State Roundup: Only 15% of Maryland’s federal rent relief funds have been distributed

State Roundup: Only 15% of Maryland’s federal rent relief funds have been distributed

Sunrise in Ocean City from another day. This morning was a heavy thunderstorm and lightning.. photo

MARYLAND SLOW TO DISTRIBUTE RENTAL RELIEF AID: Maryland has distributed only 15% of the funding from a federal program dedicated to pandemic rental relief, data released by the state showed this week — and two of the state’s largest jurisdictions – Baltimore city and Baltimore County – are among those that have spent the least, Emily Opilo and Taylor DeVille reports for the Sun.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS LOSE 27,000 FROM STUDENT ROLLS: Maryland public schools lost 27,000 students from their rolls during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the health emergency shuttered schools across the state last year, tens of thousands of parents decided to send their kids to private schools or start home schooling rather than sign up for virtual learning, an analysis of data by The Baltimore Sun and Big Local News shows, Lillian Reed and Liz Bowie report for the Sun.

SCHRADER: NO SCHOOL MASK MANDATE YET: Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said the state will not impose new mask mandates for school systems. Rather, he told Tom Hall on WYPR’s Midday, the state has issued recommendations based on CDC guidelines, which urges universal indoor masking due to the Delta variant for all students and teachers in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

PROTESTS POP UP AGAINST MASK MANDATES: In the last two weeks, demonstrations in opposition of universal masking have gathered at public school districts in Baltimore County, Harford County, Anne Arundel County, and Queen Anne’s County, Amy Simpson reports for WBFF-TV.

MORE BUSINESSES REQUIRING VAXX: The number of businesses and industries requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 continues to climb, especially in light of Wednesday announcements from Gov. Larry Hogan and President Biden mandating that nursing home and hospital workers get shots or receive regular tests, reports Johanna Alonso for the Daily Record.

PLANNING FOR BOOSTER SHOTS BEGINS: Officials in the greater Washington region say the rollout of booster shots to millions of vaccinated people will be much different from the early days of the coronavirus vaccinations, when doses were in short supply and people scoured the Internet for scarce appointments. Maryland recently joined Virginia and D.C. in having high community transmission of the virus, Jenna Portnoy and Ovetta Wiggins report for the Post.

  • Citing a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, city Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said Baltimore will set up a semi-permanent location to distribute booster doses, starting with people who received priority status when getting their initial vaccinations including health care workers and first responders, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.
  • Baltimore City will administer COVID-19 vaccination booster shots starting the week of Sept. 20 in accordance with new CDC guidelines, Emily Sullivan reports for WYPR-FM.
  • Montgomery County officials are prepared to start administering a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, Steve Bohnel of Bethesda Beat reports.

COUNTIES CAUTIONED ON ‘SUGAR HIGH’ OF FEDERAL FUNDS: A surge of federal pandemic aid could cause budget issues at Maryland’s local government level if poor “fiscal hygiene” is practiced. That was the message from two state budget experts who cautioned local leaders attending the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference that a sugar high of federal pandemic aid will likely end in the next two years, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The result could create problems for those who use one-time federal money for ongoing expenses.

NON-CERTIFIED CHEMISTS THROW DRUG CASES INTO LIMBO: Chemists at a lab in Pennsylvania that test substances to see if they are illegal drugs for Maryland prosecutors were not certified by the state, despite signing a contract saying they would be. Because of that, and a legal shortcut prosecutors used, an undetermined number of drug cases across the state could be reexamined, reports James Whitlow for the Aegis.

STATE, LOCAL LAWMAKERS SEEK REFORMS AFTER OC POLICE INCIDENT: Two months after viral videos showed police violence against a group of Black teens on the Ocean City boardwalk, a panel of state and local lawmakers at the Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference in the beach town said they want accountability for the incident, as well as reforms, reports Hannah Gaskill for Maryland Matters.

VIDEO DELAYS SENTENCING OF CAPITOL RIOTER: After accusing a Capitol rioter from Maryland of presenting a “self-serving rewrite of history” to make himself look better, prosecutors asked to delay sentencing for Robert Maurice Reeder when an apparent video of him shoving a police officer during the Jan. 6 riots came to light just hours before his hearing Wednesday, James Whitlow of the Aegis reports.

STEELE GETS UPBEAT RECEPTION AT OC EVENT: Noted anti-Trumper and former Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was greeted enthusiastically at state Sen. J.B. Jennings’ reception in Ocean City on Thursday, enjoying pre-pandemic levels of hugging, back-slapping, reminiscing and laughter, Maryland Matters reports.

FORMER B’MORE NAACP INTERIM PRESIDENT DIES: Sandra M. Almond-Cooper, president of the Mondawmin Neighborhood Improvement Association for 20 years and former interim president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, died Aug. 11 at the University of Maryland Midtown Medical Center Midtown Campus. The Gwynns Falls resident was 75, Fred Rasmussen reports for the Sun.

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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