MD Lawmakers Oppose Seismic Survey, An Ebola Drill, and Chesapeake House Reopens

Aug 5, 2014

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).
Credit mdfriendofhillary via flickr

Most members Maryland’s congressional delegation are calling on President Obama to reconsider plans to allow seismic testing for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean off our state’s coast. As the world’s largest outbreak of Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, Maryland officials held a mock medical exercise yesterday to test how the state would respond if the disease were to show up in our state. The brand new, $26-million Chesapeake House Travel Plaza along I-95 in Cecil County has reopened. And more.

MD Lawmakers Oppose Seismic Survey: A planned seismic survey of the mid-Atlantic seabed is running into opposition from the majority of Maryland’s congressional delegation. Both the state’s US Senators and six of its Representatives in the House sent a letter to President Obama yesterday, urging him not to go through with the test. The Baltimore Sun reports that a seismic assessment for oil and gas beneath the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern seaboard would be a major step to bringing offshore oil drilling to the region. The Maryland lawmakers opposed to the plan, saying that the air guns that would be used to conduct the survey are “incredibly harmful” to marine life. The letter cites estimates by the Department of Interior, which says that the testing would injure about 138-thousand marine mammals. Those estimates also say the testing would disrupt breeding and other activities. The two Maryland lawmakers who did not sign the letter are House minority whip – and 5th District Congressman – Steny Hoyer, and the state’s only Republican in Congress, Andy Harris of the 1st District. Through a spokesperson, Hoyer said he’s in favor of testing with “appropriate environmental controls.” Harris did not respond to the Sun’s request for comment, but last year he signed a letter calling for the seismic assessment to be conducted. The Daily Record has more.

Ebola Drill: As the world’s largest outbreak of Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, Maryland officials held a mock medical exercise yesterday to test how the state would respond if the disease were to show up in our state. The drill was conducted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Governor’s office of Homeland Security, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and other departments. There have not been any cases of Ebola in Maryland, and state officials say that the likelihood of an outbreak occurring here is low. Even so, state health officials are urging medical facilities to be on the lookout for any signs of the disease. State health officials say that Maryland is working with the centers for Disease Control to make sure all the state’s hospitals are on alert.

Howard County Examines MPP Security: Howard County officials are looking into security and screening procedures at Merriweather Post Pavilion after two deaths during an electronic dance music festival. In addition to the deaths, at least 19 concertgoers became ill over the weekend, possibly due to water laced with a club drug. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman met with public safety officials yesterday and asked them to investigate and review practices at the concert venue. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Chesapeake House Reopens: The brand new, $26-million Chesapeake House Travel Plaza along I-95 in Cecil County is reopening this morning, six weeks ahead of schedule. In fact, it’s already reopened – a pair of convenience stores, gas station, coffee shop and restrooms became available to the public just after midnight. Five eateries will open by 10am.  The site boasts a number of "green" features and provides free Wi-Fi to visitors. The Chesapeake House will employ a total of 575 people, and the Cecil Whig reports that as of yesterday there were about 110 jobs left to be filled.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Still Hiring: Maryland will get a fifth casino later this month; the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is set to open on August 26th in South Baltimore. The casino is still looking for some employees. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the facility has filled about 19-hundred jobs… and has between 100 and 300 left to fill. The casino’s General Manager says it expects to lose some of the employees it’s already hired in the weeks before its grand opening.

Spinoff Of Tribune Publishing Company Finalized: The Baltimore Sun has a new owner. Yesterday, the creation of the Tribune Publishing Company was finalized. It’s a corporation spun off from the original corporate owner, Tribune Media. The Tribune Publishing Company owns the Sun as well as nine other daily newspapers – including the Chicago Tribune and the LA times. Tribune Media is keeping hold of its broadcasting and entertainment assets… as well as its real estate holdings. That means the Sun is now leasing its real estate from Tribune Media.

Rawlings-Blake, Thornton Visit Cherry Hill: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and new city schools CEO Greg Thornton visited the Cherry Hill neighborhood yesterday to promote an upcoming education forum. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Thursday night forum at Friendship Academy will serve as Thornton's introduction to city students and parents. In February, the 59-year-old Thornton was hired away from his job as the superintendent of Milwaukee public schools.

National Night Out: Community groups and police around the state are gearing up for tonight’s annual National Night Out. Rallies are planned all across Central Maryland as folks take to the streets to stand up against crime. In Baltimore, the mayor's office is holding its gathering in front of Target at Mondawmin Mall from 6 to 8 p.m. A number of other Night Out events are planned in Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Code Orange Day: Today will be a Code Orange air quality day in the Baltimore area. That means the pollution levels are expected to be harmful for sensitive groups including children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory or heart conditions. The Maryland Department of the Environment is urging people in those groups to limit their outdoors activities today.

Shark Makes Appearance Near OC: A 12-foot, one-thousand-pound tiger shark made a recent appearance in Ocean City. The shark was tagged by researchers earlier this year. They’ve named her "Septima." And they say the tracking equipment she wears shows the shark was swimming in the Isle of Wight Bay on August 1st. But “Septima” didn't stay in the area for very long… her tracker pinged off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey yesterday morning. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Baseball News: The Orioles took down the Washington Nationals last night; 7 to 3 was the score. The O’s will take on the Toronto Blue Jays in their next three away games (the first is tonight); they’ll be back in Baltimore on Friday to celebrate their 60th Anniversary Season.