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Police Respond To Baltimore Shootings, O’Malley Backs Later Start To School Year, and Baltimore School Lunch Prices Rise

Baltimore Shootings: a recent spate of shootings in Baltimore has prompted Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to take an extra step to keep the streets safe. She tells WJZ that police have deployed 150 more officers who will be in place at least until tomorrow. Rawlings Blake says that city police will also get help from the sheriff's office, school police, MTA and Maryland State Police. Meanwhile, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says residents may be wondering when officials will consider some sort of “Plan B” to curb the violence. Fraser comments in his weekly essay.

Dwyer’s Drunk Driving Arrest: The co-chair of Maryland's legislative ethics panel is speaking out about Delegate Don Dwyer’s recent drunk driving arrest. Delegate Brian McHale tells the Washington Post the new charge is part of a “very regrettable” set of events. McHale says the ethics committee will let the legal process play out before initiating any possible review of Dwyer's conduct. He also says that Dwyer has to make some very important personal decisions in the near future. 

Scott Leads In Race To Replace Pipkin: Former state GOP chair Audrey Scott has won the votes of two out of the four Republican Central Committes that are tasked to submit candidates for replacing State Senator E. J. Pipkin. One committee has yet to vote. Marylandreporter.com has more here, and there's more here from the Chestertown Spy.

More Students Return To School: Cecil County’s public schools open today for students in 1st through 12th grade; the county’s kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs start up next week. Three other school systems in the listening area opened earlier this week – those in Frederick, Prince George’s and Washington Counties.

O’Malley Backs Later Schools Start: The rest of Maryland’s public schools will open their doors next week… but then they’ll have to take a day off for Labor Day. And a call for the state’s schools to stay closed until after the holiday has won the tentative support of Governor Martin O’Malley. At yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Public Works, O’Malley said that he hopes a task force studying the proposal will support it. A later start has long been backed by Comptroller Peter Franchot… as well as lawmakers on the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland; they’re looking for a boost in tourism dollars in their jurisdictions, and say that the early returns mean many families don't get to complete their summer vacations. A spokesperson for Governor O’Malley tells the Baltimore Sun that his backing of a post-Labor Day return is based on the importance of the tourism industry to Maryland’s economy. 

School Lunch Prices Going Up In Baltimore: When Baltimore’s school year gets underway, kids will be paying more for school lunches. The price will now be three dollars… that’s up 35 cents for high schools and 65-cents for middle and elementary schools. It’s the fourth hike in lunch prices in seven years. The Baltimore Sun reports that the 3 dollar price tag makes lunches in City Schools among the most expensive among the nation’s large urban school districts. However, lunches will be free for low income students. The district says it hopes that the plan will increase the number of people taking part in the school lunch program and help it provide better food. 

Online Payments For PG School Lunches: In Prince George’s County, kids can now pay for their school lunches online. The school system tells the Baltimore Sun that the program will let parents pay upfront for their kids meals and keep track of students’ spending.

AC In Baltimore County Schools: More than half of the buildings in the Baltimore County school system didn’t have air conditioning just two and a half years ago. The County’s made strides to change that in the interim – putting AC in more than 40 buildings… and now it’s getting more money to make additional upgrades. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Board of Public Works yesterday approved nearly 12 million dollars to install air conditioning in 5 buildings. And Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is calling on the County Council to approve more than 17 million dollars to bring AC to five more. If all the funds are approved, and the installations complete, only 23 percent of the county’s school buildings will be without AC. 

Expanded Goals For MBE Program: Maryland is expanding its Minority Business Enterprise program. The Governor’s office of Minority Affairs announced yesterday that the MBE program will now work to have 29 percent of state contracts going to minority and women-owned businesses. The previous participation goal had been 25 percent. The new goal will be in place for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.

Expanded Hours For Baltimore County Libraries: Public libraries in Baltimore County are expanding their hours. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is set to announce today that all County libraries will be open on Sundays year-round. The County says that its Loch Raven branch will now be open the same full-time hours throughout the week that the system’s other branches are.

LEDs For SHA Traffic Signal Lights: The State Highway Administration is making changes to the state’s traffic signal lights… switching out the old bulbs with LEDs. The SHA says that it has converted 93% of its three-thousand traffic signal lights so far, and expects that all the lights will be replaced by winter. SHA officials say the switch to LED lights will save up to 43-million kilowatt hours by 2015 -- that's enough energy to power about 45-hundred homes for an entire year.

Wells Fargo Layoffs Not To Affect Baltimore: Wells Fargo is laying off more than 23-hundred workers… but the mortgage lender says the move won’t affect operations in the Baltimore area. Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in the Baltimore area; its spokesman tells the Baltimore Business Journal that the reductions are coming primarily in cities with large mortgage operations. The layoffs will cost Wells Fargo’s Frederick operations one employee. 

Big Bull Sharks In Southern Maryland: A pair of large bull sharks were caught off the coast of Point Lookout in St. Mary's County. Southern Maryland News reports the sharks were caught on Tuesday near Point Lookout State Park, a popular swimming area. They each weighed in at about 220 pounds and measured around eight feet long.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles won yesterday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays; the score was 4 to 2. The O’s take today off; tomorrow, they’ll begin a three-game series with the Oakland As.

Baltimore Football: the Ravens take on the Carolina Panthers. It’s the third game of the preseason; the Ravens have won their first two. Tonight’s game starts at 7:30 at M&T bank stadium.




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