State Roundup: Feds pony up $268M for Maryland to widen internet access; EPA contributed to failure of Bay cleanup effort, report says; officials work to resolve paratransit program issues

State Roundup: Feds pony up $268M for Maryland to widen internet access; EPA contributed to failure of Bay cleanup effort, report says; officials work to resolve paratransit program issues

'Internet access today is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity,' said Don Graves, a U.S. deputy secretary of Commerce, in announcing that Maryland will receive $268 million in federal funds to help bridge a digital divide. Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

STATE TO GET $268 MILLION TO HELP BRIDGE DIGITAL DIVIDE: Don Graves, a U.S. deputy secretary of Commerce, announced on Tuesday that Maryland will receive about $268 million to help bridge a digital divide. He said more than 44,000 locations in the state have either limited or no broadband access. “Maryland is receiving an investment…to ensure that everyone in the state has access,” he said at the Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library. “Internet access today is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity.” William Ford/Maryland Matters.

LACK OF EPA BUY-IN ADDED TO FAILURE OF 2025 BAY CLEANUP EFFORT: The federal Environmental Protection Agency “did not fully embrace its leadership role” in the 2025 Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort, contributing to its failure, according to a report released Tuesday by the agency’s inspector general. The report comes in the wake of a painful consensus on the bay cleanup: The states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed won’t meet their promised goals to reduce pollution by 2025. Christine Condon/The Baltimore Sun.

STATE WORKS TO RESOLVE ISSUES WITH PARATRANSIT PROGRAM: Transit officials said they are working to resolve issues with the state’s paratransit program in the wake of a federal investigation that found the MobilityLink service did not comply with federal law. The investigation found concerns with the timely pick-up and drop-off of riders as well as long call center waits. Maryland Transit Administrator Holly Arnold acknowledged issues with the system but said the agency has been working to improve service. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

REP. HARRIS COMPARES PROPOSED LGBTQ CENTER TO KKK PROJECT: In a tense meeting marked by Democratic charges of hatred and bigotry, Republicans on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday to strip funding for three LGBTQ community projects, just weeks after they included the money in the annual transportation and housing spending bill. At one point, Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican on the panel, compared funding an LGBTQ center in Philadelphia to a hypothetical Ku Klux Klan project, in part because, he said, the LGBTQ center organized a protest against conservative mothers. Jennifer Shutt/Maryland Matters.

***Learn about China Today: Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick will again be offering a six-session seminar on China Today and how it got that way at Howard Community College. Lazarick began his involvement with China and its journalists 30 years ago and teaches East Asian history at the college. Click here to learn more and register for the course.***

SOME SAY NEW CANNABIS LAW WILL HINDER POLICING: As recreational marijuana became legal in Maryland this month, a new law has some states attorneys in Maryland saying that it is a hindrance to police and a danger to society. House Bill 1071 says law enforcement officers will no longer be allowed to use the odor of marijuana as probable cause to search a vehicle. Maxine Streicher/WBFF-Fox TV News.

MARYLAND RANKS HIGH FOR ALZHEIMER’s CASES: Alzheimer’s disease robs people of their memories and ability to live normally. There’s no cure for it. And Maryland has among the highest rates in the country. Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, specifically, are in the Top 5 local jurisdictions for the disease, according to a study conducted for the Alzheimer’s Association. Meredith Cohn/The Baltimore Banner.

BLACK TEACHERS SAY HOWARD SCHOOL LACKS DIVERSITY IN STAFFING: Several Black teachers testified to the Howard County Board of Education at a July 13 meeting that the school system lacks diversity. One, Nikia Darden, is a teacher with 10 years in the system and chair of the Howard County Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Committee. The committee works to empower and support underrepresented educators and students in Howard County Public Schools. The association represents more than 6,000 employees in the county public school system, including teachers. Sherry Greenfield/The Baltimore Sun.

HOGAN APPOINTEES GONE; CASSILLY’s TAKE SEATS ON HARFORD SCHOOL BOARD: Aaron Poynton, a Republican who worked on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ national leadership team, was elected president of the Harford County Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting. Melissa Hahn was elected vice president. Poynton is one of three school board members appointed by County Executive Bob Cassilly who were seated at the meeting. Katia Parks/The Aegis.

TASK FORCE WORKS TO MAKE MO CO SAFER AMID RISE IN HATE INCIDENTS: Members of the Montgomery County Anti-Hate Task Force gathered last week in Silver Spring to form a plan to determine ways to make the county a safer place for its diverse population amid a growing number of hate incidents. The taskforce of about 30 county residents includes members of the Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian American Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Jewish and Muslim communities. Akira Kyles/MoCo 360.

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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