INCLUDES TWO INTERACTIVE GRAPHICS
By Annika McGinnis, Capital News Service (Feb. 11, 2015)
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s fifth casino, Horseshoe, debuted in Baltimore in August under a flurry of bells, whistles, and high expectations that it would create jobs, raise education funds and revitalize the state’s struggling economy.
But as initial revenues on the low end of projections are spurring debate about the casino’s financial potential, disputes are also brewing in impoverished Baltimore neighborhoods over who should pay for the infrastructure improvements and police and fire needs that have spiked with the casino’s opening.
The casino, plopped right in the middle of impoverished South Baltimore, was supposed to inject new life into “historically ignored” communities mired with high crime and unemployment rates, poor health and lackluster housing.
The 5.5 percent of casino slots funds designated for “local impact” were expected to go toward boosting lagging communities — building local businesses and career centers, empowering youth, beautifying parks and bringing in healthy, fresh food to areas overrun with corner stores.
But 78 percent of this year’s “impact” funding from Horseshoe — $5.5 million out of $7 million — will most likely go to mitigating casino needs, including increased police and emergency medical services, traffic enforcement, sanitation, security cameras and road work, according to the mayor’s proposed budget.
INCLUDES PHOTOS AND AUDIO SLIDESHOW
By Annika McGinnis, Capital News Service (Feb. 26, 2015)
ANNAPOLIS — In July, she came on foot and by bus, traversing thousands of miles on a harrowing month-long journey through Mexico to the United States.
She had hoped to come legally — but, threatened by gangs in El Salvador, 18-year-old Yanci said she was forced to flee.
Now a student at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Yanci is one of thousands of Central American “unaccompanied minors” finding a new home in Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Since August, most of the minors who came to Maryland over the summer — often to escape gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — moved into the two jurisdictions.
As alarm over the influx quieted in September when numbers slowed, school systems took up the challenge of educating the non-English-speaking, often-traumatized youth.
CNS is withholding students’ last names in this story due to privacy concerns and school confidentiality codes.
Maryland received 3,301 minors by Sept. 30 — the sixth-most nationwide — and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties took in more than 2,000, U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement statistics show.
Most moved in with friends or family in longstanding Central American immigrant enclaves that are battling poverty, low education rates and gangs.
School enrollment is required to maintain immigration status. In Prince George’s County schools, more “unaccompanied or homeless youth” registered through November of this school year than all of the last school year. In one year, Montgomery County saw a two- to three-fold increase in the number of Central American students.
The dramatic spike has strained school resources, causing program waitlists, bigger classes and longer hours — and schools say they need more staff, mental health services and parent outreach to tackle the group’s challenges.
By CNS Staff
Capital News Service
Capital News Service reporters will be reporting live from election night parties as the votes are counted.
Hogan Supporters Surprised at Upset Victory over Brown
By Annika McGinnis, Capital News Service (Nov. 5, 2014)
ANNAPOLIS — Republican gubernatorial candidate and business owner Larry Hogan Jr. trumped his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Tuesday night in a race that reflected a national and statewide disillusionment with Democratic leaders.
At the Westin hotel in downtown Annapolis, Hogan told a crowd of cheering supporters that “tonight, real change has come to Maryland.”
“We have sent a clear message to Annapolis,” he said. “This race was never a fight between Republicans and Democrats. … It was a fight for Maryland’s future.”
INCLUDES PHOTOS & SIDEBAR
By Annika McGinnis, Capital News Service (Oct. 15, 2014)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – More signs are in Spanish than English on a stretch of Wheaton’s Georgia Avenue, a road lined with “lavanderias,” Latin American grocery stores and the Guatemalan fast food chain Pollo Campero.
Down the road, at noon on Oct. 4 in the Wheaton Regional Library, “Inscribase para voter” – register to vote – was written on a poster on Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s table. By 12:30 p.m., the Montgomery County Democrat, 11-year delegate and first Latina member of the state legislature had enrolled five new voters, including several new citizens.
Though small, the grassroots push showed the slow but steady increase in minority political participation across Maryland. It parallels the state’s Hispanic and African-American populations’ increase over the past decade.
Despite an increase in minority candidates running for seats in the state legislature, diversity in the General Assembly will still likely not keep pace with these changing demographics – due partly to map redistricting that some minority lawmakers and political groups said clumps together or slices across minority populations to keep Democratic incumbents in power.
By Annika McGinnis, Capital News Service (Sept. 16, 2014)
ANNAPOLIS — Five physicians are running for seats in the Maryland General Assembly this year, a spike in doctor interest in political service that the candidates say coincides with rising state regulation over health.
About a year after Maryland’s troubled rollout of its Affordable Care Act individual exchange website and in a time when health care is dominating the nation’s conversation, the physicians are running to have more of a direct role in forming the decisions they said are affecting their patients and practices.