Blaine for County Executive

BY COLUMNISTS

| Steven R. Berryman | Chris Cavey | Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Denise Brady Jacoby | Patricia A. Kelly | Jill King | Tom McLaughlin | Roy Meachum | Zachary Peters | Cindy A. Rose | John W. Ashbury | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Blaine R. Young |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


John W. Ashbury

December 17, 2012
German Couple Taught The Rightness of Things
John W. Ashbury

When Annelise and Hans Simmons arrived in Petersburg (VA) in 1932, little did they know the effect they would have on the community they had decided to call home for the rest of their lives.


December 10, 2012
Demonstrating The True Meaning of Christmas
John W. Ashbury

It's 1929. The Nazis are on the march to control of Germany. The Kaiser had been defeated 10 years earlier and the new German government was still struggling to keep pace with the rest of the world.


November 9, 2012
Editor’s Note – Veterans Day
John W. Ashbury

Norman Covert, the former public relations director at Fort Detrick and a regular contributor to TheTentacle.com, has adapted a speech he presented to the noon Rotary Club of Frederick on Wednesday about Veterans Day. We are proud to publish it on our website on Sunday – Veterans Day 2012. We would also like to remind you of the special program at Memorial Grounds Park at the corner of West Second and North Bentz streets on Sunday, which begins at 2 P.M., preceded by Echo Taps along Market Street beginning at 1:35 P.M.


October 28, 2010
Marschner’s Reasons for Retiring
John W. Ashbury

Announcement was made yesterday that Michael Marschner, the Director of the Frederick County Division of Utilities & Solid Waste Management, is retiring from county employ.


September 10, 2010
Endorsed Candidates for September 14 Primary
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com today provides a list of candidates who have been endorsed in next week’s primary election. We are providing the organization that has made those endorsements and, if they are ranked, we are providing the names in order. We are not including uncontested races or endorsements by individuals.


July 9, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – County Offices
John W. Ashbury

The filing deadline has passed. So today we post the entire list of candidates for this fall’s elections – primary, then general.


July 9, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – State Offices
John W. Ashbury

The filing deadline has passed. So today we post the entire list of candidates for this fall’s elections – primary, then general.


July 2, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – State Offices
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com This list was curent as of 4 P.M. July 1.


July 2, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – County Offices
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com. This list was current as of 4 P.M. July 1.


June 25, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – State Offices
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com


June 25, 2010
2010 Election Candidates – County Offices
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com. [Note: As of June 17, the filing dates for all candidates are no longer listed on the state and county websites.]


June 18, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com. [Note: As of June 17, the filing dates for all candidates are no longer listed on the state and county websites.]


June 11, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com. This list is as of 5 P.M. June 10, 2010.


June 7, 2010
EDITOR”S NOTE:
John W. Ashbury

At the request of Rick Weldon I am posting today a statement I received from him regarding an uproar over a column of his posted on Monday May 31, 2010. If you would like to comment on either Mr. Weldon’s statement below, or on the column of May 31, please send them to info@thetentacle.com.


June 4, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


May 28, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


May 21, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


May 14, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


May 7, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


April 30, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


April 23, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of candidates who have filed for the various elective  offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me  at info@thetentacle.com.


April 16, 2010
2010 Election Candidates
John W. Ashbury

As a public service TheTentacle.com will publish every Friday the list of Candidates who have filed for the various elective  offices which will appear on the ballot in the September Primary Election. If errors appear, please notify me at info@thetentacle.com.


September 15, 2009
From the Desk of the Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

Once again, our Roy Meachum has discovered that recovery from surgery is far more difficult than he had expected. Progress is being made, but, as most people know, set-backs are a part of the game. Hopefully he’ll be fit enough to resume on Friday.

 


September 8, 2009
From The Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

          Roy Meachum has discovered – belatedly – that healing from surgery requires recovery of the mind as well. While expecting to be able to compose a column for today, Mr. Meachum found that his convalescence from knee replacement has drawn more of his attention that he planned. So, we at The Tentacle are hopeful that his commentary will restart on Friday.


September 8, 2009
From the Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

WE GET LETTERS!!! Two Republican candidates for the Board of Aldermen of the City of Frederick weigh in on the annexation votes taken last week. And due to technical difficulties, it will be posted in this manner! Please ignore the byline and look at the end of the letter for the contributors.


September 4, 2009
From The Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

Roy Meachum, whose columns appear here twice a week, is recovering nicely from knee replacement surgery. His progress has been phenomenal. He is resting now at home and we expect a column from him for his next scheduled posting – on Tuesday.

 


August 27, 2009
Dougherty’s Deceit
John W. Ashbury

It isn’t obvious – well maybe it is – that one of the most irritating actions any politician can take is assuming credit for the actions and deeds of others. Former Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty has become a master at it, and if the voters in the upcoming city election re-elect her, they will get exactly what they deserve.


June 25, 2009
R.I.P. – Louise V. Snodgrass
John W. Ashbury

How does one begin to bring memories of a great friend to the attention of others? It’s not an easy task, but one that must be completed, else they may be forgotten forever.


April 3, 2009
Shenanigans and Common Sense
John W. Ashbury

For years now it has been said that the Republican Party lost touch with America and the values that made her great. When in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, party members elected to those offices acted like the Democrats are now, spending like there is no tomorrow.


March 6, 2009
Bob McCardell – R.I.P.
John W. Ashbury

The old saying about looking in the dictionary for a definition of a word and finding a picture of someone instead certainly applies in the case of Robert Clingan McCardell, who died January 26 at 95.


February 12, 2009
Get to Work? Don’t Talk It to Death!
John W. Ashbury

For nearly a month I fielded questions from the public on all sorts of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) issues and solid waste in general and found answers for them. Equal cooperation is not forthcoming from the other side of this issue.


