The Week That Was

November 05, 2006

Governor's race a dead heat

Less than a week before Election Day, the Maryland governor's race was a dead heat, as Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s attacks on Mayor Martin O'Malley's record on crime and schools have apparently eroded the Democrat's support in the Baltimore suburbs, a new poll showed.

Court rules for public review

Maryland's highest court ruled that the agency overseeing Baltimore's economic development must open its meetings and its paperwork for public review. The court rejected city arguments that the Baltimore Development Corp. was a private corporation and that its closed-door meetings were legal and crucial to the agency's work.

Cardin, Steele debate

Maryland Senate candidates Benjamin L. Cardin and Michael S. Steele presented starkly opposing positions on the Iraq war, embryonic stem cell research, abortion and judicial nominations during a nationally televised debate on NBC's Meet the Press. According to a new Sun poll, Democrat Cardin's edge over Republican Steele has narrowed.

Record for absentee ballots

A record number of voters -- more than 188,000 -- have requested absentee ballots for the election, state officials said after the deadline for mailed applications passed.

Hopkins suspends fraternity

Johns Hopkins University administrators suspended Sigma Chi fraternity after a "Halloween in the Hood" party that included a skeleton pirate dangling from a noose. In addition, students and faculty members will receive more diversity training and the history of racism will be incorporated in the curriculum and workshops.

Prison overtime pay rises

The state spent more than $28 million on overtime last year to staff its troubled prisons -- nearly twice as much as the year before -- because officials can't find people willing to work in institutions racked by, records show.

CareFirst's CEO to step down

William L. Jews, who transformed the teetering Blues plan into a regional insurer and then ignited a dispute when he tried to sell the company, will step down as chief executive of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield at the end of the year.

Tax break for those over 70

The Howard County Council unanimously approved what may be Maryland's most generous property tax cut for homeowners ages 70 and older. Qualified residents would see their tax bill reduced by 25 percent and then frozen until their house is sold.

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