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NEWS
June 13, 2014
Attorney and former CIA officer Matthew Ferraro contends that U.S. intelligence agencies operate within "strict legal controls under the review of lawyers embedded at all levels, inspectors general, courts and Congress" ( "The Snowden stigma," June 9). This claim flies in the face of what has long been evident: The rules on intelligence gathering, if and when they existed, were often skirted with the accomplice of those selfsame embedded lawyers. The roles of inspectors general and courts were often arbitrary and inconsistent if they were involved in the decision-making process at all, and Congress was by its own admission mostly kept in the dark.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
October 13, 2014
I was a Maryland Transit Administration employee when Larry Hogan was former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointments secretary, and in my judgment many of their appointments at the MTA were questionable at best and in some cases a disaster. For example, a professional ice dancer was hired for a high-paying position despite his lack of qualifications for a position in transit - but he did keep a Darth Vader figurine in his office. Maybe Mr. Hogan could explain his rationale for hiring that employee?
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NEWS
June 12, 2012
Most Baltimoreans would probably be surprised by the political wrangling in the City Council over a charter amendment requiring periodic audits of city agencies ("Bill to put ads on city fire trucks advances," May 31). They would probably be even more surprised by Councilwoman Helen Holton's assertion that some agencies haven't been audited in 40 years. But there's nothing at all surprising about MayorStephanie Rawlings-Blake's assurances that everything is fine and that no changes to the audit procedure are needed.
NEWS
By Charles Cadwell and Mark Goldberg | October 6, 2014
Climate change has been in the news a lot lately. The United Nations held a Climate Change Summit, which was attended by more than 100 heads of state. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of New York for a "People's Climate March," the biggest such event ever. But there was a third very important climate-related development that received much less attention than it warranted: President Barack Obama issued a new executive order that may prove to be a turning point for efforts to advance climate preparedness around the world and for U.S. foreign aid planning.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | May 8, 2014
It isn't often that one hears the word "stellar" used to describe a federal form. Nevertheless, that's the term Annetta Cheek, a leading advocate of clarity in how government communicates with citizens, uses to praise the form that took the Grand ClearMark Award this spring in the annual contest run by the Center for Plain Language. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uses the form to lay out exactly what a home mortgage will cost. It shows in concise, clear terms and large print the interest rate and how the monthly payments break down.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2013
Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems and Baltimore Mental Health Systems will merge this fall as the field moves to integrating substance abuse and mental health treatment. The new organization will be named Behavioral Health System Baltimore, employ 70 people and have a $68.5 million operating budget. The merger, contingent on the board approval of both organizations, comes as the state of Maryland prepares to combine substance use and mental health programming into one agency next year.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | February 6, 2014
Two Maryland departments that have  taken their share of knocks got some good news Thursday as they were among the big winners in a competition between agencies over which are doing the best job of conserving energy. Underscoring his personal interest in the effort, Gov. Martin O'Malley turned out to present the first Maryland Energy Cup to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the best performance in total energy reduction. According to the administration, the department has cut energy consumption by 47 percent since 2008 -- aided by an efficiency project at Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville that yielded an 80 percent cut in the facility's use of natural gas. Also recognized was the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for being the most improved agency -- having jumped from ninth place to second place in energy use reduction since 2008 with a 41 percent cut. The State Highway Administration and Maryland Military Department also received awards.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2011
As nonprofits across the state brace for what could be deep cuts in federal funding and the possibility of a government shutdown, many are already taking steps to trim services, staff and hours. The Harford Community Action Agency has instituted a 20 percent reduction in staff hours that will affect its aid programs for needy families, and it will be closed on Fridays for the foreseeable future. The 23 employees at the Edgewood-based agency, which assisted more than 7,000 families last year, are now working a four-day week, all while requests for assistance are on the increase.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | November 2, 2011
A judge has ordered two companies to stop action on nearly 4,000 debt collection cases in Maryland, according to a statement Wednesday by the Maryland Judiciary. The companies, LVNV Funding and Resurgent Capital Services, cannot pursue the collection of consumer debts they acquired until further notice, said District Court of Maryland Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn. Last week, the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said it "found grounds to allege" that both companies violated several debt-collection laws.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | June 16, 2011
Gambrills residents may see unusual traffic Friday morning around Arundel Senior High School while county agencies practice setting up an emergency shelter. The county's Emergency Management Agency and Fire Department, a local chapter of the American Red Cross and others will take part, said Fire Department Division Chief Michael Cox. The exercise is designed to practice putting together a shelter in the event of an emergency evacuation because of severe storms or other crises.
