Cracking up – Wednesday, February 18th

Baltimore’s water pipes seriously can’t even right now. Water mains and the pipes inside homes and businesses keep bursting in this extended cold snap (and more frigid air is on the way). The situation is keeping work crews busy around the clock and proving to be a nightmare for commuters, home owners, and plumbers. Check out the 311 Service Request map for an ongoing tally of water issues.

If the phrase “seriously can’t even right now,” has you cringing, this next story is just for you. Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton is warning that the city’s school system is facing a $60 million deficit for next year, even without the $35 million in proposed cuts in funding from the state. A change in teacher pay scales, approved in 2010, is a major contributor to the shortfall. The 2010 wage changes shift salary increases toward classroom performance, instead of seniority (making it more difficult to predict salary costs from year to year). Without some additional funding, teacher layoffs are probably unavoidable.

Workers restoring Mt. Vernon’s Washington Monument discovered the cornerstone earlier this week, containing a 200-year-old time capsule. They plan to open it today. Another, 100-year-old time capsule was found last year and sent to the Walters Art Museum for examination – but hasn’t been opened yet.

Police say Jason Hendrix, the 16-year-old killed in a police shootout in Essex over the weekend, had 6 guns and a backpack full of ammunition in the car with him. Investigators believe Hendix killed his parents and young sister in their family home in Kentucky before fleeing the state.