February 3, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part III
John W. Ashbury

Across the country, the way mathematics is taught in the classroom and in textbooks has been changing notably in the past 20 years. Classrooms are often organized in small groups where students ask each other questions and the teacher is discouraged from providing


January 28, 2009
The Sun Also Sets – Part 2
John W. Ashbury

            [The Baltimore Sun’s decision to cease home delivery – and even newsstand sales west of the metropolitan area, brought back countless memories of my days as a reporter and editor there in an age that has passed this gray lady by. We continue…] (See yesterday’s Part 1)


January 27, 2009
The Sun Also Sets – Part 1
John W. Ashbury

After starting a career in journalism with The Frederick News-Post, way back in 1959, it wasn’t hard to jump 50 miles to the east and settle in as a police reporter at the venerable Sun in Baltimore. It was an introduction to a newsroom once populated by such as H. L. Mencken and still the bastion of men long respected as reporters, editors and columnists.


January 26, 2009
General Assembly Journal 2009 – Volume 4
John W. Ashbury

You can tell the 426th Maryland General Assembly is underway. Pick up any newspaper (assuming they still make home delivery in Frederick County), or turn on your evening news, and you’ll be assaulted with unmistakable evidence in the form of a failure of logic and reason.


January 23, 2009
The Continuing Intrusions
John W. Ashbury

Where has the belief in the American people gone? President Ronald Reagan knew the solution to solving America's crisis wasn't seated in further governmental intrusion. He knew it was the unleashing of the American spirit that for over 200 years spurred the meteoric growth and prosperity of the United States. He saw that America was the shining "City on a Hill."


January 22, 2009
It’s a New Day
John W. Ashbury

Well, it‘s done. Barack Obama is president. His inauguration was a historic event. The emotion and the tears are appropriate when you consider our history as a nation, and what this election declares to the world about us.


January 21, 2009
A Tale of Two Inaugurations
John W. Ashbury

By the time you read this column our nation will have witnessed the inauguration of our nation's 44th president. Today is the first day for President Barack Obama and it marks the merciful end of the 78-day transition period.


January 20, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part II
John W. Ashbury

In my last article for www.thetentacle.com, I described the goals and strategies used by so-called “reform” educators in their pursuit of mediocrity in American mathematical education.


January 20, 2009
Dumbing Down Mathematics – Part II
John W. Ashbury

In my last article for www.thetentacle.com, I described the goals and strategies used by so-called “reform” educators in their pursuit of mediocrity in American mathematical education.


January 15, 2009
Three Blind Mice
John W. Ashbury

The culture of corruption in Maryland Democrat politics has twice reared its head within a fortnight. Sadly few citizens have been shocked. Sadder still, the two elected officials indicted didn't even realize what they did was outside the guidelines of business as usual.


January 14, 2009
From The Desk of the Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

          Tom McLaughlin, whose column normally appears on The Tentacle every Wednesday, has extended his travels into the Internet void known as the interior of The Far East. So, for the present, his wi-fi connection has been disabled. However, we can expect several fascinating pieces about the wilds of interior Borneo – and what the people he encounters think about the “West” – when he returns to civilization.


January 13, 2009
Missed Opportunities? Perhaps!
John W. Ashbury

If you wake up tomorrow and go out to warm up your car before leaving for work – you could be facing a $60 fine and one point on your driving record. This is yet another sign of not actually thinking through an idea, and what unintended consequences are.


December 22, 2008
Just a little Q&A
John W. Ashbury

How is it that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was seen by many as unqualified to be vice president and Caroline Kennedy is considered by many of the same people to be the perfect potential senator?


October 6, 2008
From the Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

Over the weekend Frederick City Alderman C. Paul Smith submitted an emailed letter to the chairman of the Republican State Central Committee regarding the decision by Delegate Rick Weldon to change his voting registration from Republican to “Unaffiliated.” Alderman Smith suggests that the Central Committee take a strong stand to have Delegate Weldon removed as chairman of the Frederick County Delegation to the General Assembly. We reprint Alderman Smith’s letter in its entirety.

 


October 3, 2008
It’s All Male Bovine Dung
John W. Ashbury

            This political season has given new meaning to the term used in the headline above. Both presidential camps have stooped to new lows with their ads, intentionally misrepresenting their opponent’s positions. Unfortunately, all too many American swallow the messages and believe one or the other.

 


October 1, 2008
From the Desk of The Publisher
John W. Ashbury

Yesterday Delegate Rick Weldon announced that he has changed his voter registration from "Republican" to "Unaffiliated." The text of his announcement is presented here for your edification.


September 19, 2008
Random Ramblings
John W. Ashbury

            Have you ever wondered why certain things in politics escape scrutiny? There are countless prime examples during the current presidential campaign – not the least of which are race and gender.

 


August 25, 2008
From the desk of the Publisher!
John W. Ashbury

            Steve Berryman, whose column normally appears in this space every Monday, is taking a short vacation. His commentary will return shortly.

 


August 21, 2008
From the desk of the Publisher!
John W. Ashbury

          The column from Patricia A. Kelly, which normally appears in this space every other Thursday, has been delayed this week due to electronic problems. It will appear tomorrow – Friday.

 

 


August 20, 2008
From the desk of The Publisher!
John W. Ashbury

 

In yesterday’s column by Roy Meachum, the last name of the president of France was misspelled. It should be Sarkozy. The Tentacle regrets the error.

 


July 18, 2008
The Suicide of Earthworms
John W. Ashbury

          Is there a reason that earthworms have taken to committing suicide by crawling out of the ground and crossing sidewalks all over Frederick County, only to die from the heat before getting to the other side? Why the chicken crossed the road poses a similar explanation.

 


July 14, 2008
From The Desk of the Publisher!
John W. Ashbury

            Steve Berryman, whose column usually appears in this space every Monday, is on vacation. His unique views will return next week.

