Politics

  • ‘He Was Loved by All’: Friends in Baltimore Mourn Elijah Cummings

    A tall man in a winter coat took off his hat and bowed his head just outside the office of Representative Elijah E. Cummings on Thursday. He stood for a minute, eyes closed, then turned and walked away. A bouquet of white tulips lay on the ground near the door. Four musicians from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra came to play some music, including an improvisation of “Amazing Grace,” one of Mr. Cummings’s favorites. (NYT)Read Full Article

  • Former State Delegate Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

    A former Maryland state lawmaker has pleaded guilty to illegally using campaign funds for her personal benefit. Tawanna Gaines faces a sentence of up to 20 years, following her plea Thursday to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang is scheduled to sentence her Jan. 3. Chuang says guidelines call for eight to 33 months in prison, depending on the court's calculation of her criminal history. (WBAL) Read Full Article

  • City Civilian Review Board Leaders Press for More Power to Investigate Police

    Two leaders of Baltimore’s Civilian Review Board told a state commission investigating police corruption Thursday that changes are needed to create more robust civilian oversight and to avoid Baltimore Police Department influence in internal investigations. “We all know the history of police departments investigating themselves. I think we can all agree that they don’t do the best job,” George Buntin, chairman of the review board, said to the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing in Annapolis on Thursday. (Md. Matters) Read Full Article

  • Cummings' Seat To Remain Vacant Until At Least February

    A special election will be held to fill the seat held by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died early Thursday from complications of a series of recent health issues. However, the seat will remain empty until at least February. State law gives Gov. Larry Hogan 10 days to issue a proclamation declaring that a special primary election and a special general election will be held to fill the vacancy. (WBAL) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Post Conference Reading: Professor Rucker Johnson on why school integration works

    Brown v. Board of Education was hailed as a landmark decision for civil rights. But decades later, many consider school integration a failure. UC Berkeley professor Rucker C. Johnson’s new book Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works shows the exact opposite is true. The book looks at decades of studies to show that students of all races who attended integrated schools fared better than those who did not. In this interview with Goldman School of Public Policy Dean Henry E. Brady, which took place on Jan. 9, 2019, Johnson explains how he and his team analyzed the impact of not just integration, but school funding policies and the Head Start program. (Berkeley News)Read Full Article

  • Post-Conference Reading: Region’s elected officials urge their governments to commit to affordable-housing targets

    Washington-area elected officials voted Wednesday to push their local governments to address the region’s affordable-housing shortage by setting individual targets to increase production of low- and medium-cost housing by 2030. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) said the region needs to add 320,000 housing units between 2020 and 2030 — 75,000 more units than forecast. Of those, at least three-quarters should be affordable to low- and middle-income households, according to a resolution approved unanimously by the COG board, which means they should cost $2,500 a month or less. (Wash. Post)Read Full Article

  • Post-Conference Reading: To Shrink Achievement Gap, Integrate School Districts

    Does segregation still matter? When it comes to educating our nation’s school children, the answer is yes, according to research published last week by the Stanford University Center for Education Policy Analysis. But the problem isn’t race, the study finds. It is poverty. Decades after the end of legalized segregation, and the funding disparities that accompanied it, minority students remain disproportionately concentrated in high-poverty areas. Academically, they trail students in more affluent areas, and they fall increasingly behind as the years pass. The result is an achievement gap that limits the educational and career opportunities of nonwhite children. But the gap narrows, according to the research, when school districts are integrated, exposing poor minority students to the same opportunities as their richer peers. (WSJ)Read Full Article

  • Post Conference Reading: Can Maryland follow a Massachusetts model on education funding?

    As a Maryland public school parent and as an educator, I know firsthand the difference that public schools can make for students. They made all the difference for me (literally saving my life). I also know that the future is in great hands because students, including my daughters, are leading the way to build a better tomorrow, thanks, in large part, to public schools. (Wash. Post)Read Full Article

Business

  • Attorney General Frosh Announces $116M Multistate Settlement with Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc.

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced a multistate settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. over allegations they deceptively promoted Ethicon transvaginal surgical mesh medical devices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Attorneys general claim J&J and Ethicon misrepresented the safety and effectiveness of the devices and didn’t sufficiently disclose associated risks. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Stein to leave Maryland Humanities as executive director

    Maryland Humanities announced Thursday Executive Director Phoebe Stein will leave the nonprofit group at the end of February. Stein has served as the organization’s executive director for more than 11 years. A national search will be conducted to seek her replacement. Stein began her tenure at Maryland Humanities in July 2008. During her time with the organization, it has significantly expanded its programming, partnerships, and resources, despite arriving just a few months prior to a national recession. (Daily Record)Read Full Article

  • Baltimore Police Chief Harrison says he needs business community's help

    Businesses played a role in helping Michael Harrison turn the New Orleans police department around, and he has a similar outlook for how they can help in Baltimore. The Baltimore Police Commissioner, who started in March after serving four years as New Orleans' police chief, said his relationship with the business community in Louisiana was "extremely important" to his work there. Businesses helped to fill needs that government agencies didn't have the resources to meet, he said. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Amazon launches charm offensive from The Wharf, battling perception it hurts small business

    Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is looking to change the perception that it hurts small business with a series of pop-up style events across the U.S. And it started in the District. The first "Amazon Small Business Spotlight” was held Tuesday at The Wharf. Roughly 20 sellers, invited by Amazon, from Greater Washington and along the East Coast displayed their goods and spoke about how selling on the platform has helped to grow their customer bases — and in some cases made them a fortune. (Wash. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Education

