Thu April 17, 2014
Chilly Temperatures, Campaign Finance, Harbor Point, & Franchot Calls For Wind Farm Bill Veto
A look at how the recent frosts could affect Maryland fruit crops.
Fraser Smith weighs in on a recent Supreme Court decision on campaign finance. The latest on the Harbor Point development. Comptroller Peter Franchot calls on Governor Martin O’Malley to veto a bill that would delay – and likely stop – an Eastern Shore wind farm. And more.
Freezing April Temperatures Could Impact Maryland Crops: It was another chilly morning for much of Maryland. For the second day in a row, the National Weather Service issued a Freeze Warning through 9 am. The Baltimore Sun reports that the late-season frosts have the potential of doing damage to Maryland’s fruit crops. Many plum trees and peach trees are now in bloom, and the chill could damage their fragile flowers. Agriculture officials say they’re “optimistic” that the fruit crops will be fine, but it’ll take several days to find out for sure.
Franchot Urges O’Malley To Veto Wind Farm Bill: State Comptroller Peter Franchot is calling on Governor Martin O’Malley to veto a bill that would essentially kill the planned construction of large wind turbines on the Eastern Shore. Franchot says the project should move forward because Somerset County is in desperate need of jobs – and if the 25-turbine wind farm that Pioneer Green Energy has planned goes forward, it would bring more than 500 construction jobs to Somerset. But the General Assembly has passed a bill that would put the development on hold. The measure was advanced by legislators from Southern Maryland, amid worries that it could cause problems for radar operations at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station – located on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. Pioneer Green Energy says that if the bill becomes law, its planned $200-million wind farm would be dead. The O'Malley administration has said in the past it opposes the bill, although the governor hasn’t said whether he will veto it or not. The Daily Times has more here, and there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Harbor Point Construction: State officials say developers of Baltimore’s Harbor Point could puncture a five-foot thick cap that’s keeping toxic chromium particulates out of the air in about a month. For construction to more forward, state and federal agencies still need to complete a detailed review of chromium background levels – but the Daily Record reports that the review could be done before the week is over. The Maryland Department of the Environment says that regulators will be monitoring chromium particulate levels in the area… and that if those levels rise during the construction, they’ll take measures to stop it. The Harbor Point site is set to be the home of the new headquarters for energy company Exelon. Chromium ore was processed at the site starting in the mid-1800s and continuing through 1985.
Endorsements For Braveboy’s AG Bid: Prince George’s County Delegate Aisha Braveboy’s campaign to become Maryland’s next Attorney General picked up an endorsement yesterday… from the 15 labor unions affiliated with the Washington DC Building and Construction Trades Council. Last week, another union announced its support for Braveboy’s bid: the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1619. Braveboy is vying with two Democrats in the Attorney General’s primary: State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Jon Cardin. Maryland’s primary election takes place June 24th.
Justices' Lack Of Campaign Experience Shows: The U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent decision on campaign fundraising stymies efforts by spending control advocates. WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
New Administrator Named For City Liquor Board: The Baltimore Liquor Board has hired a new administrator. Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, who has been the town administrator of Capitol Heights, will become the first woman to lead the city's liquor board in the 80-year history of the agency. According to the Baltimore Sun, Bailey-Hedgepeth is expected to begin work as the agency's executive secretary by June 1st. She will be replacing Samuel Daniels Jr., who is retiring.
Zoo Monitors Snowy Owls: The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is helping to track an increase in the migration of snowy owls in the U.S. Experts say more of the birds are flying south from the Arctic in a phenomenon known as an "irruption." The zoo was initially asked to track the migration… but the Baltimore Sun reports that in March, it began efforts to evaluate the owls’ health, after the state's Department of Natural Resources brought an injured snowy owl to the zoo for treatment. After surgery on its broken wing, the owl is recovering.
Trees To Be Planted, Removed At Columbia’s Symphony Woods: The first phase of improvements coming to Symphony Woods will include the planting of more than 150 trees. The effort by Inner Arbor Trust will add to the tree canopy at the 35-acre park in Columbia. At the same time, the Trust is planning to remove about 31 existing trees from the park. Some environmentalists are opposing the removal of any trees and are planning a rally at the park Saturday in hopes of gaining community support for their position. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Baltimore Good Friday Schedule: Tomorrow is Good Friday, a holiday in Baltimore City. City offices will be dark, street sweeping is suspended, there's no trash or recycling collections and landfills will be closed. The makeup pickup day for trash and recyclables is Saturday. But city parking meters will be active tomorrow, so keep that in mind.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles shut out the Tampa Bay Rays in yesterday afternoon’s game. The score was 3 to 0. The O’s are now Boston-bound, where they’ll kick off a four-game set with the Red Sox tomorrow.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 6 to 3 yesterday.