Environmental groups say Conowingo Dam owner can afford to help restore Bay

Exelon Corp. could help restore the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay by changing the way it generates electricity at Conowingo Dam, and still make a “healthy” profit, a pair of environmental groups reported this month. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy released a study they jointly commissioned that finds that the Chicago-based energy company could easily afford to mitigate the impacts Conowingo is having on downriver fish habitat and water quality.

Think tank gives Maryland mixed report card on budget practices

In public debates about the budgetary soundness of state government finances, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing and cloudy media reporting. The legendary former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance in 2013 with the aim of enhancing government responsiveness by improving how governments work. In its report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality? the Volcker Alliance paints a mixed picture for Maryland, and represents an opportunity for the state to make real improvements in areas considered as weaknesses.

Md. public campaign finance fund too small to help multiple candidates for governor

There is enough money in the state public campaign fund for one candidate and one election in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the state campaign finance director. Sen. Rich Madaleno, D-Montgomery, who is running for governor recently claimed it. “You can fully fund one candidate for either the general election or the primary, but not both,” said Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Director Jared DeMarinis of the pending 2018 elections.

Reducing crime in Baltimore, block by block

Confronting the most violent criminals in Baltimore is vital, but the homicides and shootings are only the most extreme expression of a much broader wave of crime gripping the city. To address this broader challenge, Baltimore City and the state of Maryland should begin working together to empower grassroots, citizen-led solutions to crime and violence, tapping into the creativity of our citizenry to implement solutions at the family, block and neighborhood level., writes Nate Loewentheil in this commentary.

Low-income Marylanders benefit from energy efficiency

This past weekend we found out winter is here – and with it comes cold drafts of air in homes and apartments across Maryland. Leaky windows, aging HVAC systems, and poorly insulated buildings will mean too many low-income families can’t keep the warm air in and the cold air out. The good news is Maryland’s Department of Housing & Community Development has a new plan to add energy efficient upgrades in 14,000 homes and apartments for low-income families through 2020. The Public Service Commission can make the program even better.

Md. pays steep price for site with access to the Patuxent River

A one-time mobile home park in such poor condition that many of its dwellings violated livability codes is slated to be transformed into one of Maryland’s newest waterfront parks as well as offices for the Department of Natural Resources. But some are questioning whether the state paid too much for a tract with marginal ecological value that had little chance of ever being developed.

How a wrongly imprisoned Md. man got his life back

Wrongly incarcerated from ages 20 to 59 for a murder he did not commit,Walter Lomax taught himself to read and write, and eventually became editor of the prison’s monthly magazine — “The Conqueror.” “I wasn’t politically connected,” Lomax said. “My family didn’t have any funds, and so I realized the only way I was going to get out of prison was: I was going to get myself out of prison.”

Big pay hikes for teachers proposed, along with a career ladder

Big increases in teacher salaries along with the creation of statewide career ladder that would put teachers in line with other “high-status professions” are among the key recommendations a statewide commission on school funding will make to the legislature this year. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, charged with looking at a wide range of education issues, will also recommend teams of teachers be given greater autonomy and spend less time in the classroom and more time collaborating on teaching strategies.