September 21, 2012
A five-month stretch of job losses in Maryland ended in August with a small gain, too meager to keep the state's unemployment rate from ticking up to 7.1 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday. And some economists said even the apparent job increase in August looks suspect. The labor agency, which measured losses in most major industries and both federal and state employment that month, estimated a 1,400-job gain overall as a result of a 6,700-job increase in local government.
July 24, 2012
With time growing short to call a special General Assembly session on gambling legislation, House Speaker Michael E. Busch plans to huddle with his leadership team Wednesday as top Democrats assess whether there are enough votes to justify calling lawmakers back to Annapolis. Interviews with leading legislators suggest that Busch faces an uphill climb in trying to build a majority to back a measure that would allow a casino in Prince George's County and open the state to table games such as poker and craps.
July 16, 2012
The Chicago Bears' Matt Forte and the Ravens' Ray Rice were linked as two Pro Bowl-caliber running backs given the franchise tag by their respective teams. But the Bears just made sure that Forte won't have to play the upcoming season with that tag. The Ravens have less than three hours to make sure that Rice can say the same thing. The Chicago Tribune first reported today that Forte had agreed to a long-term extension with Forte, who has rushed for 4,233 yards and 21 touchdowns in four seasons with the Bears.
May 29, 2012
Hundreds of Baltimore-area families have volunteered for a government study to spray their suburban yards with pesticide, which researchers hope can protect them from Lyme disease but that environmentalists warn is unsafe. The goal, federal and state health officials say, is to find a new way to prevent the widespread illness, which is spread by tick bites and can cause fever, headaches and fatigue — and, if untreated, may even affect joints, nerves and the heart. Half of the 185 families who've signed up this year in Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties are having the edges of their yards sprayed with bifenthrin, a chemical pesticide commonly applied around homes to fight ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
May 22, 2012
As if robocalls didn't have a bad enough reputation in the world of Baltimore media and politics thanks to consultant Julius Henson's activity in the last gubernatorial election, along comes WBFF (Channel 45) Monday night with its own questionable computer-generated calls into hundreds of thousands on Maryland homes. And the calls continued Tuesday. I received one at my home in Baltimore City both days. Raquel Guillory, director of communications for Gov. Martin O'Malley, also received one at home in Howard County Monday night around dinnertime.
May 16, 2012
These days, the seconds no more tick away than the hours slip through the narrow part of an hourglass, but as the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, there's ever more reason to spend more time outside and that time is marked by different kinds of ticks. Yes, the tick tock of the clock has been largely replaced by the silence of a digital display, but no matter how much time passes, ticks continue to loom large over time spent enjoying the wild places. Years ago when I was a kid, the main reason to worry about ticks was an infection called Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which has a cool name, even though I'm fairly certain it's as unpleasant as any fever.