Politics

  • Worried about arson, residents of Baltimore’s Carrollton Ridge neighborhood get visit from mayor, other officials

    After a number of fires were reported throughout Southwest Baltimore recently, one resident continues to sleep on a couch, fearful the arsonist might return, Cynthia Tensley, the Carrollton Ridge Community Association president says. The resident lives next to a vacant home that has recently burned, and, as a precaution, the resident continues to sleep downstairs to listen to hear whether a suspect might be back to reignite a blaze, Tensley told Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young after a walk through the neighborhood Wednesday night with other city leaders, including Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and Fire Chief Niles Ford. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Sarbanes: President Trump's Misconduct Can't Go Unchecked

    Rep. John Sarbanes said Wednesday that Democrats are largely united behind the two articles of impeachment announced Tuesday. "As I think you've heard many Dems say, it's not an action that we take lightly, but I think our constitutional oath of office requires us to stand up in this way," the 3rd District Democrat told Bryan Nehman. "And if you look at the president's conduct, this idea that you would put your own personal and political fortunes ahead of the national security interests really does represent an abuse of the office of the presidency, and it's not something that we can leave unchecked." (WBAL) Read Full Article

  • Gov. Hogan Proposes New Resources, Bills To Fight Baltimore Violent Crime

    Gov. Larry Hogan Wednesday outlined a slew of proposed funding and legislation to further assist Baltimore City officials in curbing violent crime. At a press conference in Annapolis, Hogan announced millions in support to local, state and federal prosecutors, and harsher penalties for repeat violent offenders. Hogan would fund 25 new positions in Attorney General Brian Frosh's office and $21 million to the Baltimore Police Department and State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's office. He said the state is also working with U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur to task new federal prosecutors with focusing on violent crime in Baltimore. (WBAL)Read Full Article

  • Baltimore approves more than $13 million financed by Pugh donor’s firm amid call for probe of his deals

    A political donor who has drawn heat for his role in the “Healthy Holly” book scandal that took down former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is still making money from the city, despite concerns about his contracts from some officials in light of allegations by federal prosecutors that he made inappropriate contributions to Pugh. At a routine meeting Wednesday morning, Baltimore’s spending panel approved an expenditure of more than $13 million for Motorola radio equipment under the city’s master lease — a long-standing financing agreement with Grant Capital Management, the Columbia firm of financier and big political donor J.P. Grant. The contract was not competitively bid, as is often allowed under the master lease. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • New tech tool to expose the influence of big business in politics

    Everyone talks about how big business has too much influence over our political process, and sadly, many of us have witnessed it firsthand. Through meeting after meeting, I’ve watched CEOs and their lobbyists make demands to elected officials that were not in the best interest of their customers. Something was misaligned. Shouldn’t corporations be pushing political agendas that benefit their customers, the people who buy their products and keep them in business?  The problem is that consumers haven’t had an easy way to access information about company policies and practices, so we keep supporting them, and corporations have no reason to change. What we’ve been waiting for is an easy, trackable way to vote with our dollars.  Enter Tribe.  Read Full Story

  • ‘It Makes Me Feel Great’ | Marylanders Work To Give Back During Giving Tuesday

    This time of year, there’s a lot to do at the Maryland Zoo. There are tons of leaves that need to be raked, and that takes a lot of people, but most of those do not work for the zoo. “We have a very small horticultural team, so they rely on volunteers to get a large amount of work done in a short amount of time,” Allison Schwartz, of the Maryland Zoo, said. Most days, Rob Starr drives a desk at Bank of America, but he said he makes a habit of giving back whenever he can. (WJZ-TV)Read Full Article

  • Conference Reading: Poll: Affordable Housing Shortage Worries Montgomery Co. Voters

    How big a problem is the lack of affordable housing in Montgomery County? It’s so significant that a recently-completed poll of county residents listed affordable housing as the issue they’re most concerned about other than education. The poll of 425 county residents, taken Oct. 16-Nov. 2 for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, showed 16% of Montgomery County residents listed the scarcity of affordable housing as their No. 1 issue (29% listed education). (Md. Matters)Read Full Article

  • Ransom: LifeBridge Acquisition of Bon Secours is a Win for West Baltimore

    Too often, the news in west Baltimore isn’t very positive. For a part of the city that faces myriad challenges, this month marked a major win—a new partnership between Bon Secours and LifeBridge Health. Earlier this month, Bon Secours, Mercy Health, and LifeBridge Health completed LifeBridge Health’s acquisition of Bon Secours Hospital. This merger will result in improved health services and an important investment in an area of our city that is deeply in need. At the same time, Bon Secours will continue to its community works program to deliver critical services and housing in west Baltimore.Read Full Article

