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Maryland

Baltimore Shootings, MD’s Contributory Negligence Law, Harbor Point, and School Leadership

Baltimore saw six more shootings yesterday, at least one of them fatal; since the beginning of the summer, nearly 50 people have been shot in the city. Maryland’s highest court has upheld the state's contributory negligence law; that means that plaintiffs who are found in any way responsible for an accident will continue to be prevented from collecting damages in lawsuits. Plus: school leadership news – Baltimore schools pick a company to search for new CEO, Anne Arundel schools set deadline for selection of interim superintendent, PG schools approve contract for their new CEO. Also: the Harbor Point development, stormwater fees, holiday tourism in Ocean City, and the Frederick area named the most secure metropolitan area in the nation.

Baltimore Shootings Continue: Baltimore City police are investigating after six people were shot yesterday – at least one fatally. The shootings occurred in two different incidents, and as WJZ reports police are asking the community to help solve the cases. The Baltimore Sun notes that nearly 50 people have been shot in the city since summer began. Overall, homicides in Baltimore are up 11 percent this year, with non-fatal shootings up 16 percent.

Changes To Baltimore Command Staff: City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has promoted 15 commanders and has put new people in charge of four patrol districts and investigative units. The Commissioner tells the Baltimore Sun that this concludes a restructuring of the department that began last year when he was hired.

MD’s Contributory Negligence Law Upheld: Maryland's highest court has upheld the state's contributory negligence law; the decision means that plaintiffs who are found in any way responsible for an accident will continue to be prevented from collecting damages in lawsuits. That’s not the way it works in most of the country – the Baltimore Sun reports that in 46 states, juries can apportion fault to all parties involved in negligence cases. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals said that any change to the state’s contributory negligence law should be made by the General Assembly rather than by the courts.

Harbor Point Development: The developers of the controversial Harbor Point project in Southeast Baltimore could save millions of dollars in property taxes, based on its location in an “Enterprise Zone.” City Councilman Carl Stokes thinks that money should go to benefit the residents of a nearby public housing project and has offered a resolution to that effect. A city council committee has scheduled a hearing on the resolution tonight. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns has the story.

Stormwater Fees: Baltimore City and nine Maryland counties are required to impose “stormwater management fees” this year. The bills have begun going out in Baltimore County… where some business owners say the fees haven’t been properly calculated. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the County determined its fees for businesses based on aerial photographs – charging them based on the amount of so-called “impervious surfaces” on their properties, surfaces like roofs and parking lots. But some surfaces that appear to be impervious from the sky are not… and businesses are speaking out against the fees, and calling for a repeal of them. Baltimore City will start sending out stormwater fee invoices in the fall.

Judge Bell's Legacy: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Steve Lash of the Daily Record talk about the career of former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, and what he might do now that he is retired. It's today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics.

Baltimore Schools Search For New CEO: Baltimore City’s school board has picked the Iowa-based “Ray And Associates” to search for the schools next CEO; the Baltimore Sun reports that the contract is worth about $47-thousand. The city’s school system is currently being led by interim CEO Tisha Edwards; she took over when former CEO Andres Alonso left earlier this year.

Anne Arundel Schools Search For Interim Superintendent: The Anne Arundel County School Board held a third behind-closed-doors meeting yesterday as members work to find an interim superintendent; the Capital Gazette reports that the Board has given itself a deadline to make a decision: the end of this month. Many people have contacted the Board to say they’d be glad to do the job; yesterday, former Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens told the Baltimore Sun that she’s sent a letter to the Board expressing her interest in the post.

PG Schools Approve Contract For New CEO: The Prince George's County Board of Education has approved a four-year contract for Kevin Maxwell to lead the county's public school system. The Washington Post reports that the board voted eleven to zero yesterday on the 290-thousand dollar per-year contract. Until recently, Maxwell was the superintendent of the Anne Arundel County school system.

Coppin State President Search Delayed: The state Board of Regents is pushing back the search for a permanent president of Coppin State University until 2015. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the board yesterday announced a two-year contract for interim school president Mortimer Neufville, allowing him to move forward with sweeping changes at the school.

Hospital Spending On Community Benefit Programs: Maryland’s hospitals are putting up more money for community benefit programs and services; $1.4 billion in the last fiscal year, compared to $1.2 billion the year before. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, community benefit programs include training for doctors and medical professionals… as well as uncompensated care such as medical costs for patients who can’t pay.

Grand Prix Partners With Kona Grill: The Grand Prix of Baltimore has announced a partnership with Kona Grill, which will have the restaurant create a special club during this year’s three-day street race. Kona Grill is located along the 2-mile course; the Baltimore Business Journal reports that the deal will have the restaurant offering street racing fans special access and reserved seats. The Grand Prix of Baltimore will run for its third year over the Labor Day weekend, between August 30th and September 1st.

Frederick A Safe Place To Live: Maryland is home to one of the safest places to live in the country, at least according to Farmers Insurance Group. That place is Frederick. Specifically, the Frederick-Gaithersburg-Bethesda area; it’s been listed as the most secure metropolitan area in the nation with a population of half a million or more. The Frederick News Post reports that low unemployment, low personal crime rates, and long life-expectancy rates contributed to the rating.

Holiday Tourism At Ocean City: Fewer tourists visited Ocean City during the Fourth of July weekend; the Baltimore Sun reports that the resort town’s population was down more than 2 percent during the four day period. Tourism was up on the Fourth itself, by about 1.5 percent. Ocean City calculates its population by “Demoflush” – basically, determining the resort town’s numbers by how many flushes the town’s toilets make.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles dropped a second game in a row to the Texas Rangers yesterday; the score was 8 to 4. The O’s look to turn this series around tonight; first pitch is set for 7:05 at Camden Yards.