Democrat Ball promises a positive campaign to unseat Howard County Executive Kittleman

Democrat Calvin Ball, an 11-year-veteran of the Howard County Council, on Thursday night announced his long-expected bid for county executive, hoping to defeat incumbent Republican Allan Kittleman who is seeking a second term. Joined by most of the elected Democrats in the county and a crowd of more than 200 in Columbia’s Kahler Hall, Ball promised an election that focused on “unity, hope, civility and our very best selves,” without “a barrage of personal attacks.”

MarylandReporter.com launches News Match campaign on 8th birthday

This week, as it celebrates its 8th birthday, MarylandReporter.com launches its participation in News Match 2017, a $3 million collaboration between Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to support nonprofit news organizations. MarylandReporter.com is one of more than 100 U.S. nonprofit news organizations eligible to receive up to $28,000 each in matching funding for all individual donations up to $1,000 received by Dec. 31.

Wrong on school funding, showing the folly of predictions

Suddenly last week, Chairman Brit Kirwan said the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline established for recommending new school funding formulas. Last year’s prediction of a broad and contentious debate about how to dole out state aid for education this coming session was off by at least a year.

Kirwan Commission won’t finish school funding recommendations this year

The commission charged with revising state school funding formulas will not be able to finish its work by its Dec. 31 deadline, commission chair Brit Kirwan told the panel Wednesday. “It will take more time to do our work completely and accurately,” said Kirwan, the former university system chancellor. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is trying to reach consensus on major changes on how the state and local governments should spend the largest single slice of state and local budgets.

Democrats running for governor rarely mention Martin O’Malley

Six Democrats running for governor used Larry Hogan as a reliable punching bag at a Saturday forum, pounding away at the current Republican governor in front of an auditorium filled with progressive Montgomery County Democrats. But prominently mentioned only once during the two-hour face off was the two-term Democrat whom Hogan replaced and whose policies the candidates largely agreed with — Martin O’Malley.

Kirwan education commission hashing out recommendations, including universal pre-kindergarten

The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education on Thursday will continue hashing out its recommendations for improving Maryland public schools and revising the funding formulas to pay for them — such as a proposal for universal pre-kindergarten. The commission, chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, will cap off the day with a long public hearing that has 60 people signed up to testify in Baltimore.

Fish already returning to Patapsco as work begins to take down dam

 Bloede Dam should be gone by the spring of 2019. And, biologists shouldn’t have long to wait to see some action. Sampling surveys conducted in the Patapsco River below the dam have collected hundreds of alewife and blueback herring returning each spring as well as a similar number of juveniles later in the year — an indication of successful spawning.

Howard County’s interim superintendent puts mark on school system

There’s a reason the local school superintendent is the highest paid local official in Maryland’s counties. It’s the toughest job in the county, heading the institutions where taxpayers spend the most money and that touch the most lives. The fierce competition for the top talent also drives up the salaries, and the average superintendent of large urban and suburban school system lasts only about four years in the job.