Business

  • Baltimore's November home listings hit lowest level of the decade as prices soar

    Median sales prices in the Baltimore metro area hit a 10-year high for November while inventory hit its lowest level of the decade, according to a new report released Wednesday. The new November record of $274,950 is a 3.9% increase over last year, according to the report, which used data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS. It is part of a monthly series that shows a snapshot of home sales and residential listings in Baltimore and its surrounding jurisdictions: Baltimore, Howard, Harford, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Former Fells Point bridal shop to become apartments, retail

    A Fells Point bridal shop that was destroyed in a fire more than three years ago will be demolished to make way for commercial space and apartments. Plans for the former Bridal Fashions by Niko at 1707 Eastern Ave. were presented to the Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation Tuesday and show a three-story brick building with commercial space on the first floor and residential units on the upper stories. The developer, 1707 Nemo LLC, originally came before the city board in April and received approval to renovate and add to the building, which extends back from Eastern Avenue and has an L-shaped addition that wraps around to front South Regester Street. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • City OKs sale of five westside properties to New York developer

    A New York City developer can proceed with rebuilding a corner of downtown’s westside following city leaders’ vote of approval this morning. Baltimore’s five-member Board of Estimates approved the sale of five vacant city-owned properties at 142-144 W. Fayette St. and 102-106 N. Liberty St. Their soon-to-be owner, ASH NYC, plans to convert them into 20 apartments with 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, adding to a growing development wave in the neighborhood. “The redevelopment of these properties is key to reconnecting downtown with the westside,” Jen Webber, the firm’s director of development, said in a statement. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Md.’s medical cannabis regulators struggle to escape ‘punching bag’ stage

    The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission found itself in a Catch-22 situation last December. A year after the state made its first legal medical marijuana sales, lawmakers and community leaders in some areas of the state were up in arms over how the industry was advertising its services and wares. Road signs and billboards were just the start, and there was pressure on the commission to do something about it. And in December 2018 they did just that, approving regulations that essentially barred the industry from nearly all forms of advertising. But it was a decision branded as draconian by the fledgling industry and opposed by the newspaper and advertising industries. (Daily Record)  Read Full Article

Education

  • Business leaders urge passage of Kirwan Commission recommendations for Maryland’s public schools

    More than 30 business leaders wrote a letter Wednesday to Gov. Larry Hogan and top legislative officials urging support of the Kirwan Commission recommendations to improve public schools. “We are business leaders whose lives have been committed to building the economy and providing jobs for Marylanders. Maryland employers and employees must compete with companies across the United States and across the world,” stated the letter. “To succeed in an ever increasingly competitive global economy, our state must have a world-class education system. Sadly, we don’t have that now. Significant and immediate changes in our present system are needed or Maryland will slip and all Marylanders will pay a steep and avoidable price.” (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • MD youths needing psychiatric care find long waits, drives

    The first time Jeannine LeMieux’s daughter was hospitalized for a psychotic episode, she was only 8 years old. LeMieux took her daughter to a hospital emergency room near her home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where it was determined that she needed to be hospitalized. Her first admission was to Sheppard Pratt, a privately run psychiatric hospital with child and adolescent inpatient units in Towson, nearly a two-hour drive away. “They didn’t do anything,” said her daughter, now 19. “I just remember a kid that smacked me in my face one time.” To maintain the confidentiality of a minor’s medical history, LeMieux’s daughter’s name is being withheld. (AP) Read Full Article

  • Board of Education votes to start school year Aug. 31

    The 2020-2021 school year for Frederick County Public Schools will begin Aug. 31. The Board of Education voted and approved the third option presented by the school system’s Calendar Committee on Wednesday night. Joy Schaefer was the only board member who voted in opposition to the motion; all others voted to approve it, and the student member supported it. Option three was recommended to the school board after a high volume of public feedback expressing concern over the first two options was received. (News-Post)Read Full Article  

  • Root sets civil tone at county BOE meeting

    The Allegany County Public Schools board meeting Tuesday evening was unlike most of the gatherings so far this year. Prior meetings included heated discussions and three-two votes dominated nearly every issue. At Tuesday’s meeting, board members were civil and thoughtfully discussed issues before holding a vote. The meeting’s tone seemed to echo a statement read by the board’s newest member, Ed Root. Root was appointed by the governor to replace Wayne Foote, who was removed from the board by the state education board. (Times-News) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • The Purple Line could endanger up to 17,000 affordable homes. A new action plan IDs ways to preserve them.

