Politics

  • Maryland expands vaccine rollout, with people 75 and older, teachers eligible next week

    Maryland will accelerate the expansion of its coronavirus vaccine distribution, allowing elderly Marylanders, teachers and some others to get the shots next week and all older residents in less than two weeks, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday. But even as Hogan announced the expanded eligibility, the Republican governor warned that not everyone would be able to get vaccinated immediately. He cautioned that it will take some time for vaccines to arrive and for appointments to become available. (Balt Sun)Read Full Article

  • Lawmakers Ask for More Clarity in State Vaccine Plan

    Lawmakers pushed state Department of Health officials Wednesday for more clarity on how COVID-19 vaccines would be rolled out, after recent complaints of slow action and as the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate continues to hover at 8-9%. Currently, Maryland receives 72,000 vaccines a week from the federal government, of which Maryland distributes around 12,000 doses a day, Webster Ye, the assistant secretary for health policy, told the Joint COVID-19 Legislative Response Workgroup Wednesday. (Md Matters)Read Full Article

  • Lobbyists Out in the Cold — and One on the Inside

    Old habits die hard. It was a few minutes before noon on Wednesday, and a handful of registered State House lobbyists were standing in front of the steps of the State House, looking for someone to talk to. The Senate was scheduled to gavel in a few minutes later, with the House coming in at 1 p.m. Traditionally the two chambers start the legislative session at noon on the second Wednesday of January. (Md Matters)Read Full Article

  • Anne Arundel County Board of Elections will hold state-mandated audit of presidential ballots Friday

    Anne Arundel County election officials will spend Friday doing a state-mandated manual audit of ballots cast in the 2020 election. This process is expected to last about one full day. In a public notice from Election Director Joe Torre, he said the purpose of the manual audit is to ensure the ballot-counting machines accurately tallied votes cast in the 2020 presidential race. (Balt Sun)Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • DON’T LET COVID-19 GET IN THE WAY - OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS DECEMBER 15, 2020

    MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is reminding Marylanders that open enrollment to buy, change, or renew a qualified health plan for 2021 will end December 15 for healthcare starting on January 1, 2021. Remember that Medicaid enrollment is year-round, and Medicaid-eligible Marylanders may start their coverage immediately. Marylanders who are enrolled in Medicaid must renew their Medicaid coverage once a year through the Maryland Health Connection. For those who want to enroll in a Medicare plan or change their Medicare coverage, Medicare Open Enrollment will continue through December 15. For additional Medicare plan information, individuals may call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov. Individuals do not need to renew their coverage if they are satisfied with their current plans, and those plans are still offered through Medicare.Read Full...

  • Holmes: Hunger has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus, but these nutrition programs can feed kids and promote equity

    Childhood hunger was a problem in Maryland long before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it’s no secret that the ongoing economic crisis has made the situation much more dire for many families. Parents and caregivers have lost jobs and wages and are finding themselves struggling even more to pay bills and put food on the table. In August, No Kid Hungry Maryland released a new report based on data from the most recent Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey/Youth Tobacco Survey that showed 1 in every 4 middle and high school students in Maryland lacked consistent access to healthy food. Worse yet, these troubling rates of food insecurity were from before COVID-19. More recent data shows that food insecurity tripled in households with children in the first three months of the pandemic alone.Read Full Article

  • Neuroscience Has A Whiteness Problem. This Research Project Aims To Fix It

    Mental illness can run in families. And Dr. Kafui Dzirasa grew up in one of these families. His close relatives include people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. As a medical student, he learned about the ones who'd been committed to psychiatric hospitals or who "went missing" and were discovered in alleyways. Dzirasa decided to dedicate his career to "figuring out how to make science relevant to ultimately help my own family." (NPR)Read Full Article

