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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


Michael Kurtianyk

February 20, 2012
Final Thoughts, For Now….
Michael Kurtianyk

This will be my final column for a while. I am going on leave for an indeterminate length of time. The increase in my real estate workload has caused me to spend less time on things outside of real estate (and my family). So, I will leave you with some thoughts as I take my sabbatical.


February 13, 2012
Too Little, Too Late
Michael Kurtianyk

Last week, the five largest providers – JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo and Bank of America – agreed on a deal with 49 states (not Oklahoma) to settle charges of “abusive and negligent” foreclosure practices dating back to 2008.


February 6, 2012
From a First Visit, A Lifelong Appreciation
Michael Kurtianyk

My first experience visiting a public library occurred when I was in the first grade in Syracuse, NY. I was fortunate enough to go with the second graders to our local library.


January 30, 2012
Is it the BFRA Bill or the BARF Bill?
Michael Kurtianyk

The combination of tax season and a poor economy has Americans more watchful of the money they’re trying to save and not trying to spend. We look to maximize every deduction that we can, so that we don’t give up more money to the government.


January 23, 2012
Shadow Inventory Lurking
Michael Kurtianyk

In comic book lure and during the Golden Age of radio, Lamont Cranston was a wealthy young man in New York City who was known as “The Shadow.” The radio broadcasts began with that famous question: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"


January 16, 2012
The Sixth, Education and Grandbabies
Michael Kurtianyk

More than any other, the most discussed topic in my circles recently has been about the candidates for the Sixth Congressional District seat. There were quite a few surprises, but before looking at some specific candidates, here is the list:


January 9, 2012
Pivotal Year for “Resolutions”
Michael Kurtianyk

2012 should be an interesting year locally. Politically, there will be elections in Congressional Sixth and Eighth Districts, along with the Board of Education. Much will be written on these races before it is all over.


January 2, 2012
2012 Home Sales Look Promising
Michael Kurtianyk

As the year ended, the housing market saw home sales improve both locally and nationally. Existing home sales increased four percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November from 4.25 million in October.


December 26, 2011
The Year in Review
Michael Kurtianyk

It’s been quite a year in Frederick County. Let’s take a look back, with apologies up front for missing things.


December 19, 2011
On War, On Taxes and On Politics
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, we finally did it. Last week, President Barack Obama visited Fort Bragg (NC) and paid tribute to the soldiers at that Army post. More than two hundred of the men and women killed in Iraq came from Fort Bragg.


December 12, 2011
Answering Transportation Needs
Michael Kurtianyk

Holidays seem to bring out the best in people, what with all the celebrations, etc. However, I was recently a guest at the first annual Maryland Transportation Awards Dinner held at the North Bethesda Marriott.


December 5, 2011
Reforming and Improving ICE
Michael Kurtianyk

For many, the issue of immigration brings hostile discussions among even the friendliest of neighbors and colleagues. We see that immigration is a popular topic among the Republican candidates for president, as can be seen from the recent debates.


November 28, 2011
Pluses and Minuses of Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan
Michael Kurtianyk

Whatever happened to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan? Remember that one from the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza? It’s the one where there will be a 9% business flat tax; a 9% individual flat tax; and a 9% national sales tax.


November 21, 2011
A Needed National Strategy
Michael Kurtianyk

What do you call a business who doesn't give its customers what they want, when they want it? An out-of-business business. In order for a business to succeed, a business must find out what the customers want, and give it to them.


November 14, 2011
Assessing The GOP Field
Michael Kurtianyk

Remember the days when Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann was the GOP frontrunner for president? Of course you do. It wasn’t that long ago. She won the Iowa straw poll in August, and was the darling of the right-wing politicos.


November 7, 2011
A Boon for Women in Frederick County
Michael Kurtianyk

Last week, the Frederick Fairgrounds was the site for the biannual Good Samaritan Dinner. Twice a year, Frederick Memorial Hospital celebrates the contributions of past and present donors with a dinner and an update on its growth.


October 31, 2011
A Spectacular New Visitor Center
Michael Kurtianyk

Recently, members of the Frederick Coffee Club had the opportunity to tour the Visitor Center, located on 151 South East Street. You know the building: it’s the unassuming building next to the Frederick County Public Schools headquarters, affectionately known as the “Taj Mahal.”


October 17, 2011
Real Problems, Real Solutions
Michael Kurtianyk

As this country continues is slide toward a double-dip recession (some would say we’re already there), it’s time for our government to address the falling housing market. It is true that all real estate is local: what this means is that what happens in Frederick, MD, is different than what happens in Austin, TX, or Cleveland, OH.


October 10, 2011
Mt. Rushmore of Pop Music, Lit and Sports
Michael Kurtianyk

There are quite a few podcasts out there, and all of us who download and listen to them gain quite a bit of enjoyment. My tastes run the gamut: real estate, sports, music, literature, and the like.


October 3, 2011
Collapses Plague Sports and Politics
Michael Kurtianyk

Wasn’t it great to see the Baltimore Orioles defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 in the final game of the regular baseball season? Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, or a fan of the Orioles, then surely you had to be impressed with the way the Orioles, long since out of the playoff race, came from behind to win that game.


