IDA SPURS TORNADOES IN ANNAPOLIS, CHARLES CO., FLOODING ELSEWHERE : After a tornado tore through parts of Anne Arundel County – including the state capital – and Tropical Depression Ida brought heavy rain to Maryland on Wednesday afternoon, various public services will be either halted or limited Thursday as officials continue to handle cleanup efforts, Phil Davis of the Sun reports.
- Heavy rains have caused significant flooding and road closures in Carroll County as the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida rolled through Central Maryland on Wednesday afternoon. Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz said Wednesday the town experienced flooding around the city’s southside on Harney Road, Jay Judge reports for the Carroll County Times.
- Here are photos of the damage from Ida in Harford County, by Brian Krista in the Aegis.
- Communities around Garrett County were bracing for the possibility of flash flooding as the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through the region Wednesday. Even as the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical depression, 4 to 6 inches of rain were expected to fall locally through Wednesday night, possibly into Thursday morning, the Garrett County Republican reports.
- A water rescue and evacuations were conducted by first responders Wednesday after remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped nearly 5 inches of rain in Cumberland and the surrounding areas, Jeffrey Alderton of the Cumberland Times-News reports.
- There were tornado warnings issued for parts of Dorchester and Kent counties as Ida brought heavy rains and the potential for more severe weather to the region, according to the Easton Star Democrat. Funnel clouds were spotted near Hurlock. The entire Shore was under a tornado watch with the concerns about more rain resulting in flash flooding.
- Alejandro Alvarez of WTOP-FM reports that with the storm now gone, the focus on Thursday shifts to the lingering floodwaters and widespread damage from at least two destructive tornadoes in the listening area: One widely seen near Annapolis, and a second reported in Charles County.
ELRICH PUSHES VACCINE PASSPORTS: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Wednesday emphasized the need for the implementation of a vaccine passport program to help reduce the spread of the Delta variant and to help mitigate fears of exposure, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter. Though the county has the best vaccination metrics in the state, according to the CDC, its seven-day community transmission rate has been upgraded by that agency from “substantial risk” to “high risk.”
- Montgomery County’s top health official on Wednesday for the first time publicly endorsed a proposal to require a COVID-19 vaccination passport, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports. Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said that “from a public health standpoint, that is something we would feel comfortable recommending and supporting.” Both Gayles and Elrich emphasized there is no formal proposal drafted.
- This week, Montgomery County’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people reached its highest level since the winter, but the percentage of patients hospitalized is nearly one-third as high, which health officials attribute to high vaccination rates, writes Caitlynn Peetz in Bethesda Beat.
HOGAN BLASTS CITY’s LACK OF SCHOOL AC: Frustrated that some Baltimore public school students were sent home early on the first day of class due to hot weather, Gov. Larry Hogan blasted city and school leaders on Wednesday for not ensuring all buildings are fully air-conditioned, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Air conditioning in public schools was practically a perennial issue for Comptroller Peter Franchot before Hogan was elected. The Republican executive and Democratic tax collector found common ground and used it as a cudgel against a number of leaders in Baltimore city and county, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
- On Wednesday, the visibly irritated governor ordered Maryland’s top education officials to conduct a building-by-building review to determine which schools lack proper ventilation and air filtration systems, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes. Thirty-one city schools were forced to shut down early on Tuesday, the second day of class.
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FEAR OF FLU OUTBREAK: Fears of an influenza outbreak on top of the COVID-19 pandemic never materialized last fall. Thanks to masking, social distancing and quarantining, flu was all but nonexistent. But now kids are returning to school and adults are going back to the office and few doctors and public health experts think the state or country will escape the flu, along with its fevers and body aches, again this year, Meredith Cohn and Hallie Miller of Sun report.
HOSPITAL WORKERS DUE FOR VAXX: Gov. Larry Hogan’s deadline for Maryland hospital and nursing home workers to get at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine passed Wednesday. And a doctor at one hospital says workers there are close to meeting that goal, Sarah Kim for WYPR-FM reports.
9 NOMINATED TO EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD: A nominating committee announced nine nominees to an accountability board tasked with ensuring the success of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reforms on Wednesday, but one lawmaker contends that they do not fully represent the state of Maryland, Elizabeth Shwe reports for Maryland Matters.
STATE SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH VISUALLY IMPAIRED VOTERS: The state of Maryland will pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by visually impaired voters and the National Federation of the Blind that alleged the state’s electronic voting machines compromised voter secrecy and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, reports Pamela Wood of the Sun.
CARROLL AIRPORT GETS FEDERAL FUNDS: The Carroll County Regional Airport will soon get safety improvements to the northern section of its runway after a recent award of federal dollars. U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Rep. Jamie Raskin on Tuesday announced $260,000 in federal funding for the airport, including $26,000 in American Rescue Plan funds, reports Madison Bateman for the Carroll County Times.
UNIONS ENDORSE PEREZ: Tom Perez, a Democrat running for governor, received his largest endorsement to date from chapters of four labor unions representing over 40,000 Maryland households on Wednesday, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports.
STATE HIGH COURT TO HEAR VIOLENT JUVIE CASE: Maryland’s top court opened its 2021-2022 session Wednesday, a term in which it will take up the appeal of a Beltway sniper in considering whether the state constitution permits violent juvenile offenders ever to be sentenced to life without parole, Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports.
RASKIN PENS MEMOIR: U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland is working on a memoir in which he will reflect on the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol and the tragedy he suffered a week earlier when his 25-year-old son Tommy killed himself, Hillel Italie of the Associated Press writes. The book is called “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy,” which Harper will publish Jan. 4.
MORE CHARGES AGAINST BA CO MAN AT JAN. 6 INSURRECTION: A 43-year-old Nottingham man charged with storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 is facing additional charges after investigators found illegal firearms and drugs as part of their search for evidence of his role in the insurrection, Justin Fenton of the Sun reports.