WYPR News | WYPR

WYPR News

News coverage, series and commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.
WYPR Election Coverage

University of Maryland Medical System

All hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland will have initial doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV FACEBOOK PAGE

Baltimore may be getting its first major snowfall of the season Wednesday and Mayor Brandon Scott is urging residents to be prepared.

“I want to assure the city of Baltimore and our residents that snow crews are ready to respond to any winter weather that may come our way,” Scott said at a press conference Tuesday.

Scott said the city has a snow budget of $6.7 million and a snow removal program that includes 300 essential personnel, and more than 15,000 tons of salt to treat the city’s streets.

University of Maryland Medical System

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived at hospitals in Maryland and more are expected later this week. Now those hospitals are reckoning with how to dole out the limited numbers of vaccines to tens of thousands of frontline healthcare workers.

Flickr

Legally-required meetings about the services special education students receive in Baltimore County Public Schools are being postponed because of the November 24 ransomware attack.

Advocates say the delay could hurt some of the county schools’ most vulnerable children.

Tmaximumge/Public Domain

When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available in the U.S. next year, employers may face a tough question: whether they should - or even can - require their staff to get vaccinated.

Diane Hoffmann, a professor of law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the founder of the Maryland Healthcare Ethics Committee, said the law does allow some employers, like hospitals, to require vaccinations.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County’s first inspector general is pleading for help from county officials.

As she wraps up her first year in office, Kelly Madigan said she does not have the people she needs to find waste, fraud and abuse in county government and to keep its employees in line with ethics rules.

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.

Screenshot via CharmTV

A series of new pandemic restrictions ordered by Mayor Brandon Scott in Baltimore, including the shuttering of indoor and outdoor dining, will go into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday, as local hospitals approach capacity.

“Governor Hogan said yesterday that the state of Maryland is in red. No, we're on fire,” Scott said in a Friday morning news conference. “We have to understand the dire situation that we are in.”

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Gov. Larry Hogan announced a financial assistance package Thursday afternoon that will protect small businesses struggling because of the pandemic.

The package includes an executive order that will protect businesses from sudden or substantial increases in their unemployment taxes.


“This emergency relief will help businesses keep their operations going and to help keep more people on their payrolls,” Hogan said.

YouTube

The former director of operations for the Maryland Environmental Service, Matthew Sherring, spent three hours being grilled Thursday by a state legislative panel about his hefty travel and expenses. The hearing is part of an ongoing investigation into a six-figure payout to Roy McGrath, his former boss.

During the hearing, Sherring declined to answer nearly all questions, invoking the 5th Amendment more than 150 times.

Screenshot via CharmTV

  

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby convened the 73rd term of the legislative body for its first meeting Thursday night and later announced his new committee structure, which includes half the number of committees of the previous term.

“Right now we're in a special time of fighting for our city and fighting for our lives,” Mosby said.
I’m really excited to see the work that comes along.”

The day after Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced new COVID-19 related restrictions, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman issued new restrictions for his county.

Like Scott, he ordered bars and restaurants closed, but will allow carry-out, delivery and curbside pick-up. Unlike Scott, he said he wouldn’t impose the closings until 5 p.m. next Wednesday to give those establishments time to sell food they have already purchased.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

City Council President Nick Mosby and a roster of new city council members were sworn into the legislative body in outdoor, socially-distanced ceremonies Thursday morning, capping off Baltimore City Hall’s 2020 transition.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the new legislators took their oaths in the War Memorial Plaza outside City Hall. Donning masks, and with six feet of distance between them, Mayor Brandon Scott swore in Mosby.

SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday during his first press conference since being inaugurated.

The restrictions are the city’s toughest since March.

Standing in front of City Hall, Scott said hospitals will be overwhelmed with patients if the city does not act now.

“The health and safety of Baltimoreans is my top priority,” he said. “I will not waver or hesitate to make decisions that save lives in Baltimore.”

Zoom Screenshot

COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Maryland hit a new record Wednesday, and public health officials warn that the trend is likely to continue.

In response, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said he plans to announce new restrictions on businesses in his county on Thursday.

The office of Mayor Brandon M. Scott

Baltimore’s long-established divides, made even worse by the coronavirus pandemic, stretch before the Brandon Scott administration.

The ongoing threat of the pandemic coupled with the cold of winter, systemic inequality and the city’s brutal homicide rates are but a few of the issues that Mayor Scott, who took office Tuesday, and the rest of the new roster of City Hall officials face.