    Montgomery and Prince George’s counties need to take action now to preserve 17,000 affordable homes along the path of the Purple Line, according to a new action plan developed by a coalition of public and private sector groups. The Purple Line Corridor Coalition rolled out a new document Thursday detailing the steps local officials need to take to simultaneously take advantage of the development opportunities created by the new light rail line, designed to link Bethesda and New Carrollton, while also protecting existing affordable homes. Otherwise, nearly half of the 170,000 people living along the rail corridor could be priced out of their homes, the new report argues. (Wash. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Call 311 for a dirty alley in Baltimore? City’s response depends on where you live

    Judy Taylor keeps track of every call she makes to 311, jotting down the date on a piece of lined paper that she keeps on her fridge. She frequently requests that city crews come to her Carrollton Ridge neighborhood to clear piles of trash from the alley behind her rowhouse: abandoned mattresses, overflowing plastic bags, discarded liquor bottles. “I call and call and call,” says Taylor, 78. A Baltimore Sun analysis of city data shows that if a resident in southwestern Baltimore, where Taylor lives, calls the nonemergency help line to report a dirty alley, a resolution almost never comes by the recommended deadline of seven business days. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Saltwater Intrusion, Result Of Rising Sea Levels, Harming Maryland Farmers

    Maryland might be one of the first places to start seeing climate refugees in our lifetime. Rising sea levels are already starting to affect farmers in the state who say they’re losing land. When farmer John Swaine heads out to check on his crops, his biggest fear is that he’ll see water where he should see soil. “It seems like it’s a little worse this year,” he said. With 1,200 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans, Swaine said water from a nearby creek only seldom used to creep up to his crops; now, it’s almost daily. “This spot probably will never come back,” he said. “It’s probably permanently like this.” (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Maryland projects increase in revenue now and in FY21

    Maryland’s revenues are expected to tick up slightly based on revised projections from state fiscal analysts. The state is expected to see an increase of nearly $26 million in revenue to $18.7 billion in the current fiscal year. The increases are driven by better than expected individual and corporate tax collections as well as estate and inheritance taxes. Similarly, the revenue forecast includes an additional nearly $116 million for the fiscal 2021 budget, bringing the total revenue projections for that year to nearly $19.2 billion. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Editorial: Monocacy mistake can't happen again

    Thursday is supposed to be the end of our long community nightmare. And not a moment too soon, we would say. The city expects to reopen the section of Monocacy Boulevard between Schifferstadt Boulevard and Gas House Pike that has been closed since October 2017. The city closed the road in order to widen it and construct a second bridge across the Monocacy River.  The $21.6 million project disrupted traffic on the north and east sides of Frederick, clogging Md. 26 and U.S. 15, complicating commuters’ lives and hurting local businesses’ prospects. (News-Post)Read Full Article      

  • Weeldreyer: Md. Family Network Responds to DeFilippo Column on Kirwan

    Ok boomer. We’ve heard that phrase volleyed about, debated, overused, and misused for the past several months. At its core, it encapsulates the complicated issues around generational warfare. This takes many shapes but a frequent theme is around economics. In his commentary published on Monday, Frank DeFilippo questions the validity of a recent report that cites the benefits of implementing the Kirwan Commission’s pre-Kindergarten recommendations. He also questions the long-term economic benefits of expanding access to pre-K for three- and four-year olds across the state. The Sage Policy Institute study that Mr. DeFilippo cites is just the most recent in a chorus of economic analyses demonstrating that how we care for and educate children during the first five years of their lives has significant, long-term impacts. (Md. Matters)Read Full Article

  • Editorial: A miracle of the season: Paid family leave for tens of thousands of Marylanders

    Given all the drama taking place inside the Capital Beltway this holiday season, it would have been foolish for government workers to expect a little something extra under the Christmas tree this year from Uncle Sam. But, lo and behold, a miracle: Through the most unlikely of circumstances — a backroom negotiation between Congress and the White House that literally stretched into outer space — tens of thousands of Marylanders are poised to receive the unexpected, yet well-deserved gift of 12 weeks of paid family leave. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article    

  • Baker, Trone: More funding needed for early-onset Alzheimer’s services

    Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects millions of Americans and their caregivers, and if we don’t act soon to find a cure, Alzheimer’s and dementia will bankrupt our country. For the two of us, this fight is personal. Rushern’s wife. Christa Beverly. was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s in her early 50s. She struggled for years while she experienced symptoms but was unable to identify the diagnosis. David’s father Thomas Trone was a WWII veteran and entrepreneur who spent the last six years of his life battling the disease, which ultimately took his life in 2011. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article