WEEK IN REVIEW
Candidates Swap Scorn in TV DebatesBaltimore Crime, Schools Dominate Exchanges
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley traded scathing assessments of each other's records during a pair of debates in which both did little to hide their mutual disdain.
Ehrlich (R) accused his Democratic rival of neglecting Baltimore's low-performing schools, of unlawfully arresting thousands of its citizens and of practicing a "leadership style of whining and blaming others for your failures." O'Malley argued that there are "two Bob Ehrlichs," one who, during an election year, touts tax cuts, investments in education and a commitment to the environment, and another whose record of governing is starkly different.
The first -- and probably last -- set of televised debates before the Nov. 7 election came amid a bruising contest between two of Maryland's best-known politicians that has played out largely through television advertising, much of it negative.
Flu-Shot Delays Spark ShortagesPromise of a Record Supply Quickly Tarnished
Barely two weeks into flu-shot season, the promise of a record supply of vaccine is being tarnished by shipment delays that caused sporadic shortages and forced some doctors to postpone clinics or vaccinate only high-risk patients. About 26 million doses were distributed across the country in September, and federal officials expected that three times that many would be on their way by the end of this month. Immunizations at grocery and drug store chains are proceeding with few apparent difficulties, but physicians who can't meet demand are questioning the stability and fairness of distribution.
School in Turmoil Over Color-Coded IDsPolicy Divides 3,000-Student Campus, Some Say
Students at Montgomery County's largest high school are in an uproar over a new policy that requires them to wear color-coded IDs, including black for seniors, white for magnet students and a particularly loud shade of yellow for students of limited English proficiency. Montgomery Blair High School has been thrown into a state of rhetorical turmoil over the new IDs, issued in 11 colors to denote various smaller learning "academies" within the 3,000-student campus. The new policy "tags us like dogs," wrote Breton Sheridan, a junior, in one of hundreds of postings to various school Web sites.
Health-Care Group Revives Hospital PlanObjections Delay Approval of the Bowie Facility
Dimensions Healthcare System, the financially strapped company that runs Prince George's Hospital Center, is seeking state approval to build a 100-bed hospital in Bowie. The Maryland Health Care Commission postponed action on the proposal Thursday when two nearby hospitals, Lanham's Doctors Community Hospital and Anne Arundel Medical Center, raised objections to the proposal. Dimensions' request comes as an oversight committee of state and local officials searches for a nonprofit medical system to take over the company, which has operated the county-owned hospital in Cheverly with major deficits for years.
FBI Probes Possible Theft of SoftwareEx-Md. Delegate Received Disks Anonymously
The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems. Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her Thursday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone.
Region Tops Out-of-County Commute ListNational Report Highlights Maryland, Virginia
Washington area workers are more likely to travel to jobs outside their home counties than commuters in any region in the nation, according to a new study by the Transportation Research Board.