Record rains having mixed impacts on the Chesapeake

The downpours that soaked 2018 have spilled into this year, with three of the first five months reporting higher-than-normal freshwater flows into the Chesapeake. That will likely mean worse-than-normal oxygen conditions in the Bay. Scientists are predicting the fourth largest summertime dead zone in the last two decades. Still, the often record-setting rains that commenced a year ago have not been a total washout for the estuary.

Opinion: School funding workgroup is stacked against counties

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Funding Formula Workgroup, has now been created to make recommendations for the distribution of funds by local school districts and between state and local governments. This workgroup will also make recommendations for specific funding formulas. I am greatly troubled by the make-up of the workgroup, which has only two members to represent interests of the county governments that pay the local costs of schools.

Bubbling the Bay’s dead zone: Breath of fresh air or pipe dream?

What if the dead zone that plagues the Chesapeake Bay could be eliminated now, not years down the road — and at a fraction of the billions being spent annually on restoring the troubled estuary? Fanciful as it sounds, Dan Sheer figures it’s technically doable. Whether it’s the right thing to do is another question. Bay scientists are wary of potential pitfalls, but some still think it’s worth taking a closer look.

Microplastics are everywhere, but how do they harm the Bay?

Extremely small bits of plastic are everywhere, and the Chesapeake Bay is no exception. The so-called microplastics, often 5 millimeters or less in size, can be scooped from the surface waters of the Patapsco River and combed from the Bay’s underwater grass beds. The Chesapeake Bay Program, a state-federal partnership that leads the Bay restoration effort, has identified microplastics as a contaminant of mounting concern. But, for all the headlines and anxiety microplastics have generated, a looming question remains unanswered: What harm are they causing in the Bay?

Opponents of new Bay Bridge pushing for alternatives

As Maryland officials prepare to take a critical step toward deciding how people will cross the Chesapeake Bay for decades to come, they face growing criticism that the effort is bypassing options that don’t involve building a new multibillion-dollar bridge.

Opinion: Smaller class sizes allow teachers to connect with students and achieve more

Larger classroom sizes are not only more difficult for teachers to manage but they also have been proven to make it more difficult for students to learn. Recently, when U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos advocated for super-sizing classroom sizes, teachers like me were outraged. It’s clear Secretary DeVos has NEVER worked with students in a classroom before. Otherwise, she would not have said that.

Fighting with legislature over Maryland’s future a priority for Hogan’s second term

The fifth annual speech to Maryland Business for Responsive Government was billed as a chance for Gov. Larry Hogan to lay out his “second-term priorities” on fighting crime, improving education and fixing traffic problems. But the top priority he laid out in his 2,800-word speech to a crowd of more than 600 business leaders at the Live Casino Hotel in Arundel Mills seemed to be fighting Democratic legislators to keep them from blocking his initiatives, raising taxes and turning back to the “failed policies” of the O’Malley years.

Hogan’s run for president was all talk – and wonderful talk it was

I never believed Gov. Larry Hogan would challenge President Trump for president. I also had a hard time understanding why so many media types – local and national – were taking the prospect seriously. And then I realized that Hogan himself seemed to be taking the venture seriously, actively stoking the speculation by not laughing it off. Then he went to New Hampshire, and I began to mistrust my own political instincts and judgment about this man I had gotten to know over the past decade.