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Department of Juvenile Services To Close Two Facilities In June

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services announced Friday that it will be closing two of its state-run youth detention facilities at the end of June.“The Department’s population has been decreasing for many years,” Sam Abed, Department of Juvenile Services secretary, said in a statement. “Consolidating our resources now allows us to maintain the necessary services to treat our youth, and better aligns with our population trends.”Kids and staff held at the Meadow Mountain Youth Center and J. DeWeese Carter Center will be transferred to facilities in Western Maryland. A news release states that the department will provide transportation for families...

University System of Md. Plans ‘Hybrid’ Fall Semester

The University System of Maryland announced Friday that students will return to campus this fall "in a hybrid fashion," combining some on-campus, in-person instruction with remote learning.The umbrella organization for the 12 USM institutions said each campus will, in about two weeks, provide an early overview of how they intend to accommodate students this fall. Each campus plan will follow general guidelines and critical factors determined by the Return to Campus Advisory Group appointed by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman in April — including federal, state, and local public health guidance.“I’m grateful for the thoughtful guidance the advisory group...

Health Dept. Expands Mental Health Resources for Long-Term Care Medical Workers

The Maryland Department of Health announced Thursday that it is rolling out expanded mental health services for workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.“Nursing home staff have some of the most challenging jobs,” Secretary of Health Robert R. Neall said in a statement. “Many have long-standing relationships with residents — some of the most at-risk people in our population — and they have risked their own health to continue to care for them during this pandemic.”In conjunction with the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, the Department of Health has instituted the Maryland...

Statewide Blood Drive Campaign Honors Victims, Front Line Workers

Maryland Transportation Authority Police are teaming up with other state law enforcement agencies to assist the American Red Cross in encouraging the public to donate blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.The push to donate blood is an effort by state law enforcement employees in Maryland who want to honor the memories of those Marylanders who lost their lives to the coronavirus and honor the service of all those who help fight it.As part of this effort, the American Red Cross is partnering with MDTA Police, Maryland State Police, Maryland Natural Resources Police, MDOT Maryland Transit Administration Police and Maryland Capitol...

Defying Md. Delegation’s Wishes, Trump Plans July 4 Celebration Despite Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t upended President Trump’s plans to hold a Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital this summer.The White House told the Associated Press this week that Trump intends to move ahead with a scaled-back version of last year’s massive “Salute to America” event on the National Mall. Those plans are taking place despite the pandemic and as lawmakers in the region have asked the administration to reconsider.“As President Trump has said, there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety...

Record Rainfall Degrades Bay’s Waters, But Not as Much as Scientists Thought

The Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, is a little less healthy than it used to be.Record rainfall upset the salinity balance and caused more pollutants to run off into the water, but newly released results aren’t as bad as scientists expected.More than one-third of the bay and its tidal tributaries met clean water standards for clarity, oxygen and algae growth between 2016 and 2018, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program. The goal is to reach 100% dissolved oxygen in the water.Newly-released measurements taken during the three-year period indicate 38% of the bay has sufficient oxygenation. That rating is...

Hogan Getting New Chief of Staff as Clark Moves to UMMS

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) is getting a new chief of staff, his fourth since taking office in January 2015.Hogan announced Tuesday that Roy McGrath, a former deputy chief of staff who is currently CEO and chairman of the Maryland Environmental Service Board of Directors, will take the top job beginning on Monday.He'll replace Matthew Clark, who will begin next month as senior vice president for Marketing and Communications with the University of Maryland Medical System. Clark has been Hogan’s chief of staff since August 2017, and previously served in the administration as director of communications from January...

State’s Court System Plans for Jury Trials to Resume in October

The Maryland judiciary is planning a five-phased return after a shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic that will culminate with the resumption of jury trials in early October.The state’s court system, which is now in phase one of its five-part reopening plan, is scheduled to begin its second phase at 5 p.m. on June 5.At that point, courthouses will remain generally closed to the public except for urgent matters.“We have worked tirelessly to make sure the safeguards necessary to protect … the health of the public, judiciary personnel and justice partners were in place before we open to the public,”...

2 More Retail Chains Getting in on the Testing Act in Md.

Add Walmart and Rite Aid to the list of places offering COVID-19 test sites in Maryland.Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced Friday that certain outlets of the retail giant and the pharmacy chain will begin offering screenings next week. On Thursday, CVS said it would offer COVID-19 tests at 17 stores across the state. Hogan signed an emergency order earlier this week authorizing Maryland's 1,200 pharmacies to order and administer the tests.“As Maryland continues to dramatically expand testing availability and broaden the criteria for COVID-19 testing statewide, we are excited to be forging new partnerships with private sector...

Baltimore Mayor Calls For Trump To Stay Home Ahead of Memorial Day Visit

Ahead of President Donald Trump's announced Memorial Day visit to Fort McHenry National Park, Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young is urging the president to stay home.“That President Trump is deciding to pursue non-essential travel sends the wrong message to our residents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” Young said in a statement.Media outlets reported Wednesday that the president and first lady Melania Trump will be celebrating the holiday at the birthplace of the country’s National Anthem and War of 1812 battle site.Young said that the president’s decision to visit models the wrong...

