Catholic Charities is looking to care for about 50 of the children who’ve been caught crossing the US/Mexico border at a campus in Baltimore County. Plus: calls for redistricting reform, President Obama headed to Camp David, new arcade game regulations proposed, and Artscape starts today. And more…
Catholic Charities Looks To Take In Immigrant Children: Even though Maryland is a couple of thousand miles from the US/Mexico border, the state finds itself at the center of the controversy surrounding the tens of thousands of children from Central America who’ve illegally entered the country in recent months. 1st District Congressman Andy Harris says the children should be sent back to their native countries. But immigrant advocates say many of the children are at risk of sexual violence, kidnapping and other serious human rights abuses should they be returned to their home countries. Governor Martin O'Malley says he wants to help but hasn't found the right facilities so far. And the Baltimore Sun reports that Catholic Charities is looking to care for about 50 of the children at a campus in Baltimore County. The Timonium site they’re proposing has been used to provide residential care for special needs children, and now has a spare room.
Calls For Redistricting Reform: Maryland’s congressional districts were last redrawn in 2011. They’ll stay in their current shapes until after the 2020 census… and by that point, a coalition of civic groups is hoping to have the state’s redistricting process changed. Maryland’s districts include some of the most gerrymandered ones in the nation… and yesterday, groups including Common Cause Maryland rallied in Annapolis, calling on lawmakers to find a way to make districts more geographically contiguous. Or in other words, more compact. In more than 20 states, redistricting is done by some form of independent commission. The majority-Democrat General Assembly would have to create such a commission; most Republican Maryland lawmakers are in favor the idea. WYPR’s Karen Hosler has more; there’s more here from the Daily Record and here from the Capital Gazette.
Obama Coming To Camp David: President Obama will be spending his weekend at Camp David in Frederick County… and the Frederick News Post reports that parts of Catoctin Mountain Park will be closed during the trip. The closures run from noon today until 2pm on Sunday… they’re among several security measures being put in place for the visit – including flight restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Exelon To Break Ground On New Power Generators: Exelon is adding a pair of new power generating units to a Harford County power station. The $120-million project in Perryman is slated to break ground on Monday. Five similar units are already in service at the site but the utility says increasing demand has created a need for the expansion. It'll be a year before the new units are operational – during which the project will create an estimated 95 construction jobs. The Baltimore Sun has more.
What A Dinosaur Has To Do With A Local County Council Race: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about the curious rise of Michael Peroutka, the GOP's nominee for the District 5 seat on the Anne Arundel County Council. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
New Arcade Game Regulations Proposed: Ocean City arcade owners are crying foul over proposed new state regulations. The rules come from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and would require arcade games that award prizes with a wholesale value of more than $30 to pay a $50 licensing fee. Those new requirements would not apply to machines that award only tickets, such as boardwalk Skee-Ball games. Even so, the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce is opposing the idea, telling the Daily Times that the new regulations would kill jobs and financially damage some of the resort town’s most iconic businesses.
New Contract For Frederick County Teachers: A new contract is in place for teachers in Frederick County. The deal includes a 1.1 percent cost of living adjustment, as well as extra planning time and hourly leave for teachers. But teachers will not get a step increase for the coming school year. The Frederick County Teachers Association ratified the contract yesterday – but only about a third of the organization’s members took part in the vote. Usually about half of its members vote on contracts – and the Association’s president tells the Frederick News Post that low votership is because teachers aren’t too happy with the deal – particularly as it pertains to salary. He calls the contract a “placeholder,” and looks forward to negotiations on the next one.
Life Jacket Loaner Stands In Anne Arundel: Anne Arundel County's newest life jacket loaner stand is open for business. Officials cut the ribbon on the station yesterday at Sandy Point State Park. It’s one of five such stands going up around the county… offering boaters who need life jackets a chance to borrow them for the day.
Artscape Starts Today: And Artscape officially gets underway this morning at 11… and lots of street closures and parking restrictions are in place in midtown Baltimore. State officials urge you to take public transportation to “America’s largest free arts festival,” noting that the University of Baltimore Light Rail stop, the State Center Metro Subway Station, and of course Penn Station are in the midst of Artscape activities. More than 350-thousand people are expected to come to Baltimore for the festival, which features over 150 fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits, and much more.
Baltimore Baseball: The All Star break is over… and the Orioles will be playing tonight in Oakland, against the As. The O’s remain at the top of the American League East… the A’s are at the top of the American League West.
O’s 60th Anniversary Season: The O’s are celebrating their 60th season in Charm City. The team will honor the anniversary on Friday August, 8th in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals from Camden Yards. Baltimore will have 23 Orioles Hall of Famers on hand for the celebrations. The Baltimore Sun has more.