NEWS
October 1, 2014
Secret Service director Julia A. Pierson did herself no favors this week when she appeared before a House subcommittee to explain why her agency so badly bungled the job of protecting the president. There's no excuse for the repeated lapses in security that put the president's life at risk, nor for the agency's attempts to hide the seriousness of the incidents afterward. Ms. Pierson finally acknowledged that today when she submitted her resignation as head of the agency. In the days leading up to her departure, Ms. Pierson had promised a thorough internal investigation of the matter, but that's not good enough.
NEWS
By Justin George and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2014
Rumors often circulated that Tom Clancy's thrillers were so detailed in their descriptions of military and covert operations that the FBI had investigated the Baltimore novelist to determine his sources for works such as "The Hunt for Red October. " After Clancy's death in October 2013, The Baltimore Sun submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for any FBI files on Clancy. The FBI sent back 46 pages, including several redacted pages of background checks federal authorities had conducted.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn and The Baltimore Sun | September 26, 2014
The state's Mental Hygiene Administration didn't have adequate procedures to ensure consumers given care were eligible, according to audit by the Department of Legislative Services during fiscal 2013. The state funds in question totaled $16.4 million. The total budget that year was $788 million when federal funds were counted. The audit also found reviews weren't done in a timely manner by an accounting firm hired to monitor some of the agency's fiscal functions, with some reviews taking up to an extra 21 months.
SPORTS
By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | September 23, 2014
NEW YORK - Shortstop J.J. Hardy reiterated after Monday's game that he would like to remain in an Orioles uniform for the rest of his career following reports out of New York that said the pending free agent would consider signing with the Yankees. Hardy has long made his desire to remain in Baltimore clear. He likes playing for manager Buck Showalter and enjoys the clubhouse chemistry that he has built. Since the Orioles acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Twins after the 2010 season, he has been an instrumental part of the team's transformation from doormat to division champion.
BUSINESS
By Jeff Barker and The Baltimore Sun | September 16, 2014
Problem gamblers would no longer be able to ban themselves from Maryland casinos for life under a change being considered to a state program designed to protect hundreds of gamblers from themselves. The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency might remove the lifetime self-ban option because of concerns that it is excessive and redundant, Stephen Martino, the agency's director, said Tuesday. "We're probably going to change the program in the next couple of months," Martino said.
NEWS
By Kevin Rector and The Baltimore Sun | September 14, 2014
The officials who are responsible for safeguarding the nation's intelligence secrets are trying to figure out how to better vet millions of employees and contractors with security clearances, after auditors found that some of those workers owed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in unpaid taxes. About 83,000 employees and contractors at the Department of Defense owed more than $730 million in unpaid taxes, the Government Accountability Office reported last month. Last year, the agency reported that 8,400 executive-branch civilian employees and contractors owed $85 million.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | July 9, 2011
Baltimore County officials expect tax credit incentives to spur redevelopment and job creation at the newly designated Federal Center in Woodlawn. The 395-acre, industrially zoned parcel near the Beltway and Dogwood Road has won state approval as an enterprise zone, making its development eligible for substantial savings on state and county property taxes. A qualifying company that makes a $5 million investment could realize a tax savings of nearly $375,000 over 10 years, according to a county release.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2012
Suspects arrested for violent crimes or burglaries will again have to submit to DNA collections, officials with several Maryland law enforcement agencies said Thursday. A day after U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. authorized the practice to resume, at least temporarily, a number of police departments said they had decided to collect samples as they await further word from the high court. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether collecting the genetic information before a person is convicted violates the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | September 2, 2014
Baltimore residents are asked to participate in a survey measuring qualify of life issues in the city, online and by phone through Sept. 29, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Tuesday. The Citizens Survey, which has been conducted since 2009, serves as a report card for the city, Rawlings-Blake said. City agencies use the data to write their budget proposals and gauge their performance. The mayor urged residents to participate. "It is imperative that we have a clear understanding of what issues are impacting our communities," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
NEWS
By Michael J. Wilson | September 1, 2014
Fifty years ago this week, the Food Stamp Act of 1964 was signed into law. The goal was to ensure that those of us with the least would not be without food. In the ensuing decades, the program adapted to cultural, economic and technological changes and has provided millions of people with better nutrition. Today, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the modern incarnation of food stamps) remains our nation's most effective tool in the fight against hunger. The Food Supplement Program (FSP, Maryland's name for SNAP)
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