Thursday, December 8, 2022

‘Tripledemic’ Causing Higher Volume of Patients in Emergency Rooms

Emergency departments are seeing an increase in patients with flu and RSV, according to Holy Cross Health Acute Care President Dr. Louis Damiano. 



And let’s not forget COVID. So we termed this the tripledemic, because of the three different upper respiratory tract environments,” Damiano said during a media briefing Wednesday. 

He said that in July and August, most upper respiratory tract infections were due to COVID-19, but that has changed. Now, about 50% of those visits at Silver Spring and Germantown locations are RSV or flu.

“The impact on the emergency room is that the volumes are higher, and as the volumes are higher and we try and see and triage the patients, it also results in longer wait times.”

‘Tripledemic’ Causing Higher Volume of Patients in Emergency Rooms - Montgomery Community Media (mymcmedia.org)

The US has never recorded this many positive flu tests in one week


This flu season’s ferocious start has given way to record-shattering levels of transmission — and massive strains on the American health system.

In the week ending November 26, more than 34,000 positive flu tests were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from labs around the US, as shown in the orange line on the chart below. That’s more positive flu tests than have been reported in any single week during any flu season on record, going back as far as 1997.

The trajectory dwarfs the past six flu seasons, including the relatively bad 2019-2020 one that immediately preceded the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (shown in the black line)...

2022 is the worst flu season in two decades. See the rise in charts. - Vox

Effort to Roll Back Recent Howard County Board of Education Election is Undemocratic

Like thousands of jurisdictions throughout the country, Howard County recently held an election for its school board, resulting in the election of Dr. Linfeng Chen of North Laurel and Jacky McCoy of Columbia to four-year terms as at-large members on the county Board of Education (BOE). It is doubtful, however, that other communities have seen state lawmakers react by proposing legislation rolling back the outcome of the November 8 election.

 

Specifically, Howard County Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Courtney Watson have put forward a bill decreasing Dr. Chen and Ms. McCoy’s terms to two-years. That provision is part of broader legislation – Howard County 10-23 – that reduces the number of elected BOE members from seven members to five and granting authority to the Howard County Executive to appoint two members, based on recommendations from the county’s legislative delegation, beginning in 2024. Under the measure, three of the elected members would be chosen by state Senate districts as opposed to the current system of election by each of the five councilmanic districts and two members would be elected at large or countywide. (The Howard County BOE also has a student member that sixth through eleventh graders elect but the pending bill does not affect that position.)...


Guest Post: Effort to Roll Back Recent Howard County Board of Education Election is Undemocratic - HoCo Watchdogs

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Loudon County Superintendent Scott Ziegler fired by school board

'This is a critical area': Montgomery Co. schools continues to face psychologist shortage


...
MCPS confirms out of 147 full-time school psychologist positions, there are 31 vacancies.

"There are so many competing positions out there and pay comes into it," said Jessica Baxter of MCPS.

Full time MCPS psychologists with a master's degree earn from $67,000 to $126,000 per year.

'This is a critical area': Montgomery Co. schools continues to face psychologist shortage | WJLA

Mother of Magruder shooting victim says school leaders never contacted her

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/mother-of-magruder-shooting-victim-says-school-leaders-never-contacted-her

NYC schools pull $31M textbook contract vote after parent, teacher backlash

The Department of Education is putting a pin in a multimillion-dollar proposed textbooks contract after the Daily News reported that it offered no discount on a bulk order for the nation’s largest school system.

The Panel for Educational Policy was slated to vote Wednesday night on a seven-year agreement with educational publisher McGraw Hill estimated to total $31.7 million — when it was pulled from the agenda just hours before the monthly meeting...

NYC schools pull $31M textbook contract vote after backlash (nydailynews.com)

PLANNING TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2023

Sen. Ben Kramer has decided to take action regarding the Planning Board. Beyond filing a bill to study removing its functions back to the county, he has proposed the Montgomery County Planning Trust and Transparency Act of 2023. It would take major steps towards ethics compliance and allow the county executive to appoint the Board Chair.

This Act’s summary description:

FOR the purpose of altering the appointment process, salary authorization process, and terms for commissioners appointed to the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission from Montgomery County; requiring the County Executive of Montgomery County to appoint one member of the Commission who shall serve as the chair or vice chair of the Commission and chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board; requiring certain public hearings and acceptance of public testimony on each appointment to the Commission from Montgomery County; prohibiting the chair of the Board from engaging in certain employment; authorizing and establishing procedures for the Montgomery County Executive or Montgomery County Council to discipline a commissioner from Montgomery County under certain circumstances; prohibiting a commissioner from Montgomery County from engaging in certain political activities while the commissioner serves on the Commission; prohibiting a former commissioner from Montgomery County from working for certain compensation for a certain period of time after the commissioner leaves office; requiring a commissioner from Montgomery County to complete certain training at certain times; requiring the Board to publish agendas of open meetings along with certain other materials on its website at certain times; requiring the Board to approve meeting minutes in a certain manner under certain circumstances; and generally relating to requirements for the members of the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission from Montgomery County and meetings of the Montgomery County Planning Board...

