Leftovers that pique picnickers' interest

BETWEEN THE LINES

September 12, 2005

The bright blue-and-white campaign shirt worn by former Howard County Councilman Lloyd Knowles at the county Democratic Party's Labor Day picnic produced a momentary political shock for several attendees.

"Knowles, U.S. Senate" it said in big, bold letters.

But the ponytailed husband of Maryland Del. Elizabeth Bobo isn't joining the growing conga line of people hoping to succeed retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who attended the picnic.

The shirt was a gift from a friend, Knowles said, a relic from a 2004 campaign by former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat who lost a Senate bid.

"It will be 20 years next year," since Lloyd Knowles was active as a politician, he said, chuckling.

- Larry Carson

Costly letter-opener

The Frederick County Sheriff's Office issued this terse news release last week - perhaps a sign of the times:

"On 09/07/06 at approximately 10:35 AM, deputies from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office responded to the Frederick County Courthouse for a call of a suspicious envelope. The envelope was received in the Sheriff's Office Judicial Operations Office located within the courthouse. Subsequently, Frederick County Fire and Rescue HAZMAT responded to assist and concluded that the envelope was not dangerous. It has been determined that envelope contained legitimate Sheriff's Office mail."

And no paper cut was reported.

- David Michael Ettlin

Image makeover complete?

It is a rare day indeed when proposals for expanded drug treatment programs can sail through a public hearing without encountering opposition, but that is just what happened at the Baltimore Planning Commission last week. Not a single person appeared to argue against a bill that would make it possible for methadone clinics and other treatment programs to open without public approval.

The bill drew opposition when it was introduced last year, but either the critics didn't know about the hearing, or NIMBY-ism has just died a mysterious death in Baltimore. The hearing room was filled with people in favor of the bill, including recovering addicts and the leader of a West Baltimore community group who testified that she hasn't had any problem with a treatment program in her neighborhood.

After hearing from five of the proponents about the benefits of drug treatment, board Chairman Peter Auchincloss had enough and cut off the testimony. Was there no one, he asked one last time, who wanted to speak against the bill?

Noting the unusual transformation of treatment centers into an unquestioned good, he asked again, this time with more than a hint of sarcasm: "Anyone want to speak against motherhood, baseball and apple pie?"

- Alec MacGillis

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