Marco Verch / Flickr

The new COVID-19 vaccine could begin arriving in Maryland as soon as next week. Gov. Larry Hogan and the state’s top public health official said Tuesday, they expect an initial 155,000 doses, up to a total of 300,000 doses by the end of the month.

Reporter Rachel Baye speaks with Nathan Sterner about what Marylanders should expect in the coming weeks and months.

@MakedaScott6/Twitter

A divided Baltimore County School board split the difference Tuesday night when picking its leadership for the coming year.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Mayor Brandon Scott and Comptroller Bill Henry were sworn into their new offices Tuesday afternoon, ending an administration created by political re-shuffling after ex-mayor Catherine Pugh resigned amid scandal.

The Democrats, formerly City Council President and 4th District Councilman, respectively, both campaigned on their progressive politics. Scott, 36, replaces longtime City Hall fixture Jack Young. Henry, 51, replaces Joan Pratt, who served as Comptroller for more than two decades.


Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Mayor Jack Young’s term, born amid crisis and marked by a relentless onslaught of subsequent emergencies, ends Tuesday morning, as a slate of younger Democrats were sworn into their new City Hall offices.

The Democrat, previously City Council President, ascended to the Mayor’s office in May  2019 after the resignation of ex-mayor Catherine Pugh, who stepped down a month after her “Healthy Holly” children’s book scandal came to light.

The punches kept rolling throughout his 19-month term: the city was in the midst of a ransomware attack as he was sworn in, and the coronavirus pandemic pummeled the city less than a year later. The man who had said he never wanted to be mayor led the city through some of its most challenging moments in recent memory.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Council on Monday evening closed out a term defined by an en masse political re-shuffling following ex-mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation and a subsequent passage of city charter amendments intended to restructure power and bolster transparency.

The meeting included the first override of a mayoral vetos since voters approved in November a charter amendment that reduced the number of council votes needed from 12 to 10. The council overrode Mayor Jack Young’s vetoes of two bills to bolster protections for hospitality workers as their businesses reopen amid the pandemic; one requires employers to call back employees in order of seniority and the other requires employers to maintain the same staff for at least 90 days should business owners change hands.

AP File Photo by Matthew S. Gunby

Paul Sarbanes, who represented Maryland in the US Senate for five terms, has died. He was 87.

His son, John Sarbanes, the US Congressman from Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, said in a statement the former Senator “passed away peacefully” Sunday evening in Baltimore.

TMAXIMUMGE/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Just over a week after Thanksgiving, Maryland surpassed 3,000 new daily COVID-19 cases two days in a row.

Maryland broke its daily case record Friday when it reported 3,792 new cases. The previous record was 2,910. On Saturday the state reported 3,193 new cases.

Dr. Lisa Maragakis, the senior director for infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System, said Thanksgiving indoor gatherings likely contributed to the surge.

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.

CREDIT AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Mayor Jack Young has signed a bill into law guaranteeing lawyers for renters facing eviction, making Baltimore the seventh jurisdiction in the country to enact such legislation.

The bill, which the City Council passed unanimously in November, will be phased in over four years.

CREDIT WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ALX BIO

The University of Maryland Medical Center has opened a new 16-bed modular care unit for COVID-19 patients, the first of its kind in Baltimore.

The unit is an addition to the center’s 168 adult ICU beds.

Planning for the unit began in July, after the center was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in the spring. Dr. Gregory Schrank, co-incident commander of the center’s pandemic response, said the unit opened just in time.

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.

Baltimore County Public Schools

According to Baltimore County school officials, students and teachers were able to pick up Wednesday where they left off after last week’s cyberattack that brought down the schools’ computer system and cancelled classes. 

TMAXIMUMGE/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Nearly half of Marylanders planned to gather indoors for Thanksgiving, despite warnings from public health experts that those gatherings may exacerbate the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, according to a University of Maryland Medical System survey last week.

Now, Dr. Chris Thompson, an immunologist and Associate Professor of Biology at Loyola University Maryland, said we’re about to see whether there will be consequences to those decisions.

CHARM TV

Wednesday morning marked the final city spending board meeting for Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and longtime Comptroller Joan Pratt, who will leave office next week.

“I just want to thank the citizens of Baltimore,” Young said in a brief comment before the Board of Estimates. “I enjoyed working with everybody and I wish everybody the best.” 


Pages