September 26, 2011
R.E.M. – An Appreciation
Michael Kurtianyk

R.E.M. has called it quits after 31 years. This truly came out of the blue, with no indications that they would disband. Through the years, there were reports that the band would split up, most notably during the recording of Fables of the Reconstruction, and when drummer Bill Berry left the band in October 1997.


September 19, 2011
History on Wheels
Michael Kurtianyk

Approximately 50 people were at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Urbana Regional Library last Friday. You might ask why this was special event. It has to do with an exhibit of items from the Library of Congress, thanks to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. I was the host of the day’s events.


September 12, 2011
Fixing the Postal System
Michael Kurtianyk

Many of us are planners. We schedule, we organize, and we run our businesses with all the decisiveness of a CEO. We do what we can to keep our business, not only afloat, but profitable. In economically tough times, good businesses must consistently look to raise revenue and lower expenses.


September 5, 2011
Things that make me cringe….but first…
Michael Kurtianyk

The first week of school has come and gone, and it seems that – overall – it has been a smooth opening for our children.


August 29, 2011
Grove Stadium Issues Debated
Michael Kurtianyk

One of the great joys about being active in local politics is meeting with local elected leaders to discuss issues. Much has been made in recent weeks about issues specific to Frederick City.


August 22, 2011
Learning Wisconsin’s Lesson
Michael Kurtianyk

It was with great amusement that Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) offered to meet and discuss a compromise on a new law limiting collective bargaining among unions in that state. The bill, known as SB-5, was signed into law on March 31.


August 15, 2011
Frederick’s Unappreciated, Valuable Asset
Michael Kurtianyk

Recently on Frederick’s Forum on WFMD-930AM, Frederick City Police Chief Kim Dine remarked to me off air that since arriving here in 2002, he has worked with three different mayors: Jennifer Daugherty, Jeff Holtzinger, and Randy McClement.


August 8, 2011
Connecting The Dots…
Michael Kurtianyk

It was with deep regret that I learned of the departure of John Kroll as director of Frederick County’s Finance Division. Rumors had been circulating for about a week before that someone was going to be let go, but to some of the people I spoke with, it wasn’t Mr. Kroll.


August 1, 2011
On the Debt Ceiling
Michael Kurtianyk

It was with great regret that many Americans not only watched President Barack Obama’s speech on the debate over the debt ceiling, but also the response by House Speaker John Boehner.


July 18, 2011
Privatization: Employees Are Heard
Michael Kurtianyk

County Commissioner Blaine Young began the public meeting on July 12 at Winchester Hall, by quoting a portion of a speech made by the one of our greatest president – Abraham Lincoln.


July 11, 2011
Honoring Our Treaties
Michael Kurtianyk

Texas did it again. On July 7 the state government, whose governor is Rick Perry, executed Humberto Leal Garcia, Jr., a 38-year-old mechanic from Mexico. He was charged in 1994 with the murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda. Her body was found hours after he left a party in San Antonio with her.


July 4, 2011
Privatization: Some Details
Michael Kurtianyk

In the 27-page report titled “Frederick County, Maryland, Services Assessment Studies”, authored by PPP Associates, there is a section that deals with which services should be considered for “Public Private Partnerships” (a.k.a. “privatization”).


June 27, 2011
On Privatization
Michael Kurtianyk

So, the privatization report has been released. People have had a week or so now to review the consultant’s document. Some have graded the report an “A;” others have given it a “C.” Not surprisingly there’s an “F” stamped on some copies.


June 20, 2011
Teachers’ Contract and Tax Credits
Michael Kurtianyk

Did you see that the Frederick County Board of Education reached a tentative agreement this week with its three employee unions at Frederick County Public Schools? Indeed. If approved, the contract will go into effect July 1.


June 13, 2011
On Wegmans
Michael Kurtianyk

So, have you been to Wegmans yet? If you haven’t, then you have missed quite a bit, actually.


June 6, 2011
On Bob Dylan
Michael Kurtianyk

So, Bob Dylan recently turned 70 years old. It’s hard to believe for me, as I’ve listened to his words and songs my entire life.


May 30, 2011
Pause to Honor Those Lost to Freedom
Michael Kurtianyk

I just purchased a new American flag to post off our front porch. I did so because we hadn’t had one for a while. I took a picture of my daughters holding our new flag, and it is posted on my Facebook page. I felt it was time, what with Memorial Day and the 4th of July coming up.


May 23, 2011
Forget The Rapture – Help Others
Michael Kurtianyk

This is the article I wasn’t going to write. I wasn’t going to write about the end of the world; I also wasn’t going to write about “The Rapture.” Nor was I going to lend credence to that side of the religious debate.


May 16, 2011
The Group of Eight
Michael Kurtianyk

Let me get this straight: eight petitioners, and those behind them, who brought them together, had 60 days to come up with two thousand valid signatures to force a special election for the Frederick County Charter Writing Committee. This comes out to each petitioner obtaining only nine (4/5!) valid signatures each day (60!).


May 9, 2011
65 Roses
Michael Kurtianyk

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. It’s time our local community shines a spotlight on finding a cure.


May 2, 2011
Of Birthers and Certers
Michael Kurtianyk

So, at long last, President Barack Obama has released his birth certificate. Now will the “birthers” and “certers” please shut up?


April 25, 2011
On Donald Trump
Michael Kurtianyk

I, for one, am eager to see Donald Trump run for president. He will be fodder for the nation’s comedians, and a great sporting match for the rest of us to watch.

