Assembly session comes to a close
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:51

State budget includes several local benefits

by Bill Gates

Minimum-wage earners in Maryland will be getting a raise, while state marijuana users will be getting a break.
    As the General Assembly session ended on Monday, bills passed raising the state minimum wage and decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
    They were two of the biggest issues in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s final session.
    Raising the minimum wage was one of O’Malley’s main goals for the session, while he has reversed an earlier position and said on Monday he will sign the marijuana bill.
    The increase in the minimum wage will be phased in until it reaches $10.10 per hour in 2018.
    Currently $7.25 (the federally-mandated level), the state minimum wage will raise to $8 in January 2015 and increase by 25 cents six months later.
    The next hike, to $8.75, will take place on July 1, 2016, and then increase to $9.25 one year later.
    The $10.10 level will take effect on July 1, 2018.
    The bill also extends from three months to six months the ability for businesses to have a training wage for employees under the age of 21.
    The training wage must be 85 percent of the minimum wage.
  

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Church welcomes its first female pastor
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:42

Albury takes reins at St. Matthew’s UMC

by John G. Bailey

    St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, which will celebrate 114 years of ministry this year, welcomed the Rev. Kay F. Albury as its first female pastor last summer. She replaced the Rev. Dred Scott, who served as pastor for 15 years.
    Albury’s position also makes her the first woman to head any church in Turner Station, a community that grew up with St. Matthew’s.
    “There’s been no real resistance,” [from the church or community to her as a woman of authority], says Albury, and for the veteran pastor, the role of “first female” is not a new one.
    The Miami native earned an English degree from Howard University and a master’s degree in divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta. She was ordained as a deacon in 1979 and as an elder in 1981. 
    In her first assignment in the church, Albury —at the young age of 35 — became the first female assistant pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where she served for two years. This was followed by three consecutive groundbreaking assignments as the first female head pastor at three churches: Ames UMC in Baltimore for 19 years; Brooks UMC in Calvert County for six years; and Asbury-Town Neck UMC in Severna Park for two years.
   

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Norwood students celebrate STEM education
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:35

STREAM Fair features student science projects

by Nicole Rodman

    More than 300 visitors, including students and their families, packed the halls of Norwood STEM Program last Tuesday during the school’s STREAM Fair event.
    The STREAM (science, technology, responsibility, engineering, arts and mathematics) Fair provided students with the opportunity to show family members what they have been working on in their classes.
    The main focus of last week’s event — STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education — was apparent in all of the evening’s activities.
    “We’ve fully embraced STEM,” Kim Ebaugh, Norwood’s STEM resource teacher, explained.
    During the event last week, representatives of the Maryland Science Center were on hand to provide demonstrations of a variety of science concepts — from electricity to DNA extraction.
    Elsewhere in the school, students from every class —from pre-kindergarten to grade three — displayed projects based on the various STEM topics they have been studying this year.
    Norwood’s pre-kindergarten students got into the act by displaying the floating crafts they created out of recycled materials during their study of sinking versus floating.
    Meanwhile, the school’s kindergarteners became junior engineers, creating a variety of structures — including houseboats, townhomes and igloos, out of cereal boxes, egg cartons and other recycled items.
  

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Crandell rallies troops, gets endorsement from Ehrlich
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:39

Former governor gives nod to GOP council hopeful

by Steve Matrazzo

    When you see two men wearing Irish kilts in Greektown, you know it’s not an average day.
    It certainly wasn’t for Todd Crandell. The Republican candidate for County Council held a fundraiser at the Greektown Square and Event Center on Sunday at which attendees were greeted by kilt-clad Dennis McCartney and Bob Crandell (the candidate’s father).
    Their regalia, however, was dwarfed in practical importance by the event itself, which boasted a large turnout and a number of prominent figures in attendance — most notably, former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich, who pressed the flesh and signed copies of his recent book America: Hope for Change at a $100-per-person cocktail party held before the main event, and who — apart from the candidate himself— was the featured speaker at the larger $45-per-ticket fundraiser.
    “This is not only a winnable race — I’m going to put the pressure on Todd — this is a race he should win,” Ehrlich told the nearly 200 people in the hall.
    In a private interview with The Eagle after his remarks, Ehrlich noted that he is “not doing a lot of local [election] stuff,” but that in Crandell’s case, he was “making an exception for ‘family,’” noting his own longstanding ties to the Crandell family and the association he and the council candidate share as fellow alumni of Baltimore’s Gilman School.
    He said it was “easy to make that exception for someone so exceptional,” touting Crandell’s intelligence, community involvement and solid business background.
   

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Pitbull legislation will overturn Solesky case court ruling
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:33

Agreement reached by House and Senate

by Ben Boehl

    The Maryland House of Delegates gave final approval last week to legislation that would overturn the 2012 Court of Appeals ruling in Tracey v. Solesky under which all pit bulls were to be considered “inherently dangerous.”
    The House version of the bill (HB 73) and the Senate version (SB 247) bill would require owners of all dog breeds to be held liable if their dogs cause injury, death or loss.
    Additionally, the legislation would no longer hold landlords responsibility for dog attacks.
    The two bills passed unanimously in the House and Senate in March.
    It was expected that the bills would go to a conference committee to bring them into full agreement on details.
    The 2013 House bill required there be evidence that the dog caused personal injury or death in order for the dog owner to be held responsible, while the Senate bill did not require there be any evidence that the dog caused the personal injury.
   

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