Baltimore County | WYPR

Baltimore County

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.

 

 

Colin's Restaurant

The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deathknell for some businesses. But others are thriving.

Baltimore County is trying to figure out why some businesses are doing well, and how the others that are tanking might be helped.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Over the next few weeks, the Baltimore County Public Schools will be putting in place plans for fall classes.

At the same time, school officials are planning for face-to-face classes in August for those students who failed to switch to online learning when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools.

The Daily Dose 6-22-20

Jun 22, 2020
Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Maryland’s governor promised universal COVID-19 testing for the state’s juvenile detention facilities, but the facilities’ residents and staff are still without tests. With Baltimore’s trash and recycling services hindered by the pandemic, residents are taking a DIY approach. And Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olzsewski is frustrated with the state’s inconsistent reopening schedules.

Seth Sawyers/flickr

 

There will be no in-class summer school in Baltimore County this year.

School officials had been considering having small groups of students in classes this summer, but a spokesman for the county schools said they want to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, so have decided not to do that.

Courtesy Architect of the Capitol

The HEROES Act, the $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that passed the House last month, remains stalled in the Senate.

About one third of that money would go to help state and local governments weather the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

Local officials are trying to make the case to Congress that basic services could be cut if the act doesn’t pass.

Baltimore County Public Schools

 

It’s been a long road to graduation for Raymond Shaw Finney.

He was born with multiple disabilities. His father died when he was an infant. Raymond slipped into the foster care system. Then eight years later, a family member recognized a picture of Raymond on AdoptUSKids, a website that connects foster children with permanent families. She told Raymond’s aunt, Vanessa Finney, to have a look.

And when she did she immediately recognized her nephew.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Police Chief Melissa Hyatt announced a series of changes in police policy Friday spurred by reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Olszewski said the department’s use of force policy will be updated, that all members of the department will receive additional training on what he called “fair and impartial policing,” and that the county will make public complaints against police officers.

Associated Press/Jeff Chiu, File

Here is how the COVID economic cookie has crumbled for McCormick & Company, the spice people, headquartered in Hunt Valley in Baltimore County.

The Daily Dose 6-4-20

Jun 4, 2020
Rachel Baye/WYPR

A closer look at which businesses can open safely, under Stage II of Maryland’s Road Map to Recovery. One county leader wants to do away with the statewide patchwork of reopening schedules. And in Baltimore, city elections workers gather in a warehouse to properly count ballots.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

  


  When Gov. Larry Hogan’s amended order allowing certain businesses to reopen takes effect Friday at 5 p.m., Baltimore County businesses will be among those allowed to open. 

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski plans to repeal all local executive orders keeping businesses closed and restricting activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he announced Thursday. Going forward, the county will follow the governor’s lead when it comes to the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

John Lee

The Baltimore County Council passed Friday its  budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1,  but not before an acrimonious debate over whether to cut property taxes.  

Council members said they had to make historic cuts totaling nearly $59 million to the budget to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Lee

The Baltimore County Council is poised to pass a budget for the coming fiscal year Friday with historic levels of cuts.

County employees likely will see raises deferred and the school system will take a hit as well. At the same time, the Republican minority on the council is considering proposing a tax cut at Friday’s meeting.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Baltimore restaurants with outdoor dining permits can begin serving customers at 5 p.m. this Friday, but outside only, Mayor Jack Young announced Thursday. 

 

Hours later, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that outdoor dining will be allowed beginning at 5 p.m. Friday in the county as well. And he said restrictions on retail stores, houses of worship, day camps and pools in the county will be eased as well.

The announcements come one day after Gov. Larry Hogan lifted several pandemic-related restrictions throughout Maryland, including on outdoor dining.

In addition, officials in Anne Arundel and Howard counties announced they, too, would allow outdoor dining and ease restrictions on retail establishments as well.

Baltimore Mayor Young said in a statement he wanted to "thank all of our business owners and restaurant employees for their patience and continued adherence to the use of social distancing and face coverings as we allow for this next step in our reopening.” 

Baltimore County Public Schools

The COVID-19 pandemic is making clear the divide between the rich and the poor students in Baltimore County schools, according to members of the school board.

Closing that divide may be made more difficult because the board itself is divided and distracted.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski relaxed Thursday COVID-19 related restrictions on churches and businesses in the county.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore County Council debated what it means to be under a state of emergency and whether it should be extended.

At a morning news conference, Olszewski said retail stores can reopen starting at 9 am Friday. But no more than 10 people, including staff, can be inside the store at a time.

The Daily Dose 5-20-20

May 20, 2020
JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

A new WYPR poll shows how Baltimore feels about voting by mail. Baltimore County Public Schools prepare for an influx of private school students. And two Maryland companies are helping to train a new workforce.

Friends School

Many public schools in Baltimore County are already overcrowded and county officials believe that could get worse because of a coming stream of students from private schools.

They are worried that some parents might get priced out of private schools in the COVID-19 economy.

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