Del. Jheanelle Wilkins and Sen. Ronald Young: Md.'s governor rejected fracking, now he should reject fracking infrastructure

Marylanders can be proud that our state was the first with natural gas reserves to pass a law banning fracking. Our governor agreed, concluding that the “environmental risks of fracking outweigh any benefits” and that we should protect our water and natural resources. After years of careful evaluation, we chose to protect our health, environment and local businesses. Now, only a few months later, the fracked-gas industry is again pounding on Maryland’s door. (Balt. Sun)

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One year later, few answers for Ellicott City's flood prevention

One year ago this weekend, floodwaters cascaded through parts of historic Ellicott City, killing two people, causing millions of dollars in damage and prompting months of reckoning with the costs and benefits of rebuilding in a flood-prone downtown. A number of the businesses have returned but some proprietors admit to more than a bit of anxiety when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued as the cloudbursts that pop up in the humid mid-Atlantic summertime approach. Even as commemorations of the flood and celebrations of a rebirth continue, the infectious enthusiasm to restore Ellicott City needs to be tempered with the reality that "flood proofing" the area will be exorbitantly expensive, if not impossible. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Carroll's annual 4-H & FFA Fair worth supporting

It is the rare event, indeed, that thrives for more than a century. Some who came before us here in Carroll got together on Aug. 14, 1897, for a picnic that quickly grew to a 2,000-person affair two years later. It became an annual tradition that eventually turned into one of the biggest and most anticipated annual events in the county, the 4-H & FFA Fair. This year's week-long fair officially begins Saturday, held as it has been since 1954 at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster, but things actually get going on Friday. We would encourage everyone to check it out. (Carr. Co. Times)

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July 26 // Arch Campbell Remembers His Friend Jim Vance

I don’t know how tall Jim Vance was but he towered over me and everyone else, so of course I remember him as bigger than life. A guy this big only required one name: Vance. I met him in 1974 when I came to work as a reporter at Channel 4. He surprised me because he had an edge in a business that feared edge. He took the measure of the people he worked with and took his time deciding if he respected you or not. It took a while, but once Vance accepted you, he was your friend for life. In 1980 I talked a news director into letting me review movies on the 6 p.m. news. Vance gave me his seal of approval when I finished. “My man” he said, and made my career possible. (Washingtonian)

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Ben Cardin: A healthy bay means a healthy economy

The Chesapeake Bay has been called a “national treasure” by president after president for good reason. More than just the economic, cultural and historical heart of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay and its entire watershed is vital to the nation. This is no exaggeration from a hometown boy. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation estimates that the bay is worth $1 trillion in related fishing, tourism, property values and shipping activities alone. For those of us in Maryland who live and breathe the Chesapeake Bay, this may not be news because we know firsthand the importance of protecting our backyard. It’s why I recently introduced a package of bills with Democratic and Republican colleagues that invests more than $100 million annually to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. (Balt. Sun)


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J. Nelson Wells: Progressives, indivisibles begin to unite

Once people got over the shock of the November election, tens of thousands in Maryland joined groups under such banners as "indivisible" or "resistance" or "progressive." I'll refer to them all as "progressive" here. Until recently these groups did not know how to effectively collaborate on issues they shared. But this is about to change. A new player has emerged that will work to bring these movements together and dramatically change the 2018 legislative session and elections. The Maryland Progressive Caucus will be working with all these groups to develop clear communications, hammer out priorities given limited resources and encourage attendance at public events. (Capital)

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Baltimore's shot in the dark to reduce violence

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young kicked off today’s hearing on proposed mandatory minimum sentences for illegally possessing a gun with an emotional appeal. Recounting the stories of members of his own family who have been victims of gun violence, he said, “If it was your family member, you would want them brought to justice. You would want them in jail.” We don’t know anyone who would disagree. The question is whether the legislation before the council would accomplish that. We have our doubts, and we believe the legislation requires substantial amendments. (Balt. Sun)

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Rare disasters can be the deadliest ones

The devil you don't know is often the biggest danger, and severe tornadoes are rare enough in Maryland for many residents to forget that we do have them. And unlike blizzards and hurricanes, the weather disasters on which most residents focus, they arrive with scant warning.Considering that it blasted through a residential neighborhood on Kent Island at about 1:30 a.m., with winds in excess of 110 mph, it's providential that Monday's tornado resulted in only one reported injury, and not a serious one. But the twister ripped off roofs and townhouse second stories, smashed a produce stand, destroyed many trees — including a centuries-old Southern red oak that was a community landmark — and temporarily cut off power to thousands. (Capital)

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