Tue May 13, 2014
Baltimore’s Curfew, The Minimum Wage, Milling & Paving, and Charm City Drivers: Not So Charming
A proposed overhaul of Baltimore’s curfew passed a preliminary vote in the City Council last night. Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates call for further changes to MD’s minimum wage. Plus: “milling and paving” season starts, GPA changes considered in Baltimore schools, and a new study finds Baltimore drivers the 3rd least courteous in the nation – and the most likely to "flip the bird" to other drivers. And more.
Baltimore’s Curfew: Changes could soon be coming to Baltimore’s 20-year-old curfew law. The City Council gave preliminary approval to a revision of the law last night. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns reports that it would require kids under the age of 14 to be off the street by 9pm. 14-, 15-, and 16-year olds could stay out as late as 10pm on school nights and as late as 11pm on other nights. And the legislation also creates a daytime curfew – requiring kids to be indoors between 7:30am and 3pm unless they’re traveling to or from school. Only two councilmembers voted against the curfew bill last night, putting the measure on track for final approval next month; Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tells the Baltimore Sun that she’ll sign it into law if it reaches her desk.
Gansler, Mizeur Call For Further Changes To MD Minimum Wage Law: Maryland’s minimum wage is on track to reach $10.10 an hour in 2018. But at least two of the Democrats running for governor say the law behind the increase doesn’t go far enough. Yesterday, state Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur vowed to reopen the debate on the minimum wage, if elected to the state’s top job. Speaking separately before a group of community development activists, both Gansler and Mizeur said they want to index the minimum wage to inflation, and to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers, like waiters, who make a lower base rate. The Baltimore Sun notes that Delegate Mizeur also wants Maryland to create a so-called “living wage” of $16.70 an hour. The Washington Post has more here.
Glendening Endorses Brown: A third Democrat running for the state’s top job – Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown – has picked up another endorsement… this one, from former Governor Parris Glendening. Glendening had special praise for Brown's environmental track record. Both Brown and Glendening hail from Prince George's County and the announcement was made after a walking tour of the Edmonston Green Street Project there. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Washington Post.
Neuman, Schuh Debate: The two Republicans running for Anne Arundel County Executive faced off in a debate last night in Annapolis. Incumbent County Executive Laura Neuman – who was appointed to the job last year after former County Executive John Leopold resigned – was criticized by two-term Delegate Steve Schuh for her relative lack of political experience, and for including a property tax increase during her first budget proposal last year. Neuman criticized Schuh for his campaign tactics, and for voting in favor of the law requiring Anne Arundel County to charge its residents stormwater remediation fees – called the “rain tax” by opponents. The primary election is set for June 24th; whoever wins the GOP race will face Democrat George Johnson in November, who’s running unopposed for his party’s nomination. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Changes Considered For Baltimore Students’ GPAs: Baltimore’s school board is considering changing the way it calculates the GPAs of city high school students. The city uses a “multiplier system” to attach “quality points” to grades for students who take honors courses and Advanced Placement courses. But the Baltimore Sun reports that the multiplier system gives less weight to such courses than the systems in place in all other school districts in the Baltimore area… putting city students at a disadvantage when applying to colleges. City school officials say they’re “in the process of conducting a careful review” of the current system, to determine what changes – if any – should be made.
Milling And Paving Season Starts: Baltimore's so-called "milling and paving" season is getting underway – that means fixes for the many potholes that opened up over the harsh winter. Since December, city officials have filled in 77-thousand potholes. But many remain, and many streets are uneven following the work that’s already been done. City transportation officials said yesterday that they’re looking to repave as many as 200 miles of neighborhood streets this season. And there are road renovation projects in the work as well; the Baltimore Sun reports that stretches of Northern Parkway, Baltimore Street, and Falls Road are among 18 roads slated for reconstruction the coming fiscal year.
Cervical Cancer: Women in the U.S. between the ages of 65 and 69 may have a much higher risk of getting cervical cancer than was previously thought. A team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine made the finding when they reworked the data that current guidelines for Pap smears are based on. Pap smears are done to detect changes that could lead to cervical cancer. The researchers say the guidelines don't account for the high rate of hysterectomy in the U.S. With that rate factored in, the team says the rate of cervical cancer for women 65 to 69 jumped by 83-percent and was even higher for black women. This rare but deadly form of cancer is diagnosed in 12-thousand American women each year and kills four-thousand. NPR has more here.
Blue Angels Coming To Annapolis: For the first time in three years, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight team will return to the skies over Annapolis. The demonstration squad will fly a team of six Navy FA-18 Hornets over the region next week. The Blue Angels will perform circle and arrival maneuvers over the Severn River between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on May 20th. Their official performance will be between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on May 21st. The Annapolis Capital has more.
The Discourteousness Of Baltimore Drivers: Baltimoreans are among the least courteous drivers in the nation, according to Autovantage.com’s annual “In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey”. City drivers came in as third least courteous in the nation, slightly worse than our neighbors to the south, Washington DC, which came in #4 on the list of discourteous drivers. Factors that made Charm City drivers seem so un-charming include speeding, running red lights, and tailgating. And in a town whose sports teams have birds as mascots, drivers show a tendency to flip another kind of bird – Baltimoreans are #1 for making a certain one-fingered obscene gesture at other drivers – at a rate 70 percent above the national average.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles lost their second game in a row last night, falling 4 to 1 to the Detroit Tigers. The two teams play again tonight at Camden Yards, with first pitch set for 7:05pm.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals won yesterday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6 to 5.
Preakness Week: Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome is settled in Stall 40 at Pimlico Race Course ahead of Saturday's Preakness Stakes. The colt arrived yesterday from Lexington, Kentucky. Starting post positions for the 139th Preakness will be drawn tomorrow. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Baltimore Business Journal. Meanwhile, ticket sales for the race are running slightly ahead of last year; the president of the Maryland Jockey Club tells the Baltimore Sun that he expects attendance will at least match last year’s, and possibly set a record.