Politics

  • In fundraising pitch, Franchot mentions possible run for governor

    Comptroller Peter Franchot said he is “strongly considering a run for governor in 2022.” Franchot, now in his fourth term as the state’s top tax collector, expressed his interest in a campaign fundraising email sent Wednesday afternoon to potential donors. “Given our record, and given the challenges and opportunities facing our great state, I am strongly considering running for governor in 2022,” Franchot said. “But, as you know, mounting a gubernatorial bid against the Annapolis Machine wouldn’t be easy,” he continued. “It’s no secret that the political insiders that make up the Annapolis Machine aren’t my biggest fans, and they will surely mount an impressive effort to support their anointed candidate.” (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Gov. Hogan To Meet With Mayor Jack Young, Commissioner Michael Harrison Amid String Of Violent Crime In Baltimore

    Gov. Larry Hogan is set to come to Baltimore to meet with Mayor Jack Young and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Friday afternoon to talk about rampant crime in the city. Preparations are now underway for that meeting. “Baltimore as a city has challenges with violence,” Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen said. “Any time we see acts of violence within our communities, it really shakes people up.” After a woman was held at gunpoint and carjacked in Canton, Cohen advocated for real and planned change. “I want to see a written plan for dealing directly with the robberies and the carjackings,” Cohen said. “That’s a crime that we really can’t tolerate. Just like we can’t tolerate murder.” (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Maryland’s new dental insurance program for low-income residents pays to remove teeth — but not replace them

    Bridget Morlan called the number on her first-ever dental insurance card and held her breath. After more than 30 years of dealing with broken teeth, gum infections and toothaches that landed her in the emergency room dozens of times, the Baltimore woman hoped the new coverage would make everything better. “I’m wishing for a miracle,” said Morlan, 53, whose teeth were badly damaged years ago by an abusive boyfriend and subsequent lack of care. Maryland is one of just 15 states that does not cover dental care for adults on Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income people. But now the state has launched a pilot program to cover a small number of them — those with limited incomes who also are disabled. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Rich Man, Poor Man: Critics Say Hogan Tries to Have it Both Ways on Tolls

    In late 2016, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced that the state would spend nearly $800 million to replace the aging and overcrowded bridge that connects southern Charles County with King George County, Va., along U.S. 301. Speaking to reporters near the current Potomac River crossing, Hogan said the “new safer, wider” Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge would have two lanes in each direction – double the current span – “as well as a bike and pedestrian path.”  Now the bike lane is in doubt. Maryland Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. told a regional transportation panel in July that the lanes will be built “if they are affordable.” (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Conference Reading: NCSHA Washington Report

    In an otherwise thoughtful overview of the housing crisis and the various proposals to address it from Democrats running for president, Vox’s Matthew Iglesias concludes, “There’s no particular reason the real estate problems facing writers in a handful of expensive coastal cities should dominate the national policy conversation,” and so, “housing looks more like a niche state and local issue that happens to be salient in the country’s main media and political circles … likely as it should be.” As the current frontrunner among the Democrats might say, “What a bunch of malarkey.” In fact, 54 million people live in rural areas that the USDA says have a “most severe need” or “moderately severe need” for the production of more affordable rental housing. (NCSHA)Read Full Report

  • Conference Reading: Inequities in Opportunity and Achievement in Maryland

    "Maryland has long prided itself on its education system. A deeper look at the data, however, shows that statewide averages mask deep inequities in opportunity for certain groups of students. These gaps in opportunity lead to gaps in achievement between students of color and White students, as well as between low-income students and higher income students. What’s more, racial inequities persist among students of similar family income levels. To be clear, these disparities are a reflection of how we organize our schools and shortchange certain students when it comes to critical educational opportunities/resources from early childhood through high school." (Ed Trust)Read Full Report

  • Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Maryland Reached Hundreds of Residents Across The State With Educational Trailer Featuring Signs of Substance Misuse

    The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland teamed up with its partners to bring the RALI CARES interactive trailer to locations across the state in an effort to help educate parents and adults on the warning signs of teenage substance misuse.Read Full Article

  • Conference Reading: Google invests $50 million to build low-income housing in the Bay Area

    Google on Wednesday invested $50 million to build low-income homes around the Bay Area, taking a step toward fulfilling the lofty $1 billion housing promise the tech titan made last month. The Mountain View-based search giant will invest the money in Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund — a program launched in 2017 that uses money from local companies and large organizations to fund affordable housing. Google’s $50 million contribution marks the fund’s largest investment to date, and comes as Bay Area tech companies increasingly are attempting to help mitigate the housing shortage that has driven prices sky-high across the Bay Area. It’s a crisis those tech companies often are blamed for helping to create, as they flood the region with high-paying jobs that drive up housing demand and prices. (Mercury News)Read Full Article

