Fri May 2, 2014
The Baltimore Street Collapse, Blue Crabs, MD’s Bike-Friendliness, & A Profile Of Anthony Brown
More on the street collapse in Baltimore’s Charles Village – where people from the 19 evacuated homes may have to stay away for up to 40 days. Plus: a decline in blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, a profile of Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Anne Arundel County’s budget, Maryland’s bike-friendliness, and more.
Baltimore Street Collapse: Baltimore officials say it could be up to 40 days before people who live near the site of a street collapse in Charles Village can return to their homes. A retention wall along E. 26th St collapsed during Wednesday’s heavy rain, sending cars and debris onto the CSX train tracks below. City engineers are working to shore up E. 26th St, and using ground-penetrating radar to assess the its structural of the street and the buildings alongside it. Street closures will remain in effect while the investigation is underway. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns has more here, and there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Duckett Dam Floodgates: The rains that led to the street collapse also prompted officials to open the floodgates of the Duckett Dam, in the Prince George’s County city of Laurel. All seven floodgates were opened overnight from Wednesday into yesterday and there was so much rainwater that it flooded homes, businesses and even major roadways. Officials with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission say they made the decision because of concerns about a leaking joint that could have caused a washout at the base of the dam. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Near-Record Rain In April: The soaking rain that capped off the month of April pushed rainfall totals within a tenth-of-an-inch of setting a record. BWI recorded eight-point-six inches in April, just shy of the all-time record for the month set 125 years ago. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Brown Touts Record Of Service In Bid For Governor: Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is considered the front runner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. WYPR’s Christopher Connelly reports that Brown is hoping his record of service – and the record of the O’Malley-Brown administration – will convince voters to give him a promotion.
Edwards To Endorse Braveboy’s AG Campaign: Delegate Aisha Braveboy’s campaign to become Maryland’s next Attorney General is set to pick up an endorsement today from 4th District Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Braveboy is facing two other Democrats in the primary election – State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Jon Cardin. The Washington Post reports that the “lion’s share” of endorsements have gone to Frosh – including that of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who endorsed the Senator’s campaign this week. And recent polls put Delegate Cardin in the lead. Maryland’s primary election takes place on June 24th.
Frostburg State University Being Investigated For Sexual Violence Response: Dozens of colleges and universities across the country are facing Title Nine sexual assault investigations. The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of 55 schools that are being probed for the way they handled complaints of sexual violence. Only one Maryland college is on the list, Frostburg State University. Federal investigators began investigating the school last fall after a single assault case that occurred off-campus earlier in the year. The Washington Post has more here.
Blue Crab Population Drops: The Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population is down for a second straight year. Maryland and Virginia officials say the annual winter survey – conducted between December and March -- found the population fell from 300-million crabs to 297-million. Two years ago, the population was estimated to be more than twice as high, somewhere around 765-million. Scientists are blaming a number of environmental factors for the decline, including the unusually long and cold winter. Perhaps more concerning than the overall population drop is the number of spawning-age female crabs in the Bay – it’s now an estimated 69-million, 1 million below what’s considered the minimum necessary to sustain the overall population. The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland and Virginia are considering measures to reduce the commercial harvest by 10 percent, in order to protect more spawning-age female crabs.
AA County’s Budget: Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman introduced her budget proposal for the coming fiscal year yesterday. The $1.35-billion spending plan represents a 4.3 percent increase in county spending. Includes a small decrease the property tax rate, as required by a cap on property tax revenues. It also includes funding for 20 more police officers, a 3 percent raise for county teachers, and expanded hours at county libraries. And it includes $1-million for an upgrade for the county fire department’s radio communications. The Anne Arundel County Council will now hold hearings on the plan, before voting on it. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun, and an earlier report here from the Annapolis Capital.
Sun Media Group Acquires Annapolis Capital And Carroll County Times: The Baltimore Sun Media Group has purchased several media properties from Landmark Media Enterprises – including the Annapolis Capital and the Carroll County Times. The Sun Media Group hasn’t disclosed the financial terms of the deal, which also includes several publications and websites affiliated with the news organizations. Under their new ownership, the publications will continue to function as separate news organizations. This is the second major increase to the Sun Media Group’s portfolio this year; in February, it acquired the City Paper, Baltimore's free alternative weekly. The Annapolis Capital has more here, and there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Reactor Shuts Down: One of the nuclear reactors at the Calvert Cliffs power plant in Southern Maryland went into automatic shutdown yesterday morning. Representatives of energy company Exelon, which operates the facility, say it followed a malfunction that occurred during electrical breaker testing. Officials tell the Baltimore Sun that “all safety systems responded as designed,” and call the condition of the plant “safe and stable”.
2014 Teacher Of The Year Teaches In Maryland: President Obama is honoring the 2014 National Teacher of the Year – a man who teaches in Maryland. The President yesterday hosted Sean McComb, a 30-year old English teacher at Baltimore County’s Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts. A committee affiliated with the National Education Association makes the selection each year. The Baltimore Sun has more.
MD Ranked As 7th Most Bike Friendly State: Maryland is the seventh most bike-friendly state in the nation. This, according to the League of American Bicyclists, which yesterday released its annual rankings, based on how well states promote bicycling and improve conditions for bicyclists. Maryland moved up four spots from last year's number eleven ranking. May is National Bike Month.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles played two games yesterday – and they WON both of ‘em… taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 to 1 in the first installment of the double-header… and then edging out the Pirates 6 to 5 in the 10-inning second game. Tonight, the O’s will be in Minnesota, to kick off a three-game series against the Twins.