 


June 30, 2008
From The Desk of the Publisher!
John W. Ashbury

 

Rick Weldon, whose column normally appears in this space every Monday, is suffering from a major malady of the modern era. His computer crashed; and, like most of us, he was unable to fix it himself. Unfortunately for all who enjoy his work, particularly his political commentary, his column on the governor’s race in 2010 is still locked inside his computer. It will appear next week if the stars align correctly.


June 7, 2008
From The Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury

Senator and Mrs. David Brinkley have provided The Tentacle with a statement regarding recent news reports involving a very personal matter.

 


May 9, 2008
An Appropriate Memorial
John W. Ashbury

Wednesday evening was special in Frederick in more than the usual ways. The suspension bridge in the Carroll Creek Linear Park was re-dedicated to the memory of William O. Lee, Jr. It was a time to remember the man who gave so very much to the community he called home.


February 7, 2008
The Clothes-Pin Election Nightmare
John W. Ashbury
It started too early. It might end earlier than ever before. And the choices are far from prime. Yet, a selection must and will be made in November.

January 3, 2008
Predictions!!!!!
John W. Ashbury
Every year newspapers and magazines, both printed and electronic, offer their forecasts for the future. So, why should The Tentacle be any different? Here is what we see on our own crystal ball.

December 27, 2007
Santa’s Doing His Job – Again.
John W. Ashbury
What a tiring trip Santa had. He was so beat after his 24-hour flight that he slept all of Christmas Day. But the day after, he returned the many calls left by the staff of The Tentacle.

November 19, 2007
The Politics of “Borking”
John W. Ashbury
Recently in my “in” email basket appeared a missive asking me to financially support Dick Durbin, Democrat U.S. senator from Illinois. It came from a friend in Tennessee and surprised me, for I always thought she had a conservative streak. Boy, was I wrong.

September 6, 2007
R.I.P. Jack Molesworth
John W. Ashbury
William Shakespeare once wrote "The evil that men do lives after them, / The good is oft interred with their bones." That won't be the case with Jack Molesworth.

August 20, 2007
Real ID Real Frightening
John W. Ashbury
Unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - or Congress itself - makes an exception, or postpones the effective date of the Real ID sections of a funding bill passed in 2005, Maryland's drivers' licenses will no longer be acceptable as proof positive of who you say you are as of May 11, 2008, just eight months away.

July 19, 2007
The Wrong Direction
John W. Ashbury
Revisionist history curdles the mind. Examples of how we interpret our past in the mindset of today are so very numerous because "political correctness" has invaded our society to the point of being ridiculous.

July 12, 2007
Tums Won’t Solve This Problem
John W. Ashbury
There is a large segment of Frederick County’s population that is being ignored by its elected officials. These taxpayers have paid their dues time and again, with a whimper mostly.

May 31, 2007
Aspersions v. Solutions
John W. Ashbury
If you recall, former Frederick City Mayor Jennifer Dougherty was among the first municipal leaders to lend her support to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley in his successful bid to unseat incumbent Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. It may have been because she had learned so much from our new governor, fawning at his knee.

May 24, 2007
All Aboard the Hypocrisy Express
John W. Ashbury
Back in the fall of 2004, then Alderman David Lenhart wanted to reduce the increase in property assessment on which City of Frederick taxes would be based by 50 percent. You'd have thought the world was coming to an end.

May 10, 2007
"Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged"
John W. Ashbury
The rhetoric is getting out of hand. Pundits - and members of Congress - across the board are vilifying George W. Bush, almost to the point of comparing him with the most treacherous villains in history. It has to stop.

April 5, 2007
Do you ever wonder...
John W. Ashbury
Sitting around this time of year, with some time on my hands, my wondering gets cranked up. Budget time always seems to clobber my intellect, small though it be.

March 15, 2007
Maryland's Death Penalty: To Ban or Not
John W. Ashbury
(Sometime today, Frederick County Senator Alex X. Mooney will cast the deciding vote in the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a bill to ban the death penalty in Maryland. What follows is an open letter to the senator.)

January 23, 2007
Tom Mills, R.I.P.
John W. Ashbury
The higher ups in Heaven must have needed a refresher course on West Virginia as Tom Mills was called home last week.

January 11, 2007
The Clash of Foresight and Hindsight
John W. Ashbury
It is anathema to some in our community. How in the world can Alderman Donna K. Ramsburg present a rezoning case to the Planning Commission of the City of Frederick?

January 4, 2007
Jeanne Dixon's Legacy
John W. Ashbury
For countless years in the latter half of the 20th Century, prognosticator Jeanne Dixon published a long list of what she saw in the future for the world. Well, here are some predictions for several of our local distinguished citizens - and a few solutions to continuing problems.

December 28, 2006
Santa's Packed Sleigh
John W. Ashbury
Santa Claus made his usual rounds on Sunday night and early Monday morning, but it has taken several days to gather the list of gifts he left for local luminaries. But never fear, no matter how hard they try to hide the descriptions of their presents, there are ways to find out.

November 16, 2006
Be Careful What You Ask For
John W. Ashbury
Why is it that when elections are over in Frederick County, controversy immediately rears its ugly head? Perhaps it is egos; or maybe it's just plain stupidity.

November 9, 2006
Traipsing Around the Hog Pen
John W. Ashbury
Before you read any further, please acquire an old fashioned clothes pin and place it on your nose. This situation really stinks.

November 1, 2006
Scary Thoughts
John W. Ashbury
On Monday Joe Volz, columnist for The Frederick News-Post, named the five candidates for county commissioners he was supporting in the November 7 General Election.

October 12, 2006
To Solve or To Demagogue: That Is The Question
John W. Ashbury
As the race for county commissioner proceeds, it is unfathomable that voters aren't asking the critical questions of the candidates. All we hear reported in the local media is all residential growth must be better managed or stopped.

