August 18 // It’s time for a full and fair reckoning with Confederate statues

With astonishing rapidity, the violent events at Charlottesville have accelerated an already intense debate over what to do with hundreds of Confederate monuments and related statuary across the United States. After officials removed four statues in Baltimore and announced plans to remove a fifth in Annapolis, and after demonstrators spontaneously destroyed a Confederate memorial in Durham, N.C., President Trump weighed in on the matter: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he wrote in a series of tweets. Let’s be clear. No one is talking about ripping the country apart — unless it’s the president himself. (Wash. Post)

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Severn River Bridge plan requires a little faith, and littler lanes

Anyone who drives the Severn River Bridge knows it can be crowded, and frankly, intimidating. The 1.6 miles between Rowe Boulevard and the Ritchie Highway/Route 450 interchange near Annapolis is a local choke point of continuing concern to commuters, those passing through on the way to the Bay Bridge and police agencies charged with keeping them all safely moving along. The speeds are fast and the lanes seem to narrow coming off the land portion of Route 50. A 2011 study found a number of reasons that were a surprise to very few. Engineers found that congestion at the bridge is caused by the number of trucks, narrow shoulders, the way traffic merges as it exits the Rowe Boulevard ramps and human factors like drivers jumping lanes and slowing to view the beautiful — isn’t it lovely — Severn River as they cross. (Capital)

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Lisa VanBuskirk: Is shifting Anne Arundel school start times worth it?

When classes resume for Anne Arundel County Public Schools next month, high school start times will shift from 7:17 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and nearly all other schools’ hours will shift by 15 minutes. Is it worth it? For our teens, yes. Teens’ sleep cycles, which are driven by biology (not cellphone use or parenting), dictate that teens generally can’t fall asleep until 11 p.m., and they need eight to 10 hours of sleep nightly. Research shows even small shifts are beneficial, and, despite popular belief, when school starts later, teens don’t stay up later. They fall asleep at the same time and they get more sleep. (Capital)

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Shahem Mclaurin: Baltimore kids give back when you give to them

Over the past few years, Baltimore has struggled under the weight of record high murders. My community in Southeast Baltimore has seen a spike in property crime. The violence is stifling. But for me, the worst part is that many of these crimes have been committed by young people who look like me. Like many people who live in Southeast Baltimore, I share a sense of anxiety and worry regarding my property and the place I call home. Beyond this, I have a deep concern for the people I share the region with — most notably the youth. (Balt. Sun)

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Time for Taney to stand down

For nearly a century-and-a-half, the larger-than-life bronze statue of Roger Brooke Taney, a Calvert County native who was the country’s chief justice longer than all but one who held the office, has sat on a pedestal in solemn dignity outside the front door of the State House in Annapolis. (Daily Record)

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August 17 // Baltimore removes a stain from our public square

After years of foot-dragging, Baltimore is finally rid of its Confederate statues. Their removal in the dead of night — a surprise move by Mayor Catherine Pugh — does not erase the legacy of racism they represented, but it does reflect our rejection of it. Monuments to those who fought to split our nation and protect the institution of slavery should have had no place in this city when they were erected, and they certainly don’t now. Though some questioned why Ms. Pugh had not acted long ago to remove the statues, pursuant to a commission’s report that her predecessor sat on for months, she deserves enormous credit for removing them at a time of incredible tension over such symbols in a way that attracted little attention and gave no chance for the kind of violence we saw in Charlottesville last weekend. (Balt. Sun)

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Removing Taney's statue provides Annapolis with a symbol of leadership

Symbols are what we make of them. When the royal governor of New York commissioned a gilded lead statue of King George III for Manhattan in 1766, it was to thank his Britannic majesty for protecting the Colonies during the just concluded war with the French and their Native American allies. Motivated by readings of the Declaration of Independence, 40 soldiers and sailors used ropes on July 9, 1776 to pull down the symbol of a detested monarch. They reduced the lead scraps to 42,088 musket balls. No one expects the decision Wednesday by the State House Trust to remove the statue of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott decision, to present us with ammunition. But it does provide a potent symbolic weapon for this moment in our history as a city, a state and a nation. (Capital)

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Jennifer Bevan-Dangel: Cost of running for office in Anne Arundel skyrocketing

Residents of Anne Arundel County are in the middle of the Triple Crown of elections — presidential last year, Annapolis this fall, and statewide around the corner in 2018. With that in mind, it is interesting — if somewhat horrifying -- to look at recent analysis by Common Cause Maryland detailing what legislative candidates raised to run for office in 2014. Not surprisingly, the cost to run is rising, especially in the Senate. From 2011-2014, Senate candidates received an average of $290,070 in contributions and delegate candidates an average of $79,878. When Common Cause Maryland last did this analysis in the early 2000s, Senate candidates raised an average of $90,000 and delegates raised an average of $70,000. (Capital)

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