 


April 18, 2011
A Step in the Right Direction
Michael Kurtianyk

On Saturday, our family had the great good fortune to participate in the Grand Opening of the Brunswick Public Library.


April 11, 2011
“Roses are red. Violets are blue….”
Michael Kurtianyk

According to the Academy of American Poets’ website (www.poets.org): “National Poetry Month is now held every April, when… libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.”


April 4, 2011
A Program to Support
Michael Kurtianyk

It’s time for lawmakers from both sides to step up and do what’s best for Maryland. It’s time to shut up and support Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “Invest Maryland” Program.


March 28, 2011
Star Power
Michael Kurtianyk

Last week, the great movie actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away. Though only 79, she lived a full life, and much has been made of the number of weddings: seven husbands and eight marriages (Richard Burton twice).


March 21, 2011
What a Way to Run a Railroad
Michael Kurtianyk

In a press release dated March 4, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners announced that 15 candidates were selected to be interviewed for the new Frederick County Charter Board.


March 14, 2011
A Dream Team
Michael Kurtianyk

Whenever I hear the phrase “Dream Team,” I think of the great 1992 Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. It included 10 Hall of Fame players* and three Hall of Fame coaches.** The team itself was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame – that’s how good it was. They won by an average of nearly 44 points a game.


March 7, 2011
On Books and Music
Michael Kurtianyk

The other day, I stopped for dinner at my brother-in-law’s house. I saw that there was a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” on the kitchen counter.


February 28, 2011
The Birds and The Honeybees
Michael Kurtianyk

On those days when Mother Nature permits, I take a walk in the morning in my neighborhood. Until recently, all I heard were the crows who flew around cawing at anything that moved. Even a slowpoke like me.


February 21, 2011
Man versus Machine
Michael Kurtianyk

One of the highlights last week for me was sitting in at the Fredericktowne Rotary dinner with my fellow Rotarians. At our table, the discussion centered around “Jeopardy!” and the battle of wits between the human players and a computer.


February 14, 2011
Super Bowl, Charter Board and Builders
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, it was another interesting week in Frederick County. The week began with Super Bowl festivities. Many here gathered around their bowls of chips and HDTVs, all wanting to see what would happen this year – with the commercials.


February 7, 2011
Groundhogs and Promises
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, it’s been an interesting week here in Frederick County. We had a little bit of snow plus ice in some areas. And the Board of County Commissioners was hard at work fulfilling promises made during the campaign.


January 31, 2011
An Unexpected Response
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, it’s been a fine week here in Frederick County. We had a bit of snow fall down on us. Some reports were of snowfalls somewhere north of nine inches. You never really know for sure.


January 24, 2011
Volatile Market Remains
Michael Kurtianyk

With dire predictions about the 2011 real estate market, it’s time to return to a local analysis of the situation.


January 17, 2011
The Tucson Challenge
Michael Kurtianyk

Just last Wednesday I watched, with others, the speech President Barack Obama gave at the memorial service for the victims of the shootings outside a Tucson, Arizona, Safeway store nine days ago. This was his finest speech to date, and it ranks up there with the best presidential speeches in history.


January 13, 2011
The Personal Side of Tragedy
Michael Kurtianyk

I watched on television as the news unfolded from Tucson, Arizona. At the time of this writing, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is still fighting for her life because some wingnut decided to take a gun and shoot her and others at a Safeway store. Congresswoman Giffords was there for her first “Congress on Your Corner” event this year.


January 10, 2011
Things Overheard
Michael Kurtianyk

Much speculation has centered on who will replace Rick Weldon as the City of Frederick’s executive assistance to Mayor Randy McClement.


January 3, 2011
Why Charter Government!
Michael Kurtianyk

The time has come for us to move forward with changing our form of government. The Board of County Commissioners should be congratulated for moving forward with putting this item, not only on the agenda, but following legal counsel’s advice on how to proceed.


December 27, 2010
Different Forms of Government
Michael Kurtianyk

With their decision December 14 to move forward with appointing a charter board, the Frederick County commissioners followed through on one of their campaign promises.

 


December 20, 2010
To Charter or Not
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, they did it. On December 14 the Frederick Board of County Commissioners voted 4-0 to appoint a charter writing board for a new form of county government. Long time readers know that I have been an advocate for this change.


December 13, 2010
Doing the ‘Nutcracker’ Two-Step…
Michael Kurtianyk

Two weeks ago, I was asked by one of the dance instructors if I’d be willing to help in Middletown’s production of “The Nutcracker.”


December 6, 2010
’Tis the Season
Michael Kurtianyk

There are so many things swirling around the county this holiday season that it’s tough to keep track of everything. Last Friday evening, our family attended Middletown’s “Christmas in the Valley” event. The evening began with participants donating a gift, and in return, the child would receive a stocking.


November 29, 2010
Landon House: A Short History
Michael Kurtianyk

I’ve had a chance in recent days to spend a lot of time at the Landon House in Urbana. Kevin Dolan, the owner, has done a great job with the building. Situated on about six acres of land, it has an interesting history.


November 22, 2010
Busy Week – Significant Progress
Michael Kurtianyk

So it’s time to move on to other things. This week has seen a great deal of “newsworthy” items, so let’s go through the week that was….


