Speaking in Maryland about the partial federal government shutdown, President Obama said “the longer this goes on, the worse it will be.” More on the shutdown’s effects, plus: flu arrives in MD, two more guilty pleas in the prison corruption case, and Baltimore police plan a cell phone checkpoint.
Ongoing Federal Government Shutdown: President Obama was in Maryland yesterday, warning about the economic consequences of the lingering, partial shutdown of the federal government. Speaking in Rockville, Obama said “the longer this goes on, the worse it will be.” He urged Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep government funded, but one that doesn’t include any provision affecting the new health care law. The shutdown is now in its fourth day; Governor Martin O’Malley’s office estimates that the shutdown is costing Maryland’s economy nearly $15-million a day in business and another $5-million in sales and income tax revenue. It’s unclear whether the furloughed workers will the pay they’re missing during their forced time off, but a bill that would retroactively pay them is set to get a vote in the House of Representatives today or tomorrow; it’s being sponsored by many Maryland lawmakers, including 2nd District Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. If the furloughed workers are paid, the state will get some of its lost income tax revenue. With fewer federal workers headed into DC, the Maryland Transit Administration says ridership is down on MARC trains and commuter buses. The Baltimore Sun reports that MARC ridership has dropped 10 to 25 percent – depending on the line – and commuter bus ridership has fallen 50 to 60 percent. The MTA says it’ll maintain regular schedules today… but says it’ll reevaluate its plans on Monday. The shutdown has closed the doors at the Fort McHenry National Monument… and that’s changing the plans for school groups that had been planning field trips there. Some 200 Baltimore pre-kindergarteners were supposed to visit Fort McHenry yesterday, but with it closed, the city school system called out to other Baltimore venues for an alternate place to go. They found it – at Oriole Park. The Baltimore Sun reports that the O’s stepped in to give the kids tours of the stadium.
Prison Corruption Case: The investigation into the smuggling ring at the Baltimore City Detention Center has netted two more guilty pleas. Earlier this year, 25 people, including 13 corrections officers, were charged with their involvement in a conspiracy to bring drugs and other contraband into the jail, where they were used and distributed by the Black Guerilla Family prison gang. The Baltimore Sun reports that the BGF gang’s second in command in the jail has pleaded guilty to his involvement in the conspiracy. Also pleading guilty was a corrections officer, who admitted to bringing marijuana and prescription drugs into the jail. Investigations into Maryland’s correctional system – sparked by revelations of the smuggling ring – are ongoing.
Gansler, Facebook, and Cyberbullying: State Attorney General Doug Gansler is teaming up with Facebook to promote a new initiative aimed at addressing online bullying in school systems. Facebook outlined the pilot project yesterday – which will run only in Maryland. It’s designed to give educators an easier way to report cyber bullying on the social network. The plan will have a point person assigned from each Maryland school system to report cyberbullying to Facebook. There’s more here from the Baltimore News Journal and here from the Baltimore Sun.
How Can Marylanders Judge Success Of Bay Restoration Efforts? WYPR's Fraser Smith and Alex Jackson of the Annapolis Capital talk about the Capital's six-part multimedia project on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and why evaluating Bay programs is so difficult. It's this morning's edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
It’s Flu Season: The flu has arrived in Maryland. The state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is reporting the first official case, confirmed as type A, or H1N1, influenza. Officials are only saying the patient is a child from the National Capital Region, who was briefly hospitalized and is now recovering. The flu is arriving more than two weeks earlier than last year and Maryland's health secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is reminding people to get vaccinated against the infection. More here from WJZ.
Baltimore Police Plan Cell Phone, Seatbelt Checkpoint: Baltimore city police are planning a crackdown on drivers talking on a hand held cell phones behind the wheel and passengers failing to wear seatbelts. The Baltimore Sun reports that police plan to set up a checkpoint at Harford Road and the Alameda; it’ll go into effect tonight at 5pm.
Archbishop Lori To Bless Pets: Some dogs and cats are getting a visit from Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori. The Archdiocese says Lori will spend part of today blessing the dogs and cats awaiting adoption at the Baltimore SPCA. October 4th is the day Catholics celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals. Archbishop Lori is a dog lover himself; he’s the proud owner of a golden retriever named Noble. There’s more here from WBAL.
“Karen” Remnants Likely To Soak MD: A tropical system could bring some much needed rain to our region next week. Tropical Storm Karen has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and current models show the storm making landfall this weekend in Alabama. The Baltimore Sun reports that the storm could affect the DC and Baltimore areas as a tropical depression on Monday or Tuesday.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens are gearing up for Sunday’s away game against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens beat the Dolphins the last time the two played, back in 2010.
Baltimore Football Fans: Ravens fans are the most superstitious fans in the country. That’s according to Bud Light's new "NFL Fan Superstition Survey." As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the survey shows that nearly half of the Ravens fans wear the same articles of clothing for every game, and watch with the same people every week. The second most superstitious fans in the nation root for the Arizona Cardinals.