FIXING THE UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM: The Maryland Department of Labor’s distribution of unemployment insurance benefits has been so badly mismanaged that state lawmakers and the state’s entire congressional delegation are still baffled as to why 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic thousands have yet to be paid and some cannot even get a claims representative on the phone despite having made repeated calls, Bryan Renbaum writes for Maryland Reporter. He asks state lawmakers how they would reform the system.
HIGH-SPEED TRAIN PUT ON HOLD: The Federal Railroad Administration, the lead federal agency charged with reviewing a proposed high-speed train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., has “paused” its evaluation of the project, Bruce Depuyt reports for Maryland Matters. Backers of the “SCMAGLEV” predict the line would be able to carry passengers between Union Station and Cherry Hill in 15 minutes, traveling up to 311-miles-per-hour through the use of electrified magnets.
- The Federal Railroad Administration said it has no timeline for completion of environmental planning for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Magnetic Levitation project, though the process still is ongoing, Lorraine Mirabella reports for the Sun. Such delays are not unusual on big projects.
HURRICANE IDA AFTERMATH: After flooding killed a 19-year-old man, severely damaged apartments, and left more than 100 residents in the Rockville area displaced on Wednesday, officials have started investigating what might have caused water levels to rise so high, so quickly, Steve Bohnel reports for Bethesda Beat. Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Gaithersburg) surveyed the damage and said she lived from 2012 to 2016 in one of the buildings that flooded.
- Ten schoolchildren were rescued from a school bus caught in rising floodwaters in Frederick County, Will Vitka reports for WTOP. The superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools said she’s “deeply sorry” for keeping the system open for a full day as the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the D.C. region.
- Dozens of roads remained closed Thursday afternoon after the remnants of Hurricane Ida pummeled Frederick County Wednesday, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Frederick News-Post. It left behind as much as 8 inches of rain in some places.
- Causing property damage but no injuries, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in
EdgemereEdgewater with peak winds up to 125 mph and a path length of 11.25 miles, Lowell Melser reports for WBAL TV.
OPIOID SETTLEMENT WILL ‘STRIP PUBLIC PROTECTIONS’ IN MD: A settlement agreement with Purdue Pharma that grants sweeping immunity to the Sackler family owners may impede Maryland claims related to the opioid crisis, D’Paul Nibber blogs for the Maryland Association of Counties’ Conduit Street. Attorney General Brian Frosh said his office “respectfully disagrees” with the idea that the bankruptcy court can “strip public protections that are designed to prevent wrongdoing and harm to the public health.”
***Transformation to the Grid of the Future: Regulators are implementing directives to transform the grid for the future. What impacts can ratepayers and consumers expect to result from FERC Order 2222 and the Maryland Order PC 44 process? This FREE webinar on September 14th examines the deployment of distributed resource markets for load balancing and reliability, and kicks off the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Connecting to the Energy Economy Speaker Series.***
LANDLORDS COMPLAIN ABOUT D.C. RENT AID: Some of D.C.’s largest landlords say they’re still struggling to get rent relief money from the District to cover balances owed by tenants, in yet another sign of the city’s troubles deploying the federal aid before evictions resume. District officials believe they’re making progress distributing more of the roughly $350 million seeding the city’s “STAY DC” rent relief program, but that did not stop several prominent property owners from venting their frustrations Tuesday during a D.C. Council oversight hearing. Landlords and tenant advocates alike say there are still glitches dogging the distributions, despite promises from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration to make changes.
BODY CAMERA MANDATE BRINGS MORE WORK FOR PROSECUTOR OFFICE: The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office expects the evidence review unit’s workload to nearly quadruple as police agencies equip officers with body-worn cameras to comply with a new state mandate, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Frederick News-Post. The State’s Attorney has been critical of their cost in the past, but said that though he still thinks they are expensive, he has noticed more value when it comes to prosecuting than he expected.
INVESTIGATION FINDS INFLATED ENROLLMENT, CHANGED GRADES: A two-year Baltimore City school system investigation has found that administrators at one city high school schemed to inflate enrollment, pressured teachers to change grades and scheduled students into classes that didn’t exist, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun.
PARENTS ASKING FOR OUTDOOR LUNCHES AS SCHOOL STARTS: Concerned parents are circulating a petition calling for outdoor seating for lunch at Baltimore schools in response to COVID-19 concerns about unmasked children eating close to each other in cafeterias, Christine Condon reports for the Sun.
MAYOR SCOTT RESPONDS TO BUMPY BACK TO SCHOOL: Baltimore City public school systems have gained a lot of attention within the first week they returned to school, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott spoke with C4 and Bryan Nehman Thursday morning, addressing concerns over the school system, the COVID-19 requirement for some students, and words from Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot. On air conditioning Scott said, “I know the issue better than anybody because I had to go to school with no air conditioning and sometimes with no heat. We know that this is an ongoing issue.”
MD UNIVERSITIES CANCEL REGISTRATION OF UNVACCINATED STUDENTS: Seventy-nine students at Maryland’s largest college, the University of Maryland, College Park, had their fall course registrations canceled due to failure to comply with the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements, a number less than 2% of the student body, Johanna Alonso reports for The Daily Record.
DREDGING FOR DEEP CREEK LAKE: During a “State of the Lake” address on Aug. 25, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio announced $2.2 million in additional funding for dredging of Deep Creek Lake, Brenda Ruggiero reports for the Garrett County Republican
MOCO DID NOT COLLECT INFO ON TRAFFIC STOPS: Perturbing lawmakers and civil rights activists, an independent report revealed the Montgomery County Police Department did not adequately collect and record information on traffic stops for 14 years, potentially violating a state law passed as part of a historic police overhaul, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post.
CHIEF JUDGE BARBERA PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT: Retiring Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera did not expect to spend the last 18 months of her eight years as Maryland’s top jurist trying to keep the state’s courthouse doors as open as possible in the wake of a deadly virus, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record.