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Black Friday Schedule Changes, Holiday Shopping, Walmart Protests, and O’Malley’s South America Trip

Day-After-Thanksgiving schedule changes – around Maryland, and on WYPR. Plus, shopping projections, protests at Maryland Walmart stores, O’Malley’s upcoming trade mission to South America, Larry Hogan’s likely gubernatorial bid, and yesterday’s Ravens victory.

Black Friday Schedule Changes: The day-after-Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday -- but there are many schedule changes in effect around the state.  State government offices are closed, for example; also closed are government offices in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Frederick Counties. But Baltimore City's government offices are open. Also open: Baltimore County government offices -- and, of course, the Federal Government is running as well.  Schools and courts are closed today, but most public libraries are open again, as are most banks. Regular schedules are back for local MTA buses, the metro subway, and the light rail; but MARC trains and MTA commuter buses are not operating. Many landfills and waste disposal centers around the state are closed... but trash pickup is back to normal in many jurisdictions. Folks in Baltimore County who didn't get their trash picked up yesterday should put it out for pickup today. Baltimore City residents who missed a trash or recycling pickup on Thanksgiving have their makeup day tomorrow. And it’s a partial parking meter holiday in Baltimore County… folks will allowed to park for free – for two hours – at meters adorned with red bags that say “Seasons Greetings.” This program runs today, tomorrow, and Sunday. There’s more on today’s schedule changes here from the Baltimore Sun.

Schedule Changes – On WYPR: A programming note… WYPR has a few more holiday specials planned for today; you can find out more about them here.

Black Friday Shopping: Shoppers are out in force around the region, with Black Friday sales underway. Some stores started early – opening on Thanksgiving itself. Several others opened right at midnight. The National Retail Foundation is predicting that 140-million Americans will shop or over the 4-day Thanksgiving shopping period – including yesterday, today, and the weekend; that's a decline of about 5 percent from last year.

Walmart Protests: The group behind last year's Black Friday protests against Walmart is planning to stage more this year – including several at stores in Maryland. The union-backed group known as “OUR Walmart” is planning to call for better labor standards and higher wages, at gatherings before stores in Prince George’s and Baltimore counties. The Capital Gazette notes that a Circuit Court judge has ordered protesters to stay off of Walmart property during the demonstrations, or have to forfeit a 10-thousand bond.

Police Urge Shopping Safety: Thousands of holiday shoppers are preparing to hit the stores on Black Friday so police are offering a few safety tips. They recommend parking in well-lit areas, keeping your wallet in your front pocket, storing merchandise in your trunk and walking to your vehicle with your keys in hand.Police also tell shoppers to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and they suggest taking advantage of mall escorts.

O’Malley Preps For South America Trip: Governor Martin O’Malley is gearing up for a nine day trade mission to South America. The trip starts on Monday of next week, and will take O’Malley to Brazil and El Salvador. The Washington Post reports that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker will be along for the mission, as will representatives from more than 30 companies and several universities.

A New Old Face Wants To Join The Governor's Race: What do we make of another Republican jumping into the governor's race? Larry Hogan is the latest addition to the lineup - Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler discuss his past and his potential for the republican nomination and beyond. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.

Baltimore Football: The Ravens are back in contention for the playoffs, after last night’s 22-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens host the Minnesota Vikings a week from Sunday, on December 8th. The Baltimore Sun has a recap of last night’s game here.

WYPR's Morning Edition news anchor Ashley Sterner serves up the latest Maryland news and weather every weekday morning, delightfully interspersed with the occasional snarky comment.