Eastern Shore School Delays, The Columbia Mall Shooting, Speed Cameras, and Gubernatorial Debates
We round up this morning’s Eastern Shore school delays. An update on Saturday’s fatal shooting at the Mall in Columbia. A preview of today’s Baltimore City Council meeting, which will focus on the city’s troubled speed camera system. Also: gubernatorial debates, Obama’s planned PG visit, and O’Malley’s fiscal legacy.
Columbia Mall Shooting: The Mall in Columbia is set to re-open this afternoon. It’s been closed since Saturday, when a gunman shot two people and himself inside a popular skating-apparel store. That store, Zumiez skate shop, will be closed indefinitely. Police have identified the shooter as 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguliar, who had no criminal record. Police say Aguliar had some crude homemade explosives inside his backpack at the time of the shooting. Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon says that the investigation into the shooting is underway, and that it’s unclear whether the gunman had a relationship with the victims. Meanwhile, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman says he'll be on hand when the doors open at 1:00 this afternoon as a show of support to the community. Ulman says mall management has established two memorial spaces inside the mall. Officials with the Howard County School System say that guidance counselors, crisis teams, and support staff will be ready this morning to speak with students about the shooting. There’s more here and here from the Baltimore Sun.
Speed Cameras And The City Council: Baltimore’s troubled speed and red light camera system will be the focus of today’s City Council meeting. The Council held a hearing earlier this month to question Transportation Director William Johnson about how the city terminated its deal with Brekford Corporation, which had run the system. Then last week, the audit of a previous operator – Xerox – was obtained by the Baltimore Sun; that audit is prompting a resolution to be introduced tonight. WYPR Reporter Kenneth Burns talks with Nathan Sterner about tonight’s meeting.
Brown Calls For Debates: Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is calling on the other Democrats in the governor’s race to agree to a series of debates in advance of the June primary election. He sent a letter making that proposal to state Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur. Brown is proposing 5 debates: three for the gubernatorial candidates, and two more for their running mates. A spokesperson for Attorney General Gansler wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the proposal, but tells the Washington Post that Gansler “welcome[s] a number of robust issue-related debates.” Delegate Mizeur is also welcoming debates – but says that Brown’s proposal falls far short of what she would prefer. Mizeur’s campaign manager tells the Post that she’s “prepared to debate every week between now and primary election day.”
Looking At O'Malley's Fiscal Legacy: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun talk about Maryland's fiscal record under Governor O'Malley as he finishes his eight-year tenure in office. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Obama To Visit Prince George’s County: President Obama will soon be coming to Prince George's County, to talk about the themes he’ll deliver in tomorrow night’s State of the Union Address. The Baltimore Sun reports that it’s not yet clear exactly when the president will visit Prince George’s. Obama delivers the State of the Union address tomorrow night a 9… and a program note – you’ll be able to hear it live, here on WYPR.
SSA Relocation Begins: The Social Security Administration will begin to relocate more than 16-hundred employees from its facility on the west-side today. They’re heading to a new building near the Reisterstown Road Plaza Metro Station and leaving behind an eleven-acre facility for which the GSA has no plans. Business owners at nearby Lexington Market are bracing for lighter traffic, especially around lunchtime. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Polar Bear Plunge Postponed: The annual Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park was scheduled for the weekend… but for the first time in the 18-year history of the event, was canceled. Organizers cited a combination of extreme wind that prompted three to five-foot waves in the Bay, frigid temperatures and ice on the beach and in the surf. The Baltimore Sun notes that most of the donations to Special Olympics Maryland have been collected, but an alternate date for the plunge is being considered, however it's not going to be before March.
Expanded Hours For Anne Arundel Libraries: Anne Arundel County’s public library system is expanding its hours this week. Starting today, all libraries in the county will be open from 9am to 9pm Monday through Thursday, and from 9 to 5 on Fridays and Saturdays. The Annapolis Capital notes that two more branches will have Sunday hours – bringing the total to offer that service to 5.