  • What's next for Salisbury Middle School? Superintendent talks moves to keep students safe

    A stretch of unrest at Salisbury Middle School has spurred immediate intervention, but Wicomico County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hanlin said there's now long-term, community-focused work to be done. In a Wednesday interview, she described the recent turmoil at the school as a week-long increase in "disruptions" or "altercations between students." Among these incidents was a lunch "disturbance" resolved with pepper spray and a fight that sent a student to a Baltimore hospital with a head injury. (Delmarva) Read Full Article

  • Monarch Preschool College Park to open next year

    Monarch Preschool College Park, founded by The Children’s Guild, will open in February 2020 and serve 120 children ages 3-5. The school will be located in an 11,400-square-foot renovated space in College Park United Methodist Church, 9601 Rhode Island Ave., on the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Hollywood Road in College Park. It will be open year-round with a full-day program to include before- and after-school care. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Post-U. Md. poll: Most Md. residents open to higher taxes to boost school spending

    As Maryland lawmakers weigh revamping the state’s public education system, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds widespread support for dramatically boosting school spending and an openness to higher income taxes to finance it. The findings could fuel a growing battle between Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has vowed to fight any tax increases, and the Democratic legislative leaders who have made the costly education overhaul a top priority. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Enrollment at most Maryland colleges has dropped in recent years. Here's where it has grown.

    University of Maryland Global Campus saw its total student enrollment grow between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2018 while most other Maryland colleges did not. The Adelphi-based public university, formerly called University of Maryland, University College until a name change in July, saw a 40% enrollment increase in the timeframe mentioned above, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. The spike can largely be attributed to an increase in the school's online degree programs, which university spokesman Robert Ludwig said have become more popular at UMGC and across the country in recent years. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Marylanders Can Now Access Vaccination Records Online At No Cost

    The Maryland Department of Health announced Thursday a new portal that will allow Maryland residents to access vaccination records online for free. “This free portal will be a great resource for all Marylanders — patients and health care practitioners alike,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Not only is it a tool to help improve vaccination rates, but it will also help reduce the administrative burden of vaccination record requests.”  (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • Pastor of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ longtime Baltimore church expects funeral plans to be announced Friday

    U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings practiced his faith the same way he practiced his politics, according to his pastor: Steadfastly and always in the front row. Even as the late congressman’s health declined and he fought intense battles against President Donald Trump, Cummings regularly attended New Psalmist Baptist Church, according to Bishop Walter Thomas, longtime pastor of the Baltimore church. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Block Where Cab Calloway’s Home Stands To Be Developed Into A Park, City Officials Confirm

    The former home of famous jazz musician Cab Calloway will be demolished. This comes after efforts by Calloway’s grandson and others to preserve the home. The entire west Baltimore block where Calloway’s former home is will be demoed. Now, a local nonprofit group that’s planning the development of the property is planning to turn it into a park. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

  • New Exhibit Debuts At The Baltimore Museum Of Art

    It’s the largest collection of artwork of it’s kind in America, and it’s on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art” explores the contributions black artists have made to abstraction from the 1940s to the present time. Made up in part from the extensive collection of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, the exhibit features 73 pieces of art from 28 artists, including Baltimore native Shinique Smith. (WJZ-TV) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Editorial: Rep. Elijah Cummings was a skilled politician and staunch defender of Baltimore

    No public official ever wanted to be the one to speak after Rep. Elijah Cummings. He would talk about the most esoteric issues of the day with such eloquent prose that it was easy to forget you were at a press conference about health reform or taxes. When he finished, it wasn’t unusual for the next speaker to preface what they were about to say with the caveat that they would not match up to the statesman’s words. Cummings spoke like he was at the pulpit — likely the influence of his highly religious upbringing and daily family testimonials — and nobody was trying to compete. Ironic, given the fact that a counselor once told him he would never become an attorney because he wasn’t smart enough and didn’t speak well. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Perez: Elijah Cummings leaves us with a broken heart but a better world

    Thursday, I woke up to the tragic news that my friend and mentor Elijah Cummings is no longer with us. I have been fearing this moment for some time, and I hoped that Elijah would follow in the footsteps of his namesake: Elijah, the prophet of the Old Testament, was a miracle worker, and I prayed that a miracle would restore my friend to good health. But now my heart is broken. Elijah Cummings was the moral compass of Maryland politics. He was the conscience of Congress. And he reminded us regularly that the test of a man is not how much he helps himself, but how much he helps those less fortunate. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article

  • Hodges: How Street Protests Have Changed the Climate Debate

    From Swedish teens skipping school to picket their parliament, to protesters dousing Wall Street’s iconic “Charging Bull” sculpture with fake blood, citizens are putting themselves at the forefront of the fight to limit climate change. A wave of student-led Climate Strikes has spread to more than 200 countries, while support for activist group Extinction Rebellion has grown worldwide, with crowds of non-violent demonstrators disrupting cities from Chicago to Tokyo to make their point. The protesters are demanding drastic action, in a campaign grounded in civil disobedience. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Alternative Fact of the Week: The abandonment of an ally

    President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds who fought shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers against ISIS was a disgrace that no amount of “alternative facts” can hide. There are any number of terrible consequences for this sudden and ill-considered move: a rising death toll for Kurdish forces, a strengthening of despot Syrian President Bashar Assad, another victory for Russia President Vladimir Putin and a loss of U.S. standing in the Middle East and the rest of the world as allies must wonder where else will President Trump decide to cut and run. (Balt. Sun)Read Full Article