Where Voters Will be Able to Cast and Drop Off Ballots in Baltimore

The Maryland State Board of Elections held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to add two additional Election Day voting sites in Baltimore on June 2.While voters are still encouraged to vote by mail or submit filled-out ballots to dropboxes, there will be six polling places open in the city on Election Day, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.:Edmondson High School, 501 N Athol Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229 University of Maryland at Baltimore Community Engagement Center, 870 W Baltimore Street, MD 21201 Mount Pleasant Church & Ministries, 6000 Radecke Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21206 Dr. Carter G. Woodson School, 2501 Seabury Road, Baltimore, MD...

CVS Pharmacies to Open 17 COVID-19 Test Sites Across the State

In an attempt to expand statewide testing efforts, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced the opening of an additional 17 drive-through testing sites at CVS pharmacies across the state Thursday. “Following our announcement that Maryland has reached a critical milestone in its long-term COVID-19 testing strategy by dramatically expanding the availability of testing for residents, these new, additional sites are another important step to further increase testing access for communities across Maryland,” Hogan said in a statement.On Tuesday, the governor signed an executive order allowing pharmacies to begin administering COVID-19 tests and announced that appointment-free testing will be offered...

Franchot, Restaurant Association Push for Outdoor Dining

Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), the self-appointed avatar of small business in Maryland, is making a pitch for restaurants to be allowed to begin serving customers outside on patios, sidewalks or streets that are closed to vehicular traffic.Franchot made the suggestion at the beginning of Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting. He followed up with a statement on Facebook."While I do not believe we are ready to allow indoor seating and service, based upon all of the available data, I feel that we have to make this allowance in order to give our restaurants -- the cornerstone of a...

Md. Courts Processing Marriage Licenses Remotely

The Maryland Judiciary has announced that circuit courts in the state are processing all marriage license applications remotely while courts are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Maryland law requires individuals to apply for a marriage license in person, and provide certain information under oath in front of a court clerk.However, during the pandemic, courts have been granting marriage licenses in emergency cases only. Emergencies included military deployments and severe health issues.Now, those applying for a marriage license can send in a signed marriage application by mail, courthouse drop box or email, with payment as directed by the court clerk for...

Public Defender Calls for COVID-19 Testing at Juvenile Facilities After Carroll County Spike

Maryland’s Office of the Public Defender is calling on the state to test all children in custody of the Department of Juvenile Services for COVID-19 after a private facility in Carroll County reported dozens of positive cases on Monday.Silver Oak Academy, a privately-run residential treatment program that houses children in Department of Juvenile Services custody, confirmed on Monday that 26 youths on the 60-bed campus and 15 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.Most of the COVID-positive patients are asymptomatic, according to a statement from the facility.Children who tested negative have been moved to off-campus quarantine sites and the...

Advocates Confident of Override on Drug Board Funding

Citing strong backing from the Democrats who control the General Assembly, health care advocates expressed confidence on Monday that the legislature will overturn Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s veto of one of their top priorities.The measures — Senate Bill 669 and House Bill 1095 — established a funding source for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which the state created in 2019 to come up with ways of controlling the runaway cost of medications.The measure would levy a fee on drug manufacturers, wholesalers, insurance carriers and pharmacy benefits managers.Hogan vetoed the bill earlier this month, citing the staggering impact the...

Charles Commissioners Face Threats for Keeping County Closed

Sheriff’s deputies in Charles County are keeping a closer watch on the homes of some of the county’s commissioners following threatening messages on social media.The Charles County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to postpone entering Phase One of Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.'s reopening plan until May 29.Those against the decision used social media to voice their complaints. These included a post that listed the addresses of the commissioners who made up the majority vote to delay the opening.Reuben Collins (D), the board’s president, said he’s used to seeing negative things on social media, but this went too far.“I...

Proposed Budget Cuts Added to Bd. of Public Works Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works will consider more than $120 million in current year budget cuts next week.The proposed cuts include unallocated funding in six state agencies and $97 million Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) had already not planned to spend this year -- $62 million for legislative priorities and $35 million withheld pending an audit of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.Hogan planned to use the $62 million restricted by the General Assembly to help balance the fiscal year 2021 budget. Nick Pepersack, a spokesman for the Department of Budget and Management, said the money was meant to...

Sen. Cardin Seeks Dental Insurance Coverage for Americans Displaced by COVID-19

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) is seeking to add a provision in future COVID-19 legislation that would enable people who have lost their dental insurance coverage during the economic downturn to receive government-backed insurance.Cardin was joined by seven colleagues, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who wrote a letter to Senate leadership asking that individuals who may have lost their dental insurance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic be considered in future relief packages, and that uninsured youth and adults have adequate access to coverage under Medicaid. “As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economic...

Poll Shows Henry Leading Pratt in Baltimore Comptroller Race

A recent poll conducted for Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry (D) showed Henry leading City Comptroller Joan Pratt (D) in the upcoming Democratic primary race for the citywide post.But the poll showed more than half of likely Democratic primary voters undecided in the below-the-radar contest.Henry is providing the most aggressive challenge to Pratt in her two dozen years as comptroller. The poll showed him taking 30% of the vote in the two-way primary, compared to 18% for Pratt. Fifty-two percent of poll respondents were undecided.The poll of 457 likely Democratic primary voters was taken May 6-9 for the Tidemore...