It’s been two weeks since Maryland’s primary election, and yesterday, local election officials formally finished counting all the absentee, provisional, and military ballots. A team from Aberdeen Proving Ground has begun destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. Maryland’s two US Senators were in Baltimore yesterday, to talk about water infrastructure projects. Plus: the corruption investigation at the Baltimore City Detention Center, casino revenues, dog parks, the “Battle of the Beltways,” and more.
Primary Election Results: It’s been two weeks since Maryland’s primary election. Yesterday, local election officials formally finished counting all the absentee, provisional, and military ballots. One of the narrow victories was that of Michael Peroutka in the Republican race for an Anne Arundel County Council seat. He had 38 more votes than the closest challenger, Maureen Carr-York. The Capital Gazette has more. A closer contest was a Democratic race for a Prince George’s County Council seat, where Deni Taveras had just six votes more than Delegate Doyle Neimann. A third close race was the Republican Baltimore County Executive’s nomination – where George Harman had 18 more votes than Tony Campbell. The state Board of Elections will certify the results tomorrow… and recounts are possible. The Prince George’s and Baltimore County contests saw margins of victory less than .1 percent of the vote – the threshold at which the state will pay for a recount, if requested. The deadline to call for a recount is Thursday, but there’s no word yet whether any will be asked for.
APG Team Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons: A team from Aberdeen Proving Ground has begun destroying Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons. The work is taking place aboard a container ship that’s currently floating at an undisclosed location in international waters – it marks the first time that such chemical weapons are being destroyed on a ship on the open sea. The work’s being done by group of 64 civilian chemists and engineers from Edgewood. The chemical weapons they’re destroying were handed over by Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, after an attack near Damascus that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians. The Edgewood team is disposing of the most deadly weapons, under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Baltimore Sun reports that, if all goes well, the work is expected to take about 60 days.
Maryland Senators Talk Water Projects: Maryland's two US Senators say it's time for a major overhaul of a 99-year old water filtration facility in Baltimore. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski toured the Lake Montebello Water Filtration Plant in Northeast Baltimore yesterday. The plant first went online in 1915, and officials say it needs significant upgrades to make it safely through the next century. Both Senators are backing legislation that would send some 700 billion federal dollars into efforts to upgrade water infrastructure in Baltimore, and other communities nationwide. WYPR’s Karen Hosler has more; there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Corruption Investigation At The Baltimore City Detention Center: The FBI’s investigation of corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center indicates that members of the Black Guerilla Family Gang regularly held town hall-style meetings with corrections officials at the Baltimore Jail. According to the Baltimore Sun, the investigation indicates that jail managers and gang members used those meetings discuss "what could be done to run the jail more efficiently." The FBI alleges that that gang members were allowed to search each other for contraband, which they often kept for themselves. Since revelations at corruption at the city jail surfaced last year, 14 corrections officers and 10 gang members have pled guilty; another 19 defendants are awaiting trial.
Hopkins Hospital Contract Talks Resume: UPDATE: a tentative contract deal has been reached; more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Baltimore Brew. Earlier post as follows: Contract talks between Johns Hopkins Hospital and the union that represents about 2,000 of its service workers resumed last night. The hospital and the union have been negotiating a new contract since March. Union officials tell the Baltimore Business Journals that they don’t plan to vote on the Hospital’s latest offer. The dispute has already led to one strike… another was planned, but the two sides agreed to a cooling off period called for by Governor Martin O’Malley.
Howard County’s “Opioid Overdose Response Program”: Heroin and prescription drug-related drug overdoses are on the rise in Howard County. Officials say such overdose deaths increased from eight in 2010 to 17 in 2012. And 17 overdose deaths were reported in the first 9 months of last year. Howard County is now launching a new initiative aimed at combating drug overdoses. It’s called the “Opioid Overdose Response Program”. The program makes a heroin antidote, Naloxone, easier to obtain for high-risk residents. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from WJZ.
June Casino Revenues: Earnings were up at Maryland’s four casinos in June. The facilities brought in $72 million last month; that’s a year-over-year increase of 8 percent. The bulk of that revenue came through the state’s largest casino – the Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills Mall. It brought more than $56 million, representing a 10 percent larger take than the same month last year. Maryland gets a fifth casino next month – when the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore opens its doors. A sixth casino, in Prince George’s County, will likely open in 2016. The Baltimore Sun has more.
State Police Report For The Fourth: It was a busy Independence Day for Maryland State Police. On the Fourth of July alone, troopers issued 4,500 citations and warnings and arrested 56 impaired drivers. The Baltimore Sun reports that an additional 14 wanted suspects were taken into custody on outstanding warrants. State Police say they will continue to conduct enforcement campaigns throughout the summer.
Baltimore Dog Parks: Baltimore officials are trying to figure out the best place to put a dog park in Mount Vernon. They're looking to expand the dedicated green space for Baltimore's canine residents beyond the south-side – where the city maintains the Patterson Dog Park and two others created by residents in Canton and Locust Point. Officials hope to eventually establish ten dog parks around the city, with at least two in every city quadrant. The idea of more dog parks has the backing of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-‘Blake… who tells the Baltimore Sun that they make the city a better place for its residents – both two and four legged.
“Battle Of The Beltways”: Three home runs in the 11th inning of last night’s game between the Orioles and the Washington Nationals pushed the Os to victory; the final score was 8 to 2. The O’s play the Nats again tonight in DC, before the “battle of the beltways” series comes to Baltimore for its final two games.