PRIMARY DOCS TARGET HARD-TO-REACH MARYLANDERS: The state’s primary care physicians are poised to take a more active role in administering coronavirus vaccines following a Friday morning announcement by the Maryland Department of Health that it has expanded a critical program aimed at vaccinating the state’s most hard-to-reach residents, reports Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter.
- Gov. Larry Hogan Friday announced that the state of Maryland has opened up direct scheduling for mass vaccination sites. The state’s pre-registration system is closed, and all 831,872 pre-registrants have now been offered appointments, David Higgins reports for the Southern Maryland Chronicle.
‘TRUMP JURISDICTIONS’ SLOW TO VACCINATE: The six least-vaccinated jurisdictions in Maryland — and nine of the bottom 12 — were won by Donald Trump in 2020, report Bruce DePuyt and Brenda Wintrode for Maryland Matters. Of the three jurisdictions carried by Democrat Joe Biden that have below-average vaccination rates — Baltimore City and Prince George’s and Charles counties — all are majority-Black.
FEWER THAN 1,000 HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID: Fewer than 1,000 people are hospitalized Sunday with the coronavirus for the first time in more than a month, and the Maryland Department of Health reported a continued decline in other key metrics, reports Phil Davis for the Sun.
STATE LOOSENS OUTDOOR MASK MANDATE; LOCAL STRUGGLE WITH NEXT STEP: A day after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) repealed Maryland’s universal outdoor masking order, some of the state’s biggest jurisdictions were grappling Thursday with what to do, write Erin Cox and Rebecca Tan reports in the Post. The repeal means many large gatherings may happen without face coverings: outdoor weddings, big neighborhood cookouts, festivals and parades — events at which federal health officials suggest everyone should still be masked.
- Baltimore residents can stop wearing face masks while outdoors unless they are attending events at outdoor venues, city officials announced Friday. The new order, issued by City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa and effective immediately, brings the city in line with loosened statewide restrictions announced by Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this week, reports Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
- Baltimore City and Prince George’s County Friday joined a growing list of jurisdictions that will no longer require mask use outside as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
GODDARD TO LAUNCH NEW TELESCOPE IN OCTOBER: Logan Arneson of the Capital News Service reports in Maryland Reporter that NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland is planning to put a new deep-space telescope into operation in October. The James Webb Space Telescope will replace the Hubble Telescope and have greater capabilities to see farther into the universe than was previously possible.
PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND FORMS NEW PAC: Progressive Maryland isn’t hurting for causes. What the organization’s favorite candidates often lack is money to promote their ambitious agenda. Eager to better support state and local progressive candidates — and recruit many more — the organization announced on Saturday the formation of a new political action committee, the New Era PAC, reports Jeff Barker for the Sun.
FREDERICK LAW OFFICERS QUESTION POLICE REFORM: After sweeping police reform legislation passed in Annapolis, Frederick County law enforcement leaders are left wondering who will fund the changes and how new laws will affect officers’ ability to protect the community, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Frederick News-Post.
RT. 50-301 CORRIDOR FOR NEW BAY SPAN CAUSES IRE: Back in 2016, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a preliminary study for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing in hopes of relieving those inevitable weekend back-ups at the Bay Bridge. After looking at 14 potential corridors for that crossing from the top of the bay to just north of the Virginia line, the Maryland Transportation Authority settled on the existing Route 50-301 corridor. It was a decision that raised the ire of stakeholders on both sides of the bridge, Joel McCord of WYPR-FM.
BICYCLISTS SEEK USE OF OLD NICE-MIDDLETON BRIDGE: A group of biking enthusiasts from both sides of the Potomac is urging officials in Maryland and Virginia to consider a new use for the existing Nice-Middleton Bridge in Charles County, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports. With construction underway on a new span, the group is trying to convince the Maryland Transportation Authority and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to leave the existing span standing.
ADVOCATES PETITION HOGAN TO HALT EVICTIONS: After tenant relief efforts failed to pass in the Maryland General Assembly, a broad coalition of fair housing advocates, faith organizations and community groups are urging Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) to put a temporary halt on evictions in the state, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters.
HOGAN’s S. KOREAN TEST KITS & TU’s FAILED RE-OPENING: In a long and complex story, Steve Thompson of the Post traces the South Korean Covid-19 test kits that Gov. Hogan had purchased and the false positives that shut down an attempted re-opening at Towson University last fall.
TU, UMBC AID INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS DURING PANDEMIC: For many international students, leaving their home country to pursue higher education in another country is already a stressful experience. Throw in a pandemic, and the resulting hybrid and virtual classes, along with social-distancing requirements, and that experience becomes all the more daunting. To try to address this concern, UMBC and Towson University provided resources for international students to help them cope with life at school, Allana Haynes reports for the Sun.
LONG-DISTANCE TRAVEL TO GET VAXX: While not everyone is willing to get vaccinated for COVID-19, those who want to, and have the means to travel, have been crossing county and state lines to get shots in Washington County, Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
B’MORE TAKES DELIBERATIVE APPROACH TO RESCUE FUND SPENDING: Nearly two months after it was announced the city would receive $670 million from the American Rescue Plan, city officials have yet to announce a plan to distribute it. Instead, Baltimore leaders are favoring a more deliberative approach to spending the most recent infusion of cash into the city — one that will involve community input and big ideas, reports Emily Opilo for the Sun.
MOSBY FILES ETHICS REPORT: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed her annual ethics disclosure Friday, confirming that she bought a half-million-dollar Florida home and that the IRS filed a lien on all property she owned, Tim Prudente reports for the Sun.
BAINUM EFFORT RUNNING OUT OF TIME: With about 10 days left for Stewart Bainum Jr. to resubmit an offer for Tribune Publishing, the odds against that happening are lengthening, Rick Edmonds writes for the Poynter Institute. Bainum continues “a Herculean effort” to find fellow investors, a source familiar with his thinking said, but has hit a potential deal-killing wall: No one seems to want to buy the Chicago Tribune.
- On Wednesday, Bainum notified a special committee of the Tribune Publishing board that he would increase his commitment to $300 million, Robert Channick of the Chicago Tribune reports. Bainum, who wants to own The Baltimore Sun and sell the rest of the portfolio, has buyers lined up for the chain’s other titles, but not the flagship paper in Chicago, a source close to the situation said.