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Baltimore County

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch has told county school officials they must run COVID-19 vaccination clinics for their employees.

Branch told the school board Tuesday night that if BCPS cannot run the clinics, its employees will have to get in line with everyone else waiting to get the vaccine.

Sean Naron, Baltimore County

Baltimore County teachers and staff will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this week, but it is unclear how that will affect when school buildings reopen for students. All of the county’s school buildings have been closed since March.

John Lee

The clash between residents of an historically African American neighborhood in East Towson and a developer of affordable housing is coming down to a final legal battle.

Both sides squared off Wednesday before Administrative Law Judge Maureen Murphy, who will settle the dispute.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County has received more than 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines thus far, and County Executive Johnny Olszewski promised Thursday that “no vaccine will go to waste.”

Credit: Charlie Wambeke
Charlie Wambeke

Twenty-eight homeless people died in Baltimore County in 2020. Advocates say many of those deaths could have been prevented.

Those who lost their lives were recently remembered at a memorial service.

Screenshot via CharmTV

Despite more than $130 million worth of contracts spread out over a decade that aimed to improve Baltimore City and Baltimore County’s shared, aging water system, a joint report from the city’s and county’s Offices of the Inspector General released Monday discovered more than 22,000 dysfunctional water meters that have resulted in millions of dollars worth of uncollected revenue. 

Baltimore City Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming and Baltimore County Inspector General Kelly Madigan also decried “a fundamental lack of communication between the city and the county [that] is central to the problems that have been plaguing the water billing system for years” in the report, which landed after nine months of investigation. 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski sent a scathing letter Friday to the county school superintendent, charging his response to the November 24 cyberattack on the school system has been disjointed and ineffective.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County officials remained mum Monday on who launched the cyberattack November 24 that crippled the school system and canceled virtual instruction classes for its 115,000 students.

However, they were able to say that they do not believe anyone’s data was stolen in the attack.

Baltimore County

When Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski took the oath of office two years ago this week, he had some big plans. But some of those remain on the shelf as he manages the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a wide ranging interview this week with WYPR, Olszewski talked about COVID, his accomplishments, a possible run for governor and what remains undone as he reaches the half way point of his four year term.

Olszweski said COVID remains jobs one, two and three, and that the county is preparing to administer the vaccines once they are available.

John Lee

While Baltimore County’s classrooms are empty now due to COVID-19, many of its 163 schools will be crowded once things return to normal. That’s because its school construction program hasn’t kept up with a growing population.

There is an effort to put the brakes on proposed developments that would send more students to schools that are already full.

BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Baltimore County Public Schools administrators have closed schools through at least Tuesday, after a ransomware attack discovered last week locked 115,000 students and their teachers out of their online learning platforms.

“Our focus today and for Monday and Tuesday is identifying and addressing student and staff device needs so that instruction can continue,” the school system said in a Sunday Twitter update.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County Public Schools have been hit by a ransomware attack, county officials announced Wednesday morning. The attack, which shut down the system’s network information systems, forced school administrators to cancel classes for 115,000 students the day before Thanksgiving break.

Officials said it’s unclear when classes may resume. School officials are working with investigators from the county, the state and the FBI.

Baltimore County

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Baltimore County.

County officials Monday warned that if the numbers don’t improve, new restrictions will need to be put in place, and that a possible vaccine would not be a panacea.

John Lee

Baltimore County voters have approved a charter amendment allowing public money to be used to fund election campaigns in county races.

The charter amendment, which was Question A on the Baltimore County ballot, got more than 55% of the votes cast. 

SCREENSHOT VIA MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Several jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, were not able to release results on election night. State Board of Elections officials say this was because of difficulties with transferring data from thumb drives. 

Local elections boards store data from ballot scanners on thumb drives, then transfer them to the state’s central voting database. 

John Lee

Residents of an historically African American neighborhood in East Towson are lobbying against plans for an affordable housing development. Those descendants of slaves who once labored at Hampton Plantation in Baltimore County, fear the project threatens the existence of their neighborhood. 

Baltimore County finds itself caught between those residents, and an agreement it has with the federal government to provide additional affordable housing.

County officials say it is also their moral obligation to do so.

SCREENSHOT VIA BALTIMORE COUNTY COUNCIL PAGE

The Baltimore County Council is voting on a bill Monday evening that aims to protect tenants from eviction during the pandemic. The bill consists of regulations on sudden residential rent increases.

Second District Councilman Izzy Patoka, the bill’s sponsor, presented the bill at a county council work session last week.

“The issue I'm bringing forward today.relates to an economic and health crisis,” he said at the session. 

Associated Press/Jeff Chiu, File

This is a Labor Day like no other, with millions of people out of work due to the COVID-19 economy.

In Maryland, Baltimore County has had more people filing for unemployment during the pandemic than any other locality. According to the Maryland Department of Labor, from March through August, more than 93,000 people filed jobless claims in the county.

John Lee

Baltimore County will follow the state’s lead and move into Stage 3 of reopening. That means all businesses in the county, including indoor theaters and other entertainment venues can reopen with restrictions.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


Baltimore County has recruited 1,500 election judges to staff polling places, but the county is still looking for substitute judges to provide backup. To encourage participation, the county is offering judges a new incentive:  $100 more per day.

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Gov. Larry Hogan announced yesterday that all of Maryland’s public schools should plan for in-person learning this fall. The announcement comes just days before the start of the school year. 

“It is absolutely critical that we begin the process of getting our children safely and gradually back into the classrooms,” Hogan said at a late afternoon press conference. 

The Associated Press

If you are an eligible voter in Maryland, you should get your application for a mail-in ballot in the mail any day now.

It marks the start of a bizarre, unprecedented election season for voters and election officials alike.

Towson University

Towson University is throwing in the towel and sending most of its students home for the remainder of the semester. Online classes will continue.

Towson President Kim Schatzel said in a letter Wednesday in announcing that residence halls will be closed that her greatest responsibility is to protect the health of everyone on campus.

John Lee

The Baltimore Museum of Art remains closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the BMA is making changes on its grounds and putting local artists on display on its website, so the artist and art lover can still have what the director of the BMA calls “access to joy.”

Kate Breen and her 13-year-old daughter, Tess, were trying to find joy in the BMA’s outdoor sculpture gardens.

“My daughter loves art,” Breen said. “This is the only way that we can see it right now is to see it outside.”

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch said he has recovered following contracting COVID-19 several weeks ago.

Branch said he considers himself blessed because his symptoms were mild. He continued working while he was self-isolating and said he now is “back to my old self.”

Maryland State Fair

Forget the rides, the games and the food. There will be no Maryland State Fair this year.

Fair officials announced Wednesday they have to cancel the 12-day annual event to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the county health department, Dr. Branch was having a mild cough and a raspy voice and so he decided to get tested at a county clinic.

Courtesy the Olszewski Campaign

Alarmed by a surge in new COVID-19 cases, the executives of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties took different approaches Tuesday to the problem.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued an order requiring residents two and older to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. He said that order, which goes into effect at 9 a.m. Thursday goes beyond an earlier public health order from Gov. Larry Hogan requiring masks in food service and retail establishment.

Baltimore County

Overcrowded schools have been a profound problem in Baltimore County for three decades.

That’s according to a county councilman who wants to create a task force to study the law that controls developments in school districts.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Monday that he is allocating additional funds to support residents struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. 

Last month, the county set aside $1 million of its federal and state emergency assistance funds to prevent evictions. After receiving 1500 applications, the county is now allocating an additional $1 million in federal CARES Act funding. 

 

The county is also allocating $2 million in grant funding for Phase 2 of its eviction prevention program.

 

 

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