Hurricane Arthur Postpones OC Fireworks, Spending Cuts, BGE Rates, and Offshore Wind
As Hurricane Arthur moves up the East Coast, Ocean City postpones its Independence Day fireworks display. A flash flood watch is in effect this afternoon and this evening for the listening area. Plus: spending cuts, BGE rates, offshore wind, the planned Red Line, and more.
Hurricane Arthur Postpones Ocean City Fireworks: The first Hurricane of the season – Hurricane Arthur – is making its way up the East Coast… and while it’s likely to be well out in the Atlantic when it passes by Ocean City, it’ll likely be close enough to bring some strong rains and blustery winds to the resort town tonight and tomorrow morning. Ocean City officials tell the Daily Times that they’ve decided to postpone their Independence Day fireworks display until Saturday – saying that the forecast rain tomorrow morning will make it too difficult to get the fireworks set up in time for tomorrow night.
Flash Flood Watch Today: Hurricane Arthur won’t likely have much of an impact on Central Maryland. But we’re likely to get some powerful thunderstorms this afternoon and this evening. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch from 1 o’clock this afternoon through late tonight.
Spending Cuts Approved: Maryland’s new fiscal year began earlier this week… and yesterday, the state’s Board of Public Works approved some $77-million in spending cuts to the budget that had just gone into effect. The cuts are designed to satisfy a projected shortfall and free up cash in case revenue figures fall short of expectations. The Washington Post reports that Governor Martin O’Malley’s also planning an additional $7-million in cuts through budget actions that don’t require approval from the Board of Public Works. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
BGE Looks To Raise Rates: Baltimore Gas and Electric is looking to raise its rates. The utility is calling on the state’s Public Service Commission to let it increase distribution rates for electricity and natural gas for its residential and commercial customers. If the PSC signs off on the proposal, it would be BGE’s fourth rate increase in four years. Under it, the average residential customer would see electric bills go up a little more than $6.50 a month and natural gas bills go up a little more than $8.50 a month (on average). The Baltimore Sun has more here; there’s more here from the Daily Record.
Offshore Wind: Federal officials are planning to auction off the rights to build a wind farm off the coast of Ocean City. The Baltimore Sun reports that the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is planning to take bids for up to two offshore wind projects on August 19th. Some 16 companies have declared interest in leasing the nearly 80-thousand acres of Atlantic Ocean that’ll be up for bid.
Negotiations Between Hopkins Hospital And Unionized Service Workers: The latest round of contract talks between unionized Johns Hopkins Hospital service workers and the hospital has broken off. The negotiations ended last night without an agreement. The talks were the first since employees and management agreed to Governor Martin O'Malley's call last week for a one-week cooling off period. The Baltimore Sun reports that no new bargaining date has been set but the union said both sides expressed a willingness to continue negotiations.
Mosby Victory Shows (Again) Who Votes In Baltimore: In last week’s primary election, Marilyn Mosby beat incumbent Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein. WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says that if you’re looking for the roots of Mosby’s victory, you should look to history. Fraser comments in his weekly essay.
Morgan State Investigated For Sexual Assault Case: Morgan State University is under investigation for its handling of a sexual assault case. The Baltimore Sun reports that the U.S. Department of Education opened the investigation on June 26th, putting Morgan in the company of 66 other colleges which are under scrutiny for how they handle sexual violence. Under Title Nine standards, colleges must respond to sexual assault claims as they would to other forms of gender discrimination.
Red Line: The Maryland Transit Administration has apparently missed a key deadline in the attempt to secure funds for building the Red Line. During this year’s General Assembly session, lawmakers required that the MTA submit a plan by July 1st detailing funding sources for the east-west railway proposed to run through Baltimore city. According to WMAR-TV, the MTA has not submitted a plan and has asked for an extension until September 1st.
Wayne Curry Passes: Prince George's County residents and public officials mourning the death of former County Executive Wayne Curry, who passed away yesterday from lung cancer at the age of 63. Curry was elected as County Executive in 1994, and held the post through 2002. He was credited with bringing in major development and investments to Prince George's, including the deal that convinced the Washington Redskins to move their stadium to Landover in the 1990s. The Washington Post has more.
Ice-Skating Rink Likely Headed To Downtown Baltimore: An ice skating rink could be coming to downtown Baltimore. City officials have approved plans for the temporary attraction that would be located at McKeldin Square; if the Waterfront Partnership raises enough money, it could be a reality by the fall. The Partnership tells the Baltimore Sun that the goal is to increase foot traffic downtown in the winter months. The rink is expected to cost about $450-thousand with $200-thousand coming from rink revenue. The Waterfront Partnership must raise the balance by Labor Day to open the rink in November.
Star Spangled Banner, Manuscript United: This is the last week to see the original manuscript of the "Star-Spangled Banner" united with the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. During this 4th of July week, visitors to the National Museum of American History will still have a chance to view the two historic items that have been displayed together for the first time ever. Francis Scott Key wrote the words to what would later became the National Anthem in September 1814 after a massive British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The flag which endured that attack and Key's manuscript will stay united through this Sunday, July 6th.
Baltimore 20th “Most Patriotic” City – According To Flag Sales: Baltimore is in the top 20 of "most patriotic" cities in America. That's according to a new survey that used figures from America-themed flag sales from Amazon.com between January 1st and June 24th of this year. Baltimore came in 20th. Washington, DC was third, while Virginia Beach ranked number one on the list. WJLA has more.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles won last night’s game against the Texas Rangers… a game that was delayed over 90 minutes because of rain. The final score was 6 to 4. The O’s now look to sweep the four game series, which concludes tonight at Camden Yards, starting at 7:05pm.
Washington Baseball: the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 4 to 3 in their game yesterday.