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.

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

Caricatures by DonkeyHotey with Flickr Creative Commons License

“None of the above” appeals to many voters

This is an edited version of a column that appears in the August issue of The Business Monthly serving Howard and Anne Arundel counties. By Len Lazarick

Maryland has never had a strong movement to put "none of the above" on election ballots, but perhaps the nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could change that. Only one state, Nevada, has "none of these candidates" as a non-binding option on the ballot, though a judge recently struck down this 40-year old law. California voters rejected a proposition creating "none of the above" as an election choice in 2000. Countries giving voters the option of "none of the above" include India, Greece, Ukraine, Spain and Colombia.

Gov. Larry Hogan poses with couple in crab hats at Tawes crab feast.

Crisfield not Cleveland was the place to be, for Hogan at least

It took Gov. Larry Hogan about two and half hours to drive 126 miles from Annapolis to the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield, and then it took him another two and half hours to go about 100 yards from where he arrived to the Bruce Bereano tent. "It was unbelievable," said the governor as he finally got to sit down and eat some fresh picked crab with crackers and cream cheese.

Howard Street Tunnel, right, with the Central Light Rail line on left. Photo by charmcity 123 with Flickr Creative Commons License.

Opinion: On Howard Street Tunnel, Hogan tries, congressional delegation fails

This year Gov. Larry Hogan tried to solve the tunnel problem by requesting funds to enlarge it from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Last week DOT refused. U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings acidly implied DOT retaliated against Hogan for opposing the Red Line light rail project. The Baltimore Sun suggested the governor attached insufficient priority to a problem which predates his administration by three decades. Richard Douglas says Maryland's congressional Democrats were really at fault.

Downtown Columbia on the shores of Lake Kittamaqundi at 11 a.m. July 2, 2016. Photo by Len Lazarick

How the ‘garden for growing people’ got planted and grew

This is the first of a series of 12 monthly essays over the next year leading up to Columbia's 50th birthday celebration next June. In this first installment, Len Lazarick looks at how a new town with ambitions to be a real city "not just a better suburb" came to be on 14,000 acres of Howard County farmland with lofty goals that faced some hard realities.