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The Maryland State Highway Administration says it is starting from scratch on the Rocks Road project, but residents and others concerned about potential damage to the environment and to the integrity of Rocks State Park have good reason to be skeptical.

“We are coming into this with a blank slate,” Kirk McClelland, director of the office of highway development for the
State Highway Administration, said at the initial meeting last week of a citizens committee the SHA convened to improve communications and to get community input about the project.

“You say you are starting with a clean slate, but I have trouble believing it,” Deborah Bowers, of Street, a committee member, told McClelland.

“We need to have an institutional change with SHA. You guys, from the very beginning dating back a year, have been playing down the project and using language that made it seem like there were hardly any changes being made to the road,” she said.

Bowers is right on the mark. SHA planned to do as it pleased on a project of questionable necessity in the first place. The agency had a scorched earth plan in place to deal with erosion of the stream bank in a few places between Rocks Road and Deer Creek. It backed off only after citizens complained and this newspaper began asking uncomfortable questions about the need for the project and the methods involved.

Frankly, the citizens panel approach amounts to stalling and obfuscating. Bog things down in rhetoric for a few months and maybe the opponents will go away, which once again causes us to question the SHA’s motivation in the first place.

There are clearly erosion problems along Rocks Road in some places; yet, it appears shoring up the road on the stream side does not appear to be an option for SHA. The agency wants to spend upward of $10 million to move the road back, and if the agency gets its way, that will be just for starters.

What we can’t understand is why the Northern Harford County legislators, Sen. Barry Glassman and Dels. Wayne Norman and Donna Stifler, haven’t gone to the Secretary of Transportation and told her to make SHA back off and start paying attention to the more pressing highway needs in Harford County. As we have noted before, state financial resources are scarce, and it’s time to put them to optimal use, which this clearly isn’t.

Ending this Rocks Road charade is a fine place to start, and don’t give us that palaver that the money involved is from a different fund. It’s all ours in the end.

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Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic

Amira Jennings, 17, who dreamed of opening up her own beauty salon one day and loved helping her family, was killed by a hit-and-run driver Thursday morning.

Baltimore area residents continue to report serious problems with U.S. Postal Service delivery this week as the union representing local postal workers says their processing equipment is being dismantled.

Strong City, a nonprofit that helps local organizations manage funding, acknowledged problems Friday afternoon, saying it had not kept pace with its rapid growth of recent years.

Local contractors say any number of issues with customer-owned equipment could have led to Monday's blast, which killed two.

Ask Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander why he’s among baseball’s leaders in RBIs, how he improved his plate discipline or what’s allowed him to be a better defender in 2020, and the answer in his native language is likely to include "el trabajo," Spanish for "the work."

The leaders of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates decried as “truly shocking” a six-figure severance package received by Gov. Larry Hogan’s new chief of staff after the official voluntarily left an independent state agency he was running.

Baltimore’s acting public works director said recent delays in trash and recycling pickup have been caused by staff shortages due to COVID-19, as well as a spike in trash being set curbside during the pandemic.

Many businesses have been reopening across the country during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including restaurants, bars, malls and gyms. But the reopening of schools has become a particular source of stress for teachers and staff as well as parents and guardians of school-aged children. Uncertainty and safety concerns have prompted many to look into “pandemic pods” — here’s what to know about this concept, including how one could look as well as its pros and cons. (Kaitlin Miller, The Active Times)

Wacky Waffles, a mobile catering business that’s serviced weddings, festivals and more in the Baltimore area, is putting down roots in Patterson Park this fall.

Artist-turned-carpenter Mark Supik has a wood-turning business that is the place to go for one-of-a-kind wood requirements.

Just two weeks into the month, the Baltimore region has already seen far more rain than average for August.

Maryland’s 24 school superintendents voted unanimously Friday to request that state health officials create clear benchmarks for deciding when students could safely return to school buildings.

Officers were called at about 10 a.m. to the area of West Ridgely Road and Francke Avenue, where a passenger who had been asleep on a Maryland Transit Administration bus woke up, and started shouting he would shoot people, said police spokesman Kevin Gay.

Family members of Shaliqua Watson, 21, remember her life after she was fatally shot on Saturday, Aug. 8.

While nearly seven in 10 Maryland households have answered their census questionnaire for the once-in-a-decade tally, that still leaves more than 800,000 that have not. And there are neighborhoods in Baltimore where more than half the residents are still officially uncounted.

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that Baltimore Police detectives coerced false statements and manufactured a narrative that implicated the three youths to the crime.

Maryland has opened a statewide hotline to report potential violations of executive orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, contrasting Gov. Larry Hogan’s previous statements that local jurisdictions should take more control over enforcing the orders.


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