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Around Maryland

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Johns Hopkins researchers pinpoint significant gap between Baltimore City Public School buildings and those in rest of state

New data on the condition of Maryland school buildings shows a startling gap between Baltimore City and the rest of the state, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Public health, education and medical experts at Hopkins released the findings Tuesday of their study comparing the condition of Baltimore City Public School facilities with those in other counties using data provided in spring 2022 by the Interagency Commission on School Construction. The city school system had about 77,000 students enrolled last year. The commission, an independent board whose nine members are appointed by the governor, lawmakers and other state officials, collected data on the condition of K-12 school facilities across the state during the 2020-21 school year, a time when the COVID-19 pandemic moved instruction online for many students.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Rental assistance delays leave Baltimore tenants at risk as courts clear eviction backlog

For Sheila Riley and her family, the difference between remaining housed and homelessness came down to whether a rental assistance check would arrive in time. Riley and her husband had applied for funds in April after the couple lost their jobs early in the pandemic and struggled to get back on their feet. But for months, their West Baltimore apartment’s property management company failed to either fill out its half of the application, or to formally decline the funds. That would have allowed the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success, which oversees the city’s rental assistance funds, to make out the check directly to the Rileys.

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office awarded state grant to help with hiring and retention

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its efforts to hire and retain staff. The Board of Carroll County Commissioners unanimously approved Thursday acceptance of a $63,500 Police Retention and Recruitment grant from the state to help the sheriff’s office in those efforts. The grant will be used to assist with outreach, advertising and marketing efforts including using billboards, social media and job search sites, said Vicky McDonold, director of administrative services with the sheriff’s office. McDonold said the sheriff’s office plans to create a recruitment video and offer referral bonuses to staff for bringing in new candidates. The sheriff’s office is also exploring health and wellness initiatives to offer, such as trial gym memberships for staff.

Librarians and lawmakers push for greater access to e-books

Librarians and their legislative allies are pushing publishers of electronic books to lower their prices and relax licensing terms, an effort that could make it easier for millions of library users to borrow the increasingly popular digital versions of books. Supporters say the e-book lending legislation in several states would allow libraries to offer more digital material and shorten waitlists for popular titles. Over the long term, the measures might shore up libraries’ core mission in an increasingly digital environment.


His longhand might be short on clarity, but Baltimore ‘Jeopardy!’ champion’s scrawl is deemed legible enough

The Baltimore resident who won three games of “Jeopardy!” raised some eyebrows among the trivia show’s fans for his messy handwriting on Monday’s show. Emmett Stanton, 34, who won Friday, Monday and Tuesday before losing Wednesday, is a freelance writer who lives in Mount Vernon. In response to the clue, “The Governor of Massachusetts wrote, it ‘is a poor document, but a mighty act…wrong in its delay till January, but grand & sublime after all,’” Stanton wrote an answer that host Ken Jennings deemed correct: “what is the Emancipation Proclamation?” Stanton wagered all his money, $8,000, on the Final Jeopardy! question in the category Historic Documents.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
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Student protestors disrupt Johns Hopkins meeting on planned police force

A large group of student protesters who oppose plans to create an armed, private Johns Hopkins University police force disrupted a public meeting scheduled for Thursday evening by occupying a campus auditorium stage and chanting, “No justice, No peace! No Hopkins police!” The action comes one month after University Vice President for Public Safety Branville Bard Jr. announced that the Baltimore research institution would proceed with plans to develop and implement the force. Those plans had been paused for more than two years due to a wave of early opposition.

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Baltimore County school retirees overpaid for benefits as result of cyberattack

The 2020 Baltimore County Schools cyberattack has come back to haunt retirees who were overcharged and undercharged for health benefits. The school system’s human resources staff recently told school board members that retirees who weren’t charged enough would have to pay the money back. One person was undercharged $20,000, according to school staff. A union leader said there’s more the school system could be doing, especially for something that was no fault of the retirees.

Attorney: Family of Hae Min Lee treated as afterthought in recent court hearing that freed Adnan Syed

For the past two decades, Young Lee thought justice had been served when his sister’s killer was taken off the streets. He believed Baltimore prosecutors when they repeatedly expressed confidence in the case against Adnan Syed. That changed last week when the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office filed a motion to vacate Syed’s 2000 murder conviction in the death of Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend and high school classmate whose body was found buried in a makeshift grave in West Baltimore’s Leakin Park. Prosecutors said they reviewed the case in recent months and found alternative suspects and unreliable evidence used at trial.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Opposition to Johns Hopkins University private police force simmers ahead of town hall meetings

Three years after protests erupted at the Johns Hopkins University over its plan to create a private police force, some opponents are promising disruptions to upcoming town hall meetings and urging Baltimore City’s mayor to block the measure. The opposition movement has been largely quiet since the state’s largest private university said in June 2020, amid the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, that it would pause work on its police force. A year later during summer break, when campus was mostly empty, Hopkins hired Branville Bard Jr. to lead its police force.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Westport community pushes back over South Baltimore 7 maglev endorsement

A bitter feud has broken out this week between some community leaders in South Baltimore over a recent vote by a neighborhood group to endorse the maglev project. The verbal sparring over Baltimore’s portion of the $10 billion East Coast transportation project has escalated since the Sept. 9 vote by the board of the South Baltimore 7 Coalition, or SB7. That vote was not unanimous, but endorsed the high-speed rail line and a quest by the group to open negotiations with developer Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail, BWRR, for a community benefits agreement in return for their support.

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