November 15, 2010
The Flitcraft Parable
Michael Kurtianyk

So, since the election is over, I have had the opportunity to return to something I enjoy doing tremendously: reading. During the course of the campaign, I would stay up to read documents and pdf files emailed to me about everything to do with issues and politics. I stayed up to get caught up on Facebook, Twitter, local politics, and the like.


November 8, 2010
Campaign Diary – Down for the Count
Michael Kurtianyk

There were 5,816 early voters for the General Election, about four times as many early voters as there were before the primary election in Frederick County. I was surprised by the higher turnout in early voting. I hadn’t anticipated this, and I daresay not too many other candidates did either.


November 1, 2010
Campaign Diary – Closing Down
Michael Kurtianyk

The forum last Tuesday at Frederick Community College was an almost a repeat performance of the one conducted just before the primary. There were 10 candidates (not 11 – more on that later), and each of us was asked two questions, and then we could speak on up to five others.


October 25, 2010
Campaign Diary – Winding Down
Michael Kurtianyk

One of the things I’ve joked about with people close to me is that I would love to come out with a “tell-all book” after this campaign is over. So many things go on behind the scenes, and it is easy to get caught up in all of the claptrap that is local politics.


October 18, 2010
Campaign Diary – Forums Continue
Michael Kurtianyk

Not all the candidates were asked back to meet with representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Frederick County Firefighters Association this evening. All of the candidates met with these groups before the primary at Hollow Creek in Middletown.


October 11, 2010
Campaign Diary – On The Trail Surprises
Michael Kurtianyk

Out campaigning to be a county commissioner is hard work. Not everyone will agree with you, but most are pleasant and welcoming. However, I have noticed several things that have struck me as different or unexpected.


October 4, 2010
Campaign Diary – Throwing Candy
Michael Kurtianyk

I met with a gentleman a few weeks ago named Peter Murray, who performs cost segregation analytical services for businesses. It was set up by a mutual friend, who suggested we meet.


September 27, 2010
Campaign Diary – Fair Week
Michael Kurtianyk

I was glad to have had the opportunity to spend so much time at The Great Frederick Fair. I was at the Democrat tent most of the time, when I wasn’t with friends and colleagues eating (more on that later) or going to the booths to meet with people.


September 20, 2010
Campaign Diary – One Small Step
Michael Kurtianyk

With over 60 polling places in Frederick County, our team worked hard to put up signs all through the evening. I called the Board of Elections to get a ruling on when we could start putting them up and was told that we couldn’t put them up until around 7 P.M.


September 13, 2010
Campaign Diary – It’s A Learning Experience…
Michael Kurtianyk

How many of you watch the Summer Olympics? You know the part when the marathoners run into the stadium for their final lap? Well, that’s what this final week of campaigning feels like. For me, who wasn’t a last-minute entry into the commissioner race, this has been a marathon of meeting people, going door-to-door, and researching the issues.


September 6, 2010
Campaign Diary – Busier Than Usual
Michael Kurtianyk

It amazes me how people work to put together a party in a short amount of time. It was only two weeks ago when I spoke with someone who said: “Let’s have a party at my house for you.” I agreed, though I thought that two weeks wasn’t enough time.

 


August 30, 2010
Campaign Diary – Forums Galore
Michael Kurtianyk

As always, the first day of school is a mixture of sadness and happiness. I am sad because I have less time with my family (my wife is a pre-K teacher at Lincoln Elementary, so she started today also), but getting back to a routine helps with the scheduling.


August 23, 2010
Campaign Diary – Answering Questions
Michael Kurtianyk

I had my 30-minute interview with the Frederick Chamber of Commerce this morning. It was held at Frederick Community College, and there were four people there reviewing the answers I gave to their questionnaire.


August 16, 2010
Campaign Diary – Making Life Simpler
Michael Kurtianyk

“You know what one of the cool things about being in a campaign?” I asked my wife. “It’s that I don’t have to think about what to wear each day anymore. It’s either the polo shirt with my name on it, or the t-shirt with my name on it.”


August 9, 2010
Campaign Diary – ‘Walking in Sunshine’
Michael Kurtianyk

You know it’s been a long summer of campaigning when my girls said to me today: “Another carnival? I don’t want to go to another carnival. Do we have to?”


August 2, 2010
Campaign Diary – Snickers and Stomach Pain
Michael Kurtianyk

You haven’t lived ’til you’ve tried southern-fried snickers. I had some at the Thurmont Carnival when I was there campaigning with my family. It’s a simple recipe: poke a stick in one end of a frozen Snickers bar, dip it in pancake batter, and deep fry it in oil.


July 26, 2010
Campaign Diary – Service to Others
Michael Kurtianyk

It has been said that you can tell the commitment of a person to his/her community by the level of service he/she provides for the betterment of others. Groups like Rotary, Elks, boards, and commissions help define a person’s perspective on society.


July 19, 2010
Campaign Diary – Door-to-Door
Michael Kurtianyk

I thought that after last night’s rain, the temperatures might have cooled down a bit, but it hadn’t. However, I did go door-to-door hoping people were home. When no one answered, I left my literature.


July 12, 2010
Campaign Diary – A Wild Fourth and Beyond
Michael Kurtianyk

Today (July 3rd) is our 16th anniversary, so I thought I’d share with you how I spent this day before The Fourth of July.


