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Sandy Recovery, Water Main Breaks, Early Voting, and "Question 4"
November 2, 2012
Travel along the Eastern Seaboard remains difficult, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Slowly but surely, however, things are starting to improve. Amtrak trains will roll into New York today. Acela Express and Northeast Regional train service resumes for the first time since Monday. Amtrak says both lines will run on a modified schedule and warns that riders could experience delays (via our wire service).
More than 99 percent of the Baltimore Gas and Electric customers who lost power during Sandy have it back -- but as of 7:45am, around 32-hundred outages remain, with more than half of them in Baltimore County. BGE says the vast majority of its customers will have their lights back on tonight, but warns some scattered outages may extend into the weekend.
Maryland storm victims are being warned scammers are using Hurricane Sandy as a way of tricking people out of money online. The Symantec cyber security company is seeing a spike in spam messages that are using the words "hurricane," "Sandy," and "superstorm." Some of them offer loans, while others say you can help Sandy victims. If you want to help you're urged to donate to the Red Cross or another legitimate agency.
Crews from the Department of Public Works are hard at work repairing two water main breaks in Northeast Baltimore. A DPW spokeswoman says that aging infrastructure is to blame for the breaks -- and they're not related to damage done by Hurricane Sandy. Baltimore's Guilford Elementary/Middle School is closed today because of the water main break. Staff are being asked to report as usual.
Today is the final day of early voting and Maryland. So far, more than 323-thousand early votes have been cast, representing the ballots of nearly 9 percent of registered voters, and setting a record high for early voting in Maryland. The state's early voting centers will be open today from 8am to 9pm (more here from the Baltimore Sun). You can find the locations of Maryland's early voting centers here.
When Marylanders cast their ballots this year, they'll answer "Question 4," often referred to as The Dream Act or the in-state tuition act. It would extend in-state tuition benefits at Maryland’s public colleges and universities to some undocumented immigrants. The issue has fueled emotions on both sides of the debate. But as WYPR’s Mary Rose Madden reports, there seem to be underlying questions.
The Baltimore Fire Department is implementing a new social media policy that some say is unconstitutional (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Baltimore is installing Wi-Fi at its six public markets. It was turned on at the historic Lexington Market last night. Officials say the Avenue, Broadway, Cross Street, Hollins and Northeast markets will all be equipped with Internet by the end of the year (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Synthetic marijuana substances -- frequently marketed as Spice or Scooby Snax potpourri -- are now illegal in the City of Frederick. Possession or sale of the substances is now a criminal misdemeanor -- punishable by a maximum fine of 1-thousand dollars and 90 days in jail (via the Frederick News Post).
Frederick County's getting rid of its "local admissions and amusement tax." Yesterday, the Board of County Commissioners voted to eliminate the 5 percent tax that affects everything from movie ticket sales to golf cart rentals (via the Frederick News Post and the Gazette).
It's deer mating season -- and that means danger on the roads. November is the month in which drivers are mostly likely to hit a deer. A study from State Farm Insurance says that 1 out of every 115 Maryland motorists is likely to collide with a deer in any given year (via the Frederick News Post).
And in sports: the Ravens have an away game on Sunday... they're set to take on the Cleveland Browns.
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