State Roundup: Objection to BPW highway decision; Census numbers reveal Baltimore population drop

State Roundup: Objection to BPW highway decision; Census numbers reveal Baltimore population drop

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

FREDERICK COUNTY COUNCILMAN DISAPPOINTED IN BOARD VOTE ON BELTWAY PLAN: Frederick County Councilman Kai Hagen Thursday blasted the latest decision by the Board of Public Works to advance Gov. Larry Hogan’s traffic relief congestion plan for the Capital Beltway, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter. “I think it is misguided. I think it is premature. At the very best, it is inappropriately premature,” said Hagen, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to county executive.

NEW CENSUS DATA REVEALS BALTIMORE POP HAS SHRUNK, LESS THAN HALF OF MD IDS AS WHITE: Long-awaited Census data shows that Baltimore’s population has shrunk and less than half of Maryland’s population identifies as white, Brain Witte reports for the AP.

  • The figures from Maryland show that non-Hispanic white residents made up 47% of the state’s population in 2020, down from 55% in the 2010 count, Alison Knezevich and Pamela Wood report for the Sun. The Asian population grew to 7% from 5% of the state’s population, and Hispanic or Latino to 12% from 8%. Frederick and Howard counties had the most growth. Here’s the Sun’s five key takeaways.
  • The state’s overall population increased 7% since 2010, up to 6,177,224 residents in 2020. It is the first time the state’s population has topped more than 6 million residents in a decennial Census, Bennett Leckrone and Danielle Gaines report for Maryland Matters.
  • Baltimore’s dramatic 5.7% population loss over the past 10 years means the city is sure to face a corresponding loss of political clout in the decade ahead, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters analyzes, describing the news on the hottest day of the year as a “torrent of cold water in the face.” He said the numbers mean no matter how many allies it has in Annapolis, the city can’t continue to be as powerful once redistricting goes through.
  • In response to the Census numbers, the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee called on the business community and city stakeholders to come together and develop a long-term strategy for getting Baltimore’s population growing again, Holden Wilen reports for The Baltimore Business Journal.

STATE EVICTIONS PROTECTIONS ABOUT TO END: Chanting “No more evictions!” Baltimore City housing advocates and tenants demanded that Gov. Larry Hogan extend his order to protect tenants affected by the pandemic from eviction, Sarah Kim reports for WYPR. That order is set to last through Sunday.

  • A federal evictions moratorium is in place for areas with “substantial transmission” of COVID-19, and Montgomery County officials are urging tenants served with eviction papers to show up in court, Steve Bohnel reports for Bethesda Beat. The moratorium is an “affirmative defense” for those facing eviction, but they need to show up for court, where Maryland Legal Aid will provide assistance. 

SCHOOLS MAKING MASKING DECISIONS: Starting Aug. 16, Harford County Public Schools will require all people to wear masks in buildings and on school buses, Kelly Broderick reports for WMAR. And she reports that Howard County Public Schools will require all HCPSS employees to either provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Howard County Public School System Superintendent Michael Martirano said he “did not make this decision lightly,” Allana Hayes reports for Baltimore Sun media.
  • Garrett County Public Schools will open Sept. 7 without a requirement for wearing masks in buildings, but the superintendent still says wearing a mask is a good idea, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican.

MD STATE FAIR HAS NO COVID RESTRICTIONS: The Maryland State Fair is returning to Timonium in two weeks, and so far Baltimore County’s Health Officer has not mandated any COVID restrictions at the fair, John Lee reports for WYPR. But the health officer Dr. Gregory Branch, who has a newborn grandchild, said he’s skipping it this year, because he does not want to be in a large crowd.

CONVERSION OF BALTIMORE SUN BUILDING TO POLICE COST $5 MILLION SO FAR: The former Baltimore Sun building’s conversion into the Central District Police Station and other offices has so far consumed $5 million in public funds, Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew investigates. He explains these costly upgrades “could all be for naught” if the city decides not to lease the entire building from Atapco, a Baltimore-based regional property manager.

OC MAYOR, BUSINESSES STILL CONCERNED ABOUT WINDFARM VIEWSHED: US Wind, one of two firms with plans for wind farms off Ocean City, announced at a recent celebratory news conference a deal to bring steel production back to the old Bethlehem Steel site at Sparrows Point, Joel McCord reports for WYPR. But folks in Ocean City aren’t popping champagne, with the mayor raising concerns about the town’s viewshed.

MENTAL HEALTH SEES WINDFALL: The Maryland Department of Health announced Thursday that a wide range of mental health services in Maryland — including suicide prevention efforts for service members and addressing gaps in behavioral health for Hispanic residents — are getting additional funding, Jack Moore reports for WTOP.

LAWSUIT IN ENSLAVED BURIAL SITE DISPUTE: The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition is suing over Montgomery County’s housing commission’s decision to sell the Moses Cemetery parcel without first getting court approval, Stephanie Lai reports for the Post. A 1992 state law should have required the court involvement, the group says. An estimated 500 bodies of enslaved people or relatives of the enslaved rest at Moses Cemetery.

DEL. MALONE TO SIT ON BENCH, CREATING VACANCY: Another vacancy has been created in the General Assembly, with Gov. Larry Hogan announcing Thursday he is nominating state Del. Michael E. Malone (R-Anne Arundel) to a seat on the Anne Arundel Circuit Court, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.

AFRO CELEBRATES 129 YEARS, SIX GENERATIONS: AFRO newspaper is celebrating its 129th anniversary, and since 1897 it has been owned and operated by the descendants of John and Martha Murphy, the staff of AFRO report. “It has recounted the struggles of a people who refused to be subdued; it has chronicled the pinnacles of success and the ‘two steps back’ instances,” the paper writes.  In 2021, the paper added the sixth generation of descendants to work there, alongside 4th and 5th generation descendants and many others.

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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