By George W. Liebmann | February 19, 2014
The state pension system is Maryland's financial Achilles heel and has been for decades. All bond rating services have noted that rising pension debt endangers the state's AAA bond rating, and the Pew Center on the States rates Maryland as among the most under-funded states. The pension board is a semi-professional board made up of 15 people, a third of whom have investment expertise. It is presided over by the state treasurer, who is elected by the General Assembly. Traditionally, state treasurers were boring but capable bankers.
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | February 12, 2014
Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr. will retire as Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s president and CEO at the end of the month, after nearly a decade at the helm of Maryland's largest gas and electric utility. His retirement, announced Wednesday, will be effective Feb. 28, BGE said. A pair of BGE officials will assume his roles. Calvin G. Butler Jr., BGE's senior vice president of regulatory and external affairs, will become the company's CEO. Stephen J. Woerner, BGE's senior vice president and chief operating officer, will become BGE's president while remaining in the COO position as well.
By Chris Kaltenbach The Baltimore Sun | February 7, 2014
And as they wind down a successful run of one of their most ambitious projects yet - "Unscripted," which takes impromptu sketch comedy to another level by putting on entirely impromptu plays that can last upward of 90 minutes - BIG is showing no signs of slowing down. "Improv is one of the best creative outlets I've ever had," says Heather Moyer, a founding member of the group and the only one who was there at the beginning and still performing. "I love hearing the audience laugh.
By Mike Klingaman and The Baltimore Sun | January 31, 2014
As a kid, Terry McAulay watched football games on TV and practiced the moves he saw - not the spins and jukes of the players, but the gestures and actions of the officials. Hands on hips? Offside. Arms folded? Delay of game. At age 9, McAulay knew them all. "Terry would sit there for hours, mimicking every signal that the referees used," said Dene McAulay, his mother. "We marveled at [the pantomime]. He never said a word, he just did it. " Some day, he told his family, he would referee the Super Bowl . Sunday, McAulay will do that for the third time when the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks meet in Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J. It's the highest honor for an NFL official and a tribute that doesn't surprise high school coaches in the Baltimore area who dealt with McAulay, of Howard County, in his early years as an arbiter.
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | January 29, 2014
Jeff Lill is a popular man lately, as captain of the J.C. Widener, one of the state's few ice breakers. After leaving its Annapolis harbor at 8:30 Wednesday morning, the Widener spent the day criss-crossing the waters off Anne Arundel County - beckoned for help from the creeks of the Severn River to government research buoys in the Chesapeake Bay. It cleared paths for a sea trial from an Annapolis marina, a waterman in search of rockfish on the...
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | January 15, 2014
What's 6,000 mathematicians, multiplied by 2,500 talks, divided over four days? The nation's largest gathering devoted to the science - and art - of math. The annual Joint Mathematics Meetings is gathering in Baltimore this week for the first time in a decade. Running through Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center, it is organized by the country's two major professional groups for mathematicians and includes smaller meetings of other mathematical societies. Attendees come from as far as Korea, Brazil and Iran.
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | January 8, 2014
New technology that could stop or slow a train before an accident - reducing the likelihood of operator errors becoming deadly - will be installed on all MARC trains. The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $13 million contract on Wednesday to begin installing "positive train control" equipment, which uses GPS and radio signaling to react automatically if a collision or derailment is anticipated. Such a system might have prevented the December derailment of a New York passenger train that came off the tracks as it sped too fast into a turn, killing four and injuring more than 70. It would have prevented the 1996 collision between a MARC train and an Amtrak train in Silver Spring that killed 11 people, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates all major rail accidents.
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | January 7, 2014
Tuesday was Baltimore's coldest day in 18 years, with temperatures cold enough to shatter two records, strain the region's electricity supply, fill homeless shelters and even render fire hydrants near a South Baltimore blaze useless. The air temperature plummeted to 3 degrees with wind chills of 16 degrees below zero in the early morning at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, five degrees below a record set in 1988. The airport reached only 16 degrees in the afternoon, six degrees lower than a record dating to 1996, and with wind chills only as high as the single digits.
By Cal Thomas | January 4, 2014
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a "war on poverty. " Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government "benefits," robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war. In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population. The lack of government programs did not cause poverty, and spending vast sums of money has not eliminated it. A policy analysis by the Cato Institutefound that federal and state anti-poverty programs have cost $15 trillion over the last five decades but have had little effect on the number of people living in poverty.
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | January 2, 2014
While gun violence drove Baltimore's homicide numbers up last year, the number of children shot and killed in the city dropped to the lowest level in at least a decade. Three children under 18 were shot and killed in 2013, down from five the year before, to continue a five-year decline. From 2006 to 2008, the death count reached 20 or more each year. Twenty-three youths were shot and wounded in 2013, down from a recent high of 89 in 2008. Total youth killings - including those not involving guns - also fell slightly, from 11 to 10. Advocates for youth called those declines an encouraging sign in a year in which the city's streets turned more deadly.
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