 Planning Trust and Transparency Act of 2023 | Seventh State (theseventhstate.com)

Magruder HS January Shooting Lockdown: MoCo State's Attorney John McCarthy "@McCarthyMoCo confused our community by walking across the campus and entering the building. Lockdown is lockdown. Curious elected officials should have been locked out."

 Cynthia Simonson Profile picture

52m  7 tweets  4 min read
FINALLY — @MCPS met with the community to discuss what occurred @MagruderHS on January 21. Honestly, I can’t imagine the school staff handling it better, but finally, the details emerged!! My favorite parts… 1/ 
@mentionsapologized. In my 10 years as an advocate, tonight marks the second time I’ve heard leaders admit publicly mistakes were made. That was important. 2/ 
No one expects a crisis to go perfectly. But when @MCPS glosses over the missteps, it doesn’t honor the experience. I appreciated @MCPS acknowledging there were folks that shouldn’t have been allowed to access the building. WE WERE IN LOCKDOWN!!! 3/ 
They didn’t name names, but @McCarthyMoCo confused our community by walking across the campus and entering the building. Lockdown is lockdown. Curious elected officials should have been locked out. (Sorry) 4/ 
And, @MCPS made clear they learned their lesson — reunification THEN press conference. That was NONSENSE holding our kids while McKnight and @mcpnews 5/ 
I doubt we will see another community required to wait 10 months before @MCPS meets with them. So that’s good. That’s what advocates want — to see progress!! If @MCPSSafety issues a new After Action without community input, we’ll return to @mocoboe6/ 
And, when @MCPS requires the Chief to apologize to the advocates in the same public forum she used to discredit us, then we’ll really know the integrity has returned to @mocoboe7/7 

Late mail-in vote count topples five conservative school board candidates in Maryland


Five socially conservative school board candidates in Maryland who were leading just after Election Night ended up losing when the counting of mail-in and provisional ballots was concluded this week.

Those changes meant that 20 of the 41 socially conservative candidates identified by Capital News Service came out ahead in their races, down from 25 right after last month’s election, according to unofficial results posted on the Maryland Board of Elections website.

Still, nearly half of the conservative board candidates ended up ahead in a state where a Democrat, Wes Moore, won the gubernatorial election by more than 30 points to become Maryland’s first Black governor.

Conservatives won school board races throughout much of the state, with the largest number elected in Wicomico County, followed by Harford, Baltimore, Carroll and Washington counties...

Late mail-in vote count topples five conservative school board candidates - Maryland Matters

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Day #1: New Councilmember Exposes Council's Dirty Little Secret: Votes taken behind closed doors through "polling."

Today was the first day of the new Montgomery County Council session. It was the first day of the new 11 member County Council and the first day for 6 new councilmembers, including Councilmember Kristin Mink

In opening remarks, Councilmember Kristin Mink said,

"I want to speak about something which I think we are all in agreement - and I think it is important to name.  After the election when I became privy to more of the Council's inner workings, I was surprised to learn that there are some processes which pre-date our current Council and current outgoing Council leadership that can in some instances remove some debate and decision-making from the public eye...
...I'm speaking about polls taken in various manners, that could be treated with the same finality as a vote on the dais, without as much public debate or oversight..."


 

MCPS explains why it failed to properly report school shooting and stabbings

...Sartucci showed 7News documents from the Maryland Center for School Safety. She obtained them after filing a Maryland Public Information Act request.

..."There were three school incidents, and the law was not followed," she said.

Sartucci referred to the January shooting at Magruder High and November 2021 stabbings at Montgomery Blair and Clarksburg High Schools.

"There was no after-action committee meeting. There was no report done. We basically find the law as written is worthless."

Changes to Maryland law in 2020 require school systems that experience a critical, life-threatening incident to notify the Maryland Center for School Safety no less than 24 hours after the school system learns of the incident...

MCPS explains why it failed to properly report school shooting and stabbings | WJLA


Mother of Magruder shooting victim sues school, county

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/mother-of-magruder-shooting-victim-sues-school-county

@mocoboe President Brenda Wolff Chose $100 a plate Party over Magruder High School Community Meeting

Pictures from the MyMCMedia Party with a purpose on November 30, 2022, show Montgomery County Board of Education President Brenda Wolff in attendance.  The MyMCMedia Party was held on November 30, 2022, from 6 - 9 PM.

