Thunderstorms last night knocked out power for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Central MD. Early voting concludes today… and amid predictions of low turnout WYPR’s Fraser Smith urges Marylanders not to relinquish the title of “voter.” Plus: a possible strike at Johns Hopkins Hospital, federal funds to restore Superstorm Sandy-damaged ecosystems, and more.
Power Outages, MTA Disruptions: As of 9am, more than 11-thousand homes and businesses in central Maryland were in the dark… following last night’s powerful thunderstorms that knocked trees and power lines. You can report a power outage to Baltimore Gas and Electric by calling 877-778-2222. BGE’s outage map is here.
Early Voting Ends Today: Maryland’s early voting period wraps up today—and so far, more than 111-thousand Marylanders have taken part. That’s about 3.3% of eligible voters… and while that’s not a high turnout in itself, it does represent the highest early voting turnout in a primary election since the state began offering early voting. Maryland’s 60+ early voting centers will be open today from 10am to 8pm; information about their locations is available here. Primary election day itself is Tuesday of next week.
Fraser Smith Urges MD Voters Not To Relinquish The Title Of “Voter”: Political scientists and party organizers say that low turnout for next week’s primary election is almost a given. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says that shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. He comments in his weekly essay.
Strike At Johns Hopkins Hospital Possible Next Week: Service workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital could go on strike next week. The labor union representing about two-thousand employees at the hospital, says those employees are prepared to strike if there's no progress on negotiations about their pay. A four-day strike could begin on June 27th. It would be the second strike this year; the employees represented by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East held a three-day strike in April. Hospital officials tell the Baltimore Sun they think a strike can be avoided if both sides make “good faith efforts” in continued negotiations.
M&T Bank To Forfeit Drug Proceeds: M&T Bank is being ordered by a federal judge to forfeit $560-thousand in drug proceeds laundered through one of its Maryland branches. The US Attorney's Office says on eight occasions, a teller at the Perry Hall branch converted money from drugs sales from small denominations to 100-dollar bills, with most transactions involving more than $50-thousand. The feds took action against the bank because they allege M&T failed to file the required reports on currency transactions of ten-thousand dollars or more. The Daily Record has more.
MD Awarded $7-Million To Restore Sandy-Damaged Ecosystems: Maryland will receive more than $7-million in federal funds to help communities struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy. US Senator Barbara Mikulski announced yesterday that the funds will flow from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in an effort to strengthen at-risk natural ecosystems. Mikulski says rivers and wetlands on the Eastern Shore need to be rehabilitated to help protect residents during future storms.
Men’s Wearhouse Completes Jos. A. Bank Takeover: Men's Wearhouse has completed its takeover of Maryland-based Jos. A. Bank. After months of wrangling between the clothing retailers, Houston-based Men's Wearhouse agreed to pay $1.8-billion for Bank, which will no longer be listed on the NASDAQ. The combined $3.8-billion company will have 26-thousand employees and 17-hundred stores. Under the deal, the Jos. A. Bank stores will keep their brand name. Bank is currently one of the largest employers in Carroll County where its headquarters and distribution facilities are located – about 780 people work there. The Baltimore Sun reports that the deal means some of those jobs will likely be lost. There’s more here from the Baltimore Business Journal.
MTA To Temporarily Close Three Light Rail Stations: Emergency repairs are prompting the MTA to close three North Baltimore light rail stations for three weeks. Service through the Mt. Washington, Cold Spring and Woodberry stops will be halted while crews repair the tracks and prevent further land erosion caused by recent heavy rains. The closures start tomorrow – Friday, June 20th. Through July 11th, bus bridges will be in place to carry passengers traveling between the Falls Road and North Avenue stations.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles shut out the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday afternoon, beating them 2 to 0. The O’s are off today; tomorrow, they’ll be in the Bronx for a game against the New York Yankees.
Washington Baseball: The Washington Nationals won their game against the Houston Astros; the score there was 6 to 5.
Redskins Patents: The US Patent office yesterday canceled six federal trademark registrations of the Washington Redskins, agreeing with five Native Americans who filed a complaint that the name is disparaging to their group. The Redskins say they will appeal the ruling. Republican gubernatorial hopeful Larry Hogan has issued a statement saying that the Patent Office’s ruling was politically motivated – and says “it should offend anyone concerned about constitutional limits on government power and free speech.” The name of the team, which plays in Prince George’s County, has been an issue in Maryland’s gubernatorial race before. The Baltimore Sun notes that the three Democrats running for governor – Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, state Attorney General Doug Gansler, and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur – have all said that the team's name should be changed.