Don DeArmon: Walking and pedestrian safety in Frederick — plenty of maybes

Will the death of a pedestrian on East Street a few weeks ago finally wake the city of Frederick to pedestrian safety? Maybe. Unfortunately, despite preliminary funding in Frederick’s budget (added coincidentally after the fatal accident), the reconstruction of that area of East Street won’t be accomplished until late 2018 — or later. That timetable strikes me as slow, especially since the city placed signals and crosswalks on East Street at 16th Street last year after, I’m told, the community “made noise.” Clearly, Frederick’s homeless and low-income residents who catch buses at the transit center are remiss in not spending their leisure time advocating at city budget hearings. (News-Post)

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June 15 // Alec Ross: Md. needs coding classes starting in kindergarten

Today in Maryland public schools, we require students to take courses in a foreign language — Spanish, French, German — because learning a language enriches their lives and helps them interact in a more interconnected world. That’s a wonderful thing. But unfortunately, we’re doing a terrible job teaching our children the language that’s now driving the economy: computer code. (Balt. Sun)

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Lee Boyd Malvo and the case against juvenile life sentences

Lee Boyd Malvo, who at 17 plunged the capital region into terror through a series of random, sniper style attacks he carried out with John Allen Muhammad, presents a difficult case for those who believe life sentences without the possibility of parole are inappropriate for those who were juveniles at the time of their crimes. His actions were depraved and horrific. They caused tremendous pain to the families of men and women who were gunned down at random throughout suburban Virginia and Maryland, and they struck fear into millions more. Yet his case also exemplifies why such sentences are wrong. (Balt. Sun)

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Felipe A. Filomeno: Gentrification threatens diversity of Baltimore neighborhoods

A report by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) celebrates as “global neighborhoods” six city communities that are remarkably diverse in racial and ethnic composition. Their development is seen as challenging the assumption of Baltimore as a city segregated into predominantly black or white areas, taken by many as a positive sign. But gentrification, an often exclusionary form of urban development, threatens to reverse it all. (Balt. Sun)

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David Trone: The opioid crisis hits home for Maryland man

In the final days of 2016, a North Carolina halfway house called to say my nephew was missing. It wasn’t the first call I’d gotten about Ian. Ian was a drug addict. We made sure he had access to the best doctors, residential and out-patient recovery programs, counselors and halfway houses. We worked with lawyers and parole officers to deal with his legal problems. We arranged for him to live at the halfway house and work in Asheville, N.C., because one of our daughters lives there. We did everything we knew to do — and everything experts told us to do — but it wasn’t enough. After several days of searching, Ian was found in a hotel room. He was alone, dead from an opioid overdose. (Balt. Sun)

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Recent overdose stats encouraging, more work to be done

Comparatively, it is possible Carroll has turned the tide a bit in regard to the heroin and opioid drug epidemic. While fatalities related to opioid use were up in the county in 2016 versus the year prior, according to data released by the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene last week, Carroll County Sheriff's Office data for 2017 thus far shows after a rough start, the frequency of fatal overdoses seems to have slowed somewhat. (Carr. Co. Times)

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June 14 // Carl Snowden: Meeting exposed racial issues

Last week, at a jam-packed Anne Arundel County Council meeting, citizens in attendance and those watching on live television saw their elected government close up and in color. The seven-member County Council has no women on it and one lone African-American, Councilman Pete Smith. Citizens who came to the meeting to express their views on a resolution denouncing hate acts and crimes following the death of U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Wilbur Collins III found themselves being cut off numerous times by County Council Chairman John Grasso. Mr. Grasso took exception to the fact that many of the speakers wanted to address the alleged hate-group ties of Councilman Michael Peroutka. (Capital)

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FCPS is right to protect transgender students

 

If the Frederick County Board of Education votes as expected Wednesday night to protect transgender students, it will send a powerful message of inclusion for all. That’s not to say the school district wasn’t welcoming in the past, but board members don’t want any doubt. They want to put it in writing. The board is set to vote on a policy change that would “prevent discrimination, stigmatization, harassment, and bullying of students who are transgender or who are gender nonconforming …” What exactly does this mean? FCPS is trying to address a certain group of students to ensure they are comfortable, allowing them to “discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide where, when, and with whom to share private information.” (News-Post)

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