Cookie tradition continues

If the knock did not come at your door this past weekend, it could come sometime over the next few weeks. On the other side of the door is a Girl Scout, maybe a cute 7-year-old Brownie or a worldly 17-year-old Ambassador. It’s Girl Scout cookie time. (Carroll Co. Times)

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The trees at Leakin Park

Supporters of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park are understandably alarmed by a BGE plan to build a new gas pipeline through the area. The pipeline, which serves about 90,000 customers in the city and county, was one of the first such conduits built in the Baltimore region, and it has been repaired dozens of times since it was first laid in 1949. But the company says it's now reached the end of its useful life and must be replaced. The problem is that building a new pipeline along the original route may be impossible under today's stricter environmental regulations, while the available alternatives could require the company to cut down hundreds of the park's historic and beloved old-growth trees. (Balt. Sun)

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Mixed bag of new state laws

If you have that cellphone up to your ear while driving, you may want to end that call sharply and put your mobile somewhere you can’t reach it. A new law went into effect today that makes cellphone use in cars a “primary offense.” Up until now, it’s been a secondary offense, meaning officers needed another reason to pull you over — say, weaving all over the road or having a taillight out. Not anymore. Now all an officer needs to pull you over is seeing you on the phone — and it’s good news for those of us worried about distracted and dangerous drivers on the road. (News-Post)

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New library will have standards for behavior

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone played by your rules? You would always be first in line, no one would ever hassle you and you’d never be late for a meeting or event. But we all live in a world that shares spaces and resources, so we all must adhere to that delicate balance between what we want and the rights of those around us. How does this apply to Hagerstown’s new downtown branch of Washington County Free Library, which opens this weekend? Let’s look at the issues. (Herald-Mail)

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Tim Rowland: Silence is golden to Washington County Commissioners

Hoo boy, just another day here in Washington County, aka Dysfunction Junction, isn’t it? A little over a year ago, the Washington County Board of Commissioners named former County Commissioner Ron Bowers to the Economic Development Commission, with orders to be an irascible, take-no-prisoners thorn in the side of the status quo. Late last week, the commissioners fired Bowers for being an irascible, take-no-prisoners thorn in the side of the status quo. It all depends on whose status is being quoing. Yep, we want you to shake up the staff and use any means at your disposal so long as it does not shake up the staff. (Herald-Mail)

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Sept. 30 // Maryland law on sex offenders and child custody must be revisited

Andrew Mojica is a registered-for-life sex offender in Maryland. As such, he’s barred from knowingly entering a school or child-care facility without written permission. However, Mr. Mojica is allowed unsupervised visits, including overnight, with his 4-year-old son despite fierce objections from the boy’s mother. The anomaly — other words come to mind — is the result of cracks in state law and a court system seemingly so suspicious of any parent who seeks to limit another parent’s access to their child that it is willing to discount potential risks. (Wash. Post)

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Maryland's 2014 race for governor launches in earnest

Now there are three. On Tuesday, the second of the two presumptive front runners for the 2014 Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nomination declared his candidacy. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is now an official candidate. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced four months ago his entry into his party’s primary to be held next June. A third Democratic candidate, Del. Heather R. Mizeur, who hails from Montgomery County as does Gansler and is widely perceived as a prohibitive long shot, rounds out the current field. (Capital)

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Holding the budget line in Montgomery County

In the first decade of this century, salaries for most public employees in Montgomery County nearly doubled, rising at almost triple the rate of inflation. That profligacy sent spending soaring and set the stage for brutal retrenchment when the recession hit. Contrite county officials, forced to roll back over-the-top benefits granted to powerful public-employee unions, said they had learned a lesson. Montgomery has an excellent workforce that deserves to be well compensated. At the same time, as recent history demonstrates, it needs to tread carefully to make sure it can meet its commitments. That goes for the salaries of elected officials, too. (Wash. Post)

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