Early Voting, Party Affiliation, Immigrant Children, VA Medical Centers, & Baltimore’s Stylish Mayor | WYPR

Early Voting, Party Affiliation, Immigrant Children, VA Medical Centers, & Baltimore’s Stylish Mayor

Jun 18, 2014

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Credit Paul Morigi / Getty Images

Early voting continues. A look at why thousands of Maryland voters have left the major political parties. Federal officials eye another Maryland site as a potential shelter for immigrant children. The acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs visits Baltimore’s VA Medical center. News on the casinos coming to Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is named as the 5th most fashionable mayor in the world! And more.

Early Voting Continues: Maryland’s primary election less than a week away – on Tuesday, June 24 – and political watchers are expecting relatively low turnout. But turnout is up this year in early voting. Over the last six days, more than 90-thousand Marylanders cast their ballots… representing nearly 2.7 percent of eligible voters. Early voting during the 2012 and 2010 primaries drew about 2.4 percent of eligible voters to the polls each time. There are some differences this time around… there are more early voting centers, for example. Also, previous early voting periods only lasted 6 days… this year, early voting goes for 8 – continuing today and tomorrow. Voting centers are open from 10am to 8pm; you can find an early voting center near you through this link.

Why Thousands Of Maryland Voters Have Left The Major Political Parties: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post talk about the large number of Maryland voters who recently changed their registration status to become unaffiliated with either main political party and whether it will motivate the parties to hold open primaries in the future. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.

Baltimore Police Union “Neutral” On City State’s Attorney’s Race: Baltimore's police union has chosen to remain neutral in the Democratic primary for city state's attorney. President Robert Cherry says a union committee has voted not to endorse Gregg Bernstein in his reelection bid, or his primary election challenger, attorney Marilyn Mosby. Four years ago, the union backed Bernstein. Cherry tells the Baltimore Sun that their relationship with Bernstein is strong… and that if they were not supporting him, they would endorse Mosby. The city’s Fraternal Order of Police Political Action Fund has given money to both candidates… but sent more Bernstein’s way than Mosby’s.

Texas Seeks To Extradite State Senate Candidate: A candidate for State Senate is wanted for felony theft in Texas. Authorities in the Lone Star state are seeking to extradite 43-year-old Will Hanna of Baltimore on a felony theft charge for allegedly writing a bad check to buy a car. According to the Baltimore Sun, the check bounced and Hanna did not return the car. Hanna is running in the Democratic primary for the 41st District State Senate seat; he denies wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.

VA Secretary Visits Baltimore: The acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs visited Baltimore's VA Medical Center yesterday. Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson says Baltimore's health center is looking to add five new primary care physicians, to help reduce appointment backlogs. According to a recent audit, Baltimore's VA center has an average wait of 81 days for a primary care appointment and 44 days for specialty care. Some VA centers have been accused of falsifying records to cover-up backlogs, but the Baltimore VA center is not one of them. The Baltimore Sun has more.

People’s Community Health Centers To Close: The nonprofit that operates five health clinics in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County is shutting down at the end of the month. The People’s Community Health Centers have served more than 11-thousand low-income clients. All those patients are being transferred to other health care providers. Peoples Community Health Centers are closing because of delays in getting funding from a federal grant – which have impacted its ability to provide care. The organization has about 100 employees. There’s more here from the Capital Gazette and here from the Baltimore Sun.

Feds Consider Prince George’s County Site To Shelter Immigrant Children: The federal government is continuing to consider Maryland as a place to shelter children caught entering the country illegally. The Baltimore Sun reports that officials with the US Department of Health and Human Services are eyeing a former residential drug treatment facility in Prince George’s County as a potential site. The move comes as the government is dealing with a surge of immigrants at the nation’s Southwest border, including many children fleeing Central American countries ravaged by gang violence. More than 9-thousand children were detained in May alone – about 3 times more than during the same month last year. The feds had considered a site in Baltimore for sheltering the children – but last week nixed those plans, amid opposition from lawmakers, including Maryland’s two US Senators and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Horseshoe Baltimore Casino Sends Out Job Offers: The operators of the soon-to-open Horseshoe Baltimore Casino have sent out job offers to more than 22-hundred applicants. The casino’s General Manager tells the Baltimore Business Journal that 50 percent of those offers went to Baltimore City residents. It’s unclear whether Baltimoreans will actually represent half of the casino’s workforce… that’ll depend on the results of background checks, drug tests, and other factors. The casino is on track to open its doors in August.

Prince George’s County’s Casino To Hire 50% PG Residents: Officials with MGM Resorts say they want half of their workforce at the National Harbor casino to come from Prince George's County. MGM and county leaders have a deal setting employment and procurement goals. Part of the agreement calls for reaching contracts within Prince George's County and with minority-owned companies. The National Harbor casino is expected to open two years from now, in the summer of 2016. The Baltimore Business Journal has more.

Annapolis Police Officer Prevents Heroin Overdose: A police officer from Annapolis is credited with saving the life of a man who was overdosing on heroin. Just ten minutes after completing his training on the use of the overdose antidote Narcan on Monday, the officer administered the drug to the man who was unresponsive and turning blue. When the man arrived at Anne Arundel Medical center, he was conscious and alert. Last week, Annapolis police began training officers to carry Narcan, which can reverse the deadly effects of heroin. The Capital Gazette has more.

SRB Listed As 5th Most Fashionable Mayor In The World: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has been recognized for her fashion sense by Vanity Fair. The magazine has listed Rawlings-Blake as the best-dressed female mayor in the U.S and the fifth best-dressed mayor in the world, man or woman. The publication was so impressed with SRB’s style, it urged her to "write a style guide for the modern woman in politics." Rawlings-Blake tells the Baltimore Sun she's honored to be recognized.

SRB Heads To Texas: The Mayor will get a chance to showcase her style later this week, at the US Conference of Mayor’s annual meeting, in Dallas Texas. Mayor Rawlings-Blake is now the vice president of the US Conference of Mayors. She’ll fly to Texas tomorrow, to help kick off the conference on Friday. She’ll be back in Baltimore on Tuesday of next week. The Baltimore Brew reports that the trip will cost more than $47-hundred, excluding the price of police protection; the money will come from the city’s general fund.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles won last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays; the score was 7 to 5. The O’s and the Rays conclude their series this afternoon.

Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals won their game against the Houston Astros yesterday; the score there 6 to 5.

Baltimore Loves Futball Soccer: it looks like Baltimore’s really into the World Cup. Lots of folks in the region watched Monday’s match between the US and Ghana – ESPN tells the Baltimore Business Journal that the match’s broadcast in Baltimore had the sixth highest rating among its top TV markets.