State Roundup: Opioid numbers up first quarter, Pugh reports to prison

State Roundup: Opioid numbers up first quarter, Pugh reports to prison

Clyde's restaurant , a Columbia institution for 45 years, announced it is closing July 18. Photo from its Facebook page.

OPIOID NUMBERS UP: It is unlikely that the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for the increase in opioid-related deaths that occurred in Maryland during the first quarter of this year, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.

PUGH HEADING TO PRISON, SPEAKS TO AFRO: Former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh hopes to write a blog from prison and “be an encouragement to other women I encounter there,” while serving a three-year sentence for federal charges for wire fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, Toni Draper writes in AFRO. Pugh is leaving her home in Ashburton to go to federal prison in Alabama.

  • The Democrat’s attorney said she was on her way to the all-female prison on Thursday, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun. She was initially scheduled to report in April, but won a delay that month as prison officials across the country tried to contain the threat of the coronavirus.

DEATHS REACH 3,000, HOSPITALIZATION DOWN: More than 3,000 Marylanders have lost their lives due to COVID-19, Greg Swatek reports for the Frederick News-Post. The Maryland Department of Health has reported 65,77 confirmed cases and 3,001 fatalities.

  • At the same time, hospitalizations are down, with 511 people hospitalized across the state and 209 in the ICU, reports WJZ.
  • Six new COVID-19 cases were reported at North Branch Correctional Institution in Allegany County, the Cumberland Times-News reports.
  • Carroll County commissioners are extending the county’s state of emergency past June 27, reversing a decision to end it on that date, reports Mary Grace Keller for the Carroll County Times.
  • Maryland Health Secretary Robert Neall does not plan on the economy shutting down if there is another surge in COVID-19 cases, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR. Instead, he said, people will need to do what they can to limit the spread of the virus while keeping the economy functional.

REOPEN LEADER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID: A co-founder of the ReOpen Maryland movement has said on social media that he tested positive for coronavirus this week but won’t share information with public health officials doing contact tracing, the staff of the Capital Gazette reports. Two-time Republican candidate for the General Assembly Tim Walters said in a series of Facebook videos that he had tested positive and urged those he had seen recently to pay attention to symptoms.

  • At a May 30 Reopen rally at the State House, Walters had bragged about shopping in a Target store without a face mask, which he refused to wear, reports Len Lazarick of

HOGAN CONSIDERS LAYOFFS: Gov. Larry Hogan is considering layoffs and pay cuts for state employees as he considers what to propose in a series of budget cuts needed because of slow tax collections during the coronavirus pandemic, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

SCHOOLS DATA SHOWS MORE ARRESTS FOR BLACK, WITH DISABILITIES: As school systems in Maryland debate whether police officers should be based inside public schools, newly released state data shows that arrest rates are higher for black students and students with disabilities than for their peers, Donna St. George reports for the Washington Post.

UNEMPLOYMENT STILL HIGH: Almost 48,000 Maryland residents filed for unemployment benefits last week, an increase of nearly 6,000 from the previous week, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.

QUARTER OF RESTAURANTS COULD CLOSE PERMANENTLY: The Restaurant Association of Maryland is predicting at least 25% of restaurants in the state to will close permanently as an increasing number of Maryland restaurants are closing their doors as the coronavirus pandemic continues, Kim Dacey reports for WBAL-TV. Clyde’s in Columbia announced its closure this week after 45 years in business on the Columbia waterfront.

BALTIMORE CITY DROPS PROSECUTIONS: To help slow the number of people entering the criminal justice system as COVID-19 poses a threat in jails, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday her office is dismissing more than 500 cases, Bryna Zumer reports for WBFF. The cases include warrants associated with drug possession, drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offenses, having an open container of alcohol, being rogue and vagabond and urinating/defecating in public.

MOCO CAN CONTINUE SENDING MONEY TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: A Maryland district court judge has ruled the court will not take up a challenge by two Montgomery County residents against the county issuing relief funds to undocumented residents, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post. They alleged the county was violating federal law by directing the money to undocumented immigrants, but the court said private citizens can’t challenge the county’s compliance to federal law.

HARRIS ON POLICE REFORM BILL, ECONOMIC RECOVERY: Rep. Andy Harris expressed worries a House-led police reform bill would demoralize police and sideline Republicans, and also weighed in on coronavirus economic recovery when speaking with C4 on Thursday, Dawn White reports on WBAL-AM.

COLUMBUS STATUES UNDER DEBATE: Amid calls for Baltimore’s statues of Christopher Columbus to be removed, Italian-American residents are asking that they be preserved and there is a proposal to rename one monument for victims of police brutality, reports Colin Campbell for the Sun.

DAIRY FARMERS SEE DECLINE: A dairy farmer in Hagerstown is reporting a 40% drop in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, a hard hit for an industry that was already struggling, Keyarah Watson reports for WMAR.

SCHOOL PLANNING HAS MANY CONTINGENCIES: Carroll County school officials have started the long process of planning for the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Catalina Righter reports for the Carroll County Times.

MOCO POLICE REVIEW HIRE CONSULTANT: An outside consultant will help Montgomery County do an independent review as a task force audits the county’s police department, Dan Schere reports for Bethesda Beat. During a press conference Thursday, County Executive Marc Elrich said he was considering two different firms for the role.

OPINION: SHELVE PUBLIC-PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS: Private partnerships to pay for Maryland transportation projects like the Purple Line should be reconsidered, Barry Rascovar opines for Political Maryland. “Given the dreadful state of Maryland’s economy, the continuing health crisis and the uncertain impact all this will have on Hogan’s $11 billion public-private partnership, it would be best to shelve such a risky undertaking until state leaders navigate through the current storms and have a clearer view of what the future may hold,” he writes.

MD NOT CALLING FOR TRAVEL-RELATED QUARANTINES: Gov. Larry Hogan is not planning to issue a travel advisory suggesting people who have visited states with higher COVID-19 cases quarantine, Shelley Orman reports for WBFF. Some county executives believe he should.

HONORING FALLEN JOURNALISTS: The state of Maryland is set to award $300,000 to craft a memorial to honor the victims of a deadly shooting at the newspaper office of the Capital Gazette two years ago, the Associated Press reports.

FORT RITCHIE SALE FACES POSSIBLE DELAY: The Washington County Board of Commissioners will consider another extension for the Fort Ritchie sale contract next week, Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. A Frederick County man has filed a notice to appeal a suit regarding the sale to John Krumpotich.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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