In the Media: Md. Investigates 'Invalid' Lead Paint Certificates; NBA Star Opens Store in Waverly
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From the Baltimore Sun: Maryland Launches Investigation into ‘Invalid’ Lead-Paint Certificates
"State officials are urging nearly 400 families to find out whether their children may have lead poisoning after launching an investigation of a private inspector who they say improperly certified rental properties as lead-free.
"The Maryland Department of the Environment said it is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the investigation of an unnamed individual involved in 384 inspections in Maryland, including Baltimore and its suburbs. The investigation was launched after officials determined that seven properties certified as lead-free actually had lead paint or weren't properly tested, the agency said.
"The remaining properties with certificates issued by the inspector are now under review.
"Flaking or peeling paint is a primary source of poisoning for children, who studies have found are more likely to struggle in school and to get in trouble, both as juveniles and adults. Under state law, properties built before 1978, when lead paint was banned nationally, must be inspected and certified as safe before they can be rented.
"The investigation began when state officials received a complaint concerning the validity of a lead-free certificate issued by the inspector, who performed work for American Homeowner Services LLC, based in Lusby in Southern Maryland. State officials said they determined the certificate was invalid — and then discovered six more of the inspector's certificates were also invalid."
From City Paper: Local NBA Star Will Barton Opens Protect the Family Clothing Store in Waverly
"It was the grand opening of the Protect The Family clothing store, and already the Greenmount Avenue storefront in Waverly was packed, filled with the friends and family of homegrown NBA star Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets.
"Barton, a product of Lake Clifton, and co-owner Xavier Harper were receiving certificates from the Office of the Register of the Wills recognizing the store's opening and the establishment of the clothing line that puts forth a positive message.
"A portion of the proceeds from the clothes will go to a foundation Barton is setting up that will mentor city youth, develop after-school programs, and work with single-parent homes.
"The store itself will also 'give the kids somewhere they can come hang out a little bit, come get some gear, and just talk basketball or life—anything,' Barton said.
"'Anything positive is going to help," he continued. 'I just try to do anything I can to be a vessel, and a good vessel for the city.'
"And that means Barton himself could be manning the shop when the NBA season is over."
From the AFRO American and WEAA's Sean Yoes: Felon Voting Law Could Be Political Game Changer
"Over the years I’ve known dozens of Black men and a few Black women who have done a bid (been incarcerated) in the Maryland prison system (the official name is the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services). Add the people I’ve known who have been on probation with no real jail time and I suspect the number may be in the hundreds.
"Some have struggled when they get back home, with substance abuse or the inability to get or keep a job. Tragically, many of them go back in.
"But, the vast majority of the people I know have come home and stayed home. Their families have rallied around them and many have thrived through the West Baltimore Values of hard work and resilience; they’ve got good jobs and some have started their own businesses. We’ve all got our challenges, but for the most part, the people I know who have been incarcerated are doing okay.
"However, there is a universal stigma just about everybody who has been in the system experiences, and that is the ambiguity connected to the fundamental American right (and duty) to vote.
"If you were a felon in Maryland you could not vote until you completed your full sentence, which included parole and probation. Further, advocates of voting rights for felons have complained there were nuances to the Maryland law that compelled many to simply forgo voting period.
"But, things are changing rapidly and in the very near future the political landscape, especially in Baltimore could be dramatically altered.
“'House bill 980 and Senate bill 340 will allow for some 43,000 ex offenders currently on parole or probation that’s across the state and numerous zip codes they [the bills] will give them the opportunity to weigh in on public policy, making sure they have a seat at the table,' said Del. Cory McCray (D45), sponsor of the House bill that would restore voting rights to felons as soon as they leave prison.
"McCray also led last week’s effort to successfully override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the bills (Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D43) sponsored legislation in the Senate). 'We have a judicial system…whether that’s a judge, whether that’s a parole board, or any type of similar authority, they have deemed our family, our friends, our neighbors merit the opportunity to reintegrate into the community,' McCray said."