  • Irvin: Covering New Modalities is the Only Cure for the Opiod Crisis

    During these difficult times with the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing opioid crisis, we must proactively address pain management and emotional health. I have had a front-row seat to the healthcare system for over seven years, enduring 60 plus surgeries, pain management protocols and procedures due to the ongoing effects on my body from a flesh-eating bacteria of my abdominal wall. To be honest, it has been a struggle with managing my pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  But I am thankful to be alive today to offer some proven solutions which I hope can help shed light on safer alternatives.Read Full Article

Business

  • Digital divide holding back business in Maryland, leaders say

    Maryland business leaders said Thursday the state faces an impending crisis related to the lack of broadband internet access for many residents and businesses across the state, calling it the "elephant in the room" whose impact has become exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. While a number of equity and social justice issues have to come light during the pandemic, the digital divide has taken center stage. (Balt Bus Journal) Read Full Article

  • Baltimore Judge Strikes Down Restaurant Association’s Lawsuit To Overturn Mayor Scott’s Dining Ban

    A judge on Thursday denied the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s lawsuit to overturn Mayor Brandon Scott’s ban on in-person dining in Baltimore. In-person dining at city restaurants has been banned for more than a month. On his first full day in office, Scott announced a number of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, including the dining ban. On December 18, the Restaurant Association of Maryland announced it was suing the city as well as Montgomery and Prince George’s counties over dining bans. (WJZ) Read Full Article

  • Maryland retailers look to legislative session to support businesses across the state

    The COVID-19 pandemic has raged across retailers large and small with repercussions that will be felt long after the sting of the vaccine needles fade. Businesses across the state are struggling and when they suffer, their employees and consumers are directly affected. When the Maryland General Assembly convenes for the 2021 legislative session in January, the Maryland Retailers Association (MRA), in concert with Maryland’s business coalition, will be laser-focused on helping businesses weather the challenges we all currently face. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Black-owned real estate group opens crowdfunding push for Walbrook Junction Shopping Center

    A unique crowdfunding push is afoot in West Baltimore offering investors and residents a chance to own part of the Walbrook Junction Shopping Center. The effort led by Chicago TREND, a group of Black commercial real estate officials in the process of acquiring the center for $6.2 million, aims to create local buy-in as well as a wealth building opportunity for nearby residents through owning a part of the neighborhood retail hub at 3421 Clifton Ave. (Balt Bus Journal)Read Full Article

Education

  • Baltimore County School Staff Members Line Up To Collect Late Paychecks; District Blames USPS For Delays

    A group of Baltimore County teachers lined up to get their paychecks Wednesday after a two-week delay school officials blamed on the U.S. Postal Service. First, they dealt with a pandemic and then a ransomware attack hit the county’s public school system. Now, some employees are just glad to have their paychecks in-hand while others said the process has been frustrating as bills come due. (WJZ) Read Full Article

  • 118 Carroll County Public Schools Staff Members Quarantining For COVID As Of Monday

    There are currently 118 Carroll County Public Schools staff members quarantining for COVID-19 since Monday. The school system confirmed that those quarantining either may have COVID-19, may be experiencing COVID-like illness or people who may have come into close contact with either of the two. (WJZ) Read Full Article

  • Some parents and teachers are questioning Baltimore’s plan to reopen more schools, classes next month

    Baltimore City Public Schools’ plan to allow thousands more elementary and high school students to attend in-person classes beginning next month raised deep concerns from both parents and teachers who question whether schools can be safe places to learn as the pandemic rages. The plan calls for kindergarten through second grade students to return to traditional public school in the city starting Feb. 15. They would be followed March 1 by third through fifth graders, as well as ninth and 12th graders. Nontraditional schools, including charters, can chose whether to open. (Balt Sun) Read Full Article

