Friday, February 26, 2021 |

Around Maryland

Montgomery County approves limited solar development in agricultural reserve

The Montgomery County Council opened the door for solar farms in the suburb’s 93,000-acre agricultural reserve Tuesday, voting 7 to 2 to approve a zoning amendment that would allow such development in the protected area for the first time since its formation 40 years ago. The decision came after more than a year of heated debate that pit environmentalists and solar developers against farmers and preservationists, and divided the all-Democratic county council.

Baltimore Faith Leaders Want New City Officials To Know They’re Around To Lend Helping Hand, Keep Watchful Eye
Baltimore’s faith community wants newly elected City officials to know that they’re here to offer a helping hand, as well as a watchful eye. Telly Smith is part of the Green Ambassador Program. “I’m doing the same thing I do every week,” Smith said. “To help out the community, to clean up the streets of Baltimore.” The program provides job training sponsored by Wheelabrator Baltimore and a coalition of local churches.
Read More: WJZ
Baltimore City schools planning to test students and staff in schools for COVID-19 weekly

The Baltimore City school system will begin weekly, voluntary testing of its staff and students for COVID-19 in March, even when they are not showing symptoms and are unaware of any exposure to the virus. The new testing would mean Baltimore City will offer some of the most comprehensive screening among Baltimore-area school districts. The city is already administering tests to those who come to school with symptoms. The tests are collected by a University of Maryland Medical Center mobile lab that visits schools to pick up the kits.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland Will Be Epicenter Of This Year’s ‘Cicada-Palooza’
In 2021, Marylanders will have a front-row seat to something that may seem apocalyptic. Michael Raupp, the Professor Emeritus of Entomology at the University of Maryland says the state is at the epicenter of the cicada emergence. That means countless insects will emerge starting in early May. The so-called “cicada-palooza” is going to happen the last two weeks of May and into early June.
Read More: WJZ
‘Sofa Safaris’ Offers At-Home Summer Camp With Maryland Zoo
 The Maryland Zoo is mixing things up when it comes to summer camp. They’re planning to do “Sofa Safaris” as a way to get kids learning about animals, since they cannot attend camp in person this year. There are sessions for kids in four different age groups.
Read More: WJZ
At Least 11 Sickened By Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Church Service In Prince George’s County

At least 11 people were sickened by carbon monoxide during a church service in Prince George’s County over the weekend, officials said. Crews were called to a property in the 3000 block of Buck Lodge Road on Sunday for a report of people unconscious. When they got to the scene, they found a group of 25 to 30 people inside a building where a church service was happening. Everyone was conscious.

Read More: WJZ
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Maryland reports 611 new coronavirus cases, 17 associated deaths

One week from Monday, March begins again. That Friday will mark a year since Maryland confirmed its first three cases of COVID-19. Since, the state has reported 376,966 infections of the coronavirus, along with 7,550 deaths associated with its effects. That includes the 611 cases and 17 fatalities the state reported Monday, marking the eighth time in nine days Maryland’s daily count of new infections was beneath 1,000. Monday’s report shows the first time in four months that there have been fewer than 700 new cases on consecutive days.


Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland schools chief recommends statewide testing resume this spring, with reduced exams

Maryland State School Superintendent Karen Salmon is recommending all public schools give the new statewide test in reading and math for the first time this spring, but scaling back the total amount of testing. Salmon is recommending testing students in reading and math in grades three through eight and high school, according to documents posted on the state education department website. Those exams could take more than seven hours, but Salmon is proposing the state not give tests in science and other subjects.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
MoCo contemplates how to create more affordable homes in its wealthiest neighborhoods

Montgomery County has a housing shortage, particularly for lower-priced homes. The median home price is now $500,000, 14% more than last year. Inside the Beltway and near the Red Line, prices can be significantly higher as people compete for a limited supply of houses. That’s happening in part because of single-family zoning, which was created in the early 20th century to keep Black people out of white and affluent neighborhoods by making townhomes and apartments illegal. This policy — along with racial covenants and redlining — still contributes to segregation today, but it also makes housing more expensive and inaccessible for everyone. That’s why places from Minneapolis to Sacramento are opening up their single-family zones.

10% Of Baltimore City Population Received At Least One Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine, Officials Say, Urge Patience

Ten percent of Baltimore City’s population has now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said Monday. In a press conference Monday afternoon, the city officials revealed Baltimore is seeing a 60% decrease in COVID-19 cases in the last month, with the positivity rate in the city down by 58% and hospitalization metrics down as well. However, despite better numbers, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott urged people to stay vigilant. He also reported that 782 city residents have died from the coronavirus so far.


Read More: WJZ

The Morning Rundown

We’re staying up to the minute on the issues shaping the future. Join us on the newsletter of choice for Maryland politicos and business leaders. It’s always free to join and never a hassle to leave. See you on the inside.