By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | July 29, 2014
State regulators on Tuesday rejected rate increases for taxis and ordered all operators to install new credit-card-reading smart meters by the end of the year. The Maryland Public Service Commission said the new meters will bring more predictability and better service to customers hailing cabs in Baltimore city and county, while providing better financial data for use in future rate reviews. The commission cited the lack of reliable data as a major reason for rejecting rate increases.
July 22, 2014
The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its 25th Kids Count data book, measuring the wellbeing of children nationwide across a variety of health, economic, educational and community measures. In some ways, kids are much better off than they were in 1990, when the first book was published, and in some ways they are faring worse. For the good, we can credit a number of wise public policy efforts over the last generation, and for the ill, we can blame macroeconomic and social changes for which we have been unable - or unwilling - to mount a policy response.
July 17, 2014
In disputing Vincent DeMarco's letter ( "Tougher gun laws are helping reduce homicides in Baltimore," July 5) about the positive impact of Maryland's Firearms Safety Act of 2013 in reducing gun violence, Michael Peterson ( "Gun control isn't the reason for declining Baltimore homicides," July 11) ignores the data Mr. DeMarco included in his letter from Professor Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Policy and Research showing that other states that have enacted fingerprint licensing of handgun purchasers tend to have lower gun death rates than similar states.
July 14, 2014
State education officials told us that scores on this year's Maryland School Assessment exams would go down, and that they most certainly did. Schools state-wide embarked last fall on their first full year of instruction tied to the Common Core standards, but the tests this spring were still tied to the old curriculum. The mismatch was such an obvious issue that many, from parents to some candidates for governor, advocated skipping the tests altogether on the grounds that they would be a waste of time and money.
By Luke Broadwater and Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | July 12, 2014
One popular theory of lawyer Marilyn Mosby's upset win over incumbent State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein was that race played a deciding role in the election, helping a political newcomer oust a white prosecutor in a majority-black city. But Baltimore residents voted less along racial lines than they did four years ago when Bernstein knocked off veteran top city prosecutor Patricia Jessamy with overwhelming support in white neighborhoods, a Baltimore Sun analysis shows. An analysis of census data and precinct-by-precinct election results shows that Bernstein's support eroded in South, Southeast and North Baltimore - which contain the heavy-voting, majority-white neighborhoods of Federal Hill, Canton and Roland Park, respectively.
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | June 27, 2014
The state's major education players — from school boards to teachers unions and superintendents — signed a pledge Friday to work together to fine-tune a new teacher evaluation system put in place this school year. The action taken at the state school board meeting came moments after a preliminary vote to approve new regulations that would require 20 percent of a teacher's evaluation to be based on annual goals that take test score data into account for the next two years. Teacher evaluations continue to be a delicate issue because some educators have been critical of the use of test scores to evaluate teachers and believe the new system is being pushed through too quickly with a host of other changes.
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | May 17, 2014
In reconstructing events in a fatal crash on Route 3 in Anne Arundel County, investigators obtained key evidence from a source many people probably don't know even exists: an air bag control module. The obscure part in the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Elizabeth Haley Meyers showed the car came to a full stop before crossing the busy highway in front of a motorcycle that struck the car. That evidence refuted the statement of an eyewitness who told police he saw her texting without slowing down before pulling onto the highway from a shopping center.
By Meredith Cohn | May 6, 2014
Seasonal flu vaccine is only effective if the right virus strains of influenza are included. So the National Institutes of Health are tapping researchers at Johns Hopkins University and four other institutions to find better ways of identifying what's circulating. The result of the effort could be better protection from the flu, which kills thousands annually, and better preparation for an emerging pandemic, researchers said. Hopkins and the other institutions will contribute to NIH's existing Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance with the goal of controlling and lessening the impacts of influenza.
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | April 26, 2014
More than 2,000 Social Security numbers of former Johns Hopkins University graduate students were exposed to potential hackers, the university confirmed Saturday. Hopkins officials discovered on March 19 that the names and Social Security numbers of 2,166 former students were stored on a server that was accessible to the Internet, said Dennis O'Shea, a university spokesman. "Somebody had stashed them on a machine, not realizing that when they did that, the files would be accessible on the Internet," O'Shea said.
By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | April 19, 2014
Having circumnavigated the Americas on his own, Annapolis-based sailor Matt Rutherford has turned his attention to researching plastics' effects on environment Matt Rutherford is more comfortable on water than he is on land. As he sat recently for an interview at the U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Rutherford was clearly eager to get the next expedition for his Ocean Research Project underway. Talk about having cabin fever: Rutherford spent much of the winter cooped up in the same 42-foot steel schooner on which he and marine biologist Nicole Trenholm sailed to the Azores last summer to research the effects plastics have on the North Atlantic Gyre, one of the world's five major ocean current systems.
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