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Around Maryland

Planning Commission approves five more video billboards for downtown

The city Planning Commission last week approved five additional video billboards for downtown. The panel voted Thursday to add the high-tech advertisements to a list of other prominent downtown buildings that was approved in March. The move brings a total of 11 large, flashy and colorful billboards that will have no audio into the central business district. The first batch of video billboards was given a thumbs up by the commission on March 3 after a lengthy, raucous meeting that included push back from downtown residents who decried “visual clutter” and traffic woes, among other issues.

Jury awards $5M in Howard County medical malpractice lawsuit

In a medical malpractice verdict, a Howard County jury awarded more than $5 million to a woman who suffered lifelong pancreatic damage after receiving a diagnostic procedure in 2014. Jurors granted the patient, Karen Cain, just over $1 million for past medical expenses, $1 million for lost wages, $72,000 for future medical expenses and $3 million for noneconomic damages — though that figure was reduced to $740,000 due to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in health care malpractice cases.

Search for Supreme Court leaker falls to former Army colonel from Baltimore

When Gail Curley began her job as marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she would have expected to work mostly behind the scenes: overseeing the court’s police force and the operations of the marble-columned building where the justices work. Her most public role was supposed to be in the courtroom, where the marshal bangs a gavel and announces the entrance of the court’s nine justices. Her brief script includes “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” — meaning “hear ye” — and concludes, “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun
No one wants to hear it, but another COVID wave is here in Maryland

Cases are rising around Maryland and much of the Northeast so fast it seems that everyone knows someone who has COVID-19. Some of those infected had it before, while others have it for the first time. “This isn’t over,” said Crystal Watson, public health lead in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security’s Coronavirus Resource Center, during a news conference Friday marking the United States reaching the milestone of a million COVID-19 deaths earlier in the week.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Where is the cleanest air in Maryland? Air quality forecasts are closer to finding out

Regional air quality forecasts are about to get more accurate with expanded reporting sites amid mixed air quality on the Eastern Shore. The Maryland Department of the Environment unveiled on May 5 a new air quality forecasting system for the state that more than doubles the number of designated areas where forecasts and current conditions are available. According to the department, the u-per Eastern Shore occasionally finds itself in the plume of the I-95 corridor from Washington D.C. to Baltimore that contributes higher levels of traffic related smog. The Lower Eastern Shore has its own, cleaner airshed.

Read More: Delmarva Now
Neighbors Demand Action On Baltimore’s Persistent Violent Crime As Mayor, Council Talk Strategy

Baltimore is again on track to surpass 300 homicides and with crime surging, many neighbors are demanding action. “Once it gets dark, I do not come outside. Everywhere you turn, there’s a shooting here, a shooting there,” said Cory, who lives in a Southwest Baltimore community plagued by shootings.  Cory, who declined to give his last name, has dealt with so much loss—friends and loved ones killed. He lives in a neighborhood filled with vacant homes and shootings almost daily. “There’s so much going on today that it terrifies me. It really terrifies me,” Cory told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

Read More: WJZ-TV
Prince George’s teachers run ads calling for smaller classes, better pay

The Prince George’s County teachers union launched an ad campaign Friday that calls for more investment by the school system into initiatives that would reduce class sizes and boost teacher pay. Two advertisements coordinated by the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association — which represents about 10,000 of the county’s active teachers and other education professionals — will air on all local network television affiliates and on multiple cable networks over the next four weeks.

Montgomery Co. celebrates the return of absent students back to the classroom

Dozens of middle school students from Montgomery County, Maryland, were in a Rockville courtroom this week but not for a trial. Instead, they were attending a celebration. The 49 students were among the successful graduates of the county’s Truancy Prevention Program. The initiative is designed to help middle school students who’ve missed between 18-36 days of school get back to class and back on track. One of the proud graduates was 12-year-old Jaelynn Parada, a sixth-grade student at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Silver Spring.

Read More: WTOP
Preakness 2022: ‘Reimagined’ race draws more than 60,000 fans, half of pre-pandemic totals

At a “reimagined” Preakness Stakes that saw high temperatures and a win from Early Voting, the official attendance was more than 60,000, the Maryland Jockey Club said Sunday. The Preakness regularly drew more than 130,000 fans in the years before the coronavirus pandemic, but fans were not permitted in 2020 and attendance was limited to 10,000 at Pimlico Race Course in 2021 due to COVID-19. “This year’s reimagined festivities designed to reduce the event footprint for a fresh, post pandemic guest experience welcomed 60,000+ who wagered over $130 million on one of the hottest May days on record,” the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates the track, said in a statement.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Chesapeake blue crab abundance falls to lowest level since scientists began tracking the population in 1990

An annual survey of the Chesapeake Bay has found the blue crab population at its lowest level since scientists began tracking the beleaguered species more than 30 years ago. The finding is expected to set off discussions about whether to tighten restrictions on crab harvests, such as what size crabs commercial watermen can legally collect, how many female crabs they can harvest and what hours they can spend crabbing. Crab season technically began April 1 but does not get going in earnest until waters are warm enough for the crustaceans’ liking — about 58 degrees, at least.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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