Wed April 23, 2014
Fire Weather, O’Malley’s Europe Tour, The Governor’s Race, and The Planned Frederick Incinerator
Strong winds and low humidity in the forecast could lead to fires; the National Weather Service has issued fire weather watches and warnings due to today’s conditions. Plus: O’Malley’s 5-day Europe tour, the latest on the Governor’s race, Carroll County’s exit from the partnership to build a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County, education news, and much more.
Strong Winds, Low Humidity Could Lead To Fires: The National Weather Service has issued a "Fire Weather Watch" for much of Maryland because of low humidity and gusty winds. The watch will be in effect throughout the day. A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire conditions are forecast to occur. The NWS has also issued a “Red Flag Warning,” starting at 11am. Keep your eyes out for fires. And be extra careful with any fires or flammable materials when you’re outside today.
O’Malley Begins Europe Tour: Governor Martin O'Malley is on a five-day trip to Europe which includes a "congressional pilgrimage" to Northern Ireland and a conference in Amsterdam. O'Malley left yesterday. He’s part of a 50-person delegation that includes civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. The trip starts off in Dublin, where O’Malley and other lawmakers will learn about Ireland’s historic divide and reconciliation efforts. On Thursday and Friday, O’Malley will attend a conference on progressive governance in Amsterdam before returning to Ireland. The Baltimore Sun reports that the trip is being paid for by the organizations that are sponsoring the different legs of the trip; those organizations will pay for all expenses, including those of the security detail that travels with the Governor.
Security Officers Seek Security For Themselves: The guards who provide security around the shops and residences of Baltimore’s Harbor East are trying to unionize. They say their employer, Brantley Security, has forced difficult working conditions on them… and say they hope a union will help them address those conditions. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns reports that the officers are seeing some support – from City Hall.
All Quiet On The Gubernatorial Election Front? Bryan Sears (from The Daily Record) and Fraser Smith ponder the quietness among the gubernatorial election's leaders - don't the voters want to know what they have to say? It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Judge Orders Kamenetz To Appear In Court: A Baltimore County judge is telling county leaders they may face jail time for refusing to follow a court order that tells them to pay $1-million to police retirees. The Baltimore Sun reports a Circuit Court judge has directed County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and two other officials to appear before him June 26th to show why the court "should not hold each in contempt" or impose sanctions. The Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police says the county violated their contract when it shifted more healthcare costs to officers who retired between 1992 and 2007.
Math Requirement For High School Students Amended: Maryland school students have to take four years of math classes while they’re in high school, under a law passed by the General Assembly last year. The law actually says that kids have to take a math class every year that they’re in high school… but yesterday, the State Board of Education moved to amend the requirement – so that students who take more than four years to graduate won’t have to take more than four years of math. The Baltimore Sun reports that about 2 and a half percent of Maryland students take five years to graduate high school. A legislative review will be needed for the amended regulations to take effect. In addition to four years of math, students must take Algebra I and Geometry, and pass an algebra test to graduate. The school board also wants students to be able to take an AP computer science class as one of their four math classes; that move also needs approval from the legislative review.
Incoming City Schools CEO Appoints New Cabinet Members: Incoming Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton is lining up his cabinet members. The school board approved the personnel moves in a special meeting yesterday. A couple of Thornton's choices are from out of state, a couple are left over from Andres Alonso's administration and another cabinet member will be shifting over from Baltimore County. Thornton's first official day as head of City Schools is July 1st. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Carroll County Exits Incinerator Partnership: Carroll County is stepping out of a partnership with Frederick County to build a long-debated waste-to-energy incinerator. The Frederick News Post reports that Carroll County has agreed to pay $1-million to exit the partnership. Frederick County Commissioners president Blaine Young says the move gives his jurisdiction more “flexibility” when it comes to building the incinerator, and exploring other options for disposing of Frederick County’s trash. Frederick County leaders can now find another partner to help build the planned incinerator, which would generate electricity by burning up to 15-hundred tons of trash a day. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Ulman Calls For More Mental Health Spending: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is proposing an expansion of its mental health resources. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, Ulman’s budget plan for Fiscal Year 2015 includes more than $380-thousand in state and county funding for five new and expanded mental health initiatives. It also includes at least $745-thousand for the Mental Health Authority and the county’s police department for mental health programs. The Howard County Council has to approve Ulman’s $1-billion operating budget for it to take effect.
City Detention Center Corruption Case: Another former corrections officer is heading to prison for her role in a smuggling operation at the Baltimore City Detention Center. A federal judge yesterday sentenced the former officer to two-and-a-half years behind bars following her guilty plea to racketeering charges. Revelations of a smuggling ring at the city jail surfaced last year; prosecutors say gang members sold drugs and other contraband smuggled into the jail by guards. Earlier this week, a 13th officer pleaded guilty for her role in the smuggling ring. And an inmate pleaded guilty for his part in the conspiracy. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
JHU Ranked 29th Wealthiest University In The World: A new ranking of the world’s wealthiest universities puts Johns Hopkins in the top 30 – #29, to be precise. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that JHU’s endowment was valued at just under $3-billion in 2013. Harvard and Yale are the two wealthiest universities in the world, according to the higher education website nonprofitcollegesonline.com, which compiled the ranking. The world’s third wealthiest university is the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles fell 9 to 3 to the Toronto Blue Jays last night. The two teams will play again this evening.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals lost yesterday’s game against the LA Angels; the score there, 7 to 2.