ELECTIONS BOARD OFFERS 3 OPTIONS: The Maryland State Board of Elections submitted final recommendations on the state’s November elections to Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) late last week, following a lengthy review of the June 2 mail-in primary, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters writes. The elections board drew up three options for the November election for Hogan to consider: holding the election entirely by mail, holding a traditional in-person election, or a mix of both. It will ultimately be up to Hogan as to how to conduct the election.

OPINION: BPW’s OPENING BUDGET SALVO: The editorial board for the Sun cautions that last Wednesday’s actions by the Board of Public Works was little more than an opening salvo and what could prove a long and drawn-out war to restore balance to the state budget, a problem counties and municipalities will inevitably face, too. Whatever programs were spared last week, they could easily be back on the chopping block soon.

291 MORE COVID CASES; 7 MORE DEATHS: Maryland officials on Sunday reported 291 new cases of the coronavirus and seven more deaths, Phil Davis of the Sun reports. Sunday’s additions bring the state’s total to 69,632 cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the coronavirus. Officials say 3,118 people have died due to the disease or complications from it.

  • Several more restaurants in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood have temporarily closed in recent days after employees tested positive for COVID-19, Christine Condone of the Sun reports.
  • As the Fourth of July holiday weekend began, Maryland officials confirmed 538 new cases of the coronavirus, Jeff Barker of the Sun reported on Friday, the second straight day the figure has topped 500 after being under that total for two weeks. With the additions, the state has confirmed 68,961 cases.
  • On a day when the potential for gatherings celebrating the Fourth of July has prompted concern among officials about the further spread of the coronavirus, Maryland reported 380 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and its lowest single-day positivity rate during the pandemic, Nathan Ruiz of the Sun reports.

BUSINESS STUCK AS MASK ENFORCERS: Maryland businesses and their employees find themselves increasingly caught in a battle zone, expected to enforce the governor’s order that store customers wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic even as some patrons are bridling at following that order, Ellie Heffernan and Steve Lash of the Daily Record report. Employees and managers are having to persuade balking and sometimes angry customers that they need to wear the face coverings, all while avoiding a confrontation or summoning police.

OWNER FIGHTS FOR PPP: As business dwindled to almost nothing at his Baltimore electrical contracting company, owner Sekwan Merritt couldn’t see how he could afford overhead expenses plus the $9,000 he pays five workers every two weeks. Merritt was deemed ineligible from the Paycheck Protection Program because of his criminal record. But he challenged the system and won a partial victory, writes Jeff Barker for the Sun.

BA CO TRIES TO PARSE WHY SOME BIZ FAIL: The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deathknell for some businesses. But others are thriving. Baltimore County is trying to figure out why some businesses are doing well, and how the others that are tanking might be helped, John Lee reports for WYPR-FM.

HOMELESS, RENTERS RALLY: Baltimore community members and grassroots organizers gathered in front of City Hall Thursday afternoon to demand that the city and state do more to protect tenants and those experiencing homelessness. Speakers included residents who spoke of their experiences living in local homeless shelters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR-FM.

GOODBYE COLUMBUS: A crowd of shouting protesters yanked down the Christopher Columbus statue near Little Italy, dragged it to the edge of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and rolled it with a splash into the water as fireworks went off around the city on the night of the Fourth of July, Colin Campbell and Emily Opilo of the Sun report.

  • When a marble statue of Christopher Columbus was heaved into Baltimore’s Jones Falls Saturday night, consigned to a resting place amid polluted muck and trash, the reactions ranged from horror to glee, writes Pamela Wood of the Sun. “Bye,” was the one-word tweet from Baltimore City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who has been calling to rename another Columbus memorial in the city.
  • Gov. Hogan wrote, “While we welcome peaceful protests and constructive dialogue on whether and how to put certain monuments in context or move them to museums through a legal process, lawlessness, vandalism, and destruction of public property is completely unacceptable,” according to WMAR-TV.
  • Speaking with Fern Shen of The Brew on July 2, Bill Martin, immediate past president of the Associated Italian American Charities of Maryland, said his group members “would really like to move the statue,” but have heard that could cost up to $100,000.
  • “This statue is a monument to hatred!” a group leader said, speaking through a bullhorn, as people attached straps and chains to the 14-foot white Carrara marble statue. Fern Shen of the Brew also writes about the toppling.

MARSHALL BUST COULD REPLACE TANEY: The U.S. House will vote later this month on a bill to remove from the Capitol the bust of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday. The bill, introduced by Hoyer and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) in March, would replace the bust of Taney with a bust of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court, Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane report in the Post.

RACIAL INJUSTICE PROTESTS CONTINUE: Songs of praise and prayer echoed in the streets of Baltimore Sunday afternoon, as two Black faith leaders brought demonstrators together in another protest against racial injustice, Daniel Oyefusi of the Sun reports.

NOOSE-LIKE ROPE FOUND AT JHU SITE: A rope tied into a noose was found at a construction site in an off-campus building owned by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on Thursday, university officials announced late Friday night, writes Jonathan Pitts of the Sun.

PG PANEL TO PROBE POLICE REFORM: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced on Friday the creation of a task force to look into police reform in the county, a move that comes amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody and the treatment of black people by law enforcement, Emily Davies reports in the Post.

BODY CAMS CHALLENGE POLICE AGENCIES: Years after they became popular — bordering on must-have — equipment for local police agencies, body-worn cameras, continue to pose a serious challenge for county and municipal officials throughout Maryland, writes Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.