Business

  • Truist Bank taps local SunTrust veteran to lead Maryland

    SunTrust Banks Inc. and BB&T Corp. have picked a SunTrust executive to lead operations in Maryland if they are able to close their mega-merger. Greg Farno, currently the Baltimore market president for SunTrust, will become Maryland regional president of Truist — the name the banks have chosen for the combined entity. Farno's appointment will take effect upon the legal close of the proposed $66 billion deal. Farno could not be reached immediately for comment. "The Truist Community Banking model will distinguish us from our larger competitors by allowing us to operate on a more personal level with individual and business clients, providing them with the kind of attention they expect from a hometown bank," a BB&T spokesman said. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Family Healthcare of Hagerstown receives nearly $118K in quality improvement grants

    Family Healthcare of Hagerstown has a new title as one of the top health centers in the country — one of a number of accomplishments that comes with almost $118,000 in grant funding. The nonprofit facility on South Cleveland Avenue was announced Wednesday as being in the top 20% of health centers nationwide by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Quality Improvement Awards. In total, nearly $107 million in grants were given out to 1,273 health centers across nearly all U.S. states, territories and Washington, D.C. (Herald-Mail) Read Full Article

  • A trade war with Europe would be larger and more damaging than Washington’s dispute with China

    The United States has more to lose from a full-blown trade war with the EU than it does with its current conflict with China, experts have told CNBC. President Donald Trump has kept up his tough rhetoric against the European Union despite focusing on Chinese tariffs in recent months. But his administration is due to decide in November whether to impose duties on one of most important industries in Europe: autos. There have already been tariffs on European steel and aluminum — which led the bloc to impose duties of 25% on $2.8 billion of U.S. products in June 2018, and, there’s an ongoing dispute regarding Airbus and Boeing — (CNBC)Read Full Article

  • Howard County trying to attract companies from Korea, other countries with new innovation center

    Howard County officials are planning to dedicate space in a newly renovated innovation center to house startups from South Korea looking to make a "soft landing" in the North American market. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball recently signed a memorandum of understanding, signaling a new partnership between the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and Born2Global Center, a South Korea-based startup accelerator. The partnership will include the creation of a "soft landing" site at the Howard County Innovation Center, a five-floor, 63,000-square-foot center intended to support growing local businesses that is being constructed along Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • Some FCPS teachers use #clearthelist to collect school supplies

    Lauren Pencola spent Wednesday decorating her first-grade classroom at Orchard Grove Elementary School with all her new school supplies — something that may not have been possible if not for a nationwide social media campaign to support teachers that has gone viral. At least two Frederick County teachers have been successful using #clearthelist to receive everything from the basics such as index cards and crayons to more specific items like liquid droppers for science classes. “It’s great, because I know so many teachers that spend so much extra money just because we want to go above and beyond to provide what we need for our kids,” Pencola said. (News-Post)Read Full Article

  • Washington County students score record highs on AP, baccalaureate exams

    Washington County Public Schools students passed advanced placement and International Baccalaureate exams at record highs over the last school year, according to data from the school system. The Washington County Board of Education heard updates Tuesday on exam results from Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Peggy Pugh and Supervisor of Testing and Accountability Maureen Margevich. Margevich said for 2019, there were 2,005 advanced placement, or AP, exams passed out of 2,592 taken. For International Baccalaureate, or IB, exams, 236 received a score of four or higher out of 361 taken. (Herald-Mail) Read Full Article

  • Walter Johnson Turf Field To Be Replaced This Fall

    Walter Johnson High School’s artificial turf field will be replaced at the conclusion of the fall sports season. Replacement of the 10-year-old field will begin in November and be completed prior to winter break, according to Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Derek Turner. The fields are generally expected to be replaced approximately every 10 years, he said. The Walter Johnson project is expected to cost about $700,000.  The most recent inspection report available on the MCPS website shows the Walter Johnson field received minor maintenance repairs in June. Four bags of debris were collected and removed, which is considered a normal amount, according to the report. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

  • Kirwan panel gets down to work to find funding formulas

    Members of a blue-ribbon commission will continue to hammer out details of potential formulas to fund public education in every jurisdiction in the state, even as lawmakers wrestle with how to pay for the costs — and as Maryland’s governor vows to thwart any effort to raise taxes. The panel, known as the Kirwan Commission, is to reconvene Thursday morning for another in a series of marathon meetings with a goal of creating funding formulas to pump billions of dollars into public education. The education reforms come with a sizable price tag and lawmakers say they remain committed to the program as they search for ways to pay for it. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Federal court order blocks pipeline near Hancock