September 28, 2006
Hold Their Feet to the Fire
John W. Ashbury
Perhaps it is unwise to criticize those who offer their opinions on continuing issues before the public. However, it is entirely frustrating to hear local pundits pass judgment when their rhetoric demonstrates their total lack of knowledge of the subject matter.

September 13, 2006
Letter To A Tennessee Friend
John W. Ashbury
(At the end of last week, a friend in Tennessee forwarded a piece from the national headquarters of a major political party. It stirred my juices; and thus the response below.)

September 8, 2006
Better The Devil You Don't Know.
John W. Ashbury
By this time next week we will know which three candidates for the four open seats on the Frederick County Board of Education have been eliminated in the primary. Sadly, none of the incumbents are likely to be among them.

August 18, 2006
For The Sake of Being Disagreeable
John W. Ashbury
Is it any wonder that there are a lot of people in Frederick County who oppose the re-election of John L. "Lennie" Thompson, Jr., as a county commissioner? A visit to his election website demonstrates that he is opposed to just about everything on the planet and is disagreeable in so doing.

July 27, 2006
Thinning The Herds
John W. Ashbury
In a little more than six weeks county voters will have the opportunity to make or break the future. There are so many candidates that you may need a combine to separate the wheat from the chaff. Some, however, simply need a good thrashing.

June 22, 2006
Outrage As A Good Thing
John W. Ashbury
Once again our city fathers and mothers have fallen into a bottomless pit, guided there by a group of "do-gooder" bureaucrats who found another way to spend taxpayers' money on a project that makes little or no sense - at least of the common variety.

May 18, 2006
The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!
John W. Ashbury
Well, they've done it. All the gnashing of teeth and crying wolf over the "alleged" structural deficit is over. Now our county commissioners can proceed to adopt another "waste-of-taxpayers-money" budget.

May 11, 2006
Tough Decisions and Real Headaches
John W. Ashbury
This election year is getting off to an extremely slow start. Perhaps it is because of all the rancor generated at both the county and state level, but a more likely cause is the length of campaigns - the time required to get your name out there.

April 27, 2006
The News in The News
John W. Ashbury
There is always something special about the people and the place that gave you your first job in the profession you choose to follow for most of your adult life. And so it is with The Frederick News-Post, though the names have been changed.

April 6, 2006
No Winners Here - Particularly the Students
John W. Ashbury
What is happening in Annapolis is an outrage, no matter the side of the political spectrum on which you sit. The Democrat leadership is ramming its agenda down the throat of the governor. And the governor is just as intractable. And the business of every Maryland citizen is stymied.

March 16, 2006
No Growth Mantra An Empty Hallelujah
John W. Ashbury
Ever since the voters of Frederick County elected Ron Sundergill, Gail Bowerman and David Gray as commissioners in 1990, the clamor from the no-growth crowd has steadily grown - from a whimper to a howl. Unfortunately for them, the shrillness of their chant has shown little in the way of tangible results.

February 23, 2006
$100 Million Fiasco Buries Common Sense
John W. Ashbury
It's time to throw the rascals out. They have little or no regard for the taxpayers who foot the bill for their extravaganzas. And the product they are turning out leaves a great deal to be desired.

February 16, 2006
Winning at Any Cost is Too Costly
John W. Ashbury
"All's fair in love and war," or so goes the old proverb. Unfortunately, as applied to politics, it is often used as an excuse for any tactic used to gain an upper hand in any campaign for any office.

January 19, 2006
To what purpose is this waste? - St. Matthew
John W. Ashbury
The Frederick County Board of Education is proceeding with its plans to build a 105,000-square-foot facility for its administrative staff in downtown Frederick. It's still a bad idea.

January 12, 2006
Playing Out The ''Gotcha Game''
John W. Ashbury
Watching the U. S. Senate in action this week during the Alito confirmation hearings, one gets a wonderful picture of what is wrong with government in this country. And that “ill” isn’t just inside the Capitol Beltway.

January 5, 2006
Prognostications With Tongue In Cheek
John W. Ashbury
Over the years, from Nostradamus to Jeanne Dixon, people have issued their views of the upcoming year. So here are mine for 2006.

December 29, 2005
Santa's Three Bags Full
John W. Ashbury
It has become increasingly difficult in recent years to uncover the gifts Santa leaves for local politicians. But this year special thanks go out to President George W. Bush and the National Security Agency in Laurel for making it so much easier.

December 25, 2005
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
John W. Ashbury
As the publisher of The Tentacle I get hundreds of emails weekly. Most go into the recycle bin. But sometimes the message strikes a chord and it’s put in the Save Folder. Such was the case this week with the poem below. May you enjoy it as much as those on my Email list.

December 22, 2005
Necessary But Costly
John W. Ashbury
There have been outrageous attacks on your pocketbooks and wallets by the legislatures through the years. All too frequently our elected officials fall prey to the demands of special interest groups whose sole objective is to rob Peter to pay Paul.

December 1, 2005
R.I.P. - Jody Gillespie
John W. Ashbury
As we travel through this life, we run into people whose influence reaches much farther, and much deeper, than they could ever know. Such was the case with Thelma Louise "Jody" Gillespie.

November 10, 2005
Again With Their Hand in Your Wallet
John W. Ashbury
It belongs to you. You earned it and you spent it so you could continue to live in Frederick County. So why is it so difficult for our county commissioners to realize they have overcharged us in recent years? And should give us our money back?

November 3, 2005
Election Post-Mortem
John W. Ashbury
So, William Jefferson Holtzinger is the mayor-elect of The City of Frederick. What a refreshing change is blowing in the wind.

October 27, 2005
Down To The Wire!
John W. Ashbury
It's your turn now. The candidates have been barking for more than a year and it's time to settle a few issues and elect a mayor and five aldermen in The City of Frederick.

