Politics & Business

Young convinces U.S. mayors not to pay ransoms to hackers

Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last month passed a resolution put forth by Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young calling on city leaders not to pay hackers who cripple municipal computer networks, Young’s office announced today.

Baltimore was targeted by such in attack in May and is still working to regain a number of online operations, including the ability to pay water bills through the city’s web interface. But from the start, officials have maintained they would not pay the ransom of 13 bitcoins–roughly $161,000 according to today’s exchange rates–to recover city networks, saying it would encourage similar attacks.

Mayor Young on potential re-election bid: ‘I have a right to change my mind’

Photo by J.M. Giordano.

You weren’t alone if you were surprised to read this week that Bernard C. “Jack” Young is now considering a mayoral run for 2020. In early May, when he took over for Catherine Pugh upon her resignation amid probes into her personal business dealings, Young assured he would not seek re-election to the post in 2020 and instead seek to reclaim his old job.

But that’s all changed. The Brew reported this week Young has been talking to local political financiers about a potential re-election bid, and The Sun got confirmation from the man himself yesterday that he’s now considering it.

Young names new directors of transportation and general services

Incoming Department of Transportation Director Steve Sharkey (left) and Department of General Services Director Chichi Nyagah-Nash. Photos via mayor’s office/DGS.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has shuffled the top ranks of the Department of General Services, naming its head, Steve Sharkey, as the next director of the city’s Department of Transportation and promoting his deputy to take over DGS.

City resumes online payments for property taxes, speeding and parking tickets

Photo by Christopher Sessums, via Flickr

Nearly two months out from a ransomware attack that crippled municipal networks, the city has restored the ability to pay property taxes, moving violations and parking tickets online, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office announced this morning.

Yep, there’s no shirking that red light camera ticket anymore.

DGS Director Steve Sharkey the likely pick to helm DOT, sources say

Photo via Baltimore City Mayor’s Office

Baltimore City Department General Services Director Steven Sharkey is the frontrunner to become the next head of Baltimore’s transportation department, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter at City Hall.

Hospitals pledge $2M toward services for homeless

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A group of 10 hospitals in the city today pledged $2 million over two years toward a program that provides housing and medical services for people experiencing homelessness.

Funds from the partnership, officials said, will give homes and aid for 200 individuals and families, with the medical organizations providing medical care and other services “in the effort to break the cycle of homelessness,” per a release.

Scott shakes up council committees, adds dedicated ones for health, cybersecurity and more

The inside of the council chambers. Photo by Ethan McLeod.

Council President Brandon Scott today is breaking apart two committees with dual focuses and adding new ones dedicated to public health and, in the wake of a crippling ransomware attack, cybersecurity preparedness.

The total number of council panels now stands at 13, up from nine under the previous watch of Bernard C. “Jack” Young. And with the shakeup, most of the committees will now be led by first-term legislators elected in 2016.

Almost all city workers are back online after ransomware attack, but hurdles remain

Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr

Weeks after ransomware crippled the city’s computer networks, almost all city employees are back online and able to use their work computers, officials said today. But hurdles remain before some financial operations, such as water billing, can be brought back.

What We Make Now: Silversmith Henry ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins III


Henry “Hoppy” Hopkins III is a second generation silversmith. He’s also one of the last in a city where names like Stieff, Kirk and Schofield used to be known throughout the country as makers and maintainers of the silver trade. Some, like Stieff, remain only as words on the building the company once occupied.

“I’m the only one left in Baltimore City, that I’m aware of,” says Hopkins from the workbench of his shop hidden away in a 130-year-old carriage house in Mt. Vernon. “I’ve had a few apprentices, but they usually leave when they learn how much time they’ll have to spend in the buffing room.”

Council president offers sharp words for agencies, calls hearing about Poe Homes water outage

Image via Google Street View.

With residents of West Baltimore’s Poe Homes public housing complex still lacking adequate water service one week since disruptions began, Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott today called on agencies to respond to the crisis and formulate a plan to handle future ones.