MORGAN STATE GIVEN $40M; BOWIE, UMES TOO: The Daily Record reports that Morgan State University, Maryland’s preeminent public urban research university and the state’s largest historically Black college or university, Tuesday received a $40 million gift from noted venture philanthropist and author Mackenzie Scott, the largest single private donation in Morgan State’s history and the second largest gift to any public Maryland university.
- Scott is the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Marcus Dieterle of Baltimore Fishbowl reports.
- The Baltimore Sun story on the gift not only interviewed the Morgan president, but lists Scott’s donations to two other Maryland HBCUs, including $25 million to Bowie State.
- The University of Maryland Eastern Shore got $20 million from Scott, the university reports.
VACCINES TO HIT ALL HOSPITALS IN 2 WEEKS: The first installment of Maryland’s coronavirus vaccines will reach all of the state’s hospitals and nursing homes within the next two weeks, Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan said Tuesday. The news comes the very day Maryland’s COVID death toll exceeded 5,000 and one day after the University of Maryland Medical System received its initial installment of COVID-19 vaccines, Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.com writes.
- The state also is setting aside doses for local health departments to vaccinate first responders, said Chan. Those clinics, too, could start within the next few weeks, Alison Knezevich of the Sun reports.
- Maryland is also setting aside doses for local health departments to vaccinate first responders. The clinics for EMS, firefighters and law enforcement may start within the next two weeks, Mike Hellgren of WJZ-TV reports.
- Gov. Larry Hogan called the availability of the vaccine the “light at the end of a very long tunnel.” He said the state expects to have received a total of about 300,000 doses by the end of the month, Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports.
- A vaccine is on the way, but Washington County is in its “worst spot” since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a health leader said Tuesday. Washington County Health Officer Earl Stoner, Meritus Health President and CEO Maulik Joshi and others spoke about the vaccine, the worsening health picture locally and related topics during an in-person news conference, Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
SALMON SEEKS VACCINE PRIORITY FOR EDUCATORS: State Superintendent Karen Salmon on Tuesday has asked the state that teachers, school staff and child care professionals be prioritized alongside front-line health care workers as Maryland begins to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, WBAL-AM reports.
STUDY: BLACK SUICIDES SPIKED EARLY IN LOCKDOWN: In what is believed to be one of the first studies of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers who examined deaths across Maryland have found evidence of a rise in suicides — and also of the inequities between Blacks and whites. Tatyana Turner of the Sun reports that researchers determined that among Black residents, suicide deaths appeared to double the recent historical average in one key period — from March 5, the date Maryland declared a state of emergency and shut down, until May 7, when the first public spaces were reopened.
NATIONAL GUARD TO AID IN VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: Gov. Larry Hogan deployed the state National Guard on Tuesday to help distribute coronavirus vaccines to hospitals, nursing homes and local health departments, an effort to quell mounting anxieties over the pace of inoculations as the Washington region’s death toll reached its highest weekly average since May, Antonio Olivo, Ovetta Wiggins and Rebecca Tan report for the Post.
- Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that Hogan said that guard personnel will assist state health officials with vaccination planning, operations and distribution support. “We’re going to be utilizing them as we launch what will be the largest and most important vaccination campaign in the history of our state and our nation,” Hogan said.
CORRECTION: PERDUE REQUEST MUCH SMALLER: The CEO of Salisbury-based Perdue wants its 500 Maryland processing plant workers given priority in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, not 2,196 as initially reported in the Sun on Tuesday.
LEGISLATORS URGE USING RAINY DAY FUND ON BUDGET GAP: A bipartisan panel of Maryland legislators has recommended tapping the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help close an anticipated budget gap in 2022, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters writes. The Spending Affordability Committee voted unanimously Tuesday on several recommendations to guide the state’s 2022 fiscal year budget, including to lower the recommended level of reserves in the state’s Rainy Day Fund by about $200 million.
FRANCHOT LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN VIDEO: Comptroller Peter Franchot is emphasizing his role as Maryland’s “fiscal watchdog” in his first official campaign video for governor, which was posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning, reports Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter.
- In the two-minute “Ready on Day One” video, Franchot also attempts to position himself as a fresh face in politics, writes Emily Opilo for the Sun. “I have the vision of an outsider and the skills of an insider,” he said, pledging to fix every pothole across the state in his first 60 days office, as well as “pick up the trash.”
- Franchot announced Tuesday that he has hired the Baltimore-based Tidemore Group to run his bid to succeed incumbent Larry Hogan, who is term-limited, in 2022. Tidemore is led by two veteran Maryland messaging and policy gurus, Ben Groff and Ben Smith, Bruce DePuyt and Josh Kurtz write for Maryland Matters.
HOGAN JOINS ‘NO LABELS’ GROUP: Gov. Larry Hogan, who is trying to raise his national profile ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid, will co-chair a bipartisan political organization that is mounting a new push for centrist policies in Congress. The Republican governor will join former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent from Connecticut, in leading No Labels, which supports the Problem Solvers Caucus in the House, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
- In a statement, No Labels called Hogan “a renowned leader who embodies its pragmatic brand of politics more than any elected official in America” and cited his appeal in Maryland polls among both Democrats and Republicans, Alison Knezevich of the Sun writes.
HOW HOWARD SPENT $56.8M IN CARES FUNDS: How did Howard County spend its $56.8 million in CARES Act funding that it received in mid-June. Howard County? With a population of just over 325,000, the county had CARES Act funding divided equally between the county health department, a state entity, and the Howard County government, each with $28.4 million to spend, Ana Faguy of the Howard County Times reports.
MO CO REVISES PHASES FOR RETURN TO SCHOOL: The Montgomery County Board of Education on Tuesday finalized its plan to reopen schools in the new year, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports. The board chose to revise the phases by which students will return, bringing more back at once, but it delayed the earliest date that buildings could reopen from Jan. 12 to Feb. 1.