July 5, 2010
Campaign Diary – Busy Week Plus…
Michael Kurtianyk

I’ve had the good fortune to work with www.tvfrederick.com on a weekly venture called “The Michael K Show.” As I said on the show, it’s “live, online, and archived.”


June 28, 2010
Campaign Diary – Family and Friends
Michael Kurtianyk

My wife Brenda planned a great Father’s Day dinner for our family, and her sister’s family, at our house. The weather was hot, and it was great spending time with family. My nephews (9 and 4) had stayed over the previous two nights, and so it was a full house all weekend.


June 21, 2010
Campaign Diary – Big Fundraiser
Michael Kurtianyk

Something that was weeks in planning finally came to fruition. A friend had agreed to hold a fundraiser for me at his house. We used online social media, personal communications, and phone calls to invite people to our event.


June 14, 2010
Campaign Diary – Information and Food
Michael Kurtianyk

After a slow week politically the week before, this week began with a bang up breakfast meeting. I was invited, along with other candidates, to the monthly general membership meeting of the Frederick County Builders Association and Land Use Council.


June 7, 2010
Campaign Diary – County Increasing Fees
Michael Kurtianyk

In case anyone missed it, the current Board of County Commissioners has voted 4-1 to raise impact fees beginning July 1 as follows:

 


May 31, 2010
Campaign Diary – This and That
Michael Kurtianyk

I had the good fortune of going to the Doug Gantzler fundraiser at a local supporter’s home in Frederick. It was a good turnout, in spite of the rain that fell over the weekend. It was great seeing everybody and there were great discussions and plans for this summer’s campaigns.


May 24, 2010
Campaign Diary – Research and Then Some
Michael Kurtianyk

I had set a deadline of Memorial Day weekend to complete interviews of county staff and other leaders in the county as part of my research. I must say that everyone has been gracious with their time and their sharing of information.


May 17, 2010
Campaign Diary – This Balance Thing
Michael Kurtianyk

So right now, as I’m going to fundraisers, meeting with leaders, researching, and the like, I see what people mean when they told me the following: it’s the campaigning that is the most difficult part of the process of becoming county commissioner. They cite the time needed to do everything and the endurance to execute all of the commitments.


May 10, 2010
Campaign Diary – Gone Is the Tax Credit
Michael Kurtianyk

The deadline has come and gone. Now what? April 30 was the last day wherein a first-time homebuyer who purchased a home by today would receive a tax credit of $8,000 from the government. By purchase, I mean a valid, legal contract accepted by today, with a settlement date by June 30, 2010.


May 3, 2010
Campaign Diary – Being One’s Own Person
Michael Kurtianyk

I had an interesting conversation last week with someone about perceptions. A person came up to me and said: “I’ve been hearing that you’ve been seen at (insert establishment here) and frankly, we’re concerned.”

 


April 26, 2010
Campaign Diary – Voices Heard
Michael Kurtianyk

Back on March 16, 2010, I made some public comments to the Board of County Commissioners on the suggested delay of funding for the addition and modernization of Lincoln Elementary School, where my wife teaches. The $24 million dollar construction project has been postponed in the current Capital Improvements Program until 2014.


April 20, 2010
Campaign Diary – Unintended Consequences
Michael Kurtianyk

I learned over the April 10-11 weekend what a ring cutter is. Some of you probably know, but I had not a clue. Believe me, it’s not something I keep around the house. I barely know the difference between a wing nut and a peanut. So let me tell you what happened.


April 19, 2010
Campaign Diary – Testy Discussion
Michael Kurtianyk

Today was the day when the Board of County Commissioners met with the mayor and aldermen of Frederick City. I watched it this evening at home, and then re-watched it online later in the week, and it was great television.*


April 12, 2010
Campaign Diary – Post Easter Weekend
Michael Kurtianyk

Our family typically drives up to New York to see my mom and my wife’s parents, all in Upstate New York. However, this year, due to my candidacy and real estate commitments, we stayed home. It was great to get caught up with work and reflect on a few things.


April 5, 2010
Campaign Diary – On The Road Again…..
Michael Kurtianyk

March 27-29 – Administrivia – One of the things no one tells you about when running a campaign is the balancing act between work, campaign, and family. I had a long list of things I needed to take care of for the campaign – marketing, volunteers, etc., which I’d planned to do Saturday morning.


March 29, 2010
Campaign Diary – A Potpourri
Michael Kurtianyk

Saturday, March 20 – FCBA Home Show – I had the opportunity to take my family to the Fairgrounds today for the Frederick County Builders’ Association Home Show. It was a beautiful day, and when I was there, the booths were busy.


March 22, 2010
Campaign Diary – A New County?
Michael Kurtianyk

Tuesday, March 16 – Morning View – This was quite a day. The morning was spent watching the Board of County Commissioners proceedings on television.


March 15, 2010
Campaign Diary – Discussing the Issues
Michael Kurtianyk

Monday, March 8 – One of the great things about filing and being a candidate is that you get to meet some great people along the way. Today was no exception. My first meeting this morning was with someone who is active in the development community. We discussed how growth affects the local economy, and what is currently in the pipeline regarding residential and commercial growth.


