Christmas Eve Schedule Changes, Hampden For The Holidays, and Online Health Exchange News | WYPR

Christmas Eve Schedule Changes, Hampden For The Holidays, and Online Health Exchange News

Dec 24, 2013

Credit P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

We round up some of the schedule changes in effect on this day before Christmas. We sample some of the sights and sounds of the season in Baltimore’s iconic Hampden neighborhood. Plus: MD’s online health insurance exchange, Equality Maryland endorses Brown, foreclosure rates, and more.

Christmas Eve Schedule Changes: Lots of schedule changes are in effect on this day before Christmas. State government offices are closed, as part of a service reduction day. Some local government offices are closed as well – such as those in Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Frederick Counties. But government offices are open in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and trash and recycling pickup continues as usual today in the City and the County. Also open, are government offices in Harford County and Howard County. Public schools around the region are closed, however, and so are courts and most public libraries. And while the US Postal Service is delivering mail today, most offices are shorting their retail lobby hours and closing at noon today. And a reminder of this morning’s schedule changes for MARC trains… Penn and Brunswick Line trains are on an “S” schedule, and there’s no MARC train service on the Camden Line. There’s more here from the Capital Gazette and here from the Frederick News Post.

It’s Hamden For The Holidays, Hon: When it comes to decorating for the holidays, it’s hard to beat the annual light fest in the 700 block of 34th Street in Hamden. In fact, real estate blog Redfin has ranked the iconic Baltimore neighborhood second in the country for its holiday lights. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns checked out a couple of homes with compelling stories behind them… and brings us this report.

Health Insurance Exchange News: Maryland’s online health exchange is seeing increased enrollment, but glitches with the website persist. As the Baltimore Sun reports, Governor Martin O'Malley announced yesterday that nearly 43-thousand residents had signed up for private coverage through the state’s website – with almost 13-thousand of those enrollments taking place in the last week alone. The website still isn’t free of problems, though – yesterday afternoon, folks who tried to use it were greeted with a "service unavailable" message, followed by a message saying, "We are currently undergoing scheduled maintenance." Officials say that high volume may have contributed to the problems. Three of the four insurers using Maryland’s online exchange – Evergreen Co-Op, Kaiser and Delta Dental – have pushed back the deadline to sign up for coverage starting New Year’s Day to December 31st. 

Equality Maryland Endorses Brown: The gay rights advocacy group Equality Maryland is endorsing Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown’s bid to become the state’s next governor. Before announcing its support for Brown, members of Equality Maryland also met with two other Democrats in the race: state Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur, who is openly gay. In backing Brown, the group said it thought he would be most effective on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Washington Post.

Court Challenge To Remington Development: The planned development in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood – to be anchored by a Wal-Mart store – is facing a court challenge. The Daily Record reports that seven Remington residents have petitioned the Baltimore City Circuit Court to review the plans for the $65-million development. The proposal for the retail project got unanimous approval from the Baltimore City Planning Commission last month.

Foreclosure Rates: There's been a drop in the foreclosure rates in the Baltimore region… but the area still tops the national average. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, CoreLogic estimates the region's mortgage loans in foreclosure in October stood at 3.16 percent. While that represents a two-tenths of a percent decline over the same month last year, it’s more than a full percentage point higher than the national rate of 2.15 percent.