio by a wide mark, earning just 1.16% for the fiscal year that ended June 30 compared to its annual goal of 7.55%. Last year, the fund made 2.68%.
Because of the lagging returns the $45.5 billion fund is apparently worth $300 million less than it was worth June 30 last year, and long-term liabilities are over $20 billion.

Kayakers paddle Barren Creek in Wicomico County, MD. The plan for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail would emphasize protecting the viewshed so it would appear as close as possible to what Smith saw during his voyages. Bay Journal photo by Dave Harp

Happy 10th birthday to the Bay’s beautiful and historic national trail

As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of a national park we have right here in our collective backyard: the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Winding through much of the Chesapeake region, the nation’s first all-water national historic trail is as beautiful, and as precious to our nation, as its more famous sisters around the nation

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley. Maryland State Archives.

An appreciation: “Tugboat” Helen Delich Bentley as I knew her

Author Blaine Taylor had a unique perspective on Helen Delich Bentley, who died Saturday. Taylor covered her as a reporter and feature writer, both ran with her in campaign and ran against her as a candidate before that, and lastly worked for her as a congressional press secretary on Capitol Hill during 1991-92. Over time, her received her anger and her praise, as well as her disappointment. Here, he recalls some key moments her experienced with her.