State of the State is Strong
Governor Hogan delivered an upbeat message in Wednesday’s State of the State address to the General Assembly. He conveyed a powerful theme of bipartisanship and mutual respect, a staunch reminder that both sides of the aisle work for the Maryland people. While he covered a range of topics he focused mostly on; violent crime in Baltimore City, non-partisan redistricting, and some much needed tax relief.
With Hogan’s steady handed leadership, coupled with his charisma, it’s no wonder why he is the most popular governor in the United States today. I truly believe we will be able to accomplish great things during Legislative Session this year.
Preakness - should it stay in Baltimore or go to Laurel?
Last Friday, the Baltimore Development Corporation presented a plan in Annapolis to revitalize and redevelop the Pimlico Racecourse and the surrounding property, which has hosted the Preakness since 1873. This revitalization program has become a top priority for the Baltimore City Delegation and many of the western Baltimore County legislators.
The proposal, which involves demolishing and completely rebuilding the facility was quite grandiose. While this plan certainly has potential, the sheer scale of the project brings to question the cost, not only of the project as a whole, but also how much the taxpayer would be expected to bear. When I proposed these questions during the presentation, neither was able to be answered.
Both the Pimlico and Laurel Park race tracks are both owned by the Stonach Group, a Canadian family, who have made it clear they are not interested in investing the hundreds of millions at Pimlico that this plan would likely call for.
The Preakness, in addition to its history and tradition, drives tourism, business and attention into our state, and as such it is vitally important to preserve its presence in Maryland. There are efforts underway to move the “Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown” to the Laurel Park racetrack, which is in better condition and has already undergone some renovations. It would be unwise to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a horse racing track, especially when the developers cannot figure out how much it’s going to cost.
I posted information on Facebook over the weekend and asked people their opinions. Not that Facebook is a scientific survey, but the post reached over 3,000 people with almost 700 engagements. The vast majority of the comments on the post favored moving the race to Laurel Park.
You can see the post and react or read the comments here: https://www.facebook.com/kathy.szeliga/
Scroll down to the post on January 27th.
Now for some practical advice
Everyone should have a Last Will and Testament. We all know that is important. You can see an attorney or download a template Will online.
Once you get your Will filled out, you should store it in a safe place that your heirs can find and you can also send a copy to your county’s Register of Wills for safekeeping. You can find out more about your county’s or City’s Register of Wills’ safekeeping program online - http://registers.maryland.gov/main/home.html
In addition to a Will, everyone should have a Maryland Advanced Medical Directive. The forms are all downloadable and easy to access and fill out. The Attorney General has assembled an easy to follow packet that includes the Advanced Medical Directive and other end of life decision forms such as organ donation.
Maryland Advance Medical Directive – click here http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Health%20Policy%20Documents/adirective.pdf
It’s difficult to think about end of life proceedings and takes time and thoughtfulness to make these decisions and properly fill out these forms. Taking the time to make these proper and crucial steps ensures that not only are your last wishes fulfilled, but it also prevents any unnecessary hardships for your loved ones during what is already a painful process.
For your family’s sake, make sure you have your Advanced Medical Directive filled out and easily available.
Camels in West Baltimore!
Saturday, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve brought exotic animals to the MLK Ruth Kirk Recreation Center in West Baltimore. It was amazing! The event exhibited two giant camels, a hedgehog, an armadillo, a few snakes, and some goats, just to name a few. It was so great to see the neighborhood kids amazed by the beautiful creatures. I brought my granddaughter, Avery, with me and she was truly delighted.
Thanks to the Catoctin Zoo and Squeaky Kirk for making this possible. It’s wonderful to see the outpouring of help, love, and support on display at our community run recreation center in West Baltimore. People helping people always leads to something beautiful!