COVID CASES RISING AGAIN: Cases are rising around Maryland and much of the Northeast so fast it seems that everyone knows someone who has COVID-19. Some of those infected had it before, while others have it for the first time. “This isn’t over,” said Crystal Watson, public health lead in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security’s Coronavirus Resource Center, during a news conference Friday marking the United States reaching the milestone of a million COVID-19 deaths earlier in the week. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Sun.
- The Frederick County Health Department is recommending that people consider wearing a mask in public indoor spaces as the spread of COVID-19 increases. Frederick County moved this week from “low” to “medium” for COVID-19 Community Level, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jack Hogan/The Frederick News Post.
- A new subvariant of the coronavirus is causing a surge in cases nationwide. In Maryland, the positivity rate climbed to 8.39% on Friday – the highest positivity rate since January. Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an infectious disease physician, answered seven important questions about BA.2.12.1. Chris Berinato/WBFF-TV.
MIZEUR BLASTS RIVAL HARRIS FOR ‘RADICAL’ VIEWS, CPAC ATTENDANCE: First District congressional candidate Heather Mizeur (D) rebuked incumbent Rep. Andy Harris (R) on Friday for speaking to a conservative conference taking place in Hungary. In a statement, she accused him of being an embarrassment and a “failed” representative who clings to “radical” views. CPAC Hungary, a three-day event in Budapest, features Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and Fox talk show host Tucker Carlson, both of whom have embraced race-conscious immigration and abortion policies that are gaining traction on the right. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
VAN HOLLEN AT HOME RECUPERATING: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) was discharged from the hospital Saturday after suffering what he said was a minor stroke, and is now recovering at home, a spokesman for the senator said Sunday afternoon. Meagan Flynn/The Washington Post.
NEW MARYLAND PUBLIC DEFENDER TAPPED: Natasha Dartigue was selected as Maryland’s next top public defender on Thursday. “Ms. Dartigue has a combination of impressive qualifications, vision, and experience, and the Board is excited to have her lead this agency,” T. Wray McCurdy, chairman of the Office of the Public Defender’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “She has shown leadership ability both inside the courtroom and in the greater community.” Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
SNEAK PEEK AT OFFICIAL PORTRAITS OF HOGAN, FIRST LADY: The official portraits of Gov. Larry Hogan and his wife, Yumi, are one step closer to the spots they will call home for the next several decades. The portraits of the Hogans were the subject of what might be called a soft opening or a sneak preview during an unveiling two weeks ago. The event — a more public one will be scheduled before the next governor is sworn in — is a milestone marking the end of Hogan’s tenure in office. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
PRIMARY DEBATES: Please join Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick as he moderates the virtual online debates for the candidates for Maryland attorney general. Republicans Michael Peroutka and Jim Shalleck debate Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m. Register here to get the link. Democrats Anthony Brown and Katie Curran O’Malley debate on Wednesday, May 25, 7:30 p.m. Register here. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters moderates the debate of Democratic comptroller candidates Tim Adams and Brooke Lierman Tuesday, May 31. Register here. Here’s the flyer. The League of Women Voters is the lead sponsor along with MarylandReporter.com, MarylandMatters.org, Maryland Nonprofits, Maryland Latinos Unidos and the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy, the online host.
CRIME ON RADAR OF GOV CANDIDATES: Crime is beginning to dominate the conversation among city officials in Baltimore and Democrats seeking to become governor. Baltimore’s murder count for 2022 continues to rise and, at a Thursday news conference, city councilmembers called for Mayor Brandon Scott (D) to act. Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.
