Once again, Maryland sees an increase in opioid-related deaths

A bar graph of overdose deaths. Information via the Opioid Operational Command Center.

Deaths from opioid overdoses increased yet again in Maryland last year. According to a new report from the statewide Opioid Operational Command Center, 2,385 Marylanders died from unintentional intoxication, of whom nearly 87 percent–or 2,114 people–were opioid users.

That’s up from 2,282 deaths in 2017 and 2,089 deaths in 2016. From 2013 to 2015, the number of fatal overdoses was 858, 1,041 and 1,259, respectively.

Counts for 2018 are still preliminary, the agency said.

City prosecutors won’t charge seven people arrested this morning in raid of JHU sit-in

Security and police officers stand outside Garland Hall, hours after police arrested seven protesters. Photo by Ethan McLeod.

In the aftermath of a police raid on a nearly 40-day sit-in Johns Hopkins University’s Garland Hall this morning, city prosecutors said they won’t be pursuing charges against seven individuals arrested by police.

In a statement today, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Melba Saunders said “all charges brought against the students will be abated by arrest.”

FBI investigating ransomware attack on city computers, now in day two

Photo via city employee

Federal authorities are working with the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology to figure out how hackers managed to infiltrate municipal computer systems on Tuesday morning, holding employees’ computers hostage unless they coughed up a Bitcoin ransom.

Poll: To surprise of no one, Baltimoreans have a grim outlook about how the city is faring

Photo by soomness, via Flickr

Amid the “Healthy Holly” scandal that eventually led to Catherine Pugh resigning as mayor, city residents didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture of city affairs in a new poll released by Gonzales Research & Media Services. And really, who can blame them?

Nearly two-thirds of respondents–63 percent–said the city is on the wrong track, compared with 27 percent who think things are going in the right direction.

Two more UMMS board members and chairman resigning in wake of scandal

Photo by Alx bio, via Wikimedia Commons

A day after Gov. Larry Hogan said he’s looking to “clean house” at the beleaguered University of Maryland Medical System board of directors, several members—including the hospital system’s board chairman of more than a decade—have announced they’re leaving.

Thousands of city employees locked out of computers by ransomware virus

Photo via city employee

Employees at a number of city agencies have been shut out of their work computers Tuesday by a system-wide ransomware attack, with files held hostage unless users agree to send Bitcoins along to the attackers.

Woman to receive $80,000 settlement from city after falling into pothole, breaking her leg

A pothole. Photo by Gregory Williams, via Flickr.

One of Baltimore’s infamous potholes has proven to be an expensive liability for the city, with officials set to approve an $80,000 settlement for a woman who sued after fracturing her fibula falling into one that went unfixed.

Mary Bubala let go from WJZ-TV after question about race, gender and leadership of mayors

Photo via Mary Bubala/Facebook

Mary Bubala is out at CBS affiliate WJZ-TV after asking a question last week that linked the race and gender of the last three mayors and wondered if the city needs a new direction in leadership.

“Mary Bubala is no longer a WJZ-TV employee,” Audra L. Swain, vice president and general manager of the network, confirmed in an email to Baltimore Fishbowl. “The station apologizes to its viewers for her remarks.”

Critics slam Mary Bubala’s on air-question about mayoral scandal, calling it racist

Photo via Mary Bubala/Facebook

Reflecting on Catherine Pugh’s historic resignation on Thursday afternoon, anyone with basic knowledge of the scandal would recall that her ethically questionable children’s book business dealings, currently under state and federal investigative scrutiny, contributed to her decision to step down.

Since the “Healthy Holly” news broke, many have pointed to a prior mayoral scandal that led Sheila Dixon to resign as Baltimore’s mayor less than a decade ago.

And while logic would suggest it was both Pugh’s and Dixon’s financial misdeeds that caused their mayoral terms to end prematurely, WJZ-TV’s Mary Bubala offered a cringe-worthy alternative explanation last night during a political analysis segment with Kaye Whitehead, an associate professor of communication and African and African-American Studies at Loyola University Maryland.

Two brothers freed from prison—24 years later—after wrongful murder convictions

Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse. Photo via Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Brothers Kenneth “JR” McPherson and Eric Simmons have been freed from prison after serving 24 years for a 1994 murder in East Baltimore—a case that prosecutors and their attorneys said hinged on “unreliable evidence” to convict the pair.