  • Amid COVID concerns, Queen Anne's board votes to delay school opening

    “Where we stand today concerns me immensely,” Queen Anne’s County Health Officer Dr. Joseph Ciatola told county commissioners, Tuesday, Jan. 12. “Gentlemen there is no way in my medical opinion, in my ethical opinion, in my moral opinion, that with the current status and the positivity rate in Queen Anne’s County and the fact that we have not been able to appropriately vaccinate our Board Of Education staff and our elderly, and I feel that it is wrong and I advise against opening schools in two weeks,” Ciatola said. (Star Dem) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • COVID In Maryland: 2,516 New Cases As Hospitalizations, Positivity Rate Down

    Hospitalizations dropped in Maryland on Wednesday after several days of increasing numbers, the state reports. There are now 1,929 people hospitalized in the state, down 23 from Tuesday. Of those hospitalized, there are 454 in ICU beds and 1,475 in acute care. (WJZ) Read Full Article

  • Maryland Man Nicholas Rodean Who Went Into US Capitol During Riots Wearing Work Badge Arrested On Federal Charges

    A Frederick man is in custody and now faces federal charges after participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. Nicholas Rodean was fired from his job after being photographed inside the Capitol while wearing his work badge. (WJZ) Read Full Article

  • Howard County hires first equity and restorative practices manager to strengthen community relationships

    Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday announced the hiring of Denise Boston as the county’s first equity and restorative practices manager. As the first person to hold the position, Boston, who grew up in Howard County, was hired to help the county strengthen relationships with disadvantaged communities. (Balt Sun) Read Full Article

  • Maryland expands vaccine rollout, with people 75 and older, teachers eligible next week

    Maryland will accelerate the expansion of its coronavirus vaccine distribution, allowing elderly Marylanders, teachers and some others to get the shots next week and all older residents in less than two weeks, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday. But even as Hogan announced the expanded eligibility, the Republican governor warned that not everyone would be able to get vaccinated immediately. He cautioned that it will take some time for vaccines to arrive and for appointments to become available. (Balt Sun) Read Full Article

Commentary

  • Unicorn Lake and Senate President Mike Miller

    Unicorn Lake is a beautiful park and fishing lake nestled in northern Queen Anne’s County near Millington. The serene atmosphere creates a lovely venue for a picnic or a spot to pluck a brown trout or two from the stocked waterway. It would not be as serene, if not for then-Senate President Mike Miller’s intervention. The intrigue around Unicorn Lake goes back to the late 1980s when a prior Board of Queen Anne’s County Commissioners near the end of its lame-duck term amended a large private trash facility or rubble fill to go next to the park. (Md Matters)Read Full Article

  • The death of Dr. Amanda Cook Zivic from COVID-19: A loss for family and friends, for psychiatry, in some way for us all

    One year has passed since the first U.S. case of the novel coronavirus arrived in Snohomish County, Washington, while the rest of us, 328 million of us, went about our business, the scope of sickness and death in the coming months unimaginable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the positive test of a 35-year-old man who had returned to the United States from China on Jan. 15, 2020. The agency told us what it knew about the case, then concluded its report by saying “the CDC continues to believe the risk of 2019-nCoV to the American public at large remains low at this time.” (Balt Sun)Read Full Article

  • Maryland Legislature should abandon harmful digital tax scheme

    The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies to efforts to overturn Governor Hogan’s veto of the massive digital advertising gross receipts tax passed last year by the Maryland State Legislature. As lawmakers gear up for a new session in January, they should look for other ways to solve budget shortfalls. The unintended consequence of this misguided legislation could be far worse than the purported revenue gains being touted by the bill’s supporters. (Star Dem) Read Full Article

  • Small businesses should be ‘front and center’ in COVID relief package

    As small business owners, we welcomed the COVID emergency relief bill Congress approved in the waning days of 2020, a disastrous year for many of us working to keep our operations afloat and our employees on the payroll. Unfortunately, the rescue package falls far short of what’s essential to sustaining small businesses, the backbones of our communities, as we approach the darkest days of the pandemic and with a COVID-19 vaccine still many months away for most Americans. (Balt Sun)Read Full Article