State Roundup, August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

STATE OF EMERGENCY: Hurricane Irene and her track toward the East Coast dominated headlines. Gov. Martin O’Malley declared a state of emergency on Thursday, and Ocean City ordered evacuations, according to an Associated Press article in the Carroll County Times.

The governor urged people living in low-lying coastal flood zones to leave home and stay with someone who loves them during the “monster hurricane,” reports John Wagner of the Washington Post.

Scott Muska of the Salisbury Daily Times writes that Ocean City hopes to have all residents and visitors evacuated by 5 p.m. Friday.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: It’s been a busy week for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency with an earthquake, an Ocean City evacuation and hurricane in store, writes Margie Hyslop in the Gazette.

MORE TIME FOR PLAN MARYLAND: Responding to criticism from local leaders, Gov. O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Planning announced that they will produce an interim second-draft of the comprehensive planning document, and allow two more months for public comment, reports Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

Several local leaders say they need more than 60 extra days to review the plan – like the Frederick County Commissioners, who are requesting an additional year, according to an Associated Press story in the Daily Record.

PLAN MARYLAND: Gazette columnist Blair Lee sees PlanMaryland as a power grab by the state in the guise of environmental protection. His Gazette compatriot Barry Rascovar takes an opposite view, seeing it as a small step in the right direction.

EARLY CAMPAIGNING: The Washington County Democratic Committee welcomed two possible candidates for higher office at its annual picnic: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, thought to be a gubernatorial contender in 2014, and state Sen. Robert Garagiola, who is considering a run for the House of Representatives next year, writes Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

AIDS MONEY DELAYED: Delays in the federal budget have translated to delays in Maryland’s promised $61 million in federal Ryan White AIDS funds, which are expected to finally arrive in the next several weeks, reports The Sun’s Meredith Cohn.

KEEP OPTIONS OPEN: In a staff editorial, the opinionators at the Daily Record write that the national economic conditions – and Maryland’s budget projections – show good reason to keep revenue-increasing options like new taxes on the table.

MORE WITH LESS: The Salisbury Daily Times staff has nothing but pity for O’Malley and the Wicomico County Commissioners, both of whom must again craft budgets doing more with less, their staff editorial states.

BALTIMORE CANDIDATES SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Several candidates for Baltimore mayor are supporting an agenda that would increase funding for afterschool programs, create summer jobs, and renovate or rebuild schools, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

SARBANES ONE OF TOP FUNDRAISERS: Rep. John Sarbanes is one of Congress’ top 50 fundraisers – the only Marylander other than Steny Hoyer to make the list, blogs David Moon of Maryland Juice.

ROLLEY SAYS MAYOR CAMPAIGNING FROM CITY HALL: Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley has accused incumbent mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of using City Hall, its employees, and its resources for her political gain in the current campaign, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

COOPERATION SAVES TAXPAYERS: According to a new report, Frederick County government agencies shopping together for health insurance and auditing have saved county taxpayers more than $2.7 million, reports the Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers.

WELCOMED AT MACO: Lobbyist Bruce Bereano and union leader Mike Day, both of whom were given the cold shoulder by Baltimore County government leaders last year, were welcomed back into the fold at the county’s reception at the Maryland Association of Counties conference last week, reports Bryan Sears for Patch.com.

TAX TALK: Sarah Breitenbach at the Gazette examines the options for tax increases in next General Assembly session.

LIBRARIES HURT: Budget cuts have Montgomery County libraries struggling to maintain services, reports Erin Cunningham in the Gazette.

ENERGY AID: Counties are being given $25,000 a piece to improve energy efficiency in low- and moderate-income homes, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

SCHOOL BUILDING ALTERNATIVES: A Sept. 19 conference will examine alternatives for school construction, including having private developers build and maintain the buildings as has been done in Canada and Britain, Andrew Ujifusa reports in the Gazette.

QUAKE BUILDING STANDARDS: Margie Hyslop writes in the Gazette that the engineers say local building standards are unlikely to change in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake because it would cost too much.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on wobbly politicians in the earthquake; computer games on same-sex marriage and running counties; and awards for Smigiel and Gladden.

FEDERAL MARRIAGE ACT: A petition with more than 3,000 signatures is expected to be delivered today to the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, urging her to sign on as a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, C. Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette.

 

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