Mon November 4, 2013
Elections In Frederick And Annapolis, EPA Rejects Harbor Point Plan, Food Stamps, & Common Core
Voters in Annapolis and Frederick head to the polls tomorrow. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announces additional food stamp funding. The EPA requests revisions to the Harbor Point Development plan. A look at integrating the arts with Common Core standards. And more.
Tomorrow’s Elections: Voters in Frederick, Maryland’s second largest city, head to the polls tomorrow to choose a mayor and city council. But WYPR’s Joel McCord says few voters appear to be paying much attention to the election. There’s more on Frederick’s election here from the Frederick News Post. Tomorrow’s not just Election Day in Frederick… it’s also Election Day in the state capital of Annapolis – where voters will choose a Mayor and decide who’ll fill the 8 seats on the Annapolis City Council – four of those races are contested. The Capital Gazette has more on Annapolis’s races here. Polls open in both cities at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning… they’ll stay open ‘till 8 tomorrow night.
Additional Funding For Food Stamp Recipients At Baltimore Farmers’ Markets: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has announced additional funding for food stamps for purchases at farmers' markets. The additional $10-thousand is available as a temporary food stamp increase that began during the recession expired Saturday. The mayor said Saturday the city got added money from the Kaiser Family and Abell foundations; it will give those with food stamps up to ten dollars more a week for EBT card purchases at farmers' markets. The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 774-thousand Maryland residents who rely on food stamps are among millions of Americans seeing their benefits cut. That includes about 190-thousand people who live in Baltimore.
Harbor Point Plan Rejected By EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected the plan for Baltimore’s Harbor Point development. The Daily Record reports that the EPA is concerned about the monitoring of toxic waste during construction at the site – which once housed an industrial chromium plant. The EPA has given Beatty Development Group 30 days to revise its proposal. The project needs EPA approval to go forward; the Maryland Department of the Environment also has to sign off in order for construction to start.
What Does Virginia Governor's Race Mean For Maryland? WYPR's Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about tomorrow's election for a new Virginia governor and how it might affect the crab population in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Arts And Common Core - A Natural Fit: For the second year, a local organization is aligning arts instruction with the new Common Core State Standards for math and English/language arts. Young Audiences Maryland, a non-profit arts education group pairs professional artists with teachers in training sessions designed to connect various art forms to the Common Core standards. WYPR’s Gwendolyn Glenn has more.
Health Care Exchanges: Some 15-hundred people bought health insurance last week on Maryland’s online marketplace. The Baltimore Sun reports that, since the exchange opened, more than 46-hundred Marylanders have signed up for plans. But that’s a small slice of the estimated 800-thousand Marylanders who currently have no health insurance. Users continue to report difficulties with the website – including problems creating accounts and browsing health plans. But state officials say that the prime contractor for the Maryland Health Connection has dedicated more resources to the website. People who buy policies through the exchange by December 15th will see them take effect on January 1st.
MD Hospital Rates: Increased hospital rates in the state are back for review Wednesday for Maryland's Health Services Cost Review Commission. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the panel okayed a one-point-65-percent hike in June for the first half of the new fiscal year that started in July. However, staff suggests keeping the rates the same for the rest of the fiscal year. The decision to look at rates mid fiscal year is because health officials are planning a new hospital payment system in January.
O’Malley Tapped For Climate Change Task Force: Governor Martin O'Malley has been appointed to a federal climate change task force. On Friday, President Obama issued an executive order to form the task force that will help prepare communities for the impact of climate change. The task force is made up of state, local and tribal leaders from across the nation. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
DNR Looks To Protect More Wilderness Areas: Officials with the Department of Natural Resources are proposing a major expansion of protected wilderness areas in Maryland. The state currently has nearly 44-thousand acres of wild lands under protection… and the Baltimore Sun reports that, under the DNR’s proposal, about 27-thousand more acres in nine counties would be added to the list. The goal is to preserve places with rare animals and plants so those areas won't be commercially developed.
Deal Could Bring More Traffic To Port Of Baltimore: A deal signed last week could expand traffic at the Port of Baltimore. It’s an agreement with the French port of Calais… saying that the two ports will work together to increase cargo business. Richard Scher with the Maryland Port Administration calls the deal a “great opportunity”. Scher tells WJZ that it could lead to more cross-training and marketing opportunities.
More Security Lines At BWI: BWI airport will get more security lines tomorrow… part of the TSA PreCheck Program. The program lets qualified travelers to sign up early, and move through security without having to take off their shoes or remove their laptops from their cases. A TSA spokesperson tells the Baltimore Sun that the program allows its agents to spend more of their time focused on passengers they know less about. That’s expected to improve security – and could lead to shorter lines overall.
Marginally Higher Natural Gas Prices Expected For BGE Customers: BGE says that its residential customers will likely pay more for natural gas this year. But only slightly more – the utility announced on Friday that the increase will likely amount to about 2 dollars over the entire five month heating season. That’s if temperatures end up being about normal this winter. The Baltimore Sun notes that BGE customers may be able to find lower prices, if they buy their natural gas from third party suppliers.
Baltimore Football: the Ravens’ losing streak now stands at 3 games, after the team fell 24 to 18 to the Cleveland Browns yesterday. The Ravens last fell to the Browns in 2007. The loss puts the Ravens at 3 and 5 for the season. The Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals this coming Sunday.