POLITICAL NOTES: COX RALLY; AFL-CIO ENDORSEMENTS: Fresh off his victory Tuesday in the Pennsylvania Republican primary for governor, Trump-aligned state Sen. Doug Mastriano is coming to Maryland next month to rally for this state’s Trump-aligned candidate for governor, Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick). The Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO this week endorsed Tom Perez, the former state and Obama administration Labor secretary, in the Democratic primary for governor; Del. Brooke E. Lierman for comptroller; U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown for attorney general; the Democratic members of Congress in the state who are seeking reelection, plus Rep. Donna F. Edwards in the Democratic primary to replace Brown; and former Del. Heather Mizeur, who is seeking to unseat Republican Rep. Andy Harris. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.
OPINION: PURPLE LINE MESS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED: Let’s face it, the Purple Line has become a disaster. And it’s not supposed to even open until 2026 at a cost of $9.3 billion. It’s a given that government construction projects run long and exceed cost projections. Still, this is one for the record books – the Purple Line was originally estimated to cost $5.6 billion and open this spring. our county leadership failed to look into transit options. Let’s keep the Purple Line but also try personal rapid transit, an innovative form of public transportation. Peter James/Bethesda Beat.
MO CO POLICE SEEK COMFORT IN NEW UNIFORMS: A proposal to change the type of uniform worn by Montgomery County police officers from the current black model is meant to make the uniform more comfortable and not to change public perception of officers, the president of the county police union said Friday. Dan Schere/Bethesda Beat.
PEOPLE’S CONVOY OUSTED FROM SPEEDWAY: The People’s Convoy protesting government COVID mandates and other grievances disbanded and was ejected from the Hagerstown Speedway on Friday, two days after it returned. David Rhodes/The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
- The People’s Convoy had conducted a series of rolling protests around the Capital Beltway in March to protest coronavirus pandemic restrictions and other grievances. After a hiatus, a smaller group of truckers returned Wednesday to the Hagerstown Speedway. The Associated Press
ARUNDEL STATE’S ATTY RUNNING UNOPPOSED: After trying the highest-profile homicide case in Anne Arundel County’s recent history, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess is not facing opposition by either major political party this election season, and said she’ll use the spare time to “concentrate on the job at hand.” Dan Belson/The Capital Gazette.
CRAB NUMBERS DROP TO LOWEST LEVEL IN 33 YEARS: The number of Chesapeake Bay blue crabs fell this year to the lowest level ever recorded in the 33 years of data. Officials estimated that the bay now has 227 million crabs. That’s down from the 282 million tallied last year. The all-time high of 852 million crabs came in 1993. Jacob Baumgart of Patch/Maryland Matters.
INDIAN HEAD HIGHWAY NAME TO REMAIN, DESPITE LEGISLATION: The name of Indian Head Highway isn’t going anywhere, after all. State legislation signed into law last month would permanently change the nearly 21-mile stretch of road in southern Prince George’s County to Piscataway Highway, in honor of the Piscataway Native American tribe — or so supporting legislators thought. But it turns out that legislation merely “designates” the stretch along Route 210 as Piscataway Highway, leaving the original, offending name in place. William Ford/The Washington Informer.
PROBE OF CONFEDERATE FLAG RAISED AT SCHOOL: Officials in Charles County said they are investigating after a Confederate flag was raised outside La Plata High School late last week. A preliminary investigation by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office indicates that several individuals arrived on the school’s campus around 11:50 p.m. Wednesday at which time the individuals are believed to have placed a Confederate flag on the pole and raised it. Members of the school’s JROTC found the flag Thursday morning. Lauren Lumpkin/The Washington Post.
CONGRATULATIONS, MAE BEALE: MarylandReporter.com would like to congratulate our next-street neighbor Mae Beale who made it on the ABC national news broadcast Sunday for getting her college degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus last week as she turned 82. ABC picked up the clip from local affiliate WJLA. Mae is a long-time community and Democratic activist well known in Howard County political circles.
FREELANCERS WANTED: MarylandReporter.com is looking for freelance writers to cover stories in state and local government, particularly Howard County. If interested contact editor Tim Maier at Tim@MarylandReporter.com. A resume and clips would be helpful if Tim is unfamiliar with your work.