October 13, 2005
The Other Side of The Coin
John W. Ashbury
Do you realize how easy it is to become a "greedy geezer?" Apparently to some, all you have to do is reach three score and five and to remain in the house you have bought and paid for.

September 22, 2005
Their Own Worst Enemies
John W. Ashbury
It would seem that several autopsies are being performed on the results of the recent primary election in the City of Frederick. It is unlikely that the causes of death will ever truly be known despite abundant evidence.

September 8, 2005
What Was She Thinking????
John W. Ashbury
During the course of the past three-plus years, as we have become accustomed to the “best show in town” in Frederick’s City Hall, the blame game has run rampant. Who’s the culprit in all of this?

September 1, 2005
Same Old Song, Different Tune
John W. Ashbury
Enough is enough. How many times will the citizens of the City of Frederick have to live through the recriminations over the salary paid to the aldermen?

August 25, 2005
Down The Rat Hole? – Part Two
John W. Ashbury
The Board of Education of Frederick County is under fire from several directions – as it should be. These seven elected officials have numerous problems, some of their making and others fostered upon them. Yesterday we reviewed the salary issue, particularly as it pertains to the superintendent and the administrators and supervisory personnel.

August 24, 2005
Down The Rat Hole? - Part One
John W. Ashbury
Peter, Paul and Mary had a very popular song back in the 1960s called "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." Perhaps we can get them to rewrite the lyrics and ask "where has all the money gone" supposedly spent to educate our children.

July 13, 2005
“Once more unto the breach….”
John W. Ashbury
Since January of 2001 there have been those who wondered aloud about where the incivility in City Hall had its beginnings. Perhaps, now, we have an answer, as last week’s Pressing Issues show on Adelphia Cable 10 provided a major clue.

July 7, 2005
When will it stop...
John W. Ashbury
It would appear that politicians at every level in every state - along with their sycophants in the media - have been watching the antics of the Frederick mayor and Board of Aldermen over the past couple of years. How else could you explain the digression from the people's business to the "gotcha sound-bite game?"

June 23, 2005
Isn't It Amazing...
John W. Ashbury
Perusing local publications recently has revealed an astounding number of events and incidents that test the credibility of a thinking person.

May 23, 2005
Never Give A Sucker An Even Break
John W. Ashbury
Watching the county commissioners last week was painful. No one wanted to step to the plate - at first. Then the floodgates opened and we taxpayers are now faced with increased taxation.

May 2, 2005
Oxymoronic Tactics
John W. Ashbury
When the General Assembly passed legislation at the end of the General Assembly session granting unmarried couples the right to make medical decisions for their "partners," and to make funeral arrangements as well, it was applauded by most Marylanders.

April 13, 2005
A Time to Say Goodbye
John W. Ashbury
If all things were equal, Frederick City Alderman David Lenhart should remain in office until his term ends in January, as he has stated that he does not plan to seek further elective office at this time, and that includes running for the House of Delegates next year.

April 5, 2005
The Failings of Hypocrisy
John W. Ashbury
Public figures, whether elected, bureaucratic or just activists, need to understand that their performance on the political stage determines their trustworthiness in all arenas. Mayor Jennifer Dougherty has failed to comprehend this concept.

March 14, 2005
R.I.P. – Charles Victor Main
John W. Ashbury
Where does one start to thank someone who kept you from harm’s way as a youngster? No, not a father who loved you; nor a mother you always knew how you would turn out; nor a brother who walked the straight and narrow after his own trip down the wrong road.

March 9, 2005
HIM Turns Into Pontius Pilate
John W. Ashbury
The first column I wrote about Mayor Jennifer Dougherty and her City of Frederick administration wondered if – in fact – she was assuming the role of Her Imperial Majesty (or HIM) rather than just that of a plain old mayor.

March 7, 2005
R. I. P. - Harry Columbus Kemp
John W. Ashbury
There must be joy in Heaven; more so last Tuesday than before, because Harry Columbus Kemp made his entrance. It was very quietly done. That was Harry's way; never obvious, always softly. At least that's the way I will always remember him.

February 9, 2005
Another Bump in the Road to Tax Relief
John W. Ashbury
Sen. David Brinkley (R., 4th) has stepped into a quagmire with his proposal to limit Frederick County tax assessments to a five percent annual increase for owner-occupied residential property. Thank goodness someone is concerned about the rising tax burden on the residents of Frederick County.

January 11, 2005
Muddled Thinking - Still
John W. Ashbury
So, the Frederick County Board of Education wants the City of Frederick to donate a parcel of land along the Carroll Creek on which to build a new $18 million headquarters.

January 5, 2005
Predictions!
John W. Ashbury
At this time of year numerous publications offer a list of predictions for the next 365 days. As is usually the case, there is never a list of just how many of those prognostications actually came true.

December 29, 2004
Santa and His Reindeer Imbibed Too Much
John W. Ashbury
It was early in the morning on Christmas that there was an awful accident near my Thurmont home. I rushed out to discover Santa sprawled in the snow and the reindeer sitting on their haunches wondering what had happened. Rudolph's nose was blinking - and almost to the flickering stage.

December 27, 2004
Executive Summary of Governor Ehrlich’s Medical Malpractice Legislation
John W. Ashbury
IMPORTANT LEGISLATION! The Maryland General Assembly is meeting in Annapolis in Special Session today and tomorrow (and perhaps longer) to consider a bill proposed by Governor Robert Ehrlich. IThe measure is designed to ease the medical malpractice crisis facing most doctors in the state. The Tentacle has posted an executive summary of this proposed law for your edification.

November 24, 2004
Snookered Again
John W. Ashbury
As just about everyone knows, the mayor of The City of Frederick isn’t happy unless she gets her way, even if she has to pull the wool over the eyes of the aldermen at the very last minute.