March 8, 2010
Campaign Diary – Swearing In
Michael Kurtianyk

Wednesday, March 3 – I had the good fortune of being in Winchester Hall for the swearing-in ceremony of Blaine Young as commissioner for Frederick County. I sat next to my friend Jay Geiser, the owner of Doc Geiser’s Carryout and Catering. The room was packed, and I understand that there were even more people in an overflow room, watching the ceremony on television monitors.


March 1, 2010
Campaign Diary – What about a Charter?
Michael Kurtianyk

February 22, 2010 – Spent two hours discussing charter form of government in Frederick County with people who’ve gone through the experience in Maryland. I must say that this issue, historically, has been broached by many people through the years.


February 22, 2010
Campaign Diary – Dealing With The Snow
Michael Kurtianyk

February 9 – More Snow – With the prediction of 10-to-20 more inches of snow, I decided that now, more than ever, the snow removal people and salt distributers deserve our utmost respect. Having put in long hours already, the group has only a day or two to rest, check in with things at home, and then return for more work.


February 15, 2010
Campaign Diary – Plowing The Road
Michael Kurtianyk

January 27 – The Day After – With yesterday’s “Announcement Day” events having been completed, it was time for me to focus on gaining traction. Today was spent reviewing and evaluating all that happened yesterday. Our goals were successful; we had great turnouts at all of our events; we signed up volunteers to help us with our campaign; we received some very generous contributions; and we let the media know that we’re off and running.


February 8, 2010
Campaign Diary – Preparing for the Big Day
Michael Kurtianyk

January 24 – Well tomorrow is the big day. Our campaign team has worked hard to prepare for it. I’ll announce to the world what has been one of the worst-kept secrets in town: that I’ll be running for county commissioner in Frederick County. What the citizens don’t see, but the politicians do, is that it takes a village to raise a candidate.


February 1, 2010
Campaign Diary: The Preparation
Michael Kurtianyk

On January 13, I filed to run for commissioner for Frederick County, as a Democrat. Should I have told my wife and children? J Just kidding!


January 25, 2010
“Let me count the ways…”
Michael Kurtianyk

Last week was my 10th anniversary as a Realtor® in Maryland. I realized this as I renewed my license with the state. It’s odd to think that in 1999, when my wife and I made the decision to move here, that we’d actually have accomplished so much in the short amount of time here in Frederick County. Herewith are some things I’ve learned:


January 18, 2010
Marriage, Politics, Haiti and Conan O’Brien
Michael Kurtianyk

So I asked my best friend, my wife Brenda, what I should write about this week. Her response was: “How about love and marriage?”


January 11, 2010
The Impact of Heritage…
Michael Kurtianyk

I am proud to be a first-generation American. You see, my father (rest his soul) was born in western Ukraine, outside Lvov.


January 4, 2010
A New Year Dawns
Michael Kurtianyk

I remember my days on the Board of Directors at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. We struggled through some changes and did our level best to ensure that the Weinberg remained solvent.


December 28, 2009
While The Cat’s Away…
Michael Kurtianyk

In case you missed it, there is an empty seat in the House of Delegates. Yes! Now former Del. Rick Weldon, who represented his constituents (southern Frederick and Washington Counties), has accepted the role as City of Frederick’s chief administrative officer. So, the Frederick and Washington County Republican Central Committees must choose from the top three candidates put forth by a nominating committee.


December 21, 2009
Another Tangled Web...
Michael Kurtianyk

This is, in a word, sad. Why is it that the Board of County Commissioners continues to create an adversarial relationship with the municipalities? It’s ridiculous that dealings have become so strained that the only way to communicate with our county leaders is through lawsuits?


December 14, 2009
A New Beginning…
Michael Kurtianyk

If you weren’t at the City of Frederick’s inaugural celebration at the Weinberg Center last Thursday, you missed a beautiful event. Handled expertly by Master of Ceremonies John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, the hour-long program ran smoothly.


December 7, 2009
City Officials Face Difficult Times
Michael Kurtianyk

The incoming Frederick City aldermen and mayor have quite a full plate after they’re sworn in on December 10. The biggest challenge for them will be the city’s budget deficit, estimated at $8-$10 million.


November 30, 2009
From Hither, Thither and Yon…
Michael Kurtianyk

I like it that Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is testing a new mixture for pre-treating roads this winter. It seems that the $25,000 pilot program will treat this winter’s roads with a mixture of salt water and a sugar beet molasses byproduct.


November 23, 2009
To Grow or Not to Grow
Michael Kurtianyk

So, the current aldermen overrode a veto by Mayor Jeff Holtzinger on the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Specifically, the Board of Aldermen voted to approve it. Mayor Holtzinger vetoed the plan, citing the approximately 1,100 acres intended for development in the future may not have future water and sewer capacities. Thus, the mayor doesn’t want to mislead those property owners by having them think their parcels could be developed.


November 16, 2009
Putting His Right Foot Forward
Michael Kurtianyk

I must say that I am impressed with the caliber of Mayor-Elect Randy McClement’s transition team. Beginning with Dale Driscoll, whom I admire greatly, and Alderman-Elect Karen Lewis Young, who will be co-chair with Mr. Driscoll.


November 9, 2009
Extend the Credit; Curb the Fraud
Michael Kurtianyk

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed a bill extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010. Though controversial (more on this later), overall, it’s a positive step to improve our economy.


