Getting Educated on Natural Grass & Synthetic Turf at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

County parks and recreation officials offered their perspectives on natural grass, synthetic turf, and heat policies at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference during the “Play Ball: What You Need to Know About Natural and Synthetic Turf” panel on August 15. The panelists responded to five prepared questions. The questions included: How does your county incorporate natural grass and synthetic turf fields into your athletic and recreational programs? What are the advantages and drawbacks of natural…

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Diversity Caucus Confronts Human Trafficking at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

The Maryland County Officials Diversity Caucus discussed human trafficking challenges at its lunch meeting during the 2019 MACo Summer Conference on August 15. Andrea Nunez, Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Prevention Committee, presented an overview of human trafficking and provided examples of how counties can respond to it. Nunez walked through the definition of human trafficking, highlighted trafficking “hotspots” in Montgomery County, and detailed County enforcement and victim treatment…

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Rural County Coalition Talks Preemption, Solar Siting, & Kirwan at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

The Rural County Coalition received policy updates on solar siting and education funding issues at its 2019 MACo Summer Conference breakfast on August 15. Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio gave some brief welcoming remarks. MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp then provided an update on two recent implied preemption cases involving the residential application of pesticides and the siting of large solar facilities. Knapp noted that while the courts found in favor…

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Public Information Act Training at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference learned about the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) during the “Academy Core: Public Information Act” panel on August 14. Harford County District Court Judge David Carey highlighted the importance of the PIA and stressed the need for local government understanding and compliance. Carey discussed the guiding principles behind the PIA and noted that people who are not happy with a PIA outcome seek to amend the PIA law…

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Protecting Yourself from Cyberattacks at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference learned how they can protect their county’s valuable data against cyberattacks and ransomware at the “Held Hostage: Protecting Your Data from Cyberattacks” panel on August 14. Center for Internet Security Program Specialist Kyle Bryans stressed that organizations need to treat cyberattacks as a business problem and not exclusively as an information technology problem. Bryans described the threat posed by the info stealer malware program Emotet. Emotet can alter…

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2019 Summer #MACoCon Kicks Off with Planning Training

2019 Summer #MACoCon Kicks Off with Planning Training The 2019 MACo Summer Conference kicked off with the annual planning commission and board of appeals training offered by the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP). This several hour class outlines the history of land use in Maryland, basics of planning and Smart Growth, engaging with elected officials and public, and key land use issues currently facing the state. While designed for planning commissioners and board of appeals members, any…

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Maryland Distilleries Collaborate on Rye Gins

As a further sign of the maturing distillery industry in Maryland, a Daily Record article (2019-08-07) reported that Frederick County-based McClintock Distilling Co. and Baltimore City-based The Baltimore Spirits Co. are collaborating to release two limited-edition rye gins. From the article: The project uses rye whiskey mash infused with botanicals to make a Genever-style gin. McClintock used mash from BSC’s Epoch Rye and BSC used mash from McClintock’s Bootjack Rye Whiskey. The article indicated that half…

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Hogan Administration Releases “A Better Maryland” Development Plan

A Maryland Department of Planning press release (2019-08-07) announced the release of the new state development plan, A Better Maryland. The plan will guide growth, preservation efforts, and infrastructure development throughout the state. Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order in 2017 ordering the creation of A Better Maryland and rescinded PlanMaryland. MACo had expressed concerns over PlanMaryland due to its top-down approach and creation of new (and in MACo's view redundant) land use classifications. A Better Maryland is developed from…

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Baltimore City Likely to Pass Plastic Bag Ban

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-08-02) reported that a super-majority of the Baltimore City Council and Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young currently supports legislation that would ban plastic bags at checkout counters and impose a 5-cent charge on any other type of bag provided. The legislation is intended to reduce litter and plastic waste and encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags when shopping. The article noted that the City Council has considered plastic bag bans eight times…

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Should My Turf Fields Be Natural or Synthetic? Learn About Both at #MACoCon

Are you looking to install or update your athletic fields? Not sure whether natural or synthetic turf is best for you? If so, make an informed choice by getting up-to-date on natural and synthetic turf fields and heat policies at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Play Ball! What You Need to Know About Natural and Synthetic Turf Description Your residents expect athletic fields and playground areas as part of the public services you provide. Done…

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