November 5, 2004
A Golden Opportunity Not To Be Missed
John W. Ashbury
We embark on a new beginning with the end of the war between Democrats and Republicans over who will guide this nation for the next four years. We have spoken and our leaders have been chosen.

October 27, 2004
Our Republic Is At Stake
John W. Ashbury
Richard M. Nixon, who is considered a genius among world opinion leaders for his Chinese detente initiative, seldom demonstrated wisdom on the national scene during his often destructive presence on the political stage.

October 13, 2004
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May.. *
John W. Ashbury
Taxpayers in Frederick County are about to take another hit, although from which direction is still a mystery.

September 22, 2004
Who's In, Who's Out, Who Might, and Who Probably Won't!
John W. Ashbury
Everyone seems to be jumping into the "Who's In The Race" speculation about next year's Frederick City election. There are so many names making the rounds that it is possible there won't be a real winner after a bloodbath campaign for office.

September 1, 2004
Thurmont's Comedy of Errors - Omission and Commission
John W. Ashbury
Movie maker Oliver Stone, a master of conspiracy theories, would be having a field day if he were a resident of Thurmont these days.

August 19, 2004
The Truth Lies Somewhere In Between
John W. Ashbury
As we draw closer and closer to November 2nd, when we will elect our next president, the lies and distortions grow bigger and wider.

July 27, 2004
The High and The Mighty
John W. Ashbury
It had to happen. Anytime anyone creates a "holier-than-thou" position for oneself, a fall from grace is sure to occur.

June 22, 2004
A Wasted Opportunity Presents Itself Again
John W. Ashbury
There was some great news last week for Frederick County Public Schools when the state announced the results of the Maryland School Assessment tests given in February. There was also some disheartening news.

June 11, 2004
R.I.P Ronald Wilson Reagan: 'The Victory of Life Is Won'
John W. Ashbury
It's funny how things happen in one's life. A little known poem is recited by someone at a party, and 40 years later it is recalled by a man in attendance at that party.

May 5, 2004
Where's Alfred E. Newman When You Need Him?
John W. Ashbury
I worry about America and where she is going. Perhaps I shouldn't because she has survived so much in the past 200-plus years.

March 3, 2004
What's Really Wrong With Our Schools!
John W. Ashbury
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the problems facing public education across the country? There are a lot of possibilities, but it all really boils down to a single group of people.

January 21, 2004
William O. Lee Jr. – R.I.P.
John W. Ashbury
He grew up along West All Saints Street; never allowed to play in Baker Park; never allowed to try on clothes at the stores along Market Street; never allowed to eat in the up-scale restaurants in town.

January 2, 2004
Glancing Into The Future
John W. Ashbury
Each year, toward the end, it becomes apparent that things haven’t gone as well as predicted – or hoped for – early in January. But “hope springs eternal,” as Alexander Pope wrote those centuries ago.

December 26, 2003
Santa’s Secret Presents
John W. Ashbury
'Twas the night after Christmas And all through the county, Public officials were counting their bounty…

December 9, 2003
There’s News, And Then There Is News
John W. Ashbury
We frequently get email that is just for the purpose of chatting. I recently received the following, and having checked on some of the “facts” contained and found them to be true, it occurred to me that others might be interested.

November 18, 2003
Katie! Bar The Door!
John W. Ashbury
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they want to throw up their hands and scream. That time is coming rapidly for all of us, unless local and state officials get their acts together and solve the school construction problems.

October 22, 2003
Here's A Less Onerous Solution
John W. Ashbury
The "no new tax" pledge of all too many politicians is getting out of hand. Sure, they aren't raising taxes, but the fees for everything else are going through the roof. Pretty soon we won't have to pay "taxes" anymore; there'll just be a fee for everything.

October 9, 2003
Helping and Hurting At The Same Time
John W. Ashbury
The county commissioners have again displayed their schizoid personalities with their decision earlier this week to increase the fees they charge nonprofit organizations to conduct "gaming" fundraising events.

August 26, 2003
Schools Hear Really Great News, And Some Expected Bad News
John W. Ashbury
For some inexplicable reason, even when our county public schools are closed for the holidays, controversy rears its head just enough for potshots to be taken. This has been particularly true for the past couple of weeks.

August 8, 2003
Are We Going To Be Fair Or Not?
John W. Ashbury
Nothing that will be written here will solve this problem. However, the issue of gay rights and gay marriage presents some very interesting contradictions in today's society.

July 4, 2003
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY
John W. Ashbury
Spend the day with family and friends and think of those gallant men and women of so long ago who fought so hard to provide the freedoms we enjoy this day. And don't forget all those who are still fighting to preserve our liberties.

The Editor, The Writers, and The Staff of TheTentacle.com.

June 26, 2003
Documents Reveal New Details of Reedy Departure
John W. Ashbury
Early this week The Tentacle came into possession of several documents relating to the departure of Jeff Reedy as the acting director of The Weinberg Center for The Arts. As a public service we are today publishing those papers.

June 16, 2003
There’s Something Intrinsically Sad
John W. Ashbury
Thankfully, Father’s Day come but once a year. To be a father is perhaps the greatest gift a man can receive. And to be able to raise – with the help of a devoted and loving wife – children, who call you Dad, brings joy and a swelled heart like nothing else.

June 6, 2003
As Good As It Gets
John W. Ashbury
Emory & Henry College is a small, church related, liberal arts school in far southwest Virginia. It boasts one of the best small college football teams in the country over the past half century. In 1952 they played in the Tangerine Bowl, before television revenues required bigger university teams, not necessarily better ones.

May 28, 2003
FCPS Can Fund The Must Haves, Cut The Wants
John W. Ashbury
With any luck, by the time you click on The Tentacle tomorrow morning, there will be a new budget in place for Frederick County Public Schools. It has been a difficult, time consuming, and frustrating exercise for all involved.

