Gov. Larry Hogan names longtime federal civil servant to lead Public Service Commission

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has picked Jason Stanek, a longtime federal civil servant and current Capitol Hill adviser, to serve as the next chairman of the state Public Service Commission, the body that sets utility rates across the state. Stanek is senior counsel to a House of Representatives energy subcommittee. Before that, he worked 16 years for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He replaces Kevin Hughes, who had served as a policy adviser to three Democratic governors before former Gov. Martin O’Malley selected him for a five-year term as commission chairman in 2013. That term ends this month. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Baltimore's Enoch Pratt library named one of 10 'Nicest Places in America' by Reader's Digest

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has been named one of the 10 “Nicest Places in America” by Reader's Digest, a year after two Maryland destinations earned similar honors from the magazine. Nominations for places where “people are kind and treat each other with respect” were crowd-sourced. The winning place will be featured on the cover of Reader’s Digest. "We are so proud of the life-changing, innovative programs at the Pratt Library, like Social Worker in the Library, Lawyer in the Library and the Mobile Job Center,” library President Heidi Daniel said in a statement. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Baltimore City Council rejects Mayor Pugh's proposed rewrite of city charter

The Baltimore City Council has killed almost all of Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s plan to rewrite major sections of the city’s charter after several members said they were not given enough time to consider the proposed changes, including one to expand the mayor’s control over contracts. The council’s action ended a lengthy process that Pugh began in January to form a commission to conduct the first examination of the charter in a quarter of a century. The document functions as the city’s constitution, establishing the powers of the mayor and the council and outlining agency responsibilities. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

City Council to pass fire code change unless agencies move on stalled developments, bike lanes

The Baltimore City Council on Wednesday issued city agencies an ultimatum: make “demonstrable progress” on roughly 20 to 25 stalled developments and a handful of bike lanes by Monday, or the council will strip a section from the fire code that the Fire Department has been citing to hold them up. Following a one-day recess, the council’s judiciary and legislative committee unanimously voted to bring the bill — which would remove certain road width and building access requirements — in front of the full City Council on Monday. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in a field in Maryland. This is what killed them.

The 13 bald eagles were found lifeless on a Maryland farm more than two years ago, many with wings splayed, bodies intact, and talons clenched. Several were too young to have their species’ distinctive white heads. And at least six, according to a federal lab report, had ingested a highly toxic pesticide that essentially has been banned from the U.S. market, in part because it is lethal to birds. The report, obtained by the Annapolis radio station WNAV and shared with The Washington Post, answers one big question in a mysterious wildlife crime that angered conservation organizations and stumped U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators, who were involved because the bald eagle is a federally protected species. (Wash. Post))

Read Full Article

Dozens of immigrant children are being held in Maryland

Immigration agents have sent dozens of children to Maryland since the Trump administration announced it would separate undocumented families at the southwest border, service providers here say. Some of the children, who are mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, are being placed with foster families coordinated by an organization based in Anne Arundel County. Others are being held in dormitories in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, according to people involved in the process. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Alderman Marc Rodriguez, Annapolis attorneys to assist asylum seekers in Texas

Alderman Marc Rodriguez and two Annapolis attorneys will travel to Texas in August to assist asylum seekers being held at an immigration detention center. Rodriguez, alongside local attorneys Polly Peters and Eileen Powers, will make a trip to Dilley, Texas, on Aug. 19 to assist people at the South Texas Family Residential Center, the largest family detention center in the United States. Two translators will also travel with the group. (Capital)

Read Full Article

People are throwing too much garbage in the blue bin — and it's upending the economics of recycling

When Marylanders first started tossing recyclables into the blue bin and setting it out by the curb about a decade ago, only a small percentage of the material ended up in a landfill or incinerator. Now, as much as a third of it gets trashed. Local governments once made money selling off paper, bottles and cans. But this year many around the Baltimore region have started spending taxpayer money on recycling. That’s because a ton of recyclables fetches just a quarter of the price it commanded seven years ago. Recycling experts say the trends are the product of good intentions, but poor education — a phenomenon they call “aspirational” recycling, or “wishcycling.” (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article