Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Baltimore, MD

Around Maryland

‘Strained to the gills’: Even with COVID numbers lower than last year, Maryland hospitals face capacity problems

This time last year, Maryland hospitals were in dire straits. The number of people infected with COVID-19 in state hospitals hit 3,462 on Jan. 11, 2022, a pandemic peak that has not been approached since. One-third of the state’s acute care hospitals were operating on “crisis standards of care,” a set of emergency protocols that allowed clinicians to prioritize the sickest of patients. Now, with 835 people hospitalized with the respiratory illness statewide as of Thursday, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, the situation isn’t an emergency the way it was last year.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
What will it take to get Baltimore recycling back on track? Maybe 3 years and over $23 million

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works has “no firm timeline” for reinstating weekly recycling pickup and estimates it could take up to three years to resolve severe staffing shortages, optimize its collection routes, acquire needed vehicles and make software upgrades to get citywide service back on track. That roadmap was laid out in a 28-page report released Monday, the same day that DPW’s director, Jason Mitchell, announced his resignation amid persistent criticisms of his management on multiple fronts, including on citywide recycling service and the city’s troubled wastewater plants. Mitchell said he is resigning for health and family reasons.

New leadership in Chesapeake Bay states raises hopes for action in 2023

New Democratic governors with “green” pedigrees in Maryland and Pennsylvania are fueling environmentalists’ hopes of progress during this year’s legislative season. Meanwhile, a Republican governor in Virginia is trending greener than many had expected as he enters his first full calendar year in office. That has some activists seeing opportunities for compromise. Here’s how environmental issues are shaping up in the three key Chesapeake Bay watershed states during their 2023 lawmaking sessions.

With domestic violence reports on the rise, women at the lone Anne Arundel County safe house struggle to find safety

Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, reports of domestic violence cases in Anne Arundel County have continued to rise, straining the fragile network of safe houses and shelters that attempt to help women seeking safety. According to data compiled by the Maryland Courts, 3,091 protective and peace orders were issued in Anne Arundel County in 2022. The total is an increase from 2,866 in 2021 and 2,576 in 2020. That’s about a 20% jump in calls from around the time the pandemic began.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Carroll County Commissioner’s President Ed Rothstein elected to MACo’s board of directors

Carroll County Commissioners’ President Ed Rothstein has been elected to the 16-member board of directors for the Maryland Association of Counties, or MACo, as it is commonly known. Rothstein was installed last week and will serve a one-year term. MACo is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore city. It works for effective, efficient government through education and collaboration; its membership consists of county elected officials and representatives from across the state.

Police officer putting handcuffs on another person
As Baltimore’s new police accountability board forms, a backlog of complaints is growing

A backlog of hundreds of complaints about Baltimore police officers continues to grow each week as city officials make their final push toward setting up a new citizen-led oversight board. The board was mandated in late 2021 by the General Assembly as part of Anton’s Law, a police reform package passed that, among other initiatives, directed each county and jurisdiction to implement the new layer of oversight. Baltimore City’s will be one of the last police accountability boards in the state to get up and running.

Embattled Columbia Association CEO says she has ‘no other choice’ but to leave the organization

In the latest development in a controversy embroiling an organization that leads Maryland’s second largest city, Columbia Association CEO and President Lakey Boyd said she “has no other choice” but to ask the organization’s board to transition her out. The announcement comes less than a week after the Columbia Association’s board said that it is seeking to “improve the relationship and communications” between Boyd and board members, and presented a plan to the CEO “to accomplish that goal.”

‘We’re working with them.’ Baltimore officials continue outreach efforts as city squeegee ban goes into effect.

A group of several squeegee workers were gathered in the median of President Street in downtown Baltimore during rush hour Tuesday, a familiar sight in a city where young people offering to wash motorists’ windows for cash have been a fixture for decades. Except they weren’t supposed to be there. As of Tuesday morning, the city’s squeegeeing ban along six major corridors took effect, with Baltimore Police able to deliver warnings to squeegee workers. And in one month, a third warning will carry the penalty of a citation and potential fine for workers ages 18 and above.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Olszewski calls Baltimore County schools’ proposed spending plan ‘unrealistic’

Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams has proposed a $2.6 billion budget for the next fiscal year that he says advances equity and excellence for all students and attempts to eliminate disparities in academic achievement. But Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is already calling the spending plan “unrealistic.” Williams, whose four-year contract ends June 30, presented the budget at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

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