April 21, 2003
The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling! It’s About Damn Time!
John W. Ashbury
The superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools sounds an awful lot like Chicken Little in his pronouncement last week that budget projections may force a hiring freeze and staff reductions.

April 16, 2003
Two Armies! Two Approaches For Victory! What's At Stake?
John W. Ashbury
"Spend and Tax!" A reversal of the old Tax and Spend philosophy of so many governments in the recent past - particularly in Maryland - seems to be the catch phrase of the moment. Everywhere you look Republicans are blasting Democrats for the rise of deficit spending across the country.

April 8, 2003
Wailing and Whining Won’t Solve County’s Problems
John W. Ashbury
Commissioner Jan Gardner is trying - very trying. She makes an effort to represent those who elected her. BUT she, all too often, forgets that more than 80 percent of the people who live in this county did not vote for her. They deserve her representation as well.

April 1, 2003
William R. "Bill" Boord - Rest In Peace
John W. Ashbury
This is the story of friendship - two men who shared a lifetime together and now have been parted by death.

March 25, 2003
Increased Tax Initiatives Will Burden Citizens Further
John W. Ashbury
Does it amaze you that Democrats who bemoan their label as "tax and spenders" continue to put forth proposals that reinforce that identification?

March 17, 2003
This Is Personal: Music IS The Soul’s Own Voice
John W. Ashbury
There are many things in one’s life that bring joy. One’s children and grandchildren. A great job. A wife, or husband, who puts up with you through all the years - and the tribulations together. But few things bring such joy that you heart sings with anticipation, even though it is filled with trepidation.

March 4, 2003
Another Slick Ruse To Raise Taxes Rears Its Ugly Head
John W. Ashbury
As we head into the last few weeks of the Maryland General Assembly session, the leadership of the House and Senate are combining two ideas to create havoc for Governor Robert Ehrlich.

February 24, 2003
Bob May - Rest In Peace
John W. Ashbury
How do you say goodbye to someone who leaves so unexpectedly? It happens so suddenly that your mind swirls, and, for one of the few times in your life, you are left speechless.

February 19, 2003
You, Too, Can Survive Colon Cancer! GET TESTED!!!!!
John W. Ashbury
Several Frederick Countians will undergo surgery for cancer this week. Some have survived it before - and will again. One may ask: "How do you know that?"

January 6, 2003
History Tells Members Of Congress Not To Run For President
John W. Ashbury
They are already lining up to run against President George W. Bush next year; five, maybe six, United States senators and one governor. Bet you can’t name the governor who is seeking the Democratic nomination! But he has the best chance of victory, if history teaches any lessons.

December 26, 2002
Hans And Annelise Taught The Rightness of Things
John W. Ashbury
When Annelise and Hans Simmons arrived in Petersburg (VA) in 1932, little did they know the effect they would have on the community they had decided to call home for the rest of their lives.

December 25, 2002
German Immigrant Demonstrated The True Meaning Of Christmas
John W. Ashbury
It's 1929. The Nazis are on the march to control of Germany. The Kaiser had been defeated 10 years earlier and the new German government was still struggling to keep pace with the rest of the world.

December 9, 2002
New Education Law Has Some Real Kickers
John W. Ashbury
Old Bobby Burns had it right when he said in his poem To A Mouse, in 1785, that "the best laid schemes of mice and men" often go astray.

November 28, 2002
Give Thanks and Remember
John W. Ashbury
Today we pause to give thanks for what we have received over the past year. We at thetentacle.com thought each of you would like to read the actual documents, issued by Presidents of The United States to establish this holiday.

November 27, 2002
Much Ado About A Real Big Problem
John W. Ashbury
We are in for tough times. If you don’t believe me, ask the governor. Or, perhaps, the county commissioners.

November 20, 2002
The Battle Is Over! Now To Exact The Peace!
John W. Ashbury
You know the election season is over for a lot of reasons, The signs are mostly gone. And the bickering has begun.

November 7, 2002
Now To The Work For ALL The Citizens
John W. Ashbury
The ballots have been counted and the winners are known. Actually the winners were known the day after the filing deadline passed.

October 16, 2002
Another Slam At The Affordable Housing Problem
John W. Ashbury
It isn’t a wise idea to write a column when you are angry. But sometimes events dictate what has to be done. And this is one of those times.

October 10, 2002
Separation Of Powers In Jeopardy In City
John W. Ashbury
Something has to happen to reduce the battle lines in Frederick’s City Hall. What has been happening for the past several months has to stop, or else the city faces three more years of total disharmony.

September 18, 2002
Will Citizens Benefit - Or The Party - In The Next Delegation?
John W. Ashbury
There was a picture in yesterday's Frederick News-Post of several Democratic Party candidates in the November general election. The alleged purpose of said photo was to demonstrate the solidarity of the candidates in capturing seats in the General Assembly.

September 13, 2002
John Constantine Unitas: Rest In Peace
John W. Ashbury
His mangled right hand clutched the pen in a funny way. He couldn’t hold it like the rest of us. But he took the pen and wrote his name whenever he was asked. He never complained about the pain and he never refused to sign an autograph, at least I never heard that he did.

August 23, 2002
Joan Raffensberger: An Indomitable Spirit
John W. Ashbury
She lost her nearly 12-year battle with cancer on Monday morning. The bastard won.

August 19, 2002
What's For Dinner, Ma? Pride and Ideology, My Son!
John W. Ashbury
There is an old saw - well, maybe not so old - that Republicans eat their young whenever an election rolls around.

August 15, 2002
Where Do The Candidates Stand On The Issues?
John W. Ashbury
If the information we have gotten from local candidates so far in this election cycle is any indication, we are in real trouble for the next four years.

