Headlines
8:08 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Changes To State Employee Health Plans, FoP Endorses Brown, Common Core, & Vaccination Requirements

Teachers Lisa Yim of Montgomery County (left) and Sarah Clark of Baltimore County.
Teachers Lisa Yim of Montgomery County (left) and Sarah Clark of Baltimore County.
Credit Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

State employees will soon see changes in their health plans, including rewards for workers who take steps to stay healthy, and penalties for those who don’t follow medical advice. The Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign. The latest on the implementation of the Common Core education standards. New vaccination requirements for MD students. A new commander for Baltimore’s homicide unit. And more.

Changes To State Employee Health Plans: State employees will soon see changes in their health plans. The Baltimore Sun reports that those changes include rewards for workers who take steps to stay healthy… and penalties for workers who don’t follow medical advice. Maryland’s Board of Public Works yesterday approved $16-billion in contracts with CareFirst of Maryland, United Health Care, and the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which will implement the changes.

Fraternal Order Of Police Endorses Brown: The Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign. The Baltimore Sun reports that, in backing the Democrat, the union has broken a string of three general elections in which it supported the Republican gubernatorial candidate. Brown faces Republican Larry Hogan in the November election. The Washington Post has more.

New Commander For Baltimore Homicide Unit: The Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit has a new commander. Major Stanley Brandford has been tapped with overseeing the department; he replaces Major Dennis Smith, who’d led both the homicide and robbery units since April. Brandford has commanded the homicide unit before, and police officials tell the Baltimore Sun that he’ll do so again on a temporary basis. The command change comes as the police continue to search for a suspect in a high profile murder of three-year-old McKenzie Elliott in Waverly.

There Is No Such Thing As A Stray Bullet: WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says that if you want to understand American attitudes about guns and gun violence, you should look to the once-iconic cowboy movie. Fraser comments in his weekly essay.

A Year Later, Teachers Still Learning Common Core: A year after the Common Core education standards were rolled out, supporters and detractors continue to debate their value. For Maryland teachers, however, the more rigorous curriculum is a reality they have to accept. In this installment of our series “Common Core: A Work In Progress,” WYPR’s Gwendolyn Glenn talks to teachers about challenges they faced this year.

New Vaccination Requirements For MD Students: Maryland parents are being reminded about new vaccination requirements for the upcoming school year. The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says kindergartners now need two chicken pox vaccinations and seventh graders need a pertussis booster and a dose of meningitis vaccine. These new requirements are in addition to existing vaccination requirements. The Baltimore Sun reports that if students haven’t received the necessary shots before their first day of class, they’ll have to show proof that they have a doctor’s appointment to get them within 20 days of the first school day in order to remain in school. Maryland does, however, allow for limited exemptions from the required vaccines for medical and religious reasons.

Teacher Vacancies In Baltimore: With just over a week before the first day of school here in Baltimore, the system is still working to fill some 190 teacher vacancies… and the Baltimore Sun is reporting that many classrooms could be staffed by long-term substitute teachers. City school officials say the system is looking to overhaul its teacher recruiting strategy.

New Contract For Dallas Dance: Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance will get a $5-thousand a year raise, under changes made to his four contracts this week. The Baltimore Sun reports that the percentage increase is equivalent to the average 1.9 percent salary increase that County teachers are getting.

MD To Get Grants For AP, IB Testing: Maryland is getting a $635-thousand federal grant that’ll be used the subsidized the cost of giving Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests for low-income students. AP tests currently cost $89 apiece… but with the federal assistance and some additional help from the College Board, qualifying students will only have to pay $18 per test. The Baltimore Sun has more.

BoE Signs Off On Plan To Split Costs Of Repairing Retaining Wall: Baltimore's Board of Estimates has signed off on plan for the city and CSX Transportation to split the cost of repairs to a retaining wall that collapsed on East 26th Street in April. The work is expected to total about $15-million. City Council President “Jack” Young the only member of the Board of Estimates to cast a dissenting vote; he says CSX should foot the entire bill. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Upgrade For Wicomico Regional Airport: On the Eastern Shore, renovations are coming to the Wicomico Regional Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration is providing a grant of more than $5.5-million, to pay for upgrading one of the airport’s runways; the Daily Times reports that the runway has been out of compliance with federal standards for the past seven years, and hasn’t seen any significant repairs since the late 1970s.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles bested the New York Yankees 5 to 3 in yesterday’s game. The O’s are off today… tomorrow, they’ll be in Ohio, for the start of a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians. The O’s are scheduled to play 9 away games before coming back to Baltimore later this month.

Washington Baseball: the Washington Nationals won their game against the New York Mets again yesterday; the score there: 3 to 2.

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