    A federal judge Wednesday upheld Maryland’s denial of an easement for a proposed natural-gas pipeline west of Hancock. “We are pleased that the court has agreed that a private pipeline company cannot force the state to accept a pipeline under the Western Maryland Rail Trail,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a written statement. “We will continue to defend Maryland’s right to control its public lands against any other efforts by the natural gas industry to move forward with this project.” The decision Wednesday came from a judge in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. (Herald-Mail)Read Full Article

  • Mayor: Union Bridge not in favor of solar project unless farm can be annexed to provide tax revenue

    Union Bridge officials are not in favor of a proposed solar project that would fall just outside the town’s limits, but the decision on whether the project moves forward is in the hands of the Maryland Public Service Commission. On Monday night, the PSC held a second public hearing in Union Bridge to discuss the solar project with local residents. The proposed project, brought forward by Boston-based company Citizens UB Solar, has been downsized, but still doesn’t meet the town’s standards, according to Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones. Jones said the town is not in favor of the solar farm because it isn’t consistent with Union Bridge’s master plan. (Carr. Co. Times)Read Full Article

  • With city’s trash still in headlines, Young and residents tout BMORE Beautiful program

    With volunteer crews still fanning out to pick up trash after President Trump’s derogatory comments calling Baltimore “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and local community leaders today touted the efforts they’re already making to keep neighborhoods clean. At a press conference at City Hall, they highlighted the work of BMORE Beautiful, a program that provides resources to neighborhood associations to keep their communities clean. Through one of the program’s initiatives, Care-A-Lot, 38 neighborhood organizations have mowed and maintained 587 vacant lots across Baltimore, according to the mayor’s office. “It didn’t happen overnight and it can’t be corrected overnight,” Young said of the city’s trash problem. (FishBowl)Read Full Article

  • Pedestrian Signals To Be Installed Next Year at Bethesda Intersection Where Crash Occurred

    A pedestrian crossing signal is expected to be installed next winter at an intersection where two people were struck by a vehicle last week, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration. Because of “design and utility challenges,” more than a year has passed since the department approved its placement, according to a spokeswoman. Installation of the signage is expected to begin in “late winter 2020,” she said.  Pedestrians will need to push buttons installed at the crosswalk to activate a set of flashing “beacons,” intended to “increase motorist awareness of pedestrians that are present at the crosswalks,” SHA said. (Bethesda)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Elliott: Bring Back NBA Basketball to Baltimore, Ownerless

    The traditional relationship between major sports franchises and city governments is deeply parasitic, with billionaire owners eating up taxpayer funds to build their stadiums and pay for costly upgrades and tailored infrastructure projects. Since 1997, NFL teams have constructed 20 new stadiums, receiving an average of $238 million per stadium in public funding and costing $4.76 billion in total. A survey conducted in 2017 found that “83% of economists polled believed that a stadium subsidy’s cost to the public outweighed the economic benefits” and in recent years, cities such as Oakland and Detroit have cut public services because of the massive costs of subsidizing sports teams. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Vignarajah: ‘Public charge’ policy breaks American promise

    “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” she wrote in 1883, words memorized by every school child, an iconic representation of the promise of America. In the poem, Lazarus referred to the Statue of Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles.” Last week, those words were unapologetically revised by Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” He was defending the latest attack in the war on immigrants: the new “Public Charge” rule. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article 

  • Taylor: Finding Collaborative Solutions to Local and Global Challenges

    Protected land in Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve (right) contrasts with the development in Loudoun County, Va., across the Potomac River. Photo by Andrew Kuzak We face tremendous challenges, locally and globally, with the climate crisis posing the existential threat of our time. This reality must be met collaboratively, creatively, and aggressively. There is not a minute to waste to get it together… to get all of us together. Voice was given to this imperative at recent launch of Montgomery County’s Climate Change Planning Initiative. County Executive Marc Elrich took heart that over 100 citizens with a wide range of professional and civic acumen had submitted applications to serve on the technical work groups. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Silcott: It takes a village to undermine a child

    I’m a native son of Baltimore. My family has lived here for at least five generations, including a great-great-great grandfather who moved to W. Baltimore Street in the 1860s and ran a stockyard in Pigtown. I was born in the city and raised in the Midwest. Most of my extended family has always lived here, so as a child I visited Baltimore frequently. I moved back here after college and have now lived in Baltimore for over 30 years. That's my bias I’ll confess up front: my love and pride of my hometown. While I live now on St. Paul Street, just north of North Avenue, my best friend lives in West Baltimore, near W. Fayette and S. Monroe. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article