That was the same date and time as the Magruder High School community meeting to discuss the critical shooting incident at the school on January 21, 2022.  





Baltimore judge seals case as attorneys fight over release of Catholic church sex abuse report

The legal fight will continue behind closed doors about whether a Baltimore judge should release a 456-page investigation into child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Anthony Vittoria ordered the case sealed on Friday. His order means all hearings will be closed to the public and all legal motions will be confidential...

Baltimore judge seals case as attorneys fight over release of Catholic church sex abuse report - The Baltimore Banner

Statute of limitations reform will top civil law reform in 2023 session

Legislators in Maryland have for years failed to pass legislation that would allow child sexual abuse survivors with out-of-date civil claims to have their day in court.

Advocates are hopeful that the anticipated release of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s 450-page investigation of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore — along with changes in the makeup of a key Senate committee — mean that this time a bill will pass the General Assembly.

“If this isn’t the year, I don’t know what year is,” said David Lorenz, who heads the Maryland chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The proposal, known as a “lookback window,” will be paired with legislation to abolish the statute of limitations for civil claims in childhood sexual abuse cases.

Statute of limitations reform promises to be one of the major civil issues for lawmakers when they gather in Annapolis for their 2023 legislative session in January.

“We’re taking this issue very seriously in the Senate,” said Sen. William C. Smith Jr., who chairs the powerful Judicial Proceedings Committee.

In years past, Smith’s committee has been a stumbling block for statute of limitations reform. Maryland lengthened the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse in 2017, granting abuse survivors until their 38th birthday to file claims.

But the law did not apply retroactively, so survivors whose claims were already past the statute of limitations did not get the chance to sue their abusers or the institutions that abetted them.

Lookback window legislation has passed in the House of Delegates repeatedly, but has sputtered in the Senate amid questions about its constitutionality. The 2017 law also included a “statute of repose” that may further insulate institutions from older lawsuits, though advocates for a lookback window say they should still have the chance to bring legal challenges in court.

Del. C.T. Wilson, a Charles County Democrat and childhood sexual abuse survivor, said he has already pre-filed a bill for the 2023 session...

MD General Assembly: Statute of limitations reform will top civil law reform in 2023 (thedailyrecord.com)

Monday, December 5, 2022

@mocoboe @mcps spent $6.2 MILLION for CO2 data for 10,000 classrooms. Where is the data?

Board of Education Award Co... by Parents' Coalition of Montg...

Hate Graffiti, Shooting Threat Sprawled in Kennedy High School Bathroom

Graffiti found in a John F. Kennedy High School bathroom Nov. 30 included a misspelled threat that someone “would shoot up the school Decemer 1.” The hate message that was written numerous times also included a laughing emoji.

There were no reports of an incident at the school in Silver Spring that day.

According to a letter from Principal Joe Rubens, school staff “worked quickly to cover the images.” He said he was “deeply disheartened” to learn of the vandalism “that included language and references of symbols of hate speech that are harmful and unsettling for many in our community.”..

...Email requests for information to Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County Police were not returned...

Hate Graffiti, Shooting Threat Sprawled in Kennedy High School Bathroom - Montgomery Community Media (mymcmedia.org)

Friday, December 2, 2022

CDC's Outpatient Respiratory Illness Map shows hospital visits in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are "very high."

 Local hospitals overwhelmed as flu season worsens (fox5dc.com)

MCPS Board of Education Members Sworn In



The two returning and two new Montgomery County Board of Education members were sworn in Thursday and immediately took their seats.

Board President Brenda Wolff from District 5 and Karla Silverstre, an at-large member, were re-elected in November. Also elected was Grace Rivera-Oven and Julie Yang.

“The success of Montgomery County depends on the success of our children in MCPS,” Silvestre said. “Thank you for your support. We will need it now and into the future.”

Wolff called the previous two years “an incredible journey for us, because we had incredible things to deal with.” Her goal during her second term is to ensure that all students are college or job ready.

Rivera-Oven, who represents District 1 and is a native of Bolivia, promised “to work very hard to ensure your voices and heart,” she said, referring to the students who represent 156 countries and speak 115 languages.

Yang, who represents District 3, said, “Education has made the biggest difference in my life” and referred to her second-grade teacher “who didn’t give up on me.”

While serving on the board, Yang hopes to “have a positive influence on the life trajectory of a student, because every child can succeed if they are given an opportunity to.”

BOE members also honored outgoing members Scott Joftus, who was not re-elected, and Judy Docca, who has been on the board since 2006...

MCPS Board of Education Members Sworn In - Montgomery Community Media (mymcmedia.org)