Month: September 2019

Education To Suffer If Tax Increase, Slot Machine Proposal Not Adopted

Education in Montgomery County would bear the brunt of the jurisdiction’s pain if the governor’s plans for tax increases and slot machines are not adopted by state lawmakers.

Big cuts in aid to counties, libraries, schools, universities, health care, state police and dozens of other programs would be needed if the legislature doesn’t pass tax increases next month, Gov. Martin O’Malley warned Tuesday as he introduced his version of a “doomsday” budget.

Montgomery County alone would see an estimated loss of about $86 million under O’Malley’s worst-case scenario.

Cuts in state funding for county education programs would constitute more than half of the loss in funding, with a potential freeze of $18.4 million in money for the state’s Thornton plan for funding equitable education across the board, according to information provided by the state Wednesday.

The state would freeze $12.8 million in teacher retirement payments; reduce by $4.3 million support for Montgomery College; and delay issuing $9.2 million to the county in cost-of-living-adjustment funds for education.

“I am not shocked by these figures at all,” Montgomery County Education Association Director Tom Israel said. “I will be shocked as will our schools if they come to fruition. The state does need to address the tax side of things.”

Israel said freezing state contributions to teacher pensions could pit school districts across the state against each other in a struggle to hire and retain teachers.

“Montgomery County might be more willing and able to continue to pay pension benefits if the state …

Harford County Is Added To List As A Potential Spot For Slot

Frederick is in and Ocean City is out as a location for slot-machine gambling, a House of Delegates subcommittee recommended Wednesday. Harford County was also added to Cecil County as a potential slot site in the northeast Interstate 95 corridor.

The full House of Delegates finally begins debate today on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to let voters decide in a referendum next year on slots gambling at five Maryland locations.

Subcommittee Chairman Frank Turner, D-Howard, had been pushing the Frederick location all week as a way to capture the slot-machine dollars flowing into Charlestown track in West Virginia.

The site at Ocean Downs racetrack near Ocean City “might not be a really viable location,” Turner said, because it has high tourist traffic only three or four months a year.

“I think Frederick is a viable solution,” Del. Craig Rice, D-Montgomery, and the four other members of the committee agreed.

Before the committee acted, O’Malley reacted coolly to the change in locations.

“I was grateful that the Senate passed the bill that we gave them on the slots issue and they did so without changing it much, and I would hope that the House would do the same thing,” O’Malley said. “I hope that they don’t change it too much.”

Frederick County was a site proposed in a slots bill that passed the House in 2005 but never cleared the Senate. Senate President Thomas Mike Miller said Wednesday morning he still did not favor a Frederick site. The county has passed …

The Opening: Conformation Of A Hunting Beagle

October in the Delta is the month Mother Nature dresses herself in her finest fashions and paints herself with a variety of make-up. She flashes her dazzling colors of gold, red, yellow, orange, pink, auburn and a host of browns. There is a splash of green showing, seemingly for dramatic effect.

The crisp autumn air is a much-welcomed relief from the hot, humid, sweltering heat of the long summer days. It is a time for the hunter and Beagle dog owner to venture into the splendid outdoors.

Your field notes reflect you have exceeded your goal of once per week field trips. Bell is now in top physical condition and Sam has begun to follow her into the thick stuff. He has overcome his fear of heights and shows no fear of gun shot noise. On each trip you have routinely provided him with the additional time of one on one training opportunities. He has learned to 'Check' areas by following your voice commands and hand directions. He responds to 'Hear he is!' each time you flush a rabbit for him. He has made steady progress on following scent lines, although there have been those irritating 'black lines'…following the scent in the opposite direction of the rabbits travel.

You are pleased with his enthusiasm for the hunt. He responds to scent with furious tail wagging, jaws working to keep his mouth and tongue moist and keeps his nose on the ground inhaling the scent like a miniature vacuum cleaner. You …

Why We Hunt

How long have we been reading, thinking, or even writing about hunting?  Most of us can’t even remember; it just sort of happened.  Many of us simply grew up in hunting or fishing families and it has always been a way of life.  Others came about it because of close contact with a friend or loved one.  Still others began hunting simply because it was a curious notion and some long past force pulling at them.

Back in 1974 or there about, I started writing about hunting.  It had become a strong passion of mine and suddenly a few magazines began buying my stories.  My father wasn’t really a hunter, but we did have a few guns around the house and once we even had a pair of male beagles my dad brought home from a bar one night.  It was a gradual thing … my hunting and finally writing about it. Probably one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received from an article was: “You can tell … this guy’s been there.”   It was an appropriate compliment. When I was around 30 I over heard my dad telling someone, “Yeah, that boy would rather hunt than eat!”  If you’d see me now, I’m not sure you’d agree, but I got a real chuckle out of it then, because it was true.

During this meager and humble career as an outdoor writer, I’ve always wanted to write an article entitled: “Why We Hunt”.  It just seemed a natural thing. …