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Date: May 17, 2017

Kamenetz Visits Closest Neighbors as Part of MACo Statewide Tour 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, President of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), spent yesterday afternoon and evening meeting with Harford and Carroll County legislators in Westminster and Bel Air. He attended meetings of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and the Harford County Council to talk about MACo’s advocacy for Maryland counties in the General Assembly session and on state and federal issues.  

At their afternoon meeting, the Carroll County Commissioners touched on a number of topics including MACo’s positive influence in Annapolis during this year’s General Assembly session and how statewide MACo conferences offer local officials a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and share best practices. Kamenetz and the commissioners talked about the importance of county elected officials coordinating with their Statehouse delegations and discussed the need for long-term treatment for opioid addiction.

Carroll County Board of Commissioners President Richard Weaver said, “It’s refreshing to have the president and senior staff of MACo come to each of the counties and give us session highlights and brief us on what MACo is doing for the counties. We need that connection between the statewide and county levels of government and the work that MACo does doesn’t go unnoticed.”

In the evening session of the Harford County Council, discussion centered around concerns about the state funding gap in Highway User Funds provided to counties, with revenues at only 10% of previous levels and tending to favor municipalities within counties. Kamenetz and the Harford Council members agreed to work together through MACo to try to find solutions to this vexing problem of cost-shifting to the localities.

“As I travel around the state I continue to find that our county governments have more in common than differences and that elected officials appreciate the opportunity to compare notes and work collaboratively to solve problems and create opportunities,” Kamenetz said.

MACo, first organized in 1939, is a non-partisan collaborative organization that advocates for the needs of local government to the Maryland General Assembly, representing all of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Kamenetz is the fifth Baltimore County Executive to serve as President in the history of MACo, succeeding Christian Kahl, Dale Anderson, Dutch Ruppersberger and Jim Smith. With this new term, Kamenetz also becomes the longest serving current member of MACo, first joining in 1994 as a member of the Baltimore County Council. 

By Kimberly Cuthrell, Chief, Bureau of Behavioral Health

As sure as spring brings May flowers, it also brings a flurry of activity as teens prepare for prom night and graduation celebrations. Parents share the excitement, but also worry about the safety of their children. In the adolescent mind, planning an unforgettable prom night or memorable graduation party may involve high-risk behavior such as alcohol/drug use or unprotected sexual activity.

Talk to your teens about alcohol and drug use

Research has shown that the area of the brain that helps teens assess short and long term consequences is not fully developed until the mid-twenties. Prom and graduation season presents an opportunity for parents to talk with their teens about their expectations and rules.

Teens need approachable, well-informed parents to discuss issues such as alcohol and other drug use with them. In fact, parental disapproval has been shown to be a significant reason why some youth choose not to drink. The time to begin this “heart-to-heart” conversation is long before any celebration. 

Help prevent fatal teen car crashes 

A common concern of parents during this season is the risk of impaired driving and the possibility of fatal outcomes. Car crashes continue to be the number one cause of death among teens. Accidents can happen at any time for teen drivers, but the chances of being involved are higher at night and on weekends. Almost one third of teen motor vehicle deaths occur in April, May and June.

Students who attend after prom parties are assured an alcohol and drug free evening. Adult support is essential in planning after prom parties that successfully keep students entertained throughout the night and off the roads.

Safe & Sober Prom Season Guide

If you are the parent/guardian of a high school student, use the Baltimore County Department of Health’s Safe & Sober Prom Season 2017 Parent Guide and Pledge Book. This valuable tool is a “must-have” for parents. The booklet includes information about what parents can do to encourage driver safety, support after prom events, and chose a transportation company that has made a commitment to not allow alcohol in their vehicles.

Do your part to be sure the high school students in your life “celebrate right” with a safe and sober prom and graduation season.  

Revised September 11, 2017