November 5, 2009
Looking Back Going Forward
Michael Kurtianyk

The results are in, and the voters have chosen Randy McClement over Jason Judd in the City of Frederick election. Before getting into the specifics, Congratulations are due both candidates for running a strong, civil race. Despite pressures from others, both men campaigned without slinging mud. Let’s hope the county races next year are run with the same decorum and respect.


November 2, 2009
On the Mayoral Race in Frederick…
Michael Kurtianyk

What an extremely cordial, civil race for mayor of the City of Frederick. This is a great breath of fresh air from the race four years ago.


October 26, 2009
The City Elections and……
Michael Kurtianyk

Were you as surprised as I was at the weight The Gazette placed on the city buyout? I agree with them that it was an important issue – the costs of the buyout are staggering. I anticipated that the annexation issue would be a close second – but not, it seems, to The Gazette. Good for them for taking the long view on what the voters should be focusing in on when they go to the polls.


October 19, 2009
Rush Limbaugh, the NFL, and Other Tidbits
Michael Kurtianyk

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha! Rush Limbaugh was approached earlier this year and asked to join a group of investors attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. Too funny.


October 12, 2009
From Hither, Thither and Yon
Michael Kurtianyk

Quite the furor over President Barack Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize this year, isn’t it? Such silliness! The deadline for the nominating committee to submit candidates was February 2nd, and his name was submitted on time.


October 5, 2009
A Comfortable Chair and a Good Book
Michael Kurtianyk

The most responses I’ve received to my contributions to TheTentacle.com have come from two recent posts: my summer reading list and my take on the city aldermanic race (I love that word: “aldermanic”; so many connotations). I may post something on the mayoral race prior to the General Election, but until then, here’s my Fall Reading List:


September 28, 2009
Up Hill Battles in The City
Michael Kurtianyk

Many are extremely disappointed in the voter turnout in the Frederick City elections this year. To have only a 17.98 percent turnout was indeed horrible. Only 4,485 of the city's 29,943 registered Republicans and Democrats cast ballots.


September 21, 2009
It’s Expensive Going Green, But Worth It
Michael Kurtianyk

Whatever happened to going green? Didn’t it seem that the big buzzword in housing in 2008/early 2009 was going green? Has this become a fad that has passed already? What does it mean to go green anyway?


September 14, 2009
Down to The Wire
Michael Kurtianyk

Well, tomorrow (September 15) is Primary Day for Frederick City. More than ever, the city’s registered voters must go out and vote for those candidates who represent them in their parties.


September 11, 2009
The Good and The Ugly
Michael Kurtianyk

Last Friday I attended a “Music on the Terrace” program at C. Burr Artz Library. It was a beautiful midday, with a gentle breeze blowing over Carroll Creek. The terrace was packed with citizens enjoying the salsa music (as performed by Sin Miedo), and the free Rita’s ice cream.


September 3, 2009
Lower the Volume
Michael Kurtianyk

In response to all of the rhetoric about health care, we can agree on one thing: not reforming the health care industry is not an option. We need to do something.


August 26, 2009
Lockerbie Fiasco
Michael Kurtianyk

Theodora Cohen was someone I knew back in college at Syracuse University. She lived upstairs on the fourth floor of Shaw Hall – she being a student at SU’s Visual & Performing Arts Department.


August 20, 2009
An Avenue to New Jobs
Michael Kurtianyk

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is presently lobbying Congress to extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit for an additional year. Currently, it ends later this year.


August 12, 2009
Of “Birthers” and “Blue Dogs”
Michael Kurtianyk

I love language. I especially like the etymology of words and phrases. Did you know, for example, that the “dog days” of summer actually relates to Sirius, the “dog star,” which rises and sets with the sun?


August 6, 2009
Summer Music List
Michael Kurtianyk

Ah! The joys of summer! As the days get longer and I am busy with work, I love listening to music as I drive in the car and head out on the road. Of course, this is in between the Bob Miller and Blaine Young shows! So, herewith is my current summer music listening list, as found on my IPod.


July 30, 2009
Summer Reading List
Michael Kurtianyk

Ah! The joys of summer! As the days get longer and I am busy with work, I love beginning the day (6 A.M.) with a cup of coffee, The Frederick News-Post (Washington Post on Sundays), and then a chapter or two of a book I am currently reading. So, I’d like to share with my readers my summer reading list:


July 23, 2009
And That’s The Way It Was
Michael Kurtianyk

Another legend passed recently: Walter Cronkite. I am not too young to remember him, nor am I too old to forget who he was. Growing up, he was a fixture on our television set at dinnertime.


July 16, 2009
Real Estate: Backward and Forward
Michael Kurtianyk

Foreclosures have been on the rise in recent years, and we’re seeing an increase locally of properties being foreclosed. A foreclosure is defined as a legal process by which the lender seizes property of a homeowner, usually due to the homeowner not making timely payments on the mortgage.


July 8, 2009
What’s Up with Republican Governors?
Michael Kurtianyk

So what is it with these Republican governors these days? Is there some sort of Kool-Aid trough they’re drinking from that’s making them go wacko? In no particular order, let’s look at the Hall of Shame.


June 30, 2009
Of Minnows and Whales
Michael Kurtianyk

I was thinking over the weekend how great it was that the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team made it to the finals of the Confederations Cup in South Africa. I remember when I was growing up that the biggest claim to fame for the team was a win over England in 1950. That was at the World Cup, which was played in Brazil. It was dubbed “The Miracle on Grass” (not to be confused, of course, with the “Miracle on Ice” in the 1980 Olympics).


