3:33 PM EST, March 4, 2012
Peddling pedal power
Officials from Washington County and the city of Hagerstown were in Annapolis recently to think about bicycles.
Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham wrote in an email that the group attended the 15th annual Bike Maryland Symposium on Feb. 22.
“The symposium is a good opportunity to hear what other communities are doing, and keep cycling issues on the radar of state elected officials, as well as hear what legislative changes are being proposed by Bike Maryland,” Callaham wrote.
While in Annapolis last week, Callaham and Washington County Commissioner John F. Barr dropped off Washington County bike maps at the offices of delegates and senators who were at the symposium.
They invited legislators’ staffs to visit Washington County “and enjoy the pies at Penny Pittman’s place in Hancock,” Callaham wrote.
An essential service
Washington County Free Library Director Mary Baykan was in Annapolis last week with the Maryland Library Association, supporting a bill to designate public libraries as providing essential community services during an emergency.
The designation could help libraries qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance, and be considered a priority for restoring power and Internet access.
Proponents noted that after a 2002 tornado in southern Maryland, the public library was one of the only buildings in downtown La Plata to survive and was used as an emergency shelter.
A parole proposal
A proposed change in the parole system has the support of a Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown prisoners’ group.
Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, D-Baltimore City, an assistant public defender, is sponsoring a bill affecting offenders serving a life sentence for first-degree murder even though they were not principals in the first degree, meaning they did not physically commit the crime.
Under the bill, they could get parole without the governor’s approval.
In a letter of support, Joseph Evans, the executive vice president of the MCI-Hagerstown Lifers Conference, wrote in favor of “a return to merit-based re-entry and sensible applications of parole release for those prisoners who reached or exceeded the sentencing objectives of the judges who imposed their parole-eligible life sentences.
“However, with those jurist (sic) no longer retaining jurisdiction over these cases, persons who were not principles (sic) in the first degree, or whom were juveniles at the time of the offense, must now rely on an entirely politicized mechanism for parole release which currently rest (sic) upon the governor’s approval.”
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services opposes the bill, saying it would require a case-by-case review for about 2,700 inmates serving parole-eligible life sentences for first-degree murder.
— Andrew Schotz
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