State Roundup: Program targets revitalizing vacant work spaces; Perez slams Hogan administration’s handling of unemployment insurance system

State Roundup: Program targets revitalizing vacant work spaces; Perez slams Hogan administration’s handling of unemployment insurance system

At the podium, center, Rick Hutzell, the former editor of the Capital newspaper, speaks to the large crowd at the dedication of the memorial in Annapolis to five murdered staff members. Hutzell just took a company buyout as part of continued staff cuts. photo

STATE PROGRAM TARGETS REVITALIZING VACANT SPACES: Maryland is offering incentives to companies that revitalize vacant commercial spaces through Project Restore, a new program Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday. The $25 million program targets commercial spaces that have been vacant for at least six months, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

  • Businesses will be eligible for sales tax rebates of up to $250,000 per year. Additionally, small businesses — those with fewer than 50 employees — will be eligible for rental subsidies of $2,500 each month for a year. All businesses applying to the program must commit to staying in the previously vacant space for a year, Johanna Alonso reports in the Daily Record.
  • Businesses located in a Tier 1 county — as defined by the More Jobs for Marylanders program — will get the rebate for two years while all other businesses will get the rebate for one year. Tier 1 counties include Baltimore City, Baltimore County and all opportunity zones in the state, Jessica Iannetta reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

PEREZ SLAMS HOGAN ADMIN HANDLING OF JOBLESS BENEFIT SYSTEM: Former Democratic National Committee chairman and gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez Monday slammed Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration’s handling of the state’s unemployment insurance system, saying it is “unconscionable” that many Marylanders have waited several months to get their benefits and that that dilemma represents a “failure of governance,” Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.

STATE RELUCTANT TO MANDATE VAXX FOR SCHOOL SYSTEMS: State health officials say they are wary of pressuring local school systems to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students returning in the fall, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record. In general, key measurements of the pandemic are all showing continuing positive trends just days before the state of emergency and statewide mask requirements are set to end on July 1.

UNVAXXED ACCOUNT FOR NEARLY ALL COVID CASES, STATE SAYS: Marylanders who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 account for nearly all of the state’s recent coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader told lawmakers on Monday, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.

SANITY TRIAL BEGINS FOR CAPITAL GAZETTE KILLER: The trial to determine whether the gunman who killed five Capital Gazette employees was insane at the time is slated to begin today, three years and one day after the mass shooting, Alex Mann reports for the Capital Gazette. Mann explains what readers can expect from the trial.

  • In another article for the Capital Gazette, Mann writes that at trial, the defense bears the burden of proving Ramos was not criminally responsible by a preponderance of the evidence standard. That means the jury will have to find that it’s more likely than not — a lower bar than guilt or innocence — that Ramos was insane.

MONUMENT DEDICATED TO CAPITAL GAZETTE VICTIMS: Survivors and family members of victims of the five people who were killed in a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper office dedicated a memorial to them and the First Amendment on Monday on the third anniversary of the attack, Brian Witte reports for the AP. The tribute came amid grave concerns expressed by some in a long list of speakers about the future survival of the newspaper, which has come under new ownership.

  • Survivors and friends shared memories of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters, who are now memorialized as “The Guardians of the First Amendment” with five granite pillars soaring upward from a brick plaza along the waterfront Compromise Street in the downtown of the community they loved. An inscription of the First Amendment faces the water, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports.
  • Emily Sullivan of WYPR-FM quotes survivor Phil Davis, who now works for the Sun: “I want Wendy, Rob, Gerald, Rebecca and John to be remembered with words like guardians. It will give their names weight, the weight they deserve. But I also knew these five as people.”

COMMENTARY: THE REAL NEWSPAPER KILLER: In an opinion piece for Maryland Reporter, publisher Len Lazarick writes, “Killing journalists for being journalists is a horrible thing. Killing newspapers because you can make money doing it is worse. Jared Ramos may or may not have known what he was doing in the murders on June 28, 2018. But with its purchase of Tribune Publishing in May, Alden Global Capital knows what it is doing. It is the deliberate slow killing of the Sun, the Capital, and the already half-dead community newspapers on which I worked for 21 years.”

JUSTICE DEPT REFUSED TO PULL PROSECUTORS FROM MOSBY PROBE: The U.S. Department of Justice refused to yank two federal prosecutors in Baltimore off the criminal tax investigation into Marilyn and Nick Mosby, rejecting requests from the couple’s attorney who claimed the men are biased and leaked news of the case to reporters, Tim Prudente of the Sun reports.

PG BREAKS GROUND FOR 1st OF 6 NEW SCHOOLS: In one of Prince George’s County Public Schools’ most historical moments, the first of six groundbreakings to construct new buildings for an estimated 8,000 students took place Monday, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer. Maryland’s second-largest school system has the state’s second-oldest buildings. According to construction documents, about 40% of the school buildings are about 60 years old.

COVID DECLINE CONTINUES IN CARROLL: Carroll County continues to see a trend in decreased COVID-19 case numbers week after week, with only three new confirmed cases reported last week, compared to 10 the week before. Madison Bateman of the Carroll County Times reports that last week marked the eighth consecutive weekly decline and the 11th time in 12 weeks that the county has reported a decrease, according to the latest data posted to the Carroll County Health Department’s website.

APPEAL OK’d IN SUIT TO CURB STUDENT BOARD MEMBER VOTING RIGHTS: The Court of Appeals of Maryland last week granted an appeal to a lawsuit to limit the vote of the student member on the Howard County Board of Education, Alana Hayes reports for the Howard County Times. The appeal, which was granted June 22, comes after two Howard County Public School System parents filed a lawsuit challenging the voting rights of the school board’s student member.

BA CO TO VOTE ON LOWERING COUNCIL AGE TO 21: Baltimore County voters will decide next year whether to lower the eligible age to hold a seat on the County Council to 21, after the council unanimously approved legislation this month to propose the charter change, Taylor DeVille of the Sun reports. Under current county law, candidates for the council must meet the same standards for election as state senators, who are required to be at least 25-years-old by Election Day.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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