August 12, 2002
In Our Schools, Parents Are The Problem
John W. Ashbury
Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is beset with major problems. We hear so often about the lack of funds from the county commissioners and the lack of academic achievement across the board. However, the biggest issue facing both educrats and the public are parents.

August 2, 2002
Finally This Patriot Will Become A U. S. Citizen
John W. Ashbury
It's about time. Finally the President of The United States and both houses of the U. S. Congress have agreed that Paul Yves Roch Gilbert de Motier should be an honorary citizen of this great country.

July 30, 2002
Did You Know.....?????
John W. Ashbury
Did You Know...that the citizens served by City of Frederick water have made a remarkable conservation effort, saving hundreds of thousands of gallons during the current drought emergency?

July 18, 2002
Gardner Needs To Keep Her Facts Accurate
John W. Ashbury
A self-aggrandizing claim last Sunday by County Commissioner Jan Gardner brings to mind the story of Little Johnny on his first day of school. During the day the teacher asked every child to stand and tell the class what their father did for a living.

July 9, 2002
Lack Of Knowledge And Understanding Jeopardizes The Future
John W. Ashbury
This fall we will make some of the most important decisions we will ever make when we select four new elected members of The Board of Education of Frederick County and five members of the Board of County Commissioners. It's not an easy task.

June 27, 2002
Survey Says Doctors Reject Another Hospital Building Program
John W. Ashbury
Frederick Memorial Hospital has been conducting a fund drive for several years now to gather the money necessary for its massive building and expansion program. Recently it was learned that an additional project is on the drawing boards.

June 24, 2002
Court's Redistricting Plan Has Profound Effect Here
John W. Ashbury
There is no truth to the rumor that Delegate Sue Hecht (D., 3rd) got a free ride on the MedEvac helicopter on Friday after suffering a heart attack after seeing the Maryland Court of Appeals redistricting plan.

June 19, 2002
BOE Budget Not Underfunded, Just Overspent
John W. Ashbury
Why is it that the Frederick County Board of Education, instead of attempting to cut back on its spending in the areas that are vastly overfunded, whines and cries over what it perceives as a woeful allocation from the county commissioners.

June 12, 2002
Party Posts Require Belief, Dedication and Hard Work
John W. Ashbury
Over the decades many people, both Republican and Democrat, have attempted to launch their political career by serving on their party's state central committee. Only rarely have they been successful, even though they may very well have been winners in their races for the party posts.

June 5, 2002
Sitting On Board Of Education Is No Picnic
John W. Ashbury
We can only hope that the woodwork is full. At present there are so few candidates for significant and major offices in September's primary and November's general election that it is scary.

April 17, 2002
Slots? They’re Coming Soon To A Track Near You
John W. Ashbury

I bought my ticket! Did you?


April 15, 2002
Way to go Mayor Dougherty!
John W. Ashbury

Let me start by saying that the mayor and I are on very different ends of the political spectrum.


April 4, 2002
Hold on to your money! The City Budget Is Coming!
John W. Ashbury

The Mayor of the City of Frederick is proposing a 3-cent increase in property taxes for next year’s budget. Of course, this proposal has to be approved by the Board of Alderman. You may want to know why we need a tax increase?


March 27, 2002
Traffic, traffic and more traffic!!!
John W. Ashbury

One of the biggest complaints about growth is traffic. If it is so bad, why put more cars on the roads? Being from this county and living here all my life, I tend to agree, but I think it is unfair to blame only those people in the growth industry.


March 22, 2002
Plants Mock You and Refuse To Die
John W. Ashbury

There it sits on the kitchen window sill, mocking me. I got the thing as a gift two years ago on New Year’s Eve, and I can't will it to die.


March 15, 2002
Hasn’t God Blessed America?
John W. Ashbury

Since we have just remembered the sixth month anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, I was reflecting on what it meant. I was on my way home that afternoon and I counted over 20 bumper stickers that said “God Bless America” or “God Bless the USA”. It got me to thinking about what those people are asking for.


March 5, 2002
Frederick is truly ‘moving on up’
John W. Ashbury

Four years ago when I ran for alderman for the City of Frederick there were very few outlets to get your views expressed without having to buy paid ads.


February 14, 2002
Special taxing districts not a game of Clue
John W. Ashbury

Is it former Mayor Ron Young in the Green Room with the lead pipe or former City Attorney Mil Roberts in the blue room with the rope? The investigation of the special taxing districts is not a game of Clue.


February 1, 2002
Is it really a water crisis in Frederick?
John W. Ashbury

A lot of people have been discussing the so called "water crisis" the City of Frederick is now facing. People have suggested that somehow the Grimes Administration either fell asleep at the switch or sought to ram through a plan that both the state and the county governments could not—or would not—approve.


February 1, 2002
Public Has Responsibilities In Zoning Ordinance Update, Too!
John W. Ashbury

The Frederick County Commissioners have suspended the rewrite of the county zoning ordinances and are now trying to find a way of resurrecting the process while quelling the recent criticism of “ not allowing public input” as lodged by some. 


January 28, 2002
Keep Christmas Alive!
John W. Ashbury

The pine needles are everywhere although I’ve been watering faithfully since Christmas! My 83-year-old friend Elaine called the other day wanting to know when I would be free to store her decorations and remove her tree. “Christmas has to come down,” she said, with what seemed to me a little regret.


January 24, 2002
Goodbye GOB hello to GOG
John W. Ashbury

Well, certain people and newspapers should be very pleased with themselves. They have knocked out the "Good Ole Boy Network" and have replaced it with the New "Grand Ole Gal Network"!


January 21, 2002
"Redeem the Dream"
John W. Ashbury

Today we remember the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. As we ponder this day, of course, it should be a day of celebration. It should also be a day of remembrance and reflection, but let us also be reminded that it should be a day of action.



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