Wed August 6, 2014
The Battle Over A Proposed Somerset County Wind Farm, Drones, & Same-Day Amazon Delivery
We examine the ongoing clash between Governor Martin O'Malley and several members of Maryland's Congressional delegation over a proposed wind farm in Somerset County. The University of Maryland has launched a new test site that’ll study how unmanned aircraft should operate in US airspace. Amazon launches same-day delivery service in Baltimore. Plus: National Night Out, calls for an investigation of Uber and Lyft, calls for an audit of Annapolis’s speed cameras, and Governor O’Malley calls for the Redskins to get a new name. And more.
O’Malley To Return To New Hampshire: Governor Martin O'Malley will soon be headed back to New Hampshire, the state with the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. O'Malley will speak at the August 17th Strafford County Democrats' Picnic in Somersworth. Proceeds of the event will support Democratic mid-term candidates. O'Malley has also traveled to Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio and California over the past couple of years – all important states in presidential elections – as he decides whether he wants to run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The Washington Post has more here; there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
National Night Out: Communities across Maryland celebrated a collaboration with police during National Night Out last night. But in one North Baltimore neighborhood, it was a somber celebration that drew Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O'Malley. WYPR's Kenneth Burns reports that the Better Waverly community remembered three-year-old McKenzie Elliot, who was killed by a stray bullet last Friday.
People’s Counsel Urges Investigations Of Uber And Lyft: The Maryland Office of People’s Counsel is urging the state’s Public Service Commission to launch formal investigations into the legality of ridesharing companies Lyft and Uber. The two companies use smartphone apps to connect passengers with independent drivers. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Office of People’s Counsel says that many of the drivers are likely not aware of the laws that affect them when they work for the companies… and hopes that formal investigations will bring more scrutiny to their practices. The PSC has yet to issue final ruling on whether Uber and Lyft should fall under Maryland’s taxicab regulations.
Fight Over Somerset County Wind Farm Not Over: WYPR's Joel McCord and Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post talk about the ongoing clash between Governor Martin O'Malley and several members of Maryland's Congressional delegation over a proposed wind farm in Somerset County. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Calls For Annapolis Speed Camera Audit: A watchdog group is renewing its calls for an audit of Annapolis’s speed cameras. As the Capital Gazette reports, “The Maryland Drivers Alliance,” is urging Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides to move forward with a speed camera audit. Earlier this year, Pantelides had said he was in favor of the idea… but yesterday, the Mayor said he’s decided to hold off on that plan, saying he trusts the tests being conducted by the Annapolis Police Department that show the cameras are accurate.
Ribbon-Cutting At “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site”: Drones are coming to Maryland. The University of Maryland yesterday launched a new test site to study how unmanned aircraft should operate in US airspace. The Daily Record reports that the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site” will eventually operate out of the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport – which is where its temporary offices are now open. But drone testing will initially be conducted across the bay, at Crisfield Municipal Airport in Somerset County.
Same-Day Amazon Delivery Now Available In Baltimore: Amazon is expanding same-day delivery to Baltimore. Starting today, Baltimoreans will be able to get same-day delivery of more than a million items; the service is available for items ordered by noon, seven days a week. The expansion of Amazon’s same-day delivery is also being rolled out today in five other cities, including Washington DC and Philadelphia. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Dance Drops School Construction/Renovation Plans: Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance says that he’s dropping plans to renovate the former Loch Raven Elementary school and put an addition on Cromwell Valley Elementary. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz had suggested that those projects be scrapped last week; Kamenetz said that the cost estimates for them was far higher than originally expected. The Baltimore Sun notes that Kamenetz has also proposed building a new elementary school at the corner of Joppa Road and Bosley Avenue. Schools Superintendent Dance says he’s committed to working with Kamenetz regarding the system’s capital plan.
New Water Meters: The first new water meters in the Baltimore area will be installed in September. Officials tell the Baltimore Sun that the Mount Vernon and Pimlico neighborhoods in the city and Bowley's Quarters in Baltimore County will be the first to see the meters which are primarily aimed at drastically reducing billing errors. About ten-thousand water meters will be installed in this first round of work. By the year 2017, a total of about 400-thousand of the devices are expected to be operating at homes in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Casino Revenue: Year-over-year revenues at Maryland’s casinos was up by about 10 percent in July. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the four facilities generated some $76-million last month, with the majority of that being raised by Anne Arundel County’s “Maryland Live!” Casino. A fifth Maryland casino is set to go live later this month… that’s the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore; it’s scheduled to open on August 26th.
Train Hits Truck In Rosedale: A freight train hit a truck yesterday morning at an unprotected railroad crossing in Rosedale. It was the same crossing off 68th Street that saw a massive explosion and derailment in May of last year, when a train carrying hazardous chemicals collided with a garbage truck. Yesterday’s accident involved a train carrying beverages and an empty truck that transports dumpsters. No injuries were reported. The driver of the car is facing several charges, including failing to stop at a railroad crossing and failing to reduce speed when approaching a crossing. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles won yesterday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays; the score was 9 to 3. The O’s look to do it again when the two teams play again tonight.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals lost yesterday’s game against the New York Mets; the score there: 6 to 1.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens will hold a light walkthrough practice today in Owings Mills in preparation for tomorrow's preseason opener with the 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium. And there’ll be some changes at the stadium for that game; the Ravens have finished a two-year, $35-million renovation, which includes a new look concourse and audio-visual upgrades.
O’Malley Says It’s Time For The Redskins To Get A New Name: Governor Martin O'Malley is the latest politician to call for Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name. Appearing yesterday on the Fusion TV network, O'Malley said the hope is that in every generation, people become more understanding of each other, more inclusive as a people and more respectful of every individual and every culture. He then added he thinks it's probably time for the Redskins to change their name. The Baltimore Sun has more here; there’s more here from the Washington Post.