Archive for March, 2009

State Launches Veterans Care Web site

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ANNAPOLIS – Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown unveiled a Web site Tuesday the state hopes will provide information about available services to Maryland veterans and their families.


The Maryland Veterans Network of Care portal accumulates information on various services available to veterans at the federal, state and local levels, from health and mental wellness to education, housing and employment.


Brown said the difficult economic climate makes it even more important that veterans be aware of the resources they can use as they return to civilian life.


“In these tough times we need to redouble our commitment to veterans and their families,” Brown said.


Iraq veterans are more prone to traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder and need to know about mental health services in the state, particularly in rural areas where these services can be harder to find, said Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John Colmers.


Officials plan to address the issue of public awareness of the Web site through advertising, Brown said. The state has hired a consultant and is considering ads on buses and in community newspapers.


 –By Capital News Service’s Erich Wagner

Miller Touts Potential Buyers for Race Courses

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

ANNAPOLIS – Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert, might have his “white knight” after all.

Miller said Thursday he’s received calls in the last day from two “very substantial people in Maryland” expressing interest in buying Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course and keeping the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. He declined to name the potential buyers.

A day earlier, Miller said he hoped a “white knight” would swoop in and purchase the two race courses owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month. But he said finding a private buyer might be difficult, and the state was prepared to step in.

On Tuesday, Miller said the state should consider buying the Preakness as a “last-ditch option” and perhaps build its own racetrack in order to keep the storied second jewel of the Triple Crown in Maryland. He said Wednesday he would not oppose a Special Session to facilitate state involvement if the racetracks went up for sale after this legislative session ends.

A longtime horse racing supporter, Miller has previously expressed fear that Laurel Park might be purchased and converted to mixed-use development.

By Capital News Service’s Dylan Waugh

Miller Promises to Keep Preakness in Md.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

ANNAPOLIS – A day after suggesting the state could take over the financially-troubled Preakness Stakes if necessary, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert, promised the second jewel of the Triple Crown will remain in Maryland.

“The Preakness is going to stay in Maryland. Period,” Miller told reporters gathered after Wednesday’s Senate session.

Miller again touted the historical and financial value of retaining the Preakness and said he would consider pushing for a Special Session to deal with the issue if the race was put up for sale when the legislature was not in session.

Canada-based Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns the Preakness, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and has signaled all of its assets might be on the block. Maryland legally has the option to match any offer for the Preakness if it’s put up for sale.

Miller said state intervention would be “a matter of last resort.” He would prefer having a private buyer rescue Magna’s beleaguered Maryland holdings, including the Preakness, Miller said.

While retaining the state’s largest one-day sporting event would keep millions of dollars in Maryland, Miller also pointed out the emotional and sentimental damage that would come with losing the race.

“We all remain traumatized by the Colts moving out of Baltimore in the middle of the night,” he said, referring to the covert exit of the Baltimore Colts football team for Indianapolis in 1984.

As he was leaving the Senate chamber, Miller offered a final pledge.

“It’s not leaving, Miller said. “Guaranteed.”

–By Capital News Service’s Dylan Waugh

More Financial Woes for Magna

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

ANNAPOLIS – Just days after declaring bankruptcy, Laurel Park and Pimlico racetracks owner Magna Entertainment Corp., announced its stock will be delisted from the Nasdaq composite index on Mar. 16.


The announcement is the latest bad news for the Canada-based company, which last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange on Apr. 1.


The bankruptcy, filed Friday, further muddled Magna subsidiary Laurel Racing Association’s troubled bid to put slot machines at Laurel Park.


The proposal was tossed by the state slots commission because the bid failed to include $28.5 million in required fees. But an attorney for Laurel Racing Association has filed a lawsuit challenging the initial fee requirement in an attempt to get the bid reinstated.


An Anne Arundel County judge is expected to rule by next week.


-By Capital News Service’s Dylan Waugh