FBI: Drones for Terror an “Escalating Threat” in US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray has noted unmanned aircraft -- or "drones" -- represent a substantial and escalating threat as implements of terror or crime. The discussion was part of a scheduled briefing, held on October 10 before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. From a report in Bloomberg news: Drones pose a “steadily escalating threat,” as the “unmanned aircraft systems” are likely to be used by…

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First NACo ExDir Bernie Hillenbrand Dies at 93

Starting in the 1950s, Bernie Hillenbrand helped build the beginnings of our modern-day National Association of Counties, as its first full-time Executive Director. He died this week at 93, following a brief illness. One collaboration strategy for Hillenbrand, according to the NACo website, was to bring the professional staff to a "retreat" at his farm in Washington County, Maryland. Hillenbrand was a 1951 alumnus of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse…

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The Bridges of Maryland’s Counties: Sun Paper Analyzes Infrastructure Conditions

The Baltimore Sun's "Data and Statistics" desk releases a detailed analysis of Maryland bridges, finding a number to be in "poor" condition How safe are Maryland's bridges? That's the headline of the Baltimore Sun's article, analyzing bridges maintained by state and local governments in Maryland. Relying mainly on federal data from the Federal Highway Administration, the Sun details the classification of bridges in the metro area, finding that over 5% of the state's bridges listed…

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Baltimore Among Forbes’ Top Ten Startup Sites

Forbes Magazine named Baltimore among its top ten sites for business startups, citing the area's investment in higher education and technology. One facet of the Fortune article is a discussion of efforts to broaden the geographic distribution of venture capital to areas beyond some of the traditional "hot spots" including Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston: One of those investors is Steve Case. The billionaire co-founder of AOL co-founded DC-based VC firm Revolution in 2005…

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9/18 NACo Regional Conf Call: White House Guest Speaker

The National Association of Counties' Northeast Region (including Maryland) will host its monthly conference call with county officials, NACo staff and invited guest speakers. At the next call - 9:00am on Wednesday September 18 - Britt Carter from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will join the call to update county officials on key White House initiatives that may affect counties, and will be able to take questions. See below for the preliminary agenda…

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2040 Transportation Plan – MDOT Wants Your Comments

The Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) is updated every five years through extensive consultation and coordination with state, regional and local government stakeholders and outreach to Maryland’s citizens. The perspective of transportation users has been critical in shaping the development of the Draft 2040 MTP: Connecting You to Life’s Opportunities. You can now view a copy of the Draft Plan at the Maryland Transportation Plan website. The Draft 2040 MTP includes highlights of Maryland’s transportation trends, key challenges and opportunities and high-level…

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WY Political “Robocall” Ban Struck Down As Unconstitutional

A federal judge has struck down a Wyoming law banning political "robocalling" as violating the US Constitution's first amendment Wyoming's law seeking to curtail invasive political messaging through telephone messages has been rejected by a federal judge, citing constitutional protections for free speech. The ruling, in part, hinges on the "breadth" of the state-passed legislation, so the matter may not be fully settled for all areas. From coverage in Governing: U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson…

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NACo Announces High Performance Leadership Academy

NACo's new Leadership Academy is an online training to develop professional talent in your county staff The NACo High Performance Leadership Academy is an online 12-week program that will empower frontline county government professionals with the most fundamental leadership skills to deliver results for counties and communities. Without traveling away from the county, participants will use an online, interactive learning platform to engage in live events, video sessions and breakout group discussions. With a robust…

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Could Global Factors Slow The Local Solar Boom?

Maryland has seen a rapid growth in both utility-scale and smaller-level solar generation capacity - witnessed by the land use pressures facing many parts of the state (and legislation in recent years to address those continuing pressures). See prior Conduit Street coverage of solar issues for a flavor of this ongoing challenge to local, especially agricultural, land use. A report on the Bloomberg news site indicates that China's recent announcement of reduced plans for new…

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Floreen May Make Independent Run for Montgomery County Executive

In the wake of a still too-close-to-call Democratic primary, term limited Council Member Nancy Floreen turned heads as she filed a declaration to run as an independent candidate for Montgomery County Executive. The filing of an intention to run is a necessary step toward a formal bid as a party-unaffiliated candidate for the office. As part of her filing, Floreen indicated that she has not yet committed to a run, but submitted the filing by…

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