June 23, 2009
The Ugly Head of Anti-Business
Michael Kurtianyk

I can’t believe that any of our county commissioners would vote against a request by Life Technologies, Corp. The company is simply looking for a $25,000 economic development grant as part of a larger grant from the State of Maryland.


June 18, 2009
A Turn for the Better
Michael Kurtianyk

Does it feel like the economy is doing better? Are you seeing signs that give you hope for a better future? Have we hit bottom and are now starting to climb up out of our doldrums?


June 11, 2009
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Michael Kurtianyk

On Saturday, June 6th, my wife Brenda joined nearly 45,000 other participants in the 20th Annual Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. She left at 6 A.M. and joined others from our neighborhood and car pooled all the way to DC.


June 3, 2009
Sunday Dinners
Michael Kurtianyk

Whatever happened to Sunday dinners? Have they gone the way of bowling and hula hoops? You know what I mean – the fixture of a Sunday dinner when, on a day of rest, you spend the day with family and culminate in a big dinner with all the fixings and desserts. Summers would be an outdoor barbecue and winters would be heartier meals like stew, or pot roast, or some such thing.


May 28, 2009
Old Foggies and The Elastic Social Media
Michael Kurtianyk

Over the holiday season, I asked my nephew (college freshman) why he never replied to my emails. His reply: “I don’t use emails. I text message and use Facebook.”


May 19, 2009
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…
Michael Kurtianyk

A day doesn’t go by that I’m not asked: “How’s the real estate market? Any good news?” I’m here to say that we’re seeing increases in the number of properties going under contract this spring.


May 14, 2009
The FMH Good Samaritan of the Year
Michael Kurtianyk

Last Friday, my wife and I had the good fortune to attend Frederick Memorial Hospital’s Good Samaritan of the Year affair at The Lynfield Events Complex. We were worried that we’d get more rain, but I had my own contingency plan. For the last two weeks, I’d been building an ark in the back yard. Fortunately, the rains hadn’t arrived, or I’d have taken the boat off its mooring.


May 6, 2009
Swine Flu – Protection and Precautions
Michael Kurtianyk

As of this writing there are over one thousand confirmed cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, commonly known as Swine Flu (more on this gentle misnomer later). The majority of the cases are in Mexico and the United States.


April 30, 2009
And to the victor…
Michael Kurtianyk

As a member of the Fredericktowne Rotary, I am proud of the work our international organization has done since its inception in 1905. Its mission is to provide service to others, to promote high ethical standards, and to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.


April 22, 2009
In the Face of Tragedy…
Michael Kurtianyk

On Sunday morning, I heard the church bells ring as I went to get the morning papers. I wanted to make sure that I picked them up before my 7-year-old daughters got to them. I knew what the headlines were going to be, and I didn’t want daughters to read the headlines before my wife and I had a chance to talk and prepare for that conversation.


April 15, 2009
Bob Dylan: An Appreciation
Michael Kurtianyk

I’m not sure when I first heard Bob Dylan. My guess would be at home on the radio hearing “Blowin in the Wind,” or “Like a Rolling Stone.” Growing up, my musical tastes veered toward what today would be called “Classic Rock” or “AOR (“Album-Oriented Rock”).


April 7, 2009
Hope Springs Eternal
Michael Kurtianyk

Isn’t it crazy how each spring, when the weather turns warmer and the sun comes out, our spirits rise along with the blossoms? We survived another winter – its cold spells, its dreariness, the ever-present winds. We built snowmen, slid down hills, stayed home from school, took liberal leave from work, and cozied up next to our fires.


April 1, 2009
This Year of Astronomy
Michael Kurtianyk

I remember the first time I looked at the moon through a telescope. I was a child at someone’s house and someone called me over to look through one. The full moon took up the entire field of vision. I could see the craters clearly, and to date I’d never seen anything like it. That moment stays with me today.


March 25, 2009
Improving Recycling
Michael Kurtianyk

We can and should do a better job of recycling here in Frederick County. Recycling means separating and collecting materials for processing and remanufacturing into new products, and the use of the products to complete this cycle.


March 18, 2009
Budget Cuts Affecting Local Arts Scene
Michael Kurtianyk

If current legislation is passed by the General Assembly, funding to the Maryland State Arts Council would decrease from $16.6 million to $10.6 million. This is on top of the 14 percent cut last year, used to balance the budget.


March 11, 2009
Bobby Fischer: Genius or Madman?
Michael Kurtianyk

It has often been said that there’s a fine line between genius and madness. Think of some people whom you consider to be geniuses? Does Albert Einstein come to mind? Thomas Jefferson? Benjamin Franklin?


March 4, 2009
Reflecting a Struggling Economy
Michael Kurtianyk

When I first heard the news that The Frederick News-Post was suspending its Monday edition, my first thought was: “Uh oh, it’s the beginning of the end. The FNP will go the way of other newspapers around the country.”


February 25, 2009
Homeowners Stability Initiative
Michael Kurtianyk

On February 18, President Obama unveiled his administration’s plan to address our continuing housing crisis. President Obama’s $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan would help struggling homeowners by providing incentives to lenders, servicers, mortgage holders and borrowers to help modify mortgage loans.



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